One animal sanctuary in Northern California.
One Puerto Rican girl in a Las Vegas swimming pool.
One keynote speech in Cancun, Mexico.
There is a very strange thing happening in culture right now. Everyone is worried about numbers that actually mean nothing to them.
I am going to use two questions as a perfect example to highlight my point.
First, how many Instagram followers do you have? I am almost 100 percent certain you will have an almost exact and accurate answer to this question.
Next, what are the names of the last 50 people that followed you, what do they do, and what matters to them? I am almost 100 percent certain you will NOT have an accurate answer to this one.
But wait. Because this is only a bad thing if you are only using social for the number of followers with no big picture idea of what those followers represent for your life. Or more importantly, their life.
Goatlandia Animal Sanctuary has a few thousand followers. I am one of them. One random person named Brian. And this one random person visited them on one random afternoon in May of 2018. I stopped consuming animal products the next day. One random picture I see on their Instagram every day or week reminds me why I did it. And keeps me strong and true to my word.
Millions of people visit Las Vegas every year. But one day in May of 2006, one random person (me) talked to one random girl in a swimming pool in Las Vegas. I was drunk and we ended up almost getting married a few nights later. We didn’t, but we were close. She was from Bethlehem, Pennsylvania and invited me to visit her a few months later on my way out to NYC from California. Turns out her grandfather was like a second father for a man named Fred Rooney. Who 12 years later is one of the most important people in my life. The one who introduced me to the director of the orphanage in the Dominican Republic where I began all of my work in Latin America. Nothing in life makes me happier than working with Latino communities. Nothing. It’s why I started Uniting the America’s. One conversation in a swimming pool in Las Vegas 12 years ago.
In January of this year, I gave a 72 minute presentation to the National Dry Cleaners Association in Cancun. I recorded it, and put it on youtube. A few months and 92 views later, I got a call from a senior executive in the Association who saw my youtube video, and asked me to create a marketing video course for all of their members. That contract was for tens of thousands of dollars. It helped me pay the salaries of several of my employees.
Two years ago, one random guy (me) decided to write something vulnerable on facebook about a recent experience I had. I was tired and scared of being super transparent to strangers. I was scared of painting a less than perfect picture of my life. But I did it anyway. A few days later a girl I went to college with, one of my 2,656 friends on facebook, wrote me. She told me that she was going to to kill herself until she read what I wrote. It gave her strength to live another day. That was 2 years ago. She updated her facebook 2 days ago. She looks happy. I’d say the post was worth it. Maybe she’d agree.
People always ask me how I can “go, go, go.” How I have so much energy. How I get so much done. Why I never seem to “slow down.”
This is my best shot at an answer.
Because today, we will be given a series of “ones.”
I am desperate for all of us to understand the real power we have to change and be a change. To transform ourselves and help others transform themselves. To create honest content around our truth. NOT for the next 10 followers we will pick up, but instead with the understanding that one of those 10 followers may be the one.
The one that stops eating innocent animals because of your humanization of the goats and chickens you rescue that breath and run around and feel joy and pain.
The one that introduces you to one of the most important men in your life that shows you how to give of yourself to the most marginalized communities because of your courage to say hi to a stranger in a pool.
The one that changes your business because you unselfishly share your skills with the world even though all of the “marketing gurus” tell me to charge a mastermind course for all of it.
The one that needs your light to pull out of their darkness. Even if you feel tired or vulnerable.
And then there’s this…
The only reason I can write this or you can read it is because 9 months before we were born there was ONE second of perfect alchemy and magic that resulted in you being you. That resulted in me being me.
Because in that one second.
We were given ONE life that I have ZERO interest in wasting.