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7 Easy Ways To Start Moving Towards Your Dreams Today

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You have a picture of what you would like your life to be, and it excites you. The picture of your perfect dream life consumes your every waking moment, and it keeps you up at night wondering “what if?”—but it just seems too far off to ever become a reality.

We all want to live the life of our dreams, but so few of us are at that stage in our life right now. We don’t want to fully take the leap into pursuing our passions because we don’t want to lose the security of a steady paycheck, and we’re scared of the unknown. What frustrates us most is we just don’t know what steps we can take to pursue our dream life now, rather than later.

What if you could start living your dream life now, instead of waiting until a “better” time—would you take the opportunity then?

Here are seven ways to help you start moving towards your dreams today, instead of waiting until a “better” time around the corner:

1. Realize you’re just as talented and capable as others

We’re all humans, and we all have our strong points. Find your strengths and capitalize on them to avoid running into constant brick walls, and above all be persistent—that’s key! Your dream life is possible. Reminding yourself of your inner greatness every day you can feel more confident about pursuing your dreams even when it would be easier to stop.

 “If you can dream it, you can do it.” – Walt Disney 

2. Develop a mantra relevant to your own success

Muhammad Ali’s was “I am the greatest,” and did anyone question him? Every morning I wake up and tell myself “I’m a writer, and writers write,” because if I didn’t do it then who would? My mantra helps affirm my belief in myself, which allows me to step into my power and tackle my goals with a newfound energy every day. Each day you wake up, ask yourself where your strengths are, and how they make you great—and use your answers to fuel your path to success.

 

3. Personalize your life plan

In their book Living Forward, Michael Hyatt and Daniel Harkavy urge their readers to develop a life plan that symbolizes the life they want to live and the steps they need to take to get there. By developing a concrete life plan that’s unique to you and your goals, you’ll prevent yourself from reaching burn-out and losing sight of the end-game you have in mind throughout your day-to-day life. You can also review your plan on a weekly basis to remind yourself of the steps you need to take today towards your dreams, as this will help you visualize your own future success and keep you on track.

 

4. Embrace the power of baby steps

Don’t get consumed by doubt and lose sight of your plan by focusing on the larger scope of your dreams. Instead refine your path and always move forward in whatever ways you can every day, no matter what. Your dreams don’t have to become unwieldy and untouchable, no matter how big they are. Little steps can help you reach your goals even while working a full-time job, regardless of how small they may seem at the time.

 

5. Always show gratitude

Never forget the precious gift of life, and the possibilities that it presents to all of us every day of our lives. You always need to stay positive and remain thankful for yourself and others around you. This will help you keep a positive outlook when the going gets tough and it can prevent you from losing sight of your goal when you’d rather quit.

 

6. Meditate on your successes

Think about your version of your ideal self, and always think about how you can move your current self closer to your dream goals. What have you done that’s worked for you in the past, and what could you do better in the future? Reflecting on your life plan every day can help you keep a laser-focus on your dreams, especially when the going gets tough. This will remind you of the progress you’ve made towards your eventual dream life.

 

7. Embrace the power of your ideas

You always have the power to change the world around you, but first you have to step into the shoes that were made for you to wear all along. Your dreams matter, and you can be your dream self if you only try and never, ever give up—because despite your failures, every single step you take towards your dreams are small wins and they never stop counting towards your bigger dream goals.

I know you have that one thing that keeps you up at night, deep inside of you. But before you can achieve it, you have to believe in the power of your dreams yourself and know that they’re not far-fetched, despite how far away they seem right now.

“I’m open for possibilities. I’m open for choices. I always welcome new ideas. I’m always eager to learn. I’m never going to close my mind from learning.” – Cesar Millan

You can’t allow the candle of your dreams to burn out, because if you do then you’re admitting they don’t matter.Even if they do burn out, it’s never too late to light them back up again—because despite what people may tell you, your dreams aren’t small or insignificant.

How will you start moving towards your dreams today? Please leave your thoughts in the comment section below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

"Blake Powell helps writers step into their creative power and start living the life of their dreams. You can downloadThe Bulletproof Writer’s Handbook for free today to learn how to supercharge your writing and conquer the blank page once and for all."

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21 Comments

21 Comments

  1. transformice

    Aug 1, 2017 at 8:47 am

    Valuable info. Lucky me I found your website by accident. I bookmarked it. This article is genuinely good and I have learned lot of things from it concerning blogging. thanks.

  2. maya breeze

    May 16, 2016 at 7:17 am

    hi blake – i love the post … i also think if we will dare to dream (and to bring it) we will discover our way . i think we like to think we dare, but the word is a verb, and it has a few meanings :

    1. to have the necessary courage or boldness for something; be bold enough:
    2. to have the boldness to try; venture; hazard.
    3. to meet defiantly; face courageously.
    4. to challenge or provoke (a person) into a demonstration of courage

    what if we had the courage to actually dare ourselves …

    thoreau said:

    … if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams,
    and endeavors to live the life he has imagined,
    he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.

    ours is to dream it and to bring it … how and when are not up to us. we must make of our own selves the desire of the dream, and then be enough (in ourselves) to dare to live it.

    thanks again – i love the idea that we are told by wayshowers that we can, and that we are able to be in life as we wish …
    maya

    • Blake Powell

      May 20, 2016 at 1:27 am

      Hey Maya, thanks so much for your comment. Sorry for the late reply.

      I think as you say, having the dream in place is important but daring to take action on that impulse is equally as important to that. A lot of what you say is similar to what Napoleon Hill says in his book “Think and Grow Rich”, in that we must put a face to our desires and believe that we can do it before we can take action and later reap the benefits of that action. But dreaming is nothing without doing, so we can’t get tripped up by the daring part – we must “dare to do” and actually do, which is the critical point of turning our dreams into reality.

      Thank you so much for your insights, and the quote by Thoreau. I love seeing what readers come up with, and many times it adds to the post itself ten-fold – so thank you for that. I really appreciate it 🙂

      Cheers,
      Blake

  3. Tim Denning

    May 4, 2016 at 4:12 am

    Blake I think that taking little steps is the most important point in your article. I practice this daily and it has really helped me. Thanks for sharing your advice.

    • Blake Powell

      May 4, 2016 at 1:54 pm

      Tim, little steps are huge! They make more of an impact than you’d think. Thanks for your reply 🙂

  4. Dennis

    May 2, 2016 at 4:22 am

    I’m one of those who really get started well but get frustrated shortly. Was asking myself why and the answer was ‘u are biting too big man.’ Thanx for all the advice. I owe so much to so many people who have made me who I am today, including u. I must make a positive impact in as many lives as I can.

    • Blake Powell

      May 4, 2016 at 1:58 pm

      Hey Dennis, you’re welcome! Glad to help. Maybe the problem isn’t biting off too much but taking it all in too quickly.

