Part 3: Seth Godin’s Professional Freelancer Course – Rank Yourself

Advisory Lessons from 12 Angry Men, A Few Good Men, The Godfather, and The West Wing

Trust Sign

Photo Credit: thorinside


I’m publicly taking and publishing the required exercises in Seth Godin’s Professional Freelancer Course on Udemy. The required exercises force you to ask: “Am I Taking This Path for The Right Reasons.”

I completed the Lectures Six through Thirteen this morning. It’s great stuff taught by The Godfather Himself: Mr. Seth Godin.

Seth asked his course participants to go all-in and publish their assignments. As I perform the course exercises, I will continue publishing the results. It’s Seth teaching his students to write down, commit to, and deliver on our personal manifestos.

Here’s my continuing public contribution and commitment to Seth’s class:

Compared to Others Who Do What You Do, Rank Yourself on: Reputation, Knowledge, Expertise, Tools, Handiness.

I’m going to rank myself on three (3) subjective levels or stages relative to the five (5) attributes in this exercise based on current client feedback and my own self-evaluation:

1) Building Credibility Advisor: These are the beginning stages of working with a client. We’ve started work on a project(s) and we’re still feeling each other out. We’re getting a feel for each other’s work styles and how the other person thinks and accepts mutual feedback. Doing well in this stage is everything to me. It sets the entire tone and rhythm for the relationship-building process during the client engagement. This stage requires intentional and purposeful listening. If I’m intentionally and purposefully listening, I’m going to ask better, informed questions. That’s not easy. It takes disciplined practice.

Movie Character Analogy. If I were to make the Building Trust stage analogous to a Building Trust Advisor character in the movies, I think of the late, great Henry Fonda as Juror Number 8 in 12 Angry Men. The Fonda character is coming in cold without any established credibility among his fellow jurors. He has to build his credibility and influence among his fellow jurors literally one person at-a-time before selling and pitching his ideas on why he believes the defendant is innocent (even though the circumstantial evidence points otherwise).



2) Everybody Else Sees and Tells You You’re An Exceptional Advisor. But, You Prevent Yourself From Seeing and Believing This. You’re Looking For a Defining Moment (Which Is A Veiled Excuse). My apologies for that long-winded and awkward description. I don’t know how to state this concept in fewer words.

Movie Character Analogy. If I were to make the aforementioned run-on sentence analogous to a character in the movies, I think of Tom Cruise’s portrayal of Lieutenant Daniel Kaffee in A Few Good Men. The Cruise character possesses outstanding litigation and strategic analytical skills. He’s also a master tactician in dissecting, framing and presenting an argument.

Here’s the rub. Lieutenant Kaffee Doesn’t Believe He Holds These Exceptional Skill and Qualities (even though he practices them with his clients and legal team). That’s a HUGE problem.

As Kaffee meticulously prepares himself and his legal team (played by Demi Moore and Kevin Pollack) his ongoing, self-sabotage result in missteps and setbacks during the trial proceedings.

His legal team constantly tells him he’s got The Right Stuff. Daniel Kaffee IS an exceptional lawyer. He just doesn’t believe it (or he won’t acknowledge he has these talents because doing so shuts off any escape routes for excuses if he loses this high profile case).


It isn’t until this major setback occurs when Kaffee begins to believe in and purposefully assert himself. There’s a pivotal scene immediately after the aforementioned scene. An important exchange occurs between Lieutenant Sam Weinberg (Pollack’s character). That’s when and Kaffee finally wakes up and ACKNOWLEDGES he does more than “talk-the-talk.”

That turning point is Daniel Kaffee’s defining moment. That’s when he becomes an exceptional advisor. But, arriving at that destination and mindset can be a difficult process (if we let it). I know THAT journey firsthand.


3) Trusted Advisor:Someone whom my clients trust and listen to because they know and believe I have her/his best interests at heart. When I respectfully disagree in private discussions, my client acknowledges I’m doing the most important service a Trusted Advisor provides: I Protect The Client From Herself/Himself.

Movie Character Analogy. If I were to make the Trusted Advisor analogous to a Trusted Advisor character in the movies, it would be Robert Duvall’s character, Tom Hagen (aka The Consigliere) in The Godfather and The Godfather 2. I’m also a huge fan of the former television series, The West Wing. My favorite character was Leo McGarry (played by the late, great actor John Spencer). Leo was President Jeb Bartlet’s White House Chief of Staff.



The Hagen and McGarry characters knew and believed they earned their respective clients’ highest trust. That status and self-confidence carries tremendous responsibility and power. More importantly, both characters acted with a humility, diplomacy, and a clear-headedness during the height of crises.

