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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Two Keys That Will Define Your Life's Destiny

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This is a reworking of a post from last year - all comments are appreciated and as always the tone is intended to perhaps momentarily cause pause for thought and not to lecture - and the pic should reinforce that the message is delivered with a little irreverent humor - hope you enjoy...

On a daily basis I observe stressed out puffed out, morbidly obese, frustrated, underpaid emotional bankrupts stumbling blindly through the daily monotony that defines their mortality and bereft of any enthusiasm, joy or hope.

So who these people are that I’m hanging out with?  I’d guess they’re the same poor souls you notice everyday vacuous with funereal expressions in cubicles, factories, shops or commuting in cars, buses and trains like the living dead!

Most of us in the Western World don't live in some Dickensian world of poverty, rather in a modern golden age surrounded by abundance. In a world of unparalleled opportunity, where the barriers of social standing no longer inhibit upward mobility, how is it that the barometer of health and happiness, often labeled 'Life Balance' seems to be so out of kilter?

Stress, obesity, frustration, and empty relationships are mostly a manifestation, not of unfortunate luck or inherent genetic flaw but something profoundly simpler. I'll call it 'sclerosis of the attitudes'. This is obviously a play on words, referring to that other devastating health issue: the hardening of the arteries.

I have studied the subject of self concept, belief, value systems, and the degree to which it is a predicator of general well-being and a question comes to mind. Whilst feeling good about ourselves undoubtedly is of huge benefit in attracting positive energy of people and circumstances in to our lives, it doesn’t answer this question; How to you acquire this magical state of being? A life of contented balance.

The two magic ingredients that will propel you to untold heights of attainment in any area of your life are the following. Wait for the drum roll! Inspiration and Aspiration.

Aspiration is the visualization or goal that you desire to achieve. Much frustration in life is a factor, not of unfulfilled dreams, but rather the emptiness left in the absence of a precise measurable target. The comfort zone of familiarity is often a bleak place, and alas often a prison of our own making, This failure to spot the horizon and the possibilities that lie just beyond, tie us to our worlds of quiet desperation.

Inspiration is the ingredient that enables obese people to lose 60KG’s in six months after a lifetime of misery. That motivates a blind person to scale Everest, a mother to work three jobs to send her kids to private school and factory workers to become over night self-made millionaires in their spare time.

Curiously, these chains that bind us to the status quo are often a eureka insight instant away from being lost forever. There is often a moment of clarity that precedes all great success.

It might be a word of encouragement or a television documentary that inspires us to make decisions and take new actions. 

Occasionally it can be that moment when we reach rock bottom. That moment of darkness before the dawn when we finally become sick and tired of being sick and tired and truly decide that something must change, and it must change now.

For some people this moment happens at a young age, for some in middle age and alas for the majority it never happens. The beauty of this insight however is how simple it is to implement, and thus utterly change your life experiences.

30 minutes invested in brainstorming and committing to paper your dreams hopes and aspirations is the first step.

The second step is marginally more difficult. Find a role model. Or two or three. If you want to lose weight, then simply Google the topic, jump on to YouTube and find someone that you can relate to, connect and get inspired. The inspiration will motivate you to take action.

If you are in an unhappy relationship, then decide what you want. Either take the steps to make the relationship work or ‘get the hell out!’ At the risk of upsetting some people “this ain’t no dress rehearsal”

If you're underwhelmed by your job, or are financially embarrassed, then look for a mentor or role model whose been down that road and achieved success. There are people achieving outstanding success online everyday with relatively little investment in time and money.

Take some action steps. Make some connections and get out of that less than comfortable default zone, fast.

Inspiration and aspiration will ultimately define your future success in every area of life. Enjoy your journey!

Pop Over to My Primary Site and have a browse...

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Why List Building May Be Hurting Your Business!

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Warning: If you are an online marketer with a thin skin and a keen evangelical sense that there's only one sensible way to market online - then be warned - you won't like this post!!
Has there ever been an industry since time immemorial that has evolved and changed so rapidly as e-commerce? Back in the dark ages of the early 90’s it was actually frowned upon – the idea of using this educational resource for commercial gain!
No sooner have you got a handle on Hotmail than it’s usurped by Gmail. Yahoo defers to Google, E-bay is struggling to build brand loyalty and paid for content is drowned by open source.
 Early adopters risk getting it wrong or occasionally hitting oil. Late adopters find themselves alone in the playground with redundant Beta toys. Cool Nokia cell/mobile phones are now a little yesterday, laptops are quivering in the face of ipads for a share of relevancy and those tiny camcorders you bought awhile back suddenly seem grotesquely enormous.
Online marketing is evolving at warp speed. It’s no coincidence that the big players from a few years back are offering the source codes to their lucrative programs for peanuts as they ‘exit’ that particular marketing domain.
I’ve recently blogged about the potential merits of differentiating yourself from the herd.  Copy and paste has merit, if you are franchising a patented business, but blindly copying the exact techniques by your industry leader may not be entirely fruitful.
Industry superstars that emerged 3 or 4 years ago succeeded by using marketing strategies that were new and creative back then but those same ideas may well be seen as bland and less successful today.
Re inventing the wheel is not the message. That said a little redesigning and engineering can work wonders. Facebook is really only a variation of Myspace, yet different enough to have become the social networking giant it is today. 
Yahoo, Google, Hotmail, Gmail, Myspace, Facebook, Tinyurl, Twitter they evolve or they die (get superseded)
I recently decided to opt out of about 50 or so lists. I felt a bit guilty as I couldn’t help feeling disloyal to these email buddies who were kind enough to send me link after link after link to the latest cutting edge traffic generation techniques and business opportunities over the last two years!
It seems like EVERYONE has an auto responder nowadays. Free Report – pop your name in the box below (and I’ll send you not only a free report but a couple of emails a week forever on any number of unrelated matters-until you opt out)
Free Bootcamp – a million variations of Mike Dillard’s excellent magnetic marketing program.  The problem is of course, when so many people duplicate the same system it starts to really lose credence.
 Don’t get me wrong –and truth be told I’m playing the devils advocate here for a moment – just in case you’re getting bent out of shape!! 

