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proactive personality

Developing a Proactive Personality – How the Best Create Their Own Luck and Don’t Try to Control What They Can’t

Manifest: Anything is Possible is the name of the event coming up this month that Amplify is co-sponsoring with Walk the Talk.

In the event’s description, it reads:

The law of attraction is always steadfastly delivering what we have consciously or unconsciously asked for through our focus, our thoughts and most especially our feelings.

We are always in the process of manifesting and creating our lives. This is good news because it means we can change our thoughts to change our world. We can learn to come from an empowered place and use this law to manifest the life of our dreams.

Can’t say that I can disagree with this statement at all. In fact, I think most people who have done any work in the self-help / personal development space would agree with this statement.

However, I think there’s something I should bring up. And, I think it’s something that a lot of people tend to gloss over:

Being proactive is all about controlling what you can control and not expecting what you can’t.

Start with the End in Mind

We’ve all heard about Steven Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. In it, the first two habits are, I think, the hardest two for many people to get used to. Mainly because we live in such a reactive world.

The first one, is simply to stay proactive. Like my co-hosts and I talked about all the way back in session 5 of the AoL Podcast, It’s only when you work proactively that you can become the influencer instead of the influenced.

The second habit is all about planning. It says that if you want to be successful at achieving something, you need to start with the end in mind.

Not to go into too much detail in the football analogy here again, but since we did just see the New England Patriots win the Super Bowl again this past weekend giving both Tom Brady and Bill Belichick their 6th ring, it might be worth noting that there’s no doubt in my mind that they start from day 1 each season with the end in mind.

I’d go on to say that the particular end that they’re going for is easier to illustrate to the new roster because the organization has reached that pinical so many times.

That analogy aside, if you were to build anything, say a dog house, a phone application, or even an organization, you need to know what the final product will look like.

When it comes to these two laws, simply letting the universe (or God) decide our fate, isn’t a great move. We need have that plan in place to get to where we want.

Habit 3 suggests that the first thing we need to do is determine what the order of steps are we need to perform “to get there”.

Luck Does Play a Role

The definition of luck is this: it’s the point where preparedness and opportunity intersect. With that definition, it’s hard to not think that Andrew Luck has learned to truly embody his surname.

Quenton Nelson, who was the Colts’ rookie guard this year, recently said that Andrew is one of the biggest nerds he knows. And he’s not just talking about football. When the team is traveling, Andrew acts as a tour guide of the city they’re visiting.

When we’re wanting to achieve something in our work or lives, we need to not only be prepared, but we also need to be on the lookout for opportunity. Meaning, if you were a fisherman, sure you could have he best gear and have the best techniques, but if you’re not near a body of water, then you’re never going to land a fish.

Likewise, if you’re looking to serve a certain kind of people, but you’re spending your time elsewhere, perhaps that’s not the best move. If you were Andrew, even though you were good at it, you wouldn’t be practicing soccer in preparation for a football game.

External Expectancy: It’s a Trap!

Now, with all this talk about setting out with the end in mind and being lucky, there’s something we really need to watch out for.

Expecting certain results to come to us from the universe after we put in our own efforts.

Here’s the truth: you can only affect the things that you control. It’s when we try to affect things outside of our control that bad stuff happens.

For instance, you might have wanted to write a book. Ok, that’s great. Are you doing it for the right reasons though? Are you wanting to write it because you want to get nationally recognized or because you simply want to get your message out there?

If it’s the latter, then you’re good to start. Build a writing habit (say 1000 words per day) and you’ll have that puppy out in no time.

However, if the reason you’re wanting to write a book is because you want to get that recognition, then you might have some problems. For one, what if it doesn’t get recognized? Does that mean that you shouldn’t create in the future? Does that mean you need to choose a different niche? Perhaps you’re just not cut out to be an author?

It doesn’t mean any of those things. You just put the expectancy on external results.

