Ellen DeGeneres is a world famous comedian, television host, producer and actress. When she was 19 years old, her girlfriend was killed in a car accident, and she was living in a tiny, flea infested apartment, with no money, no heating and no electric. Ellen has been in this career for over 30 years, and […]
Once upon a time, every squire wanted to be a knight and these days every office worker with a regular pay cheque dreams of becoming an entrepreneur. This might seem crazy, but it’s no bad thing; our society needs as many entrepreneurs as it can get, but just dreaming about taking the plunge is very […]
“If we learn to open our hearts, anyone, including the people who drive us crazy, can be our teacher.” ~Pema Chodron
You love them most of the time. You can’t stand them some of the time. But in the end, family is family.
I’ve never liked to admit it, but I am just like my dad. Close in birthday, same number 5 life path in numerology, both risk takers, very passionate and adventurous, fun-loving, and witty, and we lead by example. That’s positively speaking.
However, it becomes a negative pattern to focus on the other side of the coin. We both have the ability to become angry, withdrawn, and addicted to drama, and we both try to please everyone then resent others for their own imbalance.
Do you think it’s any surprise the family you were born into?
I used to blame my snappy behavior on my dad, whether at work, with girlfriends, or in social environments. “It’s my conditioning,” was my excuse I told myself. That’s exactly what it is from my perspective—an excuse.
On closer self-reflection, I found myself getting angrier and angrier that I was like my dad and becoming more like him.
Even though he’s a great guy, whenever I had a frustrating moment or lost my temper, I would blame him. No accountability or responsibility for my beliefs and actions, or the decisions I had made that led me to my current state.
What this did was further fuel my anger because I began to resent myself too.
I didn’t love myself as a “whole,” warts and all. I only wanted to see the positive stuff, but that became harder to do when I didn’t acknowledge, understand, and process my shadow as a part of who I am. This neglect strangely disabled my ability to enjoy the more positive aspects of my nature.
From my perspective, my dad was waking me up to own my anger and helping me see how it was also of benefit and service to me.
This moment came to a head at a FedEx Office when an employee made a remark to me that made me feel stupid. Well, that’s how I interpreted it at the time anyway. I hadn’t read the signs on how to use the self-service computers, and the employee reminded me in a condescending tone to read the signs over to my left.
That was enough for me to lose it. “What the hell did you just say to me?” I snapped.
I went from zero to a thousand in an instant and kept shouting like a crazy person. I could feel my head boil. It was then that a friend called on my cell. I stepped away, while the employee looked stunned and embarrassed by my behavior, while the women in line clutched their pearls so to speak.
I picked up the call and subconsciously said, “Don’t mind me, just having a moment here at Fed Ex. Snapped like my Dad.”
There went the finger of blame. Once again, I refused to accept that I could behave that way. My easy-going nature was where I liked to focus my awareness.
The idea that I could sting with my words in a heartbeat, I chose to neglect. It reminded me too much of my dad and how I didn’t like it when he cut me off from a sentence or adamantly refused to see things from my perspective. It was his fault that this was becoming an all too familiar occurrence was my excuse.
Thankfully, my friend on the phone is also a mentor, so he reminded me it was time to take a closer look.
“If your dad is the constant focus of your anger, what is he trying to wake you up to? Can you see he is subconsciously summoning you to investigate a part of yourself that desperately needs attention?” he asked.
It’s hard looking at yourself in the mirror when you may see an aspect of yourself you deny. But in order for me to understand my anger, I needed to become familiar with it and take responsibility.
By owning the positive side of my angry outbursts, I could stop judging myself and release blame directed at my dad.
Sound a little weird? Stay with me.
At home with a pen and paper, I wrote down every benefit I could think of, which told me how being angry was also of service to me. Some benefits included:
- Anger helps me take action; the fire within motivates me to go after what I really want. It helps me create tunnel vision and to block out anything or anyone that I see as a distraction to my goals.
- It adds to the emotion and depth of my writing, which can only add to its authenticity.
- It gives me an opportunity to practice accepting my shadow side. I don’t need to fight my anger; I just need to understand it and become more mindful of how I use it. This becomes a practice of accepting myself as I am.
By the time I had finished this exercise, which quickly became a page and a half, I felt a huge weight had lifted. The more self-aware I became, the less my anger bubbled to the surface.
I believe that was because I let myself off the hook. I forgave myself for being angry and forgave my dad for how he was. That in of itself was a huge weight to lift off my chest. Understanding it made me calmer and accentuated my ability to enjoy the more “positive” aspects of my nature.
This is, I believe, what my dad was waking me up to. I’ll say it again:
Do you think it’s any surprise the family you were born into? Think about it. And for better or worse, considering the amount of time we spend with our families growing up, it comes as no surprise that certain family members seriously push our buttons.
Why do they push our buttons? To help us discover what we’re meant to work through in this lifetime. Simply put, to help us grow. They are our teachers to help us wake up to parts of ourselves that need attention, understanding, and in some cases healing.
When rubbed the wrong way, the idea is to be able to take a closer look at ourselves and grow. What are these button pushers trying to teach us? Why do we react the way we do? What pain point are they touching? Are we willing to admit this and address it? Are we willing to not take it all so personally?