Like the wheel I’m not saying we should all run around trying different shaped attachments to our vehicles just to be different, but there’d be no Maserati if no one aspired to creating something a little more adventurous than the penny-farthing (bike!)

Here’s a thought.  Instead of offering the magic 7 tips for success – try 11! Instead of offering a Free Bootcamp try a series of lectures. Instead of offering a gift for a name try offering content without an optin required. Yes I’m being crazy….well not really.
Social networking is changing the game plan. It was seen as unwise a mere few moments back to declare what business you actually participate in. Like Amway distributors back in the 80’s when there was a real backlash and stigma to what was referred to as pyramid selling it became almost an art form to prospect using coded language.
Today a similar mindset seems to have engulfed most online marketers. Never divulge the business opportunity …without getting an email address first.
Yes – I do get it. Once you have an email address you can send your message 100 times and consequently have 100 x more chance of earning a business partner. There is a counter argument though. If everyone is playing this black hat guerrilla game, then who’s targeting the niche prospect pool of those who just don’t opt in?
If I have developed a trusting relationship via Facebook, Twitter (unlikely!) a Blog, a Syndicate etc and they offer a link to their business opportunity-without it feeling spammy – then I might just click the link and check it out.
I probably don’t want to be followed up and interrogated as to when I want to get started etc maybe I’m happy to navigate the company website find out a little about the program and then at my own leisure hook up with my Facebook/Twitter contact.
This is NOT a Bootcamp or even a serious strategy to build an online empire, but the point I’m making perhaps a little too convoluted, is that sometimes there’s a merit to just  being a little out there. You don’t need to be a weirdo but its ok to be authentic and genuinely share what you’re about.

If you spend the weekends painting garden gnomes for a hobby and now you’ve decided to set up your own MLM company to sell them – well I might find that a little funny but equally I may pop onto your site and buy a bunch to give to my friends at Christmas – for a joke!
Look if you’ve got a system that’s absolutely producing the goods that’s awesome but if you’re new online or a bit adventurous take the plunge be a bit ridiculous, different, interesting- and I guarantee there’s a bigger pool of equally off center folks in Cyberworld ready to follow you!
 Hoping life's treating you well and you're appreciating the humor of life

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Why Exactly Are You Participating In Social Networking?

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Social Media; “I just don’t get it!”

If I had a dollar for every time I heard that comment – well maybe $10 – I’d be pretty happy!

It seems a tad ludicrous to dismiss a social networking phenomenon that embraces hundreds of millions of participants. It suggests that you are either intellectually far more astute than these deluded minions or the more likely scenario is that you don’t perceive a personal relevance yet.

Personally I don’t get the whole celebrity worship and ubiquitous headline conversation surrounding reality TV identities – however there’s a whole massively lucrative entertainment industry that does get it and are profiting very nicely. In other words just because I don’t get it doesn’t invalidate its power.

I posted a blog awhile back titled ‘Why are you Online?’ which analyzed the motivations and strategies required to achieve your online objectives.

So why exactly are you participating in Social Networking?
This is a question that needs to be examined, to ensure that the long term time and energy invested will produce the desired results rather than waste half your life!
Building your brand.

In 5 years time you may start a business, or apply for your dream job, or join a dating agency, or start a charity organization. Like it or not your new audience will pay less heed to your exaggerated or fabricated testimonials than you’d like.

In 5 minutes, with a little help from Google I can get a pretty good picture of what you’re all about. Unfair? Of course, I can never get to know you based on such a whimsical investigation, but….that’s the reality of an open profile world.

Comments on Facebook remain. Articles written in the heat of the moment, drunken moments shared on Flickr, and a million other snap shots that hint at who you are, will define and enforce your reputation. Be protective of the reputation that you are creating with every click.

Some hints to fast track your Authority Online.

