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Archive for February, 2011

Do You Heart Yourself? [Day 14 – 28 Days to GYST]

February 14th, 2011

This is Day 14 of 28 Days to Getting Your Sh*t Together.  On Friday, Melissa Stewart wrapped up Week #2 with and awesome post (and an awesome discussion) on how we get ourselves unstuck. Loved it! Today, my awesome friend John Haydon is, well, his most awesome self. 🙂

Do You Heart Yourself?

By: John Haydon | @johnhaydon

John Haydon owns Inbound Zombie, a WordPress development and social media strategy firm focusing on nonprofits. He also blogs over at johnhaydon.com.

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She Had Me at "Sh*t"! [Day 11 – 28 Days GYST]

February 11th, 2011

This is Day 11 of 28 Days to Getting Your Sh*t Together.  Yesterday, Chelsea Moser got us all charged up about getting sh*t done! Today, Melissa Stewart closes out Week #2 by sharing great “getting unstuck” advice from some awesome twitter folks. Have your pen and paper ready to jot down the best ones for you right now!

She had me at “Sh*t”!

By: Melissa Stewart | @melissaonline

That was the first thought that came to mind when Sarah asked me to be part of her 28 day blog series. I love Sarah and her authentic, no nonsense (and sometimes snarky) style. When I responded to her request for a bio and link with a panicked tweet about my site not being ready, she promptly shot me a quick DM with “It’s not until February” and in my mind I pictured her rolling her eyes at me. Then and there I decided that I needed to get my sh*t together!

That DM put it all in perspective. I had plenty of time from her vantage point because she is completely unconnected to all my emotional obstacles and personal excuses. She sees it from an outsider’s perspective and knows that 30+ days is more than enough time to have a site up and running. Her viewpoint doesn’t have all my baggage!

Of course, I knew these facts already. After all, one of my all time favorite quotes is:

She generally gave herself very good advice, (though she very seldom followed it)”.

It’s from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, by Lewis Carroll and drives home the point that KNOWING and DOING are two completely different verbs indeed!

So with that little non-emergency out of the way I turned to my post. What to write about? How do we get past our roadblocks (both imagined and real)? How do you get out of your own way and into your possibility? How do we get “unstuck”?

I asked this question to some of my fabulous contacts on Twitter: “Name a powerful action step for getting unstuck”. Let me share my crowdsourced wisdom with you:

Kaira Rouda

Take a step back; I make sure I’m still in touch with my passions. Action without passion often leads to dead ends. @kairarouda

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Shelly Kramer

Get up and go for a walk. Go to the gym. Moving makes ideas flow for me, or, I take a bath! @ShellyKramer

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Alycia Edgar

Change of environment works for me when I’m writing and music as well. Usually means cafe with music, earplugs and lattes! @alyciaedgar

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Julie Zizka

When I’m stuck, feeling frustrated, discouraged or disappointed I always go back to the things that ground me and remind me that ‘this, too, shall pass’. I only focus on what I want, not what I don’t want.

So, I listen to one of my favorite, extremely grounding books on tape – The Art of Allowing, by Abraham/Hicks. It’s a bit ‘out there’, but always gets me immediately out of my drama and brings me straight back to faith and hope and a knowing that everything always works out. @TheToteBuddy

Melinda F. Emerson

Whenever I have heavy deadlines that I’m struggling with I do two things. I make a list of just five things I need to do that day. Then, I use my personal theme music to motivate me.  I hit my theme music on YouTube or on the iPod and it always makes me feel better. It gives me what I need to keep moving forward. By the way, Golden by Jill Scott is my personal theme song. @SmallBizLady

Kimberley C. Blaine

To get unstuck, I leave the computer and work out. I detach from all business. Then the answer usually comes… @TheGoToMom

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Erica Ehm

I like to bounce ideas off people I respect. It helps me formulate my thoughts, and then I incorporate their feedback into my limited way of thinking. Collaboration is my creative grease. @YummyMummyClub

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Rieva Lesonsky

If I’ve been avoiding doing something I have to do, I write myself a ton of notes and stickies and put them on both computers. If I’m still “stuck” (and I realize this is how you deal with balky kids) I think of something I want (something small like a Dairy Queen ice cream cone, or going to see a movie, or going to the bookstore) and tell myself if I do this task, I can reward myself with the treat. Essentially I’m bribing myself (hanging head in shame) but it works. The key is we all know what motivates ourselves, and we need to resort to any and every trick to get out of the rut. @Rieva

Britt Michaelian

To get unstuck, take a step back and look at the big picture of what you want in life. Then look at where you’re stuck. Having a map is key! @MamaBritt

So what are you waiting for? I dare you. I double dog dare you to get “unstuck”:

1. In the comments below, name at least one BIG thing you’ve been dragging your feet on that would make a difference over the next year. Pick one goal and its one action that will propel you powerfully forward and BE SPECIFIC!

2. NAME it and give it a DEADLINE publicly.

3. Make it happen. OWN IT!!

By the time my post appears on February 11th: 1. My site http://www.sheownsit.com will be up and running. and 2. My first book in the Interviews with Success series will be named and in progress with a launch date.

