Of Honky-Tonks and Chicken Wire

Posted by on August 21, 2013

A Monday Morning Memo for the Clients and Friends of Williams Marketing

Seth Godin’s newest book, Permission Marketing, is flying out of bookstores as though it had wings. Thousands of people admire Seth’s book. I admire the man.

If you were to ask Seth Godin today what it feels like to be an overnight success, he would likely answer you in much the same way that Willie Nelson answered the same question. “Being an overnight success feels pretty good,” said Willie, “considering that I’ve spent the last twenty years playing in honky-tonks behind chicken wire.” (In traditional honky-tonks and beer joints, the musicians often perform behind a screen of chicken wire to protect themselves from flying beer bottles.)

Virtually every successful person can tell you stories of days behind chicken wire.

Curious whether Seth Godin had ever seen the back side of chicken wire, I searched amazon.com and found that prior to writing Permission Marketing, Seth had written Destination: Disneyworld and Ultra Secrets of Gameboy Games and The Video Renter’s Bible and Rules of the Game Baseball and The Smiley Dictionary: Cool Things to Do With Your Keyboard along with a few dozen other books as well. Yes, our boy Seth definitely knows what it’s like to play behind chicken wire. Altogether, Seth Godin wrote seventy-nine books before he finally rang the bell with number eighty.

What I’m hoping you’ll see today is this: Seth Godin never quit swinging the hammer.

What if Willie Nelson had quit after just nineteen years behind chicken wire? What if Seth had quit after only his seventy-ninth book? Yes, if Seth Godin had chosen to give up, he could be sitting on the other side of the chicken wire today, the side with the flying beer bottles, telling sad stories about how “the whole damn system is rigged.” But you won’t find Seth Godin behind a glass of beer in a honky-tonk. You’ll find him behind a microphone in an auditorium.

You don’t need anyone’s permission to ring the bell at the carnival. You just need the courage to step out of the crowd and swing the hammer while everyone is watching. Will you do it? Are you willing to step out of the crowd and give it your best shot or are you going to “wait for a better time?”

You want my advice? Swing the hammer. Swing it hard and keep on swinging. Swing the hammer. Swing the hammer. Swing the hammer. Swing the hammer.

Never give up the hammer.

Roy H. Williams

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Why not give a friend a copy of The Wizard of Ads or Secret Formulas of The Wizard of Ads this Christmas? The impact of these books far outweighs their price. You’ll find them in most brick and mortar bookstores and at all the on-line booksellers.

P.S. Seth Godin is a powerful example of what I was trying to explain in the recent Monday Morning Memo, Think Big, Start Small. If you didn’t get a chance to read it, be sure to check the archives.

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