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The Published Author Podcast

OVERCOME IMPOSTER SYNDROME TO FINISH YOUR BOOK 

Curtis J. Morley is the real deal: He gets things done!

“I've got a huge, audacious goal, I want to help one million entrepreneurs take their business to the next level,” he tells Published Author Podcast host Josh Steimle. 

That’s why Curtis wrote his book, The Entrepreneur's Paradox: How to Overcome the 16 Pitfalls Along the Startup Journey, and works as a coach and a mentor.

Says Curtis: “There is a better way that doesn't include all the pain. I made all the mistakes, every single one of them that are listed in my book, especially in my first two companies.”

ENTREPRENEURS AND AUTHORS ARE PRONE TO IMPOSTER SYNDROME

“I was thinking ‘I've never written a book, I don't know what I'm doing. All these other people are famous authors.’

“If you ask my English teachers from junior high all the way through college, they would not have picked me to write,” he says. Fortunately his editor was amazing and also functioned as a coach by helping with wordsmithing and storytelling. 

On imposter syndrome, Curtis says the reason it's chronic with entrepreneurs, is that imposter syndrome is actually baked into entrepreneurship. 

“You're doing something that has never been done before, in a way that's never been done before, in a market that's never been tried before,” he explains. “It doesn't matter if you're a high school dropout, or if you're a Harvard grad, you still have to figure it out like everybody else. It doesn't matter, you know, that you don't have all the answers. And that's okay. It's totally okay not to have all the answers . . . that’s when the real growth starts to happen.”

Entrepreneurs who are willing to go through that journey of growth must have “an indefatigable drive to take one more step up the mountain, and it's going to be hard, and it's going to be okay, because that's all that I really need is to take one more step up the mountain.”

APPLY SOLID BUSINESS PRINCIPLES FOR ‘AMAZING SUCCESS’

“You don't need you don't need a Warren Buffett to be your guide up the mountain anymore. There's solid business principles that anyone can take and apply to their business and succeed.”

Curtis quotes the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which note that 30% of small businesses go defunct within the first year, and 50% go out of business within the first five years. He believes business can avoid this route by applying the proper principles for amazing success.

WHAT GETS YOU INTO BUSINESS WILL STOP YOU FROM SUCCEEDING

The basis of Curtis’ book is that what gets an entrepreneur into business—his/her expertise, craft or skill—is what will actively prevent them from succeeding in business.

Curtis learned this lesson through experience. He became one of the top Adobe Flash experts in the world, and decided to set up a business selling this skill. But he quickly learned that if an entrepreneur spends 24-hours a day building the product, there is no time to build the company. 

“That's the paradox, it’s that I'm so good at something that I love to do. And I want to do it all day long. But I have to actually give up being the best in the world at something, in order to be the best in the world at building a company,” Curtis explains.

One of the pitfalls of being an entrepreneur, he explains, is that they love to wear all the hats in a company. The hard lesson here that has to be learned is that an entrepreneur must learn to delegate and trust that others will get the job done. 

The second part of trust is trusting yourself. “Most people don't realize that there's that aspect of trust when you're delegating,” explains Curtis. 

WRITING A BOOK IS LIKE CLIMBING A MOUNTAIN

Curtis wrote the first two-thirds of his book before a summit to Mount Kilimanjaro. But when he returned home he scrapped all his work and began again. 

“It was so much of a better book with the analogy of Kilimanjaro in there, and it actually was more fun.”

He hired an editor to help him with wordsmithing, along with the story flow and examples. 

UNDERSTANDING THE BESTSELLER LISTS

Before writing his book and working as a coach and mentor, Curtis worked for Franklin Covey and learned a great deal about what makes a bestselling book. 

He discusses this at length in the episode, but a key point is that: “With a new release, all of the prior orders to the release date are counted in that week. So all the sales you've done before the day of launch will be piled up on that one day. If you sold 10,000 books in the four months prior to launch, then all 10,000 will count on the day of your launch.”