Here’s another example. Perhaps you wanted to earn more money last year or become more connected in your industry. If you did everything that you could do to make that happen, but you’re upset. I’d argue, what’s really upsetting you isn’t that you failed – because you didn’t. What happened is that the results that you have no control over weren’t what you were expecting.

All of these questions pop up when you expect things to go a certain way and they don’t. So don’t try to control things you can’t control.

If you want more about this topic, Srini Rao did a good writeup over at Unmistakable Creative.

Action Steps

So here we are. Halfway through winter and you’re still spinning your wheels in how you can get out of your individual rat race.

If you really want to make your situation better, the first thing I would do is figure out if you’re truly doing meaningful work. I WOULD NOT set a possibly unattainable goal of being able to change or quit your job or switch the focus of your business in the next 90 days. You need to first get your bearings of who you are, where you fit in the world, and the superpowers you have.

After that, I’d seek out the first mountain you want to climb and start putting steps into place about getting there.

Maybe you want to be a coach – is there a certification that you’d want to get before setting off on that journey? Is the niche of people you’re wanting to serve actually able to pay you for your services? If not, what’s a possible way you can build an income stream from that work?

Maybe you want to be a consultant? Do you know what that entails? Where do you find clients? How would you sell your services to a potential client?

Heck, maybe you love watching American Pickers and you want to do what Mike and Frank do. Do you know what the market value is for antiques? Do you have a place to store your findings? How will you find targets to pick from?

Figure this stuff out before you set out on your own.

And the third step is this – set the fundamental daily habits in place that will enable you to be successful. As I mentioned earlier this year, I’d recommend looking at Brendon Burchard’s High Performance Habits. But there are tons of other books out there on the subject as well that might be a better fit for you.

promotional email

What’s Old is New Again! – The Case for Using Promotional Email in 2019

In the fashion world, it seems like a lot of clothes that I grew up with are becoming popular again. Just the other day, I saw a girl at the movies that looked like she was straight from 1989. From a distance, you could tell she had Jessie Spano hair. But as my wife and I got closer, we realized that not only did she have the hair, but under her coat, she was wearing a white turtleneck and overalls.

I’m not really into the whole hipster scene, but is this a thing that us 30 somethings are just not aware of? I know when I was going to school, popped collars and wearing polos on top of long sleeved shirts was a thing. However, I can’t say I would suggest going back to that look. And to add to that, I never expected to see leggings or denim as items that would make a comeback!

It seems that what was once old is new again.

Business has Cycles, too!

In that same vein, I’ve noticed that business has its own set of cycles. For instance, in the 90’s, Walmart started taking off because of a few reasons:

  • They had everything.
  • You always knew you were getting the best price.
  • You get in and get out without hassle of sales people.
  • Because of all the above, you save time.

Today, however, there has been a shift back to a service centric model. There are many more specialty stores and boutiques opening up because there are certain things you don’t get at the big box stores.

Big box stores like Walmart seem to cater to everyone. They do this by having everything but not many options of one particular thing.

Take grocery shopping for example. Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods have a completely different vibe to them than the larger chains like Walmart and Meijer. For one, you have a lot more options in specific items.

But on top of that, help is fairly easy to find if you’re looking for something in particular. Not only that, but when I talk to people who work at these places, they seem to be a bit more educated in the products that are available.

When choosing between one or the other, it’s really a choice of customer service vs time/money. If expertise, help, and friendliness are things you care about, you’ll probably go to a specialty store. If being frugal is your thing – then Walmart might still be your choice.

Return of the Main Open Source Marketing Medium: Email

promotional email
Remember these words in the AOL days?

This month, I have a focus to figure out what’s going to be big and different in 2019. One of those things, I’ve realized, is marketing.

When it comes to marketing, which is important for any creator, we feel it necessary to be on social media all the time – posting and interacting with our base there.

It would certainly seem that this is the best way to get our voice out there in 2019. That’s where all the eyeballs are, right?