Yes, this public declaration scares the h*ll out of me but I’m walking the talk. I’m “feeling the fear and doing it anyway” AND I’m finally taking my own fabulous advice!

Melissa Stewart is a serial entrepreneur who has had a “home office”  since age 5. She is passionate about entrepreneurship, addicted to coffee and eternally optimistic. Her latest project http://sheownsit.com/ is a site committed to empowering women entrepreneurs by offering resources, support and inspiration. @melissaonline

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How Getting Sh*t DONE is the Key [Day 10 – 28 Days to GYST]

February 10th, 2011

This is Day 10 of 28 Days to Getting Your Sh*t Together.  I really loved the refreshing stand Mark Silver took yesterday, helping us create space for the unexpected while still moving toward our destination. Good stuff! Today Chelsea Moser, one of the busiest and most productive friends I have,  takes a look at the other side of that coin – getting sh*t done. You’ll love it!

How Getting Sh*t DONE is the Key to Getting your Sh*t Together This Year

By: Chelsea Moser | @ChelseaMoser

If you’re not familiar with me or my work, I’m an implementer. I work with entrepreneurs all over the country to literally help them get sh*t done after months or even YEARS of spinning their wheels.

I know we all hate to admit it, but entrepreneurs are prone to get stuck. By nature we get so busy dreaming, visioning and creating phenomenal things that we fail to take ACTION…resulting in the full expression of our ideas never truly becoming reality.

Yes, we may be able to hunker down and release a bit of our greatness to the world, but it’s just a fraction of what’s possible if we weren’t so stuck in our heads and lost in the creation and visionary phases of business.

If that sounds like you right now, I’m challenging you to recognize this as the faulty pattern it is so you can get out of your head and get big on implementation in 2011. It’s the only real way to transform that 6 or 7-figure business idea into cold, hard cash at the end of the day.

Fortunately, just a few critical steps in this direction will get the ball rolling faster than you could ever imagine. In fact, here are three key places where you should start if you are absolutely, positively committed to growth and prosperity this year:

  1. Block Off Your Time and Stick To It
  2. One of the best ways to fight distractions and force yourself to get sh*t done is to start blocking off time where you commit to do nothing but work each day. It can be as simple as blocking off ½ hour where you take your inbox down to ZERO to allotting 3 or 4 hours to write that sales page you need for an upcoming product launch. However, you must fully commit to these time blocks and do nothing other than what was scheduled during that period if you really want to see magic happen (i.e. NO phone calls, email surfing or daydreaming!)

  3. Hire an accountability partner
  4. If you struggle to keep self-imposed deadlines or lack the ability to prioritize what needs to be done so you can make the most progress in the least amount of time, it would be worth it for you to hire an accountability partner. This could be a coach or strategist who will not only help you prioritize and create deadlines but hold your feet to the fire when it appears you are veering off track. Remember, developing laser focus and staying on course is the crux of getting sh*t done, and an accountability partner will make a world of difference if you struggle in this area.

  5. Take an Honest Look at Outsourcing
  6. Outsourcing is a dirty word for many creative entrepreneurs who believe that the only way to get things done right is to do it themselves. Yet when you dig a little further, you will find there are many tasks that arise during a typical day that absolutely do NOT require your attention. In fact, these tasks only take you away from doing that which you do best. Such tasks may include:

    • Tediously setting up items in your shopping cart
    • Compiling all your website stats, sales data and ezine open rates in a pretty spreadsheet
    • Answering straight-forward customer support emails
    • Posting and formatting blogs on your site
    • Pre-scheduling tweets and Facebook posts
    • Compiling a massive list of potential JV partners for your next launch
    • ..And the list goes on!

To fix this problem, I recommend keeping a journal of everything you do for an entire week and take steps to delegate the time-sucks accordingly. Make it your goal to only review and spot-check tasks such as the things listed above, not actually do them yourself. You’ll find yourself much more productive and focused on the work that makes you the most money as a result.

And of course, the number one, most important thing you can do to ensure sh*t gets done this year is to make a conscious decision that you will see your ideas and dreams through to completion, no matter what it takes. Maybe that means hiring help or perhaps it’s just a matter of getting more organized to maximize the amount working time you have each day… but either way, commit to implementation and watch magic happen in your business in 2011.

Where can you start, TODAY, on getting sh*t done?

As the Founder and CEO of Solamar Marketing Agency and also Co-Founder of Events without Borders, Chelsea Moser knows what it takes to build and maintain two successful and profitable businesses—all while passionately cultivating long-lasting relationships in business and in life.

To contact Chelsea, simply email her at Chelsea@ChelseaMoser.com. To connect with her online, check out her splash page for ways to connect with her through social media.

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Time For Some Humility & Dialing Down Your Ambition. Seriously. [Day 9 – 28 Days to GYST]

February 9th, 2011

This is Day 9 of 28 Days to Getting Your Sh*t Together.  Wasn’t Chris Guillebeau‘s post yesterday inspiring? Well take a slow, deep breathe because today Mark Silver creates some sacred space for us. He is so very good at that. 🙂

Time For Some Humility & Dialing Down Your Ambition. Seriously.