PROMOTE YOUR BOOK THROUGH KEYNOTE AND BOOK EXCHANGES

To market his book, Curtis did a lot of what he calls book exchanges or the keynote exchanges. This involved going out to organizations he knows are interested in entrepreneurship and offering to do a keynote at zero cost if they purchase a copy of the book for every attendee. 

If you like this episode, you won’t want to miss these episodes:

Bestseller Opens Door To Speaking Gigs For Retired Military Leader 

Turn Your Book Into Income By Being Smart With Publicity

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ABOUT THE HOST

The Published Author Podcast is hosted by Josh Steimle, founder of Published Author. Josh is a book author himself and his article writing has been featured in over two dozen publications including Time, Forbes, Fortune, Mashable, and TechCrunch. He's a TEDx speaker, the founder of the global marketing agency MWI, a skater, father, and husband, and lives on a horse farm in Boston. Learn more at JoshSteimle.com.

EPISODE TRANSCRIPT

Josh Steimle:

Today my guest is Curtis Morley. Curtis is an entrepreneur, speaker and author of the newly released The Entrepreneur's Paradox: How to Overcome the 16 Pitfalls Along the Startup Journey. Curtis, welcome to the show.

Curtis Morley:

Thanks, Josh. So great to be here.

Josh Steimle:

It is great to be talking with you. For the audience Curtis and I go way back, we're friends from when we were both entrepreneurs in Utah. And now I'm in Boston, you're still in Utah, right Curtis.

Curtis Morley:

I am in Utah. Yeah.

Josh Steimle:

And Curtis loves books just as much as I do. If you're watching this on video, you can see we've both got the same background, which is just a bunch of books behind us because we both love reading. But let's talk about your book, Curtis, except before we get to your book, let's talk about your background and let the audience know a little bit about you and your history and where you're coming from. So how far back do you want to go? How did you get started on your own entrepreneurial journey?

Curtis Morley:

Yeah, so we've had so fun connecting, or reconnecting and catching up. So I am still here in Utah, working now on my fifth company and it's been a crazy ride. I've made every single mistake possible, all of them.

Josh Steimle:

I know how that goes.

Curtis Morley:

Yeah. And along the way, realize that there might be a better way to do business. There might be a better way to do this. So that don't have to go through all the heartache and all the struggles and all the pain and that's really-really what I wrote the book about was, in a way it was a letter to myself, my 25 year old self back when we knew each other. It was writing it so that I could avoid all the pitfalls of business and especially the paradox that is entrepreneurship. So just a little bit about me. I had a full service media agency. Josh and I had agencies at the same time and then from there a Digital Sheet Music company, and consultancy. And in between my startups, I actually worked for FranklinCovey for three years, and was in charge of marketing, all of the corporate brand as well as global marketing for the entire company. And then then a eLearning company. So the company called eLearning brothers, and then finally, my new company with my book helping Entrepreneurs to take their business to the next level.

Josh Steimle:

So have you always wanted to write a book or was this relatively new idea?

Curtis Morley:

The idea formed about 15 years ago. And when I went to work at FranklinCovey, part of my objective of working at FranklinCovey was to understand how they create a best seller process. And as head of marketing, it was my job to get the books on the bestseller list. And so that was yeah, that was part of my internal motivation of working with FranklinCovey's. Franklin Covey has, you know, they're just chronic with bestsellers. And I wanted to figure out the whole publishing process, understand how that worked, and how to get bestseller.

Josh Steimle:

All right, well, now you're going to have to spill the beans. So what did you learn? What were some of the secrets you learned about how FranklinCovey makes all those bestsellers?

Curtis Morley:

The best thing they did, they had Dr. Covey, of course. And The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is, I think it is the number one bestselling leadership and self help book of all time.

Josh Steimle:

Wouldn't surprise me.

Curtis Morley:

It's, yeah, sold 10s, if not hundreds of millions of copies and it's yeah, so that that was fantastic. But it was actually a real eye opener to understand that the game has changed and the New York Times bestseller list is different than the Wall Street Journal bestseller list is different than the Amazon list. Each one has their own set of rules and regulations. Wall Street journalist is very objective. So they will just take a look at total book sales and its numbers based. The New York Times is not. The New York Times is subjective. So whether you're not on the list, starts with numbers, but actually ends with a committee saying hey, do we like this book or not? And if they don't, then out you go.

