I guess it’s kind of like Blogging 101. Why I do what I do – so perhaps, if someone doesn’t get it, they can develop a better understanding.
It’s time to turn the beat around.
For what I believe I will refer to as the second act of The Sunday Series – 101 and beyond – the idea was presented to me that we take a look at the man in the mirror. In other words, to use the same glass I have others look into so they can reflect and share their stories with the world – would now be turned toward me, for me to share my reflection.
What is the story behind the story of The Sunday Series? Why do I do this nearly every week? What’s the purpose? As philosopher Jim Rohn would say, “why do all that, why give all that, why live this way?”
There’s only one way to find out. After all, everyone has a story.
This week, my story is told courtesy of the man who presented this idea to me, an idea which was then supported by every person I spoke with in confidence. His name is Pete Kohlasch. Pete is a member of my mastermind brotherhood and a Certified High-Performance Coach & Life Strategist.
So from here on out – I ask Pete to take the reins.
The Sunday Series (101): Man In The Mirror
(By Pete Kohlasch)
Sometimes an interviewer needs to be interviewed—sometimes a blogger needs to be blogged.
On this Sunday, I invite you to a different perspective, turning the ‘Series’ and our focus around, to the man and inspiration behind it all.
Getting to know him through our mastermind group, I’ve been fortunate to call Mark Brodinsky a best friend for the past four years, and similar to thousands of others, have been amazed, inspired and empowered by his commitment to serving others and the passion he dedicates to his craft.
I caught up with Mark this past week to ask where his inspiration comes from, how it all got started, why he is as passionate as he is, and what he plans to do next. Wow…if you’ve been inspired by his work to this point, believe me when I say it…you ain’t seen nothin’ yet!
In the midst of piecing it all together, we hear it often: begin with the end in mind. With Mark, that’s the perfect place to start…
“My mission is to positively impact the lives of a billion people.”
Hearing someone say that, naturally, you have to pause to see if he really means it. As I look at Mark, I realize the enormity of his vision is matched only by his conviction for its attainment. He looks me in the eye and repeats, “My mission is to positively impact the lives of a billion people.”
I’m sure you’re wondering, (as was I), how does a man arrive at a vision like that? Where does that level of passion and drive come from? As you’ll hear from Mark, it always starts with doing what you love.
Mark: “I love inspiration. I love the way it makes me feel. I love to know that other people are doing great things so I can share what they’re doing with the world. Writing is what makes my heart sing, and at the same time, I like telling other people’s stories and love that other people can be inspired by it. When I’m standing in front of a crowd to speak or I’m sitting down to write something, knowing that it can affect other people’s lives, that is what I love.”
With Mark, whether he’s writing something he’s passionate about, speaking to a crowd from stage, or spending time with his family, it’s always about one thing: opening people’s hearts.
Mark: “Whether it’s writing or speaking, I love to speak from the heart. I know how it makes me feel and I know how it makes other people feel.”
It’s one thing to say it and far more to live it. Over the past three years, I’ve witnessed this man, firsthand, build a blog, a following, and a life, not by a selfish, self-serving focus, but rather through his consistent, unwavering commitment to encourage others to share their story and help them to gain strength from the community.
Mark: “The people I interview for The Sunday Series — these people have lived the challenge. They deserve to have their stories shared. Most people think they live in a box and when you share your story, you begin to realize that you’re not alone. And I think that’s real important.”
“No one is born to be small. I want to prove that if you can truly tap into your potential and purpose, that anything you’re good at and you love, it can explode and get to a point that no one could have ever believed.”
There again, Mark’s outward-facing approach. Most blogs you come across focus on the blogger and all the things that happen in his or her life wrapped into their own story. But not Mark’s. Mark’s is about sharing the story of others—capturing it, creating it, and communicating it with the world.
Mark: “I think when you overcome a challenge, it helps you to see what you’re really made of. Perhaps it’s not always their “why” or their purpose, but it definitely proves and validates to them that what they’ve done is amazing. They find their purpose from realizing they’re bigger than the circumstances that confront them. When you open people’s hearts to things, they’re attracted to it.”
With something as significant as The Sunday Series, it’s always fascinating to understand where it starts. As Mark explains, significance always begins with one step.
Mark: “From out of the blue I got a Facebook message from Marci Scher. She told me she had been following what I was writing about my wife’s cancer journey, loved the way I wrote and wanted me to tell the story of her son Ian, who is living with a terminal illness. I told her I was working to get my first book, (It Takes 2), published and once I did, I would be honored to tell her story. I did the book tour for It Takes 2 in October 2013 and then knew it was time to tell Ian’s story. But I wanted to showcase it somehow, not just make it another blog. While in the shower one Friday morning, I had this idea – I would feature it and share it on a Sunday when I would have more time to write it and when other people would have more time to read it. And I would call it The Sunday Series.
That’s how it began.”
Mark: “I interviewed Marci on the phone for an hour, listened to her courageously tell me the story of her family’s journey, asked if she’d be willing to share pictures, and I had my first Sunday Series. It’s amazing looking back to how it started. Immediately, when Marci’s story hit on my blog and all other social media channels, the readership exploded and I realized something then and there—there is tremendous power in telling a story of courage, hope and inspiration. People want to know other people’s true stories, to know their back-stage. I immediately started getting referrals for other stories to tell. And that’s really how it took off.”