I believe that there are no accidents. I believe that our birth into our individual families is not random. Even if you don’t share this belief, you can still choose to see your challenging relationships as opportunities for growth, thereby empowering yourself instead of victimizing yourself.
The invitation to grow can help us be more empathetic, compassionate, loving, self-aware, trusting, authentic, confident, and less self-absorbed, jealous, envious, uncooperative, angry, and impatient.
You might be thinking, “Well, my brother bullies me,” or “My mother was abusive.” Sure, they might have been and probably were. But what do we know about hurt people? They hurt others.
Put yourself in his or her shoes. Imagine how much he is hurting or what dis-ease she has in her body? You have no idea what it is like to walk in their shoes. And look, it doesn’t give them a “get out of jail free card,” but it does give you an opportunity to become stronger and more self-aware, and to tap into a deeper understanding of your authenticity.
Maybe the bully of the family is summoning you to stand up for yourself, believe in yourself. Maybe your mother is calling for you to treat yourself with more kindness, so you can then teach others how to be kind.
I could go into a billion examples in family relationships, but the point I’m making is that your family is designed to help you grow. The task at hand is to wake up and pay attention to what each one of them has to teach you.
About Marshall Dunn
Marshall Dunn is the author of Letters to Mitch - The Healing Power of Grief, Love & Truth, which is available now on Amazon. Marshall also mentors individuals around the world to awaken to their truth and step into the life they are born to live. Visit www.marshalldunn.com for more information, and follow him on Instagram and Facebook.
The post Why It’s a Good Thing When Family Members Push Our Buttons appeared first on Tiny Buddha.
Here’s the uncomfortable truth. Some of us feel like melting into the floor the second we walk into a large social gathering. It can be a work function, a friend’s Super Bowl party, or just meeting a group of friends for dinner–doesn’t matter. Large groups make us seize up and devolve into the most socially awkward version of ourselves.
And then, while we’re fumbling to even introduce ourselves to ONE stranger, what do we see out of the corner of our eye? The social over-achiever. You know the one. He or she is always surrounded by a tight circle of fans. They’re throwing their head back laughing, while their entourage leans into the story, clapping and oohing and ahhhhing, and falling off their chairs laughing.
Um, I’ll have whatever she’s having, we think, because we can’t imagine ourselves pulling off the social spotlight that successfully.
The good news? All these feelings are totally naturally. Some of us like people, but we just don’t love them in enormous groups all at once.
Nevertheless, as one piece of evidence that life is indeed not fair, we will still be required to make an appearance at more than one social event in our lifetime. And that’s where this article comes in. Because when we do have to survive a large social gathering, there are things we can do to be less of a giant ball of nerves and more of an…adult person who can enjoy diverse experiences.
Here are 10 tips that will improve your social wizardry skills immediately.
1. Enter the room believing that the experience will be beneficial
It’s fine to acknowledge to yourself that you feel tension, but reframe the night as an opportunity to challenge yourself to grow. After all, research has overwhelmingly shown that relationships are good for our physical and mental well-being.
2. Look interested in meeting other people
Here are the cliff notes of what that looks like: Stay off your phone, smile and don’t slouch or cross your arms, and get ready to offer a friendly, confident hello to anyone who makes eye contact or speaks to you.
3. Don’t wait around for someone to initiate conversation with you
Go in with a few versatile small talk topics in mind. Some good starters: Where are they from? Where do they work? How did they end up at the event tonight?
See Also: 10 Ways to Make a Good First Impression
4. Start by talking to one person
Then, pull a couple others into the conversation. Big groups are less intimidating when you break them into smaller, more manageable conversation groups. If you exhaust one group or are curious to meet additional people, excuse yourself to go and say hello to someone else and begin again.
5. It’s the little things that set you apart
Make sure to get the person’s name and then occasionally use it when talking to them (like say their name three times, as opposed to 30). Then once you’re past the introduction, focus on finding and pointing out some common ground…even if it’s small. Some possibilities: your career field, where you live or grew up, the number or gender of your siblings, the size or makeup of your current family.
6. Ask questions
And then commit to being an above average listener. Tip: Do this by following up with additional questions. You work at Company X? How long have you worked there? (Listen.) What is your role? (Listen.) Do you see yourself there for the long term? (Listen.)
7. Be generous
That means being generous with compliments, generous with acts of service (get someone a refill, save them a seat), and even maybe some gifts (a round of appetizers, drinks, or desserts to share, for example).
8. Don’t try to be a Social You–i.e. a pretend, polished version of you
When you get nervous, you may be tempted to try to impress people by trying to sound super smart or really funny or by telling some outrageous story. When you feel that urge to put on a show, squash it, and circle back to being Real You–quirks and all. People trust those who share authentically, so go ahead and mention it if you feel uncomfortable in big social scenarios. Or laughingly talk about how you already dropped ketchup on your shirt or drove around for ten minutes looking for the place because you’re so bad with directions. People like and feel comfortable around sincerity.
