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Archive for February, 2010

Tools I Use

February 25th, 2010

Ok – so I was torn today between doing a fully uplifting inspirational post and a down and dirty practical post. After much feedback from the tribe, here is what I decided:

I know you are all ready, willing and incredibly capable of doing GREAT things in this world. And part of how I see my job here is to both inspire you to go out and do them AND give you the tools you need to do that.

See, it’s one thing to know you have something big to say. It’s quite another to  a) decide you are going to say it and b) be equipped with the right tools to say it. Without the tools, we can get mired down in our own heads THINKING about it, knowing we should take action but not having a handle on the fundamental blocks we need to start building.

So to give you grapple hooks to start “doing the doings” of creating something amazing, I am going to share the tools I use. I will base the list largely on The GameChangers Roundtable so that I have examples to point to.

And, in full FTC disclosure, most of these links are affiliate links. :-)

My list of tools:

Blog theme:
Hands down recommendation: Headway. It is the theme I used to create the GameChangers blog and if I had known about it when I created this blog, I would have used it. Quick, simple, nimble and you don’t have to know how to code to make your site look dazzling.

List management:
Aweber. This is the gold-standard of collecting and communicating with your list. If you look at the form at the top of this blog – that is an aweber form. If you’ve signed up for your Keys, they were delivered through aweber. It is a bit more expensive than some of the others out there, but if you start with the gold standard, you won’t have to go through the rigmarole of switching to it later.

Call Recording and Distribution:
AudioAcrobat. Again – this is the tool most everyone uses. You can record just yourself or a conference call that you can then use as your tantalizing giveaway on your site. Those of you who invested in the mp3 recordings of The Roundtable, received links that were built in AudioAcrobat. Oh – they offer a free 30 day trial.

Group Conference Call service:
I use two different services, depending on what I am doing:
FREE option: No Cost Conference. I’ve found them to be incredibly reliable and I like their web panel. Plus, they are free!

Paid option (and the service I used for The Roundtable calls): Instant Teleseminar. This is the Rolls Royce (IMHO) of conference call services. You can have participants call in using a phone line or participate via webcast, enable chat, load up powerpoint slides to share – it’s pretty cool. (WARNING: the sales page is way too sales-y for my taste – just so ya know!)

Taking Money:
Until you are doing a significant number of online transactions, I HIGHLY recommend using PayPal. It’s simple and they’ve added great features since I first started doing this stuff. 1 shopping cart is great for taking money (thought they pretty much suck at list communication) – but it is VERY expensive. Save your money and use PayPal till you outgrow it.

BONUS RESOURCES:

If you want to really kill it out there in the social media world, hang on John Haydon‘s every word. I learn so much from him. Go to his website and sign up for his list. NOW.

Learn high-level, high band-width business models and business strategies from my mentor Andrea J. Lee. She just added a “virtual attendance” component to her Wealthy Thought Leader event in March that takes away all excuses (and burns the ships!) on not attending. I can’t attend live because it it the young turk’s Spring Break so I will be attending my very self using this option. Go here to read all about it.

So there you go. The list of fundamental online tools and resources I use and recommend. I realize that many of you will have most of these in place. I’m hoping that I’ve offered up one or two that you may not be using. :-)

And here is my “inspirational” challenge to you:

What tool(s) will you add to your tool box right away and HOW will you employ them in the next seven days?

And of course – if you have questions about any of them ask away!!

Photo Attribution: http://www.flickr.com/photos/booleansplit/ / CC BY 2.0

How I organize my time

February 23rd, 2010

So…lately lots of people have asked me how I get all the stuff done that has to get done in my business and still have time to wrangle the Young Turk and have a life.

I thought I would share with you how I set up my week. I am not a big organizational freak and this is the only “system”, if you will, that gave me enough structure and enough flexibility to tame the wildness that is my life.

If you find it useful – yay! If not, that’s okay too. :-)

Monday: Admin Day. This is the day I meet with my team, pay bills, all things paperwork related. this is also the day I look over the coming week, month, 90 Days to think about and plan for upcoming business opportunities.

I do NOT talk to clients or write blog posts on this day. ( I used to write posts on Mondays but I realized it got in the way of completing admin tasks so I don’t do that anymore.)

