• Blog Inspiration Tips

    Get the Blog Inspiration Flowing with This Simple Trick

    Just got off the phone for hour-long conversation with my friend Bret Burchard of the Phoenix Suns and ChampionShift.

    *If you don’t know Bret yet, you will. NBA coaches – most notably Brad Stevens of the Boston Celtics – are reading Bret’s writing to their teams*

    I was talking to him about his work and his love of writing. Reminded of an old blogging trick that unlocks inspiration… I thought I’d share.

    The Struggle of Blogging

    I’ve surveyed hundreds of bloggers (be one of them HERE) and one constant struggle is answering the question “WHAT SHOULD I POST?” Virtually ALL bloggers know they “should” post more or post better or be more authentic. Then the blank screen pops up and we are flooded with questions:

    “What will be authentic?”

    “Will anyone think I’m smart?”

    “Will this resonate with anyone?”

    I’m going to show you how to get over those questions and get that darn blogging mojo flowing’ again.

    One Trick to Keep the Inspiration Flowing

    One thing I’ve done to keep authentic, personal content inspiration flowing.

    Go to My Old Journals

    I like to go to journals from two through five years ago. If you don’t have journals, maybe go through Facebook statuses or Tweets (Timehop is a great APP to make this easy). Just do whatever you need to do to be transported back in time a few years.

    Take your mind back to old passions, thoughts, ideas or beliefs. You’ll notice they’ve shifted, changed or grown stronger. You’ll notice your own journey a bit more clearly.

    You’ll remember that crappy day at work that made you say anyone who wears a tie is dumb. Or you will understand why teenagers are so “weird” today, but you were “cool” back when you were that age.

    The Benefits

    By going to your journals for content inspiration, you immediately gain two benefits:

    Benefit 1: An Authentic Expression

    You’ll be able to capture authentic, personal expressions of yourself that you can clarify and build on. The content will ooze authenticity without little effort. HECK, maybe you’ll even impress yourself with how profound you were 5 years ago.

    Benefit 2: Remember What It’s Like

    Often thought-leaders can develop a “holier-than-thou” voice. Being un-relatable equals the death of content-creators. If you’re unable to relate to your audience, they’ll go elsewhere.

    Reminding yourself what it was like being a less-experienced you, will help give clarity to your voice. You’ll be speaking the language of people who are a few years behind you, those you’re perfectly poised to lead.

    Benefit 3: Attract the Perfect Audience for You

    There is no audience more perfect for YOU to lead than the audience that resonates with where you’ve been. How does is sound to build an audience to whom you can speak hyper-naturally knowing that they’ll deeply resonate with where you’ve been?

    No Go Dust Off That Old Journal and Get to Writing!

    I’d love to see a few of you do it and leave a link in the comments below.

    Any other tricks or tips you’ve found to getting unblocked in your writing?

  • Jayz and beyonce

    What Beyonce & Jay-Z Taught Me at On The Run

    Allie and I celebrated our 5 year anniversary in a bit of admitted access. Our tax return came (props to our accounting firm, CHARITAX, for making that happen) and – in typical poor-money-management fashion – we purchased some awesome seats to see Beyonce & Jay Z in Cincinnati. (We had a few moments leading up to the show where we debated selling them….THANK GOD WE DIDN’T).

    As the show neared, our buyer’s remorse subsided and we swelled with excitement. We even had a hard time sleeping the night before the show….

    As we walked into Great American Ballpark and I was immediately struck by the diversity of the crowd. While white-folks were the minority, it was hard to really feel that way. Straight folks, Gay folks, 13-year-olds, 60-year-olds and folks of absolutely every shape and color.

    During one period of their 2.5 hour performance, Beyonce stood on stage and the crowd simply went nuts. Worship almost. She stood – all fierce and whatnot – for 5 minutes while fans from front row to upper-desk went crazy. I think if she’d have asked folks to drop to a knee and praise her, they would have.

    Beyonce & Jay z

    I’ve been to religious conferences full of fervor, I’ve been to a two-night sold out Coldplay show (noticeably NOT a diverse crowd at that one) and I’ve yet to see anything like I experienced that night.

    To me, B+J communicated one thing without saying it:

    I AM INCREDIBLE AND SO CAN YOU!

    Together worth around $850 million, they feel untouchable. Their art communicates so many aspects of life: struggle, hurt, success and fear.

    It’s easy to pick apart their lyrics, their songs and poke holes in the world views espoused by each piece. But combined, it’s a thing of beauty.

    Too often we miss the first half of the lesson: I AM INCREDIBLE.

    We beat ourselves up. We don’t love parts of ourselves. We live ashamed of something about our lives. We shrink back. We puff up to prove to others who we are.

    And too often we miss the opportunity to empower others: “AND SO CAN YOU.”

    We minimize the other. Critique. Get jealous. Act skeptical. We watch celebrities and judge their appearance, their choices & their art. We beat each other up. We don’t empathize. We don’t show compassion. We don’t celebrate the other. We don’t breathe life.

    Beyonce and Jz

    I’ve never been to such an empowering evening. Ever. And that’s sad really.

