Monday, May 4, 2009

New Twitter Training Video

Come see my brand new Twitter Training video. Its only one minute long. Do you have a minute? I know you do.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Month 3 of the Virtue Experiment

Please come to to see my latest post! My RSS reader is working now!



Saturday, April 25, 2009

Video 1: Why Twitter?


Here is the video that you can see there!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

My Last and Final Post

This last month I lost my job. Then I was offered a great new job, much better than the old one. Great benefits, expense account, sweet commission structure and a cool industry. I turned it down. It just didn't feel right to take another job, and my wife agreed. It was time to do my own thing- full time. According to a book I read, that only takes four hours a week, right?

This is the month of courage for the members of my Virtue Experiment, so it is fitting that I have a chance to show courage for myself. Leave the fringe benefits, leave behind a steady paycheck, and make it happen for myself and for my family. What better way to kick it off, than to officially launch my new website (Feel free to take a look, although it is only 90% complete)

To be more specific, this is my last and final post on blogger. I am moving up in the world, in a manner of speaking. My new site will debut in the next day, and I wanted to let everyone know in advance. My new site will still include my blog, but it will include some other fun features as well. 1 Minute Twitter Training Videos, weekly podcasts (where I interview who's who in social media and the law), and updated information on the release of my book The Year of 12 Virtues.

If you currently subscribe to my feed, please follow me over to my new site! I promise you it will be worth your while.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Can Large Law Firms Benefit from Social Media?

"Large law firms will never go for social media."

How many times have I heard this? Well, in this interview I asked Melanie Green (@melaniegreen for those on Twitter) how she was able to implement social media at her international firm of over 300 attorneys. Listen to find out how Melanie and her team are making it happen.


Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Open Letter to Law Firms: Control The Message

Dear Law Firms:

Why don't you want your attorneys engaging in social media like blogs, Twitter, and Facebook?
Is it because you want to "control the message?" Let's take a look at why this is a flawed strategy.

In the old model, partners with the big firms are pillars of their community (or should be). They are members of the country club, park their boats with the local Yacht Club, participate in great programs like Rotary and United Way, and volunteer with the Boy Scouts. Being engaged in the community is a major component of what makes them so successful. They are involved, and when legal work arises, they are called upon because they are known. This is a great model, and it will continue to be a great model.

Was controlling the message a problem in the old model? No, and why not? Because as firms, you hired trustworthy people that weren't going to embarrass you. What would happen if one of your attorneys got arrested? It would looks bad for your firm, and so firms try not to hire people that might get arrested. You see, with the old model your firm still needed to control the message- you simply had confidence in the people you hired. For attorneys to effectively use social media the firms need to TRUST the attorneys. Is that really too much to ask? (Let me finish before you answer that.)

Besides, there are three major problems with the OLD model. First, memberships at country clubs and chairs on non-profit boards can be very expensive to maintain. Young lawyers can't afford those types of expenditures. Second, it takes years- maybe even decades to garner the stellar reputation needed to land business that way. It is well deserved, but it takes time. Third, community engagement is limited in geographic scope. If you are in a struggling market like Buffalo, NY or Pittsburgh, PA as the market share shrinks- so will your business.

As I have said in previous posts, each attorney in the firm is already a brand unto themselves. As they participate in the community- the brand gains in value. If they write an article for the local newspaper- the brand gains in value. So why not encourage your attorneys to engage in social media and provide them with the tools and training to participate thoughtfully? Each time one of your attorneys writes a blog post about a legally relevant topic, the firm gets free advertising. Each time an attorney post a thoughtful comment on a legal blog, more free press for the firm.

I'm not suggesting a social media free-for-all where attorneys suddenly stop billing because they are on Facebook and Twitter all day, but instead more of a focused individual strategy for each attorney. This strategy would likely entail weekly or monthly blog posts, combined with participation in forums such as Facebook and Twitter.

Firms certainly need to control the message, but that will be best accomplished by hiring good lawyers, and trusting them to engage, in whatever venue, in a thoughtful and respectful way.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

4 Reasons NOT to Self Publish

I just finished having a meeting with the publishing house Shadow Mountain, an imprint of Deseret Book. Like most publishing houses, they are slow, but when it comes to traditional publishing that is the name of the game. The meeting was awesome, they are sold on my concept and they love the product I have put together. They had a lot of critiques for me as well, and it made me think a lot about a big question people have asked me lately:

Are you going through a traditional publishing house, or self-publishing?

Now I know that self-publishing has made some great strides in recent years, and that many authors have made a lot of money through self-publishing, but that is the exception certainly not the rule. Here is my list of reasons why going the traditional publishing route (especially for the first book) makes so much sense.

1. Validation- publishers validate the quality of your manuscript. They get thousands of submission, and if they pick yours- it must be good- or at least significantly better than a lot of the junk they receive. By publishing it, they also send a message that THEY believe it is good. Its as if the book has already passed the "peer review" step.

2. Experience- publishers have a full team of editors, copy experts, and business people. These people can sift through your manuscript taking out all the typos, and making sure it is ready for the big time. They don't charge you for this either, so that means no out of pocket for you.

3. Publicity- well let's assume your book is GOOD. If the book really resonates with people, then you need to get the word our. A NYC publicist will charge $20,000 to publicize your book. A good publishing house however has their own in-house publicists. Again, no out of pocket, and it is in their best interest to get as much publicity for the book as possible. (I have read many articles claiming Publishers won't promote your book unless you are a big name, but that doesn't make sense- publishers run a business, and for the business to be profitable your book needs to do well.)

4. Money- unless you are Malcom Gladwell or Stephen King, you won't make a ton of money on book sales. A book is more of a stepping stone to bigger and better things. It gives you success that you can leverage into more books, speaking engagements, and whatever else you can dream up. Well known authors can make from $5,000 to $50,000 a pop for a 1-hour keynote adresses. The Today Show, Oprah, Dr. Phil, and CNN won't take you seriously if your book is self-published, and that is the type of fame that can turn into something big.

