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. 

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. 

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. 

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.

BEING A 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 recent read from Jeffrey Hayzlett, Top 3 Traits of a Good Mentor, sparked writing 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.

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 satisfying anymore. It made me realise though that I was extremely lucky to gain an enormous amount of experience along the way. Moving from one position to another over 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 at the end of May 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

SHARE 

My bible of experience covers a fair amount of different topics related to being in a business environment. Therefore it is not that difficult to assist mentees with various issues they’re experiencing.  As a person who 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. of late Social Media Management is a hot topic. 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 do, looking at it 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. 

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 (or not) already out there for all to see. Starting with each existing section from visual presence (avatars, videos, photos, etc.) right through to the writing of posts 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 yours 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 aside for another post.

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

CONCLUSION

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

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.