      I like the Chinese proverb “be not afraid of going slowly, be afraid only of standing still.” Baby steps add up to more than we’d think over the long term of things, as long as you cut your big goals into small pieces you should be fine 🙂

  5. Ohita Afeisume

    Apr 28, 2016 at 5:25 am

    Thanks Blake,
    For me, gratitude works marvelously. The more I am thankful to God for my life, family and friends, the more empowered I am to follow my goals and be creative.

    • Blake Powell

      Apr 29, 2016 at 1:28 am

      Hey, no problem Ohita! Glad to help 🙂
      Gratitude is a huge one, and I don’t think it can be practiced enough. It is a huge part of happiness, which can fuel us to live out our dreams in many ways. Thanks for your comment.

  6. James Arq

    Apr 25, 2016 at 12:56 pm

    Wonderful post, Blake!

    Your writing is just awesome, straight to the point! You make me (just a tiny bit) jealous. 😉

    I especially liked this line on your last point “…every single step you take towards your dreams are small wins and they never stop counting towards your bigger dream goals.”

    I agree with it. We can very much enjoy life with the small things, and in fact, we should. Let us celebrate mini victories and daily conquers, after all, milestones are as equally important as goals. And most importantly, never stop moving forward, no matter how small the steps. In time, those small steps would reveal to be miles away from where we started.

    Awesome post!

    • Blake Powell

      Apr 26, 2016 at 12:31 am

      Hey James,

      Thanks so much for the comment, and I appreciate the feedback. I’m glad to hear that you find my advice practical, useful, and straight to the point. Means a lot to me to hear that from a reader.

      Life is a daily battle, and if we don’t stand up and face the drums every day then we lose a little bit of our passion, and ourselves in the process. We need to fight for our dreams, even if we work a 9-5, even if it’s just for 5-10 minutes a day. Every little bit counts, and a snowball can turn into an avalanche over time (pardon the metaphor). I think we can all surprise with what we could do when we get down to it, rather than just wondering about it.

      Thanks James!

  7. Dan Western

    Apr 25, 2016 at 10:28 am

    Awesome article Blake! Thanks for sharing this.

    P.S. I love the quote at the end! It fits perfectly.

    Dan

    • Blake Powell

      Apr 26, 2016 at 12:27 am

      Hey Dan, you’re very welcome man. Thanks for the comment and glad I could help. 🙂

  8. Mike McClement

    Apr 25, 2016 at 9:30 am

    Linked to #1 – never compare yourself to others. Sure, check out what they’re doing / how they’re succeeding. Learn if you can from that but don’t focus on their strengths, focus on your own.

    I try this approach and it seems to work although it does require self-discipline. Silencing the negative voice in your head encouraging you to doubt yourself is always challenging. It’s perfectly possible though if you keep in a positive frame of mind.

    Thanks Blake for a helpful article.

    • Blake Powell

      Apr 26, 2016 at 12:38 am

      Hey Mike, thanks for the shout-out – really appreciate it. Definitely, comparing ourselves to others can only get us disheartened in the end. While it’s good to work up to where others are and see the value in their ideas, if we focus too much on their progress and their strengths (which highlight our own weaknesses) we lose sight of our own selves, our own strength, and our own potential – which can be poisonous for our own goals and motivation.

      It definitely requires telling that self-doubting voice “no”, as hard as it may be at times. But I don’t think we can ever turn it off completely or ignore it, only acknowledge it and work past it. It may always be there, but that doesn’t mean we have to adhere to it or fuel its fire.

      Thanks for the comment Mike. You’re very welcome, and I’m glad you found it helpful 🙂

  9. Jared

    Apr 24, 2016 at 8:33 pm

    I agree making baby steps is a way to move forward. I also have to stay patient because I want to move faster but at this time in my life it’s difficult. As long as I keep moving forward I know ill achieve my dreams. Thanks Blake.

    • Blake Powell

      Apr 26, 2016 at 12:44 am

      Hey Jared,

      Patience, like Gary Vee says, is HUGE. Almost even more so than baby steps. Because while we can slowly persist towards our larger goals every day, if we don’t have patience and respect for the whole process then it’s too easy to lose hope and turn to doubting ourselves and stopping our forward progress (we might even forget what progress looks like, too, if we get too wrapped up in the process).

      As cliche as it is, Rome wasn’t built in a day. Great things take time, just like your dreams take time to achieve. But they are most certainly achievable.

      Thanks for engaging, and glad you found it helpful! 🙂

  10. Mark Tong

    Apr 24, 2016 at 8:05 pm

    Hi Blake – love the article especially ‘ Embrace the power of your ideas ‘ – and blow yourself away:)

    • Blake Powell

      Apr 26, 2016 at 12:40 am

      Hey Mark,

      Yes, absolutely blow yourself away! You might just be surprised with what you can do and can achieve. I think we all can, but we need to light our fire first.

      Thanks for the comment!

  11. Quinn Eurich

    Apr 24, 2016 at 6:20 pm

    Loved the post Blake. You always have such great and straight-forwards advice.

    I especially love this: “first you have to step into the shoes that were made for you to wear all along.”

    It’s such a wonderful metaphor. The shoes are always there. They may be in a forgotten box in the back of a closet, or in a corner of the attic, or even lying in the shadows under the bed, but they are there.

    Sometimes you’ve tried them on and thought they were too big, but sooner or later you’ll grow into them, and when you do, it’s magic.

    Thanks for sharing!

    Quinn

    • Blake Powell

      Apr 24, 2016 at 11:10 pm

      Hey Quinn, thanks so much. I really appreciate the feedback and I’m glad the post helped you out. I loved your comment on the shoes, and think it’s pretty much perfect so I won’t add anything to it, but yes it’s so easy to put our dreams away and try and hide from them and ignore them when they’re just waiting for us to follow them. And I think the power of little steps towards bigger, more long-term goals are very underrated, as they’ve done wonders for me!

      Thanks for your comment 🙂

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Success Advice

3 Practical Ways Successful People Attract Money

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It takes more than just hard work, grinding and strategies to become successful. Do you actually know what subtle changes to make in order to reach the level of success and financial wealth you desire?

In our constantly changing world, those who are getting ahead in the game are individuals who are learning to raise their standards both personally and professionally. The age of the Internet has certainly brought a new dawn for the average person dialing up that inner craving for more freedom and a higher quality of life.

The opportunities and technological advancements are here, but one thing seems to be lagging: Our ability to produce and maintain the money we actually need to enjoy all that is currently available.

Everywhere you turn there is a new, sleeker, more advanced version of your favorite gizmo. Whether it’s your dream phone, car, computer, or designer clothes, they keep getting better and who doesn’t enjoy having the best of the best?

