relationship building

Making Winning Connections: Relationship Building Tips for Life and Business

As the Junto is starting to grow, I realize that there’s going to be more and more opportunities for people to connect with others who are seemingly going the same direction as they are.

To make sure they are, here’s a few notes from a recent John Maxwell course called the Mentor’s Guide to Relationships. I hope you can use the information presented here to make sure that a pursuing a certain relationship is worth your time.

At the very least, I want to help you realize if you’re in a one way relationship. One that you might be putting way too much energy in yourself and not getting anything back from it.

So let’s start off by looking at the four different levels of relationships.

 

Four Levels of Relationships

Surface Relationships

Now, when you’re on social media (or anywhere else for that matter) and you’re just meeting someone – you’re engaging in the most basic and common form of a relationship. A surface relationship is one where there’s really no strong commitment from either person and it’s a very passive interaction.

An example of a surface level relationship is just randomly adding a “friend” on Facebook and they in turn accepting that request. You might have just added them to your friends list because they have a lot of mutual friends – even though you don’t really know who they are.

Acquaintances would be part of this this level.

Just remember, all real friends start off as strangers at one point. So, just give it some time if you want things to grow…

 

Structured Relationships

The next level of a relationship is what’s called the structured relationship. These relationships are with people who meet at certain times. This can mean daily, weekly, or monthly.

Generally speaking this type of routine based engagement is centered around some sort of interest or activity such as an Meetup. In the online business world, it might mean a mastermind group. Or in the typical offline world, it can mean a group of students.

Outside of that group, there’s not much meaning for those people to interact – so they don’t.

 

Secure Relationships

The next level of relationships are those that when members of a structured relationships start appreciating the bond.

At this level, trust begins to form as the need to spend more time together grows. Most of the time, these folks will have no problems sharing with each other. And there’s a bit of a comfort zone feeling with these folks.

When you were going to school, these were the study friends. Perhaps they were the friends  that you hung out with before games. Or maybe they were your fellow band friends who you’d play euchre with each day. But the main thing was that these folks started relying on you as you relied on them.

In business, this might be someone that you decide to joint venture with on a particular project such as a course or new podcast.

 

Solid Relationships

Next up, we have the highest of all relationships – the solid relationship. At this level, not only do full trust and confidentiality exist, but there is a need to give back to the other party if they’ve helped you in some way.

Of course, this is the basis for a long term relationship.

If we were to think of the school analogy, your close friends were (or are still) examples of this! While, in the business world, you’d start new businesses with these folks.

 

Avoid High Maintenance Relationships

When I first started dating Maria I had a very strong feeling of “normality” when we were together. She felt like someone that I had known for a long time.

Society suggests – especially TV – that a normal romantic relationship is something that has a lot of maintenance to it. Drama and fighting is to be expected – not calmly discussing the issues at hand.

The truth is that this shouldn’t be the case in ANY relationship you want to make long term – including romantic relationships!

So how do you know if you’re in a high maintenance relationship?

In his book, High Maintenance Relationships, author Les Parrott talks about 12 different types of people who it would be hard to get along with – especially over a significant amount of time.

  • Critic – constantly complains and gives unwanted advice.
  • Martyr – forever the victim and wracked with self-pity.
  • Wet Blanket – pessimistic and automatically negative.
  • Steam Roller – blindly insensitive to others.
  • Gossip – spreads rumors and leaks secrets.
  • Control Freak – unable to let go and let be.
  • Backstabber – irrepressibly two-faced.
  • Cold Shoulder – disengages and avoids contact.
  • Green Eyed Monster – seethes with envy.
  • Volcano – builds steam and is ready to erupt.
  • Sponge – constantly in need but gives nothing back.
  • Competitor – keeps track of tit for tat.

 

Are you with one of these types of individuals? If so, you might want to move on.

If you wouldn’t be in romantic relationships with someone with one or several of these particular traits, why would you want to be in business with them… or visa versa?

Going from Surface to Solid Relationships

In the past week, I’ve relearned how awkward people can be when it comes to developing real relationships. Whether it’s simple friendships, jv partnerships, or going after a life partner… the goal is to not be a weirdo.

Believe me, I learnt the hard way!

So how do you go from adding a friend on Facebook to making them a good friend, business partner, or building something that could be even more?

Here’s 5 traits of a solid relationship.

 

Mutual Enjoyment

Here’s the truth. Spend time with people who enjoy your presence. If you feel that you’re having to pry and overly try with the relationship, it’s probably not a good foundation and you should move on.

Don’t be an irritant!

 

Respect

What’s the best way to make sure you’re not an irritant?

Be respectful of the other person.

Forget the golden rule of treating people how you’d want to be treated. Instead, treat people like they would like to be treated.

What’s that mean?

Learn how they want to be interpreted. Find out their story. Be curious and let them be the storyteller. Find out where they went to school and for what. If they didn’t go to school, find out what they’ve learned “the hard way”.

