Rainmaker 2015

  • This Year Something Was Different

    I know you’ve been crying into your tissue sodden hand for the last week when this blog did not arrive.
    Sorry, but, well, you know bloody Christmas happened so I took full advantage of the hysteria.

    This year something was different.
    I dread this time of year, I was bracing myself to plunge back into a God-forsaken pit of despair and depression and it never arrived.
    Every day I have woken up and double checked I am in the right life, right family and right blog.

    I love therapy and therapy loves me
    I started to feel better in 2016 I was ready to give up therapy on Tuesday afternoons.
    I had a couple of drab sessions and then BANG – we started talking about topics I’d thought about every day of my life.
    Long ago thinking about these things had become a habit, routine, and unresolved like a dripping tap you can’t find in a very quiet house.

    Now I am encouraged
    In the second half of 2016, I looked forward to being with people for the first time in years.
    My mouth, head, heart and physical location started to be synced for the first time since I was a child.
    I could not wait to get up in the morning.

    Who Has Time To Panic?
    The anxiety, the panic, the dread, the idea of sticking one of our Argentine steak knives into my wrist, of jumping in front of the 66 bus as it thundered down the A-12 or leaping in front of a central line train at Liverpool Street just melted away sometime in 2016 and never came back.

    So What Did I do?
    Everyone asks this. “Bernie what was the one thing that made the difference?”
    I hesitate, giving advice with a sense of “this will make the change you need” is an arsehole thing to do.
    The good people who give direct advice will always take the time to highlight that “you need to do the work, not flick a switch.”
    I am still doing the work and I would say the ONE THING I did was to work out HOW to do the work.
    This WAS the hard bit.

    Doing The Work – Never Ends.
    In order to be able to do the work, which I might add will NEVER END, I had to find more time and the best way to find more time was to shut up.
    I started asking questions rather than TELLING people.
    (I Still TELL people – if you catch me doing it punch me.)
    Please don’t tell anyone but the main reason I do a weekly newsletter and write blogs is so I talk less in real life.

    Parrot Fashion
    I was more than a little horrified at how much of my conversation was me TELLING people what I had just read in a blog or book, followed shortly by an app recommendation.
    There are things that I consider important, call them principles or values, and I repeat the words of others because I don’t feel I can make up my own version.
    So I needed to get my own version.

    Everyone Has A Plan Until They Get Hit In The Mouth – Mike Tyson
    In September, I started reading the “12 Week Year” book that advocates planning in 12 Week chunks.
    So a week is worth a month and a day is worth a week.
    Since September I have read part of this book every day, I did miss a couple of days!
    There was my grand plan, I got hit in the face, had a couple of weeks of ‘Groundhog Day’ and-and-and-and “suddenly” time passed and everything was working.

    So Are We Done Here?
    No, we are not done. January 1st, 2017 is the first day of my third round of 12 Weeks.
    If someone asks me what I do this year I will say “I am a freelance writer” – I’ve got clients, customers and everything.
    I knew this earlier in 2016 and spent a few months dicking around and trying to run away from this “writer thing” I have always wanted to be.
    I am addicted, inspired, I’ve found my grit and know what I am doing every hour of every day.
    2016? This year something was different, I don’t know where it started but I know where it ended and I loved it.

    Three things I stuck to this year that I recommend with cast iron confidence.
    1. 12 Week Year- The Book
    2. Rainmaker Platform – WordPress Website with a blog, email, podcast, and online course building. Also, includes ongoing training and tech support.
    3. Fizzle – Online learning community for Indy workers, freelancers and micro businesses.

  • Simon Sinek, Your Phone And Deep Work

    You would be right if you were thinking I leapt into the 12 Week Year with HUGE success goals, money goals and I-need-a-new-iPad-Pro goals.


    I ended up with less money than I started, but I carved a solid path out as a freelance writer and know what I need to do daily.

    Time spent on courses in Fizzle, Creative Class, Collaboration Superpowers and Rainmaker deeply helped define this.


    Where To Start?


    Have you ever thought about something so much that when the time comes you are paralysed?

    It’s called decision fatigue and I think it’s happening right now so I will write like this.

    If you have ever been a bit worried, anxious or depressed you will know that deciding between tea and coffee can knock you out for the day, seriously!

    While I was engaged being depressed a couple of years ago I wouldn’t wash up for three days because I couldn’t decide where to begin, of course, the pile of washing up only added to the torture of being on my own at home, #Supercoolwife and #Babybernie sought sanctuary at friend’s house for a few days because I was like a Dementor from Harry Potter, actually, I am sure they are more chirpy than a depressed Bernie.


    This sounds a bit of a ramble Mitchell….


    Ah, sorry.

    You will have noticed it’s November and Christmas is coming fast.

    Given the chance, we like to flee to Poland or Argentina at this time of year.

    I hate Christmas in the UK I hate Christmas full stop. But this year my mood is stable, I am almost uncomfortable with how ‘un-pissed-off’ I am at this moment in time.