However, how can we have the best of the best when increasing income continues to be a struggle? As traditional methods of working and doing business radically transform, certain confusion arises especially amongst entrepreneurs.

This is why a recent conversation with my friend and owner of Walletisland, Adrian Brown, challenged me to reassess how I am approaching some of the things we tend to consider unimportant in the entrepreneurial space. I realised there are simple everyday shifts that are often overlooked by entrepreneurs which could be the key to increasing success and income.

For the majority of aspiring and budding entrepreneurs, the backstory is pretty much the same. We all grew up in less than abundant conditions. Our approach is for the most part pretty old fashioned when it comes to personal grooming and our relationship with money. But if there’s one thing I have come to realize when it comes to producing extraordinary results, it is this: Success and attracting money is all about mindset and the attitude one carries.

“Your mindset matters. It affects everything – from the business and investment decisions you make, to the way you raise your children, to your stress levels and overall well-being.” – Peter Diamandis

This is a law based truth I am proving more and more as I interact, connect with and learn from other successful entrepreneurs. In my most recent mastermind with a like-minded individuals, we were able to uncover a few blind spots that continue to hinder many hard working entrepreneurs.

More specifically, we came to a consensus when it comes to attracting more wealth that most individuals hit these three blind spots which hopefully after today, you will no longer fall victim to.

  • Too many success seekers are neglecting their personal appearance and self-grooming. As entrepreneurs, we think only our skillsets should matter, but that’s never the case.
  • Most people are neglecting their everyday personal interaction with money. In other words, aside from the big general numbers they have to deal with in business, most men aren’t deliberately working on improving how they handle, carry and interact with money. Part of this might be old negative paradigms around money running the show.
  • Many business owners are struggling with unattractiveness and low confidence, which certainly hinders their ability to shine, stand out and magnetize success.

If any or all of these resonate, here’s what you can do about it today:

1. Polish your self-image and outer appearance

This doesn’t have to take up too much time. With a little more deliberate thought on the shoes you wear, the wallet you carry, the combination of your clothing, hair, body language and attitude you will not only raise your professional appearance but there is much research proving your earnings will increase too.  Keep it clean, simple, clutter free and corresponding to your business role.

2. Prep yourself for a “money shift”

Is there a psychological relationship between a someones’s wallet and their money? Absolutely. In fact when Adrian got into men’s fashion it was because he experienced firsthand “the money shift”. This happened when he stopped carrying around cheap, worn-out wallets and started carefully choosing the kind that made him feel most opulent.

I’m passionate about helping men strengthen their connection and interaction with money because I realize it’s not about fashion trends. A man’s wallet is something he interacts with daily. It should be a symbol of prosperity and help him de-clutter. It should also be a demonstration of his modern take on money because in our digital society, money is transforming and it’s in our best interest to catch up lest we suffer the consequences of holding on to limiting beliefs around money.”

I couldn’t agree more. Most of us will need to shed limiting beliefs, heal money wounds and learn to handle, carry and interact with money in ways that promote its presence. What money story is your wallet telling right now?

3. Work on your self-confidence and attractiveness

Those struggling with low self-confidence and feelings of unattractiveness need to make drastic changes. Why? According to research by Payscale, over the course of a lifetime, an “attractive person will end up making about 230,000 more than an unattractive person.”

That’s ridiculous especially since being attractive and confident isn’t just for the chosen few. Now that you are in business for yourself, you can’t afford to be bullied by invisible limiting beliefs that question how capable, attractive and confident you are.

If it naturally doesn’t come to you, there are various exercises you can do and small changes you can make in order to build yourself up and make up for any disadvantages you may have had in your upbringing.

“With realization of one’s own potential and self-confidence in one’s ability, one can build a better world.” – Dalai Lama

As entrepreneurs, we are inclined to focus more on strategies and tactics which will help us close the sale sometimes at the expense of our personal health and grooming. Let us refrain from assuming appearances do not count just because we are no longer climbing the corporate ladder.

If the vision is to enjoy a more opulent and enriching lifestyle, take time to align every aspect of your life with this new self-made, inspiring, influential leader you are aspiring to be. All successful people go into the game prepared for that win.

What personal changes will you make to prepare you for more wealth?

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Success Advice

5 Ways to Improve Your Audience Engagement

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When you first thought of your business idea and created your business, you were probably thinking about how much people needed what you had to offer and all of the people you were going to be able to help. Even though none of that has changed, it can be really discouraging to continue to post on social media, do Facebook lives, and try to make any kind of a call to action when all there is are crickets when you do.

Instead of banging your head against the wall, and trying to figure out what is wrong with your idea, let me give you 5 ways to improve your audience engagement:

1. Increase the amount of content you are putting out

Sometimes, the main reason why you are not seeing the engagement you are looking for is because people are not seeing your posts. Each social media platform has its own algorithm.

Even if you posted once or even twice that day, some of those algorithms can still make it possible for your people NOT to see even one of your posts. Posting a few to several times a day will increase the number of people seeing your posts which should, in turn, increase your engagement.

2. Ask the right questions

Remember when I said that posting a few to several times a day will increase the number of people seeing your posts which should, in turn, increase your engagement? The reason it should but may not increase your engagement is because you are not asking enough of the right questions.

You can post content that you like or are interested in, but you have to remember YOU are not the one buying your products and services. You need to learn what your target audience wants to see and talk about. Learn what gets them engaged and what keeps them engaged by asking the right questions.

“We thought that we had the answers, it was the questions we had wrong.” Bono

3. Switch it up a little

Have you ever had a routine that was so dry and bland it made you dread doing it? That is exactly what your audience feels like when you post the same kind of content all the time. Everyone doesn’t like meatloaf every day. No matter what you are selling, your audience craves interesting, informative, and encouraging content. If you can give this to them consistently, they will fall in love with you and keep on coming back for more.

4. Analyze your data

When you increase the content you put out, you will have a lot more data to analyze so you can understand the people who you are trying to reach. This will help you to understand which kind of content is consumed more by your audience, what platform has better engagement, and what your audience is trying to tell you they want and need.

“It’s difficult to imagine the power that you’re going to have when so many different sorts of data are available.”- Tim Berners-Lee

5. Calls to action are key

The last thing you want to do is to give your audience some amazing content and not have a place for them to go to learn or get more. Inviting yourself somewhere can be very awkward, so why would you want your audience to do that? They may want to connect with you but they don’t know where to go and how to connect. Invite them in and make them feel wanted and welcomed. This will cut out the awkwardness and also the confusion of how they can better connect with you.

Increasing your engagement can be done easily if you are willing to follow these 5 ways to improve your audience engagement. Once you have done that, the engagement will come and the sales are bound to follow.