By: Mark Silver | @MarkHeartofBiz

Since we’re now 1/3 of the way through this 28 days of getting your act together (forgive me, Sarah, I’m used to writing for a G audience), I think it’s critical to address the need for humility and dialing down your ambition.

How many people have told me they want to be on Oprah, address audiences of thousands, start a world-famous retreat center? And they flounder, and struggle, and push, exhausting themselves.

One of the hallmarks of the get-it-done-now-you’re-awesome industry, or whatever it’s called, is this belief that you can do anything and everything. It’s an extremely painful, limiting, sabotaging belief.

I’m here to bring you some compassion and mercy and tell you straight up: you can’t everything and anything. So don’t try to do it all, or you’ll remain paralyzed.

In some ways getting your act together is actually totally and completely beyond your control. Let me give you an example.

In 1998 Holly and I were engaged, with a date set for May, 1999. Shortly after our engagement she got sick. Badly sick. Miserably sick. And stayed sick for ten years.

During that time we got married, I figured out how to be the sole breadwinner, we learned a whole heckuva lot about various holistic therapies, and she healed slowly, a day, a week, a month at a time.

Of course, with things so challenging on the domestic front, why not bury myself? I decided to go fully self-employed in August, 2001, launching Heart of Business. 9/11 arrived the next month, with my intended launch day of the new website and everything set for 9/12. It was a little bumpy cash-wise in the beginning, let me tell you.

Holly finally reached 95-98% healthy in 2007, but it was impossible for her to bear children, and, not to put too fine a point on it, we’re definitely not thirty-something any more. We wanted family more than anything, so we started the adoption process, and we’ve been with our twins since the day they were born, November 11, 2008.

In other words, the entire time I’ve been running Heart of Business, I’ve either been caretaking a chronically ill wife, going through an emotionally-taxing adoption process, or co-parenting very young twin boys.

Business-wise I’ve been blessed with ten straight years of growth, which considering all that was going on personally I consider nothing short of miraculous. It’s been close to five years now that we’ve unfailingly been generating five figures of revenue every month. Since 2005 I’ve self-published at seven different learning programs, most of them book-sized.

We have amazing boys, a beautiful home that thank God we’ve never missed a mortgage payment even when things were scary-tight, and we’re all healthy, if you don’t count the flu season-small children collision.

Before you think I’m super-human, here are some of the results:

  • We ended up with a fair amount of debt from the illness years, a previous failed business, and the adoption process, some of which we still have, although we’re paying it down in an aggressive manner.
  • I missed opportunities to develop Heart of Business because I just couldn’t leave Holly home sick, or I couldn’t leave Holly alone with the kids, or I was just so overwhelmed emotionally and physically I just couldn’t do it. Conferences I should’ve been at to meet others, joint ventures I didn’t have time for, creativity that was called for when I had no creativity left in me.
  • It’s been at times frustrating to watch some folks rocket forward more quickly than I could, when I know we have powerful material, raving fans. If I could’ve been more strategic Heart of Business could be beyond this admittedly awkward stage of low-to-mid-six figures of revenue. This is not me complaining, just admitting the truth of the situation and how my emotions are affected at times.

Just trying to get this article written for Sarah has been a travesty. She asked for it more than a month ago. Instead, in came the flu over four times since early December (thanks, kids), the latest after I came home from a week-long residential course of study that is part of my Masters of Divinity program.

That’s right, I was at a week-long nourishing spiritual retreat, came home, spent a wonderful weekend with the family, then Monday night went on a date with my wife to a delicious and incredibly healthy restaurant, and was promptly knocked down AGAIN with the flu. I dropped a dozen balls last week, finally getting this written Monday morning, oy gevult.

We’re all in boats on this sea called life, and although we can do our best to steer our little vessels and care for them, we have no control over what the ocean does, where the winds blow us, and what storms, reefs, and hungry sea monsters we encounter.

Look, I’m not trying to scare you, it’s just truth. Life happens. You live it. So, what I’m saying is… dial back your ambition a little bit. Let go of thinking you can do EVERYTHING. Let go of the unconscious assumption that you are in charge of your circumstances.

Let me ask you one question: in your plans to get your act together, how much room do you leave for the chaos factor, as my friend and colleague Sean D’Souza calls it? How much room do you leave for the unexpected? All of the the uncontrollable illness, mess, mistakes, and accidents that fill our lives?
I’m going to suggest that you try accomplishing about 50% of what you think you should. Dial it way down, leaving open space for chaos.

We’re all just servants, expressions of Source (the Divine, God, love, whatever you want to name that which is), which means, thankfully, that you’re not the top boss. With some humility and love you can drop back into your heart, take a nice deep breath, and notice what little thing you can put your hands on and move forward today.

When you ask your heart, which fifty percent gets dropped? And what little thing do you focus on today?

Mark Silver is a business tenderizer and a designated master teacher in his Sufi spiritual lineage. Since 1999 he has worked with thousands of self-employed folks, helping them learn to bring in clients and do good in the world, while at the same time they learn that every act of business can be an act of love. If this resonated with you and you want a hands-on, heart-centered approach on how to move forward, try his free pdf workbook Backwards.

