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6 Mistakes Entrepreneurs Make When Writing A Book

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You’re going to write a book. 40,000 words to go. Then the book goes to the editor, the typesetter, and the printer. Simple – right? Wrong.

Having worked with over 100 entrepreneurs on their books, I’ve found the writing and editing process rarely goes to plan. Content gets cut, reorganized and added. In four cases, I’ve even told clients to write new books.

After you’ve spent months waking up early, staying up late, squeezing your writing around family, friends and work; after you’ve said no to invitations, events and getaways; and after you’ve spent your hard-earned dollars on coaches and courses to help you put your knowledge on paper … you don’t want an editor telling you to start over.

So what can you do? Read on for the six mistakes entrepreneurs make when writing books and what you should do instead:

1. Choosing the wrong idea

You’re highly qualified in your field and have 15 years of experience but you’ve just started learning about a new area you’re really passionate about … and then your clients keep asking about something else entirely.

Most entrepreneurs choose an idea that only answers one of these areas. This is a recipe for disaster:

  • If you aren’t passionate about your idea, you’ll give up part way through.
  • If you aren’t knowledgeable about your idea, you’ll end up rambling and repeating yourself to bulk up your word count.
  • If you aren’t addressing your readers’ desires, no one will want to buy your book, and you’ll be left with a very expensive paperweight.

Instead, brainstorm until you find an idea that hits the sweet spot – the intersection between your knowledge, your passion and what your readers want.

“To produce a mighty book, you must choose a mighty theme.” – Herman Melville

2. Not choosing one type of book

Great books come in all shapes and sizes, and entrepreneurs usually write one of the following:

  • How-to books
  • Thought leadership books
  • Interview books
  • Memoirs

The problems start if you try to write a combination of all of them, which will result in a confused book with no clear purpose, or your editor cutting half of your content because it isn’t relevant. Instead, commit to one type of book before you start writing.

 

3. Failing to plan

Time and time again I see entrepreneurs getting stuck on their first drafts. Why? Because they have an idea for a book, then sit down in front of a blank Word document and rely on inspiration to provide the content.

Instead, plan your book!

  • Start with your book’s central idea – in one sentence, what’s your book about?
  • Brainstorm – get a blank piece of paper and write down your central idea. What other ideas does this sentence spur? Write down everything you can think of that’s related to your central idea.
  • Organize your brainstorming – review your scribbling and see if there are any common themes that come up. These ideas will become the main sections or chapters of your book.
  • Plan your chapters – brainstorm, organize and expand your ideas for each chapter. What do you need to cover to discuss the topic in detail?

 

4. Thinking they have a plan (when they don’t)

How can you think you have a plan when you don’t? They follow the first three steps of the planning process and then start writing. They have a central idea and five key areas they want to discuss. They’ve even organized these areas in a five-step process. Is that a plan? Not even close.

The purpose of a good plan is to guide every word you write. With a good plan you never need to worry about writer’s block, because you never have to come up with new ideas – they’re all laid out in front of you. You also never need to worry about the writing process stopping and starting, and taking months on end because, once again, everything you need to write is laid out in front of you.

A good plan takes the effort out of writing, because you’ve already done all the research, brainstorming and organization. Then all you need to do is expand your bullet points into full sentences.

Instead of relying on your chapter titles for inspiration, create a plan so detailed your book writes itself.

 

5. Including everything they’ve ever written

You’ve been in business for a few years now, and you have a slew of marketing content up your sleeve – brochures, flyers, blog posts, articles, interviews, case studies and more. Writing a book should be easy, right?

While using existing content is a great way to boost your word count, a big issue we see is clients who have copied and pasted entire blog posts or articles into their book when they don’t actually fit. And if it doesn’t fit, it often gets cut.

Instead, ask yourself:

  • Is the content directly related to your central idea?
  • Does your reader really need to know this?

It’s only when you can answer both questions with a ‘yes’ that the content should go into your book.

“It is the writer who might catch the imagination of young people, and plant a seed that will flower and come to fruition.” – Isaac Asimov

6. Not making time to write

I get it – you’re an entrepreneur and you spend all your waking hours doing client work, answering enquiries, completing quotes, catching up on admin, and more. You’re lucky enough to spend time with your family, let alone write a book! The truth is, you’re always going to be busy, and those who wait to find the time never get started.

Instead, you need to make the time to write. Get started with these tips:

  • Carry a notepad/phone with you at all times for when inspiration strikes.
  • Set a daily writing target, and don’t go to bed until you’ve written your words!
  • Remember this is a short-term challenge. You only need to make the time for the next four to six weeks, and then you’ll be ready to send your book to your editor!

 

Which mistake are you having the most trouble with when writing your book? Please leave your thoughts in the comment section below!

Jacqui Pretty is the Founder Grammar Factory, a writing and editing company that helps entrepreneurs write books that boost their businesses, as well as the author of Book Blueprint: How any entrepreneur can write an awesome book. She and her team have worked with over 100 authors and their clients have become Amazon bestsellers, gotten featured on national television, landed paid speaking engagements and doubled their revenue. In short, she has witnessed first-hand the power of publishing to transform a business.