How are you staying connected to your audience? Make sure to comment below and let us know!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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Success Advice

A Tim Ferriss Like Japan Trip Rebuilt Me – Here’s Why

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“Art imitates life so you must experience life to create art” – Unknown (possibly Tim Ferriss)

This quote is the reason why I recently took a holiday to Japan and why from now on I will travel more. All of us have a dream, a vision, a goal, a business which is another word for our own “art.”

Anything worth doing has an element of creativity attached to it which in essence is art. While on the way to Japan listening to the Tim Ferriss podcast, I heard this quote above. I realized that my life’s work had fizzled out somewhat because I needed to experience life more.

This whole blogging thing only works when I experience life – travel is the best way to do that. Second to that, I have been listening to Tim Ferriss’s podcast for years, and he talks a lot about Japan and how the culture can really positively impact your life.

Hearing this advice second hand just wasn’t good enough for me. That’s why, in Timmy style, I booked an unplanned trip to Japan with only two days notice. It was what I called a Tim Ferriss like trip to Japan. I wanted to transcend my current circumstances and boy did I do that!

Things before Japan had become a bit stale. I wasn’t quite me and I needed rebuilding again. It was time to self-disrupt and grow more as a person. I’d stopped growing and that’s why I felt off. Japan changed all of that.

Here’s how this Japan trip rebuilt me:

 

We’re all the same: we’re all loved.

Sitting at the airport in Australia I saw everyone saying goodbye to their loved ones. I did the same and said goodbye to my family and girlfriend. I sat there for around ten minutes and realized that we’re all loved by someone.

We all have someone who would be sad or miss us if we didn’t return home. All of us want to come home safe and see our loved ones again. While tragedy can strike, these trips to places like Japan are a must – they’re part of our journey in life.

These journeys we take are how we find ourselves. Without travel, we become lost and can’t understand how we fit into this world.

Knowing I’m loved and knowing the importance of these journeys helped rebuild me.

 

Japan can show you what is wrong too.

So far I’ve made Japan sound like it’s all roses – it’s not. I saw people working ridiculous hours. I saw Japanese people who had become obsessed with meaningless westernized brands. I saw women who still appeared to be second class compared with men.

Japan didn’t show me perfection; it showed me reality and that means that there are always going to be things that need to change. Each of us can form part of that change.

 

Objectification of women has changed men in a bad way.

For some reason, Japan gave me immense clarity. I noticed that me (and all other men) have become hardwired to look at women’s bodies. Even the nicest most loyal men who treat women well have been affected. I noticed this unconscious behavior in myself while in Australia and began questioning it.

Do we need to look at women in such a physical way? Is it really necessary? Is this addiction taking up so much of our creative genius and potential?

The answer to all of these questions, after Japan, was that a problem exists and this addiction is not serving as well. I’m not proud of this fact and I for one plan on not only being aware of it but also changing it. This idea helped rebuild me.

 

The Samurai showed the benefits of discipline.

While being an Aussie tourist walking through the grounds of the Imperial Palace, I saw some of the emperors Samurai training. The facility was surrounded by fences but being a tall guy, I could still see over the fence.

I found these Samurai to be cool because they were laser-focused on what they were doing. The Samurai had purpose and precision accuracy. Their discipline taught them patience and you could see the courage in their actions. Everything was thought through and nothing was left to chance.

The Samurai helped me rebuild my life by reminding me of what discipline can do when we embrace it. A disorganized mind combined with actions that are all over the place results in a lot of nothingness. Start with being a master at one thing instead of trying to be mediocre at lots of things.

 

Concrete Jungle vs. Nature

Before Japan, I was obsessed with visiting places like San Fran and New York to see big concrete cities and skyscrapers. Now that I’ve been to Japan I’ve realized that I’m completely bored of that. Going to My Fuji and some of the mountains in Kyoto is far more impactful.

Concrete jungles are all the same once you’ve seen a few. They all have lots of box’s – some tall, some wide, some full of lights and some full of views. When you see enough of these, you no longer become impressed by them.

Nature is impossible to top though. No matter how many lakes, mountains, beaches or forests I visit, I never get sick of them. That’s because it’s in our human DNA to feel a connection with nature. Nature is a place we can relax and recharge the batteries.

Japan taught me that for the rest of my travel adventures I am going to focus on beautiful places that encompass nature instead of man-made structures and fake tourist attractions like theme parks. Knowing what nature means to me has helped me to rebuild myself.

 

See as many places as you can.

This trip to Japan made me see that I get bored after around five days in one country. I’ve discovered that it’s ideal to see as many places as you can. The more of this Earth you experience, the more your life changes.

 

Don’t forget attention to detail.

Japanese people, I learned, are obsessed with attention to detail. Everything from the signage at train stations to the way they present food has been thought of.

“It’s not about being perfect; it’s about being purposeful”

It’s the little things that the Japanese people do that make you fall in love with them by the end of your stay in their country.

 

Manners feel good.

I quickly saw that Japanese people are very kind and have amazing manners. They say thank you so many times. As you walk out of a restaurant, the whole team say thank you like a giant choir. Being grateful and acknowledging each other is at the heart of their culture.

You can’t help but smile when you witness this way of treating one another. Not every stranger you meet in a foreign country is trying to commit a terrorist attack.

All I can say is manners just feel good and it put’s you in a positive mood. Plus, you walk around with a big fat smile on your face and that feels refreshing.

 

Connection through transport.

Japanese culture feels very connected and that’s partly to do with their very efficient transport system. There’s a subway station on practically every corner that’s affordable. Trains run every few minutes, so there’s never any need to run to the subway station to catch a train.

The bullet trains allow you to skip between states or regions in a very short amount of time. No need to board a plane or go through the razzle-dazzle of airport bureaucracy gone mad (thanks to perceived terrorism and the news).

While sitting on the Shinkansen (bullet train) to Kyoto, I saw families that were on their way to visit one another. They looked so relaxed and sat there enjoying the countryside of Japan as I did. It was a regular occurrence made possible by a fantastic transport system that is orderly and well thought out.

 

Technology is exhausting.

The negative side of technology is prominent in Japan. There are cities that are littered with giant LED screens, bright lights and technology on every corner. In these places, I felt unable to think clearly and the bright lights made me feel like I suffered from Attention Deficit Disorder.

There was technology within the toilet seat, on the plane, at restaurants and ugly vending machines selling fat causing sugar water on every corner.

On the flip side, what I loved about Japan was that talking loudly on a not so smart phone was prohibited in most places and there were locations where phones were non-existent. Japanese people seem to know how to balance life between being “ON” and being “OFF” when it comes to their phone.

“Instead of wasting your life away on your phone, Japan teaches you to become present and appreciate the here and now”

You notice things that you normally wouldn’t where I’m from in the Western World. With so much empty space, Japan is a great place to rebuild yourself. The rebuilding process needs thinking time away from phones.

 

Minimalism and being space conscious is beautiful.

