As I walked up to the counter to order, I kept looking around the room. The industrial theme of the room was broken up by some really colorful paintings. There was just enough merchandise to satisfy the most discreet client’s desires. The room and all its furnishings were clean and inviting. But there was one problem I couldn’t overlook.
“You have a great place…but where is everybody?” I asked as I stood at the counter.
About an hour earlier, I did a Google search for ‘restaurants nearby.’ We had driven over to Sandpoint, Idaho, for my wife’s appointment and decided to stay for lunch. Many of the choices that came up just didn’t look appealing, and several others we already tried. We have been to Sandpoint dozens of times and its restaurant choices are as good or better than nearby Spokane. [Note: Whether you’re a foodie, traveler, wine lover, or not, please check out my earlier post ‘Dining in Tuscany.’]
Yes, my wife and I have been to all 50 States and about 100 countries between us and we definitely have a ‘mental’ checklist of things we do/do not like when choosing a place to eat, drink, or just relax. As I clicked on ‘Barrel 33 Sandpoint,’ the first thing I noticed was that they only had four ratings—all ‘thumbs ups.’ This doesn’t usually matter too much in our decisions as I know ‘ratings and reviews,’ both positive AND negative, can be bought.
With that in mind, the first place I look at is their website. Is it up to date, easy to navigate, and has enticing photos? Next comes a look at their menu. We will eat just about anything, but definitely look for the more eclectic items—bacon-wrapped, goat cheese-filled dates; healthy soup and salads using fresh, local ingredients; unique ‘starters’ as we normally don’t eat too much (quality over quantity); and a good selection of wine—ABC…or Anything But Chardonnay—for my wife.
Barrel 33 hit on ALL our items, so we decided to check them out. As we drove downtown, we wondered how come we hadn’t tried them before.
I let my wife out in front of the restaurant and proceeded to go around the block(s) for about 10 minutes looking for a place to park; it was lunchtime and all the open parking spots seemed to be on the opposite side of the street.
After finally parking a couple of blocks away, I walked to the restaurant. Every time I passed by it there were people in front of it, so I assumed it was packed. My wife wasn’t standing outside, so that was a good sign.
Once inside, as I mentioned before, the first thing I noticed was that aside from my beautiful wife looking through the merchandise, the only two people in the restaurant were the couple behind the counter.
Although I am getting older—dementia be damned—I still have a pretty good memory and this place had the potential to be one of the top ‘speak easy’ kind of places we had ever been to.
About halfway through our ‘charcuterie,’ which could hold its own anywhere, I logged into their review site and gave them a ‘thumbs up.’
Now I realize things might be different when they’re packed, but I was very impressed when Damon Eder, the manager, took the time to give us a tour of the facility. As I mention in my book, I am fortunate to have a mind that never stops—some people might call it ADD or something. As we toured the awesome place I kept thinking of ideas—maybe I could do a book signing here; maybe my wife and her friends could do one of their painting classes; or maybe they could expand on their idea to have ‘takeout’ for boats and do one of those ‘catered cruises’ featuring their fantastic food and beverages (we’ve done several throughout the world and they’re a blast).
Anyhow, we’ll definitely be back…with friends, to get one of those paintings for our wine room, and just to see what else is new.
I would like to contrast and compare the highly positive experience we had with Damon and Barrel 33 with some of my recent ‘dealings’ with online influencers, superstars, and mega-millionaires.
So far, I have done EVERYTHING with respect to writing and marketing my book, building my website, building content through blog posts and articles, etc. Now, I’ll be the first to admit that I have gained a lot of ‘free’ knowledge from some incredibly brilliant people online. And I’ll admit that I could’ve definitely done things better, faster, and easier if I would’ve paid for online courses, coaching, and mentoring (all things which I do…just on different topics).
I want to believe an old saying my dad used to say, “If you want anything done right, do it yourself.”
However, maybe it’s my age or upbringing, but I prefer doing things the hard way. One benefit from that method is the added knowledge I have gained from doing it myself. For example, 40 years ago I could’ve hired a coach to help me progress in my training and nutrition. Instead, I’ve read thousands of books, completed myriad courses, watched hundreds of videos, competed in a couple dozen sports, and immersed myself in endless formal and self-education to achieve the results myself and my athletes have attained.
There have been a number of experts I have reached out to who were incredibly helpful in my journey. As mentioned in my book, some of them include the late Louie Simmons of Westside Barbell, Matt Wenning of Wenning Strength, Rob Shaul of Mountain Tactical Institute, Jordan Syatt of Syatt Fitness, and most recently Dave Chesson of Kindlepreneur and Pat Flynn of Smart Passive Income.
What’s crazy is that if you asked any of them “who is Michael Martin?” none of them probably remember me or the times they so graciously shared their valuable time and knowledge.
One thing I have always done is to ‘test’ the potential relationship between myself and one of the gurus whose advice I’m seeking or course I thought about taking. How do I test them? Easy, I’ll respond to one of their email (newsletters) or a blog post or survey or product launches with a simple question pertaining to their product or service and wait for an answer.
Of course, I make sure that I respond directly to them and that the address is not from a ‘list’ or unmanaged address.
Here’s where my rant starts…are you telling me that a guru who’s making 8- or 9-figures per year—sometimes even per MONTH—selling an online product or service on who how to make money, be more productive, build a brand and/or subscriber list, or become so RICH as to have to hire cheap virtual assistants from third world countries that they can’t have one of their ‘people’ (virtual assistant) respond to me?
Whatever. As bad as I want to help one million people become healthier, wealthier, and wiser so they can live longer and happier lives, I hope I never become one of ‘them.’
Unfortunately, I foresee the very near future where AI may be used to respond to clients and prospective clients. Not with me…no sir or ma’am! Just last night I told my wife how I saw a ‘best-selling’ book on ‘how to’ use AI to write a book…that was probably written with AI! Like I’ve said before, as much as I’m very anal about copywriting, editing, and proofreading, I’m always going to make a few ‘purposeful’ errors just so my readers know that ‘I DID IT!’ Ewe no what eye meme?
Another thing that really gets me is how much time and effort—BAI aka before artificial intelligence—people put into developing and marketing their products and then once the product launches, literally BEG you to sign up for their product or service. You know, the ones who promise ‘unlimited’ emails, texts, Zooms, etc AFTER you purchase their stuff.
Okay, I could go on and on about this, but I’ll wrap this up with a couple closing thoughts as I have to go work out.
First, I strongly believe, ‘if you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.’ I am NOT a bazillionaire (yet), but I’m going to be the kind of one I would want to work with. I’ve heard it said that coming into a lot of money—winning the lottery, getting a huge inheritance, winning a monster lawsuit—only amplifies the person and their previous lifestyle. That’s why so many of them are still broke and unhappy after they got the money.
People are just kidding themselves if they think having money doesn’t matter when wanting to help others. I think I heard it put best the other day when I read where someone said, “If you don’t think money buys happiness, you obviously haven’t given enough away!” I like that…
And second, even though I started out as a ‘personal’ trainer, I never want to forget what that means with respect to any of my pursuits. I am sorry if you think an AI-generated solution is better than a ‘personal’ one. As they say, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care!” The last time I checked, AI doesn’t really care. I DO!
Thank you and please share this with others.