Now going through a traditional publishing house may not make sense for everyone, but it has some huge advantages. For authors and agents that have tried both, I would love to hear your opinions.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

RANT- Lawyers Don't Need Social Media?

"My firm is very interested in launching a new marketing campaign. You should talk to them," Sarah told me after discovering I helped law firms with PR.

I then went on to expound on the powerful tools and searches that can be used on Twitter and Facebook to identify specific leads, and to bring traffic to your blog and website.

"Twitter? I don't think our Estates Practice could really benefit from that; we only work with high-net-worth individuals. We are thinking more along the lines of mailing out a newsletter or something."

"Those old marketing tactics are so outdated," Brian, my friend who works for Omniture, chimed in.

"Well, I just don't think our firm is into Twitter or Facebook."

How common is this? The leaders of large firms, many of them who still think fax machines are a pretty nifty idea, are making the technological decisions for the firm and every individual that is a part of it. Or check this out, the ABA's latest article on GREAT law firm websites. Here it is. The author? A 3rd year law student, Rex Gradeless. He makes some great points- and Senior Partners need to start listening.

Here was another conversation:

"We just want to control the message coming from the firm," a Marketing Director from a medium sized firm told me.

How is that even possible? In a large firm made up of dozens or hundreds of attorneys, each attorney is a brand unto themselves. That's what many firms don't get; as the brand and star rises of each individual attorney, so goes the firm. The firm's marketing committee should be giving the attorneys the support and tools they need to get that message out. They certainly should not be discouraging attorneys from using these cutting-edge tools.

Besides, these are lawyers we are talking about. When doctors were still putting leeches on sick people, lawyers were drafting the United States Constitution. Lawyers have a long history of not just being part of the discussion, but leading the discussion. Applications like Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin aren't just passing fads, they are increasingly becoming the way we communicate. The faster lawyers learn this, the better chance they have of surviving in the new economy.

That's my rant; thanks for reading.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Courage Quotes: Turn Quotes into Action

We see courage quotes all over the place. One courage quote makes us feel like we can take over the world, while another quote makes us feel wise and accomplished just for having read it. But the truth is, the quotes aren't going to change us, only our actions will. An all time great act of courage in action is shown in this now famous picture of one of the chinese students standing up for what he believed in, and forcing the Chinese tanks to turn back in Tienemen Square. We may not keep tanks back, but we can still be courageous.

My participants in the Virtue Experiment have set some great goals that I am sure will bring action. The Courage goals haven't come easily for the participants, and I think that's because they want to make sure their goals are meaningful. Here are some of the thoughtful goals:

I think my biggest fear is the fear of failure. I believe that the fear of not succeeding prevents me from beginning many things for fear I will fail, either myself, others or the project. It does not take courage for me to be myself with others, to be honest in a relationship or to get up in front of a group of people. Those things aren't things I have a hard time with. I took a look at the different aspects of my life... physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, etc. and the one I accomplish the least due to lack of courage is physical. My body is capable of much more than I allow it to accomplish because of fear. Fear of failure. I am also quite a whimp when it comes to physical pain and pushing myself past the limits of comfortable to reach a new physical milestone takes courage for me.
I am registered to run a half-marathon in the fall. I have plenty of time to train and be prepared, but have delayed getting serious about it. I need to pick up my courage and make significant progress this month. I have set a certain number of miles that I'd like to be able to run by the end of April. Perhaps running doesn't require courage for most people, but it's the getting started and sticking with it that takes it for me. I will overcome my fear of failure and open the door to great things by having the couage to begin.
I sure hope this works for you... I'll keep you posted


Don't we all deal with this same fear of failure on some level? By recognizing it, I think Amberly is shining a bright light on her fear. Often, simply recognizing our fear helps us realize how ridiculous it is.

Here is another participant who included a brief report of her Month of Integrity:

As for the month of integrity, I'm happy to report that I have not eaten a shred of cheese since the start of Lent! I made the commitment and although it has been extremely difficult, I have stuck to it! I'm very proud of myself and have realized many other unintended side effects - this month I have gone to the gym more frequently, which paired with abstaining from all cheese has helped me to lose 5 pounds! I guess that I feel healthier although I miss my cheese terribly...

(Great job! I am so happy to hear when people keep committments. You can't accomplish your goals if you aren't true to yourself and what you belive in.)

For the next month, the month of Courage, I'm not completely sure what my goal is. I often think that I am too nice and let people take advantage of me more than I should. I have a hard time saying no to others and often spread myself too thin because of it or wind up taking on other peoples' problems when most of the time I can't even tackle my own. Since I always want to make everyone happy I have a hard time doing what I know is best for me. I guess if I could integrate courage into this month in any way I would want to have the courage to speak up for myself, make myself a priority, and have the courage to know that I cannot make everyone happy but that if nothing else, I have to make myself happy. In the end, true strength and courage is being happy with who you are and shedding the idea that what other people think is paramount. Hopefully this month will help me to discover my voice and give me the courage to use it. We'll see how it goes....

Every goal is so different, but that's because people are so different. Here are a few other brief goals that my participants made for the Month of Courage:

-start driving around my neighborhood. :) This may or may not include my scooter bike.

-share my feelings on faith with 20 new people

-find a new apartment, and MOVE OUT!

-I have decided to move forward on getting information to be certified as a personal trainer. I plan to talk to at least 3 trainers at the gym I go to to find out where they received their certification and what they recommend. By the end of the month my goal is to have an action plan in place.

-This month my goal has two parts. 1) Don’t put off having difficult conversations 2) Don’t be afraid to tell people no. I have a hard time with both of those things. Just this week the symphony called me to ask me to buy season tickets. I couldn’t tell him no so I said I would think about it. That’s not true. I’m not going to think about it I just didn’t want to say no. This month I’m going to say no when I mean no.