But how effective is this really? And is our message getting out to those who follow us?

Add to that this question – with all that’s been going down recently with privacy, should we continue to trust these large online companies with our information?

As these questions gain more attention, people are starting to wonder what the next big way of getting the word out is going to be.

And after reading this article over at the Wall Street Journal, I think the writing is on the wall.

One point that the article brings up is this question. Would you rather have your voice going out to 1000 or 10,000 people who have opted in your emails? Or would you rather have 100,000 followers on Instagram or Facebook?

Email Allows Deeper Connections

For me, the answer is simple. Email has an ability to not only allow us to reach all of our followers, but it allows us to connect with them in ways that not many utilize social media for.

In my recent chat with Avi Arya, one of the things he spoke about that he remembers having great success was when he personalized his emails to people he was marketing to. In fact, he would create a handful of videos to particular people each day.

This was back in the late 90’s when it took several hours to download one 3-5 minute song. It would take one of his assistants all night to upload these videos.


But it blew people away and made him well known in his industry.

In email marketing we can tailor our message to fit the size of audience we’re addressing and be direct. In social, we can’t do that. It’s a numbers game.

Action Steps

So at this point you might be wonder, ok, what do I do with this information? People just don’t willingly give up their emails today like they might have even a handful of years ago. They don’t want to add one more thing to their inbox which is more than likely already cluttered.

So how do you get over that hump?

The answer is not new by any means.

We simply need to add awesome value for their email. Like last week, below is a video from Pat sharing what he’s learned on this topic over the years. It should give you some great ideas in what you can offer.



plan your future

Plan Your Future! Using YOUR Offseason to make 2019 Great!

The Colts lost this past weekend to the Chiefs. The offense didn’t seem to show up for the game. And after such a hard loss, many would be discouraged. However, instead of dwelling on “what-could-have”‘s, the front office decided to step it up and start building for 2019 right away.

This is something that we all can learn something from, I think.

As you might have read in a recent post of mine, I was very pleased with the results of the team this year. Not just because of the wins, but because of the atmosphere in the locker room.

There’s a true culture there of success there. From the front office all the way down to the newest of players.

The Colts and any teams that haven’t achieved what they wanted to in 2018 are in the same boat.

It is officially the offseason. It’s time to retool and rethink about next year and next season.

Play at a Higher Level in 2019

There are certainly some things that they need to address to get ready for next year. Here’s a few examples:

Personnel Adjustments

Most, if not all, teams need to address their personnel. Maybe someone’s just not working out and they have to be replaced. Maybe the player graduated if they’re in college. Or if they’re in the pros, maybe the front office and player isn’t seeing eye to eye on a new contract.

On the coaching side of things, maybe a coach gets a better opportunity elsewhere. Or perhaps a retired player wants to become a coach – how does he or she fit in?

Personnel is one thing that all teams have to deal with in the off season. You can hear more about what all they need to deal with in this end of season presser with Chris Ballard.

Coaching Adjustments

Even if a team has all the right pieces in place, they have to consider if what they did last year will work the next season if they simply execute better. Chances are, though, that they’ll need to change a few things about what they’re doing because there’s an entire season of footage on what they did last year.

So they need to not only look at their own play calling to see what worked and what didn’t, but they also need to look at other teams around the league. See if there’s strategies they can use to help them get to the next level. Hear more about what Colts coach Frank Reich is going to handle the offseason in this presser.

Fan Outreach

One of the things about the Colts this year is that their ability to connect with fans on social media and in other live events has been great.

As part of the last season, they promoted Amber Derrow as their head of social media and digital content strategy. She has done a wonderful job this season.

In just the last year, you can see a huge jump in engagement in the Colts’ socials. From images, videos and memes posted to the Colts’ Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts, to even becoming a regular in Colts subreddit on Reddit. She’s been everywhere!

