HOW TO DEVELOP YOUR KNOWLEDGE INTO UNSURPASSED SUCCESS

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

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

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

THE URGE TO KNOW

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

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

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

THE LEARNING CURVE

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

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

THE IMPLEMENTATION

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

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

  • Practice

  • Practice it again

  • Practice it some more

  • Practice until it becomes second nature

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

THE CONCLUSION

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And most of all… Thank You for reading. 

BEING A PRACTICAL, POSITIVE & POWERFUL MENTOR

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

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

TO SEEK

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

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

TO SHARE 

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

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

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

TO SUPPORT 

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

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

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

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

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

CONCLUSION

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

On a personal level it:

  • broaden insights 

  • cultivate relationships

  • awoke mutual feelings of respect

  • create being seen as an expert 

  • makes one an influencer

  • allows one be a contributor 

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

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

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

And most of all… Thank You for reading.

WHAT IS AN INTEGRATED BRAND PARTNERSHIP?

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

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

WHAT CAN BE DONE

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

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

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

WHAT IS IT ABOUT

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

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

WHEN DOES IT WORK BEST

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

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

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

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

  • Broadcasting - Television Programme

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

  • Online - Website

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

  • Print - Magazine

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

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

CONCLUSION 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And most of all… Thank You for reading. 

PUT ONE FOOT IN FRONT OF THE OTHER

… and You can put any mountain behind You. 

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

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

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

THE ROAD AHEAD

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

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

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

THE SET UP EXERCISE 

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

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

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

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

THE CREATING PROCESS

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

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

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

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

THE RE-VISIT   

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

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

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

THE FINAL FRONTIER 

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

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

CONCLUSION

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

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

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

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

And most of all… Thank You for reading. 

HOW DID YOU DO THIS YEAR?

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

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

WERE MY GOALS REALISTIC?

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

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

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

WERE MY ACTIONS PLAUSIBLE?

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

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

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

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

WERE MY PROGRESS ACCEPTABLE?

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

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

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

Let’s remember that Patience is a Virtue. 

WERE MY OUTCOMES SATISFACTORY?

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

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

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

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

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

CONCLUSION

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And most of all… Thank You for reading. 

WHAT MAKES ONE A GREAT LEADER?

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

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

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

THE CRUX OF THE MATTER

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

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

THE IN-DEPTH UNDERSTANDING

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

  • INTEGRITY

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

  • VISION

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

  • HUMILITY 

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

  • SELF AWARENESS

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

  • COMMITMENT

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

  • ASSISTANCE

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

THE IMPLEMENTATION  

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

THE CONCLUSION

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

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

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

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

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

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

And most of all… Thank You for reading. 

HAVING A PLAN IS EVERYTHING

How many topics are there on your to-do list for 2018? Far too many? ‘Of course!’, I hear you say. It is common knowledge that all of us struggle with tasks at some point within our busy schedules.

Having a list of tasks as long as your arm means that we easily feel overwhelmed, stressed and even depressed about getting things done. Again, it is common knowledge.

WHAT TO DO NEXT

Since it is the beginning of a new year, I reckon we all have some plans for the next 12 months. However, the question is, how will those plans turn out? It will be a miracle if some, leave alone all, of our good intentions actually manifest into reality, right?

There is a solution at hand. You can create your own miracle. Not wanting to sound patronising, it’s an easy one. What you need is a Structure. Also known as a Plan - a Plan of Action. 

HOW TO MAKE YOUR PLAN

I came across a blog entry by one of the world’s best leaders, Tony Robbins. He has put together a post outlining the top actions to follow for creating, what I call, your winning plan. How Can I Create A Compelling Future is a short and very powerful article about how you can achieve what you want.

Before you think ‘oh, here we go again with goals’ do yourself a favour and click on the link to that post. You may be pleasantly surprised at what you find. It truly is short, sharp and to the point. In other words, easy-peasy!

I am in absolute agreement with Tony. The secret also for me lies within writing down what you want to achieve. Start by asking yourself:

  • What Do You Want?

  • Why Do You Want It?

Once you see your aims in black on white, it will be much easier to remember and accomplish them. Many people think they will keep it in their minds only to find a few days down the line, they can’t remember some, if any, of it. 

WHERE TO BEGIN

Either grab a pen and paper or let your fingers do the walking on a keyboard. The best way to start is with the word SMART. Yes, you have to be smart about it all, but that is not exactly what I mean in this case. SMART is short for a 5-set Law Of Principles.

Each letter should be used as the starting point of one principal. In short it stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timeframe. Tackle your aims and apply these 5 principals to each and every one of them.