I will update this with other goals as they come in. The thing I love about these goals is this: these participants OWN their goals. They chose them, and that makes them personally comitted to them. Own your goal for the month, and feel free to share it here.

Friday, March 27, 2009

The Month of Courage: Overcoming the Fear Factor

"There is an infinite quantity of confidence available in the universe- feel free to take all you like." -unknown

What is the one thing that terrifies you more than anything else in the world? What great things could you accomplish if fear was not holding you back? Why are you afraid?

Fear. Just hearing the word causes a visceral reaction. What are we so afraid of?

This past month has been the month of integrity, and I am confident in saying that the Month of Courage will be much more challenging. It is not easy to develop integrity, but at least we understand it. We know what it means to be honest, for the most part, though living honestly is a challenge. Courage is different. Both courage and fear are such abstract concepts that they can be hard to wrap our minds around.

For us to understand, and properly implement the month of courage we must eliminate the fear factor. The more you try something that terrifies you, the greater your capacity to beat with that fear. Here are a few pointers to help you overcome your fear, and set good goals for the month of Courage.

1. Sometimes it helps to scream. I used to love jumping off of cliffs in Lake Powell, Utah. When the cliffs were higher than 30 feet, it was impossible to convince myself logically to jump. But, if I screamed some goofy quote like, "the only thing to fear is fear itself" or "give me liberty or give me death" as I jumped, it would help me override my natural instincts. Our natural instincts are very powerful, but they are extremely outdated.

Think about the lest few thousand years of human existence. They have been filled with famine, war, and numerous other terrible threats to our lives. The vast majority of these threats have completely vanished. When you stand up to give a speech in front of a hundred people there is zero chance you are going to be mauled by a tiger, or harpooned by a rival hunting gang (although I don't know the actual statistics on that), yet your mind doesn't get that- it still sends you this fight or flight response. You need to scream (even if it is silently to yourself), and use that adrenaline to give you strength to override your fear.

2. Abandon irrational fears. As a society we have been programmed to fear all strangers. This becomes a huge liability for us. Say I am taking an elevator up to the 8th floor of my building, and there is a man in a suit standing next to me silently- why on earth should I be scared of this person? It makes no sense. I should not be afraid to strike up a conversation. So I speak to him. The same holds true with talking to strangers in almost any context, what is the worst that could happen? If you try and start a conversation with a stranger, or even someone you are hoping to meet, and it doesn't go anywhere, what have you lost? What did it cost you? This is the month of courage, so stop fearing strangers.

3. If we are prepared, we will not fear. Have you ever done a group project where one member of the group does not want to practice the presentation out loud? They make an excuse like, "I will be ready, I just don't like to practice in front of people." If they are too afraid to practice in front of their own group, how will they possibly be ready for the real thing? Practice out loud over and over again if you are making a presentation, sales pitch, or important call. Before I give a talk I practice out loud as many times as possible within 24 hours of the presentation. There is nothing that helps overcome our fear of speaking more than being prepared.

Hopefully this provides everybody with some good ideas for their April goals. Good luck, and I hope the Month of Courage can be a meaningful one!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

5 Ways To Make Your Blog Twitter Friendly

1. Add a "follow me" button. This is an easy way to let people know you use twitter, and there are tons to choose from- is a good site, but there are many others to choose from.

2. Put a "retweet" button in your blog posts. This way viewers don't have to cut and paste, they just click on the "retweet button" and they can be on their way. Step by step details are here-

Looks like this:

Try it, its fun!

3. Talk about twitter.... sometimes. People on twitter love to talk about twitter and they love to hear about twitter. So, if you see a great question on twitter, write a blog post about it- this is a great way to drive traffic to your site. (If your reading this, it already worked)

4. Thank people on twitter for posting comments to your blog using @replies- this makes you appear much more accessible and gives positive reinforcement to your visitors.

5. Don't tweet multiple announcements about your new blog post. Instead, use the back door method. You don't want to be spamming your new blog post all over- so send DM's to some close twitter friends and let them know about the new post. I'm sure they will gladly re-tweet it! But remember, do unto others - don't ask someone to tweet about your new blog post if your not willing to do the same.

I'm still learning this stuff, so I would love other ideas people might have. How else can blogs be more twitter friendly?

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Book Review: Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell

Outliers- 4 stars, two smiley faces, and whatever other award a book should receive for being awesome.

In this book Mr. Gladwell takes a well accepted premise- that extremely successful people pulled themselves up by their bookstraps- and completely turns it on its head.

Here is one example from the book:

Public perception: Bill Gates was smarter, brighter, and harder working than anybody else and he is a truly self made man.

Reality: Bill Gates was lucky. First, he was likely the ONLY Jr. High private school student with access to a mainframe computer terminal, and then in High School he was within walking distance of one of the few Universities with a mainframe terminal. He figured out how to get free access after hours to unlimited programming time in high school while even graduate students were limited to only a few hours per week. By the time Bill Gates made it to the University, he likely had more practical programming experience than anybody else in the world. He was conveniently positioned to personally lead the dawning of the computer age.

The lesson: Most "self made" men require luck as well as hard work to be successful, Bill Gates himself admits he was lucky.

In the second section of the book, Mr. Gladwell looks at our cultural legacies and how our behaviors are affected by cultural traditions going back hundreds of years. Here is one of my favorite examples-

Public perception: Chinese students are naturally better at math than American students.

Reality affected by culture: Reality 1- Chinese people have grown rice on rice paddies for thousands of years. Caring for a rice paddie is a year round endeavor that requires intense focus and attention to detail. This tradition of hard work is ubiquitous in Chinese culture. Chinese proverbs encourage working 360 days a year to become rich, and school is practically year round. Reality 2- Counting in the Chinese language is far simpler than in English, allowing Chinese kids to count to 50 easily, while American kids of the same age can only count to 15.

These cultural histories provide Chinese people with a much better environment to learn math. If American students worked year round, and had a similar work ethic starting at a young age, there would likely be no difference between Chinese and American test scores.