Action Steps

One of the quotes that I heard from Bill Belichick in the last couple of seasons is that having to play (and win) in the postseason puts his staff behind everyone else. And it does. Every time they play in the Super Bowl, they’re effective a month behind all the teams that didn’t make it into the playoffs.

As business owners, creatives, and entrepreneurs who use the web to promote what we’re doing, we need to be doing what great organizational leaders do. There are certain things that we can plan out. In a recent video of Pat Flynn’s, he lists a few things that we should look at:

Start with your Content Calendar

Harrison and I, along with other leaders of the Amplify Indy community, have already worked on this pretty extensively. My goal is to write about topics in this blog that mirror what we’re discussing in our local events. That’s why you’re getting this specific post as it’s related to the event this week – Find Your Strength in 2019.

Products and Events

Next, Pat talks about figuring out when you’ll be dropping out products and events. Again, these are things we’ve already started to look at within Amplify – Our monthly events will be each third Wednesday.

Personal Time and Goals

Personal downtime and goals are other things you need to consider. Is how you’ve done things continuing to work for you? Are you in a point where you need to change things a little or a lot?

Recently, if you’ve started following him at all, you might have seen that Brendon Burchard is now living in San Juan. He’s planning to make this a regular thing for him and his wife because he’s tired of winters in the northeast.

On a smaller scale, maybe you want to be healthier this year. Look at your calendar and plan a time for that if that’s the case. It’s so much easier to follow through if you set it in your calendar and make it a habit.

What Else?

There are plenty of other things that I haven’t mentioned that we need to focus on at the beginning of a new cycle. Depending on when that cycle starts for you, you might make those decisions last month, in September, or even start in November. What are some of the things that you focus on during your “offseason”?

increase confidence

Expect to Win – 3 Ingredients We Need to Increase Confidence

Confidence is something that is discussed quite a bit in entrepreneurial and self-help circles. It is extremely important in almost every part of our lives, but yet so many people struggle to find it. Without it, it’s almost impossible to find true success in what we want out of our lives.

In fact, it’s a vicious cycle between confidence, goal setting, and success.

When we have low confidence, we find it hard to set goals. We think that it’s useless because we won’t achieve them. Then, without setting goals, it’s almost impossible to be successful because we’re not defining what that success looks like.

So, how do we turn this cycle around? How can we become more confident in what we’re doing to eventually feel and be more successful?

Let’s take a look.

It Starts with Action

When I was active in LTD, I really enjoyed the training that was available. I’ve posted about much of what I’ve learned in past blog posts. But one of the things that was taught pretty frequently to new members was this simple idea:

Taking Action yields Results which yields Belief. The more Belief we have, the more likely we’re going to take further Action.

While this might sound like confidence, it’s only a part. Through taking Action and gaining more Belief, we’re actually building Competence in what we’re doing.

What’s great about building competence by practicing a certain skill set is that it’s pretty straight forward. Just start and learn from the action you take. Do it again and again and you’ll gain not only a feeling of confidence that you can do that particular thing but you’ll also gain a bit of appreciation of the work you’re doing.

Believe in the Mission

While we gain confidence through simply performing simple actions, we start to also gain a bit of an identity of ourselves through this work. It gain even more confidence when we start out with a perception of who we are and what we’re about. When our actions and results start fulfilling that perception, then we start building confidence through Congruence.

As you guys know, I’m a fan of the Colts and have been since I was in junior high. Over the years, I’ve gone from a fan who was only excited about watching the games, to a fan who analyzes the team as a whole. Not just paying attention to the players but what the leadership is saying as well. Not just through the games, but listening to what the coaches say and what the players are saying as well.

This past weekend’s game (and this past season) is a great example of seeing Congruence at work. Rookie head coach Frank Reich has installed a winning identity into the team. From the preseason where the leadership actually focused on winning games to this past weekend, there has been an expectation to come out of games with a win.