If you’re unclear as to how to read a certain topic with them – don’t feel like you have to assume something – this usually works out negatively if you do. No question is dumb. Just say “I’m not sure how to ask this but…” if you’re completely unsure how to ask something.

Have a problem with them? Let them know. Likewise, if they feel like they have a problem with you, they should come to you about it.

Make a point to get to know someone, but not for manipulative purposes. If they tell you something that’s a secret, don’t tell anyone. If they are hesitant in a certain area, learn how to help bring out the best in them through their own permission.

 

Mutual Shared Experiences

There’s a reason why military veterans get along as well as they do even if they didn’t know each other prior to them first getting together.

What’s the reason?

They have shared similar experiences.

From day 1, they’re taught to trust each other to be part of a larger organism. When you count on someone to do a certain action which allows you to do your job, then you’re going to care about that other person more. Cause if they get taken out, then you won’t be able to do what you need to do properly.

Sports players are the same way.

When talking about developing a winning football team, Vince Lombardi said, “The difference between mediocrity and greatness is the feeling these guys have for each other.”

It makes sense. If the line doesn’t do their job and block, then the ball handlers can’t do their jobs. The result is that the ball doesn’t go anywhere.

 

Reciprocity

For the above teams to win, that caring feeling needs to be mutual between teammates – whether on a battlefield with bullets… or on the gridiron.

Right here is how you can tell if a relationship is worth your time to develop. If you feel like everything is running smoothly, then everything is fine.

However, if you feel that the other person is getting a better deal, bring it up with them. If they don’t acknowledge it, then it might be time to move onto another relationship.

If you feel like you’re getting a better deal, then it’s your job to make sure that they’re being evenly compensated.

 

Trust

Trust comes over time and is the result of the previous 4 traits humming along just fine. Don’t forget that intentions don’t really matter when it comes to other people.

It’s all about actions.

When your actions match your words, that’s how you build trust.

Just make sure that those actions are positive and truly helpful to the other party!

 

Action Steps

As you might have realize, relationships are something that I take seriously. There was a time when I wasn’t super great at them – so I made it a point to go out of my way to learn about them. If you want to learn more about building great relationships, I’d check out the book by John Maxwell and Les Parrott 25 Ways to Win with People: How to Make Others Feel Like a Million Bucks

As you probably know, I’m a big fan of John’s and he has ton’s on this topic!

block schedule

How You Can Master Your Time and Productivity with a Block Schedule Including Themes

I recently posted this in the Junto:

block schedule

When you read this, what comes to your mind?

Is it a sense of frustration?

Is it a sense of irritation?

If so, do you have too many tasks and ideas that you’re trying to get to, but keep running out of daylight?

If that describes you, I completely feel where you’re coming from. It used to describe me too.

I always thought it wasn’t fair that others had found the secret to getting their own stuff done.

But after a few mastermind sessions in 2016, I realized that my problem was that I was TOO structured in my scheduling.

This post is all about making sure that you have balance in your schedule while chipping away at those things you really need to be doing in your life – especially if you’re in a day job you don’t like or you’re a super busy college student.

Setting the Guidelines of an Amazing Schedule

Often times when we’re picking the things we want to do, we often feel this battle between what’s right and not right to do. We feel a pull of what our inner self tells us we should be doing vs what the external world is telling us that we should be doing.

Ideally, we’d like everything to be what’s right and we’d like to be self directed. Unfortunately for those of us who have day jobs, we feel that this is an uphill battle we’re not going to win. (Great example of a self limiting belief right there.)

The first thing we need to do in winning back our time is to follow 12 guidelines – and they are:

  1. Know thyself in what makes you feel the most alive – this is your passion and is part of your Mission.
  2. Realize that as long as you’re in the United States (or another free country), your default mission in life is to find out what your personal mission is and fulfill it.
  3. Once you have determined that, you need to commit to yourself that you’ll spend your time fulfilling that mission.
  4. When you’re putting things into your schedule to fulfill said mission, make sure that you have a good and clear understanding of how those tasks are going to help you achieve it. (If you’re working a 9 to 5 – your job should be helping you fulfill that Mission. If it doesn’t, it’s time for a new job.)
  5. Are there any points in your schedule that you dread or fear, ask yourself why you fear them. Don’t dwell on the worst that could happen, but instead, simply sit with them and realize that they have to be done for you to move on.
  6. Realize that any changes you’re making are going to take time to get going if you’re just now starting them. But, here’s the key –  if you keep at it, you’ll start noticing that things are going well for you. Like me, you’ll think “Well, if I hadn’t made this connection or done that, this wouldn’t have happened.” This is the truth. The problem is, you have no idea what will set future motions in place. (This is known as the Law of Momentum.)
  7. If you’re stuck in a rut, you need to realize that you are. Then ask yourself – what do I need to learn to move forward?
  8. Make sure you set aside a time for learning. Learning new things regularly allows for you to constantly move forward. Action is one thing, but taking the same action over and over and expecting different results is… insanity. (Also, don’t burn yourself out thinking that you can find the answers by taking simple repetitive action.)
  9. If you DO find yourself burning out or sucking at something you should be better at, it’s best to notice it and don’t hide from it. This is the universe telling you you need time to rest.
  10. Be precise in making your schedule until you can look at it and you look forward to every event that’s on it.
  11. Make your schedule so that it doesn’t imprison or trap you, but, instead, frees you.
  12. Always remember your schedule is meant to nourish you, so you can relax and enjoy your life. (If you’ve gotten to this point in the list and you still dread getting up in the morning, you should start over at #1.)