Perhaps the part most interesting to me was the section about our American cultural biases. Americans came, for the most part, from an agrarian society where people worked hard during the growing season, and then largely had time off for months in the winter. How has this affected our culture?

These are common ideas that are culturally accepted in our society
- Summer vacation is important for kids.
- Kids shouldn't have to do so much homework.
- Kids need plenty of recess during the school day.

Can we break free of these cultural norms? Do we want to? Identifying them is the first step, and then asking the hard questions- is it really best for our kids to have their summers off? Do we expect too much vacation? Why do we believe these things?

I can't say enough good things about Outliers. This book is extremely well researched and thought provoking. It has changed the way I think about success, and it will likely change the way the world will forever view success, and that is a pretty amazing accomplisment by Mr. Gladwell. Outliers is an extremely fast read, so go grab a copy- its been #1 on the best sellers list for weeks for a reason.

Intergrity: Its More Than Just A Code of Ethics

This month 100% of my Virtue Volunteers set goals to live this month with integrity. Many of those goals are in my earlier post.

I asked all of my volunteers to email me with their results. These emails taught me two things: 1. living every day with integrity can be hard, and 2. living every day with integrity can bring greater happiness and greater peace.

Here was one comment from a volunteer:

Well I've been putting this email off trying to come up with some profound story to tell or some way that integrity really changed me this month. I have (like I told you) a whole document of stories at home on my computer. I think it would be best for me to say however that I don't have anything specific to say.

I can think of several instances these past 21 days where I have remembered the challenge I am doing, and changed the decision I would have made. More then once, I have been in line at stores where my total has come to less then what it should be, and I told them the truth. More then once, I have caught myself speeding and slowed down so that I could live an honest life even with something so simple. And yes, more then once, I have stayed clear of pirated movies.

I told you that I have tried studying the topic of integrity each day. I think that this has given the challenge more meaning to me because it has helped make it more of "my own". As far as my goal is concerned, I think I made too broad of a goal. I need to be more specific. I did find myself however making WAY less commitments instead of following through with them because I knew I didn't have time for it. This was a good month for me, but I would say that I still have a lot to learn about Integrity and it didn't effect me profoundly, however, it did make a small difference in my life that I think will have a small, but lasting effect. Thanks for the opportunity!


Integrity is a very personal thing, and I did not set out to encourage or discourage particular behaviors, but more importantly to help people focus on what THEY believe integrity is, and set goals accordingly. In addition, it takes a lifetime to develop integrity- there is no lolly pop cure to make you an honest person. It takes real work.

Here is another response on the month:

My goal of "saying that I'm going to do something, then really doing it" is coming along nicely. Usually I make plans to get together with people, then feel tired and drained and often cancel. This month I am following through and going out to the dinners/lunches that I've been talking about and I find myself enjoying life a lot more. It's really helped me out of my "winter slump" and I'm having fun.

Keeping promises can be very rewarding. When we keep our promises we are more at peace with ourselves. What is the purpose of speech if it isn't 100% truthful? Many of my volunteers independently set goals to be honest, and keep their commitments.

Here was one not so positive review on the month of integrity from one of my good friends Rachel Nielson:

It's the end of the month, and in terms of my goal, I failed.

I think my goal was too ambitious, and so I got discouraged early on. Have I been running? Yes. Have I been running six days a week? No. Have I been running enough miles to truly be training for a half marathon? No.

I think I should've been more honest with myself before I set this goal: I used to run half marathons, but I had a different life then. It isn't realistic for me to be running 5 or more miles a day when I am teaching full-time, plus grading, plus volunteer work for church, plus cleaning, grocery shopping, laundry, plus recruiting and training volunteers for a non-profit program at an orphanage in El Salvador.

I have MUCh more going on in my life than I used to, and if now is not the time to train for a half be it. I think I can deal with that.

If I were to have more integrity and therefore be honest with myself, I'd have to say that just running 30-40 minutes four days a week is a much better goal for my current life.

I'm not sure if we can ever truly "fail" at a goal, because the very act of setting the goal makes a difference. By making a goal you have already changes your perception, and that is valuable. I want to congratulate all those who made this a month of Integrity.

How was your Month of Integrity?

(Next up, the Month of Courage)

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Interview With Fred Castaneda

This past Saturday I was interviewed by Fred Castaneda for a podcast posted on his website-

83- Experienced Entrepreneur and Business Attorney- Adrian Dayton

March 10th, 2009

In the interview I give a few tips on the following subjects:

- How to choose partners in starting a business
- How to know if you are a true entrepreneur
- How to get the most for your money out of legal services
- How to deal with some of the challenges of being an entrepreneur.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

I May Have Found My Publisher

Friday night I got my first positive feedback from a publisher. They sent an email asking if my manuscript is still available for purchase.

Here is an excerpt from the email:

"I love the concept, I love the stories, and I love the potential this [book] has to create life-changing behavior."

(Yes! this made me so happy to hear. My brothers and friends told me they liked my idea, but it was very validating to hear positive feedback from an actual publisher.)

Here is how it all started. Back in December a friend introduced me to a buyer at Deseret Book, a publisher, located in Salt Lake City, Utah. I called to ask if they could recommend a good editor for me to hire. After I explained my concept, they told me not to hire an editor, but instead to just submit a few sample chapters to them because they might be interested in publishing the book with their Shadow Mountain imprint.

I was pretty excited until I got a form email back saying, "Your manuscript has been entered into our database and we will read it in the next 2 to 3 months." This was pretty discouraging to me at the time, so I just kept working on my manuscript and submitting it to other publishers.

Then late Friday night I got the first email response, and it was very positive. I am stoked about this, but there are a few questions that remain-

Should I continue to submit to other publishers? OR Do I take this and run with it?