Even though they started the season at 1-5, they have rallied to get into this season’s playoffs. While they’ve been competitive and played pretty good ball all year, they definitely weren’t getting the results they were going for early on. However, the leadership didn’t lose faith and kept an even keel.

As they started to win, many members of the team started to realize that when they had that losing streak, it was mainly because they were sabotaging themselves. They weren’t living up to their own expectations. With a combination of this new belief in what they’re doing and performing their individual jobs correctly, they have dug themselves out of a hole. And they are now the 3rd team ever to get into the playoffs after starting with one win and five losses.

So, here’s the takeaway from this: Know and be clear on what you’re going for. Find your own personal mission. Take action and learn from past mistakes. As you get better at your skills and start fulfilling your mission, you’ll gain even more confidence.

Connect and Work with Others

When thinking about people who are successful, most of the time we look at them as the reason that they were successful. However, that usually isn’t the case. Great people are successful because they’ve built a great network. They’ve built a team. They have learned how to Connect.

In fact, the most successful people in the world aren’t those who have worked the hardest and it’s not those who have the most talent. While those are great things that can most certainly help, the real catalyst is knowing how to meet others, work with them, and elevate them to achieve things they couldn’t without you.

When you’re executing the best you can in a mission you believe in and doing so with other people, then there’s probably a good chance you have a certain level of confidence that will help you achieve anything you set out to do.

If building this network is something you want to develop, check out Jordan Harbinger and his podcast.

Action Steps

So if you want to build confidence in yourself and in what you’re doing, I first suggest finding out what your own personal mission is. Once you know that, you have the biggest part of achieving success – clarity.

At this point it’s up to you to build the skill sets you need to achieve that mission as well as figure out those who you need in your team to help you succeed.

After all, it doesn’t matter how good a Quarterback is if he doesn’t have a supporting cast. He needs other players to have a chance at winning the game.

high performer

Giving Your A-Game – What it Takes to be a High Performer

When it comes to labeling common sense and things that happen in an everyday working environment, the Organizational Leadership (OLS) department at Purdue is my standard.

During my studies, I remember thinking “that makes sense” to so many concepts that we learned about. From the importance of the transition period in organizational change, to mentorship, to even something as simple as communication. There was a name for everything.

Since then, I’ve run across a number of topics that have blown me away. I find it amazing that something which originally seemed relatively vague and difficult to comprehend can be simply explained by a label and a quick explanation.

It love it whenever something just clicks into place.

Recently, as I’ve been preparing to be better version of myself in 2019, I’ve been reading several books that I’ve been meaning to in the last few years.

One of those books is Brendon Burchard’s High Performance Habits. And I have to say I’ve gotten a ton of takeaways from this book. In fact, I wrote about one of those takeaways in the last post.

And in this post, I have one more to share with you. It’s all about realizing if you’re bringing your current project, your current role, heck – even your current relationships, your A-Game.

 

Bringing Your A-Game

Now, a lot of us are familiar with this phrase. If not, bringing one’s A-Game is about giving something you’re working on or participating in your complete effort – your full commitment. It’s a phrase that I’m guessing originally came from the sport world – but it’s used in all kinds of situations.  

In life, we need to think as every day as game day.  You simply can’t achieve your goals with B-effort.

That being the case, not everyone brings their full focus or a great attitude to what they’re working on. And, since most projects consist of more than one person, I think we need to be able to identify what level of commitment people are at when they’re working with us.

So let’s take a look at these various levels or identities.

 

Game Player Identities

There are 5 identities we can give people we know in some aspect of our life. Whether that’s at work, a sports league, a band, or even in an online multiplayer guild situation. When we find something which is important to us, we often want to know that the other people on our team are putting in the same amount of effort – if not more.

When I think of great players in sports, I can’t help but think of all the extra time they put into mastering their craft. And you better believe that the best players at any competitive online game have a team that they regularly train with.

If this is the case, why shouldn’t we hold those that we work with – including ourselves – under the same expectations?