 

Key Points to Remember about the Guidelines

Now, from all that you might be thinking, “Well, that’s all good – but I know there’s going to be some things that I don’t like doing even when I’m working towards my Mission”.

And you’d be right – maybe you hate paperwork. Maybe you’d rather be out interacting with folks. Perhaps you’re really into helping people with sales funnels, but you hate having to find clients.

That’s par for the course.

If you want to know you’re still in the right, here are two questions to ask yourself:

  1. Overall, is this week going to be enjoyable? Am I doing what I want to do – for the most part?
  2. What’s the first thing that I can do that would allow me to be me?

The reason that these two questions are important to ask yourself is because, again, we’re working from a mission perspective.

If you feel you’re doing more things that you don’t want or like to do – than you’re not in the right position in life (or at work). Secondly, if you don’t have enough autonomy to do an act that you actually like to start your day and/or week off with a simple win – then there’s probably something wrong there as well.

In other words, do things that get you to your mission. Don’t do them because you think it’s the thing to do. That’s the will of the World forcing you to do something. Other people have no problem telling other people what to do. That’s the way the world works.

Also, don’t avoid things just to avoid them. Sometimes you’ll have to embrace the suck – but it’s so worth it if it’s in alignment with your mission.

For example if you want to become better at copywriting for marketing purposes – go find some great examples of marketing and use it as a guide to craft your own. (Arne has us do this in his FB group growth course student group all the time.)

 

Note to Newbie Time Blockers

Now, if you’ve never time blocked before, then this next part will be a little easier than if you have.

See, I used to be a scheduling Nazi. I had to be very specific in when I did this, this, and that. Otherwise, I didn’t think I was doing a great job in scheduling.

Well, long story short, I realized that I learned to schedule from a Driver-Analytical personality-type person. The thing about Driver-Analytical types of people, they are all about completing tasks. The more, the merrier.

That’s not what I’m about.

I’m more about building relationships. Why? Because from good relationships come opportunities which yield possible income.

So, in the end, depending on your own personality, what takes priority on your calendar might be different than mine.

That said, here’s how to time block with themes.

 

Time Blocking with Interval Themes

Generally speaking, these days I have two types of weeks as a solopreneur. One week (called ‘A weeks’) I focus more on content development – a blog post, a podcast post, and a video in the Junto.

The other week (which I call ‘B weeks’) I focus more on marketing and group development as well as learning.

As you can see, I have two main themes that I use. However, I’ve known people that use 4 themes a month. I also know folks who theme their entire month.

What do these themes consist of?

Well, for me, they’re general guidance of the things that I have to do in a given day. Other folks use them to get better at something, while yet other some people use it as a way to control their overall content building and marketing structure.

 

Interval Themes in Practice – A Step-By-Step Guide:

So let’s look at this from a weekly example – because that’s essentially what I use.

  1. The first thing you want to do is determine what kind of theme you have for that week. Usually you want to do this on Sunday after reflecting on how your previous week went.
  2. Next, you’ll want to set the time that you want to get started on your work. Honestly, I don’t usually get started on my work day until 10am. I don’t finish until 5 or 6. But during that time, I’m usually very focused on the work at hand or, for short breaks, posting in the Junto or building relationships with its members.
  3. When it’s quitting time – it’s quitting time. I learned early from Pat Flynn that you want to be able to turn things off for the night when your loved ones are home. Even when he had a one room apartment, his computer was in a corner and he used his laptop for more personal things.
  4. If you’re more of a task oriented person – I got you! Make sure you plan out time for relaxation and fun. Seriously. If that means throwing date night on your schedule, do it. Fortunately for me and Maria, we’re pretty lackadaisical when it comes to our evenings!

 

The General Structure Of My Daily Schedule

Just an idea of what a typical day might look like. I really don’t have this all laid out in

  1. Morning Routine – Breakfast (no carbs!), workout, a bit of meditating, finding out what’s going on in the world
  2. First item of the day – Something that gives you an easy win. For me, I knock out my emails. Once I do that, I close Mail. I’ll reopen it later – but emails are super distracting throughout the day!
  3. Second item is usually an easy win item as well. These days, it’s posting in the Junto and few other groups.
  4. Then, until lunch, I’m either doing growth related activities (meeting people, meetings, learning) or working on production of content.
  5. After lunch, I’m focused more on finishing said content, mastery, and marketing.

 

Alternative Version for Someone who Doesn’t Own Their Entire Day

So, this is a pretty sucky situation – but a lot of us have to start here. So realize that you’re going to have a bit of a handicap but you’re not alone.