Once done, you will have a clear vision of where you are heading. It will also help you to maintain a strong flow once you start to take action with what you want.

Next up is a brilliant suggestion by Tony. You may find that you have quite a few things in mind so your list could be a bit lengthy. Now is the time to be brutally honest with yourself. Follow Tony’s 3 Steps and you will end up with a concise and very definite version of what you’re aiming for. 

CONCLUSION

When done, pat yourself on the back since You Have Done It. Yes, you have put shoulder to the wheel and created a set of realistic desires for the next year. Massive Kudos from me to you! Congratulations.

Even though you have not started the race and is by no means close to the finishing line, you are in your starting blocks. You are Ready to kick off in a major way. You can see the track all lined out in front of you with your very own eyes.  Basically, You Are Set.

Now is the time to shoot out of your starting blocks and start running like hell. So, let’s Go. It’s all action from here on.

I personally wish you the best for the road ahead. Even if you slow down somewhere along your journey, the main point to remember is to Keep Going.

You. Can. Do. It.

Feel free to share / comment / 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.

THE IMPORTANCE OF YOUR LIFE

Here’s a question of you: how happy are you? Not only at this exact moment in time, but overall and in general. Now, there are as many people that can answer in a positive manner than what there are who are totally taken aback by the question.  

If you have to think about the answer, then that says a lot. It doesn’t necessarily mean your life is bad, but hesitating most likely suggests there are certain parts that may not be as you would prefer it to be.

ONE’S HAPPINESS LEVEL

Maybe you think why fix it if it’s not broken and to a degree I agree. But, if you then think about it, in all seriousness, and then be brave enough to admit that the negatives overshadow the positives, something should be done, I believe.

We all have so many tasks to do per day that when I came across an article by Dennis Brown in HUFFPOST it made me stop for a moment and make an inventory check. Dennis points out 7 ways for us to get back on the happy trail of life. 

HAPPINESS CHECKLIST

The article highlights points in life that are very easy to overlook in today’s world. Since I can resonate with all the points in the article I am happy to share with you:

Firstly, my version of the checklist…

  • Look After Number 1
  • Take A Break
  • Practise Gratitude
  • Communicate
  • Return The Favour
  • Take a Friendventory
  • Be Positive

… and secondly, my suggestions of dealing with the tasks:

You are the most important person in your life. So Take Care of Yourself by allocating a few minutes a day to learning, improving your mindset and do some exercising.

With electronic platforms being such a predominant feature in our lives, I do myself a favour and literally Ignore My Devices for a period of time each day. Give it a try, you will be amazed at how good it makes you feel.

Take note of what you have in life and Be Thankful for it all. Even if I think I don’t have that much, I remind myself that millions out there have far less than me.

Make time on a regular basis to Be In Touch with the people in your life. Even a small gesture will be much appreciated – plus I enjoy the act of selflessness within me for remembering others.

Share With Others your time, knowledge and love. Even though it can be tough, I work hard to do it unconditionally.  That way you will most likely get it back tenfold. 

Leave The Haters behind and stick to those who show compassion and love for you. Negative people obviously drains me from energy and joy in life.

Stand Firm when self-doubt rears its head.  Believe you are a great human and that you can achieve whatever you put your mind to.  Practising self-belief is a daily exercise for my mind. 

CONCLUSION

Life is much, much shorter than what we think and believe it is. Therefore, make the most of it. Don’t just count every single day, but count every single second. We have no idea what lies around the corner, so don’t let Life gives you a nasty surprise.

Set out on a daily basis to take full advantage of what you are being given. Yes, that is a tall order, but do it in any case. I guarantee you will be more than pleasantly surprised by the outcome of your actions.

Do not wait for others to grant you happiness and fulfilment. Do it for yourself. What will happen is that those around you will be affected in such a positive manner that they will look up to you for inspiration and motivation.

The bottom line is… Make. Every. Day. Counts. Fall asleep every night knowing that you did the best you possibly can today. And most of all, that You Are Happy.

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.

SPEAK NOW OR FOREVER HOLD YOUR PEACE

Here’s a question for you: in society, what is considered the first sign of madness? Don’t think too much about it, just say out loud what first comes to your mind. How I wish I could’ve heard your answer. Actually, the fact that You Answered Out Loud is enough.

Scientists have studied the phenomenon of talking to yourself for ages. In the best parts of our society it is believed that this is the first sign of madness. That in itself shouts negativity. The one who utters such a phrase to someone is immediately suggesting the person spoken to has a mental issue.