The Japanese people are obsessed with being space conscious. They have double-decker car spaces, cube-shaped cars, cars made for people who must be three-foot tall, hotel rooms where you can barely open the door and space-saving retail shops like you’ve never seen.

 

Time is money in Japan.

My plane was on time to the second. Every train was on time. The tour guide at Mt Fuji was on time. The hotel cleaning was to the minute and so was the checkout. Time is money and it’s one resource we should take more seriously. Time gives you the opportunity to rebuild and grow.

 

Low energy states can be healed by travel.

More than a year since my last break, my energy levels in my career were at an all-time low. I had headaches every day and felt uninspired to a degree. It turns out all I needed was a holiday to rebuild.

Your body guides you.
Your heart guides you.
Your mind guides you.

This Japan trip taught me to take time to relax and recharge. Don’t ignore your body ever!

 

Climbing Japanese mountains is a metaphor for life.

I climbed this mountain in Kyoto. Halfway up I wanted to quit. I thought to myself “I’ve seen enough. Why go to the summit?”

That’s the problem right there. When we’re working on our goals, we give up too soon. We settle for okay instead of amazing. If this mountain were your life, would you give up when it got a bit hard? I’m telling you not to.

All the growth and everything you ever wanted comes from pushing that extra 2% to reach the top of the mountain. The feeling at the top is indescribable. Only those who are prepared to go the extra mile will know what it feels like to look down from the top.

Two more things to remember:

1. Once you reach the top, there’s always another mountain.

2. You must also help someone else climb the mountain to reach your full potential. Living is giving.

This mountain I climbed in Japan taught me so much about rebuilding my life (and yes I love mountain analogies).

 

There’s no place like a hot spring to contemplate life and rebuild your life.

While lying in a hot spring (Onsen) in Northern Tokyo, I sat there and thought I was going to be enjoying a relaxing time in a hot spring. What no one told me is that my entire life would replay before me. The onsen became a place to contemplate everything that had transpired thus far.

The hot water from the springs has a certain effect on your mind. I often find that my best thinking and ideas come from a shower and I’ve heard other people talk about this same experience.

“The hot spring sent my mind into deep thinking that I’ll never forget”

 

To enter a Japanese hot spring, you must be fully naked. You can’t bring clothes, material possessions, technology or a corporate mask. There’s nowhere to hide and no phone to look at. You sit there naked and bare your soul. It’s the one time where people can see you for exactly who you are.

Before contemplating my own life, I observed the men around me. Many of them seemed to be contemplating their life. Some looked tired and worn out from years of slaving away and doing hard labor.

Many of them looked like they were wasting away from years of working too hard and not remembering what truly matters. It was as if they had finally discovered what matters but that it was now too late. Then I saw the exact opposite – young men who had their whole lives ahead of them.

They too would sit there and weigh up their options. Should they follow their dream or fall for the Western myth that is collecting useless objects of little value? There were times where I wanted to answer this question for them.

I realized after a lot of thought that these young men had to come to that realization themselves. When you discover these truths of life yourself, everything changes and the principles stick.

I saw these young men by the end of my time in the hot spring for who they were and what they could become (their potential). I finally understood that they too could change the world in some impactful way if they chose too. We all have that choice and it’s ours to make.

“This stark comparison between the older men and the younger men was one of the most profound lessons of my Japan trip”

Both generations of men also looked up at the sky while doing this deep thinking. I found that quite bizarre and all of them did it.

What’s strange is that I also looked up at the sky without consciously being aware. Once I’d finished observing the men in the hot spring, I turned my thinking over to my own life. I had truth bomb after truth bomb as I sat there. I found myself running to the change room every 30 minutes to write stuff down.

What I had achieved so far and what I needed to do next became so clear. I sat in the hot spring proud of who I’ve become. For the first time in my life, I got to sit there and appreciate everything I’d put out into the world. I hadn’t stopped to see how far I’d come before this moment.

I was so focused on the present and trying to gain future success that I didn’t even know how proud I could be of myself. This fact has become the foundation of me going through the rebuilding phase yet again after five years since my last major self-renovation.

 

In summary….

Everyone reading this blog post has the opportunity to rebuild their life and consistently self-disrupt themselves. Going to places like Japan gives you the opportunity to experience life and see how far you’ve come. You can’t be ON 24/7 like those picture quotes tell you to be.

Once in a while, you need to be proud of who you are and think about who you can become.

Japan is a perfect place to do this and rebuild your life. Stay true to yourself and inspire others.

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

The Six Point Marketing Makeover That Will Score You An Endless Stream of Business

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Marketing

Every business has room to improve, but marketing is a habitually ignored facet. We spend so much time posting on social media and money on ad buys that we forget to evaluate the overall efficacy of our marketing efforts. Our efforts eventually become outdated, and we are left wondering why. With a little effort, you can transform your marketing to generate a consistent stream of ongoing business. It won’t break the bank, and it is doable – if you allow yourself to establish a game plan and stick to it.

Here are the six pieces of a true marketing makeover that will forever change the playing field for you:

1. Define Who You Are

If you polled your customers, who would they say you are? I’m not talking about what you do, but who you are. What do you stand for? What are your values? What are the (business) issues making you want to write a manifesto? While none of the answers completely define you, they all speak to some important aspect of your overall brand.

Customers need to know who you are. Thankfully, we’ve seen some great examples of this. Nordstrom is defined by how it handles returns. Zappos is renowned for its customer service. Toms (shoes) is the “One for One” company. Your product face may be public, but what about you? The better you define your brand and the people behind it, the more the right customers are attracted to it.

2. Explain What You Do

“We employ the highest levels of craftsmanship in our products,” or “your satisfaction is our highest value” – these are wasted space. If you want to establish a brand that attracts customers in like moths to a light, you need to run away from ambiguous, gratuitous statements and embrace specificity. “We teach people how to podcast using the latest low-cost technology,” or “we make shoes that will last ten times longer and are ten times more comfortable than any competitor in the space.” These are statements telling customers exactly what you do.

In communicating what you do, it’s important to reinforce the value system you claim to have (i.e., who you are). This gives your customers a framework to develop trust and see the authenticity of your brand. Explaining what you do, however, is about making it easy for customers to recognize why they need you. If you explain what you do well enough, your customers will often realize they have a problem they didn’t know they had – and you can fix it for them.

“Communication – the human connection – is the key to personal and career success.” – Paul J. Meyer

3. Identify Who You Help

You’ve probably heard that the “riches are in the niches,” and regardless of whether you agree with the statement, there’s a gold nugget hidden in it. A well-defined target market will help you structure custom-tailored messaging that will hit every time.

The most effective marketing efforts target identifiable characteristics of your customers that link a specific need with a specific solution. The characteristics may include gender, age, nationality, domicile, language, relationship status, or similar personal traits, but should also include past engagement behavior, third-party engagement behavior, and other market-driven information. You don’t help “people,” you help one person at a time.

