Stop trying to be Perfect. Start being Authentic.

social media shot copy 1

Snapchat may feel silly to us. but it is very real to our kids. and it is ultra sticky.

Millennials don’t care about our “glamorous” commercials, our “airbrushed” magazine ads, our “botoxed” billboards or our “optimized” pop up windows. Email? Ha. That’s what our kids use when they need to send a thank you note to their grandparents for their birthday gift.

Traditional advertising has become invisible to millennials, who, as a generation, don’t trust institutions. Political, Religious, and Corporate Institutions have let them down. Their trust is low and their BS radar is on high, all the time. They don’t trust media, they trust their network of peers. What they’re looking for is an unfiltered authentic connection.

 Stop trying to be perfect. Start being Authentic.

Here’s what I do know. My generation values hard work and perfection. We value a system of meritocracy and how all of it contributes to a well-earned path of achievement and a sustainable trajectory of formulaic success.

I also know my kids, who are in their teens, do not value formulas or perfection. They value transparency and authenticity.

 While we became fluent in perfection. They became fluent in authenticity.

This is the first generation that’s grown up online. They are, technologically, “ivy” leagues ahead of everyone else. That’s why, in order to better understand how to navigate the future of their consumer behavior in social, mobile, and cloud technology we must learn to learn to play by their rules. We need to let go of our need to be picture perfect and embrace the art and science of authentic, fascinating and even silly engagement.

Take, for example, Snapchat. It has over 100 million active daily users. The app is the fastest growing social channel because it most closely mimics the way our children actually interact. It’s genuine, raw and whimsical. In Snapchat, nobody cares about perfect grammar or double chins. Photo altering is for amusement and amplification, not to achieve a kind of unattainable perfection.

 Snapchat is a sneak peek into the future of consumer behavior

Most recently, Pokemon Go’s virtually started a revolution. It’s a game with more daily users than twitter and has fascinated the world so much that people (some of whom have been chronically depressed) are getting up off their couches to engage. They are walking their neighborhoods and interacting with strangers on a similar quest. They’re filling parks, libraries, and swarming around public art spaces.

That, by definition, is art. A creation so powerful it’s moved people to change their behavior, and explore new things. Snapchat and Pokemon Go has fascinated the world and changed the way we interact.

Something soon will come along and replace Snapchat and Pokemon Go. But what will remain is the blueprint for how millennials communicate and value genuine authenticity.

Consumer behavior is the gateway to understand the future of business. If we want our messaging to remain relevant, we must reverse engineer our social constructs and become fluent in their foreign language.

I have a confession: I don’t really understand how to Snapchat or Pokemon Go. It’s humbling for me to say that I’m not fluent in either of these languages. But I do understand marketing and I absolutely understand the radical shift. I’m happy to report that yesterday I started an account on Snapchat to try and learn.  I’m willing to stumble and make mistakes in an effort to connect. To grow. To move.

I’ll be the beta. If ya wanna watch me bumble thru snapchat follow me @erikwahl

Discipline of Creativity

Creativity Changes Everything

gopro sunset

Creativity is the change that changes everything.

 

It’s not showing you what to see, but teaching you how to see. And once you know how to see, beauty emerges that was previously hidden in plain sight.

 

Creativity is process of expanding our consciousness. It suspends the anxiety caused by linear thinking temporarily and allows access to an inner sanctuary of expansive calm.

 

Mindful creativity slows the rhythms of life and bridges the wonders of the world to our own personal oasis within. This connection plugs us into a heightened sense of beauty, harmony, abundance, empathy, curiosity, gratitude and love.

 

Logic is logical, but the single lens of logic simply cannot capture the subtle artistic beauty in life that surrounds us all the time. Creativity is not the opposite of logic, but rather beyond it.

 

Creativity fascinates our mind, shakes up our brain cells and opens up our emotional intelligence to allow space for unattached, non-judgmental peripheral views of possibility.

 

Sunsets are majestic……But they are invisible to the most logical, preoccupied, anxious mind.

 

Creativity arises when wonder wakes. Give yourself permission to relax and breath softly into the delicate beauty of your own creativity. In so doing, you will change, and the world will follow.

wahlsunset

fotocred: @didzeee

 

Traveler vs. Tourist

Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer.

However, if we become tourists in our travels we lose its richness.

Have the mindset of a traveler.

Tourists exchange money for expectations.

          Travelers exchange money for experiences.

Tourists take pictures of attractions.

          Travelers make memories of adventures.

Tourists eat food for fuel and efficiency.

          Travelers eat food for culture and conversation.