Luckily it has been proven over and over again that Talking To Yourself makes You Smarter. Reading a post from Grant Cardone on cnbc.com highlights the smartness of having a conversation with yourself. As a NY Times Best Selling Author, recognized International Sales Training Expert and a motivational Speaker on finance, sales and business, Grant mentions 3 ways how Self Talk can improve You, Your Life and Your Success.

PERSONAL POV

This confirmation from such an Influencer was great news. For many a year (and still going strong) Self Talk has been a part of my life. Within moments of solitude a lot are accomplished - like next steps to a goal or even issues are put right. The thinking process resolves around exactly the 3 points highlighted in the CNBC post:

  • Your Thoughts
  • Your Words
  • Your Actions

ABOLISH NEGATIVITY

To enrich your self-esteem, be more productive and build better relationships, one needs the right approach to life – aka Attitude. You can achieve this by simply focus on Positive Thoughts. It is so easy to get drowned by negative thoughts. However, it is not only much easier but far more satisfying when you concentrate on being Positive.

To actively change your mindset to a more uplifting, positive frame, can take time for some. Perhaps it is not your norm for various reasons. In such a case it is particularly necessary to make a definite change in your thought process. Practise, practise and more practise until you see results. Because at the end of the day, You Will See Results for The Better.

UPGRADE YOUR LANGUAGE

So you are making progress because you have started to change your way of thinking. No stopping now, so let’s proceed to the next step.

For people in general it is easy to speak or talk. Words come and flow easily. In a lot of cases this is where there could be an issue. At the end of the day it depends what you say that will make a massive impact on your Self Talk.

The theme of negativity continues… Verbalising negative words will have an impact on your thoughts. So think about it, if you have just started to overcome thoughts that will not uplift you, then why break that process by speaking with a negative tongue? So, change your vocabulary and use words or phrases that are optimistic.

KEEP BUSY

To complete an exercise of Self Talk, be active. Not much is achieved by slumping and vegetating. Being non-active breeds negativity which in turn leads to low energy levels which produce an unhealthy outcome. If you have been working on the first two steps by now, Don’t Stop Here.

Being active can takes many forms - from physical exercise (in any shape and form) to actually generating tasks. Even completing small, mundane tasks can lift your spirits to another level. I am sure in your life there are things like paying bills, making calls or checking something that you feel is boring or tedious. However, once you completed such tasks you will experience a boost in your attitude. Therefore, tell Yourself to Get Up and Get Going. Better still (a typical saying to myself), lets Tick That Box.

CONCLUSION

Many years ago when I was a young child and whilst playing on my own, an adult asked me: “Why are you talking to yourself? Haven’t you got any friends to play and talk to?” At the time it didn’t make such a bad impression, however over the years thereafter it had an immense influence on me and my self-esteem. Those questions made me to believe that I was crazy. Before I know it, I had a very low estimate of myself. I believed I cannot achieve much as a crazy person. The stigma stuck and caused a lot of anger and pain when it comes to relationships and success. It took time, patience and perseverance to better myself.

Thank god I made the effort to change. I set out to change the way I think and continue to talk to myself. For many years now I am a very positive person. Even within the most awful situations, I can find the positive side. It is also much easier to be positive in life than negative. The outcome is uplifting and encouraging to move on and be better today than yesterday.

If there is one thing in the world I would recommend to anyone then it is to change your attitude towards yourself, your life and your future. It has, it will and it does bring success. No matter what others say about you, they cannot take away your stern believe in You Being You.

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

 

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.

BROADENING YOUR SKILLS

How do you feel about gaining new information? Is it an exciting prospect? The ability to extend your knowledge of a subject can be daunting, however if you approach it with the right mindset you can walk away feeling very satisfied. 

For me the words of Vincent van Gogh sums it up beautifully:

Learning, or educating myself, has always given me a great sense of achievement. 

THE URGE TO KNOW

When the decision was made to startup on my own, there were quite a few elements that I knew too little about. One way to obtain that information was to sign up to a course or three and let others be a guide. Nothing wrong with that. However, to seek out the information on your own accord somehow always is so much more fulfilling. Therefore I tackled the proverbial bull by the horns and educated myself in the areas I lacked knowledge in. 

THE LEARNING CURVE

With the worldwide web at our finger tips nowadays it is much easier than years ago to get hold of answers to all our questions. It takes some research, but persevere and one will find what one is looking for. What could, or most likely will happen, is that you will find bits here, there and everywhere. The fun part (to put it mildly) is to then put it together like a puzzle. First, one finds the pieces with a straight edge and/or the corner pieces and before you know it the border (or outline) is all in place. To follow is to fill in the middle section and voila! your picture is complete. All pieces slotted in and you’re sitting back looking at a complete visual. In other words, you have conquered the assignment of learning how to perform a certain task within your business.