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Getting It Together on the Road to Ithaca [Day 8 – 28 Days to GYST]

February 8th, 2011

This is Day 8 of 28 Days to Getting Your Sh*t Together.  Yesterday, Elizabeth Marshall led an awesome discussion on how to handle our inevitable fears. Today you are in for a treat as Chris Guillebeau shares his thoughts about what it’s like to be on this vision quest we’ve all committed to.

Getting It Together on the Road to Ithaca

By: Chris Guillebeau | @chrisguillebeau

Many of us are on quests, either real or representative. Since my quest is real, I like the metaphor of journeying. Going on a journey involves unexpected surprises, challenges, setbacks, and rewards—and any good journey is as much about the process as the destination.

It’s kind of like how the Greek poet Constantine Cavafy put it, exactly one-hundred years ago:

***

When you set out on your journey to Ithaca,

pray that the road is long,

full of adventure, full of knowledge.

The Lestrygonians and the Cyclops,

the angry Poseidon — do not fear them:

You will never find such as these on your path,

if your thoughts remain lofty, if a fine

emotion touches your spirit and your body.

The Lestrygonians and the Cyclops,

the fierce Poseidon you will never encounter,

if you do not carry them within your soul,

if your soul does not set them up before you.

Pray that the road is long.

That the summer mornings are many, when,

with such pleasure, with such joy

you will enter ports seen for the first time;

stop at Phoenician markets,

and purchase fine merchandise,

mother-of-pearl and coral, amber and ebony,

and sensual perfumes of all kinds,

as many sensual perfumes as you can;

visit many Egyptian cities,

to learn and learn from scholars.

Always keep Ithaca in your mind.

To arrive there is your ultimate goal.

But do not hurry the voyage at all.

It is better to let it last for many years;

and to anchor at the island when you are old,

rich with all you have gained on the way,

not expecting that Ithaca will offer you riches.

Ithaca has given you the beautiful voyage.

Without her you would have never set out on the road.

She has nothing more to give you.

And if you find her poor, Ithaca has not deceived you.

Wise as you have become, with so much experience,

you must already have understood what Ithacas mean.


-Constantine P. Cavafy (1911)

***

Your Action Plan

Many of us are waiting for someone to come along and tell us where to find Ithaca, how to begin the journey, and what to do when we get stuck. Essentially, we’re waiting for permission—someone to say, “It’s OK, go right ahead.”

But you don’t need permission from anyone else to pursue a dream. Instead, give yourself permission to take the next step. Then take it!

What can you do right now (today) to continue on the journey? Where are you going, and how will you get there? Feel free to share your next step with the rest of the group, and I’ll jump in from the other side of the screen.

###
Chris Guillebeau travels the world and writes for a small army of remarkable people at chrisguillebeau.com. His first book is The Art of Non-Conformity, and you can also find him at twitter.com/chrisguillebeau.

If you’d like to step up your commitment to getting your sh*t together, I invite you to sign up for the GYST list. You’ll get a daily email in your inbox, nudging you to keep at it. 🙂 Sign up here: http://ow.ly/3StfY

No Guarantees (and How to Make the Leap Anyway) – [Day 7 – 28 Days to GYST]

February 7th, 2011

This is Day 7 of 28 Days to Getting Your Sh*t Together.  Welcome to Week #2!

Friday, Chris Johnson stirred the pot ( I knew he would!) when he took a hard stand on “entitlementality”. To kick off week #2, my super-smart and uber-connected friend, Elizabeth Marshall, stares down that thing that can strike at the hearts of us all – FEAR.

No Guarantees (and How to Make the Leap Anyway)

by Elizabeth Marshall | @lizmarshall

Last September, I did something that has always scared me…something I never thought I had the courage to do.

I jumped out of a plane at 13,500 feet above the ground and lived to tell about it.

Although the fears and racing thoughts leading up to the jump felt very real and generated a fair amount of stress, the real-life experience wasn’t that bad. In fact, it was much better than that – an exciting and exhilarating event that I would go through again.

Here’s a few reasons why:

For one, I had an expert guiding me through the process  a tandem instructor who made the jump with me (he was strapped to my back). Secondly, the safety measures were so rigorous and comprehensive that the risk of failure was basically zero. Because of the expert guidance and safety system, I not only felt less fear, but also was able to accomplish something so much bigger than I ever could on my own.

Now that it’s time for me to launch something equally scary (and exciting) for my business, I’ve been thinking a lot about that day and what enabled me to jump in spite of my fears.

After all, I’ve recently hit a bit of a speed bump (well, more like a boulder) around launching my new program for authors and messengers and the voices in my head (fears and irrational thoughts) are at it again, telling me it’s not worth the risk. I trust you know the feeling. 🙂

On the day that I chose to go skydiving, I had a choice to make:

Do I leap from the plane and ignore the internal chatter telling me to turn back?

OR, do I give credence to my fears – including some of the very reasonable concerns about what would happen if the safety systems failed – and choose to abort mission?

