FRIEND OR FOE TO EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION

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

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

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

TALK THE TALK

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

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

SPEAK THE LANGUAGE

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

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

  • 32% notices students struggle with grammar

  • 64% focusses more on skills like meaning and comprehension 

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

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

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

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

TOO MUCH TO ASK

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

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

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

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

THE FUTURE IS OUT THERE

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

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

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

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

CONCLUSION

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

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

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

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

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

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

And most of all… Thank You for reading. 

WHAT IS AN INTEGRATED BRAND PARTNERSHIP?

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

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

WHAT CAN BE DONE

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

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

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

WHAT IS IT ABOUT

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

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

WHEN DOES IT WORK BEST

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

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

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

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

  • Broadcasting - Television Programme

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

  • Online - Website

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

  • Print - Magazine

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

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

CONCLUSION 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And most of all… Thank You for reading. 

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. 

BOOST YOUR BRANDING

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

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

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

YOUR EXISTING BRANDING

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

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

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

A CHANGE IS A GOOD THING

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

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

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

ADD A SPECIAL TOUCH

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

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

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

It starts with: 

  • your logo,

  • then your typography

  • next is your design

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

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

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

CONCLUSION

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

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

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

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

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

And Thank You for reading. 

SO HERE IT IS – DECEMBER AGAIN

Another Festive Season (for some not all) is upon us which means the End of Another Year. How does that make you feel? Are you happy with the progress you’ve made over the past 12 months? Or are you rather frustrated and disappointed with yourself?

REACHING THE FINISH LINE

When we kick off the race at the beginning of a year, we usually are full of beans and very excited. Our motivation is on high alert and many times we hardly lack any confidence. After all, it is the beginning of something new.

Then time flies by quickly and before we know it, we are staring the finishing line in the face. All of a sudden it is time to Take Stock and Evaluate the 12 months gone by. This situation can cause as much stress as delivering all the food, at the right temperature, to the table for Christmas Lunch.

Like it is in the world of cooking, I believe the proof lies in the eating. Therefore, may I invite you to my 2017-Lunch?

MY 2017 ACHIEVEMENTS

As you may know, I am a great believer in Setting Goals at the start of a new year. Seeing them in black on white is much better than visualising them in one’s mind. Of course, this year has been no exception. Here is a breakdown of my Goals (set within 3 sections) achieved:

  • Entrepreneurship Development
  1. Mentoring Startup Business owners locally proved successful and very satisfying.
  2. Education continued via Online Courses and reading 5+ Inspirational Books.
  3. Landed a Work Opportunity abroad.
  4. Completed my detailed Research successfully for another Business Venture.
  5. Accumulated suppliers via local Business Exhibitions. 

  • Business Development
  1. Social Media sites received a mini Re-brand.
  2. New Updated Logo was implemented.
  3. Branding completed for the new Business Venture.
  4. Social Media activities and engagement increased as set out.
  5. Strategies for Online Reputation was adhered and stuck to.
  • Personal Development
  1. Creativity increased via Design and Photography.
  2. Health and Fitness increased dramatically.
  3. Managing my Thought Process was tough, but I kept it positive 90% of the time.
  4. Building New Relationships took a massive Positive turn.
  5. Even though not all locations on my Travel List were visited, a brand new summer location, El Masnou, was discovered; a repeat weeklong visit to my favourite Balearic Island, Menorca, took place and, of course, Barcelona (a top favourite city) was visited again for a week.
  6. Learning a new foreign language and adding a tattoo to my collection were unfortunately not achieved.

MY 2017 SOCIAL MEDIA ENGAGEMENT

As mentioned, I set out to connect and engaged more with people via Social Media platforms. This has turned out to have an incredible Impact on both my Business and Personal Development.

Reaching out to other likeminded individuals has not only provided me with stimulating Mentoring Advice, but also cause my Confidence to rise quite a few levels. Conversing with people like Ryan Foland, Clinton Senkow, Cherie Aimée, Dennis Brown, Zach McArthur, Harry Petsanis, John Lim, Winnie Sun, Susie Ippolito, Jeremy Slate to mention a few, is proof that Social Media is a great platform if used appropriately. All it takes is to be social – after all, these sites are exactly what it says on the tin.

MY 2017 GRATITUDE

It is with great Happiness and Thanks that I end this year. I am fortunate to have received many audience responses on my sites and blogposts. At the end of the day the proof really lies within the eating. Many Thanks to all of you for your likes and comments. You have made my year!

MY 2018 OUTLOOK

Ending the year on such a high, has already given me energy to start thinking about next year. My thinking cap is on and quite a few Goals are already being set out to tackle another 12 months.

Nothing beats having a structure in life, work and beyond. Once you have set out what you want to achieve, all that is left is to Focus on your Future.

Here’s to another year, another set of Goals and another bunch of Achievements. And to be honest, I cannot wait to tackle 2018 by the horns and Get Going.

Here’s wishing those that celebrate the end of the year with a Festive Season, a Very Merry Christmas

HOW BEING A CREATURE OF HABITS MAY COST YOU

It’s so easy. Over time you adopted certain ways here and there that you feel comfortable with. It seems it is making life just that bit easier, right? Well, apologies to burst your bubble, but have I got news for you.  

When one of your goals is to become a successful Entrepreneur, please spare me a moment to explain. For starters, don’t feel offended. You are not the only human on earth that has got not such good habits. Trust me, apart from millions of others, I have them too. Or actually, I am daily working hard on chancing them.