So what goes into it all? What does the process look like of taking another’s challenge and sharing it in a way to provide inspiration?
Mark: “I’ve been fortunate to have gotten a ton of referrals. Once people read about the resilience of someone else they immediately think of someone close to them, (or themselves), who has persevered through their own circumstance and challenge. From there, it’s simply asking them if I can share their story.
95% of my stories are through phone interviews. It’s usually about an hour. I ask questions, I take notes. I do it on a Thursday or Friday and usually give it about 24-48 hours to let it marinate in my soul, heart and mind and really think about it; think about how I want to share it with the world.
My best writing is in the morning – 5:30am, with a cup of coffee, the blinds open, sitting with my laptop and writing.”
It’s Mark’s attention to detail and his appreciation to his craft that allow him to share the stories of others that are intensely moving and heart-centered.
Mark: “Words are everything. If you want to speak to someone’s heart you have to speak about it in the right way. The words almost have to be bigger than the emotion itself, or at least at a minimum, on the same level.”
This isn’t a hobby for Mark. It’s more than that—it’s a calling, a purpose, something so deeply meaningful it’s hard to put into words. The beautiful symmetry about what Mark does for others is by living from and into his purpose, he is encouraging everyone he engages with to do the same thing. For Mark, a HUGE piece of this has been the significance in the connection and relationships he’s built along the way.
Mark: “The coolest thing to come out of this for me personally are the relationships. I could take someone for 100 cups of coffee and never get as close to them, or develop this eternal bond with them than by talking to them for an hour on the phone and writing their story in a way that apparently touches their heart and the hearts of people who read it. They’re so grateful for the opportunity. And what comes from it is a relationship with them that I never would have had otherwise. Many of the people I interview, I’ve never met before in my life, or just don’t know this well.
And if I meet them in person for the first time, (remember, Mark does 95% of his interviews over the phone), the first thing they do is hug me. And I didn’t know this person before speaking with them on the phone. To cross that personal space because of words that I write is incredibly meaningful to me. Relationships are the foundation of everything and I’m living the honor of developing relationships that I might never have been able to otherwise.”
Whenever you do something that is in perfect alignment with your life’s purpose, your rate of growth accelerates dramatically. You begin to shed the layers of who you were and step into the light of who you are. You begin to learn more about your capability and endless power. I’ve witnessed this from Mark, and it’s something he’s noticed himself. I asked Mark to share how the creation of The Sunday Series has changed him.
Mark: “Realizing that, first and foremost, I’m a storyteller. I can say that, just reaching the #100 milestone, has a certain significance. And before this happened, my blog was my blog…but now the signature piece of the blog is The Sunday Series. It’s changed who I am because of the stories I’ve been able to take on. Every story affects me, and it’s made me appreciate life and the power of the human spirit and the courage that people have. There are times that I’m writing and tears are flowing down my face because of what these people have been able to overcome.
I really believe this will be a part of my legacy. One day when I’m not here, hopefully the people who I’ve touched will remember me for telling their story.
I didn’t have that before.”
Most great stories have some finite end. The creator has a vision for his work, takes us on the journey, and then leaves us, usually at some predetermined endpoint, a different person than we started. As Mark says, “My writing is like a circle. I have a starting point, I tell a story and then bring it back around.”
Realizing this, I hesitantly and fearfully asked Mark what he felt like would be that ending point for The Sunday Series.
Mark: “There’s no end to it. I don’t have a ‘Hey I’m going to do 500 stories and then stop.’ I don’t know what the end of it is, or if there will be one. If you’re living, you have a story and sharing that story in most cases is going to inspire people.
My mission is to positively impact the lives of a billion people. You have to have the platform, and it has to be important. I’m not curing cancer with these stories. I don’t know if I’m doing anything more than allowing other people to share what’s inside of them. But in some way, shape or form, this does have an impact on the world.
Impact. Legacy. Reaching potential I was born to reach. What is that going to be? It’s so big I can’t see it. I can’t tell you today what it is. I can envision speaking in front of large crowds and having the most popular blog on the web, and The Sunday Series continuing to grow and to be something that everyone wants to be a part of.”
When I asked if he could at least share what’s next…his answer, “102.”
We both laughed and Mark continued: “With The Sunday Series I don’t necessarily have an end in mind. I want to keep touching people. There are times that I feel like I have this magic power. I feel like I have something where I’m able to connect with people. I believe it simply comes from sharing one of my gifts with the world. So what’s next is to continue to do this and continue to speak. Each allows me a platform to share and inspire and touch people and keep casting the net wider and wider and wider. To touch the lives of a billion people, you have to keep going.
I wasn’t born to be small. Honestly, I really believe that over the past few years with everything I’m doing, (the mastermind group and personal development), I wasn’t born to be small. If I’m dreaming I don’t want to wake up and if I’m dreaming I’m going to work to make it come true.”
Pete: Mark, you have, you are and you will continue to make it come true. For yourself, of course. But for me and countless others inspired by you week in and week out, you already have.
Sometimes an interviewer needs to be interviewed—sometimes a blogger needs to be blogged. On behalf of myself and the countless others who have been impacted and inspired by your work Mark, thank YOU for taking the time.
Huffington Post: (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mark-brodinsky/)
The Profile: (http://www.talkinggood.com/profiles/MarkBrodinsky)
USHEALTH Advisors: (http://www.prweb.com/releases/markbrodinsky/072015/prweb12862708.htm)
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