The Magic of Sunshine Through a Magnifying Glass

Invisible Stories Episode 9 with Azul Terronez

On today’s episode I speak to Azul Terronez, author of The Art of Apprenticeship: How to Hack Your Way into Any Industry, Land a Kick-Ass Mentor, and Make A Killing Doing What You Love.

In this episode we discuss:

  • Whatever you need to go to get it done, do it. Whatever works for you is what you should do.
  • Get out of your usual place to write, to avoid distractions. Find a “writer space” to change your scenery when you are writing, so it feels different than where you live and work.
  • I was looking for the big idea in the book. There is no such thing as big ideas: There are small ideas that every walks over but you stop and you pick it up and go, “hey, did you notice this?” The small idea becomes a big idea the more you talk about it.
  • When you are leading from a place of service, you are like a magnet everything else kind of comes to you.
  • All writers struggle with the same things, we are all in it together.

Enjoy the episode!

The Art of Apprenticeship by Azul Terronez

Do you ever ask yourself why am I in this job?

-Why do I keep doing what’s comfortable day in and day out knowing I don’t love it?
-Do you spend countless hours at work, thinking about all of the things you’d rather be doing?

Have you had that nagging thought, “I am meant to do something else, something big?” but didn’t know where to start or what to do next?

Do you feel burned out or uninspired even when others tell you how great you are at your job?

Have you thought of going back to school, so you can have a job that you actually love? Reading this book will help you discover your passion, gain clarity about your gift to the world and guide you on your quest to pursue something great.

In this book you discover how to find your passion , identify your gift and what you can do to connect with leading experts in any field, even if you have no industry connections.

You will read about other people’s stories of how they changed their lives and how yours will change too.

The Art of Apprenticeship is a book about discovering your passion, connecting to awesome mentors and hacking your education so that you can leave your boring job and and find the path to doing what you love. Not only will you be inspired to take that first step, you will be guided through the process of finding your ideal lifestyle, connect to what makes you unique and develop the habits you need to be successful.