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Blogging for Progress: The Experiment Begins

This month 16 individuals set out to better understand what integrity means. They were all asked to think about integrity, and make a personal goal to have the Month of March be their Month of Integrity. The variety of goals were instructive, showing that integrity means very different things to different people. Here are some of the great goals individuals from the experiment chose:

- Never criticize another person when they aren't around, unless you are willing to criticize them to their face.
- Train for a half marathon: show integrity by keeping to the goal of running 6 days a week.
- Goal for lent- eat no cheese for 40 days- and be 100% faithful to that goal.
- My word is my bond, follow through on 100% of my commitments, if I say I'd like to watch American Idol with my neighbor- I will watch American Idol with my neighbor.
- Learn to speak Spanish, specifically- learn 60 new words per week.
- Truly live my religion, seeking after things that bring me closer to God.

I am hopeful the members of my virtue experiment will achieve all of their goals, but if not, the process of picking these goals, and sharing them with the group has already created a vision of their potential that will hopefully create unexpected opportunities and serendipitous results.

Here are a few tips I would like to share for setting powerful goals this month:


Trees grow because they reach for the sun. For personal growth to occur, we have to leave our comfort zone- explore undiscovered country. The best goals will terrify us a little, demanding we take a step into the unknown.


Expect discouragement. Nobody can be perfect in accomplishing their goals, and we must anticipate falling short sometimes. Be honest with yourself in setting goals, but also be honest with yourself in your shortcomings- do not be discouraged if you fall short of perfection.

I want to invite anybody reading this to join us for the month of integrity. Think about what integrity means for you, and set a goal to make this your Month of Integrity. Feel free to comment below, (publicly or anonymously I've changed the settings) and let us know what your goal is!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Learn Virtues Like You Learn to Golf

I love to play golf, but in full disclosure I must inform everyone reading I am not a great golfer. But I love the game, and I love being out on the grass. Being surrounded by all the trees and grass can be very therapeutic.

The golf swing is a very complicated thing, and any number of coaches or pro's could give you literally thousands of different pointers on how to improve your swing. Here are just a few of the basics:

-keep your head down
-don't grip the club too tight
-swing with your hips
-follow through
-don't swing too hard
(this list could go on and on for days)

These are just a few of the pointers that you will hear when learning to golf, but the biggest secret is this- YOUR BODY ALREADY KNOWS HOW TO SWING. Its a natural motion, and if you over think it- you will miss the ball altogether. So what I learned from a pro was this:


So for me, when I get out on the golf course and prepare for my swing- I make sure I'm loosened up, I take a couple of practice swings, and then I focus on ONE thing- keeping my eye focused on the ball. I let my body do the rest. A smooth, crisp drive along an open fairway is a thing of beauty. Sometimes I will focus on a single golf tip for the entire summer- training myself is not easy. It takes patience, focus, and hard work.

Practicing virtues in our life is a lot like practicing a golf swing. If you try to do everything at once you will be overwhelmed, but if you can focus on a single virtue at a time- whether it be honesty, patience, courage, or charity- the other virtues will follow because they are already part of you.

RETURN TO VIRTUES is all about going back to the principles we as a society and as individuals know, but sometimes forget. With facebook, twitter, blogs, and google we are flooded with information- but what does all of it teach us? All the blogs in the world won't make a difference in society unless we can implement the lessons we learn.

William Faulkner said it much better than I could in his Nobel Prize Speech. Speaking about how authors must re-learn the most important truths of our society, he said:

"[The Author] must learn them again. He must teach himself that the basest of all things is to be afraid; and, teaching himself that, forget it forever, leaving no room in his workshop for anything but the old verities and truths of the heart, the old universal truths lacking which any story is ephemeral and doomed - love and honor and pity and pride and compassion and sacrifice. Until he does so, he labors under a curse. He writes not of love but of lust, of defeats in which nobody loses anything of value, of victories without hope and, worst of all, without pity or compassion. His griefs grieve on no universal bones, leaving no scars. He writes not of the heart but of the glands.

Until he relearns these things, he will write as though he stood among and watched the end of man. I decline to accept the end of man. It is easy enough to say that man is immortal simply because he will endure: that when the last dingdong of doom has clanged and faded from the last worthless rock hanging tideless in the last red and dying evening, that even then there will still be one more sound: that of his puny inexhaustible voice, still talking. I refuse to accept this. I believe that man will not merely endure: he will prevail. He is immortal, not because he alone among creatures has an inexhaustible voice, but because he has a soul, a spirit capable of compassion and sacrifice and endurance."

-William Faulkner (excerpt from his Noble Prize speech)

I have challenged all of my Virtue Volunteers to make March the Month of Integrity- to focus just on this one virtue. I will document how it affects every facet of their lives. I anxiously await the results.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Virtue Experiment

The Hypothesis: If an individual will focus on one virtue each month for the next twelve months, they will experience greater achievements and a more fufilling life.

The Sample Group: a professional athlete, a school teacher, a president of a not-for-profit organization, a director of a production studio, a dental student, a law student, 2 young couples, a risk management specialist, and 3 stay-at-home mothers. (15 people total)

The Variables:

  • All fifteen individuals will be given a colored wristband (much like the yellow "live strong" wristband) to represent the virtue of the month.

  • Each individual will be expected to set a goal for that month dealing with that particular virtue.

  • Couples will share the goals with their spouses, siblings with siblings, and the single individuals will write their goals down and email them to me.

How the experiment will be monitored:

  • Each individual will be expected to report back at the end of the month, and share any unique experiences they enjoyed. Both positive and negative. With their permission, the stories of the test subjects will be shared on the site

  • Those who fail to report back will receive a brief call and interview to evaluate the results of the month's goal.

  • The results will be used to supplement my manuscript.
Let me know what you think of the experiment, I can be reached by email atdayon at or on twitter. I reply to all comments.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

How To Make People Like You

To gain followers online you need people to like you. Here are the top reasons people will like you, your blog, your tweets, and your style.

