Thursday, December 29, 2016

Will You Perish if You don’t Publish?






In the past, if you heard people talking about the whole “Publish or Perish” paradigm, you’d probably think they were having a discussion about the pressure colleges and universities put on their professors to publish the kind of book that brings both attention and endowments to a campus. You’d be less likely to think about how this might apply to you as an entrepreneurial leader in your field. But times have changed, and entrepreneurs who aren’t publishing, are starting to find themselves choking on the dust of those who do.

The reason this is happening is because the definition of the word “publish” has expanded beyond just publishing a book. It includes publishing blog posts, reports, white papers, articles, newsletters, free resources, eBooks, Kindle books, and even emails. Yes, on the surface this looks like a very daunting list of content publishing strategies and opportunities. In reality, you aren’t required to pursue all of them. In fact, you want to start by picking only one.  

For example, maybe you’ve always wanted to have a blog. If you have, here are a few inner strategies that can help get started:
  • Start simple:  Start with a strategy to post once a month. That may not seem like a lot, but I can’t tell you how many people I’ve seen fail because they try to post too often. Posting just once a month still gives you a reason to reach out to your audience once a month. When you’re comfortable with this posting schedule, you can decide if you’re ready to kick it up to once every two weeks… and after that… maybe even once a week. Just take your time getting started. Blogging isn’t a sprint—it’s a marathon.
  • Create a list of topics for your blog ahead of time:  Waiting for inspiration to strike 8 hours before you’re supposed to post is a strategy for disaster! If you’ve decided you’re going to post once a month, then sit down and come up with 12 ideas/topics for 12 posts in one sitting. If you’re going to post 24 times a year, then come up with a list of 24 post ideas/topics in one sitting. That way, when you can’t think of anything off the top of your head to write about, you’ll still have a list of things to write about.
  • Think “specifics”:  Too many people try to write about everything all at once! Get specific. You can’t solve everyone’s problems in one post. But you can narrow your focus down to one aspect of one of your audience’s problems and provide your readers with an insight, some information, or a strategy they can use to take positive action.
Remember that people are scouring the internet for solutions to their problems every single minute of every single day. You might be the person someone is searching for, but even if you are, how will that someone find you if you aren’t publishing content they can find online? 

Becoming proficient at even just one of the above strategies will expand and enhance your platform, help establish you as an expert/leader in your field, and provide potential clients with a legitimate reason to reach out to you. 

Is it time for you to sit down and plan out your own content publishing strategy? Yes. Do you have to do it on your own? No!!! When you’re ready, I can help you design a content strategy that will work for you.



Sunday, December 4, 2016

Grit Part 4

Grit from the Inside Out Continued
According to Dr. Duckworth the author of Grit, knowing that the little nuances that non-experts can’t see is what keeps the experts going, and thinking back to developing a passion and career that goes along with that passion, one can now more clearly see how it could be difficult to know if something is a good fit until you try it for a while and learn to see some of those nuances… And furthermore, learn to enjoy those nuances…
            Learning to stick it out long enough to really learn what hard work is all about is a good thing. Finding joy in the simple nuances that others can’t see is also a good thing. And taking your time to develop your passion over the long run is also a good thing too. All of these are good because they build us grit, and in the end make us happier and more successful. Besides, think of the opposite of this. Mindlessly going through the motions without every really improving can be its own form of suffering. And many would say that this kind of suffering is way worse than the 10,000 hours or 10 years of deliberate hard practice that it took them to excel and become an expert.
            So, what is this deliberate practice and how do we get the most out of it so we too can march down that 10,000 hours or 10 year road to greatness? Well, to start, experts try to do things that they can’t yet do, fail, and then learn what to do differently. And how do they do this, you ask? First, they clearly define a stretch goal, then they use their full concentration and all-out effort. Next, they look for immediate and informative feedback. Then they use repetition with reflection and refinement until they master their stretch-goal. The once difficult then becomes ordinary for them. Finally, they repeat the process of picking a new stretch-goal and do it all over again.
            I know this doesn’t sound easy. As a matter of fact, I know this sounds hard. And that’s because it is hard. However, there are a few things that we can do to make the hard more doable. First, set a routine where you do these hard things at the same time every day. Routines are godsend. You get up every morning, lace up your running shoes and just go. It’s just what you do… Having to decide every single day to do a hard thing would be a nightmare for most of us. Few of us would ever consistently follow through on doing our hard deliberate practice that is needed to make us champions if we had to make up our mind about it every single day. The brain is very good at coming up with excuses for not burning extra calories.
            In addition, believe it or not, we all can learn to embrace challenge rather than fear it. And we can embrace this embracing by simply relieving ourselves of our own judgement that gets in our way of enjoying the challenge we really want to and really need to face.
            Let’s think about this for a moment. When we were babies or even toddlers, learning from mistakes didn’t bother us at all, right? So, why do we let it bother us so much now? If we did that as a baby we would have never stood upright, taken those first few steps, and then kept right on taking those steps right into a walk and then eventually a run. Doesn’t the grownup version of ourselves have a spine just as strong as or even stronger than the baby and toddler version of ourselves?
            The truth is that not only are our backbones bigger and stronger, but so is our grit as we age and mature. Growing grit is just a natural progression. When we are young, we don’t really know yet what we want. As we age we experience enough to know a lot more about the world and what we really want. Furthermore, we better understand the big picture and the role synergy and legacy plays within it.