    Sure J+B are flawed. Sure they’re fallible… but the lesson struck me.

    YOU ARE INCREDIBLE. AND YOU CAN HELP OTHERS FEEL THE SAME WAY.

  • Your Most Valuable Asset: Focus

    When we’re able to focus, we can take things further, faster and better.

    When we focus, we bring our full being to the task at hand.

    Focus is presence.

  • office work

    Thank You for All The Love. A New Studio

    Loads of folks have chimed in with congratulations, look-at-you-guys & “NIIIIICCCCEEEE” in regards to The Wonder Jam’s new office space.

    Thanks. It means a lot.

    I was pretty emotional the past week. This journey has meant a lot and honestly, it’s all new. I absorb a lot of leadership/marketing/business/creative books/blogs/podcasts/videos, but there’s something totally different when it’s you in the driver’s seat.

    This journey has been so rewarding, so hard and so worth it. I feel every problem and every mistake. There’s no boss to absorb it. The weight lands squarely on me and it’s up to Allie and I to address those issues.

    (I’m a big believer of taking yourself of cutting down the pedestal that others put you on, so here’s a few things we’re growing at…)

    From a process perspective, The Wonder Jam has grown to the point where we’re nearly bursting at the seams in terms of work, significant work. We are continually seeking processes that work for us. (If you have a great system – or know of someone who does – for using Basecamp, please let me know).

    From a financial perspective, we’re still figuring things out. We know more than a rookie, but still have a lot of learning to go. Luckily, when I asked Charitax to handle it for me, Eric looked me in the eyes and said “I don’t know of anyone who has a business your size who is successful and doesn’t handle that on their own.” (aka “GROW UP, SON!”)

    From a creative perspective, we’re doing some of the most fun work we’ve been able to do in a while. Clients are meeting with us and asking us to do MORE and take over MORE of their marketing & creative & social media. All this work leads to a very busy day and a very busy day can make you miss out of taking care of your soul and your soul is the place from which you are creative.

    From a growth perspective, we’re still figuring out which direction we want to grow. Do we just charge more? Do we hire a lot of people? Do we hire a few people? Do we shift into more consulting/coaching/advising in order to reduce the actual production hours on our plate? .

    What are we? Photographers? Designers? Business people? Artists? Website builders? Search Engine Optimizers? Social Media Experts (who isn’t)? Probably a weird mixture of all of it.

    There’s a lot in transition. A lot in flux and a lot – a LOT – of great stuff happening.

    For the past 3 months we’ve legitimately loved all of our clients, enjoyed them even. I don’t really know anyone who gets to say that, so we’re fortunate.

    So when you say “congrats,” I’m assuming you don’t mean “You’ve DONE IT!”

    Because trust me folks, the IT hasn’t been DONE.

    Thank You very much. We appreciate the journey so far and we even get a little sentimental just thinking about it, BUT…

    … but the engine is just warming up!

     

  • Focus, Habits and Multi-tasking

    I just listened to an interview with Jay Papasan, co-author of “The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results.”

    Jay’s content is powerful and culminates all I’ve leaned into the past 3 months. You can listen to the full podcast here (29 Minutes).

    Here’s some key ideas from Jay:

    1. Multi-tasking is responsible for losing 28% of productivity. Essentially, if you stop multi-tasking, you can accomplish in 4 days what others accomplish in 5.

    2. The key to people who get a lot of stuff done is knowing what to focus on and knowing what to say NO to. (Example, a great marriage happens when you say YES to one person and NO to everyone else….)

    3. Habits actually take 66 days to form, not the typical 21 thrown around often…

    4. This gets even more important when you consider that “habits” are actions that don’t tax our cognitive stamina in the same way that “non-habitual actions.” Great read on Medium about “cognitive stamina.

    5. Your willpower fluctuates throughout the day and is strongest in the morning – thus – tackle your most important tasks first. It’s also connected to blood sugar levels (ie, your diet makes a huge difference in your productivity and effectiveness at work).

    Discussion Time! 

    Of the 5 above, which resonates most strongly with you? Which represents a shift you need to make?

     

  • I’m At My Best When I’m Disciplined

    Maybe you’re like me.

    Maybe you love free-flowing conversations and spur of the moment changes.

    Maybe you’re more fluid and less rigid.

    That’s how I am.

    In the launch of SightShift – The Book author, Chris McAlister, and I had laid out a detailed plan of the publication and promotion timeline. In the days and weeks before and after, we made a series of adjustments that powered us and made a real difference in the impact of the launch. I was totally comfortable making changes on the fly.

    Most of my blog posts get typed up on my iPad during my morning routine. Usually, I just hit “publish” without too many revisions or edits or proofreading (if you’ve read this blog for any amount of time, you know it).

    I can lead and live and coach and consult and market in a very fluid manner. Holding a solid grasp on core values, I can make changes, compromises and offer advice as needed. I’m at home showing up to a meeting unprepared. Extemporaneous speaking was never hard for me.

    But it’s easy for me to get buried in that.

    If I lived an ultra-regimented life, I’d be miserable. If I feel I’m in a box or rut or just going through the motions, I get caged; I rebel.

