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. 

FRIEND OR FOE TO EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION

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

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

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

TALK THE TALK

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

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

SPEAK THE LANGUAGE

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

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

  • 32% notices students struggle with grammar

  • 64% focusses more on skills like meaning and comprehension 

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

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

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

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

TOO MUCH TO ASK

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

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

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

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

THE FUTURE IS OUT THERE

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

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

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

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

CONCLUSION

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

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

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

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

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

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

And most of all… Thank You for reading. 

BEING A BRAND GUARDIAN

Are you concerned about how your Brand is being executed? Of course you are. After all, your Brand is the core of your existence as a professional operator within your niche. The question actually should be: ‘Is your Brand safeguarded?’. 

WHAT IS A BRAND GUARDIAN

Even though I had a very good understanding of the role it became even more clear once I read Andrew Vesey’s post in Brand Quarterly. In todays very busy digital market (in particular) it is imperative to make sure your Brand is in line at all times with what your company stands for. This is where a Guardian steps in to make sure all aspects of your Brand are consistent wherever it is represented.

There is no need to stress how tough the competition is out there.  So you better make sure you’re protected. After all, you have insurance for your family, home and even business - why not for your Brand?

WHO NEEDS A BRAND GUARDIAN

In general, companies or SMEs and even individuals are so focussed on starting up and/or running a business that something like their Branding can easily be jeopardised. Therefore your Brand needs to be looked after properly.  Not because you don’t want to do that, but because there are usually a million and one other things that need your attention constantly. 

Take for instance your next upcoming marketing campaign… You most likely are outsourcing all creative elements. Or even if you’re relying on your internal marketing team there will be an element of mishaps or misunderstandings due to the amount of people working on your project. It’s here where you are in need of a Brand Guardian.

WHAT WILL A BRAND GUARDIAN DO

It is someone that will be able to oversee and guide all those involved in your campaign to stay within the parameters of your Brand. To make sure that there is consistency whenever aspects like your logo, your colours, your company’s mission statement, etc. is being used. The importance of stability across a campaign cannot be stressed enough. Your audience needs to able to recognise your Brand at all times.

A Brand Guardian will take care of all visual requirements. Many times external agencies you use undergo changes and even internal teams/freelancers could steer away from being in line purely because of the workload they are expected to deliver. Taking on board a Guardian eliminates this once and for all.

CONSLUSION

What makes an exceptional Brand Guardian, you may ask. Speaking from experience, first and foremost it is the value that will be brought to your table. This is comprised out of: 

  • putting oneself in the client’s shoes

  • extraordinary eye for detail

  • positive frame of mind

  • proven outstanding management skills

  • delivers successful end results

Followed closely by: a high level of effective Solutions to fulfil your expectations, being known for a People’s Person to make sure everybody is up-to-date with the latest developments, creating you a Brand Book with guidelines and instructions.  Ultimately, someone to Enhance and Secure your Brand. 

From knowledge, being at hand as a Guardian has been proven to cause much more help than hinder.  As a mentor and coach many opportunities have risen to assist, help and guide clients to have a consistent Brand. The strong believe here is that your Brand should be fully in order whenever you step out into the world

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, and on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook & Instagram

And most of all… Thank You for reading.