9. On that last part, show you have some boundaries though
Don’t vulnerably spill the “whole story” about any of these topics the first time you meet someone: your divorce or breakup, medical or psychological issues, long term grudges or personality conflicts, your miserableness at work.
10. Set realistic expectations that allow you to be resilient
Don’t go into large group gatherings expecting to walk out with five new best friends. Best friends are usually forged over smaller gatherings. Large social scenes are just a chance to have some positive interactions and maybe meet someone you could hang out with in the future. If someone’s verbal or non-verbal signals suggest they aren’t interested, then, prep yourself not to take it personally, and move on to someone else. They might not be in the mood to talk, but one person of many shouldn’t shut you down for the night.
Finally, just like you couldn’t read an article on how to throw a javelin and immediately go out and compete in the Olympics, you can’t read an article on socializing and be an instant social wizard. Start small. Have one good conversation. Do one thing outside of your comfort zone. And the next time you go out, try again. Practice will turn these suggestions from “tips” into habits if you give them a chance.
The post What Social Over-Achievers Know That The Rest of Us Don’t appeared first on Dumb Little Man.
Being productive as an entrepreneur isn’t easy. There are so many distractions out there that it can be hard to make progress towards your goals. But it’s not hopeless. There are tools and methods that you can use to get superhuman productivity.
Here are 50 of the best productivity hacks for entrepreneurs:
1. Avoid commuting to the office
Commuting is stressful, time intensive and causes friction in your day. Avoid if at all possible!
2. Learn how to say “No”
Avoid being a people pleaser, say no to opportunities and favours and you will find yourself with more time to reach your goals
3. Do the most important task of the day first
In the morning we have the highest willpower levels, use this to complete the hardest task first . This makes the rest of the day’s tasks seem easy
4. Keep your phone in airplane mode until your first task is done
This ensures the first task is done with the distraction of a pointless phone call.
5. Use sleep cycle to wake up with energy
SleepCycle is an app that monitors your sleep cycle so it can wake you up at the optimum time in a 30-minute window.
6. Exercise in the morning
Richard Branson claims exercising in the morning gives him 4 more productive hours in a day.
7. Be goal orientated rather than following a todo list
Always align your tasks to an outcome ie. if it doesn’t increase revenue don’t prioritise it.
8. Meditate using Headspace
Meditation clears your mind and lets you develop laser focus and Headspace guides you through the process.
9. Use the Pomodoro technique
The Pomodoro technique is 25 minutes of work followed by a 5-minute break, quite simple it works.
10. Start the day of using the 60-60-30 technique
This ensures your first 2 biggest tasks of the day get done with ease. 50-minutes work, 10-minutes break, 60-minutes work and then 30-minutes break.
11. Avoid meetings
Meetings are usually a waste of time. Avoid meetings if you can and cap them at 20-minutes if they are unavoidable.
12. Remember the Pareto Principle
The Pareto Principle states that 80% of your results in anything stem from 20% of your actions, identify the 20% of actions that create 80% of your revenue and double down on them
13. Avoid eating big meals during the day
Eating big meals sends blog from your brain to your digestive system, leaving you feeling lethargic and stupid.
14. If it takes less than 2 mins do it now
For example, if you open an email in your inbox reply… don’t leave an “open-loop” in your mind.
15. Check emails 2 times a day
Email and messaging apps like slack are massive time wasters. Create an autoresponder telling people you check emails only 2 times a day and if it’s super important they can speak with your PA.
“There is no substitute for hard work.” – Thomas Edison
16. Tell people to stop distracting you
It takes you 25-minutes to get back to your original level of focus after distraction, make co-workers realize that.
17. Use background music
Use FocusAtWill, Brain.fm or youtube alpha waves/classical music to focus whilst working. Music you like with lyrics is always distracting.
18. Plan your day the night before
Wire your brain for productivity by going over your day the night before.
19. Make 60-second decisions
Don’t sweat over decisions or spend too much time deliberating them because it tanks your mental energy. The 60-second decision is a powerful concept.
20. Don’t start the day with distraction
80% of smartphone users check their phones within 15 minutes of waking up. The first hour sets the precedent for the day so don’t start it with distraction.
21. Make your work environment comfortable
To get into “flow” state you need to be in a comfortable environment, make sure your office isn’t cluttered or messy and that your seat is comfortable.
22. Stick to your routine
Whenever you can do the same things at the same times of the day, this allows you to create a habit and means in the future the task will take no energy to do.
23. Wake up early to do your morning routine
If you can get in the habit of a morning routine you will set yourself up for success. It will allow you to guarantee a productive day.
24. Reward yourself
Pick times to cool off and reward yourself like lunches with a friend or a walk to a coffee shop at mid-morning when you’ve completed your second task.
25. Pick a calendar management tool
Fantastical 2, Omnifocus, Wunderlist, Trello, Asana are all great calendar management tools.
26. Schedule tasks
Tasks always expand to the time you have. Schedule them at a certain time and duration to ensure they get done.
27. What gets measured gets managed
Always review your work day and week. What got done? What didn’t get done and why? How can I streamline my productivity process?
28. Don’t multitask
Multitasking lowers your IQ as much as smoking weed. Avoid this!