Josh Steimle:

You can sell half a million copies and still not make it onto the New York Times list if they don't like your book.

Curtis Morley:

As a matter of fact, that did happen to FranklinCovey. Yeah, it was by far the number one bestseller of the week and it did not make the list. And so yeah, they've got all sorts of different subjective rules on top of the objective rules. And so yeah, very interesting, very fun to try and figure out what actually makes the best seller and how to do it.

Josh Steimle:

So with the Wall Street Journal and USA today and stuff, it's just based on numbers, but its numbers within one week, isn't it?

Curtis Morley:

It is. Yep. So the the listings are all basically each week, they take the top in each category. And they'll publish that. So the the importance of getting on the list, or getting books sold, if you want to get a bestseller, it's super important to get them sold all in the same week. And that actually means getting them sold before Friday and the reason what we found, and actually, even with my book this time, same thing is that orders placed on Saturday aren't always counted in that week's load. And so it's really important some sometimes they are and you know, if you're lucky, they get in there. But if you get them Friday or sooner then you're going to be in a much more secure place.

Josh Steimle:

So does that mean you should launch a book like Saturday evening or something because then those orders will probably go into the next week?

Curtis Morley:

No, not necessarily. It depends on how much publicity and how much marketing you do. One thing that's interesting is that with a new release, all of the prior orders to the release date are counted in that week. So everything that you've done, all the sales you've done before the the day of launch will all be piled up on that one day. So if you get 10,000 books that you sold in the four months prior, then all 10,000 will count on the day of your launch.

Josh Steimle:

So FranklinCovey, how far in advance would they start the preorder process, make it available for preorder?

Curtis Morley:

Currently, it's, I believe it's three months, I can't speak 100% for them right now. I'm just because I've been gone from the company for a bit. But yeah, with like, with my book with the Entrepreneurs Paradox, we went, and we did a push for about three months, about three or four months.

Josh Steimle:

So about three months. And I mean, this is kind of a tangent, this is what wasn't what we were planning on talking about. But when you say you know how to do bestseller stuff, we got to talk about that. So what were some of the other things that you've done with your book to bump up sales and try to hit those bestseller lists?

Curtis Morley:

One thing that was that was really effective was getting out there, just like this on podcasts, radio shows, etc. But even more than that, is I did what I called the book exchange or the keynote exchange strategy. So going out to organizations that I know are interested in entrepreneurship, interested in helping companies succeed, like Chambers of Commerce, different groups like that, and offering to do a keynote at zero cost, if they purchase a copy of the book for every attendee. So with minimum of 250 books and so. So it's, yeah, that seemed to be an effective way to get large orders. One other thing that's really interesting that really interesting is that the formulas now for the bestseller list are so complex, but they track it by name, address, credit card number, and the place that you order it. So for example, if you order 10 books off of Amazon, like if you were to go right now and order my book, and order 10 copies, it actually won't show up as 10 copies, it will show up as a fraction of 10 copies, because one person placed a bulk order through Amazon and so they actually they take fractions instead of the the entire bulk order and the reason they do that is a lot of people had been gaming the system, go into –

Josh Steimle:

Just buying their own book.

Curtis Morley:

Buying their own book and stack it in the garage and so yeah, it now has you know, the now tracks all of that and if you are at the same address with the same login with the same credit card then you buy one book accounts for one you buy 10 books of actually I think the current formula is eight for one. So you can buy, if you buy eight books, it counts for one, if you buy nine, it counts for two.

Josh Steimle:

That's interesting. So when you're doing these bulk purchases with the people that you're keynoting at their event, how do you make sure that every one of those books gets counted rather than they buy 500 but it only counts as a couple of sales?

Curtis Morley:

Yeah. Actually. So there's a couple different strategies. But like I'm doing a, I'm doing another speech in June, where all the attendees went and bought the book individually. So the organizer actually gave them an Amazon gift card. And they went and they individually purchased the book for themselves.

Josh Steimle:

And so that will then count as individual sales even if the event organizer pays for a bunch of gift cards for everybody.