Building enormous and largely anonymous connections is largely pointless. "Why Having Too Many Followers May be Killing Your Online Experience" (unless you’re Justin Bieber!) without a coherent effort to engage. There maybe some moderate credibility garnered by having a perceived large following – but beyond 1000 or so this loses credence.

Engagement is the key to creating a worthwhile benefit. Ironically, despite so many people connected via so many social networks, few are engaged to any significant degree with more than a handful.
There is almost a magic to the power of engaging and the natural urge to reciprocate tells a story.

Invest an hour a day for a week engaging with your networks and I guarantee a profound effect will unfold.

  • Send some direct (not automated) messages commenting on a Blog.
  • Click the ‘like’ button on a dozen posts per day. 
  • Leave a considered comment on a few Blog posts. 
  • Retweet interesting Tweets.
  • Post non-business comments on Facebook. 
  • Ask questions – such as what’s your favorite song, band, holiday destination, mobile/cell phone? etc. This is what people do in face-to-face social gatherings.
It’s called engagement, and engagement creates dialogue and depth of relationship.

Because so few people take the time and effort to undertake these actions, you’ll find that within a week or so you start to become a centre of influence within your community. People love it when they’re acknowledged and want to reciprocate. Friendships evolve and serendipity starts to weave its crazy impact.
Social networking is NOT just about optimizing keywords and creating a funnel for your list. SEO techniques are not the starting point of building a solid social network. The starting point is to share your unique personality, which will attract like-minded people like bees to honey.

Try it today – Maybe 'like' - 'comment' - 'retweet' this post just to get started! Lol!

Seriously though as George Bush might have said its not rocket surgery or brain science-but it works!


Saturday, September 18, 2010

The Power Of A Wrong Decision

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There is a gap between stimulus and response, and the key to both our growth and happiness is how we use that space.

Steven Covey, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.

Accidents invariably happen when decision-making is compromised. Driving 100k’s down the freeway is not the time to have a moment of indecisiveness. Hit the indicator and then take that turn, there’s a reasonable chance you’ll negotiate the journey safely. The autobahn of life operates similarly, and yet so many of its participants lack the decisiveness to negotiate its perilous journey and myriad of choices with clarity and confidence.

Due diligence is given as an excuse to postpone making a decision. Procrastination is a nice sounding word that has cancerous implications. So many poor souls live lives of quiet desperation, not because of a scarcity of choice, but rather because opportunities are so often disguised as scary monsters residing in the location of the discomfort zone.

It has taken a lifetime to reach this status quo we find ourselves inhabiting, and we are well equipped to justify staying there, regardless of how insanely uncomfortable it really is.
Regret is a mostly pointless indulgence. However it is an emotion that modern societies seem to encourage. 

Crass confessions of celebrity excess are the fodder of tabloid press. Brands need to be protected, and therefore carefully crafted interviews conveying remorse are channeled through crocodile tears for the consumption of the masses.

The masses in turn tend to confuse this manipulation as an example of the risk of poor decision-making. More often than not, it is a weakness in actually making decisions quick and often that leads to paralysis and unfulfilled ambition.

Questions precede all actions. There is a remarkable tendency for the mind to find the resources to achieve emotional and concise goals. Ask the right questions and be prepared to make decisions that may initially appear to be taking you in the wrong direction, and almost imperceptibility miracles will seem to manifest.

The girl you fancy may rebuke your advances, but significantly less often than if you’d never asked! Apparently super models are rarely approached by mere mortals as conventional wisdom is that they can do better! The irony of course is that there’s less competition for the brave soul willing to act!

Traveling to the other end of the globe, for something as frivolous as a holiday can so easily and rationally be postponed, indefinitely. The money could be spent in so many better ways…and yet, this mindset is what creates the sense of apparent lack. 
Creating a big enough vision, a big enough WHY will usually facilitate the HOW.

Be prepared to get it wrong. (There is no wrong by the way, it’s a perception, some of the greatest experiences in your life would never have happened if you hadn’t taken a ‘wrong’ turning somewhere back on the road that led you to the big payoff)

Start a business. Risk some money lose it learn from the experience and move on better educated and equipped to take advantage of the next opportunity that comes your way.
Take some piano lessons, enroll in art class, buy the car that symbolizes your mid life crisis, sell your house and travel the world for two years. 

Is such unbridled hedonism just an excuse for irresponsibility? That’s for you to debate, but I would play the devils advocate and state that the craving and pursuit of the sensible is what defines the height of the ceiling of all potential accomplishment.

Think of the worst decision you’ve ever made in your life and I’d venture to suggest it ended up becoming the greatest lesson you ever learned. If you have any regrets I’d also guess it was a factor of failure to actually make a decision that led to the regret.

So next time the apple of your eye demands a treat, the lawn needs mowing, the out dated TV needs replacing, or an acquaintance invites you to a function try occasionally being spontaneous- make the decision on the spot, don’t say you’ll think about it, or try, or will check with your boss, husband, lawyer…just a Yes or no will suffice.

Just don’t blame me if it all goes pear shaped….