    Mitchell, the title of this post had Simon Sinek in, I don’t see much Simon….


    Ok mood vs focus is where I am going with this.

    You will have heard our tribe ranting about Deep Work and 12 Week Year (s) and this is where we have ended up.

    We sit down and focus support each other as we do, most of this year I have spent doing a daily meeting with Emily, Phil or Nils to keep going and this week started a Working Out Loud group here @WorkHubs so all get to follow a 12 step program, sorry 12-week programs.


    I had to stop some things to make room for all the other good bits. 


    Being a victim

    Like a monk I read 12 Week Year daily, one of the lines is ‘stop being the victim’ as you can imagine this isn’t the first time I have heard this.

    I am ashamed at how much of my life is other people’s fault, particularly Kenneth Baker who was the Secretary of Education in the UK when I was a child, my Grandmother for not letting me watch Rent-a-ghost because she thought the guy with the beard was Kenny Everett. Both these people affect my ability to function 30 years later, even if they were here now I wouldn’t let them apologise.

    So no more victim. Ever.


    Yes, Yes I gave up podcasts, and inserted courses.

    I have to learn a few skills at a deep level. I listened to podcasts by people I know personally because I enjoyed them, not because they were helping me hone a skill.

    I couldn’t decide what to listen to so I cut them all out, yes even yours.

    My Phone – this is the Simon Sinek bit…

    Bernie, you gave up your phone?

    No, I have gone cold turkey on pressing the buttons on it every 10 minutes. I took off ALL the social media apps, restricted email and now use it to track my progress and listen to books.

    In Simon Sinek’s RSA talk from last week and the presentation talk that you can watch below, there’s a theme of connectedness and dropping your phone, this theme is also strong in both the ‘Deep Work‘ and ‘12 Week Year‘ books.


    What Is Easier Than Quitting Your Phone?


    I found it easier quitting smoking, drinking and cocaine than I have leaving my phone alone. You would ask me a question and I’d look in my phone instead of thinking or asking you a clarification question.

    #Babybernie would look out the window on the bus and I’d check my phone or type something in – that I’d never look at again.

    I leave it off most of the day now, a small amount of people who would need to call me know how to get to me or an SMS comes to my computer, I am actually a bit dejected at how unessential I am.

    Result? I am doing less work, in less time and it’s much better.

    This week is 12 Week Year number two AND we have a Working Out Loud group in our coworking space, and I am looking forward to my new found career.

    So that is the link between Simon Sinek, Your Phone And Deep Work – but you knew that.


      This Weeks Links  
    To Work Better, Work Less


    To Work Better, Work Less


    Between 1853 and 1870, Baron Haussmann ordered much of Paris to be destroyed. Slums were razed and converted to bourgeois neighbourhoods, and the formerly labyrinthine city became a place of order, full of wide boulevards (think Saint-Germain) and angular avenues (the Champs-Élysées). 


    Poor Parisians tried to put up a fight but were eventually forced to flee, their homes knocked down with minimal notice and little or no recompense. The city underwent a full transformation—from working-class and medieval to bourgeois and modern—in less than two decades’ time. Read The Full Article Here  
    Simon Sinek | Together is Better | RSA Replay

    Simon Sinek | Together is Better | RSA Replay

    Together is Better with Simon Sinek. Best-selling author and TED talk sensation Simon Sinek is fascinated by the people that make the greatest impact in their organisations, and in the… Watch The Talk Here  
    Content Curation With Trello And Publicate #LLBS 92 -...

    Content Curation With Trello And Publicate #LLBS 92

    In this episode, a VERY excited Chris (founder of Publicate) shares how people are using the new Trello / Publicate Power Up.


    How to use Trello, Publicate and Mailchimp in the same workflow to make resource hubs and plan content.  Find Out Here
    A focused weekly club for writers to engage in

    A focused weekly club for writers to engage in “deep work”

    Our weekly Write Club ‘Deep Work’ is ideal for anyone who writes and needs a block of time to write and gain the inspiration from being around other writers.


    Join authors, students, comedians, Doctors, freelancers, developers, musicians and people like you for a deep session on writing. RSVP Here    
    created in Publicate


  • Three Stories That Pissed Me Off This Week

    A couple of the things that piss me off in the world are manipulation and outright greed.

    As you know I am a huge fan of tribes, communities and collaborations.

    Somewhere in a Stephen Covey book about ten years ago I read a line about about being interconnected and interdependent – it was what I had always – and I mean always – been hacking to evangelize to people.

    That is a fucking dangerous word “evangelize” and immediately makes me think of Catholic Ships arriving on a beach in North Africa to save people. Or Self appointed ministers of religion jumping out their Silver Mercedes car and running up the aisle of their church to loud applause while people throw money.

