“Jesse, you asked me if I was in the meth business or the money business. Neither. I’m in the empire business.”
I’ll never forget the moment I heard Walter White in Breaking Bad say that line.
It’s this beautiful culmination of a story where he describes how he missed out on a huge business opportunity. That failure to capitalize on what was his idea fueled him in his quest to build an empire in the drug business.
Now I don’t have any interest in cooking blue meth. I don’t have any interest in becoming a drug kingpin.
But empire business...that I can get behind.
That’s the type of mindset I want. The type I need. But most importantly, the type I’ve fully embraced now.
For a long time I didn’t know what that meant for me. I knew quotes like “What we do in life echoes in eternity” from Gladiator and “Life is like this _____, I like this -------” by Harvey Specter all spoke to me.
Was I going to turn into another guy who just watched motivational videos all day? You know the kind who talk about all the things they will do but never actually go after them. The kind that finds mediocrity just the way it is.
I told myself no. I had a plan. But still I needed to find a way to navigate the unknowns.
Reach 100 jury trials. Find a way to leverage that experience into something more. Maybe in the legal field. Maybe somewhere else. I didn’t know when I started the journey. I just kept hearing those words in my head.
I would tell people I didn’t want to be average. I didn’t want to be comfortable. I wanted more.
I remember when I started sharing these ideas while I was still a prosecutor.
I had been teaching persuasive speaking at SMU Law School. I had been coaching the national mock trial team. I was training new prosecutors and putting together lessons on trial techniques for new prosecutors in the entire state of Texas to follow. I could see the skill set developing.
I spent my time watching speeches, studying persuasion, and brushing up on human psychology. I lived in the world of game theory. Every input that went into my head was for the purpose of learning, understanding, and turning it into a useful output.
I studied Churchill, Obama, Oprah, JFK, Don Draper, actors, musicians, and so much more to understand how I could become the best. I wanted to know it all.
I read transcripts, watched hours upon hours of other lawyers in trial or negotiation, and asked questions of my mentors to find out more.
So when I told them, half of my friends and colleagues believed me. They watched and shared words of encouragement. They knew I wanted more. They believed I would go after it.
But the other half thought it was foolish. Don’t give up the comfortable lawyer life. Don’t make a career shift. Be a lawyer. Be a damn good trial lawyer.
Answer to clients.
Answer to judges.
That’s just life.
But that life would take decades to get to the point I wanted. And truth be told, probably the work of more decades crammed into the fewer decades. All that would mean is working instead of living.
I want an empire to enjoy.
I’m on my way. I spent the past year building out Performative Speaking. If you’re reading this you probably know a bit about me already. You probably know the name Performative Speaking.
I turned a dead twitter account with 300 followers into 12,000. I created an Instagram account that currently sits at 15,000 followers. I put every ounce of energy and time into this thing. I ignored relationships. I sacrificed sleep. I focused on only one thing.
I did it all knowing exactly what I was doing. Not because I liked the sacrifices but because I knew there would never be a better time. Covid shut the world down. I want to be ready when it’s open again.
As I sit here after getting my 2nd vaccine yesterday, I can see the whole board. In case you’re wondering, yes that’s a reference to a scene between Sam Seaborn and President Bartlett in the West Wing.
Big things are coming for Performative Speaking. Big things are coming from me.
I feel them. I see them. I’ve built them.
I’m in the empire business now.
Want to learn more about some of the things I'm building?
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