4. Give First, Receive Later

It seems that everywhere you look, someone is trying to sell you something. What if instead of selling, you were giving? You can be a real estate agent who delivers free weekly reports on home sales in a region, or even a health coach who offers a free webinar on food choices and without selling anything specific during the presentation. Believe it or not, generosity is marketing.

When it comes to your marketing makeover, one of the easiest things you can do is give something to your customers. Maybe it’s a 10% discount or maybe it’s a free one-on-one session. Whatever it is, understand that when you approach your marketing with a mind to attract people, you should always begin by giving. There is also a very practical online reality to this component: The vast majority of people attempt to block ads served up to them. Giving, however, isn’t blocked; it’s embraced.

5. Have Something To Sell

This may shock the socks off a few of you, but many businesses forget to have something to sell. The marketing wheels are turning and consumers are being attracted, but once converted, they have nothing to purchase. This might seem so obvious you can’t think I’m serious, but I am. Time and time again, I’ve consulted for businesses that are devoid of meaningful products or services.

In the process of creating a new marketing paradigm, you can’t forget to connect the dots from a marketing effort to the product or service being marketed. If your marketing works, you’ll have hot customers ready to spend money. They need something to spend it on, so reverse-engineer the experience, identify the product or service, then ensure your campaign is appropriately linked to it.

“The more you engage with customers the clearer things become and the easier it is to determine what you should be doing.” – John Russell

6. Do it All Over

There’s no easier way to walk back towards irrelevancy than believing you can put your marketing on autopilot. To be sure, you can automate certain actions and triggers, but you can never automate the creativity that goes into designing a timely and meaningful connection with your customer. Once you walk through all the steps above, do it again six months later. You’ll be surprised at how things evolve.

Which one of these steps is most important to you in your career? Let us know by commenting below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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The Best Way to Create a Six-figure Startup From Scratch

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how to create a six figure startup
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Many solo entrepreneurs make good six-figure income living selling products and services online. If you’re a technical person, it’s even better, as you can create a highly-scalable cloud-based business. For non-technical founders, there are still many ways to make a six-figure or, even, seven-figure annual revenue. (more…)

Jennifer Xue is an award-winning author, business columnist and serial entrepreneur based in Northern California. She is a digital strategist for Oberlo and blogs at JenniferXue.com. Her byline has appeared in Forbes, Fortune, Cosmopolitan, Esquire, and other international publications.

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21 Comments

21 Comments

  1. transformice

    Aug 1, 2017 at 8:47 am

    Valuable info. Lucky me I found your website by accident. I bookmarked it. This article is genuinely good and I have learned lot of things from it concerning blogging. thanks.

  2. maya breeze

    May 16, 2016 at 7:17 am

    hi blake – i love the post … i also think if we will dare to dream (and to bring it) we will discover our way . i think we like to think we dare, but the word is a verb, and it has a few meanings :

    1. to have the necessary courage or boldness for something; be bold enough:
    2. to have the boldness to try; venture; hazard.
    3. to meet defiantly; face courageously.
    4. to challenge or provoke (a person) into a demonstration of courage

    what if we had the courage to actually dare ourselves …

    thoreau said:

    … if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams,
    and endeavors to live the life he has imagined,
    he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.

    ours is to dream it and to bring it … how and when are not up to us. we must make of our own selves the desire of the dream, and then be enough (in ourselves) to dare to live it.

    thanks again – i love the idea that we are told by wayshowers that we can, and that we are able to be in life as we wish …
    maya

    • Blake Powell

      May 20, 2016 at 1:27 am

      Hey Maya, thanks so much for your comment. Sorry for the late reply.

      I think as you say, having the dream in place is important but daring to take action on that impulse is equally as important to that. A lot of what you say is similar to what Napoleon Hill says in his book “Think and Grow Rich”, in that we must put a face to our desires and believe that we can do it before we can take action and later reap the benefits of that action. But dreaming is nothing without doing, so we can’t get tripped up by the daring part – we must “dare to do” and actually do, which is the critical point of turning our dreams into reality.

      Thank you so much for your insights, and the quote by Thoreau. I love seeing what readers come up with, and many times it adds to the post itself ten-fold – so thank you for that. I really appreciate it 🙂

      Cheers,
      Blake

  3. Tim Denning

    May 4, 2016 at 4:12 am

    Blake I think that taking little steps is the most important point in your article. I practice this daily and it has really helped me. Thanks for sharing your advice.

    • Blake Powell

      May 4, 2016 at 1:54 pm

      Tim, little steps are huge! They make more of an impact than you’d think. Thanks for your reply 🙂

  4. Dennis

    May 2, 2016 at 4:22 am

    I’m one of those who really get started well but get frustrated shortly. Was asking myself why and the answer was ‘u are biting too big man.’ Thanx for all the advice. I owe so much to so many people who have made me who I am today, including u. I must make a positive impact in as many lives as I can.

    • Blake Powell

      May 4, 2016 at 1:58 pm

      Hey Dennis, you’re welcome! Glad to help. Maybe the problem isn’t biting off too much but taking it all in too quickly.

      I like the Chinese proverb “be not afraid of going slowly, be afraid only of standing still.” Baby steps add up to more than we’d think over the long term of things, as long as you cut your big goals into small pieces you should be fine 🙂

  5. Ohita Afeisume

    Apr 28, 2016 at 5:25 am

    Thanks Blake,
    For me, gratitude works marvelously. The more I am thankful to God for my life, family and friends, the more empowered I am to follow my goals and be creative.

    • Blake Powell

      Apr 29, 2016 at 1:28 am

      Hey, no problem Ohita! Glad to help 🙂
      Gratitude is a huge one, and I don’t think it can be practiced enough. It is a huge part of happiness, which can fuel us to live out our dreams in many ways. Thanks for your comment.

  6. James Arq

    Apr 25, 2016 at 12:56 pm

    Wonderful post, Blake!

    Your writing is just awesome, straight to the point! You make me (just a tiny bit) jealous. 😉

    I especially liked this line on your last point “…every single step you take towards your dreams are small wins and they never stop counting towards your bigger dream goals.”

    I agree with it. We can very much enjoy life with the small things, and in fact, we should. Let us celebrate mini victories and daily conquers, after all, milestones are as equally important as goals. And most importantly, never stop moving forward, no matter how small the steps. In time, those small steps would reveal to be miles away from where we started.

    Awesome post!

    • Blake Powell

      Apr 26, 2016 at 12:31 am

      Hey James,

      Thanks so much for the comment, and I appreciate the feedback. I’m glad to hear that you find my advice practical, useful, and straight to the point. Means a lot to me to hear that from a reader.