THE IMPLEMENTATION

Once the know how is firmly in your head, it is time to put your new found knowledge into action. Best bit of advice at this stage is to get going immediately since the information is still very fresh. Practice, practice and then some more practice. Repetition is known to cement actions within us. Once you leave the new facts and skills at the door the inevitable is sure to happen - when you return to put it all to work, most will be a haze and you will need to start again to remind yourself.  

THE CONCLUSION

To study or learn on your own takes a lot of effort and determination. You need to be proactive and resilient at all times. For me it works. Currently there is a new venture on the cards and instead of signing up to expensive courses how to achieve this I am taking matters in my own hands. Yes, I do attend webinars, seminars and talks to get some guidance, but at the end of the day it’s up to me. Some will call it the hard way. Others won’t understand why the narrow, steep road is more attractive. 

Each to their own I say. It is not a matter of making it unnecessarily difficult for oneself, it is much more about achieving something where there was originally no knowledge of in my head. As a strong believer in one can do whatever you put your mind to, it’s obvious this is the preferred route for me. That moment you reach the end of the rainbow and find your pot of gold is priceless. To sit back and look at the finished task you did with the complete new set of tools in your head, is beyond satisfying. Once you experienced that feeling, I bet you will want it again and again. Believe me the feeling is that wonderful. 

If you felt some affinity towards this topic please comment and share your thoughts. If you’re in need of mentoring about educating yourself get in touch and lets talk.

 

WHAT IS THE KEY TO BE PRODUCTIVE?

Perhaps you have an idea of what being productive is about - or maybe you are right in the midst of trying to figure it out. Either way, I came across a very informative blogpost that can be of benefit to all. After reading the article by Dan Kennedy on Work Smarter Not Harder my thoughts, believes and attitude were confirmed: it comes down to one word and one word only… Discipline

I strongly recommend reading this post. In it Dan covers the following qualities that will strike a cord with likeminded Entrepreneurs: 

  • Start Early
  • Don’t Multi-task
  • Be Fearless
  • Business means Business
  • Focus on Your Business
  • Delegate
  • Streamline Your Time

A CREATURE OF HABIT

Ever since I made the decision to start doing what I am doing for a living my focus point was to be Productive - and (hopefully) successful in the end. To get to the end of a day and many boxes have been ticked makes for a great feeling of satisfaction. This causes even more drive for the next day, the next task and the next milestone. As I related to this post so much I want to give you an insight into how it works for me. 

THE EARLY BIRD CATCHES THE WORM

Hitting that snooze button and turning over was my downfall. Even though this could be a temptation at the best of times, I deliberately choose not to fall into this trap anymore. Nothing beats catching the sunrise when the day smells fresh and clean. I can’t bear missing the best part of the day.

ONE STEP AT A TIME

My daily to-do list is as long as my arm hence I tackle them one by one. For me getting the most mundane/tedious tasks out of the way is best. Then the concentration can be implemented to the tough and serious topics on the list.

KEEP THE FAITH

It happens quite often. I planned it all and then boom! the goal posts are moved. I learned a lesson ages ago not to despair and get negative. As a matter of fact when a brick wall faces me it’s best to take time out and walk away (literally) from the issue. After a few minutes I will have a new perspective on the situation. Many times I find the positive within a negative situation. Not much beats the feeling of content when I overturn the moment to my advantage and walk away as the winner.

GET ORGANISED

As incredible as it is to be your own boss there is nothing more frustrating to end up feeling you are working all the hours god send and still not accomplish much due to distractions. It is bound to happen so I plan and manage people’s expectations constantly.  As the saying goes: there is a time and place for everything which I apply to all aspects of work. Once clients (and family/friends) are aware what I do and when I find myself to be far more productive than ever before. 

ME TIME

Every working day I schedule time for myself.  I take time out to tune into webinars, read inspirational books, find images/settings to photograph, etc. or just sit down, have a coffee and contemplate my next move.  I found that if I run around all the time everyone but me gets the attention. Take Note: the most important person in your life is You. Once you have taken care of yourself it is much easier to look after others. 

WATCH OUT

At the startup stage it is inevitable that you end up doing almost everything yourself. Within my environment it was obvious that I will source the best website platform and template, be instrumental in creating the logo, seeking the colours etc. etc. Money is not always in abundance so I got my hands dirty and got on with it - and still do from time to time!

However, I take great caution not to get use to such a regime. Burnout is not an option for me. I don’t want to end up with my face flat on the ground. Wherever I can I seek help with smaller tasks at hand. Then I can concentrate on the bigger picture that will improve the state of my venture.