    Then there are politicians, in the UK that could be Natalie Bennett, David Cameron or Jeremy Corbyn – I am sure there are a few more – who are evangelical. Of course leading a political party requires a dose of ego and evangelism.

    Convincing business vs the JFDI business.

    Eggs and Diversity

    I was playing golf with my mate Lisa and I was expecting to pick up some hot tech and sharing economy tips. Instead I heard about diversity and how this influences the economy and society. As you can imagine my head hurt, I thought I knew everything and here was an angle I had not read about.

    Well, I probably had but was to dumb to spot it.

    Lisa babes! I Luurve diversity – I am all about diversity! I read about it in a Stephen Covey book and totally agree!

    Green Surge

    A few weeks later I was one of those people tweeting the #greensurge hashtag like it was going out of fashion and then wondering how the media was making out the Conservative party had a landslide victory when really it was the crappest winning margin in 150 years.

    Then after Azcal was found drowned in a beach and I was tweeting #refugeeswelcome and #babybernie was shouting abuse at David Cameron outside Number 10.

    Which leads me to these three pieces of content.

    Hawkins Pecha Kucha on labels and diversity got my blood boiling and not just the picture of her as a young lady. When Ann was the female manager of a print factory and employed one other apprentice girl she was breaking new ground, it seems dumb that her role was so exceptional – even more dumb we still need to talk about it today.

    My #Supercoolwife found the article on David Cameron.

    I would have loved to have written this article. We think one thing about women’s pay and accept that and then we think it is ok for posh boys to mess around with dead pig heads.

    The article suggests that initiation ceremonies are designed so people have leverage on each other later in life. Which fits with how such a large quota of Government, Media and Corporations went to through the same type of schooling system. Just in case it is not 100% clear I agree with the article and why I am pissed of is that people will give their attention to their Sky TV monthly package rather than take part in society.

    As Phil encouraged us to imagine in his blog post here if we had a blank sheet of paper and were asked to design society from scratch we would not assign so much to 1% of society who all went to School and University together. Please note his post was written BEFORE #piggate – which only served to reinforce Phil’s point.

    #piggate and interdependent

    So now you know I am an ill informed, naive and overly enthusiastic proponent of making society more interconnected and interdependent you can imagine my disappointment to realise that this is what happens in Eton and Oxford with big business and Government.

    Which is kind of proof it does work, even if it only works for the 1% – so if we leave out the initiation ceremonies and instead add in a large portion of collaboration and transparency trust will be high and people taking the piss will be called out sooner.

    The Drugs Don’t Work

    Talking of taking the piss the last article on my list today is about xxxxxx who brought drug that combats HIV and hiked the price from a $13:50 to a gentle $750. Before I signed the Sumofus petition I looked around, surely this is a typo, or we have misunderstood what he is up to?

    I read articles and watch interviews where Martin states his case.

    He will invest in the drug and also the drug is sooooo much more powerful so is worth more than its current shelf price – $736.50 more.

    How the fuck could argue with that?

    I personally am more than happy to pay through the nose with money I don’t have for an Apple Mac Book Pro and I certainly don’t question the mark up or how they are one of the most cash rich companies in history.

    However, if it came to me buying my HIV medication the same blind logic would kick in, except I’d be fighting to maintain my life not maintain my tech status in my coworking space.

    The argument “they don’t need to make a profit” I find idealistic and weak.

    The argument of “you don’t have to be such a greedy, nepotistic and excluding ‘KuNt’ works well for me.

    I was really encouraged as I saw 100k people sign the petition in a few hours.

    At the time of posting it is on the way to 250k and the TTIP agreement has been brought into the argument.

    More on TTIP later this week – you can start here

    A hedge fund trader is at the centre of mounting controversy after the pharmaceutical company he bought raised overnight the cost of a life-saving treatment for people with Aids and...
    Whether or not it's true, the Internet has decided for the time being that British Prime Minister David Cameron probably put his private parts into the mouth of a dead pig when he was at...

  • 90 Days of Massive Action #2 (Prequel)

    Mandela was pacing the room, he was forced to walk in circles around the small conference table in the middle of the meeting room at 90 Mainyard.

    Ghandi was drawing on the white board in between a mind map the developers had left and the business canvas the musicians had left, to Mandela’s annoyance Ghandi was making faces and animals.

    Nelson, this one could be a swastika if I rubbed out the number 2 said Ghandi with a cheeky smile.
    Why are you so annoyed today? It is not good for your brand if you get caught like this!

    Where is that boy?

    He is not a boy Mandela, you always talk about him like he is Ferris Bueller – he is a grown man with a wife, child and a mortgage!

    He is playful, if he really grew up all the fun would evaporate- have you noticed he has this puritanical side to him? Do you remember when is English professor pointed this out to him?

    If he really grew up his puritan element would probably kick in and that would be it.

    Ah yes, well he is riding a thin line between self righteous arsehole and promoting a sense of clarity, change and a cleaner planet.

    Ghandi, don’t swear – it is bad for your brand.