If you’ve read Michael Gerber’s “The E-Myth Revisited”, this is the day I work ON my business.

Tuesday: Focus Day. These are the days that I concentrate on my high-payoff business activities.  For me, focus days are for coaching clients, leading classes, speaking and writing.  My guiding principal for choosing these activities are they must be ONLY the things that my unique talents and abilities can do.  Period.

Wednesday: Focus Day

Thursday: Focus Day

Friday: I alternate this between Admin and Focus depending on what needs the most attention at the time.

Again – these definitions aren’t rigid. But I have found that if I start blurring the lines between how I define my days, they all start to become one big blur. By focusing my energy, I actually give myself the gift of momentum and can get a good bit accomplished in a short amount of time.

Am I able to to stick to all of this 100% of time? Absolutely not! But I figure if I can stick to it about 70% of the time, I’m doing pretty well.

I’d love to hear how you organize your time so that it serves you. :-)

I am lazy

February 18th, 2010

Seriously. I really am.

So when I am asked about the energy and courage I must have to summon to  be transparent and work the way I do, I kind of laugh.

See, I’ve been in the space where “image is everything”. I bought that program, that ebook and that conference. And I believed that I had to project a certain image of success if I wanted to BE successful. I thought I had to be manipulative and use questionable tactics to make my business look big and important.

And though it felt totally awful, I thought those gurus knew more than I did so I sucked it up and tried to be like them.

Except it didn’t work. And more important, it made me sad, scared and exhausted. The energy required to keep up that facade nearly did me in.

So I reached the place where I had to answer this question for myself: “If being successful means living a lie, do you want that kind of success?”

(Sounds like an easy question to answer I know, but remember, there is a whole group of gurus who make that kind of success sound incredibly enticing – and make a TON of $$$$ while they do it.)

After much struggle and soul-searching, I realized that I was paying a very dear emotional, psychological and physical price for that promise of success. And I decided that even if it meant admitting total failure, I was no longer willing to do it.

So I stopped.

I stopped putting energy into remembering who it was I was “supposed” to look like. I stopped putting energy into projecting the trappings (intentional word choice) of success. I stopped putting energy into business tactics that just felt wrong. I stopped putting energy into creating an image of someone I am not. I stopped putting energy into trying to find that elusive “magic key”.

I dropped it all on the ground and let it crash into a million pieces.

Devastating and terrifying at first. I had put so much time into creating that version of myself. And if I wasn’t going to be THAT person, who was I going to be?

And then the answer hit me over the head. I would be ME. Me with all the imperfections and craziness and insecurities and fears and silliness that makes me me. And if my BFFs were the only ones who thought I was amazing, so be it.

And I’ve never looked back.

My energy, my focus and my love for what I do is at stratospheric heights. The people I connect with everyday are the most awesome I have EVER met. And my engagement with life couldn’t be richer.

This life – right now – though far from perfect -  is exhilarating.

So now I am lazy.  I will NEVER expend energy trying to force myself into some kind of cookie cutter mold. I will NEVER try to be someone or something I am not. I will NEVER drain off my precious energy to devise and maintain a mask that covers up who I really am – warts and all. It is just too exhausting.

And besides. I’d rather use all that time and energy hanging out with you. :-)

Miss Me Yet??!!

February 12th, 2010

Cuz I miss you. :-)

I have to admit it. When I woke up this morning ( and yesterday morning and the morning before that), the first thing I did (out of habit) was reach for my laptop to set up today’s post for the series. See, for just a few minutes, I forgot the series ended yesterday.

And I miss it – and YOU!! But over the next few days I will respond to all the fantastic comments you’ve left on Day 30. The things you’ve accomplished are nothing short of astounding. I am so proud of you. :-)

I also wanted to let you know that I heard you when you emailed and DM’d me about turning the series into something a little easier to manage than trying to print out the blog posts or scroll through them on the blog.

So…..we are going to take all the posts and put them together in an easy to read, easy to print pdf e-book. To keep it a reasonable length, we have chosen to leave out the comments, but there will be hotlinks in the e-book that will take you straight to them.