BE CLEVER

This brings me right back to the title of Dan’s post: Work Smarter not Harder. I constantly take a good look at what needs to be done to create a successful brand. I then zoom into that and tunnel my energy towards it. Only when all the ground work was done and I started to look months ahead, instead of days, I got the taste of what Entrepreneurship is all about.

THE CONCLUSION

I am happy to be content with discipline in my work and life. I know it pays off each and every time. It is a thrill to focus on, be positive about what lies ahead and what needs to be done to get there. It is all too exciting to mess it up.

I am convinced you can experience such excitement too. Best solution is to give it a go, work at it and end up feeling happy. My daily motto is I can. And I will. Watch Me - why not give it a go yourself!

Please share your work ethnics and/or struggles. If any questions are hanging around then let me know. As always, who knows, maybe I have a suggestion that can be of help.

THEY HAVE THEIR MOMENTS

Have you ever struggled to deal with the backbone of your business? Referring to none other than your clients. Those who keep your business alive - and kicking. 

To say they can be fickle is an understatement. As we all know, they want, they need and they command. Most of all, they make what your business is and stands for. Therefore, without a doubt, it is the most important relationship you can cultivate. 

THE FIRST IMPRESSION

Everything has a beginning. There is the moment in time where you spot that particular person. You lock eyes. Perhaps a faint smile and then boom a move is made. Yes, forming a relationship with a new client is like anticipating to date that special person. However, the client relationship is platonic. Obviously. No hanky-panky is on the cards. Well, not the physical type anyway. 

To woe a newcomer to your business is a tricky situation. You need to tread carefully not to overstep the mark or step on some toes. First impressions always count the most. Hence being on your best behaviour is a must. Be prepared and ready. Remember, your brand is not only what your business provide, it also is who and what you are. In other words, you definitely have to look the part. You are an extension of your company’s brand. Show it. Make it work. And let your confidence speaks loudly. After all, you’re about to take the first step and make a move.

THE COURTING

It is essential to adopt a strategy whereas you see the situation from their point of view. To put yourself in the clients’ shoes is critical. Only then you can visualise what is possible. This part is not easy and demand practice. The more you set out to figure out how to deal with the situation the better you will get at it. Like personal relationships, the successful business relationship takes effort and careful planning. To dive right in does occasionally work for some, however to take the slow approach is guaranteed to bring longterm satisfaction. Just like there is little need to be over tactful during a personal date, likewise should be implemented with clients. Remember, this is your first time together so use your time wisely. Listen and learn. Make the meeting a 2-way conversation. It is important to collect as much info from your client (regarding their company and needs) since it may be the only moment you get to impress them.

THE NEXT MOVE

Once you have a client hooked on you, the time has come to put your money where you mouth is. Time to present and show them what you are made of. Still not necessary to go over the top with your achievements, but certainly time to make sure the client realises they are in trusted company. Convince them they are in good, safe hands. Build on what you learned about them so far. This will show them that you took note of their needs and what they want to achieve. Remember the bit about seeing it from their point of view - not only is this important now, it will be relevant throughout the time spend together. 

To accept the need for compromise will make the meeting so much more effective. Yes, the client is talking to you as they are in need of help and guidance. However, it is important to remember that it’s not about you and what you really want. Your desires and plans can come to life, but only with support from them. The best way to achieve this is by putting value on the table first and foremost. Once they can see and believe you intentions are genuine you stand a good chance of successfully let them eat out of your hand.

THE LONGTERM PLAN

Now that the ball is in your court, play it well. Be the gentleman in the relationship. Show passion and respect. Be forceful within reason. It is still early days and you have to be on your guard. To assume it’s plain sailing from now on is dangerous. One small step in the wrong direction and it’s all over and done with. You may think that they’re loosing out - trust me, the only one really loosing is you. Clients have the knack of moving on very swiftly. There is a long line of people behind you so they can easily turn to the next possibility. Remember, they are fickle. And most of the time high maintenance. Don’t be scared by this. So far so good. Just don’t mess it up right now.

Your attitude should be that of in it for the long haul. There is a very satisfying aspect to clients that came on board and then come back again and again. This kind of situation is great since they will keep you on your toes at all times. You will have to step up your game and provide new and fresh ideas for each project that follows. In the long run this will only be good for both your business and you - the complete brand package you live by. Visualise the big picture and broaden your horizon. Now is not the time to be small and narrow minded. 