Depending on whether you’re a morning person or a night owl, you’re going to aim to work 2 hours a day on your craft before you go to work or after you come home.

Ideally, the last part of the day should be spent just chilling for at least an hour. Again you’re looking to enjoy your life. So, if I had to decide, I’d go for 2 hours before work. That way when you go to your day job, you have the bonus of having already worked on your craft and not having to dread it coming home.

So, go to bed one hour earlier, then wake up 2 hours earlier. You can really start your day on fire this way. Those first two hours can be focused on heavy amounts of action.

But keep in mind, don’t sacrifice that much to the point of feeling empty. Enjoy each minute you can now. You want to make sure you’re enjoying every single day.

Action Steps

So, there you have it. Again, this is just what has worked for me combined with my new schedule for building the group.

Obviously there’s a huge difference if you have a day job. So if you can find a day job that supports your mission, that’s even better. That’s what’s great about this new sharing economy of ours.

Heck, even Laila started substitute teaching and tutoring before she got completely up to speed with her coaching practice. But what’s great is that those tutoring spots got her some of her clients!

If you have any questions, feel free to let me know below! 🙂

sales skills

Mark Boersma – Developing your Sales Skills: Why Business Systems are Huge in Making Predictable Revenue (AoL 106)

You always hear about people “systematizing” their work. However, so many of us, especially us solopreneurs, don’t take the time to do that. Sure, we might write an SOP if we hire a virtual assistant (if we’re smart), but when it comes down to our creative work we never take the time to think about what might be easier if we actually detail out what gets results.

As you’ll find out in the interview of Mark Boersma, he started systemizing early on. Having an analytical mind, he out thought his problem and now teaches others how to turn sales, which can seem like an intangible skill, into something that’s very step by step.

In today’s chat, Mark discusses with me why he had to figure this system out, what the results of it gave him, and how knowing personalities plays into the success of this system.

Enjoy!

 

SPECIFICALLY, YOU’LL FIND OUT MORE ABOUT:

  • Why did Mark get three bachelor degrees? 10:41
  • Did he feel that going to college was a detour of what he should be doing in his career? 13:22
  • When he got out of school, why did he immediately go for a 100% commission paid position? 15:02
  • What was the first tool that he made which systematized his sales? 20:35
  • How does knowing about personalities useful in making sales? 23:44
  • What’s the accuracy percentage of the personality assessment he uses with people? 30:54
  • What are some of the things Mark is looking forward to in the future with Synergy Solutions? 35:51
  • Who are 3 influencers who have helped him get to where he is today? 41:38
  • What is a scientific fact that he knows his true but still blows him away? 42:49
  • What’s an unwritten rule that should actually be written today? 43:55
  • What’s something that he belives all high school students must know? 45:18
  • What does it mean to live a life of abundance? 46:39
  • … and MUCH more!

Right click here and save-as to download this episode to your computer.

ITEMS and PEOPLE MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:

 

SHOW NOTE EXTRAS:

Mark and Tom interviewed by the Milwaukee’s Morning Blend:

Introduction to Personality Masteries:

Mark on Thinkers vs Doers:

ClickFunnels Viral Ad 2017:

Thanks for Listening!

Thanks so much for joining us again this week. Have some feedback you’d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below!

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A huge thank-you to you guys for joining us!

Cheers!

Basics of The Junto- An Online and In Person Mega Mastermind Group

Well, guys, it’s official! The new Facebook group is up and going! I present to you… 

mastermind group

 

I’m really excited to bring you guys’ this joint effort.

It’s been something I’ve been wanting to do for awhile but I just didn’t have the pieces in place to be able to get it done.

Now I do.

And by pushing the podcast to a every two week effort seems like it’s going to really pay off. I feel that I’m going to be much more productive in my own business as well as being able to help you awesome folks out a bit more.

Since last week, I’ve received a few questions about what the group itself. I wanted to take a little bit of time to answer some of those questions.

So this post is all for you prospective members.

What the Junto is all about – including what it is and what it isn’t.

What is this version of the Junto?

Basic Rules:

I’ve had some questions about how closely I’m going to be following Ben Franklin’s Junto. Well, for one, this group is going to be open to anyone – they just need to meet certain criteria including:

  • Been on Facebook for more than a year.
  • Answers the questions to get in the group.
  • Doesn’t post random offers or troll when they’re in.

 

The Junto is a branding channel, first and foremost. In my book, branding is all about making people aware that you exist. Marketing is letting people know you have something to offer. (And since we’re on the subject, sales is about making a transaction. Don’t get the three confused.)

Just to make it absolutely clear – marketing is usually not permitted (unless given permission to do so). But you’re totally allowed to offer people value as much as you want.

You can express that value in written, audio, or video form. Totally up to you. Just don’t drop offers.

 

What’s with All the Logos?

So here’s the awesome thing, guys. I’m not the only “star” of this group. I am simply the moderator and the pot stirrer. As I’ve done in the past with New Inceptions, Junto has various contributors itself – all with their own focuses in helping people in the offline community.

