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My dear friend and mentor Sarah Canepa Bang uttered those words to me at the Holiday Inn in Wilsonville, Oregon many years ago. I was there all day hosting a league event. I got a message from the front desk to call Sarah at the office. This was before cell phones, remember those days?

On a break I went to the pay phone to call her. She simply said, “Can you meet me after the conference at the hotel bar?” “Um, sure,” I said. Of course I couldn’t concentrate the rest of the afternoon. Was I getting fired? What did I do wrong? Think. Think.

Sarah offered me a new job/opportunity. I felt wholly unqualified and told her as much. That’s when my professional life took an abrupt turn.

She had confidence in me – but I did not. I suffered from a well-known disorder called the impostor complex. I didn’t have a college degree. The person who was vacating this position had one – it was in Biology – but it was a Bachelor’s.

I won’t go into the reasons/excuses I didn’t go to college, that’s not the point of this post. But rather, to help people understand that you really can do anything in this country if you have the vision, passion and discipline.

I meet people every day that have amazing visions. I am surrounded by passionate people, on the internet and in my community. Discipline is the roadblock for most of us. As Malcolm Gladwell points out in his groundbreaking book Outliers: The Story of Success, it takes about 10,000 hours of commitment to move from novice to expert.  At a full time 2080 hour work year, that’s just under five years. IF you’re focused.

I leave for Gearhart, Oregon in a couple of hours. I’ve rented a little cottage, with a tiny kitchen and a wood stove. I am going to finish my book The 2020 Vision of Marketing: A Focus on Purpose. It has become an albatross of sorts.

God’s great equalizer – time. We all get 24 hours a day. You cannot earn more or be punished with less. You decide how to use those hours. I’ve been saying “I don’t have time,” when I am really saying “I’ve not been willing to make the time.”

So, here I go. Acting like the expert. Without a single writing class under my belt. Just a laptop, a flipchart, books I admire and a vision.

I’m going to blog each morning about my progress. It’s a great way to start the day, and I hope you’ll all be rooting for me as well as shaming me into completion.

Oh, and if I get the chance, I plan to dig my own razor clam, shuck it, and make chowder, like my Granddad and Nana used to do. That will probably be the scariest moment this week.

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March 2010