Back between 2006-2009 I owned a sign company in Midlothian. Behold! Signs and Graphic Solutions created large format digital printing, signs, banners, vehicle graphics, trade show displays, branding assets, and marketing consulting for businesses throughout the Chicago Southwest Suburban community. During this time, I belonged to several networking groups including Chambers of Commerce (some of where I’ve served on committees) and some other groups of business owners.

The most influential group to which I belonged was BNI, Business Networking International, where the motto is, “Givers Gain.” I made some great friends and referral partners there, several with whom I still to this day remain in contact. This group remained loyal to the BNI way of doing things, but innovation and collaboration grew among us, inspiring us to meet together for other projects to help advance each others’ businesses.

Among those projects was an idea to collaborate to write a book for local business owners by local business owners. After attending a book signing by Bob Burg, an author who espouses that giving referrals is the best way to grow a business, several of us thought that building a book of stories pertaining to business, lessons learned, and (to some extent) our discipline might help other business owners to think about how they can improve their enterprises.

My Small Contribution

This project came at the tail-end of the life of Behold! Signs, and it was a tumultuous time after the 2008 recession. I submitted a short 30-page manuscript which was used in our single-run collaboration book. This publication was just a small blip in the world of content creation, but it was, for us, a pretty significant achievement. 

As I thought about what to write for today’s blog, I remembered this short story, and I thought that it might be a good time to dust it off. Honestly, it’s not going to win any awards – it’s pretty raw and could use a ton of editing. However, something told me that it might be a little something to share here during this blogging challenge of mine. It comes from a time before blogging was as ubiquitous as it is now, but it is a piece of content which might be appreciated by someone.

I also hope that, perhaps, I may use this as some encouragement to write something else with some better and longer content with better utility and aesthetics. When I took the inaugural Consultant Jumpstart Mastermind with John Jantsch, the author of Duct Tape Marketing, I had some inspiration and motivation to start a book. I started an outline of a book on content and relevance, but, after doing the outline, I lost steam. Maybe this might motivate me to continue or to change course. In any case, according to Erikson, I’m at a stage in my life where I will find passing on knowledge and skills (generativity) satisfying or risk not moving forward in my life and career (stagnation).

Free Download

So, I invite you to download my short story, Cigarettes and Salty Dreams: A Short Story of the Power of a Clear and Inspired Vision (and Lack Thereof). Simply click the button below to begin the download. Please, leave me a comment and let me know what you think.