  • Coffe – Help people understand about finances and getting them out of debt.
  • Amplify – Make great events around the city.
  • Collaborate 317 – A place for people to come together for an event, a class, or simply to engage with other like minded individuals.
  • Ascension – A means for patriots AND veterans to get training so that they can climb up in their career – whether in the traditional 9 to 5 world OR as an entrepreneur.

 

All four of these companies are looking to expand their reach outside of Indianapolis. They want to empower others around the world and possibly do what they’re already doing.

Being part of this group will allow them to do that.

If your town doesn’t have one of these groups and you think it might be a great addition to your community, I’m sure the founders would love to help you put a chapter in your area!

 

Are we Going to Use the Junto’s Original Questions?

Yes and no. We are going to use them. It’s my goal to post at least a tip and a question as often as possible. Hopefully daily as I’m always learning and need to write some of this stuff down.

As you might have seen, the original questions ARE pretty antiquated. So I’ll need to update them a bit to post in the group.

For example, question 13 goes like this: Do you know of any deserving young beginner lately set up, whom it lies in the power of the Junto any way to encourage?”

Today, we’d simply ask, “Do you know of any cool newbie entrepreneurs who need an extra boost that we could highlight and/or encourage?”

I think a lot of these questions are those that many groups don’t ask enough. So be on the lookout for these!

 

If someone wants to Promote Something, how can they do that?

By going through the proper channels! Lol.

But no, seriously. If you’re contributing regularly to the group and want to promote something, there’s a way to do that. It’s called hop on LIVE with one of us and we’ll highlight who you are and what you’re about. Just as in the podcast, in that conversation you’ll get the opportunity to mention anything you’re excited about and that’d be a good time for YOU to promote your wares.

 

Action Steps:

So this post is fairly short for a reason. I want you to hop in there and start introducing yourself! Answer the onboarding questions so we can make sure you get connected to the right people.

We’re all in this together, so if you want to know one of the mods a bit better – let me know. I’ll be more than happy to connect you!

Have any other questions? Let me know here or on Facebook.

knowing when to quit

Knowing When to Quit: Sometimes you have to Slow Down to Speed Up

I’ve been struggling with a question that has been making me think recently. Last week during my 9/12 rememberance, one of the things that I realized was that “things change”.

This has always been the case, obviously, with just about anything – but it’s especially true with online business and marketing.

When I first ran across the online entrepreneurial community, there weren’t nearly as many players as they are today. Facebook and Twitter were still becoming mainstream for businesses to use (I mean, I remember when the Twitter Marketing for Dummies came out. It was the first of its kind!)

Back then, blogs were still popular on the web and the good blogs had their own YouTube channel and podcasts.

In fact, at the time, Pat Flynn said the strategy that worked for him to get noticed was one he dubbed “Be Everywhere”.

And for the longest time, it seems that this strategy has worked for plenty of other folks out there – people who have had success building their popularity on the web.

But, as I said, things change.

 

Using the Web in 2017

When you think about how people use the web in 2017, how is it different than say someone using it in 2013 or even 2011?

For me, I know that more than half of consumers who used to use laptops and desktops have opted for something a little smaller – especially in their time off.

They’re using their phone.

Even more, they’re probably checking Facebook and other social media apps much more regularly than going to someone’s web page or simply checking what’s trending on Google.

Why?

Just like you want to make it easier for people to take as few left turns as possible to get to a drive-thru, Facebook has made it so that everything can be found under one roof. Much easier than navigating on a browser to a webpage… and then another.

Why leave Facebook?

So, it’s pretty easy to see why people are making a killing building sales funnels through Facebook. The eyeballs are on it all the time.

Sure, you can spend a ton of time becoming a thought leader and developing your own external brand, but why?

Things have changed. What worked 5 or even a couple years ago, might not necessarily work today.

 

Knowing when to Quit

So, here’s the plan, guys. As you might have heard on the podcast last week, I’m going to be more available on Facebook throughout the week as well as taking a few courses that I’ve been meaning to take.

After my initial posting of the Facebook Mega Group post, I’ve been thinking – why aren’t I building one of these groups myself?

What occurred to me was that I’m getting lost in the details of the work I’m doing. It seriously takes me like 2 and a half days of working time to produce a podcast episode based on my personal tastes. That’s half the week! Not to mention the time I put into finding and talking with guests, and then marketing the new episode.

By the time all is said and done, I easily have 3 days in each episode. The other two days are shot with meetings and/or researching and writing these posts.

Frankly, I don’t have much time, if any, to actually go through new courses or spend time engaging with you all!

So, last week, as per what Lisa recommended, I have to spend my energy more appropriately. I have to get higher. I can’t stay down in the weeds all the time.

Plus, I have to make sure I follow the recent advise that Brendon said. It went something like “If your current work isn’t going to get you to a place where you’re happy – then why continue the work?”.

Here’s the video of Brendon on when to quit.