29. Use the 6 list rule
Every working day write down 6 tasks in order of importance and tackle them one by one. If some don’t get completed reorder into the next day’s list.
30. Drink more water
When you wake up drink 0.5L of water immediately to replenish your body after a waterless night. Keep drinking water throughout the day to improve focus.
“Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work.” – Stephen King
31. Use stayfocussd to block distracting websites
StayFocussd is a chrome extension that blocks distracting sites like facebook.
32. Have an afternoon nap
A 20-minute nap is an incredible asset to have. It refreshes the mind and body and allows you to develop superhuman productivity.
33. Don’t watch the news
The news affects your “reptilian brain” by evoking a fear response. You will be much happier and more productive without it.
34. Turn off push notifications
Push notifications equals distractions. Turn them off and celebrate your new found freedom.
35. Use on and off ramps
This means do the same task to get you prepared for work every single day and a different task to prepare you for stopping thinking about work. For example, a run in the morning and a shower in the evening to stop you bringing work home with you.
36. Brain dump once a week
Once a week write down everything you have been worrying/thinking about ( not necessarily just work related) and put in on a piece of paper with 2 categories. Things I can control and things I can’t. Schedule the former into tasks for the week and tear up the page with the things you can’t control on it. This releases mental tension.
37. Use Noise-Cancelling Headphones
Less noises equals less distractions which equals better productivity
38. Visualise yourself
Pro golfers have increased their handicap without hitting a ball using visualisation. Conor McGregor swears by it. Visualise yourself being successful with the work at hand.
39. Make sure you have everything to complete your tasks
You should have everything at hand to complete your tasks. This means planning ahead of time for resources, assets or people that are needed to complete the task.
40. Schedule eating
Always eat breakfast and schedule eating times to avoid getting hungry and eating junk.
41. Split test your sleeping habits
Always get at least 6 hours of sleep a night. Pulling an all nighter doesn’t make you a “hustler” it means you’re not organised enough.
42. Read David Allens “getting things done”
This is the must read book for successful productivity.
43. Sleep in 90-min blocks
The human circadian rhythm is 90 minutes and it takes us on average 10 minutes to get to sleep. So go to sleep at 10:50PM if you want to wake up with energy at 6AM.
44. Take at least 1 day off in your business a week
Your business is your baby and needs a lot of attention to grow up strong and healthy, but one night a week consider getting a babysitter and not thinking about it. This will allow you to relax your mind and avoid burn out.
45. Reconnect with your why
Never forget why you started. Always connect the work with your passion and dreams.
“Action is the foundational key to all success.” – Pablo Picasso
46. Give up TV
10 years from now you will regret watching TV. It is a massive time waster.
47. Reduce decision fatigue
Mark Zuckerberg always wears the same clothes and eats the same food. This allows him to use his decision powers on things that matter.
48. Cold showers
Cold showers force the blood in your body into your core. This gives you energy and mental focus.
49. Splash cold water on your face when you wake up
This increases cortisol levels (stress hormone) to help you act with urgency to get things done.
50. Avoid the snooze button
The first action you do sets the context for the day. The snooze button is so dangerous because it trains your brain to procrastinate and actually makes you wake up feeling more tired.
Which productivity hack will you be implementing today? Leave a comment below!
The worst thing possible when sending out email follow-ups is to have them NOT inbox as expected. However, there are many other fundamental flaws you should avoid when running an email campaign to promote your content or products. Over the years, I’ve tested out many types of email marketing strategies and found some elements to work better than others. I’ve played around with different headlines, SMTP relays, body-text, keywords, etc., and I was impressed with the results. The most value information I gained from running these tests was how to optimize your email marketing so your messages get inbox and how to avoid some very basic mistakes. I was surprised what other factors will influence your email delivery other than a spammed follow-up message.
Here are 4 errors you can avoid to ensure you don’t kill your delivery rate…
Buying a List
I’ve bought several lists in my blogging career and I would suggest not investing in purchasing lists. You have to remember, the core of email marketing is having an effective relevant niche-based list. However, that’s not the only problem you’ll face because you have to ensure all the email addresses are still valid so you’ll have to invest in cleaning your email list, which can cost anywhere from $500-$2000 dollars continuously over several months. However, keep in mind, many of these people have not given you approval to email them from your domain so you might run into problems sending them a message. The point is this…
Purchasing a list from a vendor will do nothing for you but increase your complaint rates. It will force your IP address to get blacklisted and going forward, you’ll have a difficult time getting regular email messages delivered through your account. In the end, you’re killing your deliverability and destroying your reputation at the same time. Here’s something else that happen to me…
I was using SMTP relays and when email addresses starting bouncing because of non-delivery, I was banned from using relays going forward. This hurt my reputation with many providers, etc.
Not Getting Approval
One of the biggest flaws in email marketing is NOT asking people for their permission before sending them follow-ups. These people are well aware of the blogs and/or websites they’ve subscribed to and will mark your message as SPAM if they don’t recognize your messages. Here something else you should know…
Not gaining the proper approval goes against the email CAN-SPAM, which outlines the regulations as they apply to sending messages to people. If these people mark your message as “Report as SPAM”, then you can be in a lot of trouble, depending on how many complaints you’ve generated. Protect yourself and your blog by asking for permission before sending people messages.