 Tourists like to promote their own cultural idealism.

          Travelers like to absorb the idealism of other cultures.

Tourists are afraid to become lost in their travels.

Travelers are afraid to become tourists.

What are some of your most amazing traveler experiences?

Share your stories below!

tourist vs. traveler

Transforming Our Pain

Seek the courage to face adversity in ways that lessen rather than add to the suffering of the world

Social media is wonderful channel to express and share grief around those who are suffering the most.

It is also a dangerous channel to vent anger and frustration and give hate a voice.

I am currently here in Orlando surrounded by tremendous sorrow, confusion and outrage. Emotions are powerful. Our expressions can be a path to unity and yet at the same time can become a toxic path to divide.

Today is a good day to recalibrate our own emotions – The pain of senseless violence is very real. But somehow we must to resist the temptation to socialize this tragedy into religious or political tribes that give hate a stronghold.

I did not post yesterday because I was angry. But If I am unable to transform my anger, I am doomed to transmit it.

Anger has no power beyond that which I feed it.

Quietly, I must seek the courage to face adversity in a way that lessens rather than adds to the suffering of the world.

Erik Wahl

The path to becoming a champion

 

Champions develop World Class habits long before they are champions. Amateurs are boastful. Champions are humble. Amateurs love to be comfortable. Champions are comfortable being uncomfortable. Amateurs compete. World class champions create. Amateurs practice when the feel like it. Champions practice every day…… especially when they don’t feel like it.

*
Success is not an accident                                 curry play train

Amateurs let others assess their potential. Champions defy others and define their potential for themselves.

— Here is a 2009 NBA Scouting Report on Steph —

Steph Curry, 6’3 185 lbs, Position: Point Guard. Steph’s explosion and athleticism are far below NBA standard. He’s not a great finisher around the basket. He often struggles against physical defenders and is prone to overshoot and make silly mistakes handling the ball. He will have limited success at the NBA level

………oops

*** NBA finals * Two great champions going head to head ***

IMG_3411

 

 

What is your Ikigai?

Find your purpose.


Igikai is a phrase that the Okinawan community in Japan coined to define “purpose” in their lives. There is no single standardized answer. It is beautifully unique for every different person. Our personal Ikigai is our “identity” the deep reason or meaning behind, why we do – what we do. Once we take the time to define our Ikigai, we are far more capable to triumph over adversity. Our personal Ikigai gives us clear and concise direction in the face of the most harrowing resistance. When the going gets tough, our Ikigai provides us a guiding light for overcoming fear and uncertainty even in the darkest situations. When we know our Ikigai the purpose of our daily life becomes much more significant and the obstacles in our daily life become much less significant.


Unless you can define your own personal Ikigai, you are going to waste a lot of time trying to chase down and fulfill someone else’s definition for what you thought your Ikigai was supposed to be.
What is your personal Ikigai? What gives your life meaning? What is your internal alarm clock that gets you excited to get out of bed in the morning?


…don’t be heroic in your answer to others – Be real in your answer to yourself.
Define your Ikigai Find your purpose.

GCU_invert

Trust is the HOLY GRAIL for the new economy

(warning. This blog begins with an overarching business cliché)

Seismic changes in consumer sentiment and behavior have altered the landscape for how customers purchase products or services. Consumers have grown increasingly brand agnostic given the amount of information and social, mobile technologies that we have at our disposal.

(Duh)…..yeah but, then why has……?

Almost everything about the consumer changed….. YET business remains the same. Almost every business model remains stuck in an outdated analytical system of tactics to rationally measure consumer behavior.

No longer is efficiency and profitability the strongest currency to measure the health of a business. The currency that matters most in our new economy is the currency of trust. Trust is about creating authentic customer experiences. Trust creates an emotional connection that defies price.

Trust can only be built around personalizing the product or service experience for the customer. Trust is the humanization of business. Trust is uniquely emotional. Trust is the reason for why we buy, and what we buy.

Trust cannot be purchased. Trust cannot be commoditized. Trust cannot be measured or manipulated.

This drives rational analysts crazy.

Trust triggers our emotional receptors that drive loyalty.

Brands that are leapfrogging the competition like Facebook, Google, Amazon, Starbucks have created dominant world class value propositions around simplicity, authenticity and trust. Trust cannot be bought, it can only be earned.  If you break trust, there are no metrics that will repair the damage. Trust is human, trust is emotional and trust is the new king of the economy.

If you want to grow your business? (internally and externally)

……Grow your trust.

2015 wahl website 8the art of vision

UNTHINK & fail your way to the top