Now back then, I didn’t have a lot of friends. Only about a hundred on Facebook. And so I thought, well let’s do this, let’s take a look. 20. 20 of my friends had liked my Page. And all they had to do was click a button on a social network that they probably were on every single day. And at first this made me angry. Does that make me a prima donna and I definitely punched something and then I calmed down. And I thought to myself: maybe this is normal, because when you go to create change, your peer group almost by definition isn’t going to help you, because change frightens us. And it reminds us subconsciously of what we’re not doing.
So while a lot of your peer group, they like you, some of them like you just the way you are and not necessarily any better. And this is natural and this is your first test and you can pass it. But you must go forward alone, because you’re looking for that new group of people, I like to call them your new tribe and you have to go and find the people that want to hear this new message. And it’s these same people that are going to make you accountable to the new person that you want to become.
And so I say if your friends and family think you’re crazy, then you’re doing something right. So go and find your new tribe. But the most powerful form of resistance comes from you. Because we fear discovering that we are more than we think we are. So the next time you’re scared of something, remind yourself that this is a good sign. And I know it’s the most counterintuitive concept to us as humans, because fear protects us but fear prevents us from growing. And so I always tell myself: go to where the fear is. And it’s been the story of my journey.
When I first started broadcasting myself, I was terrified of what all of those bankers in that Swiss chalet would think of me. “Oh, look at Brian, he’s on YouTube. Isn’t that cute? Sad, pathetic. Most of those people thought I was crazy. Some of them still think I am. And some of them are right.
I wake up every day scared of running this business that has no clear revenue model, whatsoever. And I’m even scared standing here today speaking to all of you — something I wouldn’t have done even six months ago. But in retrospect, each one of these decisions was the correct one. Well, maybe except for this talk.
But there’s an even sneakier form of resistance. How many of you like to research things? Read a book about it perhaps. Maybe google it, build a spreadsheet. Well, I am an MIT-trained mechanical engineer. So you know loves me a good spreadsheet. I will spreadsheet the grocery list. But I’m here to tell you that 95% of research is procrastination in disguise, aka fear. And I did this too.
When I first started, I had a lot of questions — what microphones to use, which cameras? How do you live stream video? This is back in 2011, not a lot of information out there. So I emailed the one guy who I knew would help me. And that’s Mr. Joe Rogan. He is a stand-up comedian and commentator for the UFC, which is the global cage fighting organization. And he hosts one of the top 10 podcasts in the world: My inspiration for London Real. And Joe gave me the best advice I’ve ever received. He completely ignored me. No email, no hints, no tips, no mentoring. And I could have quit, but instead he gave me the chance to earn all of this.
So research it once and take action or as my guest Dan Peña, the $50 billion man likes to say, “Perfection is paralysis. Make some mistakes and learn from them”. So don’t google it. Don’t listen to another podcast. Well, maybe one. Just do it.
About a year later, I got a message from Joe Rogan. And he invited me to come to Los Angeles to be on his show. And this was a big moment for me for a lot of reasons. But the most important one is that now I wasn’t meeting Joe as a fan, I was meeting him as a peer. And so I flew to California and I went on his show and it was three hours long. And it was broadcast live to hundreds of thousands of people. And at the end, on a whim, I said, “To anyone listening around the world, if you like my story, then I challenge you to start your own City Real”.
And that was it. I didn’t think much of it. I flew back to London. And when I got back a few weeks later, they started coming in. First one from Melbourne in Australia. Then I got an email from two guys in Dublin, Ireland and then from Los Angeles, and then from Winnipeg in Canada. And pretty soon we have Midwest Real and Vancouver Real and Helsinki Real.
And so I took a lesson from Joe. I made them earn it. I completely ignored them. But what was happening here, I had set out to present people and ideas that were changing the world. I wanted to create a new form of media. I wanted to give people all of the information and let them make their own decisions. But that’s not what was happening here. People were tuning in to watch me evolve. They saw my guests make me improve myself. And they saw me forming this new tribe and those people were making me accountable every single day. And they wanted to go on their own journey.
And so I had to ask: How do we know when we’ve created change? And it’s a simple but brutal question, because that’s where change gets thrown around a lot these days but how do we know when we’ve actually made it? Is it when someone hears your message or is it when they take action? And so it’s not what each one of you decides that you want to broadcast to the world that’s going to make a difference. It’s the new person that you’re going to become that’s going to make the real change. It’s not about information, it’s about inspiration.