Success.com opened my eyes when I read their article on Harmless Habits. They got 10 Successful Business Owners to point out one habit each that can stand between You and Success.

THE WHAT & WHY

So, why do we have habits? As mentioned at the beginning, together with the explanation in the dictionary, it is a settled or regular tendency or practice, especially one that is hard to give up. As humans it is easy for us to fall into a rut. Especially if people constantly advice you to have a structure in work and life. You can argue that a habit is part of your structure – you’re doing something in a certain way consistently.

That sounds like it could work, but we fool ourselves. So what should we do? The bit that is not easy to see is that a habitual work ethic works only in the short term. What we should be focussing on is the long term effect of entrepreneurship. Carving our path to success should be built around longevity. We should not put in all the effort, time and energy for it to be over and done with after a few months from now. Definitely not. We should be in it for the long haul.

THE CHANGE

As I said earlier, to reshape habits is a daily exercise. Adapting to new rituals doesn’t come easily and most of all is not at all easy to stick to. The main part of making changes is the determination to be better at it today than yesterday. Let’s look at those habits that need to be adhere to for the better:

  • The Yes-Man Scenario

Gaining or Keeping a Client is essential – however, at a cost to your own business it is not going to work in the long run.

Especially at Startup I thought one should never say No. Big mistake.  Make sure to weigh up the pros and cons before making a commitment. Saying No can work in your favour. Clients hire you for a reason: they usually don’t know what they want and are therefore wrong on many suggestions. 

  • Sticking with The Crowd

Your First Employee/Freelancer has been with you for yonks. He/She is being with you through thick and thin. They have to stay put.

Nope. No Way. Unless they have The Vision you have. If they don’t they will become like a bad smell. Clear the air and find appropriate help.

  • Lunch at The Desk

Time is of essence, of course. Your To-Do list is as long as your arm. Better knuckle down and have a bite whilst you’re typing away like crazy. Emails, messages, social networking, busy, busy, busy.

If you don’t want to do Yourself a favour, please do Your Mind a favour. Give your brain a break. Actually, Give Yourself a Break. Trust me, you’ll have much better focus after having your lunch away from the keyboard and monitor.

  • Too Busy to Workout

Definitely haven’t got a minute to spare or as the saying goes to scratch my backside (to put it politely) leave alone doing exercise. No efficient business owner has got time for that malarkey.

Wrong on both accounts. For the busy Entrepreneur exercise is more about the Mind than the Body. Luckily the body gains a lot by letting the Mind take most of the focus. I can’t stress enough how regular exercise will elevate your energy levels, mindset and wellbeing. You’ll be supercharged and ready to take on any issue.

  • Doing Everything at Once

Many in particular are like: "I can multitask. Check me out".

Yes, we will look at you being: all over the place… making mistakes everywhere… not in much control of any project or team… lacking a lot of information… missing deadlines, etcetera. Concentrate on one task at a time. Complete it in full and then move to the next. Your productivity level will go through the roof.

  • Touching Base

The need to quickly drop your favourite client a "Hi. You OK?" email. It is good practice to stay in touch, right?

Yes, but only when you have a reason. A flimsy email for no rhyme or reason is just clogging your client’s inbox even more than what it is already. At the end of the last project you both left on good speaking terms. Trying the buddy-buddy approach is not only old fashioned it is plain irritating for your client.

  • Flawless Execution

It can’t be send out in its current form. The logo is 0.5 mm to far left. 

And there you miss the deadline. Oh dear. Many times only You see that error, if we can call it that. It took me a long time to realise that a tiny mistake in my eyes, are not even visible to others. Save yourself the stress. If you really insist, fix it later when no one is looking. 

  • Take Time Out

Clients, your team, the canteen worker, etc. must always come first. That’s how you operate and living your life. Your needs always are second.

Nothing spells Burn Out like this attitude. You may think it makes you an amazing person. Believe me, when you’re sitting in a corner sobbing because your world has crumbled beneath your feet, You Will Be Sitting Alone. Learn to be positively selfish. Everyone will admire you more for being like that. There is a time and a place for everyone.

  • Reply Now

Ping! Yes, another notification. You Got Mail.

Dropping whatever you’re doing to start typing a reply ferociously is a waste of time and energy. You, the client, everyone is busy. No one expects an immediate reply – unless it’s a matter of life or death which most of the time it isn’t. Rank first and reply in due course.

  • The Daily Schedule

Nothing is much more impressive than a laid out To-Do List with tasks and times. Perhaps even colour coded for necessity. Only to reach the end of the day and 75% of Today’s Tasks are copied and pasted in tomorrow’s list.

One word, Prioritize. We all have different methods to complete tasks. Figure out what works for you and stick to it. Personally, the mundane tasks have to be eliminated asap. Then the focus and energy can be spent on important issues. Others find it the other way round. Whatever Makes Your Day do it Your Way. 

THE CONCLUSION

Sometimes we’re too stubborn to make changes, leave alone realise we need changes. It took me a long time to discard the 10 commandments above and adapt to a better work regime. The focus should be on the outcome of your actions.

Don’t get me wrong. Having habits can be a very good attribute in one’s life. The secret is to learn and maintain healthy habits. Having a new found attitude to being productive in a positive manner cause such pleasure it honestly is worth it.

Make time and have a good look at how you operate within both Life and Work specially if you feel you’re not achieving as much as you would like to. Working your fingers to the bone, will in the long run, only give you bony-fingers. Not much else.

Please feel free to share your thoughts after reading this.  Your opinions count. It also matters. And if you require any help dropping some habits then don’t hesitate to get in touch

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.

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. 

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