It’s not quite ready yet, but you know I’m no good at keeping secrets. Plus, I want to give all of you a chance to pre-order it – and of course offer you a special price. :-) You can reserve your e-book for just $12 by clicking here.

We will have them ready to go next week. I hope the pdf version is useful to some of you. Of course the posts themselves will always be available for free at the blog.

Keep being your amazing selves!!

Here We Are – 30 Days Later [Day 30 - 30 Days to Changing Your Game]

February 9th, 2010

This is Day 30 of 30 Days to Changing Your Game. Yesterday Chris Garrett moved us into starting a whole new game – SO perfect!!

And today….today you get ME!

So first….today’s theme song is: Don’t You Forget About Me by Simple Minds: http://tinysong.com/75LD

And here we are. Thirty days later.

Wow what a thirty days it has been.

As a quick refresher, take a look back at Day 1. Some of you were here, some of you weren’t – and that is ok. But I want you to scroll through the comments to get an idea of where this all began.

To me it seems like a lifetime ago. So much has changed for me I can hardly put it all into words.  As I shared in the email I sent to everyone, in the past 30 days I have:

-Launched the GameChangers Roundtable with 12 of my amazing friends and colleagues. When I look at the list of speakers I think “I cannot BELIEVE these incredible people are my friends!”

-Launched a new business venture and secured my first client – with a second on the way.
-Began conversations about another business venture with someone who is SO incredible. We will iron out the details this weekend. (Update on this – we are ROLLING – w00t!)
-Began yet ANOTHER conversation about ANOTHER business venture that will take off in the next two weeks.

-Built the BEST crackerjack team of experts to help me run my businesses. Their expertise is unsurpassed.

And since I sent that email, over the weekend actually, someone with a MAJOR live event asked me to put together a two hour playlist for her. Why? Because she loved the tunes that I posted here everyday.

I am still pretty stunned by it all.

And it’s not that I am so great or special or anything. It is because I burned my ships and made the decision. Scary – no -  terrifying and I had no idea all this was going to happen. But it has so here I am.

But you know what the true highlight of the past 30 days has been for me?

Watching all of you.

I have intentionally stayed in the background of the conversations you were having because I never want the tribe to be dependent on me. And boy did you all rise to the challenge.

Such magical shifts, conversations and relationships have unfolded here – such a joy to watch.

You are positively astonishing.

So what I would like you to share is this: what is the one highlight of the 30 Days that stands out for you? It might be a favorite post, an ah-ha, a friendship, a comment, a business/life opportunity – or even one of the songs (you get brownie point for saying one of the songs – just so you know!). :-)

So re-visit the person you were thirty days ago and share a little about who you are now.

As always, I simply can’t WAIT to hear what you have to say.

oh – P.S. Don’t forget to RSVP for your FREE seat at the GameChangers Roundtable. You will get to hear some amazing people share the nitty gritty on exactly why and how they changed their games. Starts Thursday! http://bit.ly/gamechangers

Change Your Game by Starting a New One [Day 29 - 30 Days to Changing Your Game]

February 8th, 2010

This is Day 29 of 30 Days to Changing Your Game. Yesterday Calvin Lee showed us that being a “big deal” is really about “the little things”. Chris Garrett’s post today is PERFECT as we begin wrapping up 30 Days. Now that we’ve worked so hard on changing our game, it’s time to start a new one. Go get’em tigers!!

Change Your Game by Starting a New One

by Chris Garrett (@chrisgarrett)

Most of us are playing someone else’s game, and that means you will be forever playing catchup.

When you play someone else’s game you have to play by their rules, and those rules can change at any time. The house always wins.

  • Your parents gave you one game (“work hard, be obedient, respect your elders – even when that is wrong”)
  • School gave you another game (“sit down, shut up, do as you are told, stop being creative, repeat after me”)
  • Friends tell you to play their game (“if you are different we will pick on you until you conform”)
  • Bosses and colleagues have their entirely different games (“we don’t care about your ideas, morals, or values, do as you are told or else”)

No matter how well you do at playing these games, you will never be satisfied, fulfilled or reach your full potential that way.