Sending Opposite Content
Here’s something I’ve seen happen over and over again. You’ll have people subscribe to your newsletter promising certain type of content, but send them something completely different. By doing this, you’re abusing the subscribers trust and you’ll lose them as loyal visitor if you start practicing this type of messaging. You have to be clear about your content and why people are joining your newsletter. If they’ve joined to receive a FREE eBook, then provide them exactly that, but you can always let them know you’ll be sending other relevant content. Next,
You have to keep consistency in your content when sending follow-ups. If your blog is on “link building”, then make sure everything you send is relevant. People subscribed to your newsletter because they want information on “link building” and have put their trust in you to provide it. Here are some more tips…
- Know your objective
- Remember what you promised them
- Trust is the most important element between you and a person so don’t jeopardize it for anyone.
Here’s something many of you probably don’t think about because you have a preconceived idea that sending too many messages will hurt subscription count. However, did you know NOT sending enough email follow-ups can have the same effect? When people sign up to receive newsletters, it’s a privilege because they could have joined your competitor’s newsletters. Remember, there is NO shortage of competition in your niche so people can find high quality information on several websites. As a matter of fact, your subscribers are probably part of several newsletters so it’s very easy for them to forget what blogs they’ve actually joined. This is why it’s important to keep your blog in circulation so they recognize the name each time they receive a follow-up. In the beginning, when I started my blog, I was nervous sending out follow-ups every week. I would send them once every 1-2 months and I lost enormous visitors. Why? Simple…
When I would send them a follow-up after 2 months, many of them forget my blog and thought it was a SPAM message from someone who purchased a list, etc. Instead of taking the time to read my message, they deleted it right away, which was a complete waste of a lead, hence, conversion. Here’s the lesson I learned…
Always keep a steady follow-up sequence and this doesn’t have to be difficult. Many ESPs like Aweber.com will allow you to schedule a follow-up sequence and once set-up, you’re hands off from the whole process. Each new person who subscribes will go through the same sequence and, over time, will automatically remember your blog. It’s a great way of building trust, loyalty, and credibility.
I’m dripping with sweat after underestimating the pleasant walk from Google’s office in Silicon Valley to my next meeting. I’m thinking to myself “Why did I bring this stupid DSLR camera which is making my backpack so heavy?”
Anyway, I arrive at my destination. For the first time on my San Fran trip, I’m actually early for a meeting. Every other meeting I have been late to because Google Maps really does make everything look so close together….lol.
I meet my well-known contact at his office, and by the end of the meeting, I’m in. In what you ask? The club, network, business – whatever you want to call it. I know this because I am asked to go and get kite surfing lessons.
I used to skate half pipes, so I figure that I’ve still got this extreme sports ability in me. It’s not the sport itself that fascinated me; it’s the people that participate in it and the opportunities it presents. All the current people I want to meet all seem to do it (and do it well).
There’s plenty that can go wrong and after saying yes I’ve realised that it’s definitely harder than I thought. So what. Sometimes, we have to take a risk. The best decisions we make are based on a gut feeling, not scientific evidence.
The corporate word has failed to teach me that everything isn’t based on facts. The corporate world has also failed to make me agree that every problem has a solution just like in university.
The four things that held me back and may be holding you back from an amazing opportunity like this are:
1. I was scared of being an elephant bumper
Elephant bumping is where you go out of your way to spend time with people who are very famous when you’re not (at least that’s what it means to me). The inference here is that because you are not on the same level as them, you shouldn’t be spending time with these influential people.
I’ve realised this is wrong and in fact, famous entrepreneurs are just like everyone else. We somehow think that they are superhuman, but they’re not. They eat normal food, enjoy meaningful conversations and have fun just like the rest of us (who knew).
When you forget that these people are highly successful, you are able to talk to them on the same level. The moment you get star struck you’re screwed. The bottom line is this: forget about whether people are famous or not when you meet them.
2. I thought I would have nothing valuable to tell them
No one has all the knowledge in the world. Even if someone is successful, there is always something that you know that they don’t – take advantage of this. For ages, I held back from reaching out to famous entrepreneurs and even dreaming that I could go kite surfing with them.
I somehow felt inferior and like I didn’t have anything valuable to give. When you have nothing to give it’s challenging to spend time with high profile people. I’m the kind of guy that never likes one-way exchanges of value.
What I’ve just said about have nothing valuable is a myth. In my humble opinion, I know blogging, social media, tech, personal development, and entrepreneurship at a super-human level.
Back to the office in Silicon Valley, as it turns out, I had a fair few trade secrets about tech and business. Some of the things I knew were sort after. The moral of the story is that you have to find your unique skill that the other person doesn’t have when meeting famous entrepreneurs.
3. I didn’t back myself
A lot of what I have described in this post comes down to a lack of belief. When you don’t believe in yourself, no one else will. How can you expect someone else to back you when you don’t? Well, you can’t.