THE CONCLUSION

To obtain a special relationship is exactly that: special. Even if you’re still within the first project and therefore within the honeymoon period, there is a strong possibility that prospects are looking up. The time has come to cement the trust and believe you have in each other. It is here where the hard work starts. Now is the time to build on the foundation you’ve laid within the first few days/weeks. Make sure that all the conversations weren’t a waste of time. You have made true promises. You need to deliver and stand tall. Don’t fall prey to what so many businesses do - they go stale. There is no need to end the relationship. In other words, to call it a day. That will be far too easy. So for those who enjoy a challenge and are up for it, go for it. Show your commitment and the thirst you have to build a satisfying marriage. Many people will believe that opportunities are far and few in between. Rightly so too. Therefore take the bull by the horns and keep going. 

If coaching and mentoring is what you need help with to deal with your client relationships, get in touch. What have you got to loose? On second thoughts, don’t answer that. Let’s rather talk and figure out how we can together solve any issues you have.  Solutions are on hand. 

KNOWLEDGE IS POWER

Have you got the thirst for learning? Is gaining information something that inspires you? If like me, you most certainly would answer yes and agree with the subject line (a quote from Francis Bacon). Those 3 wise words speak volumes.

WHY LEARN MORE

When the decision was taken to give Entrepreneurship a go the first thing that came to mind was to educate myself more about my choice of ventures. The need was there for tools to take on this mission of being my own boss. The only way forward seemed to seek knowledge which in return should (hopefully!) pay off.

WHERE TO LEARN

To further your schooling career and life as a university or college student the next platform is not far away at all. With the brilliance of the Internet at our fingertips nowadays it actually isn’t that difficult - or expensive - to gain guidance. No need to sign your life away committing to a bundle of years at institutions. As someone who did the whole further education bit years ago, this discovery was more than an eye opener. It is obvious that the world wide web has incredible information to offer and just how much can be gained for free was astonishing.

WHAT LEARNING IS AVAILABLE

The variety of teaching on the web is quite overwhelming - understandably so. Millions out there offer to share their knowledge with those of us who seek it. And why not? At the end of the day for some it is a very lucrative business. On the other hand many gain satisfaction purely by sharing what they’ve learned. One platform that can offer such learning is that of Webinars. The fascinating world of webinars is exactly that - fascinating. Topics on offer spread oceans wide. You can literally sign up to learn about almost anything in the world. What remains for you to do is to be… selective.

WHICH LEARNING SOLUTION

As a person with the tendency for a short attention span the need to gain information quickly is order of the day, The discovery of webinars was great. This platform offers most of the time a 60 minute window of opportunity to learn. 

There are mainly 2 different webinars. Those who aim to tease you with a few facts only to offer you their solution to the topic at a price towards the end of the session. The other, a far more impressive and satisfying route, is where successful individuals are happy to share at no cost what they have learned. They are delighted to show you how to avoid potholes and overcome hurdles during your new journey. Also what they did to penetrate obstacles - like the proverbial brick wall.

Such webinars, as far as one has learned, are far and few in-between. One institution that so far stands out is Entrepreneur. Combining visuals/slides with a live webcam (most of the time) showing the presenter of the session make a great platform to learn from. It is also known for keeping it short and sweet which means come 60 minutes it’s over and done with. Jill Schiefelbein and Ryan Bilello  are another two favourites. They share their knowledge and expertise casually not pushing the sales pitch as such. Plain honesty and to the point. Exactly what ticks the box for me.

FINALLY 

There is nothing wrong with offering a paid programme/course to those whom are logging in online - it is after all your business, your rules, your time. We all need to make money to survive. Personally, the point is that as a startup funds are limited - very limited to be honest. Therefore it is great to get the opportunity to learn and be educated how to progress without having to fork out handfuls of money to move forward. 

As an ardent webinar attendee the most satisfaction is gained by being selective to whom you tune into. The more webinars you attend the easier it is to realise within the first few minutes if this presenter is going to spend as much if not more time on selling his/her product rather than focus on educating you. 

There are obvious many platforms out there that provide learning with no price tag at all. If anyone is happy to share their knowledge of institutions/individuals that go along this route of sharing info, please get in touch. It will be great to discover and connect with more such like-minded people. 

After all, one cannot learn enough. Expertise is a combination of learning and doing. And of course included are a substantial amount of failing… don’t let it scare you - the best part about failing is to learn from your mistakes. 

 

THE ROAD AHEAD

Where is your business heading? Now that you’ve started what are you going to do with it all? 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 comes natural and are done religiously at the start of every new year. Taking a couple of days for the New Years celebrations to wear of and by January 3rd thoughts are arranged into at least 3 Development sections: Trading, Business and Personal. Setting out a strategy for each part of life as a professional working individual is order of every new year. 