1. Be Famous- everybody likes famous, so just do something truly exceptional and people will like you. Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, and Lance Armstrong are great examples. Just put together a pattern of work in your life making you one of the foremost in your field in the history of the world, and I can pretty much guarantee people will like you. For 99.9% of the world, myself included, this technique will most likely be impossible. Not everyone can be famous, but everyone can be liked.

2. Be Interesting- check out guys like (I am using twitter names here) @mashable, @problogger, @guykawasaki, and @jowyang. These guys post interesting information on their blogs and twitter that is relevant and unique. You don't have to post about social media like they do, but you do have to post information that is quality. That's how the internet weeds out what is good and what is crap.

3. Be Nice- this could also include be respectful, be courteous, and be civilized. Language does matter. You drop the F-bomb on twitter or your blog and you will lose followers. I know what your thinking- "people that are offended by that kind of language aren't the type of people I want to follow me anyway." That's fine, keep swearing like a sailor if its your thing- but people notice. Also, disagreement is in fact encouraged, just make sure it is respecful and never make it personal. Disagreeing sometimes starts the best discussions.

4. Be Complimentary- If you like a post, say so. If you like an article, share it. People will remember your kindness. It's kind of the golden rule of the internet, do good to others and it will return to you. This is probably the easiest thing to do online to make you more liked.

5. Don't Spend Too Much Time Self Promoting- The first rule of sales: People buy things from people they like. It is far more important to get people to like you, then to check out your site, your products, or your services. Once they like you they will check out your services out of curiosity. If they really like you they will tell others about your service. You want the connection to be personal, not product based.

Is you disagree, reply here, or I can be found @adriandayton on twitter.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Open Letter to My Wife: Why Twitter is Worth My Time


I know you have been giving me a hard time for spending so much time on Twitter, so let me just say that I have proof that it is not a waste of time. Here are a few examples:

Today I met a guy on Twitter named @retireat21 - I don't know anything about him in real life, but what if its true? What if there are all these people out there enjoying the four hour work week, flying first class, and getting paid to shop? Honey, that could be us! Sure I'm older than 21 now, but that should make it even easier. I also met someone named @easymoney - see Honey there is easy money to be made and all I have to do is join twitter and the money starts coming in. Right? Well maybe it isn't that easy.

You have asked me in the past, who ever made it big just because of Twitter? How about our current President? Heard of him? During the final days leading up to the election 1-3 million twitter messages about him were exchanged pointing out the best articles, most accurate polls, and the latest messages coming directly out of his campaign. The Mccain camp couldn't touch that type of real time news. Twitter may have turned the tide for Obama.

So in conclusion, I may never make any money on Twitter. People may never use Twitter to hire me as a corporate attorney, or to locate one more aspiring author, but believe me there are some of the most fascinating people on Twitter. I have been on for only one week, and I have learned a ton already. It's so entertaining as well. There is nothing as exciting as someone re-tweeting your post, or asking a question that really gets people to buzz.

It's a wonderful market of ideas. The good ones get passed on, and the bad ones are ignored. So give it a chance Honey, you might just find a way to work from home, make millions while drinking low-cal smoothies in bed, or even figure out a place to get free make-up. Imagine the possibilities!



Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Grow Your Twitter Following in Your Sleep

For those of you who haven't joined twitter, you seriously need to try it out- it is a blast. For those of you that are already using twitter here is a new pointer I got from twitter pro @mike_wesely

If you want to grow your following in your sleep (I know it sounds like a cheesey marketing pitch), here is what you have to do: find a few twitter stars- those with 10,000 plus followers that are in your target market- then late at night, say 11:00 or 12:00, right before you go to bed- tweet a good night message to each of these people. The message will likely stay on all night due to far less activity during these hours. Your @name will show up on their very popular blogs under their twitter feed for hours.

I tried this last night @posting to just three popular twitterers before I went to bed, and I awoke to over 30 new followers. Not exactly hundreds of followers, but it took me less than five minutes to send those posts. Imagine if I had sent tweets to all the top 20 twitter celebs? Try it out, and let me know how it goes for you.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Act Like Friends, Live Like Strangers

Is social media in fact anti-social?

Here is a conversation that I overheard from an acquaintance:

"I have so many friends on facebook that I would never talk to in real life."
"Yeah, yesterday I was at the Mall and I saw one of my facebook friends, and I purposefully avoided eye contact because I didn't want to have a forced conversation with him."

What is the point of social media if it doesn't translate into real offline connectivity with other people?

I know what your going to say, that social media enhances our existing relationships through sharing pictures, coordinating activities, sharing information, and etc. I think that might be overstated.

My point is that the most important relationships we have in this life require time, sacrifice, and dedication. Our relationships with parents, children, spouses, or other loved ones won't grow and flourish if we only maintain them through facebook hugs, and twitter nudges. We must be comitted to putting these relationships first, or we will be left feeling utterly alone even while virtually surrounded with hundreds of friendster, followers, and readers.

At the end of a hard day at work, after our son has gone to bed, there is nothing as valuable to me as the quiet time my wife and I spend together talking. I close my laptop, turn off the t.v., turn down the music, and we just enjoy eachother's company. Its my favorite part of the day, and that is something I really digg.

When is social media at its best/worst?

After writing the post I found some other great articles on the subject




Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Anti-pirates Don't Even Realize

According to the AP they have special training now just for killing pirates. What next? When will this anti-pirate media bias stop? I swear the media never publishes anything good the pirates do. We never hear about the schools they are building, pirate counsels they are holding, or advances in pirate seamanship. We always hear just the bad stuff.

And I can tell you from seeing multiple vaguely historical Pirates of the Caribbean movies that not all pirates are bad. Some pirates are cool, hip, funny, and/or hot. So next time someone starts telling another "pirate joke" or does another pirate impression (so tired). Just look him in the eye and say, not cool man.... not cool.

Half Habits? I don't buy it.

Here is an interesting article about learning new habits and breaking old habits. The idea discussed in the article of "half-habits" makes sense- but doesn't seem like it would work in the real world. To learn a new behavior you need to be 100% committed. Tell me what you think. Here is the full article.