The moment I believed that I was just like them, my luck started to change. I created my own luck like I always do. The thing is that I did back myself to a point. I mean I spent $5000 flying to the US with no meeting booked. That’s backing yourself, isn’t it?
Well, it is to a point. The trick is you’ve got to go all the way and not be half pregnant (sorry if this is politically incorrect it’s the best I could come up with).
“The shift happens when you place all the poker chips of life on the table, and you’re prepared to lose it all”
That’s when success comes knocking at the door, and opportunities like kite surfing reveal themselves.
4. I was nervous about my failures in business
Until I had gone to Silicon Valley, I didn’t realise how important my past failures were. Before my trip, I thought failures in business were to be frowned upon. When I got there, I realised that failures were celebrated like some god from the Roman Empire who had just won in battle.
The smell of the fresh blood of failure is what keeps Silicon Valley breathing at night. It’s the pulse of the landscape, and it’s not to be feared. Somehow I thought that if I revealed my failures, it would make me not worthy of an opportunity like kite surfing with these tycoons.
As it turned out, as usual, I was dead wrong. Failure is to be rejoiced because it shows that I take action instead of sitting on the sidelines and commentating like most people.
Be proud of who you are and don’t let limiting beliefs stop you from incredible opportunities. Often, your success lies on the other side of these BS fears. Forget about the labels and just be you. As long as you’re being authentic, you’ll attract the people you want to be surrounded by.
While I still have no idea how to kite surf I have faith that I’ll figure it out. Failing that, I’m a good swimmer, so maybe I can just go scuba diving instead….haha. If you see me on a beach near you trying to kite surf and falling over, don’t laugh and know that I’m doing my best.
What’s holding you back? Let me know on my website timdenning.net or my Facebook.
This is a guest contribution from Sam Wright at techgirlblog.com.
I’d had my technology lifestyle blog for little over a year when I began working with an influencer marketing platform, connecting brands and bloggers on sponsored collaborations.
Blogging in my region hadn’t become a true income source yet (that has changed in recent months and I like to think I had something to do with it) and a solid nine-to-fiver seemed the “safe” bet, especially as the platform would let me continue my blog.
One year on, I’ve had my job title change almost bi-monthly, I’ve stood in boardrooms and fought, almost to the point of tears, for bloggers, and I’ve also stood in boardrooms and been let down, almost to the point of tears, by bloggers.
The business of blogging is evolving at a rapid pace and I’ve been lucky enough to wear both “hats”, that of the creator and that of the brand on the other side, fearfully giving up creative control of their identity to a blogger.
Playing these dual roles has taught me four key lessons that I now apply to my blog and my job. These insights have allowed me to better monetise my own platforms but also given me the ability to ensure income for other creators. These are my learnings and whether blogger or brand, I’m hoping they can assist you as much as they have me!
Content. Content. Content.
It seems like such a cliche but the truth is everything links back to the content you produce.
Good content builds your audience and invites engagement, which then makes you attractive to brands – who then become interested in paying you to create good content in order to get exposure for their product or service.
Creating great content isn’t rocket science but there are a few additional things I’ve learnt over the years. The first is that good content is subjective. I’ve seen things produced by other creators and thought: “what the hell is that?” and yet it has gone on to do incredibly well with their audience. I’ve also seen really bad content that has little to no creative flair that gets published, getting no response from the targeted audience and yet the brand is over the moon because they liked it.
Sometimes it is hard, as a blogger, to remember that you don’t create content for brands but for your audience. It shouldn’t be hard, but it can be. I have a day job, so for my blog it is easy for me to say no to something that doesn’t sit with me, but I know that when your livelihood depends on the income your little space on the internet derives, it could be easy to think you could twist the content to work. You can’t. You shouldn’t. Don’t do it. All the money in the world won’t make up for the audience you’ll lose down the line.
As a creator myself I can say this with confidence: that audience means more to you than anything and if you’re true to your craft you’ll happily penny pinch to retain them. Long term it will mean less penny pinching because you’ll be far more respected than the blogger who chose to make the quick buck along the way.
Report on EVERYTHING
Vanity stats, the stuff you think no one cares about and then the extra statistics you don’t even understand – make sure they all go in your closing report.
My biggest learning from a blogger’s perspective after my first year at an influencer marketing platform has been that sometimes the blogger in me gets far too caught up in the creative.
The business of blogging has two parts: Blogging and Business. Business needs a return on investment. Lots of eyeballs on some gorgeous flat lays isn’t enough and, in time, we’re going to see even the best creators fall away if they don’t begin to show an accurate conversion. Your blog post or Instagram photo is simply one section of a giant funnel leading the consumer to the point of sale.
Bloggers, when approached to work with brands, need to ask what the goal is and what the measurement criteria is going to be. Don’t do the job if you don’t think you can deliver – and when delivery time comes be sure to over-deliver: track links, track audience demographics, track the keywords they searched to get to the post you wrote. Every little detail is like a tiny golden nugget for a brand attempting to not only target the right consumer but also lead them to a point where they purchase a product.
I’m about to be a little bit controversial now but if I take off my influencer marketing hat for a minute and put on my blogger hat: I know how annoying influencer marketing platforms can be.