So here ya go:

Dabblers

They have a passing interest in whatever it is that they’re “involved” with. I wouldn’t even call it being “involved”. They’re basically just taking whatever they’re doing for a test drive and not really committing to it. Unfortunately, a good part of their life is probably this way. They don’t take much, if anything, serious.

Novices

Like Dabblers, they have an interest in what they’re doing. But, unlike Dabblers, they actually see themselves eventually mastering whatever it is that they’re doing. They want to commit.

Problem is, they might not do that well with discouragement. And whenever they hit a wall without the proper support, they might just shelve whatever they’re starting on. Be this for simply a later date or when they feel more prepared to take on the task.

 

Amateurs

These folks have more than an interest – they have a passion – in whatever it is that they’re working on. This passion (also known as a Why?) keeps them more committed to long term goals, but they tend to need more external motivation to keep going.

When I think of this group, I like to remember that the first time I heard of Tiger Woods, he was playing as an amateur. Sure, he had what it took to get to the next level, but how many people did he play with that didn’t move on to the pros? Likewise when it comes to college level sports, there’s a lot of external pressure from coaches for individuals to perform.

 

Players (Professionals)

When people become pros, not only do they have to perform on another level, but they are also in charge of themselves and their actions quite a bit more. As long as these folks feel as if they are being fairly compensated for their efforts, then they’ll do fine.

However, they are also highly dependent on set rules and routines.

I think this is one reason why you see a lot of college recruited players fail at playing professional sports. They’re simply not prepared to make the transition. They don’t see the change of the game and their surroundings as fair. A good example of an athlete failing to make this transition is Ryan Leaf. (Even though he’s realized it since then.)

We don’t see this in just sports either. Many people outside of sports have issues with this transition, too.

For example, a lot of military personnel really struggle with life when they get out.

When they’re in their unit, they’re used to a certain way of doing things. They have a certain job that they’re supposed to do to make the machine work.

However, when they are discharged, they simply don’t have the support to make a successful transition to a civilian life.

When players don’t have things go their way, they find it hard to recover at times.

 

High Performers

Finally, we have the pinnacle of performers. The elite players – the GOATs (Greatest of all Time).

What is it about these folks that makes them so successful? Well, for one, they have greater all-around necessity, skill, and team spirit. In fact, not only do they have such a high degree of personal excellence and duty to their team (which makes them the de facto go-to player), but they have this uncanny ability to make everyone around them better.

When you think of these people in sports, we often think of people like Michael Jordan, Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Drew Brees, and for you baseball fans – Babe Ruth. Who do you want to have the last chance to score?

In the working world, people like Elon Musk and Steve Jobs come to mind. Who would you want to run your company?

While these individuals might not have an well rounded life, they’re definitely well known for their work – their game. They don’t want to master just one of area of the game – but want to be known for their commitment in mastering the game entirely.

 

Action Steps

Pretty interesting, huh? Just like last post, my recommendation for your next step is to get this book of Brendon’s and read (listen to) it. In the last couple of years Gary V is credited for saying “Skills are cheap, passion is priceless.” In a nutshell, knowing how to be a high performer is knowing how to act on your personal mission.

find your niche

How to Find Your Niche and REALLY Act On It!

 One of my favorite quotes from Stephen Covey could be a great subtitle for what I’ve been thinking about lately:

“The secret is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.”

For the first two years of the reboot of the New Inceptions, I was working on content pretty much daily. Whether it was writing a blog post or working on the AoL Podcast (and becoming an audiophile), I was doing the work that I thought I should be doing to get ahead in this online business world.

As you might have heard on the show itself (or even on other shows I’ve been a guest on recently) I’m starting to see a bit of a shift from entrepreneurs being more interested in “hustling” to being more about “lifestyle design”.

I’ve also noticed that there’s a bit of a formula for those who seem to get it all done but also live life to the fullest.

In this post, I want to touch a little bit about both.