 

Coming to a Solution – Slow Down to Speed Up

Here’s the thing, though. I don’t want to quit the podcast outright. It’s been my way of meeting great people on Facebook and at the same time, giving them a way to get their message out there. Personally, since I listen to podcasts as often as I do, I’d just feel weird if I wasn’t producing them all of a sudden.

So, that’s where the two a month solution came from. While it might not be new content each week – I get the chance to actually study other’s content again and apply new findings to my business and help you guys with yours as well.

Plus, I figure this might give some folks a bit of time to hear all the old episodes. Heck, it might even give me some time to remaster some of those old interviews!

 

Action Steps

So there’s my take guys. This why I need to change things up a bit. Hopefully it gives you guys some permission to change things up in your own business as well.

Ask yourself – is what you’re doing right now, the way you’re doing it, going to get you to happiness any quicker? Is there something else you could try to get there?

For Arne and JR – making a Facebook Group was the option they took to achieve the results they have today. Maybe it’s time for you to consider the same thing?

That said, stay tuned for specifics on the new group! I hope to have info out about it at the end of the week!!

 

Bonus: 

Also, since we’re on the topic of slowing down to speed up. Check out this footage of a Bugatti Veron having problems with a speed bump:

remembering 9 11

Remembering 9/11: Refocusing on the More Important Things

It’s September 12th again. The day after 9/11. How are you feeling? What’s on the top of your mind? Business plans? Getting out of your day job on time? Lots of things going on, I’m sure.

Let’s slow down a little bit. Let me ask you a question.

Did you have the chance to watch any of the memorial services for 9/11 yesterday? Why or why not?

I did – and here’s what I got to share with you.

 

Remembering 9/11

Since the World One Trade Center has been finished, I’ve noticed that every year they read the names of the victims of 9/11. They might have been doing it longer than that, but I didn’t realize it because I was too busy. With college and then with work after I graduated.

Why did I watch? I didn’t lose anyone in the tower. Heck, I don’t know if I knew anyone that was affected by it at the time it happened.

So why did I watch? I guess the simple answer is that I wanted to remember. Remember where I was and what was going through our minds at the time.

 

When I was growing up, before that point, I didn’t know what it was like to be witness of a life changing event.

My mom had always been able to tell me very vividly about her whereabouts for the assassination of JFK. Similarly, she could remember where she was for other “world shattering” events including the Challenger explosion, when she heard of Martin Luther King Jr’s assassination, and others.

While I’m sure everyone here in the United States can remember where they were at in their lives at that point (if they were alive), I know that not everyone gets the chance to reflect on that day. As mentioned, I didn’t for several years.

 

Remembering 9/12

For most folks, 9/11 isn’t a holiday. Nor is it a celebration. However, I believe that it needs to be remembered and reflected on annually. Not because of the event itself. But what happened the day after.

Just as Texans and the rest of America drove to aid the victims of recent hurricane Harley and the upcoming storm Irma this past week, so did people on 9/12. Local fire and police departments as well as everyday people from all corners of the country went to go help as much as they could.

The acts of 9/11 made us come together and act as one.

 

In 2009, Glenn Beck created the 9/12 Project to reflect upon those selfless actions and who we were at that point in history. Because it seemed that we had too easily forgotten those times.

It being Glenn and the polarizing person he was at the time (he has since apologized for his actions during that time), I don’t think he was able to reach those that needed to hear the message.

And, as you can tell from this video, it’s hard to tell if he won any new friends with those that did hear about it.

While I feel that his heart was in the right place, I think the 9/12 Project missed the mark for most people.

 

The Grocery Store Method of Reasoning

However, he did manage to get my attention. My mom followed him quite a bit – however, I tended to focus more on business type stuff at the time.

Upon hearing this message, though, I did start thinking it was necessary to become more involved in my community. I think it was due to this that I eventually became a member of the Freemasons.

However, not everything he said applied to me, and I think this is where a lot of people have hang-ups in today’s world.

Just because someone says something which doesn’t agree with you, it doesn’t mean that other things that they’re talking about are false or that they’re completely unagreeable.

In fact, most people have more things in common than we don’t have – regardless of where they are in life.

Just as if you were getting groceries, it’s your job to NOT take everything you see at face value. Just because something sounds good, doesn’t mean you should include it in your thought process.

On that same note, simply because something might not agree with you, it doesn’t mean it’s not true or good for you (just like broccoli!).

It’s up to us to see the context of where the message is coming from. And what’s great is that the more Truth we know, the easier it is for us to make a decision based on the context AND message.

 

Finding Truth in the 9/12 Project – Refocusing on the Important Things

So let’s look real quick on what Glenn said about the 9/12 Project. First, he has 9 key principles that we should follow if we were to be a part of the project. Knowing that he’s a pretty spiritual (and religious) dude, I wasn’t surprised to find references to God.

If we take that into context and actually see what he’s saying AND not take it personal (One of the Four Agreements), what can we pull from his message? What the heck is he really saying?

Let’s take a look.

 

America is good.