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11 Comments

11 Comments

  1. Elaine Slatter

    May 7, 2016 at 12:08 am

    Great advice, Jacqui. I wrote a “how to” book for women who want to become entrepreneurs. I wrote every day and found that it became a daily “must do” before anything else. The more you write, the more you want to tell your story, so then you write more. Before you know it you are finished. The extra research on chapter topics took more time than I expected, but it was important to get it right.

  2. Michael

    Jan 4, 2016 at 6:39 pm

    Awesome advice Jacqui I wrote my first book and it was a total flop.I am in the process of writing a second book and this article will help me a lot to get this one right.

  3. Charlene Rhinehart

    Dec 22, 2015 at 7:56 am

    Thanks for writing this article, Jacqui! I’m writing my first book and I’m guilty of falling into the entrepreneur trap you mentioned. I’m inspired to set daily goals amd commit until it’s done. Thanks!

    • Jacqui Pretty

      Dec 22, 2015 at 11:07 pm

      Thanks Charlene, and good luck with your book!

  4. Ann_B

    Dec 21, 2015 at 12:16 pm

    ‘Repeating too much information from a previous successful publication’ can also make a point in the list. People want the next book to include new advice!

    • Jacqui Pretty

      Dec 22, 2015 at 11:07 pm

      That’s a great point, Ann. While referring to other publications and research can be a great way to add content and build your credibility, you do need to have an original take on the information to add value. Thanks for raising that!

  5. Tim Denning

    Dec 20, 2015 at 7:45 am

    Jacqui thanks for writing this article. I am writing a book right now and these tips are very useful. Keep doing what you’re doing!

    • Jacqui Pretty

      Dec 22, 2015 at 11:06 pm

      Thanks Tim – I’m glad you found it useful and best of luck with your book!

  6. Ethan Bridges

    Dec 17, 2015 at 9:38 am

    Hi Jacqui,

    I can’t answer your question yet, as the idea of writing a book only teases my mind for now.

    These are great tips. I see how specificity can nail it. Thank you!

  7. Ernie Ayon

    Dec 17, 2015 at 6:14 am

    Thanks! Awesome advice that couldn’t have come at a better time. I’m in the process of writing my first book and have learned a ton in these past few months. It’s quite the undertaking but luckily there are a lot of good resources to get started. The points you list here are great advice.

    • Jacqui Pretty

      Dec 17, 2015 at 6:18 am

      I’m glad you found it helpful, Ernie. Best of luck with your book!

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Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Success Advice

5 Neuroplasticity Exercises the Top 3% of the Happy and Successful Do

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Neuroplasticity Exercises

Neuroplasticity means you will no more have to wake up each morning with the dread of having to start a new day of which you already know the outcome. For decades, it’s been the same routine, you get up with negative feelings that your day will turnout just like the day before full of stress and discontent.

Whether it’s concerning your job/career, a relationship, finances, or health, you just know everything will go against you no matter what you do. You may have fallen into the trap of having a fixed mindset where you think your abilities to learn and accomplish more in your life are limited.

The truth is you may have limitations, but you can still envision better solutions. Your brain is ready and willing to go the extra mile to learn how to solve all the issues your facing in life but it’s that doubt, worry, and fear that continually creeps into the thought pattern which acts as the action killer.

Neuroplasticity isn’t some kind of new Play-Doh for kids, it’s the power your brain has to rejuvenate and create the life you want. Neuroplasticity – or brain plasticity – is the brain’s ability to modify its connections or rewire itself. Without this ability, any brain, not just the human brain, would be unable to develop from infancy through to adulthood. It has now been proven the brain continues to learn and rejuvenate itself as new data is received and stored.

You may say, “You’re just wired to be unhappy.” or “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” That’s the beliefs and train of thought our culture has today due to our primitive and out of date educational system along with the big corporation’s ideology.

“Brain plasticity is a two-way street. It’s just as easy to generate negative changes as positive ones.”

Here’s the eye-opening truth, you can change and rewire your brain for happiness and success We have habits that turn into beliefs which distort our perceptions of life and the world around us. Habits are strong persuaders to your actions in familiar areas of life so, when you disrupt those habits it sends the brain into a little chaos until change takes place.

That’s fantastic news because if we can create habits that distort our brain, we can also create habits that reveal and rejuvenate clear precise solutions to our challenging issues. So, how do you start retraining your brain for happiness and success?

Start changing habits to increase brain power with these proven neuroplasticity builders below:

1. Aerobic Exercises

A 60-minute intense workout gives the best results but just in case you’re not a fitness addict, taking a leisure stroll through the park will light up different parts of your brain and aid with neuroplasticity.

2. Reading a good book

If you hate sitting down and taking the time to read a good book or magazine, that’s fantastic because doing things you don’t like and are different stimulate your neurons to the max.

3. Playing games

It can be challenging on the brain to try and figure out all the winning strategies to become the champion in a board game. Nonetheless, these will really get the old brain juices flowing.