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Key Takeaways

  • Timestamp: 2:46: I tell people it took me 24 years and 30 days to write my book: 24 years to think about it, and 30 days to actually write it. Because once it got clear why I was writing it, and it was hard. The “why” was, I don’t think I want to be in the classroom anymore, I don’t think I want to be in this schoolhouse. That was a hard “why”, which is why I think I had resistance, I wasn’t dealing with the why and what it could do. And that’s exactly what I did, I wrote a book called The Art of Apprenticeship. 
  • Timestamp: 6:02: First I was like, what the heck did I decide to do, this is ridiculous. Then I mapped out the number of words I needed to write each day and then figured out what my word count was for a minute. And I think it was 28 words in a minute, and if you write 28 words a minute for sixty minutes, it’s 1,680 words. And 1,680 words is 50,000 words in a month, that’s an hour a day. And I think I can do that. It’s doable. I just did the math and I realized oh, I’ve been thinking about writing, not writing. I have been writing books for a long time, starting a book, starting a chapter, never finishing. I don’t know if people listening can relate. But I have a lot of things that were going to be someday projects that never got anywhere, and journals. I had so many gifted journals because people knew I wanted to be a writer but never did it, that I don’t ever need to buy another journal in my life.
  • Timestamp: 6:54: But what was happening, is I would go sit down and stare at the blank page again and go ‘crap’. It didn’t matter if I had an outline, it didn’t matter that I knew what I was doing, there was just this sudden sense of fear, what if it’s not good? What if I’m wrong? What if no one buys it? What if this was stupid? So I had to get out of my computer so the thing I did was not what I encouraged people to do but what I needed to do, I decided to write it longhand and grab one of those mini journals that I had and write the book out by hand. Because I would get distracted and do anything but write. What I used to call writing was just researching, I’ll research that quote, or I’ll research that fact. So I thought that was writing, and that’s why it took so long to write, like, 300 words took me a week. And I was like this is not going to work. So I just detached. And the other thing is I made a decision that every day for 60 seconds or less I am going to post an update on social. Facebook was fairly new as far as people engaging that weren’t college kids, and I was just like I am going to post a video, what’s going on. And people really got excited about it, and I felt really accountable because I was telling them my goal. So much that when I was writing, halfway through I lost that journal, I lost the manuscript I couldn’t find it. And I was like “Ok Friends today’s where is Azul today, is: I lost my manuscript. People were like gasping as if it was this saga. But it kept me accountable, so I was like I am going to keep writing as if it is going to magically show up. And if that means I have to stay up late and finish the book I will, but I don’t know what else to do like I’m stuck here. So now I’m questioning this decision. And as I wrote, I think it was about 7 more days into it, I was like “I found it, you guys! I found it! It was where the remote was, it was under the couch.”
  • Timestamp: 8:38: But all these things were motivation, and I realized, I am just going to write a crappy book because writing a good book is too much pressure. And it wasn’t that I wanted to be bad, I just didn’t want the pressure of this having to be good. I wanted to serve me and my point was I need to figure out how people do this. I have been stuck on this for long, and afraid, and this is fear not my ability to write. That’s something we can wrestle with. So I think that’s where I showed up with it, and how I got it done in such a short period of time.
  • Timestamp: 15:02: Well, I can talk about the notion of invisibility for sure. And one of the things for me is when you talk about imposter syndrome, I was in the classroom writing a book about you shouldn’t go back to school and waste time. So was feeling a little bit afraid that people were going to think “what are you doing?” My secret plan was how do I get out of here, people? Not that I didn’t love the kids, cause that’s what I heard, Oh you don’t love children anymore? No, I love that I am serving them, I was a principal, I love all this work, and I had a different season in my life. So that was one, is that I was having to put on a new identity to stand for something new, and that was scary. Because what if I was wrong? What if I was saying all these things and I couldn’t make a living online? What if people were thinking I was foolish? Because I had failed at lots of things online. It wasn’t like that was my first time in that community. But I wasn’t willing to give up, and so that feeling of not knowing if I was going to be trusted. Especially if someone is writing into a new place. I always say there are two types of books. These instructional books which are really useful like how to build a car out of wire hangers. I dunno. Something how to. Or something of that nature I’m being facetious. But transformational books are really for the author, like what am I standing for now? And when you stand for something, it brings a lot of fear. And that’s what is happening in my current book. It’s not that it’s hard, it’s actually probably the shortest book I am ever going to write. But I have a lot of struggle with it, because it’s reattaching me to a world of education. I finally have the space to say I can be a leader on the outside and not the inside, and it’s taking me a lot of time to feel okay about returning to that space. So being visible again, but as a thought leader and not visible as an educator feels different. Feels different to me. So I am having to own that in a different way.
  • Timestamp: 17:00: If I am going to own a conversation, which is hopefully what a book does, this is what I believe. Who else believes this? Who else wants to stand here with me? You have to be willing to become an influencer. And influence comes from service. And someone who is going to stand up and say hey I am noticing things, and I want you to notice too, that’s the part I am trying to figure out still as I transition. And writing a book that has nothing to do with my business is another way of kind of standing in that invisible moment for me.
  • Timestamp: 18:28: Initially I had written a book proposal for this idea I had about students and that I don’t think we are listening. After being an educator realizing I spent too much time not listening to the young people, the people we serve, which you wouldn’t do in any other industry. But in teaching we don’t listen to young people who say, I don’t want to do this, I don’t think this is fun. And we say “Shh, we know better.” So I had this idea of what makes a good teacher great as a book concept and I wrote a proposal and worked with somebody on it. And I presented it to them and they were like, I just don’t think this is very interesting. And I was crushed because I wanted to see if this had legs. But he says, this one part though, where you talk about these kids, what they say. That’s really interesting. Talk about how you got to this place. It’s all about their story, why they say these things, why you think they do. That would be interesting. So I went back to the drawing board and started working on it and I’ve iterated on it for several years.
  • Timestamp: 20:39: The message is essential to a book. It’s not the words in the book, it’s the message the words convey.
  • Timestamp: 22:33: Yeah, memoir is one of my favorite genres to coach as well. There’s so much angst in trying to find the story, where the worthiness comes from. But also just taking time to reflect on your life. I love doing that. Even if they’re not – if my authors are trying to write something that doesn’t have them in them, I always encourage, where are you in here? We know your content, but I can copy your content […] How I am going to tie it back to my background is very loosely, by just building the authority as a thought leader, and show that thought leadership is what I’m trying to convince people they write a book for: service. What’s the point of writing a book when you’re not willing to be in front of the media, in front of people saying here’s what’s going on.
  • Timestamp: 26:58: It’s humbling because you hate to be a book coach where you are struggling with your own book, but the truth is I am and have been. And I have my own coach that’s trying to help me through it. But I know that the answer to what this book is supposed to be is just under the surface and I keep turning over the wrong stone. I want to do justice to the people all over the world who have watched this TED talk who are really inspired to stay in teaching and do it right. I don’t want it to be like I’m yelling at them. That’s the way it was, I wrote it like I was yelling at them. When I reread I was like, this is really negative. I was a little broken by the system. So I want to write it in an inspirational tone that inspires teachers to go into the classroom and do it differently than I did. I didn’t listen and I should have.
  • Timestamp: 33:30: I think what they need to do is realize that we have such rich lives and that we don’t realize our brilliance. So, ultimately, we do very similar things, right? I tell people we’re all selling sunshine. It’s not that you can’t get sunshine somewhere else, people are going person to person, like, I sell sunshine too. The difference isn’t the content you’re sharing. Content is not what attracts people to you or gets people to rally behind a message. It’s the lens. So if you think of a magnifying glass, and I tell this story because I feel bad, I used to burn ants as a kid, which is terrible. And I am probably going to come back as an ant. But if you burn a leaf, let’s say if you weren’t as sadistic as me, you burnt a leaf or a piece of paper, you realize wow, how incredible. The same sunshine without this lens isn’t as powerful but it’s the concentration, it’s the way in which it focuses the attention on the light. And that’s what people need to do. It’s like if you can apply that in your life, that you are sunshine in your job, in your content, in the way you show up, it’s not the stuff you know, it’s not the things you’ve done. It’s the way you see and perceive it and share it that makes it that much more powerful. I think the lesson is that you realize that about yourself so you can have confidence so that you can show up, so you can realize that this message is worthy.

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