    So he has not checked in for a while?


    What a shmuck.

    Ah! So that is why we are waiting here?

    Where is he?

    Hang on! What is with the word shmuck?

    Sorry, I have been watching too many Woody Allen movies on Netflix. So where is Bernie?

    I watched him on Periscope saying that he had to pick #babybernie up at midday everyday and that getting here to 90 Mainyard was tricky.

    So what is he doing?

    He is in his local library in the study room.

    Smart! Don’t they have coworking spaces in Essex?

    No. Just discos, UKIP and shopping centres.

    What would you ask him if he was here Nelson?

    How his 90 days of massive action is going. He posted on July 14th in a blaze of glory and has not written about his progress since.

    He has posted blogs but not a “90 days update” post.

    What were the three things he committed to doing? There was a lot of posting but he is not a mailman.

    So let’s get him in here tomorrow for a full update!

    Or what?

    Or what? I don’t know Ghandi, you are not exactly known for violent repercussions are you?

    What will happen?

    Well it is happening – I see him get to the stage where the guilt eats him and he dives into overwhelm. That does not seem to happen any more, now he shows up in nearly the same hour as he advertised. Also since he declared he was going for it on his blog and podcast he really has done more this month than the last two years.


    What do you mean “Shipping”


    Pardon me Ghandi, I’m lost.

    That’s what to cool kids call it, they “ship

    Shall we go? David Cameron is visiting an organic pig farm in Norfolk in an hour and this has got to be a laugh, I’ve never quiet forgiven

    him for selfies with ‘Prince Obama’ and the Danish Prime Minister at my funeral.

    Danish Prime Minister or prime bacon?

    Ghandi, did you just make a meat joke?

  • Death Camps and Doughnuts

    I have a few doughnuts on my plate and there was one I was looking at with enthusiasm.
    Then someone took the jam out of it.

    Well, of course, they didn’t. I did.

    I tried something and it did not work and I am a little pissed off.
    However, the reason I am pissed off is that the Bernie who is writing this would not have laid the ground work to make that thing not work in the first place.

    Sorry, I am being a bit cryptic here, it is not for shame or legal reasons – I am hoping by talking about the sentiment rather than the situation I’ll be more useful.

    It really is dumb to be surprised when life is unfair,

    I also firmly believe that what we make happen is our responsibility. So when something goes a bit tits up how we handle it and the moves we make next will determine where we go.
    Being really fucking depressed and then not being really fucking depressed has opened my eyes and ears in a way that is both rewarding and uncomfortable.

    Likewise finding myself on a mission and building every day has made a huge difference to how I deal with things. Which means that I know whether I am hurt, depressed or just being a spoilt little London boy.

    So I am here on the train home after having a great day and it has been made even better by not letting the doughnut without any jam dominate the day.

    In fact, I am quite amazed at how little time I spent wallowing in self-pity and horror.

    I shudder to think how many times I have laid down for days watching Netflix waiting for the feeling to go away, today It went away in about 15 minutes.

    I always like to read a book about Nazi Death Camp survival to make me get my spoilt London head out my arse. Victor Frankel’s words about the gap between stimulus and response being where choice waits for us has always been burning a hole in the side of my brain.

    Lately, I have become super aware – well super aware compared with the first few decades of my life – about what happens to me on the journey between stimulus and response. For example, I have taken to writing everything that pops into my head on post-it notes until I can deal with it.

    Then I go through and stick what needs to stay in Trello. I am terrified of how many things I thought of and then did not need to take any action on. I saved myself by writing it down instead of starting it right away. Also, I make connections between projects faster this way. I always wondered what the big deal was with post-it notes and now I know.

    They help you write down Bollox and throw it away before it dies you any harm and then gets to work on the good stuff.

    Thanks for reading – let me know what you think about post it notes, death camps and doughnuts @berniejmitchell.

  • Getting it all in.

    As #Babybernie has grown up I have shouted “focus” at him when he was doing things like learning to eat with a fork for the first time or was holding onto the sofa to try and walk.

    This killer comedy line has come back to bite me in the arse.

    The arse bite happened at the Rural Hub in Italy at the OuiShare summit, every time I was presenting a project or suggesting something in front of the community – yes in those precious moments when everyone is obligated to at least look like they were listening to me – #babybernie would appear from nowhere and shout “Daddy! Focus!”

    Of course everyone laughed so he did it even more.

    He caught me at a time when I was dealing with my midlife crisis and thinking about the human I really want to be.

    It was very tempting to kick him out the way and get on with pontificating my ideas to the obediently assembled OuiShare community.

    As inconvenient as it is the last thing I want to be is the parent of an overly complying and un-curious child.

    This life choice does have it’s challenging moments, for instance being bouncy and curious is shit when we are really tired and on long plane ride to Argentina.

    Over all he gets it and will play on his own for ages, in fact one of the best times is when I am writing or doodling on post it notes and he is playing lego or drawing, the silence and companionship is priceless for me.