4. Anything out of the ordinary

Doing something out of the ordinary will trigger the brain plasticity you’re looking for. Things as simple as brushing your teeth with the opposite hand. If your right-handed start brushing with the left or vise-versa.

Learning is thought to be “neuro-protective.” Through neuroplasticity, learning increases connections between neurons, increases cellular metabolism, and increases the production of nerve growth factor, a substance produced by the body to help maintain and repair neurons.”

“Neuroplasticity provides us with a brain that can adapt not only to changes inflicted by damage, but allows adaptation to any and all experiences and changes we may encounter.”

5. Smile

Smiling starts your day off with a BANG and can give those brain cells of yours an extra boost anytime anywhere. It’s like taking a shot of super juice to overcome the stress, worry, and frustrations during the day.

In the mornings when you open those big beautiful sexy eyes of yours put on a smile from ear to ear on your face. This will trigger your brain to release the feel-good neurotransmitter dopamine.

Dopamine is classified as the happy chemical in neuroscience which has the ability to create a state of euphoria throughout your entire body in a matter of seconds. It vanquishes the feeling of stress, worry, and frustration immediately. The great thing is dopamine works every single time and it doesn’t matter if the smile is genuine or fake because the brain can’t distinguish the difference.

The bad thing is statistics show, adults only put a SMILE on their face an average of 4 times a day compared to child who SMILES an average of 400 times a day. If you want to rewire your brain for happiness and success while defusing stress, worry, and frustrations in your life daily it may be wise to start following the examples of our children.

Above are some exciting proven avenues to invigorate neuroplasticity to your brain functions and start living and loving life to the fullest on your own terms.

Would love to hear about your personal exercises being used to rejuvenate your brain for happiness and success in the comments below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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Success Advice

The 3 C’s of Leadership That Determines Your Success

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leadership

Have you caught the seasonal flu or a common cold this winter season? If so, you likely received advice to drink a glass of orange juice for the benefits associated with consuming Vitamin C. To repair an immune system that has been weakened by the common cold or flu, Vitamin C can provide the body with nutrition that can expedite recovery time. When it comes to exhibiting positive leadership behaviors there exists three qualities that also begin with the letter “C” and are helpful.  

To receive the Vitamin C’s of leadership, you must start with a desire to improve. One camp might endorse that you find mentorship from a senior colleague. Another person or group may recommend that you spend more time reading articles or books discussing leadership experiences and advice. With either point of origin, it can open a path to growth and improvement as a leader. However, you chose to proceed with the second inquiry which is why you are here!

We often believe that leadership is a cumbersome and daunting process. It can be difficult, but if we are strategic about cultivating a few characteristics, the mountain to positive impact is a little more feasible to climb. From school teachers and administrators to business executives and their employees, I have found that all great leaders possess a minimum of three dominant characteristics.

These three dominant features can provide an individual with the strength to continue during the difficult times that often accompany leadership; they are similar to the Vitamin C that can make you feel better when battling a cold or the flu.

Enough already, what are the Vitamin C’s of leadership and success? See below:

1. Confidence

Leaders believe in themselves and the people they serve. This positive self-awareness or confidence that effective leaders have, often radiates in every aspect of their work from communication with others to informed decisions. One strategy you can use to develop confidence is the commitment to being the first one to speak during a meeting or class. Successful leaders are willing to express themselves in a variety of capacities, even when they may possess less common viewpoints or modes of behavior.

“A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.” – John C. Maxwell

2. Competency

Building on the importance of confidence, effective leadership is about being able to create a personal development plan that consistently encourages you to improve. Some of the most revered leaders in our society, strategically make time to read daily. Warren Buffett and Oprah Winfrey are two of the most common examples of this relentless thirst for knowledge.

They have committed to life-long learning that continues, despite reaching nearly every financial and business goal possible. To become more competent, you can create a schedule that allows for the investment in activities such as reading articles and books to stay informed.

3. Charisma

You might call it SWAG or a gift, but the ability to attract other people who support you and your work are essential. It is not necessary to resemble a supermodel to get people to like you, but you do need to carry yourself with a certain level of pride to effectively encourage others to follow your advice and instructions.

Charisma is a byproduct of possessing confidence in yourself to serve as a useful leader. You can build more charisma in your life, by being more mindful to genuinely listen and respond to your colleagues, family, and friends in conversations. Don’t allow yourself to become intimidated by the responsibilities that can come with the roles of a leader.

“I attract a crowd, not because I’m an extrovert or I’m over the top or I’m oozing with charisma. It’s because I care.” – Gary Vaynerchuk

In many cases, you would not be in the position to earn followers without the necessary qualifications or skill set. Excelling in leadership is possible for you when you are consistent with tapping into the power of the Vitamin C’s of leadership and success.

Confidence, Competency, and Charisma can offer a bountiful number of resources to serve others in authoritative roles of professional and personal environments. Confident leaders believe in themselves, their products, and their services. Competent leaders commit to a lifetime of learning. Charismatic leaders make use of their confidence to attract other people who can support the vision of a group or individual. With the engagement of consistent activities and the reinforcement from positive examples of leadership, nothing is impossible for you to achieve!

How do you display confidence, competency, and charisma on a daily basis with people? Let us know your advice below!

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Success Advice

10 Amazing Leadership Lessons From Design Thinking

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design thinking leadership

Leadership is a challenging proposition in a world of disruptions and changes due to the rate of change being overwhelming. How do leaders cope with constant changes, enormous expectations and an unpredictable future? Well, a lot of the top organisations including Pepsi, Nike, Apple and Google use Design Thinking for leadership matters.

Design thinking is coming up with visual patterns that lead to the desired solutions. In other words, it is about connecting the dots to come up with solutions to practical problems that you want to solve. The Design thinking approach is widely appreciated and adopted by leaders around the globe.

Below, we look at 10 intriguing leadership lessons from design thinking:

1. Solution Focused Approach

Design thinking helps leaders to develop a solution centric mindset. The emphasis is on identifying and defining the core problem and then arriving at the best solution. Corporates and teams are looking for leaders who have a solution focused approach. The best leaders understand that they create value by offering solutions to complex problems. They resolve conflicts, solve problems and relish the idea of making the difference.

2. Connect the Dots

Leaders need to look at the complete picture for connecting and correlating things. Design thinking provides visualisation of the problem, constraints, desired solution and complete picture of things. It is a great way leaders can visualise abstract concepts. Leaders can use visual mapping of the assumptions, constraints, existing state and the goal state to align their teams in the right direction.

3. Empathy & Inclusiveness

Leadership starts with empathy. To earn the respect of your team, clients and other people involved, it is important to show empathy and understand their needs. When you care for your team, customers and other stakeholders, they in turn care for you. Design thinking starts with the end users in mind; it creates a thinking framework where you build empathy and inclusiveness.

4. Constant Improvement with Regular Feedback

The design thinking methodology involves iterations and user feedback for continuous improvement of products and services. Feedback is crucial for growth and improvement. Also, what works today may not work tomorrow thus it is important for leaders to touch base with ground reality and ensure consistent improvements. A leader needs to provide constant feedback for improvement of products, services and individuals. Consistent improvement and a growth mindset is crucial for success.

“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.” – Maya Angelou

5. Open Mindedness

Design thinking encourages experiments, creativity and innovation. When working on different concepts and ideas, leaders need to be open minded which helps create an environment of learning and experimentation. They build individuals and teams that take pride in their work. Open minded leaders are continuously seeking ways to improve things, because they welcome divergent ideas that may challenge or stretch them with an open mind.

6. Empower Team and Create Synergy

Design thinking empowers everyone to contribute effectively. It encourages the teams to work collaboratively and creates a synergising effect. When everyone has a say during the development of a product or service, teams feel empowered. The team feels accountable for results and takes complete ownership of things. Leaders can use design thinking for listening to people, getting them to contribute ideas, and empowering them with opportunities to make a difference.

7. Sense of Purpose

In an era of distractions, it is hard for teams to stay focused. People are more focused and productive when they know what they are doing and why they are doing it. Leaders can use design thinking for clarity and articulating their vision. A great leader effectively communicates the purpose & mission of their work to connect everyone. Teams are more likely to achieve their goals when they are given clear and consistent messages.

8. Dealing with Uncertainties

Dealing with change is hard. It gets even harder when you don’t know what is going to change. In the technology driven world, companies need to be well prepared to face competition not just from the competitors but also from digital innovations. With design thinking leaders can evaluate options, see the complete picture of things and choose the best options. Design thinking is a strategy that relies on iterations, feedback and constant improvement to deal with the changing times.

“Uncertainty and expectation are the joys of life. Security is an insipid thing.” -. William Congreve

9. Decisiveness

A leader needs to make decisions all the time. Some of these decisions are crucial in shaping the lives of individuals and organisations. Design thinking helps leaders to improve their decision making by offering alternatives and complete visualisation of information. Leaders can overcome biases and take informed decisions when they are presented with alternatives. Design thinking is now being employed by corporates in different areas of their company to make strategic decisions.

10. Persistence

Great leaders are persistent and never give up their pursuit until they reach their goals. Design thinking is a journey that requires persistence. It is an ongoing process to reach excellence. It is a process that teaches leaders to observe incremental additions, iterate and persist till the desired solution is achieved.

Leaders are learners. They learn from the past, keep an eye on the present and evolve with changing demands of the future. Design thinking is playing an increasingly vital role in creating more effective leaders. These leaders are capable of building strong teams, solve complex problems, show empathy and constantly improvise to unleash great value for everyone involved. Design thinking is a sure fire way for leaders to ensure that the sum total of the team is greater than the sum of their individual parts.

How will you use design thinking for your own business or job? Let us know in the comments below!

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Success Advice

What If You Never Took Another Selfie Again?

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That’s the question I want you to ponder right now.

What if taking a selfie only made the world ignore you?
What if life is not all about you?
What if no one cares who you took a photo with?

And finally, how did we ever live without selfies before the front-facing camera got invented?

Instead of taking a selfie do this:

Try focusing on other people.
Try not to document every moment.
Try to think about life before selfies.

We all take selfies because that’s what we were told to do.
And that’s exactly why we need to question this habitual flaw that we’re now indulging in.

 

I have A/B tested selfies vs. no selfies.

The result? When I took photos of cool stuff like mountains in Japan and shared a profound thought, people liked that more than a selfie with my overly large head in it. I’ve done this test multiple times over the last few years.

The result is always the same. People are over you and your selfies.

 

It’s not about “I” it’s about “We.”

Sounds cliché, and that’s because most brilliant advice is.

Selfies have deluded us into thinking that life is about us and our big audacious goals. Where life will change for you is when you focus on the “We.”

Everything I write is for the audience I want to inspire. It’s not to show off or to share dumb selfies of me in a weak attempt to appear superior.

 

Selfies cause your followers to compare themselves to you.

And that’s not fair. If each of us tried to be the same, then society would be pretty dull.

“We don’t need a selfie to teach us how to copy each other and be jealous little so-and-sos who want to win a beauty pagan of nothingness”

You’re so much better than a selfie.

I believe you care about your followers so let’s stop drowning them in selfies. Selfies are proving nothing to no one. Selfies stop you from standing out in the crowd and inspiring others.

 

The time you spend “selfieing” could be used for…..

Enjoying this current moment and the breath you have in your lungs. One day that breath is going to stop and all that time selfieing won’t matter. You’re literally using up magical moments trying to take a hundred selfies that you filter and post, hoping for perfection.

Perfection is ugly.

“Right now, is the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen if you’ll only stop selfieing and notice it”

 

Life before selfies….

Life was much the same. The selfie didn’t put us on Cloud 9 with a bunch of our fantasies and an unlimited amount of cash being shot up into the sky via an air cannon.

Life before selfies was fun.
We ate our food instead of looking at it with our phones and letting it get cold.
We had phenomenal conversations with our friends instead of taking endless, mindless selfies.

Life before selfies was not about one’s self.
You took photos of other people. Often, you took two photos max instead of fifty in a row.

I’d like you to imagine a life without selfies.

What does the selfie really mean to you and can you live without it?

If you want to increase your productivity and learn some more valuable life hacks, then join my private mailing list on timdenning.net

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Success Advice

5 Neuroplasticity Exercises the Top 3% of the Happy and Successful Do

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Neuroplasticity Exercises

Neuroplasticity means you will no more have to wake up each morning with the dread of having to start a new day of which you already know the outcome. For decades, it’s been the same routine, you get up with negative feelings that your day will turnout just like the day before full of stress and discontent. (more…)

Gregory (a.k.a. Pappi) Henderson, started the journey to discover the elements to the Lost Art of Happiness which opened doors to eye-opening ancient wisdom practices and the results found by cutting-edge neuroscience research. Today, you can receive this jaw-dropping evidence that happiness and success are a choice and are in your hands by joining him at http://happipappi.com. As you will see first hand, the practices he has implemented himself and has taught to individuals around the world who achieve the same positive insane results, http://happipappi.com/about/.

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11 Comments

11 Comments

  1. Elaine Slatter

    May 7, 2016 at 12:08 am

    Great advice, Jacqui. I wrote a “how to” book for women who want to become entrepreneurs. I wrote every day and found that it became a daily “must do” before anything else. The more you write, the more you want to tell your story, so then you write more. Before you know it you are finished. The extra research on chapter topics took more time than I expected, but it was important to get it right.

  2. Michael

    Jan 4, 2016 at 6:39 pm

    Awesome advice Jacqui I wrote my first book and it was a total flop.I am in the process of writing a second book and this article will help me a lot to get this one right.

  3. Charlene Rhinehart

    Dec 22, 2015 at 7:56 am

    Thanks for writing this article, Jacqui! I’m writing my first book and I’m guilty of falling into the entrepreneur trap you mentioned. I’m inspired to set daily goals amd commit until it’s done. Thanks!

    • Jacqui Pretty

      Dec 22, 2015 at 11:07 pm

      Thanks Charlene, and good luck with your book!

  4. Ann_B

    Dec 21, 2015 at 12:16 pm

    ‘Repeating too much information from a previous successful publication’ can also make a point in the list. People want the next book to include new advice!

    • Jacqui Pretty

      Dec 22, 2015 at 11:07 pm

      That’s a great point, Ann. While referring to other publications and research can be a great way to add content and build your credibility, you do need to have an original take on the information to add value. Thanks for raising that!

  5. Tim Denning

    Dec 20, 2015 at 7:45 am

    Jacqui thanks for writing this article. I am writing a book right now and these tips are very useful. Keep doing what you’re doing!

    • Jacqui Pretty

      Dec 22, 2015 at 11:06 pm

      Thanks Tim – I’m glad you found it useful and best of luck with your book!

  6. Ethan Bridges

    Dec 17, 2015 at 9:38 am

    Hi Jacqui,

    I can’t answer your question yet, as the idea of writing a book only teases my mind for now.

    These are great tips. I see how specificity can nail it. Thank you!

  7. Ernie Ayon

    Dec 17, 2015 at 6:14 am

    Thanks! Awesome advice that couldn’t have come at a better time. I’m in the process of writing my first book and have learned a ton in these past few months. It’s quite the undertaking but luckily there are a lot of good resources to get started. The points you list here are great advice.

    • Jacqui Pretty

      Dec 17, 2015 at 6:18 am

      I’m glad you found it helpful, Ernie. Best of luck with your book!

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Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Success Advice

5 Neuroplasticity Exercises the Top 3% of the Happy and Successful Do

Published

on

Neuroplasticity Exercises

Neuroplasticity means you will no more have to wake up each morning with the dread of having to start a new day of which you already know the outcome. For decades, it’s been the same routine, you get up with negative feelings that your day will turnout just like the day before full of stress and discontent.

Whether it’s concerning your job/career, a relationship, finances, or health, you just know everything will go against you no matter what you do. You may have fallen into the trap of having a fixed mindset where you think your abilities to learn and accomplish more in your life are limited.

The truth is you may have limitations, but you can still envision better solutions. Your brain is ready and willing to go the extra mile to learn how to solve all the issues your facing in life but it’s that doubt, worry, and fear that continually creeps into the thought pattern which acts as the action killer.

Neuroplasticity isn’t some kind of new Play-Doh for kids, it’s the power your brain has to rejuvenate and create the life you want. Neuroplasticity – or brain plasticity – is the brain’s ability to modify its connections or rewire itself. Without this ability, any brain, not just the human brain, would be unable to develop from infancy through to adulthood. It has now been proven the brain continues to learn and rejuvenate itself as new data is received and stored.

You may say, “You’re just wired to be unhappy.” or “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” That’s the beliefs and train of thought our culture has today due to our primitive and out of date educational system along with the big corporation’s ideology.

“Brain plasticity is a two-way street. It’s just as easy to generate negative changes as positive ones.”

Here’s the eye-opening truth, you can change and rewire your brain for happiness and success We have habits that turn into beliefs which distort our perceptions of life and the world around us. Habits are strong persuaders to your actions in familiar areas of life so, when you disrupt those habits it sends the brain into a little chaos until change takes place.

That’s fantastic news because if we can create habits that distort our brain, we can also create habits that reveal and rejuvenate clear precise solutions to our challenging issues. So, how do you start retraining your brain for happiness and success?

Start changing habits to increase brain power with these proven neuroplasticity builders below:

1. Aerobic Exercises

A 60-minute intense workout gives the best results but just in case you’re not a fitness addict, taking a leisure stroll through the park will light up different parts of your brain and aid with neuroplasticity.

2. Reading a good book

If you hate sitting down and taking the time to read a good book or magazine, that’s fantastic because doing things you don’t like and are different stimulate your neurons to the max.

3. Playing games

It can be challenging on the brain to try and figure out all the winning strategies to become the champion in a board game. Nonetheless, these will really get the old brain juices flowing.

4. Anything out of the ordinary

Doing something out of the ordinary will trigger the brain plasticity you’re looking for. Things as simple as brushing your teeth with the opposite hand. If your right-handed start brushing with the left or vise-versa.

Learning is thought to be “neuro-protective.” Through neuroplasticity, learning increases connections between neurons, increases cellular metabolism, and increases the production of nerve growth factor, a substance produced by the body to help maintain and repair neurons.”

“Neuroplasticity provides us with a brain that can adapt not only to changes inflicted by damage, but allows adaptation to any and all experiences and changes we may encounter.”

5. Smile

Smiling starts your day off with a BANG and can give those brain cells of yours an extra boost anytime anywhere. It’s like taking a shot of super juice to overcome the stress, worry, and frustrations during the day.

In the mornings when you open those big beautiful sexy eyes of yours put on a smile from ear to ear on your face. This will trigger your brain to release the feel-good neurotransmitter dopamine.

Dopamine is classified as the happy chemical in neuroscience which has the ability to create a state of euphoria throughout your entire body in a matter of seconds. It vanquishes the feeling of stress, worry, and frustration immediately. The great thing is dopamine works every single time and it doesn’t matter if the smile is genuine or fake because the brain can’t distinguish the difference.

The bad thing is statistics show, adults only put a SMILE on their face an average of 4 times a day compared to child who SMILES an average of 400 times a day. If you want to rewire your brain for happiness and success while defusing stress, worry, and frustrations in your life daily it may be wise to start following the examples of our children.

Above are some exciting proven avenues to invigorate neuroplasticity to your brain functions and start living and loving life to the fullest on your own terms.

Would love to hear about your personal exercises being used to rejuvenate your brain for happiness and success in the comments below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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Success Advice

The 3 C’s of Leadership That Determines Your Success

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leadership

Have you caught the seasonal flu or a common cold this winter season? If so, you likely received advice to drink a glass of orange juice for the benefits associated with consuming Vitamin C. To repair an immune system that has been weakened by the common cold or flu, Vitamin C can provide the body with nutrition that can expedite recovery time. When it comes to exhibiting positive leadership behaviors there exists three qualities that also begin with the letter “C” and are helpful.  

To receive the Vitamin C’s of leadership, you must start with a desire to improve. One camp might endorse that you find mentorship from a senior colleague. Another person or group may recommend that you spend more time reading articles or books discussing leadership experiences and advice. With either point of origin, it can open a path to growth and improvement as a leader. However, you chose to proceed with the second inquiry which is why you are here!

We often believe that leadership is a cumbersome and daunting process. It can be difficult, but if we are strategic about cultivating a few characteristics, the mountain to positive impact is a little more feasible to climb. From school teachers and administrators to business executives and their employees, I have found that all great leaders possess a minimum of three dominant characteristics.

These three dominant features can provide an individual with the strength to continue during the difficult times that often accompany leadership; they are similar to the Vitamin C that can make you feel better when battling a cold or the flu.

Enough already, what are the Vitamin C’s of leadership and success? See below:

1. Confidence

Leaders believe in themselves and the people they serve. This positive self-awareness or confidence that effective leaders have, often radiates in every aspect of their work from communication with others to informed decisions. One strategy you can use to develop confidence is the commitment to being the first one to speak during a meeting or class. Successful leaders are willing to express themselves in a variety of capacities, even when they may possess less common viewpoints or modes of behavior.

“A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.” – John C. Maxwell

2. Competency

Building on the importance of confidence, effective leadership is about being able to create a personal development plan that consistently encourages you to improve. Some of the most revered leaders in our society, strategically make time to read daily. Warren Buffett and Oprah Winfrey are two of the most common examples of this relentless thirst for knowledge.

They have committed to life-long learning that continues, despite reaching nearly every financial and business goal possible. To become more competent, you can create a schedule that allows for the investment in activities such as reading articles and books to stay informed.

3. Charisma

You might call it SWAG or a gift, but the ability to attract other people who support you and your work are essential. It is not necessary to resemble a supermodel to get people to like you, but you do need to carry yourself with a certain level of pride to effectively encourage others to follow your advice and instructions.

Charisma is a byproduct of possessing confidence in yourself to serve as a useful leader. You can build more charisma in your life, by being more mindful to genuinely listen and respond to your colleagues, family, and friends in conversations. Don’t allow yourself to become intimidated by the responsibilities that can come with the roles of a leader.

“I attract a crowd, not because I’m an extrovert or I’m over the top or I’m oozing with charisma. It’s because I care.” – Gary Vaynerchuk

In many cases, you would not be in the position to earn followers without the necessary qualifications or skill set. Excelling in leadership is possible for you when you are consistent with tapping into the power of the Vitamin C’s of leadership and success.

Confidence, Competency, and Charisma can offer a bountiful number of resources to serve others in authoritative roles of professional and personal environments. Confident leaders believe in themselves, their products, and their services. Competent leaders commit to a lifetime of learning. Charismatic leaders make use of their confidence to attract other people who can support the vision of a group or individual. With the engagement of consistent activities and the reinforcement from positive examples of leadership, nothing is impossible for you to achieve!

How do you display confidence, competency, and charisma on a daily basis with people? Let us know your advice below!

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Success Advice

10 Amazing Leadership Lessons From Design Thinking

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design thinking leadership

Leadership is a challenging proposition in a world of disruptions and changes due to the rate of change being overwhelming. How do leaders cope with constant changes, enormous expectations and an unpredictable future? Well, a lot of the top organisations including Pepsi, Nike, Apple and Google use Design Thinking for leadership matters.

Design thinking is coming up with visual patterns that lead to the desired solutions. In other words, it is about connecting the dots to come up with solutions to practical problems that you want to solve. The Design thinking approach is widely appreciated and adopted by leaders around the globe.

Below, we look at 10 intriguing leadership lessons from design thinking:

1. Solution Focused Approach

Design thinking helps leaders to develop a solution centric mindset. The emphasis is on identifying and defining the core problem and then arriving at the best solution. Corporates and teams are looking for leaders who have a solution focused approach. The best leaders understand that they create value by offering solutions to complex problems. They resolve conflicts, solve problems and relish the idea of making the difference.

2. Connect the Dots

Leaders need to look at the complete picture for connecting and correlating things. Design thinking provides visualisation of the problem, constraints, desired solution and complete picture of things. It is a great way leaders can visualise abstract concepts. Leaders can use visual mapping of the assumptions, constraints, existing state and the goal state to align their teams in the right direction.

3. Empathy & Inclusiveness

Leadership starts with empathy. To earn the respect of your team, clients and other people involved, it is important to show empathy and understand their needs. When you care for your team, customers and other stakeholders, they in turn care for you. Design thinking starts with the end users in mind; it creates a thinking framework where you build empathy and inclusiveness.

4. Constant Improvement with Regular Feedback

The design thinking methodology involves iterations and user feedback for continuous improvement of products and services. Feedback is crucial for growth and improvement. Also, what works today may not work tomorrow thus it is important for leaders to touch base with ground reality and ensure consistent improvements. A leader needs to provide constant feedback for improvement of products, services and individuals. Consistent improvement and a growth mindset is crucial for success.

“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.” – Maya Angelou

5. Open Mindedness

Design thinking encourages experiments, creativity and innovation. When working on different concepts and ideas, leaders need to be open minded which helps create an environment of learning and experimentation. They build individuals and teams that take pride in their work. Open minded leaders are continuously seeking ways to improve things, because they welcome divergent ideas that may challenge or stretch them with an open mind.

6. Empower Team and Create Synergy

Design thinking empowers everyone to contribute effectively. It encourages the teams to work collaboratively and creates a synergising effect. When everyone has a say during the development of a product or service, teams feel empowered. The team feels accountable for results and takes complete ownership of things. Leaders can use design thinking for listening to people, getting them to contribute ideas, and empowering them with opportunities to make a difference.

7. Sense of Purpose

In an era of distractions, it is hard for teams to stay focused. People are more focused and productive when they know what they are doing and why they are doing it. Leaders can use design thinking for clarity and articulating their vision. A great leader effectively communicates the purpose & mission of their work to connect everyone. Teams are more likely to achieve their goals when they are given clear and consistent messages.

8. Dealing with Uncertainties

Dealing with change is hard. It gets even harder when you don’t know what is going to change. In the technology driven world, companies need to be well prepared to face competition not just from the competitors but also from digital innovations. With design thinking leaders can evaluate options, see the complete picture of things and choose the best options. Design thinking is a strategy that relies on iterations, feedback and constant improvement to deal with the changing times.

“Uncertainty and expectation are the joys of life. Security is an insipid thing.” -. William Congreve

9. Decisiveness

A leader needs to make decisions all the time. Some of these decisions are crucial in shaping the lives of individuals and organisations. Design thinking helps leaders to improve their decision making by offering alternatives and complete visualisation of information. Leaders can overcome biases and take informed decisions when they are presented with alternatives. Design thinking is now being employed by corporates in different areas of their company to make strategic decisions.

10. Persistence

Great leaders are persistent and never give up their pursuit until they reach their goals. Design thinking is a journey that requires persistence. It is an ongoing process to reach excellence. It is a process that teaches leaders to observe incremental additions, iterate and persist till the desired solution is achieved.

Leaders are learners. They learn from the past, keep an eye on the present and evolve with changing demands of the future. Design thinking is playing an increasingly vital role in creating more effective leaders. These leaders are capable of building strong teams, solve complex problems, show empathy and constantly improvise to unleash great value for everyone involved. Design thinking is a sure fire way for leaders to ensure that the sum total of the team is greater than the sum of their individual parts.

How will you use design thinking for your own business or job? Let us know in the comments below!

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Success Advice

What If You Never Took Another Selfie Again?

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That’s the question I want you to ponder right now.

What if taking a selfie only made the world ignore you?
What if life is not all about you?
What if no one cares who you took a photo with?

And finally, how did we ever live without selfies before the front-facing camera got invented?

Instead of taking a selfie do this:

Try focusing on other people.
Try not to document every moment.
Try to think about life before selfies.

We all take selfies because that’s what we were told to do.
And that’s exactly why we need to question this habitual flaw that we’re now indulging in.

 

I have A/B tested selfies vs. no selfies.

The result? When I took photos of cool stuff like mountains in Japan and shared a profound thought, people liked that more than a selfie with my overly large head in it. I’ve done this test multiple times over the last few years.

The result is always the same. People are over you and your selfies.

 

It’s not about “I” it’s about “We.”

Sounds cliché, and that’s because most brilliant advice is.

Selfies have deluded us into thinking that life is about us and our big audacious goals. Where life will change for you is when you focus on the “We.”

Everything I write is for the audience I want to inspire. It’s not to show off or to share dumb selfies of me in a weak attempt to appear superior.

 

Selfies cause your followers to compare themselves to you.

And that’s not fair. If each of us tried to be the same, then society would be pretty dull.

“We don’t need a selfie to teach us how to copy each other and be jealous little so-and-sos who want to win a beauty pagan of nothingness”

You’re so much better than a selfie.

I believe you care about your followers so let’s stop drowning them in selfies. Selfies are proving nothing to no one. Selfies stop you from standing out in the crowd and inspiring others.

 

The time you spend “selfieing” could be used for…..

Enjoying this current moment and the breath you have in your lungs. One day that breath is going to stop and all that time selfieing won’t matter. You’re literally using up magical moments trying to take a hundred selfies that you filter and post, hoping for perfection.

Perfection is ugly.

“Right now, is the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen if you’ll only stop selfieing and notice it”

 

Life before selfies….

Life was much the same. The selfie didn’t put us on Cloud 9 with a bunch of our fantasies and an unlimited amount of cash being shot up into the sky via an air cannon.

Life before selfies was fun.
We ate our food instead of looking at it with our phones and letting it get cold.
We had phenomenal conversations with our friends instead of taking endless, mindless selfies.

Life before selfies was not about one’s self.
You took photos of other people. Often, you took two photos max instead of fifty in a row.

I’d like you to imagine a life without selfies.

What does the selfie really mean to you and can you live without it?

If you want to increase your productivity and learn some more valuable life hacks, then join my private mailing list on timdenning.net

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