      Life is a daily battle, and if we don’t stand up and face the drums every day then we lose a little bit of our passion, and ourselves in the process. We need to fight for our dreams, even if we work a 9-5, even if it’s just for 5-10 minutes a day. Every little bit counts, and a snowball can turn into an avalanche over time (pardon the metaphor). I think we can all surprise with what we could do when we get down to it, rather than just wondering about it.

      Thanks James!

  7. Dan Western

    Apr 25, 2016 at 10:28 am

    Awesome article Blake! Thanks for sharing this.

    P.S. I love the quote at the end! It fits perfectly.

    Dan

    • Blake Powell

      Apr 26, 2016 at 12:27 am

      Hey Dan, you’re very welcome man. Thanks for the comment and glad I could help. 🙂

  8. Mike McClement

    Apr 25, 2016 at 9:30 am

    Linked to #1 – never compare yourself to others. Sure, check out what they’re doing / how they’re succeeding. Learn if you can from that but don’t focus on their strengths, focus on your own.

    I try this approach and it seems to work although it does require self-discipline. Silencing the negative voice in your head encouraging you to doubt yourself is always challenging. It’s perfectly possible though if you keep in a positive frame of mind.

    Thanks Blake for a helpful article.

    • Blake Powell

      Apr 26, 2016 at 12:38 am

      Hey Mike, thanks for the shout-out – really appreciate it. Definitely, comparing ourselves to others can only get us disheartened in the end. While it’s good to work up to where others are and see the value in their ideas, if we focus too much on their progress and their strengths (which highlight our own weaknesses) we lose sight of our own selves, our own strength, and our own potential – which can be poisonous for our own goals and motivation.

      It definitely requires telling that self-doubting voice “no”, as hard as it may be at times. But I don’t think we can ever turn it off completely or ignore it, only acknowledge it and work past it. It may always be there, but that doesn’t mean we have to adhere to it or fuel its fire.

      Thanks for the comment Mike. You’re very welcome, and I’m glad you found it helpful 🙂

  9. Jared

    Apr 24, 2016 at 8:33 pm

    I agree making baby steps is a way to move forward. I also have to stay patient because I want to move faster but at this time in my life it’s difficult. As long as I keep moving forward I know ill achieve my dreams. Thanks Blake.

    • Blake Powell

      Apr 26, 2016 at 12:44 am

      Hey Jared,

      Patience, like Gary Vee says, is HUGE. Almost even more so than baby steps. Because while we can slowly persist towards our larger goals every day, if we don’t have patience and respect for the whole process then it’s too easy to lose hope and turn to doubting ourselves and stopping our forward progress (we might even forget what progress looks like, too, if we get too wrapped up in the process).

      As cliche as it is, Rome wasn’t built in a day. Great things take time, just like your dreams take time to achieve. But they are most certainly achievable.

      Thanks for engaging, and glad you found it helpful! 🙂

  10. Mark Tong

    Apr 24, 2016 at 8:05 pm

    Hi Blake – love the article especially ‘ Embrace the power of your ideas ‘ – and blow yourself away:)

    • Blake Powell

      Apr 26, 2016 at 12:40 am

      Hey Mark,

      Yes, absolutely blow yourself away! You might just be surprised with what you can do and can achieve. I think we all can, but we need to light our fire first.

      Thanks for the comment!

  11. Quinn Eurich

    Apr 24, 2016 at 6:20 pm

    Loved the post Blake. You always have such great and straight-forwards advice.

    I especially love this: “first you have to step into the shoes that were made for you to wear all along.”

    It’s such a wonderful metaphor. The shoes are always there. They may be in a forgotten box in the back of a closet, or in a corner of the attic, or even lying in the shadows under the bed, but they are there.

    Sometimes you’ve tried them on and thought they were too big, but sooner or later you’ll grow into them, and when you do, it’s magic.

    Thanks for sharing!

    Quinn

    • Blake Powell

      Apr 24, 2016 at 11:10 pm

      Hey Quinn, thanks so much. I really appreciate the feedback and I’m glad the post helped you out. I loved your comment on the shoes, and think it’s pretty much perfect so I won’t add anything to it, but yes it’s so easy to put our dreams away and try and hide from them and ignore them when they’re just waiting for us to follow them. And I think the power of little steps towards bigger, more long-term goals are very underrated, as they’ve done wonders for me!

      Thanks for your comment 🙂

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Success Advice

3 Practical Ways Successful People Attract Money

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successful men

It takes more than just hard work, grinding and strategies to become successful. Do you actually know what subtle changes to make in order to reach the level of success and financial wealth you desire?

In our constantly changing world, those who are getting ahead in the game are individuals who are learning to raise their standards both personally and professionally. The age of the Internet has certainly brought a new dawn for the average person dialing up that inner craving for more freedom and a higher quality of life.

The opportunities and technological advancements are here, but one thing seems to be lagging: Our ability to produce and maintain the money we actually need to enjoy all that is currently available.

Everywhere you turn there is a new, sleeker, more advanced version of your favorite gizmo. Whether it’s your dream phone, car, computer, or designer clothes, they keep getting better and who doesn’t enjoy having the best of the best?

However, how can we have the best of the best when increasing income continues to be a struggle? As traditional methods of working and doing business radically transform, certain confusion arises especially amongst entrepreneurs.

This is why a recent conversation with my friend and owner of Walletisland, Adrian Brown, challenged me to reassess how I am approaching some of the things we tend to consider unimportant in the entrepreneurial space. I realised there are simple everyday shifts that are often overlooked by entrepreneurs which could be the key to increasing success and income.

For the majority of aspiring and budding entrepreneurs, the backstory is pretty much the same. We all grew up in less than abundant conditions. Our approach is for the most part pretty old fashioned when it comes to personal grooming and our relationship with money. But if there’s one thing I have come to realize when it comes to producing extraordinary results, it is this: Success and attracting money is all about mindset and the attitude one carries.

“Your mindset matters. It affects everything – from the business and investment decisions you make, to the way you raise your children, to your stress levels and overall well-being.” – Peter Diamandis

This is a law based truth I am proving more and more as I interact, connect with and learn from other successful entrepreneurs. In my most recent mastermind with a like-minded individuals, we were able to uncover a few blind spots that continue to hinder many hard working entrepreneurs.

More specifically, we came to a consensus when it comes to attracting more wealth that most individuals hit these three blind spots which hopefully after today, you will no longer fall victim to.

  • Too many success seekers are neglecting their personal appearance and self-grooming. As entrepreneurs, we think only our skillsets should matter, but that’s never the case.
  • Most people are neglecting their everyday personal interaction with money. In other words, aside from the big general numbers they have to deal with in business, most men aren’t deliberately working on improving how they handle, carry and interact with money. Part of this might be old negative paradigms around money running the show.
  • Many business owners are struggling with unattractiveness and low confidence, which certainly hinders their ability to shine, stand out and magnetize success.