    One of the few people I ever felt this comfortable with is my Grandfather or Grandpy as we called him (my Dad’s Dad) I’d follow him around his workshop and garden and we’d “do our work” and just be there together.

    8 Days a week

    So #babybernie starts school tomorrow and I am left thinking where did all that time go? Yesterday he was holding onto the sofa learning to walk on his own and now he is screaming “Daddy! Focus!” Then falling over laughing.

    I have lost my two days a week with him, for the last few years I have looked after him for one to two days a week and I am still wondering how I have missed out.

    So this means time counts more than ever, also in my quest to stay on the right side of the depression curve I want to make the most of my time.

    Sitting down to watch a movie and chill out is a fantastic thing to do.

    Spending a whole day to watch the entire season of House of Cards is both mad and fun.

    Spending every waking hour watching shit TV because you are scared of the real world and have slept too much to sleep anymore is shit.

    So I am not going back there.

    Getting it all in.

    I am forever working to find the daily routine and sequence that works for me, I am obsessed and yes I could just get on with – but I can’t – some people like to polish the bonnet of their car and I like to work out how to get the best out of the times of day I am most ‘alert’ – there are not many so I need to grab them!

    Morning is my best time, the feeling of having a lot done early in the day is very very motivating later on in the day for me.

    When I worked in events and hospitality I loved the early shift, the breakfast shift, the no one else is around yet shift.

    When #babybernie was a very little baby he’d wake up in the morning have a feed so I’d get up too and then lay him on the table between my keyboard and screen and work, this might have scarred him with carpal tunnel syndrome or something but the bonding was important for us both.

    I looked and looked and looked for more time and listened to early days of Beyond the todo list with Eric, also books like Making Ideas Happen, The Now Habit and Eat That Frog, Brilliant Life and The Power of Less helped me form my own routine.



    So this is where it is now.

    – 05:30am wake up water, lemon, apple cyder vineger which is like doing a shot of tequila!

    I got over that face melting tequila feel by adopting this recipe by Helen on her blog How to Prepare an Apple Cider Vinegar Detox Drink.  The addition of lemon, cinnamon and honey is significantly more palatable!

    – Victim D, probiotic and medication.

    – Then meditate for 20 minutes – sometimes more if I had woken up earlier – meditating longer is getting more and more attractive.

    – Write 750 words – which I am doing now.

    – Monday to Friday do a 10 minute periscope.

    – Send this to Fancy Hands to process

    – Bulletproof Coffee

    – Get showered and dressed and then zoom to 90 Mainyard to arrive before 8am on the journey I either listen to the blogs that have arrived into my pocketapp that day or write a blog on my phone using voice dream writer.

    Done by 10am

    The target I am working towards is to publish a blog post and podcast by 10am everyday.

    After 10am I am researching or recording podcasts until 3pm which means I can go to pick up #babybernie from school.

    I get Fancy Hands to schedule podcasts in the time block between 10am and 3pm and I am using a the beta version of a brilliant new app called “Podclear” that enables you to record a podcast directly online so no more fucking around with Skype.

    That is as hard as it gets.

    If I swap it round and research and podcast in the morning and then write in the afternoon it is total game over.

    The days when I don’t do it in the right order means I become possessed by some petulant procrastinating child syndrome and then stay up late until I have finished – which could be 4am.

    Also, I LOVE being able to stop in the afternoon and then use the evening to unplug – I am still crap at this which is why I am working to protect this time, I have a shit habit of checking my phone, a habit I am determined to replace now I have lost my two days a week with #babybernie and #supercoolwife.

    Making Ideas Happen:

    How the world's leading innovators push their ideas to fruition, time and time again.

    How to Live a Brilliant, Balanced Life...

    From the author of Flip It!, Michael Heppell, comes the ultimate interactive self-help book

    The Now Habit

    A comprehensive strategic system for overcoming the causes and eliminating the effects of procrastination.

  • Drowned and the Saved

    (This post title is certainly inspired by Primo Levi)

    As the bulldozer pushed the dead and nearly dead bodies into the hole in the ground that had been dug by the same people who were now dropping into it.

    As the TV in Westfield shopping mall in Stratford showed pictures of celebrity chefs making street food. Most excitingly this week was “European Peasant Food” made from simple and nutritious grains and wild herbs.


    Meanwhile downstairs in a pub off Whitehall a man in a grey suit sat in an armchair reading a newspaper, he was comfortable but slightly irritated that he could not smoke in this basement bar any more, it had been 10 years since you could have a pint and a cigarette inside in London.

    Day at the beach

    Meanwhile on a beach in Turkey the waves gently lapped around the face of Aylan as he slept on the beach. He always slept on his front with his arms by his sides, the only thing he’d move as he slept was his head.

    Italian Sunshine

    Meanwhile in Italy Conservative MEP Daniel Hannan was recording a video about migrants – not to be confused with refugees – he was part of a project that was refurbishing a hostel and play area.

