I took a class in college that resonated with me. It was a basic Sales 101 course, but as many of you know, the professor is largely determinant of the amount of education provided. This guy was the image of a good professor – his lessons spanned far and wide outside of the necessary curriculum, but all kept his subject peripheral.
One lesson that stuck out to me was the idea of taking personal inventory regularly. In order to sell yourself to the world (and to yourself), you have to first know what you have to sell. The product that I was looking to sell was one of authenticity and drive, not motivated by money, but the pursuit of objective truth and value in my life.
So, I scribed it on my bathroom mirror. I had a few messages: “DO SOMETHING TODAY,” “BE THAT GUY THEY TALK ABOUT,” “DON’T BE A ZOMBIE,” or “BRING VALUE.” It looked creepy to my girlfriend, who, at the time, hadn’t been warned of my self-improvement tactics that seemed kind-of culty… But, it worked. For me, seeing my most salient messages splayed in front of me on a regular basis was sort-of painful, but it was good.
There were definitely mornings that I would look at myself, framed by the annoying self-directed pep-talk messages, that I did not feel like I was living up to my potential. But, I accepted it, I took inventory of my flaws and strengths, and I progressed. Dead Era is largely a spawning of personal inventory, an extension of my life philosophy to bring value, and do something real. I know sometimes I fail, but it is all a learning process that makes the brand (and me) a better thing.
So, in honor of taking inventory, and striving to provide value, here’s TEN people who have done something incredible.
1. Yasuo Takamatsu is learning how to scuba dive in order to find the remains of his wife, who is one of the 2,636 missing people from Japan’s tsunami that claimed over 15,000 lives.
2. Alan Kempster lost his right arm and leg in ’90 when a drunk driver crashed into his motorcycle. Alan continues to race his motorcycle and waterski.
3. Ken, a 9-year-old boy from the Phillipines, started a no-kill shelter to help the stray animals that live near his home.
4. Former British Staff Sergeant Wayne Ingram raised over $160,000 to pay for the surgical procedures in order to correct Stefan Savic’s life-threatening facial deformities.
5. Jacklyn Mellott came across a Craigslist ad, a desperation effort of a son whose mother needed a new kidney and was far down the waitlist. She saw it as a sign, came in for testing, and was a perfect match. She’ll be undergoing the procedure in June.
6. Students from Université Laval in Quebec build a tear-drop shaped car that achieves an efficiency of 2,824 miles per gallon (that’s LA to NY in less than a gallon of fuel).
7. Will Pemble builds his son a 180-ft roller coaster in his back yard to make learning Math and Physics more fun.
8. Gregory Kloehn, a California-based artist, gave up selling expensive sculptures to the affluent to build shelters for the homeless.
9. Amputee soldiers – dubbed the Kilimanjaro Warriors – scale the tallest mountain in Africa with the assistance of Lt. Col. Steve Connelly, a former Air Force pilot with a passion for helping wounded soldiers. Steve raised $100,000 from sponsors to make the climb possible.
10. Imperial Tattoo Company in Sugar Land, TX halted operations of their tattoo parlor to devote their skills to help break the stigma against homosexuality and self-expression. Imperial Tattoo Co. raised $5,400 by tattooing hundreds of My Little Pony tattoos, and donated the money to the Michael Morones Foundation, a fund set up to assist the boy who attempted suicide after being bullied for having a My Little Pony lunch-box, as well as the Crisis Intervention of Houston organization.