Thanks to the mandatory training class, I was able to set aside most of my fears – actually, legitimate concerns – about the safety systems and margin for error:

  • After I learned that each of the four harnesses used to connect me to the tandem instructor are built to withstand 5,000 lbs of pressure, I no longer felt afraid that I would be separated from my tandem instructor after leaping out of the plane.
  • Once I discovered that the main parachute was pre-programmed to release at a certain altitude, I no longer worried about how in the hell I would pull the parachute if the dude on my back somehow lost consciousness during our jump.

That left me to deal with the irrational fears, panic and pit-in-my-stomach sensations. You know, those fears that show up EVERY TIME we dare to do something great or that stretches us outside our comfort zone. And, those fears that have no basis in any kind of reality, but like to convince us that they do.

In choosing to examine my fears one by one, I was able to separate out the legitimate ones from the delusional ones. And, once I handled the reasonable fears (read: legitimate concerns), the irrational voices in my head didn’t scream so loudly in my head.

As entrepreneurs and business owners, we don’t often (or ever) know how things are going to turn out. After all, we don’t have an expert guide strapped to our backs who’s made the jump 14,273 times before and can reassure us that it’s going to be ok. And, we don’t have a guarantee that our launch plan or project plan is as fail-proof as the 5000 lb harnesses that have been tested thousands of times.

And, let’s be really, really honest.

There is no one who can give us a guarantee whether our next program or product will be a hit, whether our book will make the impact we desperately want it to make, or whether our new business model will generate the revenue we want.

But, as Carol Roth says, we can learn how to stack the odds of success our favor.

Instead of letting fear stop us before we even start, we can face our fears (both the legitimate and irrational ones) and honestly evaluate the risks and realities surrounding our next jump.

So, if it’s time for you to ‘get your sh*t together” around your next program, book, product or any other aspect of your business, here’s what I recommend:

1) Identify and confront each and every fear

To do this, make a complete list of fears you have surrounding your upcoming program or “thing”.

Afraid you might be rejected by clients? Write it down. Worried you’ll spend $5,000 and not sell enough programs to recoup your investment? Write it down.

By writing down your fears, you’ll take back control and can begin to see the hidden risks that might be causing you to put off your next program or business offering.

2) Separate the legitimate concerns from the irrational ones

Now that you have your list of fears, divide these fears into two groups:

Group #1: Legitimate Concerns

Group #2: Irrational Fears

In doing that, you have a much clearer picture of the specific risks or concerns you need to address in order to move ahead. For example, you might realize that you you’re afraid of spending $10,000 on a live event, given that your monthly income is only $2500. That’s definitely a legitimate concern, especially if you don’t have a solid plan to increase your income to pay for the event.

But, your fear that every single person in the world will hate you if you go through with the event is more along the lines of an irrational one. It’s still a fear, but one to handle differently than a legitimate concern.

NOTE: If you’re having trouble determining which fears are grounded in reasonable concerns and which ones are just your reptilian brain wanting you to stick with the status quo, I recommend Byron Katie’s book, Loving What Is, can help. Also, Tim Kelley’s worst-case scenario method in his book, True Purpose, is one I’ve used very successfully.

3) Determine ways to eliminate, solve or minimize your legitimate concerns

Now that you have your list of legitimate concerns, look to see which ones stir up the most fear. Are you afraid of losing money? Or, is the emotional risk of ‘putting yourself out there” causing you to feel nauseous? Or, perhaps you’re scared this project is a waste of time and energy?

As you look at each concern, determine what you can do (if anything) to reduce or even eliminate these concerns:

  • Instead of spending $10,000 for your first live event, can you beta-test a smaller version for a fraction of the cost?
  • Before investing gobs of time in designing a 12-month coaching program that you’re not sure will sell, can you test the idea as a single teleclass?
  • Afraid your book idea is the wrong one? Test one idea with your followers and ask for feedback.

To support you in doing this, I highly recommend you get to know Carol Roth, author of The Entrepreneur Equation. Now, I know I’m biased (Carol is a client), but Carol is masterful at helping entrepreneurs evaluate the risks and rewards of their next venture and she’s got some incredible tools and processes to help you do just that.

4) Take action!

Now that you have clarity around what you can do to minimize your fears (risks) around “making the jump’, pick ONE THING you can do today and do it!

* * *

Decide TODAY to fully face your fears (both legitimate concerns and the irrational ones – and then get going!

See you in the air!

Elizabeth Marshall is dedicated to helping messengers spread their message and sell their books. She does that through her coaching, teleseminars, and out-of-the-box workshops, like Book Breakthrough NYC. http://www.BookBreakthrough.com.

You can learn more about her by going to http://www.AuthorTeleseminars.com

What Do Your "Followers" Owe You? [Day 4 – 28 Days to GYST]

February 4th, 2011

This is Day 4 of 28 Days to Getting Your Sh*t Together.  Yesterday, Gini Dietrich got us focused and productive – yay! Today, Chris Johnson checks our attitudes and our assumptions about what we think our followers “owe” us. Great stuff! (and remember – no posts over the weekend. Use this time to do any catch-up so you are ready to roar on Monday!)