    The Solution?

    The way to stop the deaths of refugees and migrants was for them never to get in the boat in the first place.

    Then they would be saved and not drowned.
    I thought £u<k me – how stupid these people are. More to the point why did not anyone point this out?

    Has anyone seen my baby?

    Anyway I thought I’d check with Alyan’s Dad how it all went down and this is what he said:

    If we really thought about it…

    I have been watching and taking part in this as it unfolds on twitter, I always think it is unproductive to lash out at people on twitter. it kills the conversation and debate – which is where twitter is so epic.

    OF COURSE I have the urge to tweet you posh C&*T at people but that is not going to prolong the conversation. There is a better way and I know people working on it. In the mean time my main message would be this from the late Tony Benn:

    PetitionAccept more asylum seekers and increase support for refugee migrants in the UK.

    There is a global refugee crisis. The UK is not offering proportional asylum in comparison with European counterparts. We can’t allow refugees who have risked their lives to escape horrendous conflict and violence to be left living in dire, unsafe and inhumane conditions in Europe. We must help.

    Sign this petition

    432,248 signatures and rising.

    As always comments welcome.

  • Am I Unemployable?

    I thought I was doomed, weird and broken, now I know there are others like me

    We are the unemployable.

    There are a lot of us around, and most of us have read the Cluetrain Manifesto.  It’s our guide. . I was playing golf with podcasting legend Neville Hobson a few years ago and he proudly said ‘I’m unemployable’.

    I thought, “Neville you drive an Audi, wear jumpers without logos and open doors for ladies – how can you be unemployable?”

    Then we started to talk about tech, leadership and sales – I could see how he would piss people off very fast. Well, let me clarify that – he’d piss off the people who were committed to the status quo, collecting a pay cheque and playing their cards close to their chest.

    Over the last year, I began to wonder how employable I had become.

    Then I looked back at all my life – getting jobs was easy.

    Keeping those jobs?

    98% of the people who have fired me have rehired me and 99% of the people who have fired me remained my friend.  In fact,  a lot of those people came to our wedding.

    I have been invited to some very decent interviews over the years – think Cloud companies, San Francisco and so on – even when I sat down to lunch with the VP of whatever it was,  I chatted and had fun but I just could not be bothered.

    I did not sit at the table thinking, “I can’t be bothered,” but the venom was not there, no fire in the belly. . I did not find myself scribbling in little books, making mind maps and losing track of time like I do with other things.

    When it comes to the blog you are reading now and OuiShare,  I am always on red alert and in the last few weeks that has turned into some kind of flow and grit.

    Flow and grit?” you ask.

    I don’t know what that either is but I clench my teeth, type faster and feel happy when I write it.

    Suddenly I am not day dreaming or losing concentration – I have huge problems to solve and I am finding newer, faster ways everyday.

    Cold Calling

    I was on the phone with my mate Ann Hawkins just now and in my best “super-cheese-self-development-guru” voice said,  “You know what Ann, I manifested my dreams and the law of attraction opened up the universe to provide for me!”

    The next thing I knew,  Ann appeared in front of me and started to smash me round the face with a huge wet fish that she had filled with concrete. ‘Don’t talk bollocks Mitchell!’

    I explained it was just an impression I was doing, which was awkward as I was in a kids’ playground with #babybernie and now the side of my skull  was hanging off and I was dripping blood on his Spiderman Scooter.

    She quickly cleaned me up and fashioned a head bandage out of an eventbrite t-shirt she had in the back of her car.

    I cleaned the blood from the screen of my iphone and opened up iTunes.

    ‘Look Ann! Brian Clark from Copyblogger is doing a podcast called ‘un-employable’ – and I don’t feel like I am mad any more.

    Economy of hours (Echo) is running a program called Echo++ in September where you can launch your product and I am going to launch a product!

    The Mind Map dudes at Mindmeister have just added a task feature that works like a Scrum or Trello board – and works on iOS!

    “So this is what you mean by the universe and all that Bernie?” asked Ann with the same air of suspicion used by a treasury agent when politicians hand in their expense claim forms.

    Full Nelson

    A twig snapped behind me and there was a cough.

    “Nelson!” I said excitedly.

    “Have you met Ann?”

    “Who are you talking to Bernie?”


    “There is no one there, Bernie.”

    “She, er, was.”

    “I heard everything was going your way,” said Nelson as he took off his sandal to remove a stone.“People will think you are mad if you stand in kids’ playgrounds talking to yourself. And why have you got a Sainsbury’s bag on your head?”

    “Aren’t we talking Nelson?”

    “No,  I am on the screen of your computer as you type so you can fill in gaps between the good stuff, if you regurgitate the three quotes you know from me you can look as though you are smarter than you are. Besides it is more comfortable for you to get me to say smart things than say them yourself”

    “How do you know?“

    “Well, dick head, that is what you just did.”