I realise that they constantly hound you to sign up with no real promise of reward. I know you think they take the power out of your hands. I feel you. But the truth is, these platforms offer a service to the brand on the other side that bloggers have failed at: they know how to accurately report on a campaign.
Rather than fighting ten bloggers to get any sort of statistic other than “it got 20,000 views”, “there were 35 likes”, “my monthly uniques are…” it is far easier for a brand to pay a fee to a platform to pull the data they need to build their digital campaigns. The truth is we, as bloggers, are selling ourselves short and not delivering on the costs associated with running content on our blogs.
Report on ALL. THE. THINGS.
Blogging is about community – start collaborating
Sometimes during the hunt for money to put food on our table or the obsessive need with growing our platforms I think we forget why we started blogging in the first place. I think we forget that we wanted to have a space to share with like minded people who think like us or feel like us or could relate to us in some sort of way. We forget the conversations with our friends that revolved around theme design or the concept art behind our latest blog.
You’ll notice that most influencer marketing campaigns usually involve more than one blogger or creator. That’s because a few bloggers reach a far larger target market than just one. I’ve learnt to take the business thinking and apply it to my blogging. Working with other bloggers on projects (even ones that don’t make me money) allows me to reach a new audience who might potentially be interested in my blog. It also allows the other blogger to reach my audience. Most importantly though? It makes me happy.
Even if you want to make your blog a fully-fledged business, it should still make you happy. It takes so much of your energy to create, it’s important you enjoy it. I enjoy working with other creatives (usually far better than me at what they do) because I am able to learn so much from what they do and how they work. There’s a reason we flock to a site like ProBlogger and it is because the only people who really understand the passion that goes into maintaining a blog are other bloggers.
It comes down to relationships
In one year I’ve had the opportunity to work with some of the biggest brands in the world. I’ve collaborated with some of the most well respected international media and advertising agencies both on my blog and at the influencer marketing platform I work at.
My boss is going to want me to tell you it is because of our amazing technology and the blogger in me wants to say it is because of the incredible, but small, audience I’ve built. There is no doubt that those things play a big role but I’m pretty sure there is one defining factor across that board that results in success: good relationships are built on a foundation of trust.
My blog readers trust me and because they trust me they come to me for advice or read my content for assistance. My “day job” clients trust me when I suggest our tech to better manage their influencer campaigns and report on them because I’ve been able to prove it delivers on what I say it does. My “blogging” clients trust me to look after a brand they’ve cherished, nurtured and built because they trust me (sometimes blindly). Those relationships aren’t made overnight. They’re like any other relationship and take time to nurture.
The first three things I learnt all link directly to the relationships you build: be it with other bloggers, your audience, with brands or even with the influencer marketing platform you might decide to sign up to.
In my time juggling hats I’ve realised the importance of people and of the connections we’re able to make. Ironically, the need to make those connections was the reason I started blogging in the first place.
Sam Wright is a lifestyle technology blogger at techgirlblog.com. She also heads up the software partners division at Webfluential – an influencer marketing technology company.
The post 4 things I Learnt as a Blogger Working at an Influencer Marketing Platform appeared first on ProBlogger.
Binge eating disorder looks like…
However, when it sneaks out it transforms itself into restriction and starvation, compulsive eating, and doing shameful, unforgivable things with food.
If you look closely enough, you can recognize it in brittle nails, thinning hair, canceled plans, and frantically raiding the refrigerator or pantry the minute everyone leaves the house. It looks like anorexia on the outside, but food addiction on the inside. It’s major weight swings, food hangovers, purging, and body shame.
Binge eating disorder feels like empty happiness because you’re finally skinny enough to win society’s approval yet it feels like the scariest, oddest, most inhumane thing imaginable. You absolutely hate it, but yet are attached to it more than anything else.
It’s feeling faint from going a day or two without food before you start bingeing again. It’s shame, anxiety, and depression all wrapped up into the prettiest-looking gift under the Christmas tree.
It’s calm and shame at the same time. It’s love and hate at the same time. It lifts you up but quickly drops you. It’s your best friend and your worst enemy.
Binge eating disorder sounds like “I’m too fat. I’m not skinny enough. Why am I not good enough? What do I need to do to make my body look better? I hate my body. I hate myself. No one likes me. I’m disgusting. I’m a pig. Don’t eat that; it’s bad. Now I’ve really blown it. So much for toning up this summer!”
All the while you appear perfectly healthy. It’s your dirty little secret. It’s your double life. It’s always planning the next binge. It’s isolation: leaving social gatherings with friends or family knowing your binge awaits you at home; making another trip to the store or restaurant because you didn’t get enough food the first time. It’s eating a week’s worth of calories in one or two days.
It’s canceling plans you have just so that you can crawl back into your shameful world. It’s the only place you feel comfortable. It’s the world where you have less anxiety and less depression.
It’s that mental tug- that inner voice telling you that you want something. “You need something.” It’s like an insect drawn to a bright light. You learn to disguise it behind the smiles; behind the gaiety; behind the convincing talk that you’re just hungry.
