Does fear get in your way? Hold you back, or put you in doubt? What if you could kick fear to the curb? It’d be nice, right? Come meet someone who’s working on doing that every day in his work–marketing strategist and radio host Todd Schnick. Enjoy our Skype interview below (17 min, 57 sec) or read the transcript.
Missed our earlier interviews? They’re all listed at the end of this interview. Know someone who’s bringing their superpowers to work? Tell us here!
Meet Marketer Todd Schnick: Bringing His Superpowers to Work
Darcy: Hi everybody! This is Darcy Eikenberg, the founder of RedCapeRevolution.com, and welcome again to our series of occasional interviews with people who I think are bringing their superpowers to work – true examples of creating clarity, building confidence, and taking control in their lives and careers. I have with me today Todd Schnick of the Intrepid blog. Welcome Todd!
Todd: Hi Darcy, it’s good to be with you!
D: Thank you. So Todd, tell me: when you talk about being intrepid, what does that mean to you and your work?
T: Darcy, what I’m trying to do with my clients – and in the education that I’ve tried to put on the blog, and through all the interviews that I do – is that I want people to be fearless. I want them to be bold and audacious, and to try to achieve big things. Being intrepid is what that means.
A lot of people ask me where I got the name from. They’ll ask “was it after the Dodge car?” or “after the aircraft carrier moored in the Hudson river?”. No. It was after lunar lander on Apollo 12, which was the second spacecraft to land on the moon – The Intrepid. And that just kind of takes a bold vision or idea, and overcoming huge obstacles, to fulfill a massive policy goal for this country. All of this rings together, and it’s just about not being afraid to fail. Being bold, trying to do big things; not only with your life, but with business.
So many people are so timid, and they’re afraid of failing or being laughed at in the world. I say, it’s all about getting “out there,” trying things; recognizing that most of the time, people aren’t even going to notice if you step on your toes. They’re busy living their own lives too. So with me, what I try to do with my clients, is to make them intrepid marketers. Get them out there and do big and bold things, because I think that strengthens their brand.
Bringing More Clarity and Confidence
D: Yes. Well Todd, I should’ve mentioned in the beginning, you are a marketing strategist; but also you’re a radio show host, a speaker, a social media expert, and so on. But I know in your background, some people may say more traditionally, you had some jobs in politics and corporate marketing. I was wondering if you could tell me a little about how did bringing more clarity and confidence to the table get you from there to here?
T: You know, clarity is such an important part of who I’ve become over the last several years. I’ve made some big changes in my life. Yes, I had a little more a traditional background. I had a nice job in a highrise in Atlanta. But what I couldn’t do when I was in that role, Darcy, was be intrepid. I had to follow company policy, I had to abide by all these rules and expectations that corporate kind of bestows on you; which is not a bad thing, it’s just not my thing.
But what I can do now that I have my own business, where I can chart my own path, is that I can decide what matters and what’s important to me. Clarity becomes essential to following that path. As I’ve said, I’ve made some dramatic changes in both my life and business, and I’ve almost applied minimalist principles to how I conduct my life and business – and how I teach my clients.
Minimalism really means stripping away the clutter to focus on what’s truly important. You can obviously apply that to your business as well. Think about a marketing strategy that says, “we’re going to chase after every new bell and whistle and shiny new object, and we’re going to try every single conceivable social media tool out there!” That isn’t the right course to take. You need to strip down and say what really works and really matters, and what really means something to my target audience. Clarity is essential to how you conduct your marketing. It’s also important for your vision; what is your company all about? What is the one thing that we should be known for, that we ought to be recognized for in the community? How can we best serve our clients?
It’s also about focusing on a very specific niche. Too many people get out there and say “I want to serve everyone, because there’s more business opportunity that way.” That is the absolute wrong principle to take. It’s the mechanic who says “the best lead for me today is anyone who has a vehicle.” That doesn’t serve him well, because everyone you know on earth has a vehicle. You can’t help that guy. But if he says “I’m a bona fide expert in fixing Jaguars”, then you can say “all right, I have some people that I know that drive those kinds of vehicles, so I can help this guy first.” Clarity comes down to folks staying in the right niche.
Confidence, too, is what intrepid is all about. If you can be bold, and fearless, and willing to experiment and try new things and not be afraid if they don’t work, you can move forward a lot more quickly. That confidence shines through. You can see and feel it; and people want to do business with others who just seem to be fearless, and confident, and willing to blaze new trails.
D: Todd, it’s really interesting to think about the move from what you were doing before, something which a lot of our audience is doing. They’re working in big buildings with big companies, and it’s great, and there are terrific things that are happening – but they’re under pressure to be everything. To be the mechanic who fixes all cars, as opposed to just being the best “red Jaguar fixer” in the world.
I’m curious: for you, was there a person or experience who was a turning point for you? Someone or something that personally helped you move to a minimalistic approach or find the clarity and confidence you needed?
T: Well, no. I came to the realization, as most people do when they decided to go into business for themselves, that I wanted to be my own boss and do something the way that I felt was right. To not be beholden to someone in order to set your path. Life’s too short, Darcy. You and I met, I believe, in 2010! People get old. The clock is ticking. I feel that since we’re on this Earth only for a small amount of time, I had to do what mattered to me, not to some corporate director. And again, I’m not downplaying that – some people are living and loving that life and thriving in it. But it just wasn’t for me.
I started a business right after I got out of politics. I hooked up with an organization and started the Atlanta branch of this organization. And boy, I had all my own ideas of how I wanted to do it, and I had a pace that I wanted to do it in. Something that was comfortable and made sense for me. I wanted to focus of fewer things, and do them better. My partners wanted to do more things because they wanted more revenue. And ultimately, that just wasn’t a good fit for me, so I withdrew. I wanted to do things at a different pace; do less but really excel at it, and achieve things.
So my time spent in corporate life, which I only did for a year, was like … walking by a store, seeing a suit, saying “I’m not even going to try it on” and buying it off the rack, coming home and trying it on and saying “ahhh… this doesn’t quite fit, but if I wear it long enough it will probably loosen up…” Well, it never did. It wasn’t the right life. I learned a lot, it was a wonderful experience and lucrative; but it wasn’t personally gratifying. And life is too short to be feeling that way.
D: I think that’s a perfect example of, as you said, trying on a suit that feels uncomfortable and recognizing that it’s not for you. I talk a lot about “uncomfortable being the new comfortable”, but there’s a difference between the suit that doesn’t fit and the uncomfortability of “yes … I don’t quite have that yet, but I need to stretch and grow through it.” And I know one of the things that’s a recent project for you is that you have a new ebook coming out, called Kicking Fear’s Ass. I was wondering if you could tell us a little about that and how you put that together?
T: Yes Darcy. I am the last person on Earth that ought to be talking about how to kick fear’s ass, because I’m human. I’m just an average guy. I battle fears every day, and we all do. The people who tell you they don’t are full of it. We’re all struggling with it in our personal life, our business life; we’re not pursuing dreams and passions – there’s probably things you want to do such as writing, playing the piano, or learning how to run an entire marathon. But you just feel “ah, I don’t have the time or ability to do it.” That’s an awful life.
Everything I do on my blog – “ten ways to do this” or “ten notes on this” – they are really reminders to myself. These are things I’m doing to say “all right, Todd. I’m applying these lessons to myself, and I hope my audience can benefit from it.” The purpose of this book, Kicking Fear’s Ass, was to help with the fear that affects all of us. The person who’s achieving big things, and living his wild life; they’re managing and mitigating their fear and trying to overcome it. No one is fearless. But, you can be in a position where you can manage that, and use it to your advantage.
So the purpose of this book was merely to be a tool. I asked forty of my closest friends, of which you were very kind to offer participation in that, to share their story about how they or someone they know have overcome or are battling with fear. It’s to be a collection of wonderful essays and stories that when, down the road, I need something to feel like I’m not alone on something, that there’s a lot of others battling the same demons I am.
I can look at this and it inspires me to say “let’s charge forward!” Or if I come across someone else who I can tell is being negatively impacted by fear – not willing to leave a corporate job, or pursue a dream, or do the work to train for a distance race for example – I can give this to them and say “look, you’re not alone.” That’s what the purpose of the book is for me; a tool that we can all use, in the form of a free ebook, that you can give to anyone you know and say you’re not alone, and here are some ideas to help you. Part of the thing about being fearful is that you’re not willing to charge out alone; but there’s comfort in knowing you’re not alone.
D: I love that idea that you’re not alone in that. I’m like you, I write things that I want as reminders for myself, things that I’m trying to do, or have done that have worked but I don’t always do consistently. And it’s always a growing process. I think sometimes in the media, when we think of stories about career transformations or people getting promotions or trying new things, or just coming into their superpowers, we think that just happened by punching forward themselves. We forget that there are those quiet moments of fear that all of us have to get over. It’s that “lizard brain” that Seth Godin talks about; the resistance that Steven Pressfield talks about. I know you’ve done a lot of reading of and work with those guys; and it’s just so important to remember.
So how can we get your ebook?
T: The book is going to be published this month. I’ve been awfully busy and I keep getting delayed on the publishing of it; I can’t tell you this moment what the exact publishing day is going to be, but it will probably be within the next week or two. You can go to my website, http://intrepid-llc.com/ , and you’ll be able to find it there and download it for free. [Note from Darcy: Since Todd and I talked, he's developed an entire site devoted to Kicking Fear’s Ass. Find it here and keep in touch with this effort by signing up here.]
D: Terrific. And we’ll certainly have it on Red Cape Revolution in our Free Tips & Tools. Thank you again ,Todd, for the work you did in putting that together, and as a free ebook. To be able to share those stories with others, and encourage people, and have them pass it on to anyone in need of it is wonderful.
Todd, do you have any last words on gaining clarity, building confidence, and taking control in your career or life?
“It Feels Good to Wear My Superhero Cape”
T: Yes. First of all, thank you for promoting the book and the idea, and contributing on it. One quick note on “wearing the uncomfortable suit”: it feels really good to wear my superhero cape. When I think about your idea, and how you enveloped your vision with these superpowers and the Red Cape Revolution–it’s a mindset. Yeah, I’m not going to go around actually wearing a red cape, but I like the idea that I can pretend I have one.
It’s like the notion of how they would coach you if you were afraid of public speaking, to think of the audience as being naked, and it would relax you a bit by thinking “oh my gosh, imagine what that person would look like naked!” That’s the same kind of principle where I imagine myself wearing this red cape, because then I feel more confident. I puff up a bit, and I project a more confident image, and I feel better about myself.
And, I probably come across bigger and stronger, or more confident, to the people I’m addressing. How important is that! The image you’re trying to convey to either one person or twenty, that this guy isn’t afraid to fail, to try new things. I’d want to be a part of that with him or her. So I commend you for promoting this idea of the Red Cape Revolution. The notion of feeling like you’re wearing a cape naturally puts you in a mental state where you feel more confident – and almost quietly laughing at yourself. That relaxation of saying “you know, life’s going to come at me, but I’m going to come right back at it.” My last words of advice are for your audience to really think about that and how the Red Cape Revolution can really help them change their approach to life.
D: Great, thank you so much Todd. Thank you for your support for Red Cape Revolution, and congratulations on the ebook coming out. Thank you for being someone who is bringing his superpowers to work, and really making a difference with your audience and clients, and with people in the world. I think we all want to be doing that, whether it means starting our own business, or changing how we think about the work right where we are. Thank you very much, Todd Schnick. This is Darcy Eikenberg, and see you next time!
Missed earlier interviews? Catch up here:
- Meet career acceleration expert Sarah Hathorn
- Meet “The Introverted Leader” author Jennifer Kahnweiler, Ph.D
- Meet “Uncertainty” author Jonathan Fields
- Meet ad agency leader Mike Grindell
- Meet singer/songwriter Barbara McAfee
Know someone who’s bringing their superpowers to work, in big and small ways? Maybe it’s YOU! Tell us here–we’d love to feature them in a future blog post.
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