Here is the part I disagree with:

"Half Habits

The most common approach to forming a new habit is to attempt to
create it with a single leap from your old way to the new way, without any
transition period. You smoke and you want to quit smoking. You drink coffee and
you want to cut it out of your diet. You don’t exercise and want to join the gym
to exercise on a daily basis. To achieve your goals, you rely on commitment and
But as you have experienced time and time again, your willpower
will dwindle a few weeks down the road (if you survive that long) and drag your
commitment down with it, leaving you with your old ways… if not worse!

That’s because to go from one way to a totally new way is unnatural. It comes as a
shock to your mind, body and soul and they will fight fiercely to return to a
way that is familiar to them.
What’s the solution, I hear you ask?
Well, that’s a good question, and I’m glad you asked it :)
A solution I would recommend would be to go for half habits.

What does that mean?
Rather than trying to commit FULLY to a new habit, you simply take a step in its
direction. For example, instead of immediately joining a gym in order to
become healthy, if your body has almost forgotten what “physical activity”
means, incorporate a mini-exercise routine at home. That way, you don’t feel
guilty that you’re not going to the gym every day, and you’re not taking
something on that will be met with resistance. It’s a small adjustment that you
won’t have difficulty keeping up. An advantage to half habits is that you
accept that you need to go through a transition period from old habit to new
habit. You accept this as something natural and not a failing on your

In my life I am either excercising or NOT excercising. It doesn't make sense to start half-excercising. It seems like more of an excuse.

I like this part though, it makes a lot of sense.

"Timeless Habits

One of the major obstacles we face in trying to adopt new habits into
our lives is simply that we don’t have the time to do so!
If you want to start exercising, you need to fit exercise sessions into your schedule. But that
involves some planning, and you might already have too many commitments that
stop you from squeezing in exercise into your busy week.

But that doesn’t mean you cannot develop new and positive habits!
Not having the time is no reason to remain stagnant. There are many small adjustments and changes we can do here and there that require no extra time whatsoever!
Do you need any extra time to replace coffee with green tea, or soft drinks with water?
Do you need any extra time to sprinkle your day with a few more smiles?
There are SO many ways we can move forward in life without needing to make any hefty
time commitments, and these changes will help us realize how easy it is to form
new habits and will also lead us to enjoy the many benefits these habits can
bring to our lives!


Half Habits: For all the habits you intend on adopting, instead of focusing on the
destination (forming the new habit fully), think of the next step you can take
in the direction of these habits and make a slight adjustment to adopting these

Timeless Habits: Come up with ways you can make simple changes to
what you eat, how you behave, etc. that can bring about positive results in your
life, without needing to free up any time on your schedule to form these new

What do you think? Can we learn new habits without even trying. It sounds like an oversimplification to me.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Submitting to Publishers

How do I get my book idea published?

For those of you that have never tried to get a book published, here is how it works. First, you send a query letter to the publisher. This is a one page explanation of what the book is about, why people would buy it, and why you are properly suited to write it. The query process may take a month or so. There are examples of good and bad query letters in The Writer's Market (a great resource for aspiring authors).

The second step is the book proposal. If the publisher likes your query letter, they will request a 5-10 page book proposal. This is kind of like a business plan for your book. You explain how the book stacks up to the competition, why the book is unique, and more details about who you are. This will usually include a table of contents of the book, and maybe a chapter or two. This part of the process will take another couple of months.

Third, if the publisher likes the query letter, and likes the proposal, they may request a full manuscript. If they like what they see- they send you an advance ($500-$1000 for first time authors). The interesting thing is that you don't even need to have a manuscript to get a publisher interested- many authors receive an advance on the book before it is even written simply by writing a good letter and strong proposal.


In NYC I met with a publicity firm named Krupp Kommunications. They recommended that I submit my manuscript to some smaller publishers. One in particular is Benbella Books. They are a publisher out of Texas that publishes about 15 titles per year. I was given the phone number of someone named Glen at Benbella, so I called and spoke with him for a minute about my manuscript, I said that Krupp had recommended Benbella for my book. He told me that I should email in my proposal, and he gave me his email. He said he would get back to me in 1-2 weeks.

This was good news, far quicker than the normal submission process that usually requires paper submissions, self-adressed stamped envelopes, and a lead time of 3-4 months. So I jumped online to read about what was expected by Benbella in their proposal (most publishers have submission guidelines on their website). It turns out Glen is not just one of the editors, he is the Founder and President of Benbella, the company was named after his two children Ben and Elisabeth. The point is by networking through Krupp I had skipped a couple of steps- and got straight to the decision maker. It gets better.

I emailed out my proposal (expecting to hear back in 1-2 weeks). 30 minutes later Glen emails me back asking (1) if I am using Krupp for my publicity, and (2) If I can send him a few sample chapters of my book. I responded in the affirmative to both questions, and I look forward to hearing back from Benbella soon. This was a great lesson in the power of talking to the right people.

Don't be afraid to network, in life it often helps us skip a couple of steps, and make it past the gate keepers.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Dinner is Served

"This month you have been way too critical of my cooking." My wife told me yesterday.
"Honey, I love your cooking, what are you talking about?" I replied.
"I think its this whole month of integrity, you are taking it too seriously- all of the sudden you are telling me all of the meals you don't like."
"Look, I am amazed by your cooking- I just thought we could start diferentiating between which meals are good and which meals are great." I careful explained.
"That's the problem, you never told me before you disliked any of my meals- and suddenly I'm hearing about all of them- if you had told me in the first place I would have stopped making them!"

So the month of integrity is almost over, but it hasn't been without it's challenges. My wife and I decided on a star system for dinners. 1-10 stars, 10 stars for the GREAT meals, 1 for the meals I cook. (I know what you guys are thinking- I should be grateful for ANY meal, and I am. Natalie just wants to know which are my favorites.) This is the perfect system, if there is a meal I don't like at all, I don't have to insult it with a "1", I can just give it a 4.5- and Natalie will realize it's on the low end and make it only when I am out of town.