The only way to win is to make your own game, play by your own rules, and forget about the nay-sayers and amateur umpires who say that is “cheating”.

My career started at age 15. Rather than do the “right” thing and continue my education, I dropped out of school. School for me was a daily nightmare, so even if financially I could have considered continuing, I didn’t have the motivation anyway. My game was not conventional, I have had to put up with a lot of stick over my lack of qualifications, but I survived and learned a lot more than university could have taught me.

Then back in 2005 I decided to quit my cushy, easy job in a tough financial climate. I had taken all I could take in the advertising/marketing agency world and decided to strike out on my own. Most people thought this was the “wrong” move, especially as most agencies were either not profitable, were laying off staff, or were closing down. Why give up a “good” job working for blue chip clients to go solo, working for startups and small companies?

Fact is, I was working in an environment I didn’t like, working on projects where I wasn’t learning anything, mostly doing work I didn’t want to do. It hasn’t exactly been a perfectly smooth ride but I would never eagerly go back to that life again.

In both of these moves I have taken what other people would have you believe is “accepting mediocrity”, but I knew the move was “escaping mediocrity”! Bigger is not always better, and you do not have to agree with how others score their lives.

Choose what will make you fulfilled, even if society sees you as “playing small”. Your game doesn’t need to be Olympic scale. One of my friends, Sue, writes about lighthouses .  My friend Yoav decided his game was going to be the create the world’s best PDF to Excel software tool . They are fulfilled and successful at what they CHOOSE to do.

Decide now what your game is and go for it!

  1. Ignore the critics who just want to keep the status quo
  2. Doing things that scare you is a GOOD thing, it shows you are testing your comfort zones
  3. Never be afraid of looking foolish, it stops you doing things that could be a lot of fun
  4. If you are not growing, evolving, changing and experiencing then you are dying.
  5. Take regular actions towards your goals and keep going!

Chris Garrettis a professional blogger, Internet Marketing Consultant, new media industry commentator, writer, coach, speaker, trainer and web geek. He was also a founding member of Performancing. You might know him from his past writing for such sites as ASPToday, ASPAlliance, Threadwatch, or more recently, ProBlogger, The Blog Herald, FreelanceSwitch, Cogniview, and CopyBlogger.

Chris also writes for several company blogs on a freelance basis.

You can hire Chris to help grow your company by connecting with  your customers through the internet, just use the contact form to discuss.

In 1994 Chris first became addicted to the Internet. Since then he has helped thousands of individuals, non-profits, small businesses and blue chips make the most of the web. In 2005 Chris founded a company to help businesses achieve more with Online Media called OMIQ.

Chris consults, trains and speaks about internet marketing, blogging and new media at events such as the Successful Outstanding Bloggers conference in Chicago, Affiliate Expo, WordCamp, the Netherlands Social Media Congres and the Institute of Fundraising.

It’s The Little Things [Day 28 - 30 Days to Changing Your Game]

February 7th, 2010

This is Day 28 of 30 Days to Changing Your Game. Yesterday Michael Bungay Stanier got us doing A LOT more of what we love to do – yay! Today my dear friend Calvin Lee (probably the nicest guy on the internet) talks about how he became such a big deal on twitter and the little things you can use to raise your social media game to. Pay attention to Cal. Guy Kawaski sure does (I’m not kidding).

It’s The Little Things

By Calvin Lee (@mayhemstudios)

You’ve heard the old saying “Nice Guys Finish Last” It’s only true, if you believe it. I believed it most of my life. I was never full of confidence or believed in myself. Maybe being raised in a Asian family, where parents don’t express their love plays a big role of who you are and what you become. You can’t let that excuse hold you back. YOU decide what you want for your life and how you want to live it.

Believe it or not but Twitter was my Game Changer. Who would have thought I would go from an unknown in Twitterville to a success within three months, and ended up with 41K plus followers, year and a half later.

Twitter has really helped me break out of my shell; I’ve become a social butterfly and a better person. I discovered, I really enjoy helping and meeting people online and in IRL; conferences, Tweetups and meetups. Twitter also has great opportunities for networking and building existing relationships that started online, then into the real world.