Curtis Morley:

Exactly. Yeah.

Josh Steimle:

Okay. Got it. Interesting. Well, that's an interesting little tangent there to go off on. So let's go back to the inspiration for the book. Like you said, this was a letter to your younger self, it was giving yourself the advice. What was the vision for what this book could do, though? Obviously, you wanted it to serve and help. But what were your other plans? What were your dreams for? What this book would do for you and for your business?

Curtis Morley:

Yeah, I've got a got a huge audacious goal. I want to help 1 million entrepreneurs take their business to the next level. And the way that I do that is, is you know, number one through the book, but number two, is through coaching and mentoring and through the programs that I've set up and as part of my business model we're doing something super fun. We are actually doing a summit on the summit. So we are going to take a group of 12 to 15 entrepreneurs down to Tanzania, and climb Mount Kilimanjaro. And we're actually going to do the training on the mountain as we climb. And well –

Josh Steimle:

It's pretty cool.

Curtis Morley:

And amazing adventure. It's going to be crazy. But yeah, so that's the big goal. But yeah, like you said, it was, it's about I came up with the idea about 15 years ago, is when I was sitting in Giardino Pizzas, the deep dish pizza in Chicago, you know, this stuff that's like that thick. And having a conversation with a friend who is also an entrepreneur, very successful entrepreneur and we were saying, why doesn't everybody start a business? Why does anyone work for corporate America? And my friend said something funny, but very insightful. I said, Well, why did you start your business? And he said, I'm way too lazy to work the normal way. I had to figure out a better way to do business. And although it was humorous there was a real golden nugget of knowledge in there in that there is a better way to do business, there is a better way that doesn't include all the pain, because like I said, I made all the mistakes, every single one of them that are listed in this book, especially my first two companies, I made them you know, two or three times. I was just a repeat customer, I just kept coming through the door, hey, here I am again, let's make the mistakes again. And it doesn't have to be that way. You don't need a Warren Buffett to be your guide up the mountain anymore. There's solid business principles that anyone can take and apply to their business and succeed. And it's funny because you look at the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and they say 30% of small businesses go defunct within the first year, and 50% go out of business within the first five years. And I don't believe it. I don't believe it at all. Not that the numbers aren't accurate, because the numbers are accurate. It's a matter of the fact that I don't believe, I don't believe small business or companies go out of business. I believe entrepreneurs quit. And any business that applies the proper principles can see amazing success, amazing success.

Josh Steimle:

Yeah, well, I mean, you and I, through our you and me, you and I, through our agencies. I mean, we survived some of the toughest times for marketing agencies when a lot of other agencies were going under because I remember in Utah, like all these big agencies were going under after 9/11. I mean, first there was the.com crash, then there was 9/11. Then there was a real estate crisis. And during those times, I was scaling down to just myself or maybe myself and one other person but I was like, I'm not going out of business. Like I'm making a choice here and other people, I think they scaled down to 20 people and then they're like, well, this isn't working out. We should probably just wrap this up or something. But it's like, as long as I can work out of my basement and pay my bills like I'm still going to run this business until I'm forced to go do something else. Because I'm like your friend, like, I don't work well and working for other people. I've been fired from every job I've ever had within five months. So entrepreneurship, it's the only opportunity for me.

Curtis Morley:

That's the only one. I know what you mean, I totally know what you mean.

Josh Steimle:

I mean, when you own the business, nobody can fire you, right?

Curtis Morley:

There we go. That's exactly is.

Josh Steimle:

So what is, so the entrepreneurs paradox what exactly is the entrepreneurs paradox? Is it one thing? Or is it those 16 lessons? Or?

Curtis Morley:

Yeah, so the paradox is the fact that what gets an entrepreneur into business, his expertise, or her expertise, you know, their craft or skill is what will actively prevent them from succeeding in business. So when, like myself, this is a good data Josh, sorry about this man. But, you know, back in the day, my agency was all about flash, and, you know, Macromedia Flash, and then Adobe Flash

Josh Steimle:

[Inaudible] [00:16:07] don't even know it flashes these days. They're like, are you talking about wearing lots of buttons on your outfit or something? What are you talking about?