You’re “o.k.”, but how “o.k.” are you when you’re stuffing your mouth as tears stream down your face? How “o.k.” are you when you’re hovered over the toilet crying because you can’t get yourself to throw up? How “o.k.” are you when you’re keeping down fewer than 500 calories a day? When will it be enough?
Recovery from binge eating disorder means learning how to say, “I need help.” It’s learning how to take care of yourself without guilt. It means occasionally confiding in a friend or loved one. It means learning to listen to your body instead of your head when it comes to food choices. It’s meditation to calm anxiety around food. It’s going for walks. It’s putting yourself first. It’s letting go of the desire to lose weight. It’s allowing yourself to eat what you want until you’re satisfied. It’s eating whatever you want, whenever you want- hungry or not. Binge eating disorder is challenging your beliefs about what defines beauty and worthiness. It’s loving your life. It’s loving your body. It’s accepting everything about yourself no matter how negative or imperfect.
Binge eating disorder is just a bad habit. Recovery is the chance to take back all the power you once gave it.
You're reading Focus Like a Ninja: How to Reduce Stress and Sharpen Your Mind, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you're enjoying this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.
Our desire to be more focused, to produce more, to think better, and to find clarity in our lives is often attacked from the angle of looking at our mind and how our brains can be adjusted or medicated or sharpened in some way. But, the truth of the matter is, that as a culture, we are under a huge amount of stress that degrades the quality of our thinking and our lives and it simply can’t be completely effectively addressed by focusing on the ways in which we think, organize our days, or express gratitude for what we have every day. When you’re under stress, it’s easy for you to lose energy because your survival mechanisms are engaged. Your energy goes to the surface of the body to make you more alert for danger. You breathe more shallowly and become unanchored from your core. According to Qi Gong theory, your energy is more prone to be scattered or drained when it’s poorly consolidated in your core. In order to better contain your energy, you need to bring your energetic focal point back down to your energetic center. Learning to focus on and strengthen your lower dan tian will counteract stress, make you more resilient, and build energy. Try getting in touch with your lower dan tian now:
— Let your abdomen relax completely, and allow each breath to descend the whole way down into your pelvis. For a minute or so, imagine that you’re opening this bowl, including your hips, with every breath. — Next, focus on a point about two inches below your navel and deep at the center of your body. By scanning around in this area, you can find a point that feels most powerful and solid. This is your lower dan tian. — As you breathe in, imagine that you’re drawing in pure golden light from every direction, funneling it into the lower belly. — With each exhale, imagine that you’re condensing the light into the center of the lower dan tian to a ball of light the size of a pearl. The idea is that the more dense and solid you make this storehouse of energy, the more powerfully anchored your mind and energy will be, and the harder it will be for your energy to unconsciously “leak out.” — Repeat drawing light in on your inhale and condensing the light into your lower dan tian on your exhale. Remember to breathe deeply and fully, filling your whole abdomen down to your pelvis. — Continue for five minutes or more. — With your finishing exhale imaging that your pearl sized ball of light is condensing even further and envision your solid anchor of energy in your lower dan tian.Practice shifting the center of your consciousness (which usually resides in your head, since that’s where most of your sense organs are) down to your lower dan tian as often as you think of it. See if you can tune in to the uniquely sweet experience of feeling solid in this region. How does it feel to stir a pot of soup or beat eggs with the movement coming from the lower dan tian? How does it feel to initiate the movement of walking from the lower dan tian? How about painting, or writing, or dancing, or speaking, all from the lower dan tian? What about doing your work from your lower dan tian? If you make this a daily practice—breathing into your belly and focusing on your lower dan tian—you’ll begin to notice that stressful events don’t throw you off the way they used to. You’ll bounce back quicker, too. And all that crazy overwhelming mind energy will start to be grounded into your core, so that you can think clearly, produce more, and be focused. Using this body centered technique for reducing stress and sharpening the mind has been used by martial artists for centuries. They knew that their power didn’t come from their muscles or their mind, but from their ability to ground themselves in their center and to move from that place in all their actions. We strongly encourage you to give it a try. © Briana Borten and Dr. Peter Borten, authors of The Well Life Author Bios: Briana Borten and Dr. Peter Borten are the authors of The Well Life: How to Use Structure, Sweetness, and Space to Create Balance, Happiness, and Peace (Adams Media). Briana and Dr. Peter Borten have made it their mission to create a more peaceful world by helping individuals reestablish a sense of inner peace and balance. They are the founders of The Dragontree, a wellness organization with holistic spas in Portland and Boulder, online courses, natural body care products, and resources for vibrant living. Peter, a Doctor of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine and certified Qi Gong instructor, has taught extensively and has authored hundreds of articles on psychological and physical health. Briana is a Certified Ayurvedic Specialist, peace engineer, and CEO of The Dragontree. She writes frequently on personal development and helps people achieve their dreams and live extraordinary, healthy lives. For more information, please visit http://thewelllifebook.com and follow the authors on Facebook and Instagram.
You've read Focus Like a Ninja: How to Reduce Stress and Sharpen Your Mind, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you've enjoyed this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.