Mentors Matter

In 2004, I was profiled in eMedia magazine. The article began like this:

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“As they grow up, most sons want their dads to get out of the way. Then, there’s Brett Culp. He admits that his business thrived once his dad got involved. It was an involvement Culp says he both needed and welcomed.”

The best thing that happened in my career was having my Dad work with me for over a decade.

So much of my work is built on the insights, attitudes, and values he showed me.

I am grateful every day.

If you’ve had a mentor that has helped you succeed, take a moment to say THANK YOU.

The Joy of the Journey

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Today is my grandmother's 91st birthday.

We spent several hours chatting at her home yesterday, just the 2 of us. We talked about family, health, joy, & pain. We shared stories & laughed a lot.

We agreed that life is pretty wonderful and that we wouldn't change a thing.

In the moment, it’s easy to lose sight of the bigger, wider picture.

Your story is the sum of a lifetime of choices, circumstances, success, and loss. Don’t get so tangled up in the struggles of the moment that you lose the joy of the journey.

One experience at a time, all of us can create a beautiful legacy.

Choose LEGACY before CURRENCY

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In the 1980’s, "Weird Al" Yankovic turned down a $5 million endorsement offer from a beer company because it didn’t align with his values.

For perspective, Michael Jordan’s spokesman deal with Nike in the 80’s was $2.5 million.

In a recent interview, Al said he has no regrets about the decision.

At a time when that money would have changed his life, he valued his long-term legacy over a short-term payout.

Don’t be afraid to embrace your beliefs.

Focus on the impact you want to make over your entire lifetime above the achievement of a single moment.

Do what you think is right & have faith that it will lead to the best things for your life & for others.

The Hidden Story of "Look to the Sky"

Our new film Look to the Sky has now screened in 40 cities benefiting charities!

But there’s also a HIDDEN story with this film that brings me such joy:

This year, I’ve been speaking at events all over the U.S. I’ve shared my heart with huge audiences, inviting them to use ‘Look to the Sky’ at no cost, as a tool for hope & inspiration in their world.

And they’ve been doing it.

There have been countless private screenings of the film in school classrooms, shelters, youth programs, and community centers. At this point, there are so many we can’t keep track.

I wish I had time to tell you all of the stories coming from these showings. They are beautiful.

And I’m certain there are many, many encouraging experiences people are having with this movie that we will never hear about.

If you have supported our journey with this film in any way, please know that you have helped a lot of people.

THANK YOU for believing in this project & for helping us make it a reality.

YOU continually remind me that the world is filled with real-life superheroes.

Stay tuned! There are more thrilling adventures ahead for this film. 2018 will be heroic! 

Right now, they are ripping me apart on YouTube

The new video I posted this week currently has over 120,000 views & 1,000 comments. The momentum started with people who loved the video, but many haters have shown up as the audience has grown.

HERE'S THE VIDEO

There are hundreds of angry, cruel comments about me. Some people are calling me the worst names you can imagine.

Ironically, the video is about empathy & kindness.

A year ago, this would have really hurt my feelings. I’m a sensitive person. But today I feel anchored to a solid place, and I’m not troubled.

This quote by President Theodore Roosevelt has helped me. I’m grateful to Brene Brown for sharing it:

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood.”

Every day of my life, I am in the arena. Sometimes I win, sometimes I lose. But I am in the battle.

I value the opinions of trusted warriors & people I know are also engaged in the arena of growth, compassion, & success.

Most of these negative YouTube comments are from people sitting in the cheap seats of the arena, hurling criticism without ever trying to do something extraordinary in their own lives. I’m not angry with them. I don’t have negative judgement for their choices.

But their opinions do NOT get a voice in my head any more.

This perspective has been so helpful to me.

Today, I can look at their venom as the fuel that is continuing to push the video toward viral impact. The more they post outrage in the comments, the more the algorithm of YouTube shares the video with others. Engagement sparks viewership.

And then the video is shared with more people who can be helped by it. These are many of the people writing the heartfelt, loving comments.

I also have faith that the video is planting a seed in people’s hearts, even if they are responding with hate at this moment.

Thanks to everyone who is in the arena with me. You are amazing.

I am grateful to be surrounded by so many beautiful warriors!

Powerless with Irma

Along with 7 million others in Florida, Hurricane Irma knocked out the power in our home.

The assessments this morning showed that it would take up to 6 days to restore all the electricity in Tampa.  So, we decided to move to my parents house a few miles away, where they still had power.  We spent today packing up to be away for several days. Clothes, food, everything we would need.

Tonight, my family was sitting in our fully-packed car as I locked the front door.

And the power came back on.

Have you ever felt extremely grateful & extremely frustrated at the same time? It's a strange whirlwind of emotion.

The last week has taken me deeper into the meaning of being "powerless". For me, Irma has been a lesson in surrender.  I try to plan wisely & act with passion, but I can't control a hurricane, the utility company, a potential client, or my teenager.

But I can choose to bring my heart to every moment & stay open to the unknown.

Things never go quite the way we expect. But I believe there is beauty everywhere.

The Relationship is the Mission

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I'm busy, & I travel a lot. People ask how we keep that from hurting our marriage.