            Are you willing to put in the time and effort through hard deliberate practice to grow some real grit and become that expert?
Dan Blanchard is an award-winning author, speaker and educator. You can learn more about him at: www.GranddaddysSecrets.com.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

“If You’re Good, You Can Have Some Ice Cream”



I wonder how many times, in the history of ice cream, a parent has said something like this to a small child as a way of bribing them to cooperate. In one sense, it sounds like a simple harmless statement.  In another sense, it’s a walk down a dangerous road because so many bad things can happen if ice cream becomes a parent’s go-to behavior solution. The child could grow up deciding (s)he needs to be “paid” for their cooperation. Or they could become addicted to sugar both physically and mentally. The list goes on.

If you understand the dangers of ice cream, or cookies, cakes, candy, sugary cereal, etc., then you know something a lot of younger less-experienced parents haven’t learned or figured out yet. If you’re a grandparent, you could probably come up with nine other things younger less-experienced parents could benefit from knowing too. In fact, you could write a book—10 Quick Parenting Tips Every New Parent Needs—upload it to Amazon, and sell it. Will it sell? If you put your honest effort into writing it, making sure it looks great, and marketing it, then it’ll sell. I don’t know how many copies. That generally depends on how much genuine and sincere effort you put into writing, editing, formatting, and marketing.

We all have specialized knowledge of some sort. Sometimes, it’s a bizarre sort of knowledge such as how to always get the window seat on a plane. Trust me, there are people who want to know how to do this, and if you know how to make this happen, and you write and market a quick, but good, ebook about how to accomplish this, you’re very likely to sell a few copies.

Just about everybody has some kind of specialized knowledge that could help others. Sometimes those people think about writing a book too. Perhaps you know what I’m talking about because you’re getting that tingling feeling, the one that reminds you how much you’d like to share what you’ve learned. If that’s you, then please, on behalf of all the people waiting for the knowledge, information, wisdom, and insights you have to offer, please write your book.

Don’t let yourself get bogged down by the idea that your book has to be perfect, or that it has to hit the NY Times best seller list. Focus on the person who desperately needs your knowledge and wisdom in their life, and write your book for them. Help that person change their life for the better so they can then pay it forward in their own way. 

Writing a book is not the daunting task it used to be—especially when it comes to self-publishing. So, if you’ve been toying with the idea of writing a book, let’s trade a few emails or have a conversation so I can answer the questions you’re sure to have.