Curtis Morley:

And, yeah, it was this amazing technology. And I don't know if you remember the BrainBench International Certification for flash but I took it, and I ended up ranking number two in the world. And we had 10s of 1000s of people that took the certification and it just supported what people were already telling me. I was working at ancestry.com at the time, and, and people were like, Oh, you know Flash. Can you build this for me? Can you build that, and people were really excited about what I had to offer my skill, my craft, or my expertise and, you know, literally be number two in the world for this technology. And all of a sudden, I get all these people saying, Hey, can you do that for me? Can you do that for me? And all of that fed into into my ego it fed into me thinking, man, I do need to start a business because look how amazing this is. And look how many people want this stuff. And so like most entrepreneurs, I started with a craft. I started with a skill or an expertise. And the funny thing is, regardless if with your Bill Gates, well, maybe not Bill Gates, let's go Elan Musk, or Jeff Bezos or anyone else, we all have 24 hours in a day. And as a solopreneur. Starting as a solopreneur I filled every single one of those 24 hours to the point where there were several times I didn't even sleep for three days in a row. My head didn't even hit a pillow for three straight days. And that's because I was focused on building the product. And one question I ask every entrepreneur is I say, if you're building the product, who's building the company and that's the paradox is that I'm so good at something that I love to do and I want to do it all day long. But I have to actually give up being the best in the world at something in order to be the best in the world at building a company.

Josh Steimle:

Which is hard to do because you go to hire somebody you think, well, I'll just replace myself. I'll go find somebody else who's good at doing this. And then you can't find anybody, perhaps I mean, you might find somebody who's as competent as you but you can't find somebody who's as passionate as you. And so you go hire somebody, and you're like, yeah, they're getting the job done. But they're not getting it done the way that I get it done. And then you get pulled back into actually doing the work, the product, the service. And I know exactly how this goes. I've been struggling with this for 20 years.

Curtis Morley:

That's exactly. And that is one of the pitfalls is that entrepreneurs love to wear all the hats. They love to wear all the hats. I'm going to be the web designer, the programmer, the accountant, the lawyer, the garbage collector. I'm going to do everything. And it's hard, it is hard to break out of that and say, you know what I'm going to actually trust, I'm going to trust. And delegating takes two types of trust. It's the trust that delegating takes one is trusting others that they'll do it the way you want it done. Because and what you said is exactly right. No one is going to be as good as you or have the passion that you especially not up front. So you have to be able to trust that even if they don't have that, even if they don't have the same level of expertise, or the same level of passion, that it might be a little less but you're going to trust that the job will get done. And the second part of trust. That's really important with delegating is trusting yourself. And most people don't realize that there's that aspect of trust when you're delegating, because and I go through an analogy of wrestling alligators in the book, that every day we wake up and we wrestle this alligator called payroll are we wrestle this alligator called angry client or we wrestle an alligator called, you know, whatever it is, or, you know, just getting pulled back into the work. There's all these alligators we wrestle. And it's hard to remember that the goal is to drain the swamp when you're eye-to-eye with the alligator because the alligator wants to chomp you and understanding that draining the swamp means I create processes, I create systems, I impart my knowledge to those people that I've hired because I trusted those people enough to hire them. So now it's my turn to drain the swamp, and give each person their individual responsibilities. And once an entrepreneur does that, it's the coolest thing because if you think about wrestling alligators, you're always doing this, you're always looking down and once you drain the swamp, for the first time in most entrepreneurs lives, they can finally look up. And they see that there's actually these beautiful mountains on entrepreneur islands that they can start climbing and those mountains represents an end goal a destination and there's actually only three end goals, there's only three mountain ranges that an entrepreneur can climb.

Josh Steimle:

So what are those?