Here is a list of some of my wife's best dinner's. If you want the recipe's I'm sure she would be happy to provide them:

  • Crocpot Mac n Cheese
  • Chicken enchiladas
  • Thai Chicken Curry
  • Chicken Rolls
  • Taco Soup
  • Secret Ingredient Tomato Soup
  • Roast Beef with mashed potatoes and gravy


This morning I had a phone call meeting with Jennifer Garbowski from Krupp Komunications. She is an amazing publicist that works for the same firm that made the South Beach Diet famous. She gave me some great ideas for potential publishers and for ways of marketing my manuscript. She loves the idea, and thinks it has some serious potential.

We agreed that I have one large challenge ahead of me to getting published- for those of you that do not know me very well...I am NOT famous. I have tried to convince people otherwise, but its the truth. I haven't climbed Mt. Everest, run multiple marathons, or been on a spaceship. The big challenge will be to show that my book concept is so innovative that it will succeed even without a big name behind it. This is the challenge of all first time writers, and as my wife and I learned from the movie "Little Miss Sunshine" which we watched last night- life is often a beauty concept, and you need to be glamorous or famous to get noticed.

Here is where I could use some help. If anybody would like to learn about the 12 Hidden Virtues, and would like to commit one year to trying out my concept, email me at Good and bad experiences can be posted on my blog (with your permission of course).

Friday, January 23, 2009

Sweet Parking Spot

Since this is the month of integrity I have been searching for ways to be more honest. As I said before, I think I am generally a fairly honest person- but maybe I was just fooling myself. I must now publicly admit, I have been dishonest in my parking.

How does one be dishonest in his parking, you may ask?

1. Borrow your grandma's handicap parking permit (I know this seems pretty low, but an associate of mine at law school actually did this all through law school.)

2. Park in the "expecting mothers" section at Baby's R Us. (Sadly I will never be able to honestly park there.)


3. At my work there is a 9 story parking garage. Anytime I arrive to work say after 8:45 I have to go around and around in a circle up to the 7th or 8th floor. The whole process is time consuming and highly annoying- especially considering the fact that I am paying $71 per month for the privelege to be trapped in the discusting garage.

Well last month I found a loop-hole. On the first and second floor there are some PRIME spots marked with "Reserved for Comfort Suite Guests". The signs also mention "Violators will be towed for ticketed for $50". Generally this serves as a significant deterent from non-guests parking there- but as said before, I found a loophole.

One of the employees from my work used to be on the board that runs the parking ramp. Apparently they have no mechanism to patrol those spots. Long story short- since there are TONS of opens spots and nobody patrols them, it seemed like it was my responsibility to take these spots. It was better that I use them than nobody at all.

Funny thing is, I started getting really suspicious- I didn't want anybody from work to see me parking there, so I would go around the corner if a car was following me, and then I would sneak back into the prime spots. I was so worried that one of my co-workers might see me parking in the forbidden spot- and maybe even turn me in. So after, I would rush out of my car- so nobody would recognize me and know which car I drove. It was really starting to stress me out.

So I thought last night while I was lying in bed, how can I live a more honest life?

I need to park in the right place, even if its on the seventh floor.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Month 1: Integrity

The book I am writting has a very simple premise, focus on one single virtue each month for twelve months. By focusing on just one attribute at a time the hope is that it won't be too overwhelming. Since I want to make sure this actually works, I am trying it out for myself.

For the first month I am wearing a gold colored band as a constant reminder to be honest, and to practice integrity. So far I haven't really been challenged to be honest, so I'm not sure how much of a different the wristband is making, but it is in the back of my mind.

For me honesty means to be completely honest in all your interaction- certainly to the people that matter most to me. I have only been married for three years, but from the begining I made a decision to never hide anything from my wife. If I can't share everything with her, than life would be pretty lonely. She has been pretty honest with me as well- and I think it has helped us always have very open comunications. It makes me feel safe to share anything with her.

One thing I have learned though, is that timing does matter. Being honest is important, but there is a right time for it- being honest at the wrong time can totally ruin the mood.

Monday, January 19, 2009

How My Idea Was Hatched

About 6 years ago I was riding 250 cc motorcycles over some hills near St. George, Utah when I met a young kid, that was about 19 years old. He had a string tied around his wrist, and I asked him what the string was for. He told me it was to remind him that it was the month of charity. He was preparing to leave the country to serve a humanitarian mission in South America, and to get himself ready he was focusing on a different virute each month. To make it more effective a few of his friends were doing the same thing. I never talked to that kid again, but that conversation eventually spawned the concept that turned into the manuscript I am working on.

March or April of 2008, I was thinking about how popular those yellow "Live Strong" wristbands are that were made famous by Lance Armstrong. It go me to thinking, what if the wristbands said a different message? What if instead of promoting an athlete or a politician the bands promoted living a better life? There could be different positive messages on each, and much like my friend that was wearing different pieces of colored string to improve each month- individuals could wear these bands to teach them to live better each month.

The bands aren't expensive, but they could possibly change people's behavior- help them actually improve themselves by wearing this constant reminder. This tangible representation of their goal was sure to be helpful. Unfortunately, how would people understand how the bands worked and what to do with them. It didn't seem like anybody would buy wristbands that had nice words scrolled across them. Unless of course they were instructed on how the bands functioned.

Thats when it donned on me to start writting a book. The first few chapters were a little rough, but after that it just started flowing. Over the next 6 or 7 months I wrote over 150 pages, had a publisher request sample chapters of my manuscript, found a New York City publicity firm interested in marketing my product, and found an agent to represent me. I am now waiting to hear back from the publisher, and I will keep everybody apprised to how things go.

At the start of 2009 I began my own personal year of 12 virtues. My adventures and misadventures will be documented through this blog.