A Month of Change
Growth and development bring change. Growing up and growing older bring excitement but also loss. Two people I knew – one from my university and one from my high school graduating class – passed away on the same day this month. I also had a cancer scare with a family member. Thankfully it was just a scare. However, these experiences reminded me that making life’s moments really matter is so important. It’s the impetus behind what I’m doing with my own endeavors: I want to enjoy time with my family, I want to continue to travel (the focus of this blog, after all!), and I want to help others succeed.
As I’ve written books and offered some coaching, I’ve learned some things that I want to share with you:
1. Take Action
This sounds cliché, I know, but taking action is the thing that gets me to be even more creative. When I am working on designing a website, creating a webinar, writing my ebook, or planning a social media strategy, I discover that new ideas are sprouting all the time. That’s how the Udemy course idea got started. I am online course instructor and designer by nature; therefore, why was I not leveraging that ability to help me develop authority in my niche?
When I’m writing, I’m bombarded by ideas for new books. If I had known that what it would take for me to come up with ideas for books would be to start writing one, I would have done it much sooner.
2. Surround Yourself with Goal-Oriented People
I recently sought out two ebook authors and asked if they were interested in creating a mastermind group with me. Shockingly, they agreed! A mastermind group is a gathering of people who share their individual goals but provide collective accountability for each member in helping them achieve their goals. Members may have different areas of expertise, which when combined in a brainstorming session can create new ideas to push each other forward. My group has already met, established our goals, and I’ve already received some needed feedback.
Thus, my suggestion is to seek out individuals who you see achieving their goals and just ask if they want to form a mastermind group. The worst they can do is say no. Keep asking and seeking. Join groups on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+. Interact with members, and find ones who seem helpful and knowledgeable in their field. Follow up with an invitation to connect on that social media platform and share ideas and suggestions.
3. Keep an Idea List
This one may seem kind of obvious, but considering I didn’t keep an idea list until about 4 months ago, I feel it is something I should mention. Oh sure, I’ve jotted down the occasional inspiration on the back of a paper plate (really) or on a ticket stub, but it was Steve Scott in his book titled, “How to Discover Best-Selling Nonfiction eBook Ideas – The Bulletproof Strategy” that gave me the idea to keep a list with me at all times. He uses a note pad. I use my iPhone’s note pad. Looking back over my list, I have a lot of “oh yeah! I need to follow-up on that one!” kind of moments. I’ll never be for want of my next idea, that’s for sure.
4. Know that Failure Leads to Success
Yes, I’m including failure as a step to building your brand and your business. You didn’t really think that you could build a business without this, did you? I used to be terrified of failure. As I’ve grown up, I have realized that failure leads to refinement. After all, it’s the lump of coal that becomes a diamond. How? By friction, by tension, and by pressure. (And now I feel compelled to tell you that my good friend and geology professor, Mark Lawler who runs the website EducationGeoTours tells me that diamonds don’t work that way. But it’s still a good metaphor. ) I don’t know about you, but I learn a lot from failure. And I know that when I fail, I’ve learned a valuable lesson that I can apply in my next endeavor.
I was watching The Daily Show the other night when Jon Stewart interviewed Malcolm Gladwell for his new book, David and Goliath.
The crux of the interview was that desirable difficulties in our lives make us stronger. He mentioned the difficulties of CEOs who had overcome dyslexia (such as Richard Branson) to go on to tremendous success. He mentioned the higher than normal percentage of US presidents who had lost a parent in their youth, and who went on to become national leaders.
Therefore, don’t shy away from action because of a fear of failure or anticipated adversity. These events, while frustrating, actually improve our game. Plus, they usually get us out of our shell to reach out to others for advice and guidance. Those relationships are critical to your success.
5. Be Organized and Set Dates
While I have friends who are left brained, organized, never run late, and seem to have it all together, I am still working on this one. There are a few areas where I excel at this and I believe it’s more important than many other areas of organization. Set dates. If you want to write a book, set a date when you will have the outline developed. If you want to interview leading people in your industry for information about their company (for potential jobs, for example), send an email and ask. Set a date. If you want to lead a webinar as part of your strategy to stand out in your field, set a date. Be realistic with your timetable while also being ambitious. Set the date and give yourself a deadline.
Organization in your entrepreneurial endeavors can also be a challenge. Use auto schedulers for your posts. Create an editorial calendar for your blog. Make a list of videos you plan to create.
6. Use Technology
Use technology to help you automate as much as possible. I use Hootsuite to help me automate my scheduling on social media. I use Mind Meister to help flesh out my ideas for writing content. I use my iPhone to send me alerts on upcoming meetings. I use iCal to sync my calendar across all of my devices. And my absolute favorite – Keyboard Maestro – completes text and utilities functions on my mac at the click of a few keys. What technology can you use?
Use quality technology to build your brand. I use BlueHost to host my blog, and about 10 other websites I’ve created for different endeavors. They have a great reputation and I have first-hand experience with their customer service. Awesome company. I use AWeber for my email list. I use Screenflow for building videos. I use an Audio Technica mic for my audio. Building an online content-oriented business takes technology.
Certainly this list is not definitive. My goal here is to help you develop a location-independent lifestyle using methods that I have found helpful. I welcome your ideas in the comments below.