 

Find Your Niche: Home is Where the Heart Is

In the last week or so, I finally released the guide called Uncover Your Personal Mission. If you’re not familiar with it, here’s the gist. It helps you find your personal mission and start thinking about what kinds of businesses you would excel in. Your mission is the combination of what you love (your passion), what you’re good at (your process), and how you can provide value to other people (your purpose). I call it the 3 P’s. (Some refer to one’s personal mission as the Sweet Spot.)

In the resource, I give 9 questions per P to help you determine what it is if you don’t already know.

I wish it was something that I had access to when I was going through high school and college. It would have made my time in each more enjoyable and more focused.

Now that this resource is out there, I’ve been hearing more and more people in different podcasts talking about the importance of finding your mission. While they might use different terminology (Determining Your Sweet Spot, Finding Home, “Goldilocks” zone, etc), it’s all hovering around the same concept: How to learn what you’re supposed to as a grown up.

If You Won the Lottery, What Would You Do Differently?

Recently in the US we had a lottery where the winner had the opportunity to win $2 billion dollars.

When I was thinking about buying some tickets, a question came up. If I won, what would I change in my day to day work schedule?

I really couldn’t think of anything. Sure I might hire a team to help me do more, but I’m already starting to get a lot of that support through the Amplify team.

With that in mind, it occurred to me that while my life isn’t perfect, I’m pretty happy in general.

Because, after all, happiness isn’t the result of the obtaining the end goal itself. It’s all about the pursuit of something that you care about.

 

Pursuing Meaning at a High Level

It’s one thing to know what you’re supposed to do, it’s quite another to actually do work on a daily basis that will get you to where you want to be.

This is why one of my favorite thought leaders, Brendon Burchard, researched and released a book called High Performance Habits.

Now a lot of you guys might know Brendon for starting Experts Academy. That’s how I first learned of him myself. But since then, he’s also put a TON of time and effort in studying the habits that the top performers in the world practice regularly.

And believe it or not, one of the things that you don’t necessarily want to focus on is honing your strengths! (Yeah, crazy, huh?)

6 Habits of High Performers

Here are the 6 habits all high achievers should be focusing on:

  1. Seeking clarity
  2. Generating energy
  3. Raising necessity
  4. Increasing productivity
  5. Developing influence
  6. Demonstrating courage.

Now, after reading that list, if you’re a regular reader of this blog, you might realize that I already write about some of these.

Interestingly, I’ve already talked about clarity in this very post!

However, while finding your personal mission right now is a big help in getting started, it’s something you need to keep track of regularly. Life changes around us, and as that happens, we need to keep the right priorities in front of us. Because they will change.

And just as you should keep track of what’s important to you, it’s also important to develop and track your progress in these other 5 habits.

Sure, you can do it on your own in spreadsheets, but, in the last week or so I’ve learned that Brendon is releasing his own “journal” to help us.

However, it’s not just a journal. In fact, if you’re familiar with the 5 Minute Journal (which has been a favorite of mine for sometime) – it sounds like it builds on it. (I haven’t received mine yet to fully talk about what it is and isn’t.)

 

Action Steps

So guys, I think 2019 and 2020 are going to be years of change. People you’ve known for “hustling” for the last 5 to 10 years are going to start discussing “lifestyle” more often.

The truth is that everyone in this “online entrepreneurial” space has gotten just a wee bit older. They don’t feel the need to grind as much. On top of that, as more Millennials enter this space, “meaning’ is just going to become an ever larger presence.

So do yourself a favor. Find out what your personal mission is and then start executing it with those 6 habits!

 

quality content

Creating Effective Quality Content

When it comes to marketing today, there’s a certain idea all digital marketers have to follow. We have to add value before we get the sale.

What does that mean?

Well, for most, it means that we have to educate our potential clients or customers about what it is that we do or make.

In fact, it can take up to 6 to 8 touches before a prospect becomes a buyer.

Typically, those touches take the form of “content”.