Yeah, I’d say so. I mean, again, after seeing us come together for the victims of recent hurricanes – I think we’re good. Now, the government, on the other hand… that’s another story, but I think Americans are good as a people.

 

I believe in God and He is the center of my life.

So here’s my take on religion – it’s not for everybody. Most people that it’s not for – they say that religious types don’t practice what they preach. I don’t personally know BAD Christians. Do they exist? Sure. But there’s bad versions of every group out there.

I think this is where most stereotypes come from. But, because they exist doesn’t necessarily make them “normal”.

So let’s talk straight normal person to normal person here.

Perhaps Glenn could have said “I have a core set of principles and I act on those principles on a consistent basis. My life is based on those principles.” to make it a little more all inclusive.

In that frame, I think many of us would agree that we have core principles which we use to define our lives.

 

I must always try to be a more honest person than I was yesterday.

Yes, of course. Lying to yourself and others ultimately only screws things up. Truth is pure. While some people might get upset at it, that doesn’t mean it’s any less-true.

Big word of advice – start seeking the Truth. Listen to all sides of the story and make up your own mind – not what one particular media source tells you to think.

 

The Family is sacred. My spouse and I are the ultimate authority, not the government.

This is another of those points that could have worded a bit better. Instead, it could have read “My spouse and I care for and are responsible for the actions, values, and beliefs of our family. Not the government.”

This I agree with because I don’t think it’s the government’s job to make things “fair”. I’ve never seen the government build up any one group. I’ve only seen them tear down others when one group is crying the loudest. That’s the opposite of being fair in my book.

 

If you break the law you pay the penalty. Justice is blind and no one is above it.

Yes. Totally with that.

 

I have a right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness, but there is no guarantee of equal results.

Totally true. There’s also no guarantee that starting points are the same. And what’s ironic, is that I’ve seen more people go from broke to being wealthy, than I’ve seen middle class becoming wealthy. Gary V is a great example – so are a ton of online business folks – AND people I’ve had on the podcast.

 

I work hard for what I have and I will share it with who I want to. Government cannot force me to be charitable.

Yes – totally agree with this. See above. But I think it’s also our own responsibility to know when to be charitable. That’s not something that society teaches. In fact, I’d say that it teaches the opposite most of the time. Every day people are inundated with the idea that it’s them vs the World. It indirectly promotes the scarcity mindset – not an abundant one.

 

It is not un-American for me to disagree with authority or to share my personal opinion.

Agree. That’s the whole point of protection of free speech and ability to bear arms. While that allows for some very hate filled rhetoric, it also allows for well intentioned speech at the same time. The reason that we can bear arms is that if Washington ever becomes so removed from the people that it’s us against them (or some other apocalyptic situation), then we have the permission of the founders to have our own militias. If you don’t support Americans keeping firearms, then it comes across that you 100% believe the government is never going to turn on you. Which moves onto…

 

The government works for me. I do not answer to them, they answer to me.

Yes, 100%. Even when it comes to taxes and other “governmental” stuff. We technically should have the power to determine what we’re being taxed. However, Washington thinks they’re better than us, so therefore, they vote things into place that shouldn’t have happened if they were doing their job in the first place.

 

12 Values of the 9/12 Project

Honestly, all the values that he put in the list are those that Lewis Howes, Tony Robbins, or someone similar (I can get you a long list if you really want one!) would have said helped them get to where they are today – especially if they’re God fearing folks.

So, I’ve made it a point to make sure that I have these values as much as possible. However, there might have been a little bit of tweak on some for better wording.

 

The 12 Values

 

After looking at these values, do you believe that anyone who has achieved greatness in their life doesn’t practice them regularly? I mean, when I think of Lewis Howe’s show and the people he’s talked to – all of these words come to mind.

 

Action Steps

After seeing these principles and values of the 9/12 project, I hope you can understand why I feel I need to respect those that we lost on 9/11. We should also appreciate how we came together to deal with it all. Personally, I feel if I can reconnect to those feelings, it helps keep me anchored to who I see myself as.

 

Also, it’s especially touching to see some of the kids of these folks read off the victim’s names. Lots of these folks (some near my age) have made their lives better as a contribution to their lost parent, family member, or friend.

 

I can only think that our true friends and family would want the best for us. And because of that, I think it’s on our shoulders to live up to some certain standards in life. If not those of the 9/12 Project, then something else.

I just think the 9/12 Project is a good place to start. A lot of people can relate to it – even if they don’t care too much for its creator.

What are some key principles and values that you have? Let me know below.

podcast logo

Designing Your Podcast Logo and Social Media Artwork: A DIY’ers Guide on Giving Your Show a Face

What did you do over the Labor Day weekend? The “last” weekend of summer? Did you manage to get out with friends or family for dinner? Maybe even enjoy a barbeque?

How about your business? Did you do any work on it? Just because it’s a holiday weekend doesn’t mean you can’t work on it! In fact, if you do, you’re just that much more committed to what you’re doing than those who took time off!

Personally, I worked a bit on Saturday and Sunday.

