HOW TO STAND STRONG AND DELIVER A POWERFUL MESSAGE

What will you do with any given opportunity for your business? Obviously you will grab it with both hands and go for it. So what if that opportunity is to take to The Stage and Speak Publicly? Do you have what it takes to get up in front of a crowd and talk out loud?

THE INVITATION

Attending networking events has become a regular activity for any entrepreneur. It’s the perfect platform to meet likeminded people which share the same passion as oneself for business. Needless to say that when the invite came via the first email opened on a Monday morning to speak at an event, it was a no-brainer to reply with an affirmative, Yes! 

“Don’t you find that kind of thing very daunting?” was the response from some close friends. To be honest, perhaps because of a mindset that is slightly different from the norm, it is not a scary thing at all. Actually, their is a huge feeling of satisfaction to share publicly one’s knowledge and the approach to one of the loves of my life: that of being an entrepreneur. 

When I came across a superb article in Forbes under Leadership, Want To Be A Better Public Speaker? Do What The Pros Do written by Susan Tardanico, the immediate need arouse to share my public speaking ethics. She most definitely speaks my kind of language. To get her point of view on Public Speaking follow the reference link at the end of this article. Her process is very similar to mine. So on that note, let’s get to work on the nitty-gritty of a creating a striking presentation. 

THE PREP STRUCTURE 

Establish first off from the organiser what is required, where and when you should be ready for action. Once the practicalities are out of the way the time has come to put on that thinking-cap and get some thoughts together. 

  • Purpose

    - An effective way to start is to have the end of your talk in mind. Basically, the message you want to get across.

Deciding on the topic/s can be tricky depending on if it’s been covered before or if there are so many aspects to cover that there will not be enough time.  

  • Simplicity

    - Don’t complicate your message.

Pinning down some ideas take a bit of time, but in the end the motto keep it short and sweet prevails and then the framework for the talk will be done. All that is needed now is to put some meat on those bones and you’re almost there. 

Next up is to create some captivating imagery to accomplish your talk and most of the hard work is in hand.

  • Visuals

    - Be very aware of the perils of your Keynote/Powerpoint show-and-tells. Keep the amount of slides to a minimum - and, very importantly, Do Not Repeat out loud what is written on your slides. Slides are there to cement your speech not the other way round.

THE REHEARSALS

There is the notion that you should follow the rule rehearse rehearse rehearse and that is good. Even the phrase practise makes perfect, come to mind. However, there is also the notion that to over rehearse can kill some very important aspects of public speaking: the authenticity and energy. Saying that, preparation is vital. 

  • Video yourself

    - Recording yourself whilst rehearsing is an excellent way to watch yourself perform. You can then get a great idea of how you will come across to your audience.

  • Mixture

    - Be careful not to be a boring speaker. Avoid sameness at all costs. The last thing you want is for your listeners to get bored and tune out / disengage - or even worse, get up and leave the room.

Of course it is great to talk to an audience without any notes in hand, but rather have some pointers with you (or use your slides as reminders) to refer to than ramble on and deliver a bunch of words without any enthusiasm. If there are a few days at hand before going live it’s good to have a run-through once a day. Obviously if time is not on your side, more effort is needed as often as possible. 

If you’re familiar with the venue where you will speak at, then even better. If not, make sure to arrive some time earlier than you should to have a good look around the room/auditorium to get the feel of it’s layout and size. Walk about on the stage too so you get use to the acoustics and vision from the stage.

Prior to taking to the stage it is essential to do a complete run-through. Specially to check and double check the available technology. Nothing is more disappointing than a failing monitor or presentation slides jumping all over the screen and even the hand remote behaving badly. It is common for these hiccups, and depending on the formality of the event, an audience will accept and smile as they have seen it all before. From a speaker’s point of view though, it can easily rattle your rhythm and throw you off guard. Best to make 110% sure gremlins are removed from all devices so you can get on with the most important part which is delivering information well.

Words of Wisdom from Ralph Waldo Emerson

THE CURTAIN GOES UP

Before you know it the moment will arrived and you will be introduced to your audience. Some adrenalin usually kicks in and the flutter of butterflies in your stomach is a good omen. After all, you are about to show people what you know and what you’re made of. This is here where those rehearsals will come in very handy. You will portrait confidence and come across knowledgeable giving your audience a treat. Thus having your ducks in a row will only be a great part of your talk. 

Once you start to deliver your presentation, it is good practice to keep the following in mind: 

  • Stories

    - Tell a personal story or two. Maybe as an icebreaker before you delve into your main presentation.

  • Eye Contact

    - Connect with your audience from the start. You want them in the palm of your hand for the entire duration you’re on stage.

  • Body language

    - Your stance, the shifting your weight, your hand movements, where you head turns… Your Body Language and Body Message are very important. Your audience will definitely pick up on any energy you are giving off.

  • Passionate

    - Let your passion for the topic, for speaking publicly, for having an audience, for just being there, be on show all the time. Keep up the energy levels and stay focussed throughout.

Time usually flies by and in public speaking this can go by even faster. Sooner than you think you will receive a signal from the organiser at the back of the room that it’s time to wrap it up. Fingers crossed at this moment you have covered your main topics and are ready for the Q&A (question and answer session) that usually follows.

THE AFTERMATH

Done and dusted. Fingers crossed fo an applause and perhaps even a shout out/whistle here and there not to mention a possible standing ovation! Possibly some meet and greets with audience members to follow and finally a well deserved coffee (or something stronger if you prefer) to sooth your dry throat. Pat yourself on the back. Well done to you!

It’s worth noting that soon after you’ve walked off the stage, a feeling of what  now can sink your energy to a shockingly low level. This is normal. The mind and body have just gone through a gruelling 40+ minutes of intense excitement and nerves. As the saying goes… what goes up must come down. It will pass in due course. Nothing to worry about, but worth knowing you’re not about to collapse or have an attack of some sorts. 

CONCLUSION

Finally, what is the aim in all of this? Yes, it all sounds very easy, you may say. Maybe you can’t comprehend how someone can take a stance and talk out loud with lots of people watching and listening. “I’ll never be able to do that” is often a common reply. Honestly, you CAN do it. It may take time and even some media training, but it is possible.

The one thing that cannot be stressed enough is NOT TO let the moment and opportunity go by because you feel it is not your kind of thing. At the end of the day it is your Brand up there and it is part and parcel of building and growing your visibility. Please note that not all members of the audience will necessarily be appreciative of what you said since there will always be those that so easily show their dislike. Don’t let it throw you off track. Stand Tall And Deliver. And most of all grow within yourself

To finish off, here is the lesson of the day:  You up there on stage is intended for the people in your audience to remember Your Brand once You’ve Left The Room. 

As always, please feel free to share, comment or send me a message if you have any questions and/or if you felt some affinity towards this topic.

You can reach me here, or on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook & Instagram.

And most of all… Thank You very much for reading. 


Reference:

Article by Susan Tardanico on the Forbes website:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/susantardanico/2012/05/29/want-to-be-a-better-public-speaker-do-what-the-pros-do/#3108529a1e17

HOW YOU CAN ACHIEVE THE BEST OUT OF LIFE

Do you get the feeling (more than often?) that there is more, much more, to your life than your current situation? However, the target always seems to be just about out of reach? No matter how hard you try and stretch to reach it, it stays the proverbial dangling carrot.

WHEN REALITY KICKS IN

From time to time we are being faced with a situation in our lives similar to a door being shut in our faces. This could be anything from a relationship ending to being made redundant from your position at work. Whatever it is exactly, one feels let down and disappointed. These are natural feelings, because we are after all only human. 

This scenario is nothing new within the world we live in nowadays. I am sure quite a few of you will be able to resonate with such a consequence. Perhaps with even more than one.

WHAT TO DO NEXT

That is the big question. The short answer is: Make Some Changes. The long answer, I am about to explain to you in this article.

“But can I do it? Can I make it work?” you ask. So many times these are the kind of replies coming from individuals. Insecurity forces the mind to utter phrases like…. “not sure… don’t really know if I have it in me… I better not try again. I will just fail miserably.” etc..

Stop right there for a second or ten. I personally believe that You Can Do It. It is very possible for you to overcome hurdles and that can change everything in your life.

It is within each and everyone of us to do so and make positive changes for our lives. In order to succeed, the initial activity is to put your mind into starting gear. As the saying goes… Mind Over Matter. 

WHERE TO START YOUR JOURNEY

We all have a multitude of ideas in our heads. Those ideas have a name, they are called dreams. It is one thing to dream the dream and a complete different thing to achieve them. The good news is that your dreams are not only  possible, they are achievable.

Grant yourself the time to make sure your ideas are realistic though. In other words, don’t rush into making outrageous decisions. Seek and select sensible targets for yourself. It is here where you should learn from your short falls or perhaps that what made you end up being in your current situation. 

When it comes to a work environment, be clear about what you can offer a company when you’re looking at available positions. Maybe you can tackle the next relationship better by being less of one thing and more of another. What you should keep in mind is that it is Your Situation. Unique to You. Neither me nor anyone else really knows your current case. It is in the end, up to you. 

HOW TO WALK THE ROAD TO SUCCESS

The basic steps are: Plan, Action and Execute. Planning what you want is however the easiest part of your future. Taking the next step is when you need to put shoulder to the wheel and start to do the work. As if this last one isn’t hard enough, the toughest is to carry out and accomplish that what you want. 

Now, please don’t let the above paragraph put you off. It sounds intense, but help is at hand. 

Whilst recently reading A Better Lemonade Stand I came across their Manifesto – which inspired me to write this post. In this short, but very powerful synopsis they nailed the issues regarding reaching ones’ ultimate goals in life and work.

I stand completely a 110%+ by the Manifesto so let me share my thoughts with you. The following points can be seen as a roadmap or blueprint for you to get going. 

Let’s take it step by step…

  • Start

- As mentioned, don’t just dream, begin by setting out a plan.

  • Move

- Take a step forward and keep doing it regularly.

  • Work

- Even if it seems tough, remember you’re doing it for yourself.

  • Setbacks

- All of us in life fail over and over. See failure as motivation.

  • Blame

- Do not do it, be responsible for your own decisions.

  • Give up

- Don’t even consider it. Learn how to cross barriers.

  • Decisions

- Go for the tough choices and discover awesomeness.

It’s well worth reading the full explanation here. Not just once, but treat yourself and give it quite a few good reads. 

Let it sink in and then read it again. And then, Challenge Yourself.  

CONCLUSION

As far as I’m concerned the most important moment should be when you take a stand and decide that you want to change your life and chase your dream – in other words, taking the first step forward. This is what is called Taking Action. 

The rest of your road to reach the end will happen. It will quite easily not happen overnight, but do your future self a favour and keep going and stay focussed. Also, remember that the wide and easy road isn’t always the way to reach the top. Most times, if not all the time, it is the narrow, winding, uphill path that will cause the most satisfaction in the end. 

Influencers all over the world will tell you that sitting back and just thinking about plans are not enough. We all have to get up and get going. A Dream without a Plan is just a Wish.

It also is very important to remember: don’t give up at the first hurdle. Setbacks, criticisms, rejections, fear, etc. in my book are seen as motivation - which will give you the drive and determination to keep going and get better at it than what you were yesterday. Ultimately, Don’t Quit – Do It.

As always, please feel free to share, comment or send me a message if you have any questions and/or if you felt some affinity towards this topic.

You can reach me here, or on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook & Instagram.

And most of all… Thank You for reading. 

HOW TO DEVELOP YOUR KNOWLEDGE INTO UNSURPASSED SUCCESS

How do you feel about gaining new information? Is it an exciting prospect? Or a daunting one, as the ability to extend your knowledge of a subject or a skill can be just that. However, if you approach the exercise with the right mindset you can walk away feeling very satisfied. 

Personally, the words of Vincent van Gogh sums it up beautifully:

Learning, or educating myself, has always given me a great sense of achievement, satisfaction and ultimately, confidence.  

THE URGE TO KNOW

When the decision was taken to startup on my own, there were quite a few elements within business that I knew, as far as I was concerned, too little about. Using this information gap as an example, there were mainly two ways to go about obtaining the info that was missing. 

One way was to sign up to a course or three and let others be my instructors. There is nothing wrong with obtaining knowledge down this avenue. To be honest, there are certain aspects of business solutions that can only be accomplished this way. 

On the other hand, to seek the information on one’s own accord somehow sounded so much more fulfilling, in my humble opinion. Therefore, yours truly, tackled the proverbial bull by the horns and upscaled the current understanding of certain areas I lacked knowledge in, by myself. 

THE LEARNING CURVE

With the worldwide web at our finger tips nowadays it is much easier than years ago to get hold of answers to all our questions. There are huge amounts of DIY Learning Videos for instance on platforms like YouTube. Not to mention special websites like SkillShare to train yourself how it should be done. It takes some research, but persevere and I can promise you will find what you are looking for

What could, or most likely will happen, is that you will find parts here, there and everywhere. The fun part (to put it mildly) is to then put it together like a puzzle. First, one finds the pieces with a straight edge and/or the corner pieces and before you know it the border (or outline, so to speak) is all in place. To follow is to fill in the middle section and voila!, your picture is complete. All pieces slotted in and you’re sitting back looking at a complete visual. This process translates to you having conquered the assignment of learning how to perform a certain task within your business and/or life. It’s moments like these that a firm pat on the back is in order (even if it’s done, sort of, by yourself)! 

THE IMPLEMENTATION

Now comes the tricky part. This is honestly the section that is as important if not even more so than the educating process itself. 

Once the know-how is firmly in your head, it is time to put your new found extended knowledge into action. Best bit of advice I can give you at this stage is to get going immediately since the information is still very fresh. So:

  • Practice

  • Practice it again

  • Practice it some more

  • Practice until it becomes second nature

Repetition is known to cement actions within us. After all, the exact meaning of repetition is ‘the action of repeating something that has already been said or written’. Once you leave the new found facts and skills at the door, the inevitable is sure to happen - when you return to put it all to work, most will be a haze and you will need to start again to remember and refresh your mind. This can, obviously, end up as wasting some valuable time.

THE CONCLUSION

Please understand that as I mentioned earlier, certain expert knowledge can only be accomplished via the help of specialised individuals that spend many years of their lives learning so they are able to teach others the required information and processes. What I am trying to say is that one shouldn’t always assume that gathering all knowledge is only available if someone/persons directly teach you.

To study or learn on your own takes a lot of effort and determination, not to mention focus. You need to be proactive and resilient at all times. As tough as this may sound, the outcome will easily overshadow the angst of doing it yourself.

For me self-education works and it works well. Currently there a few new ventures on the cards and instead of signing up to expensive courses on how to achieve this, I am (enjoying!) taking matters in my own hands. Yes, I do attend webinars, seminars and join many discussions to get some guidance, but at the end of the day it’s up to me.

Some will call it the hard way and won’t understand why the narrow, steep road is more attractive. Each to their own I say. It is not a matter of making it unnecessarily difficult for oneself, it is much more about achieving something where there was originally very little knowledge of in one’s head. 

As a strong believer in one can do whatever you put your mind to, it’s obvious this is the preferred route for me. That moment you reach the end of the rainbow (as in the final section of a project) and find your pot of gold, is really priceless. To sit back and look at the finished assignment you did with a complete new set of tools you taught yourself is beyond satisfying. Once you experienced that feeling, I bet you will want it again and again. Believe me the feeling is truly that wonderful. 

As always, please feel free to share, comment or send me a message if you have any questions and/or if you felt some affinity towards this topic.

You can reach me here, or on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook & Instagram.

And most of all… Thank You for reading. 

BEING A PRACTICAL, POSITIVE & POWERFUL MENTOR

Have you ever been stuck in a situation not knowing which way to turn? Or maybe you tried various ways already, but still not moving forward much? My guess is the answer is probably yes. Most of us, if not all, have experienced the proverbial brick wall at some point in time.

A read from Jeffrey Hayzlett’sTop 3 Traits of a Good Mentor, enticed me to write this post. He makes a great point, or three, about what it is and should be like to have someone guide you along your way to move forward.

TO SEEK

It took me around 20 years of grinding behind a desk for someone/some company to realise that the 9 to 5 culture isn’t as satisfying as it should be. I did realise though that I was extremely lucky to gain an enormous amount of experience over time. Moving from one position to another during the years I was able to take with me any new found learnings and enhance the next position.

Therefore when I finally left the building for the last time on a sunny day in London, I knew that it will be a huge mistake to just sit on the information I have within me. Something had to be done about it hence Mentoring became a focus point. To quote Jeffrey: “Good mentors are always willing to share what they know - with anyone who asks". Moving forward a couple of years and I am blessed to be in a situation where I am being given great opportunities to lend a hand and help others

TO SHARE 

My bible of experience covers a fair amount of different topics related to being in a business environment. It is not that difficult to assist mentees with various issues they’re experiencing.  As a person whom constantly broaden his horizons regarding new aspects of what makes the world go round, all questions can be tackled and answers can be delivered. 

For instance, Social Media Management is a serious topic of discussion. For the generation that did not grow up with it, it is overwhelming. There are quite a lot of people that have little understanding of how it works. They also are amazed by the fact that online platforms can be used as a great marketing tool. This may sound strange to many, but as I always look at situations from my clients’ perspective, it makes total sense. 

On the other side of the scale, the younger generation of mentees struggle with a marketing strategy or even their online reputation even though they fully know how to handle social media platforms on a personal level. Again, a topic that can easily be explained and a strategy can be put in place. Being on social media as yourself differs from being there as your business brand

TO SUPPORT 

All aspects of Mentoring is exciting, but one part that stands out is the initial research or investigation surrounding a new mentee prior to the first meeting. Looking around the web for their social visibility gives one a great insight into how they think. That is, if they have an online persona. Contrary to popular belief there are people around who shy away from being electronically social

The starting point usually is around what is already out there (or not) for all to see. Starting with each existing section from visual presence (avatars, videos, photos, etc.) right through to the writing of posts and/or captions. As an outsider it is easy to pick out spelling mistakes or layout issues - not to mention the phycological effect colours can have on readers.  

Feedback is easy to give - however, it is completely useless without any valuable input. Again, Jeffrey is 100% correct: “A good mentor is further willing to provide concrete and constructive feedback”.

As always, looking at the evidence should be from the mentee’s point of view. After all, the website or social feed is not the mentor’s so it should not be about you and how you want it, but what will work best for the mentee’s brand. Mentoring is about helping and giving advice. If there is the need for introducing new learning curves, the Coach in me will take over - but let’s leave that skill aside for another post.

Continued support is most of the time wanted by my mentees. A request that fill myself with excitement and warmth. And much appreciation. 

CONCLUSION

To be able to distribute what one has learned can only be described as one of the best and satisfying aspects of life. 

On a personal level it:

  • broaden insights 

  • cultivate relationships

  • awoke mutual feelings of respect

  • create being seen as an expert 

  • makes one an influencer

  • allows one be a contributor 

Giving branding and/or marketing advice it most certainly doesn’t matter that much which niche/field in the market the mentee is in. What matters is to master their needs so they better themselves and their brand. At the end of the day, one is not expected to know their market inside out - one is required to guide and lend a helping hand. 

Mentoring has opened so many doors for me and the believe is that it honestly will open many more in the future. This part of being an Entrepreneur is what drives me forward. The only downside, if one can call it that, is always saying yes when a potential mentee knocks on your door and asks for help. Then again, one always has time. There is no such thing as being too busy - prioritize your workload is all it takes to have a full, productive business and life.

As always, please feel free to share, comment or send me a message if you have any questions and/or can relate to this post. Don’t hesitate to reach me here, or on LinkedInTwitter, Facebook and Instagram.

And most of all… Thank You for reading.

MAY THE FORCE BE WITH YOU. NOT.

The majority of that headline originates from an iconic movie. However, there is a totally different type of force lurking in all our lives.

The force to be reckoned with many times /quite often, is that of delaying or postponing a task or tasks. In other words, to procrastinate.  Hands up if you know anyone who has fallen prey to this particular act. 

THE WHAT 

Pinpointing the what is most likely the easy part: it is the process of convincing ourselves that doing something else rather than what we are meant to do, is acceptable. Loosely translated: a lack of self-control

Procrastination is not a 21-century phenomena. It can be traced back all the way to the ancient Greeks. In particular philosophers like Socrates and Aristotle were aware of it. They actually called it Akrasia: acting against your better judgement. 

Whether we want to be Greek or modern about it, at the end of the day it’s the same: “it is a force that prevents us from following through on what we set out to do” to quote James Clear from this article of his which is an eye opener. After reading it I was fascinated even more than before by this occurrence. So I felt the need to put pen to paper (so to speak) and delve deeper into such a situation.

THE WHY

When it comes to why us as humans tend to succumb to this force of delaying, there is much more to it than being described as lazy. In actual fact, our life’s control centre, the brain, has the answer. 

The basics are that 2 parts are involved in the action. One being us in the Present and the other being us in the Future. Think of yourself as the Future You which is the person that creates longterm targets to aim for. Then, visualise yourself as the Present You which is the one that needs to take the action.  And to take action is not a future decision, right? It is something you have to do now - and that’s the moment you automatically start an argument (for want of a better word) with the Future You. 

The here and now requires and enjoys immediate results. No need to wonder about tomorrow. So even though you have set a target to complete a task in the near future, if the end result is not instant, the question arises “why do it now then?” We basically over-ride the good intentions of the Future You. 

THE NEXT MOVE

Now that we have a better understanding of what is going on when we put off what we were supposed to do, we need a solution. Some kind of method is required for us to overcome the stress and worry of not actually get going

Let’s face it, we do really want to complete or achieve the task in hand. After all, it will cause great satisfaction and in general we will feel quite proud of ourselves to reach the goal set out by the Future You. My suggestion is a simple, yet very effective recipe to reap the fruits of our labour.

I would like to share 8 steps that personally works for yours truly. They are neither outrageously difficult nor are they impossible. The crux of the matter is that only manageable steps will do the trick - or so I believe. 

  • Book A Time 

    As we make appointments for business meetings, to see a doctor, to attend an event, etc., do the same for your tasks. Literally mark your diary with a block of time to complete what needs to be done. Even set a reminder to notify you when you need to start. 

  • Time Yourself

    Linking this step to the above, set an alarm to go off when you are almost at the end of the allotted time you set out in your diary. The notification will remind you that your should be close to completing the task. 

  • Do it. Now.

    Many times we remind ourselves via a To Do List that something needs to be sorted out. Such a list, on many occasions, gets as long as an arm - which causes even more stress.  If at all possible, start that reminder now and get it over and done with. See it as one less thing to do tomorrow.

  • One At A Time

    The amount of humans in life that can multitask are few and far in between. If you’re one of the lucky ones, good on you. Most of us struggle with the concept leave alone mastering it. Therefore, focus on one thing at a time. 

  • No Diversions

    Distractions are quite possibly procrastination dressed up as a saint. Get rid of anything that will hinder you and make you loose concentration (i.e. mobile devices, etc.). Even if your environment (like working from a coffee shop) causes problems, change it. 

  • It’s Up To You

    It is a good idea to keep your daily (and long term) goals to yourself. Shouting them from the rooftops will trick your brain into believing you’v already accomplished them - hence reducing your motivation to actually work towards them. 

  • Be Aware Of Thieves

    Watch out for your mind as it will play tricks on you.  Many times it may feel much more attractive to quickly put a washing cycle on, do some hoovering or even allow yourself a 5 min break on your sofa. Don’t Fall Into The Trap!