I get asked often how I got so many followers, so fast. It’s not about how many followers you have but the connections you make and the value that you add. Like the line from the movie, “The Field of Dreams. “If You Build It, They Will Come.” If you add value, people will be drawn to you.

There is no secret to being a success on Twitter; it’s the little things that count. The same principles can be applied to your daily life as well.

A few things I did that changed my game and it can for you too.

1. Value – Sharing your knowledge, expertise and helping others with it, adds value. You will be the trusted person that everyone will go to.

2. Be Nice – Being nice is very easy to do and don’t expect anything in return. It doesn’t take much to show kindness, that kindness will be returned in full when you least expect it.

3. Community – Contributing and being part of a community; helps build relationships and trust. It will also give you the sense of belonging, like family. When in need, you can call on your community for support.

4. Share Your Life – Take a chance; Open up and share something about your life. People are more willing to do business with someone they know something about, builds trust.

Calvin Lee | Mayhem Studios

Calvin Lee is the principal & creative director of Mayhem Studios,  a small award-winning design studio located in Los Angeles; focused on developing identity and brand recognition for the business sector across the nation.

The Studio uses strategic and creative design with effective messages targeted to the client’s specific audiences to produce identity and branded collateral pieces; annual reports, brochures, logo design, advertising and interactive web sites.

Calvin also serves as a member of the Platt College Advisory Board for the Visual Communications Department, NO!SPEC Committee and on the Creative Latitude Management Team. When not working on projects, Calvin is busy writing articles for his blog.

If you don’t want to miss out on the 30 Days to Changing Your Game, please sign up here.

9 ways to do more of what you love [Day 27 - 30 Days to Changing Your Game]

February 6th, 2010

This is Day 27 of 30 Days to Changing Your Game. Yesterday Danny Brown helped us break our CRAPtastic patterns.  Today Michael Bungay Stanier is going to give us some very specific ways to do more of what we now know we love – and ways to do less of that stuff we know now we don’t love so much. Sounds great, doesn’t it?!

The Wisdom of Great Work: Nine ways to do more of what you love (and less of what you don’t)

By Michael Bungay Stanier (@boxofcrayons)

Let’s set this up.  Everything you do falls into one of three buckets.

Bad Work: the mindless, soulless, pointless work that somehow shows up and sucks us dry of life.

Good Work: the busy, efficient, useful work that takes up most of our time – important and necessary and also a comfortable rut.

Great Work: the exciting, important, engaging work that’s more meaningful to you and makes more of a difference. It’s both exciting – and scary.

Here’s the brutal truth.

You’ve got too much Good Work.

And not enough Great Work.

So how do you get to do more Great Work? Here are nine fundamental strategies inspired by others’ words of wisdom (and a useful resource or two.)

===================================================

But I, being poor, have only my dreams; I have spread my dreams under your feet; Tread softly because you tread on my dreams. ~ W. B. Yeats

You can’t do more Great Work without your dreams. They pull you forward and connect you with your longing or excitement. They shape what’s possible.

Give yourself time and space to let your dreams form. (In the hustle and bustle of daily life, it’s easy to miss them.)

And when you’ve found your dreams or got a hint of what they are… hold them, protect them and nourish them. They’re easily torn, easily forgotten.

Ask yourself: What impact do I want to have in this world?

Handy resource: TED.com

Key insight: There are extraordinary dreams coming to life. Yours can too.

===================================================

Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored. ~ Aldous Leonard Huxley

Dreams are well and good. You need to know where you’re heading. You want to hear the call of what’s possible.

But that doesn’t mean you should ignore reality.

Feel the ground under your feet before you begin your journey.  Look around you so you know where you are now and you’re clear what resources you have and what you lack.

When you know where you’re starting and where you’re heading, the path begins to form.

Ask yourself: Where am I now?

Handy resource: Byron Katie, Loving What Is

Key insight: You lose (every time) when you argue with reality.

===================================================

Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear. ~ Ambrose Redmoon

There are your dreams.

And then there’s reality.

You can see the gap between them, feel the difference.

So you face this moment of truth, this moment of choice.

Do you step out? Or do you back away?