Curtis Morley:

The first is a lifestyle company. So an entrepreneur can be, can run a lifestyle company, they can, you know, they can be the flower shop on the corner and they can just have something that supports their lifestyle. They can come and go as they please. They enjoy what they do. It's kind of a hobby business, that, hey, I love this it. It's great. It provides for my family and I don't need much more. The second is a buyer be bought strategy. So merger and acquisitions. And the third is an IPO. And that's it. There's no other destinations that, there's no other mountains to climb. There's only those three destinations. And each one is great in their own right. Each destination is great in their own right. But the mountains decline are very-very different. The lifestyle company, I equate it to climbing mountain but I guess you know that mountain, you're in Utah. It's you know, it's hard. It's 15 miles, you know, it's what, 4000 feet in elevation and now it takes all day to climb. But at the end of the day, you go back to your bed and it's comfy and you know, you wake up the next morning climb it again. The buyer be bought strategies like Kilimanjaro, it's you know, you have to prepare. You have to have five different changes of clothing because you go through five climactic zones. You start in the tropical rain forests, you go through Heather Moreland all these zones, and you end up at an Arctic tundra. At the top of Kilimanjaro, you're in an Arctic tundra. And so there's so much more equipment you have to do. There's so many, you know, you can hike [Inaudible] [00:23:21] by yourself. You can't hike Kilimanjaro by yourself. And it's impossible. You need guides. You need people to climb with. You need porters to help carry the gear. There is so much more to the expedition that you really need to take it in a different, take a different approach. And then finally, an IPO is kind of like climbing Everest. It's, you know, you can't do it alone. And if you do, you'll die.

Josh Steimle:

Well, if you don't die on the way up, you'll die on the way down.

Curtis Morley:

That's right. That's right.

Josh Steimle:

Well, this is exciting. I can't wait to read this, because you're talking about a lot of things that I've been through that I'm still going through, and I'm still trying to figure out. So I've got to read this. Let's talk a little bit about your journey of writing the book. You had the idea 15 years ago and you're just getting the book done now. Tell us a little bit about the path that it took to actually get this book done and out there and now published.

Curtis Morley:

Yeah, it was, it really took me making it a very concerted effort. It took me actually what it was is I was able to step away from my last company and just focus on the book and it's funny because I would dabble, I would, I had this file that I would [Inaudible] [00:24:49] got an idea and I would just put you know, one or two lines in every few months and the years just kept going by and just kept on by and it wasn't until I sat down and said alright, I'm, this is going to be my job. I'm going to focus on this completely that it actually happened. And I wrote the book, the first version of the book I wrote probably two thirds of the book before climbing Kilimanjaro. So I went right as the COVID was starting, I went and climbed Mount Kilimanjaro. And I came back home, and rewrote the entire book. I scrapped the old copy and rewrote the entire thing. And I'm so glad I did, because it you would think holy cow, writing a book is long and takes months of work and all this and you scrapped the whole thing. And I did, because it was, there was so much of a better book with the analogy of Kilimanjaro in there, and it actually, it was more fun when I got back. It was more fun scrapping the whole thing and rewriting it from scratch than it was the first go around. And so I hired an editor to help me, you know, wordsmith things, and I put it all down and I wrote every word, but then the editor would come back and he was awesome. His name's Platt Clark, he's so good. He would come and say, Okay, this doesn't quite work right here, let's change this or, okay, let's look at the flow of the story. Okay, if you're setting this up, where's the payoff at the end, and that would be chronic with, like, here's an amazing setup, and then forget the payoff and he would say he was really a coach in the writing process. And it's funny, because, in the book I talked about one of the chapters one of the pitfalls is imposter syndrome. And it's funny because as an entrepreneur, we all it's a chronic habit of entrepreneurs to have imposter syndrome. And, you know, I'm not good enough, look at how everybody else is doing. They're amazing. I'm just a hack, a scrub, a fake, you know, I'm just this, I don't know what I'm doing. But I'm going to pretend I do. I'm going to, you know, fake it until I make type thing, and as I was writing the book, I started going back into imposter syndrome lke, I've never written a book, I don't know what I'm doing, like, all these other people are famous authors. But I have, you know, if you ask me, my English teachers from junior high all the way through college, they would not have picked me to write a book. And it's really neat, because with imposter syndrome, the reason it's chronic with entrepreneurs is that imposter syndrome is actually baked into entrepreneurship. Because if you think about it, you're doing something that has never been done before, in a way that's never been done before, and at a time that we've never seen in a market that's never been tried before. It doesn't matter if you're a high school dropout, or if you're a Harvard grad, you still have to figure it out like everybody else. And it doesn't matter, you know, that you don't have all the answers and that's okay. It's totally okay not to have all the answers.