  • Get Pumped

    Not referring to your muscles at this moment in time, but rather to your mind. Seek and inject your brain with uplifting images, positive people and nourishing, healthy foods. You will need energy for both body and mind to keep going. 

CONCLUSION

Of course, as with so many issues in life, battling procrastination is far easier said than done. However, it is honestly not impossible. Apart from the guidance above (which I hope helped you), the ultimate ingredient for bashing any signs of delaying tasks, is a Positive Mindset

As a human you may think or even believe, you haven’t got much going in life, or, even if you do think you have quite a bit going for, there could be a time when your whole being is not entirely happy about anything - leave alone not finishing some tasks. Such moments require strength and determination. Both these ingredients can be obtained by telling yourself Your Are Enough and You Are Worth it. If you focus on a brighter outlook everyday the better you will become about feeling positive in general.

Once you have a strong positivity going on in your mind, the easier it becomes to achieve whatever you want to achieve. And we can only achieve milestones if we set them up for ourselves and we get going and do whatever it takes to reach our targets.

Take a confident first step. Don’t put off those important tasks, conversations or projects any longer. Give doing them an immediate go. The only way to get there in the end is to put your best foot forward. One. Step. At. A. Time.

And lastly, but very importantly, Forgive Yourself. To procrastinate is a common experience. Most will say it’s unavoidable. So don’t beat yourself up over it. Be kind to yourself especially after you've gotten through a bout of delayed tasks. Trust yourself to learn from the experience and do better next time.

As always, please feel free to share, comment or send me a message if you have any questions and/or can relate to this post. 

You can reach me here, or on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook & Instagram

And most of all… Thank You for reading. 

YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA ACTIVITY vs YOUR HEALTH

There is that sound again… the indication of another notification from one of your Social Media platforms. Question is: what do you do?

Are you one of the 60+% of people in the world who immediately and impulsively grab your mobile and check that notification? If so, your dependency on automatically looking what the notification is about, may be an indication that you are suffering from what is called Social Media Addiction.

It is always easy to slap a label onto something, so even though it may seems straight forward, let’s dive deep into the what and why of this human matter.

WHAT IS ADDICTION

To kick start this article, let’s see how dictionary.com explains the word, or symptom (as it is often called): “Addiction is the fact or condition of being addicted to a particular substance or activity”. 

Take note, that the word activity is included in the explanation. After all, attending to your social feeds is an activity - something that are done fairly regular. 

WHAT ARE THE INDICATIONS 

Being spurred on by a post I read on It’s Time To Log Off it is clear that an overwhelming amount of people in the world are suffering from SMA (social media addiction). You may read this and think “oh well, this is not me”, but please take note: if you find it (rather) difficult not to respond to notifications by checking your feeds immediately or constantly recording/typing content for your sites, then it is time to wake up and smell the coffee. It is very possible that you are one of the 60+% in the world.

Let’s look at such a scenario from a different angle: how do you feel when you discover you have no signal to receive incoming alerts on your mobile device? That anxious feeling, together with not being able to post any content, can have a negative effect on your wellbeing. For instance, you may end up feeling down in the dumps, frustrated (to say the least) and/or even get really angry. These emotions, due to the lack of not being able to connect as such, spells danger. 

HOW TO COMBAT YOUR HABIT

There is a possibility one can argue that the existence of social sites are created to get you hooked. Albeit this being a very strong suggestion, take a minute and think clearly about it. One could easily find some truth in that statement. Going back to the explanation of addiction, hooked is exactly how people end up if they can’t leave their devices alone.  

Time, within the technology world, luckily moves at a speed almost as fast as light. Nowadays applications (Apps) are created to help people curb the time they spend on electronic devices. Assisted by those within the medical environments, these helpers are there to do exactly that. The crux lies within ones own decision to turn them on

The mere fact that institutions are making decisions to create electronic help, can be a clear indication that the statement about sites vs deliberate, obsessive behaviour may not be as far fetched as we want to believe. 

Changing the screen time  applications’ settings to on is one way to minimise your activities online. Another very simple, and effective, solution is to take a firm stand and cancel all notification alerts. Of course this can be seen by many as a drastic measure, but let’s keep our eyes on the longterm effects. There are clear indications that your health will improve when one exercise less negative emotions in life. Specially when it comes to the dependency on feedback such as likes from followers. 

Obviously, when one cancels a certain daily ritual, a gap is created and therefore the need to fill it is inevitable. Why not get back to good, ol’ natural remedies such as go outside and breathe in fresh air? Pick up a book, read and turn pages with your fingers (instead of swiping) and better still… talk to someone face to face. Let’s be honest, the possibilities are endless. It is only a matter of looking around and not focussing on a small screen in front of you. 

CONCLUSION

“I am going to take a hiatus from social media” is a line very often used in social media posts. However, are many of those really sticking to their words?

But that is exactly what you want them to do, you may say pointing your finger at me. Yes, that is what I’m on about - however, my questions still remains: Do They Really Do That?

My believe is that many online influencers/activists, etc. are confused by the words taking a break. Time and time again I witness regulars on social sites claiming the proverbial gone fishing scenario only to discover a few minutes/hours later they are in full glory, camera front facing and happily chatting away live to the world. And where do I see this happening? On various social media platforms that offers a stories or live function, where else! 

That  hiatus didn’t last long, right? “No, no, no, Evan, I am taking a break from publishing any work related content. I am away with my family at a beach resort. I am teasing your taste buds with the delicious food we’re eating?” Or the other classic: “I am building my personal brand on social platforms! Presence is what it is all about”.

I am afraid such individuals need to stop kidding themselves. That kind of behaviour is not leaving social media alone for a period of time. Purely because you change your content does not make it less of a habit.  Publishing your absence loud and clear is exactly what it should be. Stick to your guns - most importantly, show your audience you’re a sincere human focussed on many other opportunities than the matter in your hand

Content on platforms are important, don’t get me wrong. However, the content  is not what causes the addiction. The inability to see the wrong doing, is the underlining cause for concern, in my opinion. The bottom line is to first realise the habit and how damaging it is - and only then serious change can take place. 

I will leave you with some honest advice: Take A Well Deserved Break from Social Media and do Your Future Self a favour. Ultimately, enjoy the sunset views… taste the delicious food… have a great, fun time away from normality. It will do you the world of good. 

And finally a cheeky suggestion: share those taking-a-break-memories with us all by creating and publishing a digital album on your return. 

As always, please feel free to share, comment or send me a message if you have any questions and/or can relate to this post. 

You can reach me here, on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook & Instagram

And most of all… Thank You for reading.

FRIEND OR FOE TO EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION

Does our obsession with Social Media messaging mean the end of good writing? Such a great question from Emphasis that I used it to kick start this article. 

Communication is key in life. Not only within our personal relationships, but definitely within a business environment. It is safe to say that the way we communicate with each other has changed drastically over the years. Long, very long gone are the sending a pigeon and following short on its footsteps we can even count writing a letter as something that is beginning to disappear. 

Nowadays, we live in an (mostly) electronic world. Apart from our personal lives being organised via an electronic device, a very big part of our work are conducted electronically via a keyboard. It is this last mentioned task that, in my opinion, is becoming a talking point to take notice of.

TALK THE TALK

So many of people around the world go about their every day duties with an electronic device in their hands - or pockets/bags at least. It is therefore much easier to get or keep in touch with others than ages ago. More so, it can be done almost instantly, as you all know by now.  “What is the issue?” you may ask. Well, it is not that we can respond easily, it is how we respond that is my focus point.

Being regularly on social media platforms it has become obvious to me that many individuals tap or type away without taking much care of how they write. What matters to them is the fact that they do communicate and not how they do it. Time and time again one will stumble across social media posts that harbours incorrect spelling or incorrect grammatical usage. 

SPEAK THE LANGUAGE

Digging deep into some research, it has become clear that there are many educating institutions that have already talked of late about the writing element while we are speaking to each other. Teachers and Educators seem to address this issue which means they are questioning the way we are moving forward on an educational level. Amen to that!

At this point, let’s look at some of the outcomes from a study of 800+ teachers released by Dictionary.com:

  • 32% notices students struggle with grammar

  • 64% focusses more on skills like meaning and comprehension 

  • 73% find that social media and texting negatively affects students' grammar and spelling skills

  • 75% are troubled by students using popular slang or text speak in their schoolwork

  • 88% are concerned of students’ improper use of basic words and phrases 

As a strong believer in dotting my i’s and crossing my t’s, it has been more than frustrating on many occasions to see online posts not adhering to the correct usage of words - whether that is in sentences or on-word responses. Along with this kind of behaviour, one also has to put up with grammatical errors. There is an age-old saying: read between the lines, however, struggling to figure out what someone is telling you via the lines is (personally) a waste of time - in particular within the world of social media. After all, social media communication is suppose to be in the KISS form (Keep It Short & Simple), right? 

TOO MUCH TO ASK

Not only is it easy to draw a different conclusion to what the writer intended, it also can easily give the reader the wrong impression of the personality on the other end of the phone. This observation can quickly be pushed aside by saying that we are friends so he/she knows what I mean. Rightly so, but what about those who do read your work and is not at all a friend in real life? 

Furthermore, when it comes to those who are shouting from the rooftops about their milestones, their achievements and mostly (even if it’s indirectly) about what great influencers they are, is it really such an enormous task to make sure your content is grammatically correct when published?

Take for instance an Educator (i.e. a person who provides instruction or education; a teacher - via dictionary.com)... surely this person has a responsibility (at least) towards his/her students. Around 50% of teachers admit they reach out to social media to have a better understanding of their students’ culture.  Has it ever occurred to you as a tutor, that the reverse can happen? If your students take on board your irked grammar behaviour, are you really succeeding as an upstanding pilar of society?

At the end of the day, my question is: as a Leader, how much do you respect the language you are using to communicate with others?

THE FUTURE IS OUT THERE

We all know that once it is published, it’s basically out there forever. We can delete here, there and anywhere we can find, but somehow somewhere someone will find our original post. 

We all have a native tongue. Personally, this language I communicate in 100% of my everyday is not the one I was born with. And there are millions of us around the world in a similar situation. However, living in a society that is becoming more and more global it has become the norm to talk to each other in a universal language. Nothing wrong with that at all, but do we honestly have to walk around showing little respect for the language that is bringing us all together? 

What if the English language is the glue that keeps the world go round? The manner in which the English language is being used over the last few decades, is a true indication of how long it is been here and most probably how long it is going to be around for. 

Far is it for me to be such a stern critic, but if us humans, and in particular those who count themselves as upstanding citizens, cannot adhere to a simple task of delivering their words in mint condition, then where is this all going to end.

CONCLUSION

None of us are perfect. That is a common fact. We are all human and we make mistakes. That said, I personally don’t believe we can use that as an excuse to set a bad example. My point is that it is so easy nowadays to distribute content electronically. All we need to do is take good care of how we put it out there for all to see and read.

The main issue with not taking care of how we communicate with words is about to whom we aim our knowledge / points of view / insights etc. towards. It is quite possible for a big majority of your readers to be of a younger age than yourself. This is great, because we would like to advise and help others by sharing our wisdom with them - especially if one is in an environment of mentoring or coaching and teaching. Not much give more satisfaction than assisting others with reaching their potential

If we feel so strongly about how much value we want to bring to others’ lives, then why not feel strongly about the manner in which way we will give value to them. For those who will end up in a professional working environment one day, it is definitely a sure thing that they will not get away with using inappropriate language when engaging with fellow colleagues and/or clients. No company will put up with the use of slang or abbreviations in emails, incorrect usage of grammar in presentations and definitely not if you have a bad telephone manner. 

Those of us out here that wants to share with the world what we’ve learned so far in life, has a responsibility to do it correctly. After all, a Leader should be someone who Knows the Way, Goes the Way and Shows the Way. 

As always, please feel free to share, comment or send me a message if you have any questions and/or can relate to this post. 