My answer is authenticity & over-communication. Tricia & I are in touch everyday. We discuss nearly everything that happens & how each of us feels about it. Many of our conversations feel like therapy sessions... and that's the way we like it.

It's not perfect. Some days it borders on co-dependence. But we are committed to experiencing a shared adventure. If we can't emotionally invest in something together, I don't do it.

The relationship is more important than the mission.

Actually... the relationship IS the mission.

You've got some amazing stuff inside you

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I made 500 terrible videos with cheap equipment before I produced anything remotely good. The process refined my talent & revealed my voice as a storyteller.

If you dream of making an impact as a filmmaker, artist, musician, or creative-type, GO MAKE SOME STUFF RIGHT NOW.

You don't need better equipment or education. Learning to uncover & express your heart is more important.

Share your creations with people. Make some mistakes. Learn from the experiences.

This process took me years & years. There were hard days, but I don't regret any of it.

You've got some amazing stuff inside you. Let us see it TODAY!

Knowing that we are not alone

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This beautiful story came from last night's charity showing of our new film near Seattle.

Oh, my heart is SO full!

Thank you for sharing this, Violet Brielle Spataro:

A boy named Lukas attended our screening of 'Look to the Sky'. He was introduced to Violet and right away she asked him if he wanted to play with her and help her hand out Live Love Foundation cards to everyone in the theatre. They were giggling and instantly having fun together before the movie started.

This morning, I awoke to messages in my inbox from his family. My eyes filled with tears as I read them. Here is just some of what was messaged to me (shared with permission):

"I wanted to thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for making my nephew feel so welcome tonight!! I had double booked myself on accident and my nephew went in my place and I'm SO GLAD HE DID!! Violet, you've changed my little guys life tonight with your kindness! My nephew Lukas has been through so much. He gets bullied a lot in school and he has an illness that makes him feel different and alone. He only has a couple friends and he was SO EXCITED to feel like he found a friend in you!! You showed him around and let him help, he was blown away that someone would be so kind. He talked the whole way home about how he can be more kind and how he can help others. You were your own blessing bundle to me tonight, THANK YOU!"
"He felt seen and loved just in that short time with his new buddy!! He's so special to me and seeing him make a friend is everything. You have a gift in your daughter!"
"He walked away from that film knowing he wasn't alone! He LOVED being with Violet and he hopes one day he can see her again!"

I believe last night was meant for Lukas. Sometimes, we work so very hard on things and we don't know if all of our efforts are making the impact we pray they are. Knowing this sweet boy felt loved and empowered to make a difference is everything. I'm grateful we were all brought together, and I'm happy to share this story today.

Speaking Adventures with Heroes Everywhere!

Such a joy sharing inspiration & insights with all types of organizations!  My keynotes are filled with uplifting stories from my filmmaking adventures about the power all of us have to make a positive impact & bring more hope into the world.

My recent travels have included Sonoma, Jacksonville, Philadelphia, Orlando, and Madison, WI.

I continue to be privileged to share these experiences with heroes around the country!

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Look to the Sky - Screening in Theaters Around the U.S.

"Brett Culp's documentary Look to the Sky proved even more inspirational than I anticipated. The film featured stories of hope from young people... and received a well-deserved standing ovation at Tampa Theatre this past weekend."
- The Tampa Bay Times

So inspired by these showings of our new film Look to the Sky!  Proceeds from each screening benefit charitable efforts.

Learn more at: www.RisingHero.org

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How to Start Something New

I started a video production company when I was 20-years-old. My Dad taught me how to do it.

When new entrepreneurs ask for my opinion about starting something new, here’s what I typically say. There are other ways, but this is what has worked for me:

  1. Do some great work. Even if you don’t get paid for it, you need a portfolio of work as proof that you can deliver. You cannot get any serious jobs without this.
     
  2. Create a great website. Make sure it features the very best of your work. Print some business cards that match the design of your website.
     
  3. Attend every business networking event in your city you can find. Meet lots of people. Tell them what you do & why you are special at doing it. It can be scary, but just be nice to people & remember that they don’t really know what they are doing either. Most important: Get their business cards. Give them yours, but their card is really what you want.
     
  4. The next day, send everyone you met an email that re-introduces yourself. Remind them of what you do. Then, ask: "How can I help you?" Try to move the dialogue to a phone call or a face-to-face meeting. The goal isn't to ask for their business, it's to build relationship with lots of people as quickly as possible. The help you are offering isn't necessarily available from you for free, but you are bringing a spirit of community participation rather than saying 'gimme' to a bunch of people who don't know & trust you.
     
  5. As you build relationship, ask for their input. "Who in this community needs what I do?" "Where would you look for projects?" "Who should I call? Would you be willing to introduce me?" Now, you will receive leads that are built on respect & reputation, & they will be relatively easy to close, if they are ready to move ahead with a project. No hard selling.

This approach creates more than a 'one-off', transactional business built on advertising. You are building long-term relationships.

Some of the effort is wasted, no question. Some people won't be able to help you. But this is how you can create the foundation of a career.

This is how I built my business. I believe if you commit yourself to seriously investing into this for 1 year, and you continue the process, you will probably be buried with work.