As I mentioned in the podcast from last week, Maria and I took pictures at the AMS MuncieMan Tri on Saturday. Always fun to get those posted and see all the reactions and comments come in afterwards. Personally I like this particular triathlon because it’s the MECTC championship race and has been for several years now. Always cool to see the different college uniforms of the athletes who showed up.

As for Sunday, I managed to do a little update on the podcast’s “general cover art” that’s seen in iTunes. You can see the difference below:

 

Why an Update?

Well, good question. I mean, I did have the same one on iTunes for over 100 episodes. Why change it? Well, a couple of reasons.

One, after 100 episodes, I have a much more focused picture on what the show is about. When I first started, I can’t say that was the case.

At the beginning, the idea was to have a few co-hosts on regularly to talk about being successful in life in general. What I realized, though, was that we were starting out WAY to broad. Soon after, however, I started using the format that we know today.

Secondly, I noticed that when viewed in iTunes, it didn’t necessarily jump out. So, sticking with the nautical theme, I opted to add a bit more liberty into it by giving it a bit more noticeable red, white, and blue. I mean, Angles of Lattitude does translate directly to Perspectives of Freedom after all!

Here’s a comparison of what I started with compared with the update:

podcast logo

Prepping for the Design Work

There are some things you’ll want to consider before starting on your design. Once you have the following ready to go, then you’re ready to start. That said, if you don’t want to do the work yourself, you might want to check out Fiverr, UpWork, or 99Designs.

Software

Personally, I use Photoshop for most of my work. (Currently running on CS5.) But there’s also free alternatives out there such as GIMP and Canva. If you don’t consider yourself artistic, Canva is a great option as it comes with layouts mostly designed for you. However, if you’re going for a certain theme, like I was, then you’ll probably want to use GIMP.

 

Image Specifications

When designing your podcast’s cover art, you’ll want to think about where you’re going to place it. For me, I currently have one image for the generic cover art, and then I have another format that I use for each individual episode. Last, but just as important, is a “social media” image that I make that has the same content as each individual, but laid out a little differently so that it fits within the post space in Facebook and Twitter a little easier.

 

Here are the specs for the canvases of those images:

 

Canvas Size:

Cover art: 1400×1400 to 3000×3000 pixels – Personally I use 1400×1400. Even with 4k becoming the standard more and more, I simply don’t see a need to make it much larger.

Also, make sure it looks good at a smaller size. Remember when folks are looking for your show, you’ll want it to pop out at them amongst all the others that are on that page.

Social Media: 1200×627 pixels – This is the canvas size for Facebook posts. Since Facebook no longer allows you to change this image manually, you’ll need to add it to the meta information you’re linking Facebook to. In WordPress, you can do this by changing the image used in Yoast SEO Premium. (This is a plugin that just about every WordPress user should have if they want to have good SEO.) If you don’t have this plugin, Facebook will more than likely use the Featured Image you have set for the post or page.

 

Pixels (Dots) Per Inch: 72 is the minimum. Personally, I use 300 dpi.

 

Colorspace: Use RGB (not CMYK)

 

Design

Ok, so you have everything ready to go and you’re looking at a blank canvas. Now is the time to ask yourself, what is this thing going to look like?

Crafting a design for the cover art is really no different than designing a logo. You see what you like out there, and then mimic it.

In this case, you can use the popular list on iTunes and see the covers of popular podcasts there.

Once you get there, you might notice that there’s a ton of shows that have the host on the front. If your brand is about you, or you’re tightly involved with the brand, you’ll probably want to put yourself on the cover.

If that’s not that big of a deal to you, then you can get a bit more creative and use more symbols in your artwork.

Since AoL is all about discovering other’s takes on personal freedom, I opted to stay with the original compass idea. However, I dressed it up a bit by surrounding that compass with the sentence “Not all who wander are lost”. This is one of the trending thoughts that i’ve learned through the first 100 sessions.

From there, I retouched the main title a bit and moved that up to the middle. I realized I had a ton of empty space in the last version and hopefully the title (now with a subtitle) will grab potential listeners’ attention a bit more!

 

Social Media Image Notes

If you’re wanting to change the social media image a bit per platform, there’s one thing I want to mention. Make sure that the theme stays the same from platform to platform. Use the same colors, same fonts, and just about anything else you can from one to the other. You want to make them look like they’re connected.

In the AoL Podcast social images, I even go as far as to use the same image of the guest of that session.

The only platform that I drift away from this approach is Instagram. From what I can tell, you get a bit more attention if your posts are visually engaging. So I try to change things around a bit and make the layout of the image reflect the long-form quote and the image that I have of the guest (which goes along with that quote).

 

Action Steps

So now that you’ve seen my new cover art, what do you think? Hopefully it inspires you to change your old one up a bit if it’s been awhile since you’ve modified it. I know several folks who make it a year to modify their artwork yearly.

If you have a show, I’d love to hear why you designed your cover the way you did.

Also, if you’re thinking about starting a show, you can check out my other podcast related posts here: