Whose Rabbit Are You Chasing?

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Today’s guest post is by Josh Middleman, Co-Founder of Present Possibility, a company that helps people discover and develop their power through a focus on self-awareness, self-expression, gratitude and purpose, leaving them capable and confident to achieve their goals and face their challenges.

 

 

“There was not a moment to be lost: away went Alice like the wind, and was just in time to hear it say, as it turned a corner, ‘Oh my ears and whiskers, how late it’s getting!’”

– Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

 

Why do you chase the White Rabbit? Yes. You. The one reading these words. Why do you do it?

Seriously. Have you thought about what it is that you are chasing after in your career? Is it money? Prestige? Are you seeking greater control over events in your life, or possibly freedom?

So how’s that working out for you?

If you’re still reading this, you are either nodding your head in acknowledgement or beet red in anger. Either way you are willing to look at what you’re really out to accomplish with your career and I commend you for your curiosity.

Far too many of us are going through the motions in our career. We’re in a job because at some point we chose that job and we haven’t explored other options since. We’re on a particular track, maybe upper management, because that’s the way to “get ahead”.

And you know what, there’s nothing wrong with any of that.

Not everybody wants to jump from career to career and some people make excellent managers and executives. For most of us, however, we haven’t even given these questions a second thought. We have taken the path we’re on for granted and adopted its attendant goals as our own.

We’re chasing someone else’s rabbit!

This is a dangerous game. Before you know it you’ve spent years striving for a post higher up the chain – with all the attendant perks – only to get there and find that this isn’t what you love to do, excel at, or find worth sacrificing time away from family for. Just like Alice you’ve tumbled down the rabbit hole and embarked on a journey into the unfamiliar, unsettling and yet, I’m willing to wager, far less trippy.

What’s really at stake here is your happiness and fulfillment and, because how you show up in the world (mostly happy, sad, etc.) has a real impact on others, the happiness and fulfillment of your family, friends and everyone else who is close to you. Said another way, pursuing the career that produces the happiest and most fulfilled you, enables you to increase the well-being and contentment of all the people in your life!

In the end, it doesn’t matter what career path you choose for yourself, it only matters that you choose it for yourself. So chase the White Rabbit; just make sure it’s the one you want to be chasing.

To learn more about the captivating work Josh and his team are doing for clients to help them communicate with unparalleled clarity and lead others with confidence, visit Present Possibility’s website at http://www.PresentPossibility.com.

 

 

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6 Must-Have Foods for Optimal Creative Flow

 

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I’m often fascinated by how the foods we eat unlock the creativity and energy when we need it most. What if there a way we could almost call upon our most creative moments on demand, like when we’re on a deadline and need a big idea?

For the answer, I turned to Sheila Petersen, CHHC, AADP. As a Certified Holistic Health & Lifestyle Coach and graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, Sheila helps people nourish their bodies through food to experience weight loss, better mood, better sleep and sustainable energy.

When it comes to maximizing brain function and getting your creativity on, look no

further than these six ingredients that are simple to keep on hand at all times, no prep time needed and great to take on-the-go.


1. Coconut Water

Best known for hydration and healing hangovers, coconut water has a sweet, nutty taste. It contains easily digested carbohydrates in the form of sugar and electrolytes.

Not to be confused with high-fat coconut milk or oil, coconut water is a clear liquid in the fruit’s center that is tapped from young, green coconuts. This is a great alternative to water and better for you than sports drinks.


2. Avocado

Your body needs the right kind of fat, if you’re looking for optimal brain function. With its creamy texture and rich taste, this fruit is a nutritional powerhouse, providing numerous health benefits like monounsaturated fat or “good fat” which reduces levels of bad cholesterol in your blood and may lower your risk of heart disease and stroke. Other benefits include lowering cholesterol levels, reducing the risk of diabetes, promoting lower body weight, and preventing cancer. Use in place of mayonnaise to benefit from the good fat.


3. Berries

The antioxidants and other phytochemicals in blueberries alone have been linked to improvements in learning, thinking and memory. They’re also relatively low in sugar compared to other fruits, making them one of the healthier fruits available. If you live in an area where fresh fruit is not always in season, opt for frozen berries with no additives.


4. Bananas

Bananas are great for controlling blood sugar and can keep you from binging or over indulging at your next meal. Have one between meals. Bananas make you smarter and help with learning by making you more alert. Eat a banana before your next creative todo and benefit from the high levels of potassium.


5. Hemp Hearts

This is one of the most potent foods available, supporting optimal health and well being. Raw hemp provides a broad spectrum of health benefits, including: weight loss, increased and sustained energy, rapid recovery from disease or injury, lowered cholesterol and blood pressure, reduced inflammation, improvement in circulation and immune system as well as natural blood sugar control.


6. Greens

There are so many greens to choose from. Find greens that you love and eat them often. When you get bored with your favorites, be adventurous and try greens that you’ve never heard of before. Rotate between kale, collards, watercress, arugula, mesclun, spinach, swiss chard and more.


Creative Flow Smoothie Recipe

Ingredients:

1 cup Zico brand, coconut water

1/2 banana

1/2 avocado

1 cup berries

2 tablespoons Manitoba Harvest brand, hemp hearts

1 handful of your favorite greens

Instructions:

Add all ingredients in blender, blend and enjoy!

If you’re inspired by this topic, Sheila Petersen is committed to helping you take your life to the next level through her company, Life Elemental. Visit http://www.LifeElemental.com.

 

 

Fragile Marketing: Recognize The Symptoms

Donnie Bryant of Donnie Bryant Direct

Donnie Bryant of Donnie Bryant Direct Response Marketing

Today’s guest post is from Donnie Bryant of Donnie Bryant Direct Response Marketing. I’ve had many online conversations with Donnie and I always love interacting with him on multiple channels. In his view, marketing and copywriting isn’t a job but a calling. In addition to be quite talented, he’s just one of the most generous guys in the online universe I know and you can never have too many friends out there like him. – Dan

It’s possible to know everything about marketing techniques, strategies and tools and still be a marketing imbecile.

If you don’t understand what makes people tick, you don’t have much going for you. Marketing is about people, not methods. When business people miss this fact, the marketing they produce is usually pretty fragile. Always in danger of falling apart. Susceptible to defeat in the face of opposition or competition.

Fragile marketing is all around us. Here are 4 major symptoms — do your communications suffer from any of them?

1) Price-based messages are fragile
Unless you have no mailbox, TV or internet, you’ve probably seen dozens of advertisements for Black Friday “doorbuster” sales. Doorbusters take urgency to the extreme, offering uber-low prices to drive traffic to stores (or to a lesser extent, websites).

Don’t get me wrong; everyone loves a good deal. But consider the position you put yourself in when you put all your eggs in the low price basket. You have to be cheaper than Walmart. You have to compete with the preponderance of their commercials, too. Is that really the contest you want to participate in?

While this is true all year ’round, consumers (at least here in America) are practically programmed to shop at big box retailers for Black Friday and other commercialized holidays. The retailers spend millions of dollars broadcasting their bottom-basement prices to your customers. The deck is stacked against you.

Remedy
No matter what you sell, if you don’t a) offer something unique, b) make a more persuasive appeal, or c) develop a special relationship with your customers, you lose. Work on one or more (preferably all 3) of these.

2) Messages without “rewards” are fragile
As Howard Luck Gossage said, “Nobody reads ads. People read what interests them, and sometimes it’s an ad.” The only reason people will pay attention to your marketing message at all is if you tell them what’s in it for them. Ninety-nine percent of the time, they’re not interested in you or your product/service. They have a very limited amount of time in their day; why should they give any of it to you? You won’t earn their attention by talking about yourself or the features of the thing you sell.

Remedy
Make your customer the center of each of your marketing pieces. Most businesses get this wrong, focusing on whatever they love about their product or their company. Or they think making an interesting, funny ad will do the trick. But if the message never makes a connection between the product and the customer’s felt need, that message is fragile.

3) When you see potential customers as breathing bundles of raw biological desires, you’re messages end up being fragile
Yes, people buy for emotional reasons. (Just ask anyone who is looking to buy a house.)

Yes, they have desires that should be appealed to.

But don’t ever forget that your customers are human beings (we call it “ubuntu”). We all have values, morals and a sense of nobility. There’s a longing for connectedness and purpose in our hearts.

We love. We hope. We want our lives to matter.

Ignoring these realities can put you in a fragile position over the long term. A competitor who does more than scratch a prospect’s current itch, who presents something bigger than the satisfaction of an immediate physical need has the long-term advantage.

Remedy
Build a sense of community. Become associated with some cause your customers care about, or start your own. Share your “why” and your passion; they can be contagious and they create a bond with others who feel the same way.

4) If it isn’t obvious how to take action on your offer, there’s unnecessary fragility in your message

Remedy
Make it easy to buy. Don’t assume people will know what to do. Tell them to go to your website, call your phone number or whatever they have to do to take the next step. Don’t make them guess or hope they’ll figure it out.

Your Action Steps

1) Study the remedies to any of the symptoms you recognize in your own marketing.

2) Get some help if you’re not sure how to apply the remedies to your messages.

3) Whatever you do, don’t ignore these symptoms if you see them. Of course you have a million and one things going on, especially during the holiday season. All the more reason you should make sure you’re marketing is strong. Fragile marketing makes one more thing to worry about: weak sales!

To get in touch with Donnie Bryant, email db@donnie-bryant.com or call 312.450.9291.

Five Reasons You Should Help A Reporter Out

This guest post is written by Bridgette Outten, a journalist and publicity strategist with The Write Vision Group, Inc. As a print newspaper reporter, the number one question she was always asked was, “How do I get in the news?” Recognizing the need for training, The Write Vision Group, Inc. fills the gap between organizations that have good stories and news media that want to tell good stories. 

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Bridgette Outten, Write Vision Group

 

Social media and traditional media have officially intersected at the corner of amazing and awesome with the rising popularity of using social media sites to find or pitch news stories.

What this means is that you can Tweet a reporter your story idea — or find out what they are looking for via Facebook. A viral YouTube video can spark a story all its own and just the practice of Pinterest in various industries has spawned news spotlights all over.

I use such tools to get exposure for my clients — and they work.  If you’re ready to get publicity to generate more buzz about your business or organization here are five reasons you should subscribe to sites like Help A Reporter Out and Bill and Steve Harrison’s Reporter Connection :

  1. You can be proactive.  Don’t just wait around hoping that a reporter will contact you. These sites deliver lists full of reporters looking for stories and sources for their stories right to your inbox — and you can contact them directly.
  2. You can find out what’s hot in the news. I’m subscribed to several of these lists and you know what? As Pinterest gained popularity, I sure wished I was a Pinterest expert because they were in crazy demand. By getting a list of what reporters are looking for, you can determine if you’re knowledgeable about a hot topic. From there you can respond to reporters looking or send pitches based on your expertise to your own local media.
  3. You learn about media outlets you didn’t know existed. There are so many publications, blogs, radio shows and television shows out there. And you don’t know what you don’t know until you get that list and realize there is a blog specifically about people with pet rocks. And what do you know! You bought a pet rock last year.
  4. You learn what reporters are looking for. Many people have a general idea of what they think will make the news, but you can learn about what reporters are looking for when you’re receiving pitches straight from them. You’ll learn that TV reporters usually want you to be in the same city while a magazine reporter may do an interview by email.
  5. You learn how to hit a deadline. These reporters usually need the information fast. Learning how to craft a response to a pitch that’s due that same day only refines how succinctly you can describe your expertise. And that’s always great practice for your marketing.

The moral of the story? In may ways, social media is probably the best thing to happen to traditional media — opening up a world of sharing, pitching and promoting. Take advantage of it.

Mark your calendars now for Bridgette’s next workshop in February! 

Upcoming workshop in Chicago: Act Like A Publicist, Think Like A Reporter

If you:

  • Want to position yourself as an expert or community resource in your industry;
  • Need help pitching your stories to a reporter for coverage;
  • Could use media relations training to jumpstart your publicity plan…

You need to Act Like a Publicist, Think Like A Reporter. In our interactive workshop on Saturday, Feb. 23, 2013, you will learn:

  • 10 publicity strategies to get your news in the news — no stunts included;
  • 7 elements reporters look for when determining whether to cover your story;
  • How to get to strengthen your publicity plan — or get one started — and more.

The course will be taught by Bridgette Outten, journalist and publicity strategist with The Write Vision Group, Inc. Bridgette has been a reporter in Texas and Ohio and currently writes for AOL’s Patch.com. After working with her, clients have had mentions in local media outlets, such as TribLocal and Crain’s Business Chicago, as well as the national Ebony Magazine.

Save $50 on early bird rate, which ends Jan. 4. Click the flyer to purchase your ticket. Contact us with questions at bridgette@thewvg.com or 773-542-3895.

What a Shoplifter Taught Me About Branding

Today’s post is brought to you by guest blogger Rob Jager of Hedgehog Consulting. Rob is an incredibly gifted management consultant and I’ve personally used his services to help channel my agency’s vision into tangible results. I’ll be co-presenting with him on how you can do the same next Thursday the 3rd at the Chicagoland Chamber at 7:45am. The event is free.

I used to work in retail. In retail, it’s no secret people steal. Sometimes it’s the employees; sometimes it’s the customer. It really doesn’t matter, they both taught me something I didn’t know before.

First, most shoplifters have a look or habits they have. Talk to any Asset or Loss Prevention department and they’ll give you a name or a description of each specific person they’re watching for. In fact, they’ll tell you that the thief behaves the same way every time.

Second, I found out that if you approach a shoplifter, greet them, ask if you can help them with anything at all, they will usually dump what they’ve taken because they know you know…and once they’re found out, they want out (the only exceptions being the absolute pros, who will lie to your face and then take some more).

So what does that have to do with branding?

Well, every business attempts to brand itself in some way of another – through logos, slogans, and other visible things. What you don’t see are the things that are internal as well. This is the part we refer to as culture. How the company behaves in varying situations. This is just as much a part of brand as any message a business puts out. When I think of shoplifters, I think of how consistent their habits are between visits to different locations and how it’s their brand. Their style. Their culture.

So I would ask you, what is your brand? Your culture? Your style? If you have employees, as many do, will they behave in as consistent a manner as you? If not, it’s time to give them some stories to help them better understand you. And that’s what a shoplifter taught me about branding.

About The Author:

Rob Jager started Hedgehog Consulting to help business owners get the tools they need to make more money. He has worked in the retail industry for 14 years and three years in the Quick Serve Restaurant industry. His experience in retail and restaurant operations taught him techniques in management, profit and loss accountability, logistics, budgeting and planning, increasing sales, creating consistency in operations, and maximizing profitability.

His accomplishments include turning a losing business into a profitable business within 1 year; a significant feat considering the loss was $1M per year.  Other accomplishments include improving work environments, fixing broken systems, assisting in leadership development, and improving overall clarity of business.

Using his MBA, Rob has both the experience and the academic knowledge to understand how to make things happen. Rob is currently working on his PhD to further his knowledge in the area of Leadership and Organizational Change.