What Do Your “Followers” Owe You? (And How Entitlementality is Killing Your Business)

By: Chris Johnson | @genuinechris

We all hear it. “I give and give and give, and all anyone ever wants to do is take from me.” This is a theme and variations in the 2.0 world, and it shows up in a million different ways. Creators are somehow surprised that some people just want the free stuff and don’t want to pay for things.

It’s some sudden shocking surprise that noobs and rubes want to get stuff for free.We hear about the horrors freetards from the great Aaron Wall, the great Tamar is utterly aghast that someone would start a negotiation with lunch. David Thome couldn’t have been funnier about this. Nathan Hangen picked up his ball and went home (and I miss him).Let’s get real about something.

When we make a blog post, an e-manifesto, a video, or a whatever, how does that obligate others? Are we doing favors, or is our blog and the content we make a sales brochure that shares with others how good we are at what we do?

The Real Problem Is Your Entitlement

Imagine going into a trade show, picking up a brochure, but not buying the product. You thought the product was interesting, maybe even a fit for you, but you weren’t sure. Let’s say you asked for a free sample.

Does the guy in the booth say, “No, you’re stupid, of course not, you’re just a freetard?” Nope. The guy will say, “Hey, it doesn’t exactly work that way, but we appreciate your interest.” Only a blogger gets mad. And all a blog is, for most of us is a brochure.

And–get this–we get mad at other people when we haven’t convinced THEM of our value.

The funny part is that we’re shocked every time it happens. When we break it down, it’s absurd.

“Get this, someone wanted something for FREE.” Shocking! Call the press!

Simpletons can be angry at those that would ask for work for free. Grown ups have to admit we’re not doing a good enough job convincing people to pay us.

Learn To Get Past Entitlement

Let’s be clear about the difference between making a brochure or sales letter and accruing debt. Expecting people to be grateful is toxic, and it robs us of our ability to get paid. We burn energy in outrage instead of learning to be more effective. Let’s get really clear: we aren’t owed anything when someone looks at our website, and if doing business isn’t a natural result of looking at our website…

…then our website isn’t good enough, or we’re attracting broke people. Sure, there are mutants out there, and sure there are people that are, themselves absolutely nuts. It’s equally nuts to expect people to just back the brinks truck up because we used the word “conversation” in a marketing post.

Let’s put the burden back on us, something we can control. How do we make our work more compelling, more creative, more engaging? How do we improve with every iteration.

We must realize that everything is an audition or an interview.

We must realize that free isn’t a threat, it’s a starting point in a negotiation that generally speaking, should be met with a counter offer.

We must realize that we own the burden to convince other people to do business with us. And if all they see us is a me too, desperate web consultant than we’re not doing our jobs.

When we are able to own the burden of persuasion, we’re free from these thoughts. We’re free to pursue and persuade the best clients available. But they are also likewise free to engage or disengage, without owing us a damn thing.

Three Things to Consider Now:

Understand that your business isn’t special unless it provides a high level of service to others.   Understand that your style is probably not unique, and that you are not owed anything just for showing up.  Your reputation is something you must prove and re-earn constantly.  Instead of saying “oh yeah, I know, I know,”  prove it.    How are you proving it?

With humility, realize that every contact is an opportunity to be of service is about the other person–and not you.  Business is about providing time, comfort and relief to human beings.   How are you doing in that area? What are you doing that people truly value and will pay for?

Finally–when you feel like you’ve been undervalued or disrespected, are you in a place where you’re doing your very best work?  Are you doing any good wasting energy on feeding your insatiable ego?  Or are you wasting time better spent building your skills and being of service?

Chris Johnson is an instigator, a small business owner, a father and more. You can offer him lunch to pick his brain at chris@flatratebiz.com, or you can get a web site here.

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Getting Your Productive Sh*t Together [Day 3 – 28 Days to GYST]

February 3rd, 2011

This is Day 3 of 28 Days to Getting Your Sh*t Together.  Yesterday, Les McKeown led us off by taking our thinking to a deep level. (Hey! Getting our sh*t together means doing the internal AND the external work!) Today, Gini Dietrich gives our productivity a swift kick in the rear. Get ready to get moving!

Getting Your Productive Sh*t Together

By: Gini Dietrich| @ginidietrich

As I was trying to decide what to write about for this blog post, I Googled “get your shit together” to see if anything came up that inspired me. What I found, instead, was, well, a bunch of shit. So then I thought, “How do I write about getting your shit together without inspiration?” There are a lot of things to consider: Productivity, time management, keeping up on blogs and social media, growing a business, starting a new business, sending gifts before birthdays instead of after, remembering to eat during the day, washing your hair more than twice a week, exercising, getting more than six hours of sleep a night, mentoring a team, managing clients, getting Sarah her guest post on time instead of a week late, and more. You know, not that I’m feeling guilty or anything. It’s not like I’ve had some life-changing experience like Les McKeown (did that give you chills, or what?) to make me think it’s time to get my shit together. But, most days, I can barely get three things checked off my to-do list and I know everyone feels that way. I’m not a time management guru like Craig Jarrow, but I do have some things that are going to help you be much more productive every day without feeling like you can’t get anything done.

  1. Set a time to write. Make it the same time every day and don’t sway from it. My time is 5:30-7:00 a.m.
  2. Set a time to read. This might be blogs, the newspaper, or a book. My time is 7:00-8:00 a.m. and, sometimes, if I’m not too tired, right before bed.
  3. Set a time to check the social networks. I schedule all of my tweets either early in the morning or before I go home at night. I have the 80/20 rule – 80 percent about another friend, blogger, journalist and 20 percent about us (the Spin Sucks blog posts). I set them every hour from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. and then my Twitter and Facebook time during the day is spent on conversations, which I do when I get to my desk in the morning, around lunchtime, and right before I go home. I’m never on there more than 15 minutes at a time.
  4. Write your to-do list before you shut down for the night. I actually write a weekly list and then number things. There is a HUGE sense of accomplishment when you’re focused and start checking things off.
  5. Prioritize your action items: Clients are A, Spin Sucks is B, Arment Dietrich business is C, and everything else is D. I add those letters next to everything and then create my to-do list from that.
  6. Turn your email to “work offline” in the middle of the day. I turn mine off most days from 10-3 and take periodic breaks to check and be sure nothing is on fire or needs immediate attention.
  7. Take time off from it all. I used to work all weekend, but found myself thinking, “I can do that this weekend.” Now that I refuse to work during the weekend, I’m much more productive during the week.
  8. It’s funny. People say to me all the time, “How do you pump out as much content as you do?” but I feel like it’s never enough. Perception is reality so stop being hard on yourself, figure out your plan, and get your productive shit together!

Which one will you tackle first?

Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, Inc., a firm that uses non-traditional marketing in a traditional world. She also authors Spin Sucks, an AdAge Power 150 and Social Media Examiner top 10 blog.

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Start Your Journey by Clearly Defining What Your Sh*t Is [Day 2 – 28 Days to GYST]

February 2nd, 2011

This is Day 2 of 28 Days to Getting Your Sh*t Together. Yesterday I talked about preparation and commitment. Without these two things in place, the remaining 27 days will have little impact, so get on it!. Today, the ridiculously smart Les McKeown starts us off by going deep. Get out that pen and paper I talked about yesterday.

Start Your Journey by Clearly Defining What Your Sh*t Is

By: Les McKeown | @lesmckeown

When my friend Sarah asked if I’d contribute to a series called “28 Days to Get Your Shit Together”, two things occurred to me: (1) Gee, thanks Sarah, now I’m going to be forever google-paired with an article that has the word ‘shit’ in it a lot, and (2) with an all-embracing subject like that, where do you begin?

Having now given this a mind-aching amount of thought, it seems to me that the logical place to begin is with a statement of the bleeding obvious:

You will best start this journey by clearly defining what your shit is, because only when you have laser-like clarity on what it is, can you begin to get it together.

And so, to that end, let me reluctantly step outside my comfort zone and share with you how I came to know what my shit is:

When I was a spotty adolescent growing up in Belfast, I was fortunate to find myself adopted by a mentor. As I nudged my way toward adulthood, I’d frequently turn up on Jim’s doorstep with some anguished problem, only to find everything settling into perspective after we chatted. Jim’s mantra was “If it isn’t fatal, it’s merely inconvenient”, and hearing him say it calmed me down, focused me, more times than I can recall. It was his church-elder way of telling me to get my shit together.

With Jim’s help I stumbled through to my mid-twenties, until one October Saturday night when a gunman stepped up behind my sister while she was locking a church door, and shot her in the neck. Karen lay on the wet ground for a while until someone found her and got her to a hospital, where she lay in a coma, her spinal cord snapped. Three weeks later she died without recovering consciousness. In a barn-door sized wrinkle of cosmic irony, my first child – my now-27-year-old daughter – was born just hours later, on the same day Karen died.

My sister, barely 21, was gone – the wrong person in the wrong place at the wrong time. As her older brother I’d failed in the only thing an older brother is good for: to be there for your annoying little pill of a kid sister on the one occasion she genuinely needed help.

Some time later, I realized that I was no longer visiting with Jim. I no longer needed to hear him say “If it isn’t fatal, it’s merely inconvenient” – I knew it, in as deep a place as I could know anything. In her passing, Karen had given me a terrible gift, which I carry to this day: I know what my shit is.

From that time on (except for a mid-life mini-wobble in my mid-thirties), I’ve been clear about what matters to me, and what doesn’t. I know when I’m veering out of my own tracks; when I’m compromising to accommodate other people’s shit instead of my own; when I’m ‘settling’ instead of delivering my very best. I know when I’ve let myself down. I know when I’m avoiding the hard stuff. I know when I’m kidding myself.

You may have experienced something equally transformative in your life, in which case you’ll know what I mean when I say that while (obviously) this isn’t the best or easiest way to define your shit, it is achingly, permanently, effective.

For the rest, I’m sharing this with you because as the first of a series called “28 Days to Get Your Shit Together”, the statement I started with is the most precious thing I have to give you: Start this journey by very clearly defining your shit, because it’s only when you have laser-like clarity on what it is that you can begin to get it together.