Content can take the form of videos, audio, or even text – like this blog. And it’s usually in the form of an educational format.

In this post, we’re going to look at a few places that we can find ideas for good content in 2018 and beyond.

 

Natural Content vs SEO Driven Content

When we’re thinking about creating content that attracts potential customers, we might be tempted to do a number of things. Most of these fall into three types.

Natural Content Creation

The first type is one where the focus is mainly on what our own individual customers or clients want. As a creative entrepreneur, this is something that seems a bit more natural.

The goal of creating this content is usually to retain and educate the clients, audience, or customers you already have.

 

SEO Driven Content Creation

The second type of content is content that is created specifically for what Google (or other search engines) suggest people are searching for.

Knowing this information allows us to create content specifically based on these search terms or “keywords”.

The end goal of this type of content creation to bring in more people into your sphere of influence.

If you’re not familiar with the term SEO, it simply is the acronym for Search Engine Optimization. The idea behind it is that If a particular site has good SEO, the site will rank hire in Google’s search results.

The goal is to appear on the first page of results.

At one point, it was much simpler to understand what would rank a website higher than another in Google. So much so, that if you understood the fairly rudimentary rules, you could start your own solopreneur business or small agency offering it as a service.

In fact, I remember back in 2010, there were several people in my social circle that worked for a couple of startup SEO companies here in Indianapolis.

Today, while SEO still exists and is still useful, it’s getting harder and harder to predict how Google ranks websites. They’re constantly changing what variables make our sites rank higher.

Some of those variables even include traffic on the site, authority of the site, and how quickly the site loads for individuals browsing the site.

 

Hybrid Content Creation

Ideally, since the SEO world has become so hard to predict, the best thing we should do is create content that not only has keywords in it, but also is made to educate your currently existing audience.

The main way to do this is to simply to find out what your audience is asking about, find out what keywords in Google are related to those questions, and then build content based on the results you find.

Doing good SEO work on your site is not the scope of this particular post. However, I have two recommendations for you if you have a WordPress based site.

 

  1. Make sure you have the Yoast SEO Plugin. I personally recommend the premium version because it has some kick butt features (including multiple keywords) and you only have to pay for it once. 
  2. Secondly, when you’re searching for keywords, you can use a free tool within Google Adwords called the Keyword Finder. When you’re searching, there are two columns that everyone should consider. The average monthly volume, and the competition.


Ideally, you want an Average Monthly Volume of 1k – 10k (number of searches a month). If you try anything higher than that, there’s a much higher chance your site won’t be seen in the front of the results. If you use anything less than that, you might be targeting a smaller group of people.

Once you find a keyword that hits that 1k – 10k search sweet spot, then you’ll want to check it’s competition. Ideally, you want a keyword that has low competition. However, from time to time you might have to use a keyword that is marked as a medium. I rarely use those that have high competition.

Here’s a visual of what I’m talking about:

quality content

How to Find Your Audience’s Questions

If you choose to go the natural or hybrid route, you’re creating your content with your audience in mind.

If that’s the case, there are a few places where you can get topic ideas from your audience – directly and indirectly.

  1. Ask them! You can send out a survey to your followers (whether it’s through Messenger, email, or whatever you prefer).
  2. Check out what’s being asked and discussed in Facebook groups or other online forums that are related to your topic. If you think you can go into further detail than what’s covered in the post, go for it. 
  3. See what other thought leaders in your industry are talking about. What are your favorite blogs, podcasts, speakers, and/or authors discussing? They probably have already done the research to find a good topic to discuss. Feel free to add your voice to the conversation!

 

Action Steps

When we’re having to create content on a regular basis for our audiences, we might draw a blank when we’re looking. Once you have an idea of what kind of content type you’re going to be creating (whether it’s natural, SEO focused, or a hybrid of the two), then you just need a spark of inspiration. If anything, this gives you a good excuse to check in with leaders of your industry!