Josh Steimle:

And in fact, when you admit that you don't have all the answers, it's easier to get the answers.

Curtis Morley:

That's when the real growth starts to happen. That's when the real growth starts to happen, saying, you know what, hey, guys, I don't have the answers. And it's okay. It's okay that I don't have the answers. Because I do have an indefatigable drive to take one more step up the mountain, and it's going to be hard, and it's going to be okay, because that's all that I really need is to take one more step up the mountain. And if you know, another chapter in the book is, you know, you hear all the time it's lonely at the top, it's lonely at the top. Nobody understands what I'm going through. It's lonely at the top, I have to make these hard decisions. It's lonely at the top. I asked the question why that's a dumb. Stop being lonely at the top. There's other people that will climb the mountain with you. And those people look like coaches and mentors and peers and when we climbed Kilimanjaro, there was 17 of us. And it was as important to have those peers that were going through that journey together in a very vulnerable way saying, like in the final day when we left from base camp at 15,551 feet, up to the top of Kilimanjaro at 19,341. It was the hardest thing I've ever done, Josh, it was so hard. And I've done, I qualified for Boston, I've done half Ironman, you know I've done all these things. There is nothing that compares, nothing. And we were halfway up and our guide Simon, he said, they would all the entire trip, they would say pull it, pull it to the top, pull it, pull it to the top which means slowly, slowly to the top. And he just kept saying, we need to progress, we need to progress and we get about halfway up and we start at 1 A.M. We're halfway up to the summit from basecamp. And it's so hard. It's literally we've got our trekking poles in a sec, step, breathe, step, breathe because the air is so thin, and the altitude is setting in all of these things, and it's dark, and we make it up to this cave. But I call it the ice cave. I don't know if it has a name or anything, but it had icicles hanging down because it's freezing temperatures. And Simon goes, do not sit down. Because if you do, you will not get up and so half of our group sits down. The other half of us were literally, you know, we're lifting their spirits, but we're also lifting their bodies. We're literally like, come on, we got to get going. And I heard all the comments that you would hear in a business, what am I thinking? I don't have the expertise. I don't know what I'm doing. I'm not a mountain climber. I didn't train for this, well, you know, all of these things. And people were even saying, I'm going back, and we're like a mile from the top. And we're saying, Oh, no, you came all the way to Africa, you hiked all this way, you've gotten 22 miles to get here, you're not turning back. And we're literally lifted him. And in that same way in business, you know, be vulnerable, hike together, talk to other entrepreneurs and say, hey, you know, I have no idea what I'm doing here. What did you do when you build your sales team, or when you started your marketing or when you went in and found the lawyer, whatever the struggle is, be vulnerable, share that say, I don't have the answers, and I'm okay with that. But share it with your peers, but also get a guide. We couldn't have done it without our guides, each person on the expedition up Kilimanjaro had required by law by the Tanzanian government to have at least one guide. And so yeah, without that, there's no way we would have made the top. But with that, and with the help of each other it was an amazing experience.

Josh Steimle:

This is why I love helping entrepreneurs to write books, because I feel like there's so much that's similar about the author journey and the entrepreneur journey. I mean, everything you're saying about the struggles of being an entrepreneur, you can replace entrepreneur with author and it's the same thing. You struggle, it's a grind, it's hard, you feel like an imposter. You feel alone, you should have a guide, but a lot of people don't. And then you give up a mile away from finishing your book. And you're like, I'm done. I'm never going to put this out there. I mean, I know people who finished the book, and then don't publish it, because they're afraid to take that last step of actually publishing it, because then it's like, oh, well, gee, now if I publish this, then everybody's going to tell me what they think. And I don't want to know what they think. So forget it. But they're done. They're like, right there.

Curtis Morley:

No, that's so true.

