“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” — Maya Angelou
A navigation system never stops finding its way.
When we make a wrong turn, it simply recalculates and re-routes us on a different path to our desired destination.
We can continue to make wrong turns, but the navigation system won’t ever give up — it just keeps seeking new routes to get us where we need to go.
And eventually, it does.
There’s a lot we can learn from that.
Now, on to this week’s ideas…
“Everybody starts projects. Successful people finish them. The ability to finish is the most important skill any creator, entrepreneur, or artist can develop and it’s often what separates those who succeed from those who don’t.”
It’s amazing what happens when you finish things.
In this post I explain why the only things that matter are the things you finish and give some advice on how to finish what you start.
To put it simply, the way to learn to finish projects is to make finishing your primary goal. Not perfection, not the approval of others, not a sale — finishing.
“A smartphone can demand its user’s attention even when the person isn’t using it or consciously thinking about it. Even if a phone’s out of sight in a bag, even if it’s set to silent, even if it’s powered off, its mere presence will reduce someone’s working memory and problem-solving skills.”
The next time you sit down to work, you might want to leave your phone in another room.
The Atlantic shares the results of a recent study which discovered smartphones impair our mental abilities even when we’re not actively using them.
No wonder I noticed such a difference when I implemented a system to stop checking my phone so much.
“Conflict. No good story is complete without it. That means you have to share tough moments — even moments when you failed. This is tough for everyone. The objective, though, is not to relive memories you’d rather forget; it’s for you to provide another avenue for your audience to connect with you.”
No matter what you do, you’re going to have to learn how to tell the story of you, your work, and your company at some point. This 99U article can help you do that.
It’s a five-step guide to how to tell your story that’s packed with examples of how artists and creators present themselves and their work.
The suggestions include to identify a unique spin on a universal theme, reveal your struggles, and take people on an adventure.
“Focus on one hour at the time. From the moment you wake up, even though your goal should be to do the best you can for the day, your focus should be in the hour that’s ahead of you.”
One reason it’s hard to get things done is because we spend too much time thinking about things that aren’t right in front of us.
He explains how focusing on one clear goal and the high leverage activities necessary to accomplish it each day creates a compound effect that helps you be more productive, successful, and happier.
“Nobody’s going to subscribe to your newsletter as a favor to you — they need to know what’s in it for them. The description of your newsletter has to express a clear value proposition to give people a reason to subscribe.”
It’s not easy to get invited into a person’s inbox.
If you have a newsletter, mailing list, or anything else that requires your audience give you their email address, then this post for you.
In it, I explain how to get people to subscribe to your newsletter including to promise (and deliver) value, build trust with your audience, and offer something that aligns with your audience’s interests.
A quick interruption…
On Tuesday I’m sending the first members-only email to THE INVESTED that will feature exclusive content you can’t get anywhere else.
It includes ideas about work-life balance, losing weight, social media mistakes, monetizing a blog and more.
If you’d like to receive it, go here to join.
Now, back to business…
“Maintain a beginner’s mind. We live in a culture that places a high priority on expertise and productivity. If you want to live a rich, creative, and fun life, you need to expose yourself to new endeavors — where you’ll obviously be a beginner.”
This HuffPost article is written by women for women, but most of the advice featured in it is just as relevant to men.
The 20 truths women over 50 want to share with younger women include to stop worrying what other people think of you, learn to say no, and to not take yourself too seriously.
“If wearing the same thing, choosing what to eat and deciding what to watch, read, and listen to leads to more mental clarity — and more brain power to tackle the decisions that really matter — isn’t it worth the 15 minutes of planning it would take on a Sunday night?”
Here’s something that seems like it might be worth trying for a week.
Business Insider shares the story of a woman who automated her simple life decisions for a week in an attempt to have more mental clarity when it comes to more important decisions she needs to make.
She explains what happened when she simplified daily decisions about things like what to wear, what to watch on TV, and what to eat.
“Amateurs don’t have any idea what improves the odds of achieving good outcomes. Professionals do.”
The biggest difference between an amateur and a professional is likely their mindset.
Farnam Street shares a quick, simple list of the differences between amateurs and professionals including how they react to initial achievement, how they respond to failure, and how they make decisions.
“Try to be an interesting individual, able to hold a conversation on topics outside of work. People tend to do business with someone they like. They like those, who are similar to them, are engaging conversation partners and have a life outside of work.”
To be great at sales takes more than just persistence and a willingness to make cold calls.
Bartosz Majewski suggests 12 non-sales habits you can develop to improve your sales skillsincluding to drink wine instead of beer, to develop hobbies, and to read 30 pages of a book every day.
“When selling a personal service, the goal of content marketing is not ‘content.’ It’s to create an emotional connection to people over time through that content (and any other means) that leads to awareness, trust, and loyalty.”
If you do anything with content or social media to benefit your business, then you’ll want to check out this Mark Schaefer article.
(You also may want to contact me about how I can help you grow and activate your audience.)
It breaks down how to use content to improve your business and points out when content efforts fail to drive results it’s often because the content isn’t human enough.