    But when I’m just a little bit discipline or a little bit regimented, I flourish. I’m able to overflow into relationships and free-flowing conversations. Friendships, consulting, coaching all grow. I feel like a little kid at play.

    For me – structure & discipline & regiment are not the meat and potatoes, they’re the spices that make the meal special.

    If you’re like me, know that you’re at your best when you’re disciplined.

    If you’re not like me, maybe just sprinkle in a bit of free-form into your regimented life.

  • Creating a Mental Trigger to Inspire Healthy Action during Moments of Fear

    Last week during our weekly meeting for The Wonder Jam, Allie and I did an exercise.

    You’d benefit from it too.

    We each took a sheet of paper and – in 10 minutes – wrote down all the places we felt like we didn’t measure up. It’s a depressing list to create, but the power of the exercise isn’t in making a good list, it’s in putting on paper the little bits of shame, fear and comparison that are running through our heads each day.

    Once that is done, we read each item to each other, one by one. Generally, we didn’t comment or elaborate or explain them away. We just let them linger.

    Now, if you stop here, you’ll be depressed…. Please don’t stop here.

    The next list we made was a list of 6 things we want to be known for. Core values, qualities and habits that we want to mark our life and our work. Do this off the top of your head too and make it true for you.

    (The keys here are to make YOUR list not what you think the list should be).

    Now stacking that “don’t-measure-up” list against the “who-I-want-to-be” list will show you THE GAP. THE GAP is the distance between who you are and who you want to be. Again, this isn’t from your customers, or blog readers or competitor’s perspective. It’s you. All you.

    Now take the “who-i-want-to-be” list and write 3-5 small things you can do every day that will help you truly BE who you want to BE.

    An example: I want to feel generous in my work. This means paying clients get more than they paid for and clients with no money feel like there’s still something they can have that makes sense for them. I want generosity to mark my work – even if it’s unseen, I want to feel it. So with Generosity as a core characteristic, I made a list of a few things I can do every day to make sure I’m being generous.

    • Say “no” to the right things, so I have time to be generous.
    • Set expectations on client deliverables (so they’ll know when we’re giving more than they paid for).
    • Raise prices, thus creating space and time to focus on over-delivering for clients.
    • Volunteer for causes we’re passionate about helping.
    • Create resources to equip those who can’t afford our services to grow their business.

    So you’ll see that this final list is tactical. It helps me make decisions. It helps me focus on what’s important. If my brain starts to wonder, I can look at this list and I know what to do that helps us be who we want to be.

    Now here’s how to make this permanent. After you’ve made this final list, write it down and put it in your pocket, wallet or purse (a 3×5 card will be a great way to do this). Or write it out and set it up as a recurring notification on your phone, calendar or to-do app.

    Anytime you start to feel weight of the “don’t-measure-up” list, head to that card and get your mind focused on the write thing. Create a mental trigger that turns moments of shame and fear into moments of action and growth.

    I’d LOVE to hear how this works for you. Comment here OR email me.

  • Are you finding new customers?

    Or capturing the hearts and minds of real, living, breathing human beings?

    Big difference.

    Capturing the imagination and wonder of a human who is being bombarded with messages and noise all day…

    or are you happy to get another name, another email address, another statistic to report to the boss?

    One is easy (relatively) and the other takes a spark of genius, a little bit of luck and some fantastic timing.

    One lasts for 10 minutes (until someone captures your new customers heart and mind) the other lasts a lifetime.

    The difference between a one-hit-wonder and Elvis.

    Be Elvis.

  • Best Practices + New Things

    Best Practices exist because enough people have tried it, failed and learned.

    Whatever industry you’re in has a series of accepted best practices. It’s great to learn these.

    • Green Buttons on a website get more clicks.
    • Tweets with “you” get more retweets than tweets with “I.”
    • Emails sent on Tuesday morning have the highest open rate.

    If you build a series of best practices, you’re going to be boring. Really boring. And unnoticed.

    So it’s fantastic to marry your best practices with a personality, emotion and art. New things.

    New colors, new graphics, new fonts, new words, new emotions.

    Don’t let creativity push you away from best practices.

    Don’t let best practices keep you from making art.

    It’s actually much, much more difficult to continually live in the tension of the two. It’s hard work to know when to choose are and when to choose proven experience.

    But keep trying. Keep testing. See how it feels. See which inspires you. Try. Fail. Try. Fail. Try. Succeed.

  • When everyone on social media is an idiot…

    … you should probably get off of it.

    Ever hopped onto Facebook and immediately found yourself snarky, jealous or cynical towards your “friends” who’ve been posting there?

    When you realize you’re getting tired of your Twitter stream, maybe it’s time to take a breather.

    We all go through episodes of being annoyed with people. And it’s best to go on a walk, do some push-ups or drink a beer and forget about the social networkers.

    Put your phone on airplane mode and watch a movie that always makes you laugh.

    Read a book.

    Sketch.

    Write.

    Meditate.

    If we don’t find something to do that doesn’t involve a screen, we’re going to go berzerk.

    Let yourself off the hook every once in a while.

    All the tweets and posts and likes will be here when you get back.