You can reach me here, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook & Instagram

And most of all… Thank You for reading. 

WHAT IS AN INTEGRATED BRAND PARTNERSHIP?

‘How can our company increases our revenue?’ is a question that often raises its head. Making money, also known as creating revenue, is after all what businesses are all about. The answer maybe simple, as in sell more, however that is often far more difficult than said. Particularly in today’s world that is saturated with businesses left, right and centre.

Solutions to overcome the difficulty in reaching that yearly target is order of the day. In other words, how can a Brand withstand pressure yet flourish and end up with a better ROI (return on investment) than 12 months ago? 

WHAT CAN BE DONE

Within the worlds of Brands and Brand Identities there lies an answer.  One word comes to mind: collaboration. One question though is, what does that mean? 

Fact of the matter is that trading on various platforms is becoming more and more popular and effective in today’s world. Therefore it is imperative to be visible and active on- and offline. This mean any platform where services and/or products are presented, explained and offered to customers.  It will be rather unintelligent not to make use of this opportunity to get more bang for your buck

To be more specific, the solution is Integrated Brand Partnerships. In short: When Brands Join Forces. 

WHAT IS IT ABOUT

Reading an article on the Econsultancy website made me put my thinking cap on and put thoughts to paper. The writer James Cristal explores 5 examples of where significant brands collaborated in order to not only increases customer retention, but also to increases revenue. 

Having a renown Brand is one thing, but having the insight to incorporate another renown Brand with your own is a great idea. Not only is a company going to maintain their popularity they are also going to enhance sales and create a magnificent user experience for their customers. And that, ultimately, is what differentiate a good company from a great company. 

WHEN DOES IT WORK BEST

Now that it has become more clear as to what such a Partnership is about, the challenge is to figure out a way of making it happen. It isn’t a matter of putting any 2 together either. There is no point in joining 2 Brands where one is like oil and the other like water - we all know that doesn’t mix! 

Coming from a Brand Partnership environment, I have on many occasions been presented with the task of blending 2 Brands that compliment each other and work well together. The difficulty isn’t in finding the two components, but it can be very tricky to find the right solution for the process to work. At the end of the day the relationship has to work very well so that both parties benefit. 

Therefore the major part in a Partnership campaign is finding the right creative solution. Working closely with both sides the main point is to find the reason for such an integration. Mostly it will be around exposure and presentation to customers hence finding a visual element that does the trick. After all, the task at hand is to grab the customer’s attention and supply an opportunity for them to participate and experience a great service. 

Let’s explore 3 different platforms and their different methods:

  • Broadcasting - Television Programme

    • placing the sponsorship element right up against the start and end of a programme part, but not within the commercial break 

  • Online - Website

    • placing the sponsorship application at a point within the site where it is most likely the customers would want to add to their booking/purchase

  • Print - Magazine

    • placing the sponsorship creative within the written article to draw attention to a reader with advice on how to proceed to obtain the additional product/service/information

In short, catch the attention of your customer at their most vulnerable moment. 

CONCLUSION 

At the end of the day, the purpose of any Partnership is to add further value to the customer’s journey. The best way to facilitate this feature is to offer a way for your customer to be exposed to another partner’s facilities, but without running the risk of customers leaving or forgetting about you as the host. Ultimately, offering them another service, but all within one place - Your Environment.

We have to remember that even though the aim is to provide equal traction for both sides, there will always be a primary and secondary entity taking part in any campaign. It is understandable that one platform will provide the main attraction where the second player will obviously be happy to participate because of the strong, possible winning end result. 

It is not a situation of one being better or more efficient than the other, but rather that of both realising that together they can reach a much higher level of success. For the best results it is imperative that these campaigns are executed seamless so that the customer are almost unaware of it happening. If this can be achieved, then you walk away with a win-win moment. It will also mean that there is a big chance the two players will partner again. Once it has become apparent that a collaboration works well, many occasions will be created to do it again.

Having quite a few successes under my belt within this field, I can say that it brings a great amount of satisfaction to all involved in a successful campaign. The exposure for clients’ products/services has been, is and will always be a plus factor. Many sales teams will be patted on the shoulders for instigating such a great win. Creative gurus will receive kudos for an excellent format and those who host the campaign will realise how important it is to work with others. Revenue of course plays a massive part, however the relationships built will persevere for time to come. 

Taking on the role of the one-stop-shop between all of the different parties that partake in such an exercise, causes me great pleasure. It is amazing to be able to coordinate various departments and bring a campaign together. Without my extensive knowledge I built up during many years, I reckon none of this will be possible. Needles to say, I thrive within the world of Brand Partnerships. Apart from anything else, it places me in a situation where I can upheld both Brands and their key messages. May it long, long lasts.

As always, please feel free to share, comment or send me a message if you have any questions and/or can relate to this post. 

You can reach me here, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook & Instagram.

And most of all… Thank You for reading. 

PUT ONE FOOT IN FRONT OF THE OTHER

… and You can put any mountain behind You. 

Sounds fairly simple, right? However, when it comes to getting the ball rolling for the year ahead, the desire may come easily until you realise the fact of the matter is, it isn’t always that easy at all.

Looking (at least) 12 months ahead at your work and life can and is quite scary. Even daunting for most people. So much so that the Goal Setting exercise is limited to only thinking about a few things that could be done in the months to come. 

The secret to fulfilling those ideas is not rocket science. The truth is that all one has to do is put write down those thoughts on paper or type it into a document. According to the Dominican University of California, close to 75% of people writing down/typing Goals had a much higher success rate of achieving them - in contrast to those thinking and/or keeping their goals only tucked up in your heads.

THE ROAD AHEAD

Where are You & Your business heading? Here is some guidance from Bob Proctor: “A proper goal provides the necessary incentive to grow in awareness - and every aspect of your life is a reflection of your level of awareness”.

What strikes me within these wise words are: Goal, Grow and Awareness. 3 very powerful points to take note of to make progress.

Personally, a lot has been picked up from working in a corporate environment for many years. One that stands out like the proverbial sore thumb is Goal Setting. It was great to be introduced to it years ago. Something that now comes natural and are done religiously at the start of every new year. In January thoughts are arranged into at least 3 Development sections: Entrepreneurship, Business and Personal. Setting out a strategy for each part of life as a professional working individual is order of every new year. 

THE SET UP EXERCISE 

To sit down and calmly spend time making decisions for the next 12 months is one of the most satisfying exercises one can do. It puts the future into perspective and creates a track that encourage the mindset to move systematically forward. 

A golden rule to follow is that of creating SMART Goals. Setting massive, almost out-of-bound Goals are, from a personal point of view, not that productive. It is good to be ambitious, however being realistic is a much better route to follow. 

Over-the-top Goals can easily lead to disappointment and discouragement. One can feel like a failure and that easily leads to negativity in thought and mind - something that should be avoided at all costs since being positive is a much easier way to live life and being successful. So, be SMART about your Goals. 

No need to agree on a huge list of goals either. The list can rather be short and sweet than long, tedious and impossible. Aim for around 3 to 5 per section.

THE CREATING PROCESS

Here we are talking literal as in creating the document which will lay out each Goal that will encourage you over the next 12 months to move forward and make progress - in both business and personal growth. 

Keep it plain and simple. A 3-pager landscape-layout with 4 columns each should do the trick. Give each page a heading that clearly describes what your plans are. Then head up each column too. The following column headers makes a lot of sense: Goal, Actions, Timescale and Result. 

Take each page at a time. Write a Goal and follow on to the 2nd column and then the 3rd. The 4th will be visited throughout the year and completed by the end of your 12 month cycle. Do this for each page you created and very soon you will look at a great lot of words that stare you in the face. It is so much easier to visualise what needs to be done and by when once you see it with your own eyes. People do tend to say why should I create a document? It’s all in my head in any case - trust me, seeing it in black on white cement it in your head and give your mindset a real good boost. 

To finish off this very important document it is imperative to Brand it. Add your logo. Use your company colours. Definitely use your company font. Make it your own. It is YOUR Goals for YOUR Company. Once again, each time you visit this document it will give you a sense of ownership. After all, it belongs to you! 

THE RE-VISIT   

There are people who (unfortunately) think that once they created their Goals it can stay in a folder somewhere on their computer. Their attitude of I am going to look at it only in 12 months from now is defeating the purpose. A regular visit to this document will not only refresh your memory it will also make it clear where you are with those goals as the year go by.

A healthy suggestion is to add at least 4 reminder dates to your calendar. Every 3 months is good timing. This will give you enough time to get on with business in general and easily let you cast your mind back to what you have achieved and where you are in making progress. Here is where column 4 gets the action. Note down the date your visit takes place and next to it whether you have already accomplished, slightly progressed or still have to work on the particular Goal. 

Quarterly visits will also help a lot at the end of your 12 month cycle to see the full picture with no need to open your diary searching for accomplishments or wreck your mind when you actually demolished a goal. 

THE FINAL FRONTIER 

Time flies by so quickly and before you know it a year would’ve past. The moment of truth will be facing you. The last Goal visit of the year will be upon you and you will need to be honest about what you wrote months ago. 

The possibility exists that certain sections of your Goal Setting document will still not be completed. Don’t stress about this. Circumstances change all the time. There could be a very good reason (lets hope so) for a Goal to be still outstanding. If it is still relevant to your development don’t feel ashamed to add it to the next bunch for the year to come. 

CONCLUSION

Every year your Goals’ intensity will increase. Your aim will be higher than before. You will most likely put a bigger demand on yourself and your business. Don’t let it deter you. As mentioned before, there is nothing wrong with being ambitious. Nothing prohibits you from setting the bar a notch higher than last year (actually, it is a very healthy approach). The important thing is to continue to set Goals. Continue to visit them regularly and be strict about them. At the end of the day it’s up to you, but having these milestones set out loud and clear will help you with you strategy towards success.

To be brutally honest with you, Now Is The Time to get going and set out milestones for the next months ahead. Good luck with your Goals! It will be worth it every time - I promise you that! 

As always, please feel free to share, comment or send me a message if you have any questions and/or can relate to this post. 

You can reach me here, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook & Instagram

And most of all… Thank You for reading. 

HOW DID YOU DO THIS YEAR?

It’s upon us. Yes, we’re about to wave ta-ta to 2018. 

As we sleigh (!) towards the end of another year, some very important action should be imposed on oneself. This is the time to take stock of our development during the past 12 months. It is also the time to be brutally honest with oneself when assessing the dos and don’ts of the past year. Well, I’m happy to share with you how I did…

WERE MY GOALS REALISTIC?

Setting goals for the immediate 12 months to come is an exercise I categorically do ever year. It actually is a very exciting activity that happens within the first week of the new year. The start of 2018 was no exception. Now with the end in sight it is time to evaluate those milestones.

The overall conclusion is that the goals set out were realistic and probable. In hindsight, to be honest, the odd one was a bit too conservative. Then again, it cancels out the one here and there that was over ambitious. All in all, the general consensus is that my 12-month vision was pragmatic and reasonable

All in all, many more similar goals with a few spanners thrown for next year. 

WERE MY ACTIONS PLAUSIBLE?

Even though ones goals can easily be realistic, the next step in the process is crucial. This is the next move within your path of reaching a goal.  Manoeuvring forward is, can be and most certainly will be, difficult. 

First, and foremost, the question jumping out is… were the limits pushed out all the way? Did you really put shoulder against the wheel and dig your heels in deep? As with every step of reconsolidating your goals, one has to be brutally honest with oneself.

Personally and to the point, the answer is: Yes, but Could’ve Been Better. The pushing was mostly intense, the dedication was there, but there were moments when dealings with goals were way too conservative. Even though I am in general a very positive person, motivation seemed to drift away from time to time. The desire to get back on track needed an efficient amount of energy to get ones’ mojo back. That time spent could’ve been put much more towards chasing and following up on possibilities. 

Lesson learned that focus on time management should be taken far more seriously in the new year. 

WERE MY PROGRESS ACCEPTABLE?

Step 3 within goal setting is the actual physical part of it all. This is where the action really takes place. Milestones is what it is all about. When you pen your vision for the months to come it is very important to add dates of when a goal should be completed. Yes, it’s tough, but without it a goal is only a dream without a plan. 

Luckily, most important goals were hit at the right time due to my action steps being thoroughly in place. One such a step was to sign up a client from the USA which materialised within the timeframe set out.  Hitting the right target moment is incredible. It causes much happiness and drives ones desire to go forth and be more productive. 

I also believe in the saying… trust the timing of your life. This quote is not to be dismissed as being lazy or show a lacklustre attitude.  Some goals did seem to become out of reach throughout the months. However, just as I thought I may not complete those, they were achieved - albeit at a much later stage as originally set out. Best is they came together fairly out of the blue.  So remember… Magic happens when you do not give up, even if you want to. The Universe always falls in love with a Stubborn Heart. 

Let’s remember that Patience is a Virtue. 

WERE MY OUTCOMES SATISFACTORY?

The last section of your yearly, very important exercise, should be the most exciting part. To get to that level of euphoria you need to have been committed to having a fierce mindset. Your mindset must be driven by your desires at the start of penning your goals. Focus is a crucial part of not only getting things done, but being in command of your thought process. 

My outcomes at this stage of the year are both acceptable and surprising. I am happy that the element of surprise raised its head. It often does, so one must not ignore the possibility of the odd thing coming along without any warning. 

The additional (surprising) achievement came in the way of a request to appear as a guest on a well known podcast. This was most certainly not on the cards - and, honestly, I didn’t even thought of it at the start of the year. However, luckily the forces to be dealt me this amazing card. Best of all is that I grabbed the opportunity with both hands and successfully stepped into a brand new world. The reactions of people via social media and in person were fantastic. It didn’t end there though… I am already booked (for mid January 2019) to record another appearance on a different show.

The end result of some goals that was less satisfactory is not the end of the world. I don’t consider I failed my goals because I didn’t travel as much as I wanted to or didn’t do as many courses as I thought I could. The same is to be said for attending local networking events and adding another tattoo to my collection. Saying that, I did however attend courses, webinars and online discussions efficiently. My travel was sufficient and I have met and connected with a few most incredible people that is now firmly part of my community. For not getting the tattoo… well, the closure of my favourite tattoo parlour in Minorca was totally out of my hands. 

A golden rule is to be Prepared for the moment Opportunity knocks. 

CONCLUSION

Drawing a line under one set of goals is great - and opens up the door to set another lot of possible achievements. Looking back and realising that the outlook for the year gone by was on par with ones’ desires is very motivating. And that is where you want to be at the end of a year. Let your motivation for doing even more and even better next year drive you forwards. Precisely what I will be doing within a few weeks. 

Now is also the right time to get the ball rolling for next year. Don’t wait until you hit January to get your ducks in a row for what your goals are going to be. Start your thought process before you hit the Christmas Season (that way you can enjoy the festivities with family, loved ones and friends guilt free). Bullet point your initial thoughts now. Make a start rather sooner than later. And that is exactly where I am now. 

I am taking the lessons I learned from 2018 and applying them to my outlook for 2019. Since I mentioned the issue with motivation, it is obvious that it will be seriously addressed. Time management is another part that I will look at and be far more bold about. One other aspect that I will need to work on is that of being far, far too hard on myself. A certain amount of toughness is desirable, but going over the top with demands on yourself is not good. 

To be realistic was again a good move this year, so more of that to come. Basically, if I could (for example) achieve building relationships as I did this past year, nothing is stopping me from forming even more ones next year. Adding great people to my list of acquaintances will be inspirational to say the least. I will also keep a much more open mind when it comes to surprises. 

I am looking very much forward to 2019. Kicking off a New Year with a Clean Sheet. My mind is already set to achieve a lot, even though I have no idea what the new year will bring. But that’s the beauty of it all. If we knew what was coming our way, life will be quite boring and easy. And who wants that? Most definitely not me and I’m sure You don’t want it either. 

Here’s wishing you an Incredible Festive Season! Have a Very Merry Christmas and take time out and spend it with all the wonderful people in your life. If your loved ones are unfortunately not near, don’t forget to call, text/SMS or even send a card. 

Most of all… Let’s hit 2019 with roller blades on! See you on the other side of December 31.

As always, please feel free to share, comment or send me a message if you have any questions and/or can relate to this post. 

You can reach me here, on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook & Instagram.

And most of all… Thank You for reading. 

WHAT MAKES ONE A GREAT LEADER?

Do You look at someone known as a Leader and wonder what it is that makes them to lead You to work and/or life satisfaction? Are You intrigued by Leaders? Or maybe You believe you show possibilities to Be a Leader. 

The title Leader or holding a Leadership position very often applied to a person who, as the dictionary explains, is ‘the person who leads or commands a group, organisation, or country’ and is to take ‘the action of leading a group of people or an organisation’. Purely going on what this sounds like, it is obviously a very important role.

This brings me to the question, what are Leadership Qualities? Whilst researching this journal post I came across a tweet from someone who is an integral part of my close-knit community: Cherie Aimée. The video she refers to is a MUST SEE (if you haven’t already done so) for all Leaders or those striving to be one. 

THE CRUX OF THE MATTER

Apart form the fact that Scooter Braun is a fascinating individual, his slant on Leadership is phenomenal in the video. It resonated 100% with me. Not for wanting to piggyback on his explanation, the topic is dear to my heart hence this article.

From the 6 Qualities of Leadership about to be discussed here within, the one Scooter Braun is very upfront about is exactly the same one that yours truly would put right at the top of the list: Integrity.

THE IN-DEPTH UNDERSTANDING

To get to grips with exactly what makes a great Leader, we must pinpoint the precise attributes of such a responsibility. Lets take them one by one… 

  • INTEGRITY

    The ultimate distinction here is that others must be able to identify with you as a Leader. Therefore strong values, strong ethics and strong character traits are required.  

  • VISION

The long and short of it is, having the ability to take something small and turn it into something big. Not forgetting to keep all those involved updated as changes occur. 

  • HUMILITY 

The focus is first and foremost on others - Every. Single. Time. Performance feedback is crucial and should be obtained regularly.   

  • SELF AWARENESS

The principal point here is to manage the emotions of others. One can only be successful within this realm by knowing how to manage ones own.

  • COMMITMENT

Having the confidence to face difficulties is such an awesome personality trait. This can be done successfully when the focus is on the journey rather than the destination. 

  • ASSISTANCE

Lend a hand. Offer help. And most of all, be positive in doing so.

THE IMPLEMENTATION  

Now that we know what it takes to be a Leader, the question is: How do I incorporate these 6 points in leading the way? Without hesitation, please let me invite you into my world. 

Integrity - To lie is not for me. Ages ago I learned it is something utterly uncomfortable to do. Even when I know the truth will not go down well. There is no point I even attempt the disclosure of facts I don’t know/believe/understand/etc.. I’d rather be honest, than 2-faced. 

Vision - Visualisation has always been part of my life and my career. The strong believe is to see what you want in order to achieve it. The best way to create the picture is to spend quality time with your own mind and design your future

Humility - By putting the needs of others first, it honestly creates incredible satisfaction in the long run. Not only for others, but me too. By doing so, the outcome is very positive. And guess what? The return on your investment in others comes back tenfold. Win-win situation all round. 

Self Awareness - Emotion is an integrable & inevitable part of life. Personally, I strive to always remove my emotion from business decisions. That said, being aware of how to deal with emotions is much needed when you lead others. Once you have nailed this issue within yourself,  you can comfortably help others with theirs.  

Commitment - To see the whole picture comes easy to myself. Only then walking the path towards the end goal can be enjoyed. And once you enjoy the journey, the destination is a byproduct of your efforts.

Assistance - If the number 1 trait on this list is a personal favourite, then this final trait is the best one! Nothing beats being thankful and grateful for what others do for you. More specifically, how others support you. Throw in a great dollop of generosity and it becomes not very difficult to inject a huge lot of positivity into others’ lives. And that is what makes the difference - in life and work.

THE CONCLUSION

To be great at Leadership one must ultimately be in possession of the above attributes. It speaks for itself. Leaders are people that don’t Tell You what to do. What they do though is Show You how It Is Done. 

Within my Entrepreneurial Life the strive is constantly to help others move forward in a positive manner. Being in a situation where my experiences can be applied to the need of others, cause tremendous satisfaction. It also, time and time again, injects drive to achieve more personally. So all in all it is winning position. My clients and/or students receive fundamental advice and in return it shows me that I am making good use of my knowledge. 

Mentoring forms a crucial part of my business. When I started out I didn’t really thought that it is an avenue to pursue. However, it took only one mentoring assignment to made me see the light. It has turned out to be one of the most fulfilling parts of my business. Guiding others and showing them how they should proceed in what they want out of business (and life) is great. To stand back and see the great outcome when someone takes on board your advice is beyond thrilling. Pardon me for sounding over excited, but once you have been in a similar situation you will understand where I am coming from.

Leadership is a vital part of not only ones success, but also those of others. Take some inventory of your own knowledge, experiences and work ethics. If you feel that you can relate to the 6 qualities mentioned above, then go forth and be The Leader You are Meant To Be. 

As always, please feel free to share, comment or send me a message if you have any questions and/or can relate to this post. 

You can reach me here, on LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook.

And most of all… Thank You for reading. 

PRESENT YOUR BRAND WITH PRIDE

‘What is the fatal flaw that prevents Brand Consistency when it comes to visual posts?’ This question from John Lim (@bemovingforward) whilst promoting my appearance as a guest on his podcast, sparked me to get you an answer. 

With workloads and to do lists as long as an arm, it is no wonder that many of us buckle under the weight and let our guard slip. Especially when it comes to being active within the various social media platforms. It’s understandable that between searching for projects, chasing payments and living a life, etc., something has to give

THE DOWNFALL

Unfortunately, the area in which we should not be lazy is how our Brand is being presented where everyone can see it. I would like to particularly focus on the many platforms where we post articles, blogposts, quotes and much more – yes, it’s none other than on Social Media. 

What is your main focus when it comes to being visible on Social Media? Everyone will yell content at me and they will be correct. Next, I will get bombarded with shouts of engagement and that will be followed by video, I’m sure. None of these are wrong, bad suggestions or irrelevant what so ever. In all honesty, nothing can be any closer to the truth. 

THE FEELING OF DROWNING 

Overwhelmed. Snowed under. Completely buried. Do these sounds like phrases/words that you would use to describe how you feel about Social Media many times? Not uncommon to even experience anxiety about it all. 

The question now is, what are you going to do about it? Or are you actually just going to let it be and you will struggle forth. Moving forward without tackling this issue, is definitely not a great idea. Actually, it is a very bad move on your part. So how can you elevate at least some of the stress?

THE BRICK WALL

For many this is the bit that is the cause of all the angst. Not only because you cannot be bothered about it too much, but for many, because you don’t actually know how to deal with it correctly. I am referring to the visually creative part of your posts.

Not all of us are graphic designers. Neither are we top notch photographers. To be honest, I bet many of you will say ‘I don’t even have a creative bone in my body’ when asked about this topic. 

Not having any inclination towards a creative eye is absolutely nothing to be ashamed about. Crikey, we are just human. 

I gather the obvious solution that immediately springs to your mind, is that of hiring a professional to look after your Brand Creatives. Easy - issue solved, right? Well, not for wanting to burst your bubble, that is easier said than done. There is one particular issue with that solution: costs. Perhaps you are lucky enough to have funds available so you can reach out to a professional designer and have all your creatives done in a flash. However, if like me, you most likely are counting the pennies carefully before you spend left, right and centre. 

THE HELPING HAND

A solution is at hand that can help to minimise this one section of your media activity. It is within your reach to cast aside your fear of being creative. You don’t have to show the world your inability of creating visuals that do not sit well within the parameters of Social Media platforms. 