And if you’re not sure what your shit is yet, ask yourself this: with what would you fill the empty vacuum of an unimagined, and unimaginable, loss? That’s your shit.

For me, it is something joyously prosaic: I help people be great leaders and build great businesses. What I do isn’t rocket science (quite), and it isn’t heart surgery (nobody will die on the operating table if I get something wrong), but I love it. Every minute of it. I often forget about birthdays and anniversaries, I’m recklessly cavalier about my health and well being, and I can’t be trusted with even the simplest of domestic arrangements, but I know what my shit is, and I’m not only good at it, I’m compelled to be good at it.

What’s your shit? Humor me – write it down, in one sentence, as I did in the paragraph above. Then over the next 27 days, don’t allow yourself to read what the other great contributors to this series write in a vacuum. Instead, first remind yourself what your shit is, then read the posts. Then act.

Les McKeown is president and CEO of Predictable Success, the leading advisor on accelerated business growth. He is the author of the Wall Street Journal and USA Today best-seller “Predictable Success: Getting Your Organization On the Growth Track – and Keeping It There.”

P.S. If you aren’t already signed up and don’t want to miss out on  28 Days to Getting Your Sh*t Together, please sign up here. (Yesterday, I gave away Les’s book, Predictable Success, to someone on the email list!)

**** Because several groups are using the #28Days hashtag during February, we are swtiching to #GYST to keep things clean and simple! ****

28 Days to Getting Your Sh*t Together – Bring It!! [Day 1- 28 GYST]

February 1st, 2011

Can you believe it?! Day #1 of 28 Days to Getting Your Sh*t Together is FINALLY here!! YAY!!

Que theme music: Hey! Ho! Let’s Go! http://tinysong.com/8MY3

Today we are going to do some preparation to make the most of this experience. Remember, I’ve read all the posts that are coming your way so I know what is in store for us. 🙂

If I’ve learned anything during my years online (and before that in my years performing Shakespeare), it’s this:  preparation may not sound all hot and sexy, but it is what separates the breathtaking from the “meh”.  So let’s be about some awesome, okay?!

(For those of you who have done these with me before, this groundwork will look familiar.)

For the next 28 days we’ve volunteered to get a daily kick in the rear guaranteed to change the way we do things.  At first, all this change may feel unfamiliar and awkward – and that’s ok. Change can feel like that. Other times it may feel frightening and disorienting – and that’s okay. Change can feel like that. And still other times it may feel  liberating and freeing – and that’s ok. Change can feel like that, too.

“Fortune favors the prepared mind.” ~Louis Pasteur


These seven keys below will anchor us in the coming days (and even when this series is over) and will truly make all the difference. So, here we go.

1) Commit. Show up here every day for the next 28 days. If you are serious about getting your sh*t together, you’ve got to step up. I know you are busy. So am I. But I’ve learned that my sh*t isn’t going to get itself together all by itself. I’ve got to be willing to do whatever it takes. So today, decide.

2) Get a notebook or a legal pad that is dedicated to this 28 day series. You may even want to get a three -ring binder and some loose-leaf paper so you can print out and save each blog post. Every day you will be asked to take a small action toward getting your sh*t together. You’ll need some space to write down your thoughts and your responses. This may be the very excuse you need to finally buy a Moleskin. 🙂

3) Ask questions. Each blog post author is available on the day of their post to respond to comments and answer questions. Take advantage of having access to this extraordinary group of men and women. And remember, the only stupid question is the one that remains unasked.

4) Connect with each other. Many of you recruited a partner for 28 Days -which is AWESOME!! And if you haven’t, it’s not too late to do that, but you will be fine if you haven’t. The culture here at Escaping Mediocrity is one of a tribe. We learn from and lean on each other.

To that end, connect with those you may not know. Respond to an interesting comment. Ask the commentor a question.  Together we are powerful.

(And here is one of my few ground rules: this is a supportive environment. If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. If you get personal or overly snarky, I will call you out and ban you. End of story.)

I’ve built a list on twitter to make it easy for you to follow all of the guest authors for the series. You will find it here: http://bit.ly/grlUBa

AND I will be building a list of 28 Day participants on twitter as well. Use the hashtag #28Days in your tweets if you want to be added.

5) Remember that some posts will resonate more strongly with you than others. Many times I’ve found that the thing that I was certain had no value to me was the very thing that turned me around. So play through each day. You never know where it may lead you.

6) Stay the course. Somewhere about mid-way through this thing, people will start dropping off. It’s just what happens. Decide now that you won’t be one of those people.

7) Go easy on yourself. Yes I know I said decide, commit, step up. And I still mean that. I also know that change can be exhausting and doesn’t come as easily as we would like sometimes. You can’t force it; you can only allow it. And take really good care of your self in the process. 🙂

So now go get yourself all warmed up because tomorrow Les Mckeown is going to blow you away. I kid you not.

BRING IT!

P.S. If you aren’t already signed up and don’t want to miss out on  28 Days to Getting Your Sh*t Together, please sign up here.