Joseph Campbell tells us that in the Hero’s Journey, the hero is called to the threshold a number of times and backs away – before finally answering the call to adventure.

You’re that hero.

Ask yourself: Will I answer the call?

Handy resource: David Allen, Getting Things Done

Key insight: You can only do the next action. So what’s the next step?

===================================================

Tension is who you think you should be.  Relaxation is who you are.  Breath. ~ Japanese proverb

When uncertainty looms – stepping out towards Great Work, stepping into the daily hurly burly – we’re tugged away from our own best sense of who we are.

We lose our balance and play small.

We’re triggered and we behave in a way that’s less.

We get distracted and busy and we get diluted.

One way to back to who you are is through stillness.

Stillness.

Breathing, not acting for the moment, and remembering who you strive to be at your best, before you chose how to respond.

Ask yourself: If I was truly being myself, how would I want to behave here and now?

Handy resource: The Eight Irresistible Principles of Fun

Key insight: When you find out who you are – turn up the volume!

===================================================

I don’t know anything about music. In my line you don’t have to ~ Elvis Presley

It’s easy to think to fall for the belief you need to be an expert to do Great Work.

But it’s a vicious circle of course.

I’m not an expert therefore I can’t do Great Work therefore I don’t focus therefore I don’t become an expert.

Bring a passion. Find a need.

Show up as yourself. Start something.

And keep going.

You’ll find expertise has somehow shown up in the night.

Ask yourself: Where will I put my focus?

Handy resource: Malcolm Gladwell, Outliers

Key insight: Put in the time and the expertise comes

===================================================

Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: What! You, too? Thought I was the only one. ~ C. S. Lewis

You can’t do Great Work by yourself.

You need others around you, contributing their skills, their wisdom, their love.

They hold you when you’ve fallen, they kick you in the butt when you’re flagging, they celebrate your success.

Whatever you can do by yourself, imagine if you had a small but perfect group of people around you encouraging you to go bigger and bolder, deeper and further.

Imagine just what you could do with full support.

Ask yourself: Who will I invite into the game?

Handy resource: Twitter, LinkedIn and FaceBook (and that’s just the start) have shrunk down six degrees of separation to more like three degrees, maybe two…

Key insight: Search out the best – and say hello.

===================================================

To fly, we have to have resistance. ~ Maya Lin

What are your metrics for doing Great Work?

Here’s one you might not have considered.

Who’s resisting? Who’s scorning you? Who’s dismissive of your work?

It’s one of the ironies of Great Work that a measure of success is that someone feels slightly disappointed, irritated, let down, pissed off.

Because you’re saying Yes to Great Work which means you’re saying No to someone and something else.

Ask yourself: Who really matters? And who doesn’t?

Handy resource: The Great Work Movie

Key insight: If everyone’s happy, then you’re not doing Great Work.

===================================================

A professional writer is an amateur who didn’t quit. ~ Richard Bach

Did you watch ‘Finding Nemo’? (And if not, step away from the computer right now, find the DVD and give yourself a treat.)

At one stage Dory, the blue and ditzy partner of our hero, Marlin, encourages him to go on by singing (and singing and singing)

Keep swimmin’
Keep swimmin’
You’ve got to
Keep swimmin’

It’s pushing past the barriers, getting over the dip, taking the next step forward that keeps you moving towards Great Work.

Ask yourself: What’s the way through this?

Handy resource: The War of Art, Steven Pressfield

Key insight: You can show up as a professional or as an amateur – the choice is yours.

===================================================

Nothing is so important that you cannot make fun of it. ~ Arthur C. Clarke

And finally… relax.

It’s too easy to spend this quest for Great Work with overly clenched buttocks and a deep sense of earnestness.

And, to be frank, it’s hard to move gracefully, fluidly with clenched buttocks.

Look for the sweet spot between determination and joy.

Between focus and laughter.

Between courage and play.

Great Work is too important to be taken seriously.

Ask yourself: How can I travel with a light step?

Handy resource: The Manifesto of Insignificance.

Key Insight: It all matters and it all doesn’t matter.