Not all platforms have the same criteria when it comes to posting images. Luckily there are some platforms that share the same dimensions for images. If all were the same, then we won’t have any issues. The crux lies within fact that we should be able to post visuals with the correct size. 

It is here where many, in my opinion, show the lack of pride for their Brand. To post the same size image everywhere will show your lack of care and also prevent your visual to not be seen in its entirety. Hence so many times an important thought/section will go unseen purely because it is not visible completely. 

The secret, although not such a big secret at all, is using a very clever application (app). There is one for me that stands out head and shoulders above the rest. 

THE UNCOMPLICATED ASSISTANT

Having a mobile device is order of the day nowadays. It is designed to make our lives easier and to have at hand at all times. The App mentioned above is available on Mobile Devices (via a download from your mobile provider’s choice of store) and on your Desktop (again, to download via your Internet Providers’ choice of store). 

I am referring to the very useful Adobe Spark Post application. Having this handy App(lication) on your device and/or computer will definitely lend a hand when you want to spice up your post with a stunning visual. Very often we come across a thought or quote that we want to share with our audience. We also realise that it will perform so much better if it is accompanied by an image.  We are after all, constantly made aware that platforms favour posts with visuals. 

No need to neglect your wish anymore. Within a few short actions you can rest assure that your visual will be visible to many others the way the chosen platform intend it to be. 

THE TIME TO EXECUTE

Even as a non-creative human using the Adobe Spark Post application is easy. The simple menu layout of options can quickly be navigated to what you have in mind. Here are the options to create an original post if you don’t want to use some of the App’s templates. 

  •  BACKGROUND 

    For this you have 8 options - from using one of your original photos, or a plain colourful background (a Palette lets you keep your Branding in place by adjusting it to your Brand’s colour tones) through to a stock image.   

  •  TEXT

    10 options available which includes a selection of fonts (to keep your Brand consistent with your designated Brand font), colour (to align with your Brand’s look&feel), the size, spacing, opacity and many more. 

  •  LAYOUT

    An abundance of choices if there need to be more than one image within your post visual.

  •  EFFECTS

    To animate certain parts of your visual are at your fingertip (on your mobile device) or your desktop cursor. 

  •  RESIZE

    This option here is where the magic takes place. 35 options at a tap or click to choose from. Each has the Social Media Platform icon so there is not a single moment wasted figuring out which option will fit perfectly. It’s as easy as Bish Bash Bosh! 

These are the basics within the app. The desktop version has a slightly different layout to it all, but the principals are the same. It will honestly not take you long to find your way around and with regular use you will master it in no time. 

THE CONCLUSION

This very helpful app is easily the one mostly in use by yours truly. On numerous times I have used it whilst having a quick coffee on the go or during a commercial break while I am watching some show on TV. There are obviously many similar applications to choose from however, this one is by far my favourite.  

Originally, I had to consult my notes for the exact image dimensions to fit each platform I was creating a visual for. It took time and a lot of messing about to get it right. All of which added up and before you know it, I was wasting way too much time for my liking. We are all aware time is of essence therefor I was delighted to come across something that can not only enhance my visuals, but also cut down on my precious time. All in all, using this shortcut creates not only much satisfaction (for being creative!), it also leaves me with pride as I present my Brand to one and all out there in perfect shape.

Feel free to share, comment or send me a message if you can relate to this post. As always, if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach me here, on LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook.

And Thank You for reading.

ARE THERE ANY BENEFITS IN BEING AN OCEANHOLIC?

For many of us summer is making way for another season. Have you dipped your toes into the big, blue Water World this year?  In other words, did you have the pleasure of soaking up the sun’s rays at the seaside?

The ocean holds a fascination for me. From an early age growing up in South African I was fortunate to spend many days enjoying life on a beach. As a youngster my hometown wasn’t by the ocean. So, come summer holidays, my parents would pack everything, but the kitchen sink, and we would set off for our annual 6-week caravan camping holiday. 

The be blunt, it was honestly The Best Times Ever.

PASSION FOR THE OCEAN 

I am honestly not exaggerating when I claim that summer breaks were out of this world. The sight and smell of the sea has always been a great love of mine. That feeling of direct contact with sand beneath your feet and the waves against your body, always evokes a feeling of total happiness.

One thing that has always been incredible about the ocean was the vastness that goes most of the time on and on into (almost) infinity. Standing in front of such a huge, open space immediately calls for calmness. Yes, I am aware that she can be dangerous, angry and brutal many a times. However, there are so many times that she is calm, cool and collected. Whatever her mood for the time of day, the energy I absorb is beyond incredible. Is it really somehow abnormal to feel this way?

METHOD IN MADNESS

For many years visiting and spending time at the seaside meant only one reason and that was getting away from school or work and to be on holiday. Nothing in particular wrong with that, but did I ever think more of it? No, not really. 

It wasn’t until I delved deeper into the possibilities that the ocean can provide more than just a superb holiday destination that I realised what really happened to the mind, body and soul during every trip. 

These new-found facts were confirmed when I found a couple of articles that support my findings. Anne Gherini wrote an article in Inc. about the benefits of the beach for our brains. Complimenting Anne’s post I stumbled across another article upon further research in Exploring Your Mind which confirms similar facts. 

All in all, that big, vast open space of water can do wonders for us humans. All we need to do is take on board her free offer of help and reap the benefits. 

NOW IT MAKE SENSE  

After all the years of basking in the hot sun (with protection lotion though!) and inhaling some fresh air, the penny dropped for me. Let’s take a look at the science behind the euphoria of spending time on the beach. 

Waves crushing against rocks or gently washing forwards and back over sandy shores, have an immense effect on our being. This does not only have an impact on our physical bodies, it goes way beyond that. Our mental state is affected more than we can ever imagine. 

To have a balanced existence we have to work at creating it within ourselves first. It is here where the ocean can play a tremendous part to bring a 50/50 state of mind and body. As our physical outer being is enjoying the warmth and soaking up some much-needed vitamin D, our mind is soothed by calming noises without us even taking much notice of it. 

When we then add witnessing the visual of a huge blue space in front of us plus tasting the sea air we are actually taking in the full package on offer by mother nature. Expressing ‘this is exactly what the doctor ordered’ to those around you, we may think we’re being a bit fictitious, although we are nailing the thought 100%. 

DIG YOUR HEELS IN DEEP 

Our time spending on the beach is not only about the sound and smell of the ocean. There are much more to chilling out on a lounger than you can imagine. 

Particles within the sea air and the sand get absorbed into our human system. It may sound very profound, however don’t dismiss the facts in an instance. 

These non-visible bits (aka ions/atoms) are known to elevate our mood tremendously. It is been proved that inhaling sea air and walking barefoot/grounding on the sand can have a very positive effect on your emotions. The possibility exist that you can go from feeling down in the dumps to cheerful and happy purely by spending time on the beach.  

CONCLUSION

When I discovered all these amazing facts about the ocean and it’s remedies it not only caused much happiness within, it also made me understand why I enjoy visiting the sea so much. There I thought it was only to have a break from my usual regime, to experience different cultures, enjoy unusual foods, drink exotic wines, etc... It also makes total sense to me now why one is so much more creative and relaxed on a beach-break. Recalling why I actually get so much out of being by the seaside, it urges me even more to pack a bag and set off to the sandy shores of the Mediterranean asap. 

Waking up refreshed is vital to me. My mindset is a very important part of my life. I constantly work at giving it attention to stay positive and focussed. Therefore, falling asleep to the calming sounds of waves not only set me up for an awesome sleep, it also does wonders for the day ahead when I rouse. 

Not surprising then that my fall-asleep alarm at night is set to Ocean Waves. Even though the duration is set for 20 minutes, most of the time I’m off to slumberland way before it ends. In general, I have great sleeps and I am convinced the ocean sounds plays a part in that. It’s common knowledge that sleep is needed for the body and mind to recuperate after our hectic schedules every day. 

It will be great if you can take a leaf out of my book and be a bit more aware of the effects your visits to the seaside have on you. I urge you to head over to the beach whenever you can. Yes, I am aware your first instinct is that you are on a deserving break. That is totally acceptable and of course, correct. But take a second and add to that the good input from mother nature, and savour that moment. I bet you will then enjoy your break even more. And that, ladies and gentlemen, to be honest, will make my day (or beach break!).

Feel free to share, comment or send me a message if you can relate to this post. As always, if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach me here, on LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook.

And Thank You for reading.

BOOST YOUR BRANDING

The question is: does Your Branding have any magic? Or to put it differently… does Your Branding have the Unicorn touch?

However peculiar this comparison may sound to you there is a lot of sense within using the Unicorn metaphor within a branding connotation. It’s here where you most likely want me to start explaining, right? 

I was so fascinated by reading a post on the websiteRise Above the Noise by David Brier, that it inspired me to write this post. The man is seriously a genius when it comes to branding. If branding is part and parcel of your existence, then please do yourself a favour and check him out on his site

YOUR EXISTING BRANDING

Let’s set the scene. You personally and/or your company have been branded when you started out. Fact is you are at a point now where you’re not entirely happy with the current status of the branding. You have been tinkering with the idea to do something about it. Perhaps you’ve been made aware about a competitor’s recent re-brand or a Startup that is directly in competition with you that has a much better Brand Look&Feel than yours. 

To tie in with the Unicorn touch mentioned earlier, we can continue metaphorically speaking and suggest that your current branding is very much horse-like – meaning it’s strong, does the job, but lack a certain je ne sais quoi. So, if the thought entered your mind that it is not working that well, then it’s time to put some major sparkle into Your Branding. 

There are many ways to put some sparkle into everyday things in life. For instance, take a weather-bashed garden chair… give it a lick of paint and voilà! Therefore, if it is not that difficult to boost an object and give it some new life, then why not do the same with Your Branding.

A CHANGE IS A GOOD THING

There is that age-old saying a change is as good as a holiday which I’m sure you’ve heard before. Personally, and speaking from experience, I can guarantee you it is true. Applying that wisdom to your current branding is not that difficult. As a matter of fact, it is much easier than you think. You will though need the input from a professional to make the magic happens.

There is, however, a very good reason behind me saying this – and that is that once you’ve updated Your Brand it could easily propel itself to a much higher, influencer level. Your product and/or service will be able to attract much more customers' interest than currently. The outcome could mean the difference between being adequate and incredible. Your company ROI will most likely hit the roof and, as I’m sure you’ll agree, that can only be a great thing all around.

You proud yourself as a savvy business person. You believe you have the vision to move your company forward. Why stop when it comes to how your company is perceived by the big, wide world? 

ADD A SPECIAL TOUCH

This is where you should definitely take a look at David’s presentation and it will make complete sense to you. 

He showcases 14 Brands that he literally transformed into major successful entities. The transformations are amazing. Although I call him The Brand Master, I hope that he will agree it wasn’t rocket science as such what he applied – rather common sense and great thinking, or design, so to speak.

Turning your Horse into a White Creature (aka Unicorn) totally depends and comes down to the magic you inject into your current branding. But where to begin, I hear you ask. 

It starts with: 

  • your logo,

  • then your typography

  • next is your design

  • and finally, the execution (via the website and/or your packaging)

In other words, we’re talking the whole yarn. 

Not suggesting that you should copy your competitors, but I believe doing some in-depth research into what is out there in your niche of business is the order of the day. Take time to look closely at how your peers made changes. Study their thought process and do your best to figure out what they have done to excel ahead of you. Then get going and start the process to add some magic to Your Own Branding. Before you know it, you’ll be on your way to stand out from the crowd, or as David says… Rise Above The Noise! 

CONCLUSION

Being a Brand Guardian is one of the aspects of my Entrepreneurial life. Reading and following remarkable people like David is truly inspirational. Whilst reading his astounding post, it made me realise one very important aspect: obviously, I am by no means even close to his level, but the fact that he is so good at what he’s doing doesn’t put me off and want to stop doing what I do. When you are confronted with such insane talent it is really easy to throw in the towel and walks away. Me? Most definitely not. 

I’ve been so intrigued by Mr Brier for some time now, that I have been following him on various social media platforms. He is so consistent with delivery content at a high level that instead of me getting deflated by it all, I find him to be a massive motivation for my journey. I do perceive him as a Virtual Mentor. One can only demand of oneself to aspire to such a high level in time to come. 

Keeping within the Unicorn-theme… only a few days ago, another Virtual Mentor of mine, Winnie Sun, put an incredible post on her Twitter feed. It totally made my head spin and within seconds I had a wonderful imagery in my mind… this is what she posted:

I believe we should all be so proud of our personal and/or business branding, that witnessing what others in our field are doing should spur us on to have even better branding tomorrow than what we’re having today. Do yourself and your team (if you have one) a favour and put some Sparkle Into Your Branding. Make it shimmer & shine and let the branding attracts customers like a moth to a flame. I personally believe we all can do with a bit of magic in our personal lives - the same belief goes for any Company. 

Feel free to share, comment or send me a message if you can relate to this post. As always, if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach me here, on LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook.

And Thank You for reading. 

BECOME A MENTAL NINJA

How would you describe the phrase being successful? So many times, from the top of our heads, we go with having no financial worries or being famous or living in a mansion, etc. etc... Funny thing is, those connotations may not always be exact. What is exact though, is the by-product of success which all successful people have – and that is: a mental toughness. 

TOUGHIN’ UP

The one thing that drives a person to reach a level that refers to be a success, is their minds. At the end of the day, it’s truly about what is going on in their minds that make them reach levels others can only admire from afar.

That said, you may ask… "are you saying I should adjust my mind and then I can reach a level of success?". Great question, and here’s a great answer for you: YES! That is what I, and many others, are saying. Basically, get tough with your mind.

START SWEATING

It’s rather common knowledge that working our bodies is good for our health. Adding to that eating right and we are on our way to build a physique that not only is admired by others but cause great satisfaction to ourselves when we look in the mirror. Hence the reason so many of us take to working up a sweat at home or in the gym.

Guess what? The same goes for your mind. To give your mind a vigorous workout on a regular basis will contribute to you being happy with yourself as a person inside as well. You can become a ninja of your own mental world. The amazing thing about it all is that it’s not at all that difficult to do.

Being an avid believer in the power of the mind, I have been working out my mind for many years. Actually, for far more years than working on my body. I honestly believe I am where I am today because of the attention I constantly give to my thought process every day.

CONQUER FROM WITHIN.001.jpeg

CREATE A ROUTINE

Like many physical trainers will tell you, a routine is of the essence when it comes to working out. The same goes for mental stimulation. Let’s dive into 4 sets of exercises to get you going:

  • BANISH THE GREEN-EYED MONSTER

How often does it not happen that you find yourself in an unpleasant situation which leads to you feeling inferior and beating yourself up about it? The solution is to get body physical as soon as you feel negativity swamping you. 

Do any kind of physical movements. And I do mean, any kind. However, use your favourite exercise. That could be jumping up and down, running on the spot or even push-ups if that’s your thing. As long as you push your mind to focus on something other than the feeling of self-doubt. More to the point… Get Moving! This will break the cycle of negativity and reinforce stability in your mind. 

  • BULK UP YOUR EYESIGHT

Having the ability to see your future is a fascinating attribute. If you currently think you don’t have this, hang in there. You may be able to surprise yourself when you adopt the following exercise which is: put on glasses. Well, not reading glasses, but Success Glasses. 

Part and parcel of wearing your new-found glasses are to look at experiences through a different lens. For instance, take the issue you had which made you feel upset and unhappy. Embrace your emotions by looking at it from a new perspective and start to learn from your experiences. Realise that what you did or how you managed that opportunity wrongly, is a great step forward to having a strong mental attitude. Remember to take notes so as not to repeat your actions. 

Personally, I see setbacks as motivation to move on. So can you. Work on facing a setback with the mental awareness of solving a problem. 

  • PROTECT WHAT YOU'VE GOT

Now it’s time to get really physical. Yes, I am referring to your body. The link between a healthy body and a healthy mind is a statistic we cannot get away from or ignore. The two goes hand in hand.

I am by now means saying that you should become a gym fanatic. If you’re already regularly working out, then that’s great. My point is to take care of your body by what you put into it. Since we are starting to fill our minds with healthy, nutritious thoughts, the same should go for your body. 

Saturate your body with water and steer away from processed foods. Get to sleep as early as possible and stay in that state for at least 6 hours if not more (whatever works for your body clock). It’s common knowledge that lack of sleep has a terrible effect on your cognitive abilities. 

  • COOL DOWN

After physical exercise, it is recommended that you should perform some sort of exercise (like stretching) to get your muscles to relax after you have given them a bashing. The same goes for a mental workout.

Learn the art of meditation. As per the dictionary, it is "a practice where an individual uses a technique, such as focusing their mind on a particular object, thought or activity, to achieve a mentally clear and emotionally calm state". The emphasis is on calm.  Basically, you have to slow down your thinking. After all, you have been working hard in your head to move into a positive state of mind so to speak. 

If meditation is unknown territory for you, seek help to get your head around it (no pun intended!). There are many applications (apps) on your mobile device that can teach you various techniques. Also, ask your family, friends or work colleagues for advice. Mediation takes on various forms. It is important that you find a way that works for you. It may be a trial and error situation at the start but persevere. 

CONCLUSION

I mentioned before that I am a very positive person. I find it much easier to be positive than negative in life. Since I live in the real world, it is obvious that I will come across situations in life that create a negative environment. These are the moments I apply the above exercises to keep moving forward. 

You may say that I make it sound so easy. To put you at ease, it took consistent attempts and a lot of determination to get to the level where I find myself nowadays. Remember that saying… Rome wasn’t built in a day? That is true of my mental workouts. As I had to get used to exercising my body, the same is said for mental workouts. Once you have experienced how pumped your mind feels afterwards, you will begin to get into it in a big way. 

One last note of advice: Keep Practising. Remember why you started – to be a Success. Once your mindset is your boss, the rest will fall into place. The Power of Positive Thinking can and will ultimately be a Force To Be Reckon With. Be patient with yourself and soon You will also find it easy to do. 

Feel free to share, comment or send me a message if you can relate to this post. As always, if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach me here, on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook & Instagram.

And most of all… Thank You for reading.

PUT YOUR THINKING CAP ON

How often do the words ‘what a bad day!’ comes out of your mouth? It is an exclamation that is often uttered when one slumps on the sofa after another day is done. However, have you ever thought why it’s been so tough? Or far more importantly, why another bad day again?

When you live life like groundhog day the repetitiousness can cause huge frustration. Rightly so too. Having to deal with the same issue/s time and time again will most certainly drive you to a standstill. 

Don’t despair. Or give up hope. All is not lost.

FIGURING IT OUT

There is a simple explanation for having to struggle day in and day out with the same disappointment in ones’ life: little, if any, personal growth.

A recent post by Coaching Positive Performance made it very clear that moving forward in life can be tricky. It is a very valuable article that within a few steps gives the perfect advice how to overcome such an issue.

The short answer is Reflection. One has to sit back and analyse why your day has been so unsuccessful. Also figure out what has made the day so tough and most of all prepare yourself for future incidents like it. 

TAKING STOCK

Kicking back after a hard day is sometimes easier said than done. Specially after a day’s work you then have to deal with family or loved ones. Don’t get me wrong – having a home life is very important. It keeps your feet on the ground and put a lot in perspective. 

However, you may have to deal with even bigger issues when you get home. Whether that is attention to dish out, lending a helping hand or giving someone a shoulder to cry on. All such natural behaviours can cause you to forget about your bad day. It unfortunately also let you forget to reflect about and think what really caused your day to end up so stressful.

It’s here where having some me time is essential. Make time to look back and address the issues surrounding your day - those moments that caused you to end up miserable, irritable and stressed out. 

ONE STEP AT A TIME

To rush the thinking or let us call it the analysing process, could make matters even worse.  In other words, easy does it. 

The article discusses 5 points that can steer you into successfully working on your Growth:

  • MISTAKES

It hopefully won’t be too difficult to recall the moments where it all went pear shaped for you. Cast your mind back to the situation/s that trigger your negative mood. 

The keyword here is judging. Don’t tell yourself off for failing. It is important to look objectively at what went wrong. Only then you can work on how to deal with a similar situation differently next time.

  • IMPROVE

Running the incident through your mind again with the knowledge of what went wrong, you can then establish how to act better and upstand the part you played. 

The outcome not only will be more positive for you, but will enhance the experience for everyone else that was with you. In general, next time you can create a much more pleasant atmosphere all round.   

  • EMPATHY

Showing that you care doesn’t mean you should always bow down and agree with others. In reality it means you should stand your ground. However, how you do that is of essence. 

To grow as a person, it is important to be able to put your hand up and admit your actions were not in the best interest of others. Accepting your behaviour as negative is a very strong attribute to who you are. 

  • SELF ASSURED

Being confident can easily come across as arrogant. There is a very fine line between the two. Self-confidence is essential for personal growth, but definitely without being aggressive. 

Let us remind ourselves that there is nothing worse to step on or look down on others around us. At the end of the day there is a huge possibility that you will need their support & help to accomplish your goals. 

  • HUMAN TOOL

This is the most important part when you undertake this exercise of how to grow into a better human being

It all boils down to this priceless piece of equipment we all have: the ability to REFLECT. Stop, ponder & look back. Listen, Learn & Move On. 

CONCLUSION

Combining all the pointers mentioned above and you are on your way to banish those words in my opening sentence at the top. It is at this point in life where we all need to be.

All of us are human. We all make mistakes and we all feel unhappy about it. It is natural and I myself fall victim to it. Therefore, let us not sink deeper into the hole a so called bad day created. Armed and guarded with the knowledge we now have we can attack not only our days to come, but every situation that life throws at us. 

This can only have a positive outcome to our lives. Let it not be said that we succumbed and accepted the world we live in as we most certainly do not want to be seen as weak – no, we only are tackling life’s little issues and turn them around to benefit ourselves and those around us. 

At the end of the day we will endeavour Personal Growth to the highest standards. By the way… You Can Do It. 

Feel free to share, comment or send me a message if you can relate to this post. As always, if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach me here, on LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook.

And Thank You for reading.

WHAT ARE YOUR STRENGTHS?

What do you excel at? No matter the environment you find yourself in, there is a big possibility that you have very strong attributes, but do you have the opportunity to put them to actual good use every day?

From our everyday walk through life, we can most likely name a couple of things that we know we are good at. And vice versa. However, have you ever wondered why you can do certain things better than others?

Perhaps you are one of many who has been going along everyday performing your duties without thinking about it much. Maybe the time is right for you to find out exactly the who and what about yourself.

WHY YOU SHOULD KNOW YOUR TALENTS

There is a very good chance that you do not get to use your natural talents to its best on a daily basis. Mostly, we use our time and abilities to fix our faults rather than developing that what we are good at.

If you are in position to apply your talents to your best every day, then you are extremely lucky. Most people will state that they don’t have such an opportunity and therefore don’t engage much with their work and life in general.

Those that do focus on their strengths are 6 times more likely to enjoy the work positions they hold at work. They are also 3 times more likely to have a great life.

With those statistics in mind, the most obvious question is: what do I do to figure out what my strengths are? 

WHERE TO FIGURE OUT YOUR STRENGTHS

A few years back, whilst still in permanent employment, I was lucky to be introduced to a system called Strengths Finder 2.0

It is an online assessment programme that was originally created in 1998. Then, in 2004, Tom Rath & Gallup scientists updated their first version (which had the help of Donald O. Clifton PH.D.) hence it being called 2.0 now. 

The programme is not FOC, however for a mere £17 / $20 from Amazon, it will be a tiny price to pay for what you will learn. Your knowledge after the assessment can easily be put to use in some form so that you get back far more than what you forked out originally.

In case you’re thinking that you will have to spend ages completing the evaluation, rest assure – it will only take about 30 minutes of your time. In the end you will find areas where you can develop your strengths.

WHAT IS THERE TO LEARN

The outcome will be 5 Themes where you have the greatest potential to develop your strengths. You will find Ideas for Action and Tips on How To Collaborate with others.

I was pleasantly surprised by what I learned from this exercise. To say it was an eye opener, is an understatement. It clearly defined to me my strong points in being the human I am. Here are my 5 Top Strengths:

  • Achiever

  • Consistency

  • Deliberative

  • Discipline

  • Relator

To give you a better insight, let’s break them down 1 by 1:

As an ACHIEVER there is the constant need for achievement. Every day (all days, not only working days) starts at zero and by the end of the day I must’ve achieved something tangible in order to feel good about myself.

Having balance, to me, in life is vital to living. The believe is that we function best in an environment that is CONSISTENT, i.e. where everyone knows what to expect. I therefore create a place where each person has an even chance to show his or her worth.

Personally, being careful, vigilant and private are daily functions. Living in an unpredictable world, it is important to identify, assess and reduced risks. Planning ahead is everything. I figure out dangers, weight up their relative impact and then place my feet DELIBERATELY firmly on the ground.

A world that is ordered and planned is heaven to me, thus, instinctively I impose structure and set up routines. Via this assessment one learned that not everybody agrees on the front of being DISCIPLINED. Everyone has their own way of getting things done. However, most people (luckily!) realises that I behave in this way only to maintain my progress and productivity.

Even though it is uplifting to meet new people, the greatest pleasure is in being with familiar faces. As a REALTOR one cherishes how people operates in their everyday existence. Relationships to me have value only if it is genuine - even if it means there’s a risk of being taken advantage of. A risk I am willing to accept. 

CONCLUSION

If you feel your life in a work environment or even within relationships are not going as smooth as you would like it, take this assessment. If you don’t really have the money to spend on it, save up or even borrow it. There is a huge possibility that the outcome will have a profound effect on your life. That in itself is surely worth doing it.

It was the best 30 minutes I spend online ever. The fact that so many pieces of the puzzle I call Life slotted in together was amazing. When I mentioned earlier that it was an eye opener, I honestly meant it. So many situations I went through or issues I stumbled across, made perfect sense all of a sudden. I don’t carry any regrets, however, if I have to point out one thing in life that I’m not too happy about is the fact that I didn't take the assessment much earlier on in my life. I am sure it would’ve saved me a lot disappointment, anger and pain.

We are granted only one life. Many times, we get only the one chance at something or someone. We need to grab those moments with both hands and make the most of it. Like I said, I am not a person who favours regrets, hence I suggest instead of one day looking back at what could’ve been, do something now to prevent looking back in disappointment.

Feel free to share, comment or send me a message if you can relate to this post. As always, if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach me here, on LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook.

And Thank You for reading.

STOP. BEING NEGATIVE IS NOT GOOD FOR YOU.

What are you thinking right now? Is it what this post will be all about or something more personal? Whatever your answer, thinking is what we do. All the time. 

The important factor is not that we think, but how we think. Very often one finds oneself in a more negative state of thinking than a positive one. Self-defeating thoughts can cause havoc in ones life. So, can we do something about it? And if we can, what or better still, how can we be more positive.

DISTORTED THOUGHTS

Ever heard the saying you are what you eat? Well, the same goes for …what you think. That is definitely true. We tend to believe that what goes on in our minds are the truth. In general many of us sway towards the negative issues and not the positive ones. It’s utterly and completely normal. 

However, such thoughts easily can be fake. So, to put it into relevant context, we believe in Fake News. Shocking revelation, if you ask me.  You may right now sit up and think (!) 'what the hell? How dare he says I believe in fake news!' If you focus on your distorted thoughts then you do trust and believe in such news. 

GET INSIDE YOUR OWN HEAD

General distorted thoughts are called cognitive distortions and are categorised into 3 groups:

  • Filtering

  • Polarized Thinking

  • Overgeneralizing

Each of these 3 convinces us that what we are thinking, at a specific moment, is the truth. However, they are inaccurate and reinforce our mind to think in a negative manner spurred on by negative emotions. 

Don’t feel disappointed right now. Trust me, all is not lost - You can Be Your Own Best Friend.

MAKE A START NOW

To achieve having power over our thought process, we need to start deconstruct our mind. We don’t only need to get control back, we need to be in control all the time.

Let’s take each distortion group one by one.

1. Filtering

Firstly, what is filtering? I am sure that within seconds of me giving you a rundown of it, you will recognise it. 

Have you ever been complimented on a handful of things you were great at? Perhaps in work, by your partner or family member? They praised you for being amazing and then this happens: ‘Pity you didn’t master that so well. Maybe you should  take time out and learn more about it’. Boom. All hell breaks loose in your head. Gone are the heap of things you're good at. They vanished in nano seconds. All that’s left is how bad/horrible/etc. you were at the one thing they told you to learn more about. There you have it: you filtered out all the positives and now only focus on the negative. 

To alter this thought process the focus should stay on your strengths - the things you did well. In return, the one thing you didn’t do that well will improve. The more you use words to emphasise your compliments, the more you will build yourself up. As they say, words matter, so use them well. 

2. Polarized Thinking

Secondly, what do we do when we polarize something? We divide it into two halves - i.e. black & white or right & wrong. 

Basically, we tend to focus only on the utmost opposites. There are no middle ground as far as we are concerned. No grey area at all. We believe we either do something fully or don’t do it at all. Let's say you tried your hand at something new, i.e. a craft - it didn’t work out so you immediately believe you failed and you will never be able to do it. 

To be successful we need to focus on progress and gratitude - not perfection. Reminding yourself consistently of your winnings in life and work will have a far better influence over yourself. It will also give you the incentive to continue striving towards your goals. 

3. Overgeneralization

Lastly, what happens when we overgeneralize situations? We apply one negative result to all other similar instances. 

If a certain activity or experiment disappointed us, all others likewise will disappoint too, we believe. Therefore we don’t attempt it ever again.

When this happens we need to zoom in onto the fact that one bad moment doesn’t apply to every other one out there. Note that one bad egg doesn’t spoil the whole dozen. We need to get back on track and try again. There is a big possibility that if you attack something similar by leaving the bad experience behind and progress with a positive attitude, the outcome will be far more rewarding. You will most likely succeed and start to enjoy whatever it is you’re giving a second chance.

CONCLUSION

Watch out for What You Think. The secret is to investigate your thoughts before you make a decision about it. Best way to accomplish this is to: 

  • analyse into which group that thought falls

  • figure out why you are thinking in a certain way

  • then focus on the positive side of the situation

This way of managing our thought process should become part and parcel of our natural thinking behaviour. If you Think Positive, you will Be Positive. And guess what? If you think negative, you will end up being negative. Fact!

Tackle the Fake News in your head and banish it. Now and Forever. Don’t take any BS from yourself from now on.

Feel free to share, comment or send me a message if you can relate to this post. As always, if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach me here, on LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook.

And Thank You for reading.

DEVELOP AN EXISTENCE OF GRATITUDE

How has your day been so far? Better still, are you having a great week?

Our lives are so occupied with being here, there and everywhere that we often forget the things that make our lives special. Now many of you may immediately tell me off for assuming you are well since I do not know you personally. So how dare I say your life is special. Well, this is my point: if you just take a few minutes every day to remind yourself of the good & great in your life, Your Life Will Be Special.

This doesn’t mean that life will never be tough, harsh and many times be very frustrating. Not to mention how disappointing it can be on many levels. Life, however, can be much, much better if we let it be.

ORIGIN OF RECOGNITION

Many years ago, when I was still a youngster, a friend’s dad actually mentioned the following to me: ‘I was complaining that I had no shoes until I met a man who had no feet'. At the time, I did not know it is a very well-known quote from Confucius.

I vaguely remember that I was upset about not having enough money or something hence he uttered those words to me. It stopped me in my tracks (so to speak). To be very honest with you, it had the most profound effect on me. I will not ever forget that moment in time.

RAMIFICATIONS IT CAUSED

To classify myself as a positive person is an understatement. Therefore, in times like the last few days it is vital to stand by the believes I have.

There has been many (truly lost count) of moments in life that it feels everything is going pear-shaped. For example, during my career within full-time occupation quite a few job applications were filled in and interviews attended.  Time after time there either has been no reply or a ‘thanks, but no thanks’ outcome. Such moments caused me to feel unwanted and disillusioned.

However, after the a-ha moment from the Confucius quote, the trend is to flip such emotions on its head and focus on the complete opposite side of the coin. Look properly and you will see the positive within the negative. It’s here where the fundamentals of the Yin Yang theory come into place. There is most certainly a bit of good in every, single part of the bad.

No surprise then that on the inside of my left foot, right underneath my ankle is a tattoo of a Yin Yang. My first tattoo and one I had for over 30 years.

DAILY IMPLEMENTATION REQUIRED

To be clear, let us look at the precise explanation of the Yin Yang Chinese philosophy, Taoism:  Two halves that together complete wholeness. Yin and Yang are also the starting point for change.

There, plain and simple and very effective. The last few words of the second sentence says it all… starting point of change.

Within our daily walk through life we are constantly bombarded with situations that has no pleasant effect on us. Perhaps this is in the form of confrontations with people, the difficulty of tasks, fulfilling requests, completing errands, etc. – the list is endless. Naturally it can cause humans to feel down in the dumps and not very happy at all. We are, after all, only human.

The secret, if you permit me calling it that, is hopefully quite obvious (if you’re still reading this article) by now: Flip. The. Coin. Stop in your tracks (!) and look at the situation as clear as you possibly can and start making a change. Ask yourself: ‘Is this moment in time as tough and hard as I make it for myself?’ At the top of your head you most likely will go ‘Hell yeah, it is!’, but what if you control your emotions just a bit better and re-visit the situation?

The only way to find out is for you to give it a go. Most importantly:

  • do this every, single day

  • keep practising it

  • keep giving it a go

  • don’t lose faith within Yourself

  • don't lose faith within Your abilities

This maybe a cliché, but if this man (me, who else), who started life many years ago in a small, conservative town in a country far away from where I am today, can do it, So Can You.

The bottom line is, there is a reason why obstacles are thrown at us constantly: for us to figure out what it is, look at it from a different perspective and find a solution to solve the issue. Sounds complicated, right? Not if you know what to do and how to handle it.

CONCLUSION

It is here where Gratitude enters my daily life. Easily a million times a day the words ‘thank you’ utters my mouth/are fabricated in my mind. It can be for overcoming a massive brick wall or a tiny hump in the way. It many times are for a small action like remembering to make that call or being able to quickly fixing a loose screw. Practising this form of positivity on a regular basis has developed my strong Attitude of Gratitude. It enhances my self-belief and outlook on life.

All we need to do is look around us, listen to the latest news broadcasts, read the newspaper or surf the web to realise how many people are out there that haven’t got nearly what we have. It honestly doesn’t matter what your current circumstances are. Just take a moment and look around you. There is no need for me to tell you what you will see. What I can tell you is that with the attitude of gratitude, very shortly thereafter you will realise that what you are going through is nothing in comparison to so many others around the world. The only thing I ask you to do is to realise what YOU have. Don’t focus on what you don’t have, but pick the small bit of lightness within the Yin-moment (negative/dark) and focus on that. I am sure it will turn into a much more appreciative feeling than anything else.

One last thing to remember… You. Can. Do. It.

Feel free to share, comment or send me a message if you can relate to this post. As always, if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach me here, on LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook.

And Thank You for reading!