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 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. 

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.

HOW TO GET YOUR MOJO BACK

It’s one of those networking events. To my left a conversation is taking place that is obviously going well. Over there a couple of people are positively scribbling drawings furiously on pieces of paper. Behind me is a well-known Entrepreneur complimenting a Start Up company for the excellent work they are doing. And here I am. Standing alone and sticking out like a sore thumb. I can’t think of anything to say to anyone. I am totally useless. Not worth being here. To top it all, it’s only 9 minutes into the event – another hour and 51 minutes to go. 

TYPICAL SCENARIO

I guess the above situation is not unusual for many – actually, all of us (hopefully). Reading an article by Mark Schaefer about Crushing Self-Doubt it swung windows wide open for me. Moments of feeling that you’re going absolutely nowhere, stuck in a rut or even worse, the feeling of giving up, still pops up after all these years.

In today’s social society is it easy to come across many people that stand out as Influencers, Entrepreneurs and Self Made Millionaires. Start reading their blogs or listening to their podcasts it is obvious why they are who they are. They seem to have the know-how. They have the answers. Therefore, they are at the forefront of their niche. You only need to look at any of their social media feeds and the evidence is there – their careers are just perfect.

PROCEED WITH CAUTION

To make it even worse for you, these amazing people follow you back. They sometimes even like and/or comment on your posts. Even if you’re steadily building up a good bunch of followers it could mean being down and out from time to time.

First and foremost, you have to immediately stop comparing yourself to others. At first glance it will come across that these amazing people are breezing through life. They always look amazing in their live social stories. The words come out of their mouths like water of a ducks back. The truth is that they all, yes, each and every one of them had to start at some point – exactly like you. They have been where you are now. Albeit it be quite a few years ago now, but they really were in the same boat as you right now.

IT HAS A NAME

Ann Handley, a super successful author and business leader, has tackled this topic a few times. Imposter Syndrome is the feeling of being worth nothing, not a penny. Of feeling so bad at what you’re doing that perhaps you should just go home and get back into bed – for ages. She said that it doesn’t matter how good you are at whatever, there is a time and place for Self-Doubt. In Mark’s article Ann highlights how to crush that feeling. She points out that the best way to overcome such feelings is to embrace them. 

TACKLE IT HEAD ON

Now, that is what I call taking the bull by the horns and get a good grip. Yes, turn the tables on low self-esteem and negative thoughts. Use such a moment as an opportunity to work through such an issue. In other words, when it strikes don’t let it get to you. As Ann puts it:

  • It’s evidence you’re still developing as a person
  • It’s evidence you’re not full of yourself
  • It’s useful to determine your life path

The difficult part of dealing with inner emotions is usually the unknown. You have no idea what to do about it. So how can someone tell you to do something about it. Well, now it’s a different case, right? You now know two things:

  • It’s not uncommon to have low self esteem
  • It can easily be overcome

WHAT, HOW & WHEN

To progress and proceed on the path of an Entrepreneur or Successful business owner, one must take up exercise in various formats. There are mainly two areas in which you can develop a stronger You: the physical and the mental.

The first is quite obvious. Get yourself out of bed as early as possible every day and work the body. This does not necessarily mean trotting off to a gym and lift weights until you collapse. There are many ways of working out in the comfort of your own home. It also doesn’t mean you need to spend hours on end doing sit-ups or squats. As long as you can perform some exercises regularly it should do the trick. Head over to YouTube or Google and you will find plenty of examples for the level you’re at. Lesson to learn here is that you should do some physical movement regularly. It will not only do your body good, but your energy levels will shoot up drastically.

Secondly, work the mind. To prohibit Self-Doubt knocking on your door regularly get your headspace in order. Daily confirmations to oneself is the place to start and to continue with. Tell yourself: ‘I can do it. I am terrific’. Personally I live by various mantras however the one that stands out is ‘I can. And I will. Watch me.’  There are many of these sayings on offer. One secret though... when you Say It, Mean It.

Also, grab a book from someone like Brendan Burchard (The Motivation Manifesto), Norman Vincent Peale (The Power of Positive Thinking) etc. and get reading. There are also many blogs out there that will give you inspiration. Brian D Evans and Leonard Kim to mention a couple of my favourites. Reading is to the Mind what Exercise is to the Body.

CONCLUSION

Most important note is that you do something about bashing those horrible, negative feelings. As said, they will come knocking. They will pop up when you least expect it. Especially when your guard is down – they have a tendency to know that and strike fiercely then.

You are in control of Your Life. No one can do the fighting for you. It’s 100% up to you. And why would you want someone/something to take control of You. Be the Boss. Be Yourself. Live Your Life the way You Want To.

If you can resonate with the above, please feel free to leave a comment and/or share with others. We never know who might right now want some guidance. On the other hand, if it is You that want to reach out for advice, get in touch and let’s talk.