    “So Ann was not in the play ground?”


    “The eventbrite t-shirt and the smack on the side of the head?”

    “That was #babybernie on the rope swing, you looked down at your phone and he crashed into you. Then you put a bag on your head – I don’t know why.

    90 Days of Massive Action #3

    Any massive action today?” Asked Nelson.

    “Yes, I called Sarah and Alex at Echo so see about the Echo++ and if it is a fit for my product idea.I went through my ‘what not to do list’ and cut out a load more things, so now I am down to a core plan of landing pages, email and podcast interviews – the next time I can work in a block is on Saturday morning. “

    “I am not sure what that means, Bernie, but it  sounds good. You seem to have lost your energy on this blog.”

    ‘No, I want to go for a run, I am sitting here in my shorts and knee support and want to run around the block before the feeling goes. I have waited AGES to be inspired to get off my cute little butt and run. ‘

    More tomorrow – thanks for reading!

    ‘Anything else Nelson?”

    “Keep going! That’s what Brian says at the end of his Unemployable podcast.”

    Connect here in person:

    Join the Echo360 Summer Social at Netil360 roof top co-working bar by London Fields 29th July


  • It was late when I got back to the office……

     90 Days of Massive Action #2

    It was late when I got back to the office at 90 Mainyard. There was an eerie calm to the place and all the lights were off.

    At the back someone had left a desk fan on, I heard a bump and saw the office cat scurry across the floor.

    I moved towards the fan to switch it off, as I passed the blue meeting room I noticed someone sitting in the chair at the head of the table.

    I stopped. Should I not be scared?

    Hello Bernie, want some tea?

    Nelson, what are you doing here?

    Me and Mahatma came to see how you are on the second day of your “90 Days of Massive Action” BOOM!

    He flashed a smile, threw his arms in the air mimicking an explosion and started humming the A Team theme tune.

    You’re so funny, I mumbled.

    No! You’re so funny! Nelson laughed and then continued energetically with….

    “In 1974 a crap coworker was born and sent an assignment to which he did not commit. This boy grew up and promptly escaped from a maximum security stockade to the London Underground. Today still wanting recognition and change he survives as a soldier of freelancing. If you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can get him to answer an email maybe you can hire Bernie!”

    Ha! Ha! Nelson cried with laughter as he thumped the desk in joy.

    Then his face went calm and he said,

    Bernie, I know you are a bit worried – but this is nothing compared to other times in your life. Be brave you are scared because you are into something right now AND you have spent a long time learning and thinking about it.

    That’s true Nelson. What I am worried about is paying the rent.

    Bollox to rent Bernie! I never worried about paying the rent.

    Yes, but you did not pay rent for 27 years while you were in prison on Robben Island! It was my turn to laugh at Nelson.

    There was a shuffle behind me and I turned to see Mahatma looking at me as he walked into the meeting room.

    Nelson, do spare him the ‘I did not pay rent but I paid the price’ line please.

    What do you need to do Bernie?

    Oh – I need lots Mahatma.

    Gandhi! Tell him lots is too much to have to do! Cried Nelson – suddenly looking a little irate.

    Mandela is right, Lots is too much to do. The human mind is designed to do one thing with excellence. People don’t land planes many at a time, they bring them in one by one or else…..

    I’m too busy! I have so much to think about. I whimpered again.

    Have you meditated? Asked Gandhi.

    You should sit and meditate for twenty minutes a day. Unless….

    There was a long pause from Gandhi.

    Mandela clapped his hands and shouted wakey wakey!

    Unless….. Said Gandhi again thoughtfully.

    I waited respectfully, I was hoping he was going to say something about a productivity app or a friend of his that could help me.

    Instead he said,

    Twenty minutes a day for meditation. Unless you are too busy – then you should meditate for an hour.

    Can I have some tea now Mr. Mandela please?

    Have you seen Jimmy Carter this week….?

    I closed the door and looked out of the window of 90 Mainyard towards the Olympic Park. I’ve been looking at that park for over two years now and thinking about winning and losing – today I felt like I was winning and it was only day two.

    Photo Credit: Darik Smith

  • 90 Days of Massive Action #01

    I think I am finally there.

    While we were up on a mountain in Italy for the OuiShare summit a lot of things came together for me.

    At one point I was chatting and said I am not sure why I came, even more so, I brought #babybernie too and he did not know why I came either.

    So the headline is that I left full of a calm zest and purpose.

    What should have been the end of the road again for me turned into one of the best months in my life.

    I would even dare to say that I woke up after a long sleep and had everything I needed.

    So what happened?

    This is tricky to write, I don’t want to piss anyone off, or give you the impression I have lost my marbles and have swallowed 10 copies of that shit book The Secret.

    I got fired from a project – don’t worry the person who fired me from their project is reading this – I decided to stop doing a few things that are NEVER going to happen and to start doing a few things that are always NEARLY happening.

    Which means?


    Reading this must be torture – I promise you writing this is even harder. It’s like telling your Dad you are gay when you are not really sure yourself and still hope he’ll lend you his car after.

    Where was I?

    Since Emily and I first dove into the Podcast / Webinar thing back in 2011, the two projects that have never gone away are the ‘Sharing Economy Radio’ or OuiShare Radio as it is known now and also this blog, which I started back in 2007 on Blogger.

    I have ducked in and out of projects, deals, start ups, events and while up the mountain I just thought – fuck it – lets do that.

    I am sick of the whimpering and daydreaming in my head about what could be, if only I had time and when I have done this I’ll be able to do that.

    Being really depressed for a couple of years made me grind to a halt and look at how I run my life and, on a deeper level, why am I here and all that bollox.

    It did occur to me that writing about what you are working on and it not working out is a tad smarter than writing about how it did not work out after it has not worked out and someone going – you should have asked…..

    Being ‘Bernie the depressed’ has been a tough ride but I am done with that now.

    When June did not go to plan, I sat in a chair and did not look for a railway track to jump onto or a bed to crawl into for a week – it occurred as a sign, opportunity, opening, kick in the head. 

    So it is going to be really tight for a couple of months –  the goal is to make this site make money and to build the OuiShare Radio – both are set up, so are ‘on-going projects.’ My idea is to try stuff here and if they work then use them on OuiShare Radio.

    The question is not ‘who is going to pay me?’

    It is how can these projects be sustainable, generate value and in turn generate revenue.

    This is a ‘choose yourself thing’ and there are smart ways to make money that I just need to have the balls to try, I am so afraid of someone telling me I was wrong or I should have got a job, it is sometimes crippling.

    However cool we might think we are, we slip into these patterns we have been conditioned by society to follow. I am always amazed at the amount of people who work in tech companies or Start Up’s who function like they are an episode of Mad Men when it comes to leadership, marketing and just living.

    90 Days Of Massive Action – Choose yourself

    So what does this look like Bernie?

    Ok so I have been cheating a little bit, or maybe overthinking it.

    I sent out this question – “What am I good at and how does it add value to you?” You can answer here

    This boosted my confidence 10 fold – it then occurred to me how fucking annoyed I get at people who ‘have a gift’ and then don’t use it – so this exercise alone helped me skip 6 months of gazing at my navel waiting for my muse.

    Then I have the blog you are reading set up on Rainmaker and it is a soooooo easy to use to both blog and podcast, so not pissing around there. 

    I have also been thinking, reading, thinking, reading, taking part in, publishing, consulting, running events around blogging, podcasting and the sharing economy for five years now. I am ready.

    Secret Weapons?

    1. I have listened to ‘Do the Work’ by Steven Pressfield for 18 days in a row now – and I am going to keep going – it has got me this far.
    2. Choose yourself by James – I went back and listened to this and it was the punch in the face I was looking for.

    After reading these two books I jumped out of the plane and pulled the rip chord.

    1. 90 Days of Massive Action – One of the first self development and leadership authors I read a lot of and did not puke was Michael Heppell – in one of his books he talks about the 90 Days of Massive Action model.

    (I would go and find the book title now but I’d stop writing – I’ll post it later)

    This 90 Day model also came up when I was in the NRG Master Mind group – the problem was I could never work out what to put in it – of course this was because I did not have a clue what I was doing and the other members in my group patiently nudged me along to think harder.

    1. Fancy Hands virtual assistant service I have been using this since 2011 – in the last year I have REALLY got the knack of it – for instance I am writing this and will then send it to them to get proof read and loaded onto my site.

    Of course I can read it and load it – but this is a block for me, I’ll over think it and play with my site – Fancy Hands – BANG done and I am onto something else. 

    90 Days of Massive Action will take me up to the 14th of November 2015 – this is only counting weekdays – at the weekends I want to unplug!

    AND just to scare myself into action I am blogging about what I am doing everyday – in that ‘Working out loud’ type way that I have been craving for over two years.

    Saying that I am not sure how you are meant to do it.

    I know I am on to something this time. I went to therapy today and my head REALLY hurt. I’d lost the gift of the gab, the back of my eye’s kept contracting so that they felt like when you are squinting into the sun or are about to cry.

    It was hard to clear my head and put a sentence together for my therapist Amelie. Today was not about stress and chemical imbalances in my brain, it was not about being lost, broken and stuck.

    Today was about having all the ingredients and having to start, or pick up where I have left off.

    Ok, I have to go, Bernie what are you looking to achieve over the next 90 days…

    1. Get engagingpeople.wpengine.com blog and podcast rocking – making money and adding value to my tribe.
    2. OuiShare Radio to be sustainable, connecting the OuiShare community, projects and communication the collaborative economy.
    3. Work out loud and share the journey on this blog and podcast and share the learnings in my Echo Workshop on content marketing.