A. Reputation: Ranking — Juror Number 8 with various clients. Trusted Advisor to one in particular (a client who’s known me for 20+ years).

B. Knowledge: Ranking — Lieutenant Daniel Kaffee.

C. Expertise: Ranking — Lieutenant Daniel Kaffee.

D. Tools: Ranking — Lieutenant Daniel Kaffee.

E. Handiness: Ranking — Tom Hagen / Leo McGarry.

A Defining Moment Example From a LinkedIn Teaching and Coaching Session. Just because I think something comes relatively easier for me, doesn’t mean it comes as easily for another person. This defining moment occurred during a teaching and coaching session with a CEO I advise.

This CEO is enthusiastic about learning, understanding and applying LinkedIn’s powerful features to:

  • Develop and Promote Corporate Reputation and Thought Leadership
  • Increase and Improve Current Sales and Lead Generation Business Outcomes
  • Improve Google Search Engine Results Pages Rankings/Results (i.e., Google SERPs)
  • Keep Informed of Important Industry Trends, News Items, and Competitive Intelligence

LinkedIn Could Be A Lot More User-Friendly. But, It Isn’t. The CEO commented about the intuitiveness of the LinkedIn User Interface. This senior leader’s conclusion: LinkedIn’s User Interface Is Not User-Friendly For a Beginner or Intermediate User. Please keep in mind, the person making this statement is a highly intelligent and open-minded leader who continuously builds new, professional skills.


I Can Be My Own Worst Enemy. While driving away from my client’s headquartes, I realized I subconsciously discounted the LinkedIn knowledge and expertise I’ve accumulated an invested in. Somewhere along the line, I convinced myself (until after that conversation) my LinkedIn knowledge and expertise wasn’t as valuable or as substantive as I thought.

But, It Is. That’s Why It’s Time For The Daniel Kaffee in Me To Believe NOW …


Which Will You Invest in Developing?

All Of The Above. With An Emphasis On Reputation. Knowledge, Expertise, Tools, and Handiness in 21st Century Professional and Career Management all feed into and amplify Reputation. The Internet makes that possible.

I carefully study Michael Hyatt’s amazing book, Platform, and Dorie Clark’s remarkable book, Stand Out.

A Quick Shout-Out to Dorie Clark and her book, Stand Out. Continuing with the movie analogy theme, I equate Dorie’s first and outstanding book, Reinventing YOU to Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. Brilliant Storytelling. Inspiring. Insightful. Innovative.

Dorie Clark’s Stand Out Is Analogous to Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back. But, not because it’s the second in her book series. I personally hope she’s got another book in her. I closely study and follow Dorie’s thoughts and advice on her blog, newsletter, social media, productivity tools advice, etc.. Writing Stand Out sounds like it took so much out of her.

Dorie Teaches 50-Somethings Like Me to Stand Out and Overcome Our Fears in Discovering Our Individual Character, Gifts, and Talents. The Empire Strikes Back is the finest and best movie in The Star Wars Film Series because it describes how the main characters constantly confront one horrible crisis after another. Each character discovers her/his individual character, gifts, and talents during that trial-by-fire process.

That discovery process (although incredibly painful at times) enables each main character to ultimately triumph and prevail. That’s what makes Stand Out such a personal and meaningful book for me. Stand Out is about teaching ourselves to have the courage and guts to discover our individual character, gifts, and talents.

Overcoming those individual fears (e.g., rejection, public failure, doubts in self-worth, what other people think of you aka ALL THAT SELF-LIMITING BULLSHIT) is the key to unleashing the power of our respective characters, gifts, and talents. If we’re generous in sharing those attributes like Dorie describes in Stand Out (and Seth Godin writes about in his work), we too can benefit others and ourselves with The Power of THE FORCE.

Our Respective Characters, Gifts, and Talents are THE FORCE

The Force Will Be With Us. Always. Because The Force Lives and Burns Within Us.

We Just Have To Have The Courage and The Guts To Admit It’s There (because personally acknowledging so means NO EXCUSES).

We Just Have To Believe It. Because When We Don’t, That Is Why We Fail.

Size Matters Not on Disney Video


Your Turn

Please let me know if you agree or disagree with my thoughts in the comments. I would love to hear from you. I’m here to read, listen, and learn from YOUR PERSPECTIVE.   Comments are open. So let’er rip!


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President and Founder

As President and Founder of Faustino Marketing Strategies, I advise how a buyer's problem guides a client's content marketing and SEO decisions.

I am based in the Kansas City area (Overland Park, Kansas).

I share my ideas on the reinvention of content marketing and SEO in my personal blog: Social Media ReInvention. (