SET UP GOALS

To sit down and calmly spend time making decisions for the next 12 months at least 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 work 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 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.

CREATE GOALS

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 period. Do this for each page you created and very soon you will look at a great lots of words that stare you in the face. It is so much easier to visualise what needs to be done 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! 

VISIT GOALS

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 complete 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 start 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. 

FINALIZE GOALS

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

All of this may sound easy, but it is not always like that. Every year 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.

Even though we are in the middle of the year right now and you may realise there is no such document called Goal Setting 2016 don’t wait until the start of 2017. Get going right now and set out milestones for the next few months at least. Or if you prefer, start a 12 month cycle now. No one but yourself can decide when to start. Now is as a good time as any other time.

Good luck with your Goals! It will be worth it every time - promise you that! 

 

SHOW YOUR TRUE COLOURS

Take a look around you - what do you see? Well, a multiple of objects I reckon. Most importantly, even without taking much notice, you see colours. An abundance of them everywhere. 

How do you go about choosing which colours to use for your business? Do you settle on some because they are your favourites? Or because someone suggested particular ones since you always wear it or it forms part of your home decorations? The important fact here is to take note that there are much more than colours than only liking them.

EMOTION

It’s long been know that certain colours evoke certain emotions within us. When we do find ourselves in surroundings that is predominantly one colour we do feel somehow different. We may not realise it there and then, but when you leave that place a certain emotion could easily hang around and influence you - or rather your subconscious. From spending time being surrounded by i.e. the colour orange, you could easily walk away feeling happy and cheerful. 

REACTION

There are also times that you wear a specific colour and feel that others around you treat you slightly different this time. Even though it is your trusted circle of friends/family, there is a notion within you that something is slightly different today. Similarly when you attend a function or event - perhaps all the officials at the event are wearing red shirts. From the moment you entered the room and was greeted by someone in red, you seem to have energy and being excited (more than expected) to attend. As you are confronted by a sea of red your energy level rises to an extend that you walk away praising the event and even promise to return next year. 

FAMILIARITY

You do have a favourite colour, don’t you? So why is it your favourite? Purely because since childhood/teenage years your bedroom walls were covered in it? Could it be that the specific colour evoke the feeling of comfort and ease? Quite possibly because you can relate to it. Even if you are quite a few years older by now you may still feel affinity towards your childhood favourite albeit the tone has changed a lot since you’re more grown up by now. Still, the basic colour is the same though. I bet my 13 year old god daughter will still have a passion for reddish colours years from now. It will remind her of exciting times spend in her red bedroom as a child.

YOUR BUSINESS - YOUR MESSAGE

When it comes to business the above mentioned topics should be your guideline in how you want to be portrait by customers and clients alike. Hence the reason it is very important to think clearly and objectively about which colours to use in your profession. Colours will say a lot about not only your business etiquette, but also the identity of your brand. 

Be very clever in making this choice. Have a good understanding of your brand before you start the process of creating a logo or adding colour to your font/typeface. You need to figure out what emotion you want to wake up in potential customers. Make sure you know how you want your clients to react when they enter your showroom/saw your logo. Very importantly you need to research your audience/market and make them feel comfortable when dealing with your service or using your product. 

At the end of the day the colours you decide on should create a feeling within potential customers and clients that make them notice your business. To stand out from a crowd nowadays is not an easy task, but you need to push hard so that you do get noticed. Link your tagline to the subconscious signals your colours send to clients. Bring it all together and form a strong bond with those that you want to attract to your business. And one of the best ways to do this is to pick 2 or 3 emotions from the colour emotion chart above that represent your business attitude and I’m sure you’ll be well on your way to attract the correct crowd. 

 

BEING A WINNER

How does one become a winner? What does it take to be successful? Many people see it as being lucky in life. Others put it down to pure hard work. But what really is needed for one to come out on top and walk away with the trophy?

THE OPPORTUNITY

Within the last 24 hours another major sporting event took place in Paris, France. To say that it was nail biting and exhilarating are understatements. Apart from the outcome (which caused much personal happiness) the fascinating part was watching the two men play tennis to a top standard. Since it was the world’s #1 and #2 their tennis skills were of the highest possible. That is obvious if one reach that level in the world ranking. However, there were much more than skills evident during the match. Watching both players walking out on a court at Roland Gross it was clear that both were here to win. Needless to say only one could achieve that. But which one will it be, was on everyone’s mind.  