===================================================

An autobiography is only to be trusted when it reveals something disgraceful. A man who gives a good account of himself is probably lying, since any life when viewed from the inside is simply a series of defeats.
~ George Orwell

Michael Bungay Stanier is the Senior Partner of Box of Crayons a company that helps organizations do less Good Work and more Great Work. His viral movies have been seen by millions of people around the world. His latest book is Do More Great Work: Stop the busywork and start the work that matters

If you don’t want to miss out on the 30 Days to Changing Your Game, please sign up here.

The Bounceability of Craptastic [Day 26 - 30 Days to Changing Your Game]

February 5th, 2010

This is Day 26 of 30 Days to Changing Your Game. Yesterday Del Jones made us think about ourselves as world citizens who play a distinct role in shaping the journalism we consume. Today, Danny Brown is going to teach how to stop making crap decisions. I’m all ears Danny!

The Bounceability of Craptastic

by Danny Brown (@DannyBrown)

If you’re reading this, it’s because you want to change something in your life. It may be your job; your finances; your outlook; your personal status; your blogging. Heck, it may just be you want to change your reading habits.

But the fact you’re here, reading now, means you want to do something. What you need to do, though is decide if it’s a What you want to change, or a Who. The good news is, they’re both similar so you don’t have to start worrying if you’re making the right decision halfway down the slide. The bad news is that you’re going to have to face up to the Bounceability of Craptastic first.

Say what?

The Bounceability of Craptastic – your inane ability to achive craptastic results from opportunities that are anything but crap. Don’t take it personally – we all do it. Some do it more than others; some a lot less. But, the important part is we all do it – so you’re not alone. All you have to do is find your Bounceability.

Step One – The Pii of Craptastic

Being crap is more than a bad choice – it’s a science. Every decision we make is powered by our brain cells and emotional responses, often to the detriment of the smarter part of our brain that heps us avoid crap. Think of it like deliberately stepping in dog poo in bare feet – we know it’s bad for us, yet still we do it. The same goes for our decisions to walk the Craptastic path.

To avoid this, and start on our way back to Bounceability, we need to work out why we’re making crap decisions and replace with those that are much more beneficial to us. Some ideas include:

  • Make a list of all the bad decisions you’ve made
  • Make a list of what was happening in your life at that time
  • Make a list of any lovers or partners who were with you then
  • Check what month the decision was made (I’ll come back to that shortly)

Once you have this list, you can start to decipher the Pii of Craptastic, or the scientific reason (to you, personally, at least) why you keep making bad decisions. For example, because our emotions often rule our head, we make some of the worst decisions when we’ve just broken up with someone.

This might seem obvious, but yet we still make the same mistakes time and time again. Rebound sex, impulse buys, drunken voice mail messages – you know the drill.

Or weather – we know that many people get depressed in the winter, so make decisions based on cheering themselves up temporarily as opposed to planning for the longer term.

By getting to the Pii of Craptastic, and realizing the science behind our poor decision-making, we move on to the fun part – bouncing!

Step Two – The Bounceability of Craptastic

To move forward in any part of our lives, we need to make the right decisions. Yet the great thing is that we don’t have to make the right ones immediately, as long as we learn from the wrong ones. However, we don’t want to make wrong and crap ones – so when it comes to stepping away from the Craptastic, make time for you:

  • Make a determined effort to wait at least a week before making any major decisions
  • Write a list of pros and cons to the decision and weigh them up within that week
  • Ask yourself if you did the same thing previously and how that worked out for you
  • Google what you’re thinking of (trust me, it works!) and see the general consensus

Ask if it’s something your mother would be proud of

These are just the basics as well, and ones that relate to the Who of your reason for change. Much of it can apply to the What as well, though – often you’ll be substituting people for place, activity or location.

The thing is, as long as you realize you’re on Craptastic Avenue, and you’re willing – truly willing – to get to Bounceability Boulevard, the only thing that’s stopping you is you.

The good news is that you’re obviously ready and willing to start by being here now. So what say you – ready to start bouncing?

Danny Brown has been providing business branding and emerging media consultancy services to the consumer and commercial markets, from small start-ups to Fortune 500 businesses, for more than 15 years and is currently the Social Media Strategist for Maritz Canada.

