READ THIS FIRST
This isn't a rags-to-riches story, because not everyone comes from rags or wants riches. This book isn't about a charmed path to success or some untouchable fairy tale that nobody can relate to—this is about going from rock bottom to rock star, something that everybody can relate to. Can you relate?
Think about it. Everyone has had at least one rock-bottom moment: lost a job, landed in the hospital, went through a breakup, had to borrow money, repeated the cycle —because not one of us is immune to adversity. And everyone has had at least one "rock star" moment. Can you remember that one time you got recognized in class, or someone thanked you for your contribution to their life, or you looked back to see your pastor, mentor, or parents smiling at you with pride? You were a rock star, even for just one second. This book is about learning how to take those moments at the bottom, when you're beaten down, exhausted, embarrassed, and cornered, and using them to propel yourself forward, when you get to shine your brightest—and not just in your imagination, like when you were a kid and still believed you could be anything (even a rock star).
Today the term "rock star" has a whole new meaning; it isn't exclusive to someone on a stage holding a mic. You can be a rock star CEO, employee, or mom—a rock star is anybody who embodies the qualities of success and lives a life that lets them own their own stage. In the tech industry people always talk about the rock star engineer or the rock star coder. On the philanthropy side there are rock star fund-raisers (there are individuals out there raising more money than Bono, on a regular basis). There are rock star advertising execs. You don't need to be a millionaire to be a rock star; you don't need to quit your job. You can start wherever you are, in whatever industry or position you've already chosen. But you have to start now.
One of my friends, James Moorhead, is a great example of a rock star chief marketing officer. He created the brand campaign that reinvigorated Old Spice. Here's a man in his 30s who came up with a totally crazy idea—a half-man, half-horse spokesperson—for an aging brand at Proctor & Gamble with declining sales. Most people would hate working on a project that reminds them of their dad's cologne, but James was up for a challenge. He got a team together, came up with the ads and social media strategy, and launched it. The campaign went viral, he won prestigious awards (including an Emmy) for his concept, and Old Spice went from being in the gutter to being a top brand again. This rock star marketer went on to become the chief marketing officer at DISH Network (and currently, Metromile). All of this happened because he believed it could, he committed to it, and took action.
I'm living the rock star life, a life that I created, one that I built with my own hands through countless battles. I've had ups and downs, but I've always strived to stay true to myself. I've started many companies over the course of my career and have been running ViSalus for the past twelve years, and even though my trajectory has been upward, that doesn't mean it's been easy. I've personally gone broke starting companies, had to sell companies and then buy them back. I planned an IPO (only to cancel it) and survived the 2008 recession. And in between, I wrote a New York Times best seller, made Time magazine's highest paid under 40 list (number five), collected trophies for my documentary, and was named Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year, all while making tens of millions of dollars.
My rules for being a rock star are simple: Rule 1. Don't listen to the noise.
Especially in this day and age, any fool with a mobile phone and a social media account thinks he's an expert, so don't listen to useless, negative messaging, and only take advice from those who are qualified to give it. Rule 2. Don't believe your own hype. The moment you start celebrating, you've left the stage. It wasn't celebration that made you a rock star, it was hard work. Remember that. Rule 3. Practice. There will be times where you're going to get rusty, and you're going to ask yourself, can I still do this? You have to get out there, play, rehearse, get feedback from your "audience," and modify your performance. Rule 4. Surround yourself with the right musicians. You have to constantly assess the people you choose to hang with. Are they helping you move forward or are they just along for the ride? Are they building you up, or tearing you apart? I've lost relatives over this. Rule 5. Always remember where you came from.
I know not everyone reading this book is a rock star. If you don't have a rock star story yet, start with your rock bottom. Start from that place of fear and uncertainty, wherever you are at this moment. Maybe you've had enough, or maybe someone's had enough of you? Been fired? Got passed up for the big promotion again? Or maybe you're just tired of seeing rock stars all around you while you're still just scraping by. One of the reasons I wrote Nothing to Lose, Everything to Gain, and talk openly about my fucked-up upbringing, is because my ultimate rock-bottom moment—going to jail— is what made me who I am. Prior to writing my first book, I used to wear long sleeves to hide my gang tattoos during business meetings. Now I'm comfortable showing my scars. Don't forget your rock-bottom moments, and don't be ashamed of them. Some may criticize you, but there are also a lot of people out there who will relate to your story. Your story is an asset, and every time you tell it to someone, not only are you giving them hope, you're one step further
away from rock bottom.