THE BEGINNING

It started out with one player taking the upper hand and making use of opportunities to claim the first set in his favour. If we as spectators thought he’s onto a winning streak we could not have been more wrong. What happened over the next 2+ hours was incredible - not only as a sporting event, but as a display of human ability par excellence.

THE MIDDLE

Not that there was much of a surprise in the one player taking control, but how he took control. The difference between the two players was phenomenal. It became clear why the world’s #1 player is number one. And to be honest, it wasn’t down to his tennis skills alone.

THE END

Once the #2 player had his serve broken it was downhill from there onwards. His shoulders slumped multiple times after faults. He didn’t control his emotions much. Winning the odd point ended in over the top outbursts of joy. Every time he made an error one could see how it effected him in a negative way. His confidence went out the window in no time. It was actually embarrassing to see him fall apart. He was behaving like a yo-yo. After all he is the world’s #2 player and it became apparent why he is only #2. He has the skills, but doesn’t have the mindset of a winner. He was not determent enough to fight for the title. All in all a shocking performance.

His opponent was in utter contrast. He was consistent across all aspects of his game. There was undeniable evidence of him eliminating emotion throughout. Even if he occasionally showed some frustration the majority of the time he was cool, calm and collected. His body language was on par with that of someone in control of not only of the game, but of himself. The shoulders never slumped - even when he lost a point. His head never fell down when he made a mistake. There was hardly an outburst of the verbal kind. It was clear that this man had a demeanour of a winner. And so he did. No surprise there.

THE LESSON

In business (and also life) there is a great message here.  Even if you have the skills to be great at what you’re doing, you need a lot more than that. Determination is the emotion you need to bring to the table (not schoolboy playground frustration). Show the world (or the client sitting across from you) the confidence and the believe you have in yourself. Lay bare your positivity and outlook. Be consistent in delivering your skills and your message as if you’ve nailed the proposal already (even if it’s only the start of the presentation). Most of all, show you have the mindset of a winner. 

From this tennis final it is clear that success is down to skill and determination plus mindset. These three goes hand in hand.  Step up your game and walk away with the prize. It is possible. 

Live, eat and sleep by... 

OUT WITH THE OLD. TO MAKE ROOM FOR THE NEW.

Does it come around quicker every year, or is it just me? Faster than the speed of lightning or within the blink of an eye, here we are at the start of another year.

I do mean that - I wish you all a truly, blessed new year. May this leap year be the one where you, me and those around us fulfil dreams, make use of great opportunities and most of all find what you’re looking for!

It was, as usual, a bit of a sad evening yesterday as the realisation looms and dawns on one that the festivities of the past 2 weeks are done and dusted. It’s all over for another 11+ months. First up this morning was to remove and carefully pack away all the glitz and shining bits that decorated the home so sparkling during the festive season. Once that yearly task was done, it was back to business - all stops go!

No better way to jump start a new year than to find that folder from last year this time where you put down in words that what you wanted to achieve. Revisiting goals constantly during the year is good and keep your plans in tact - however, looking back at them at the beginning of a new year is so much more fulfilling. To see what the ‘dreams’ were last year this time and then ticking them of one by one is great! Yes, and there is the odd one here and there that didn’t quite make the green tick, but hey, perhaps we all know they were a bit too ambitious. That said, it doesn’t mean they can’t be included again this year - one maybe surprised by what one finds by the time we get to this point next year! 

With a very productive first morning of the new working year it’s time to take matters in hand and really get going. There are some intensive goals put to paper this morning that will take time, effort and dedication. Three things that can be tricky most of the time, but so satisfying once they are firmly a focus point.  Putting down the goal is probably not the difficult part. Working out the action needed to complete and reach the goal can be, and is, time consuming. Then you hit the timescale column and oh boy… time to be careful. 

There has been times when it was disappointing to see that it took longer than originally anticipated to fulfil a certain goal. Over the years it has become clear to fulfil the goal is the important part and not how long it takes. The crucial part here is to keep your eye on the end result even if the road sometimes is rocky and wobbly. 

There obviously are also personal goals that have it’s place. Even though professional and business goals are imperative, let’s not forget we are humans after all. Hence a very important part of this yearly document is the section on personal growth - that what one would love to do this year. It could be something simple like planning a trip to a certain place or on the more serious side, a fitness regime, a change in eating habits, etc. etc. 

All in all, keep it real. Be realistic, yet ambitious. Think and dream big - otherwise you can just as well not bother. Most of all… focus focus focus! And don’t forget to live a lot along the way! 

Best of luck to you all for your plans ahead! 12 months sounds like a long time, but once the clock starts ticking it can be over within a flash. Let’s make the most of this year - after all we have one full day extra in 2016!