He is also founder of the 12for12k Challenge, a unique charity project using social media to change the lives of millions both globally and locally. His blog is featured in the AdAge Power 150 list as well as the Technorati Top 100 Small Business Blogs, and is syndicated across the Social Media Today, WebProNews and Newstex business networks.

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What kind of journalism are we creating? [Day 25 - 30 Days to Changing Your Game]

February 4th, 2010

This is Day 25 of 30 Days to Changing Your Game. Yesterday Nate St. Pierre invited us to Change The World! Today Del Jones (a Sr. Editor at USA Today) talks about our role in creating and consuming the journalism that drives our society. Nothing like upleveling our concept of who we are in the world!

What Kind of Journalism Are We Creating?

by Del Jones (@JonesDel)

Thirty days to change your game? It sometimes feels that, as a newspaper reporter, that’s exactly how long I’ve been given.

It’s not that there wasn’t warning. There was decades of warning going back to long before I was born. The newspaper industry peaked just before radio became popular, back in my grandparents day. That’s when most households subscribed to multiple newspapers. Ever since, it’s  been a gradual decline, and we reporters should all feel like frogs dropped into a pan of cold water, and it’s been going up by a degree or two with each economic swing.

Now it’s boiling. While I’ve long worried for the industry, I’ve also long felt secure that a journalism job was pretty safe. After all, the younger generation didn’t read newspapers, but research has shown that there has been no decline in the hunger for information. I figured there would always be a job for a professional news gatherer. What do I care if my work shows up on a computer or mobile device, or gets beamed down from Scotty to a Kindle rather than appear on dead trees? I certainly didn’t care.

But I’ve now concluded that there is also a threat to professional news gathering. That should worry those of you who like to read quality because there has been a real decline it its availability. Great newsrooms at the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and elsewhere have been decimated.

A good newsroom is expensive to run, and the business model of advertising no longer supports it. But oddly, just as harmful to news gathering has been the sudden ability to know what readers want by measuring page views. I’m a business reporter and if someone had told me back when I was getting my MBA that some day soon we would be able to accurately measure what readers want, I would have thought that was a dream come true. What business doesn’t want to know what their customers want?

Trouble is, what too many readers want is crappola. On most days, a good, strong investigative story that might change lives will get but a fraction of the page views as a Tiger Woods story.  Several of USA TODAY’s best reporters have become fulltime bloggers, which is OK, except that they are now spending less time reporting and more time luring eyeballs with SEO tricks. One of our bloggers, who a year ago was a very good reporter, wrote a post that ranked No. 1 over Thanksgiving by writing about roasting a turkey on a car engine. Interesting, perhaps, but even he would admit it’s not great journalism. But he was able to get the words “turkey roasting” into the headline near Thanksgiving Day, and so drove tens of thousands of clicks from those who were doing a Google search for turkey roasting.

USA TODAY, of course, would have always covered the Tiger Woods story. But in recent days, four of the top five stories from the USA TODAY site had  Tiger Woods in the headline. Such forces will be inescapable and I believe will hurt serious reporting. Get use to a steady diet of stories about Tiger or the Octomom or whatever is the buzz of the day. But maybe you’ve had some trouble finding a detailed and balanced examination of the healthcare bill. That’s because a well-reported and fair story on the healthcare bill would take 10 times the man hours to report as a story about Tiger Woods, yet would get one-tenth the page views. The page views is probably an over-estimate.

I’m sure in the past that many people bought the newspaper for the coupons. But at least they were subsidizing news junkies. Going forward, news junkies won’t get a free ride from coupon clippers. I’m a disciple of the market economy. The consumer is in charge. Guess where 90% of scarce reporter resources will be directed in the future?

My call to action is to ask this question:  “How do we maintain good journalism when not enough readers want good journalism to support it. Sarah’s readers are smart, so I’m sure most of you will say “I want good journalism,” but there is hard evidence to indicate that you or in the minority.


Del Jones
was a reporter at USA Today for 17 years and wrote more than 300 cover stories primarily for the Money section. He received a journalism degree from the University of New Mexico (1973) and an MBA from the University of Texas at El Paso (1995). He has been married for 25 years to Dianna with two children in college, Ciera and Douglas.

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