Josh Steimle:

Yeah. So as you are writing your book, are you thinking about this like, hey, I'm writing a book and I feel like an imposter just like I felt when I was an entrepreneur, like, in what did you do? I mean, you had the editor who was kind of a guide for you on your book. What were some of the other things you did to get through the process of writing and publishing your book? Did you have help from other people? What actually helped you to make it through to the end?

Curtis Morley:

Yeah, I'm so glad you asked that. Because my editor was amazing. And I'll tell you why. There are so many times where I was, I had those exact same thoughts, the imposter syndrome thoughts that I had when I was starting my first you know, few businesses and they all came back like, well, what if somebody doesn't like what I wrote? Well, what if there's somebody that's smarter than me that has a different opinion? And what if, you know, all these what if, what if, what if, and, and I talked about this in the book is there's one letter that will change fear into power and a dear friend of mine, Richard Bass [ph], he said that perplexing on the past produces pain, fretting on the future fuels fear, only the present provides peace and power. And if we take that sentence, if we take what if, and we drop the F off the end, and we put an S on instead, to say what is so think about these statements, what is in my power to control? What is my next step? What is my goal? What is my passion? Now those have power, and even as I'm saying that I can the difference, I can feel the difference of the what if statements or what if people hate me? What if I don't make money? What if, you know I get a bad flaming comment on Amazon, you know all of these things, and those are fear. But if you drop that F and add the S, then all of a sudden it becomes powerful. It says, What is my goal? What is my ability to help others? What is and you just keep repeating that, but my editor Platt, Platt Clark [ph], he's amazing. He had the best advice. So I would write write, write, and oh, that's not good enough. Write, write, write, oh, well, that's not good enough. And I would just over and over again, just spin in cycles of the same chapter rewriting and rewriting and rewriting and it would take me hours to get a paragraph out, because I'm like, oh, what if I say it like this or that. And Platt was phenomenal. This is one of his best talents. He's an amazing writer, and actually a best selling author in his own right. But he said, what I want you to do is pretend we're building a vase or a pot or some piece of ceramics. He said, Your job is to hook the clay, how can the clay on the wheel, and then together, we'll turn it into a vase together, we'll fine tune that. But there's nothing to work with if you don't have any clay. So your job is to hook the clay. And basically, he gave me permission to put things down that didn't have to be perfect. It didn't have to be, you know, the blowing, polished, you know, best looking thing you've ever seen, it was just clay. It is just like a pile of clay hooking it on the wheel. And it was amazing because when I took that mindset of, you know, I'm just going to spew this out, I'm just going to barf all over the page here and excuse the reference. I'm just going to put it out there, then all of a sudden, it just started to flow instead of the consternation and the, oh, that's not good enough, I gotta change this that all of a sudden, it began to flow. And the funny thing was, is as he was training me, and as he was coaching me and as he was showing me story structure, and the hero's journey, and all these different pieces and parts of how to write a book, and you know, the setup and the payoff and all of this, I was hooking clay or so I thought. But as I hooked clay, amazingly, the clay became the base without even trying. And as we went longer and longer into the writing process, it became more fine tuned, I thought I was still hooking play. But there were fewer and fewer changes that needed to be made. And it was an amazing process. I loved understanding that, not even during it, but after I was look back and go, Oh, wait a minute, we just read a whole chapter and there was only a few changes in the whole thing whereas at the beginning, it was like the whole chapter had to be, you know, reworked and all that. But just getting that permission to do it, do it as just a lump of clay, just get it out. And that was what really made the difference in the writing process.

Josh Steimle:

That's phenomenal advice. Well, Curtis, thanks so much for being with us here today on the show. If people want to reach out and connect with you, where's the best place for them to find you?

Curtis Morley:

You can purchase the book on amazon.com or Barnes & Noble. You can also go to EntrepreneursParadox.com or if they're looking to get some mentoring coaching, they can send an email to [email protected]

Josh Steimle:

Awesome. Thanks so much, Curtis for all this great advice and taking us behind the scenes with your book, The Entrepreneurs Paradox, and thanks for being on the published authors podcast.

Curtis Morley:

Thanks, Josh.

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