Friday, November 4, 2016

Grit Part 3

According to Dr. Duckworth, a Gallup Poll found that 2/3 of adults aren’t truly engaged at work. Sadly, few people do what they love. It looks like those countless commencement speeches that constantly say to follow your passions really are on to something important here, aren’t they?  The few who are lucky enough to follow their passions into a career field feel extremely satisfied, are usually more productive than their peers and many times don’t really feel like they have worked a day in their lives because their vocation is really their advocation.
            So, why isn’t everyone doing this? Why isn’t everyone following their passions and landing in the perfect job that brings them eternal satisfaction and happiness? Dr. Duckworth thinks that it might be because too many people think that one’s interest and one’s passion is something that one just finds or discovers somehow. However, that’s not how it works. Although, there is some degree of discovery involved in finding one’s interest and passion, a much bigger and powerful component of interest and passion is development. One has to actually develop it!
            If you can remember your old school guidance counselor driving you crazy in high school, like the author of this article can, when our counselors used to brow beat us while telling us that we had to know exactly what we was going to do with the rest of our life then reading Grit will help you. It will help you realize that high school is way too early for most of us to know what we want to with the rest of our lives, or what our passions are. For most of us, passion is something that really is developed rather than just internally pulled out of oneself or just ‘found’.
            Furthermore, we’re not supposed to immediately fall in love with our first job. It’s a mistake and an unrealistic expectation to think that one can just go try out a job and instantly fall in love with everything about the job. The perfect match just isn’t out there, especially for beginners. It’s sort of like relationships. With these unrealistic expectations that many young people have today about everything fitting perfectly and how it shouldn’t be hard, they just jump from one relationship to another or from one job to another never spending enough time to develop a true passion and grow some grit.
            Hey, it’s not our fault that we do this hopping around thing. It’s just natural for us humans to want to jump from one thing to another. Unlike animals who have instincts, when we humans are born, as babies we need to learn through experiencing new things. This basic experiential learning helps keep us alive. Thus, novelty, change and variety is a basic human drive that formed its genesis in the survival of our species.
            The trick though to building ourselves some grit is to fight these natural impulses and then eventually even learn to use them to work for us, instead of against us. For instance, for the beginner, novelty is anything that they haven’t encountered before. For the expert, novelty is the nuance. Nuance is what keeps the experts or aspiring experts going while others get bored and quit. Nuance is what most non-experts misunderstand. They can’t see what the expert can see.

            So are you moving on too quickly, or are you sticking it out to develop your passion and build some grit?
Dan Blanchard is an award-winning author, speaker and educator. You can learn more about him at: www.GranddaddysSecrets.com.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Are You Prepared to Step into the Spooky Unknown?

 
If you’ve ever watched a scary movie, then you know what happens to the idiot who goes up the creaky stairs that lead to a cobweb-infested bat-filled attic, or down into the cellar that’s cold and full of spiders, rats, and other slithering creepy-crawlies you can’t see hidden in the corners—something very bad. Thankfully, it’s all fake. The spider webs are fake, as are the ghosts, ghouls, and the occasional dismembered arm (or head) that just flew across the screen.
In real life though, there are those of us who spend a fair amount of time looking into the unknown. As entrepreneurs, we regularly find ourselves making decisions that send us traveling down “the road less traveled” rather than following the safety of someone else’s well-worn path. Sometimes it’s exciting, but it can very scary too.
That’s what it can feel like when you’re thinking about writing your first book. Deciding to share your expertise and passions with the world can be like looking down a path you haven’t been down before, and as you peer into that unknown, you feel antsy—sometimes straight up scared—about what might be lurking beyond the first bend in the road. What obstacles are lying in wait?  What will you do if you end up at another bend in the road? How many annoying bends in the road will you have to deal with? Is the risk you’re taking worth it?
Absolutely! You didn’t become an entrepreneur just to be different. You became one because you saw a need, or an opportunity to share something of value with others. And if you’re passionate about what you’re sharing, then the more people you share it with the better.
Writing a book isn’t the solitary scary venture it used to be either. There are dozens of books that talk about “how to write a book” these days. Read a bunch of them and utilize the ideas that resonate with you. Pay attention to the pitfalls and obstacles mentioned and decide how to best arm yourself against them.
Sharing your expertise with the world is very important, so don’t be like the idiot in the movie heading into the unknown without back-up either. Ditch the idea that you have to do it all on your own—no one succeeds in a vacuum. Find a writing coach or an editor you feel comfortable with and let him or her help you get over, through, or around the obstacles you encounter along the way. Needless to say, I’m here to help.