If any or all of these resonate, here’s what you can do about it today:

1. Polish your self-image and outer appearance

This doesn’t have to take up too much time. With a little more deliberate thought on the shoes you wear, the wallet you carry, the combination of your clothing, hair, body language and attitude you will not only raise your professional appearance but there is much research proving your earnings will increase too.  Keep it clean, simple, clutter free and corresponding to your business role.

2. Prep yourself for a “money shift”

Is there a psychological relationship between a someones’s wallet and their money? Absolutely. In fact when Adrian got into men’s fashion it was because he experienced firsthand “the money shift”. This happened when he stopped carrying around cheap, worn-out wallets and started carefully choosing the kind that made him feel most opulent.

I’m passionate about helping men strengthen their connection and interaction with money because I realize it’s not about fashion trends. A man’s wallet is something he interacts with daily. It should be a symbol of prosperity and help him de-clutter. It should also be a demonstration of his modern take on money because in our digital society, money is transforming and it’s in our best interest to catch up lest we suffer the consequences of holding on to limiting beliefs around money.”

I couldn’t agree more. Most of us will need to shed limiting beliefs, heal money wounds and learn to handle, carry and interact with money in ways that promote its presence. What money story is your wallet telling right now?

3. Work on your self-confidence and attractiveness

Those struggling with low self-confidence and feelings of unattractiveness need to make drastic changes. Why? According to research by Payscale, over the course of a lifetime, an “attractive person will end up making about 230,000 more than an unattractive person.”

That’s ridiculous especially since being attractive and confident isn’t just for the chosen few. Now that you are in business for yourself, you can’t afford to be bullied by invisible limiting beliefs that question how capable, attractive and confident you are.

If it naturally doesn’t come to you, there are various exercises you can do and small changes you can make in order to build yourself up and make up for any disadvantages you may have had in your upbringing.

“With realization of one’s own potential and self-confidence in one’s ability, one can build a better world.” – Dalai Lama

As entrepreneurs, we are inclined to focus more on strategies and tactics which will help us close the sale sometimes at the expense of our personal health and grooming. Let us refrain from assuming appearances do not count just because we are no longer climbing the corporate ladder.

If the vision is to enjoy a more opulent and enriching lifestyle, take time to align every aspect of your life with this new self-made, inspiring, influential leader you are aspiring to be. All successful people go into the game prepared for that win.

What personal changes will you make to prepare you for more wealth?

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Success Advice

5 Ways to Improve Your Audience Engagement

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audience engagement

When you first thought of your business idea and created your business, you were probably thinking about how much people needed what you had to offer and all of the people you were going to be able to help. Even though none of that has changed, it can be really discouraging to continue to post on social media, do Facebook lives, and try to make any kind of a call to action when all there is are crickets when you do.

Instead of banging your head against the wall, and trying to figure out what is wrong with your idea, let me give you 5 ways to improve your audience engagement:

1. Increase the amount of content you are putting out

Sometimes, the main reason why you are not seeing the engagement you are looking for is because people are not seeing your posts. Each social media platform has its own algorithm.

Even if you posted once or even twice that day, some of those algorithms can still make it possible for your people NOT to see even one of your posts. Posting a few to several times a day will increase the number of people seeing your posts which should, in turn, increase your engagement.

2. Ask the right questions

Remember when I said that posting a few to several times a day will increase the number of people seeing your posts which should, in turn, increase your engagement? The reason it should but may not increase your engagement is because you are not asking enough of the right questions.

You can post content that you like or are interested in, but you have to remember YOU are not the one buying your products and services. You need to learn what your target audience wants to see and talk about. Learn what gets them engaged and what keeps them engaged by asking the right questions.

“We thought that we had the answers, it was the questions we had wrong.” Bono

3. Switch it up a little

Have you ever had a routine that was so dry and bland it made you dread doing it? That is exactly what your audience feels like when you post the same kind of content all the time. Everyone doesn’t like meatloaf every day. No matter what you are selling, your audience craves interesting, informative, and encouraging content. If you can give this to them consistently, they will fall in love with you and keep on coming back for more.

4. Analyze your data

When you increase the content you put out, you will have a lot more data to analyze so you can understand the people who you are trying to reach. This will help you to understand which kind of content is consumed more by your audience, what platform has better engagement, and what your audience is trying to tell you they want and need.

“It’s difficult to imagine the power that you’re going to have when so many different sorts of data are available.”- Tim Berners-Lee

5. Calls to action are key

The last thing you want to do is to give your audience some amazing content and not have a place for them to go to learn or get more. Inviting yourself somewhere can be very awkward, so why would you want your audience to do that? They may want to connect with you but they don’t know where to go and how to connect. Invite them in and make them feel wanted and welcomed. This will cut out the awkwardness and also the confusion of how they can better connect with you.

Increasing your engagement can be done easily if you are willing to follow these 5 ways to improve your audience engagement. Once you have done that, the engagement will come and the sales are bound to follow.

How are you staying connected to your audience? Make sure to comment below and let us know!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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Success Advice

A Tim Ferriss Like Japan Trip Rebuilt Me – Here’s Why

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“Art imitates life so you must experience life to create art” – Unknown (possibly Tim Ferriss)

This quote is the reason why I recently took a holiday to Japan and why from now on I will travel more. All of us have a dream, a vision, a goal, a business which is another word for our own “art.”

Anything worth doing has an element of creativity attached to it which in essence is art. While on the way to Japan listening to the Tim Ferriss podcast, I heard this quote above. I realized that my life’s work had fizzled out somewhat because I needed to experience life more.

This whole blogging thing only works when I experience life – travel is the best way to do that. Second to that, I have been listening to Tim Ferriss’s podcast for years, and he talks a lot about Japan and how the culture can really positively impact your life.

Hearing this advice second hand just wasn’t good enough for me. That’s why, in Timmy style, I booked an unplanned trip to Japan with only two days notice. It was what I called a Tim Ferriss like trip to Japan. I wanted to transcend my current circumstances and boy did I do that!

Things before Japan had become a bit stale. I wasn’t quite me and I needed rebuilding again. It was time to self-disrupt and grow more as a person. I’d stopped growing and that’s why I felt off. Japan changed all of that.

Here’s how this Japan trip rebuilt me:

 

We’re all the same: we’re all loved.

Sitting at the airport in Australia I saw everyone saying goodbye to their loved ones. I did the same and said goodbye to my family and girlfriend. I sat there for around ten minutes and realized that we’re all loved by someone.

We all have someone who would be sad or miss us if we didn’t return home. All of us want to come home safe and see our loved ones again. While tragedy can strike, these trips to places like Japan are a must – they’re part of our journey in life.

These journeys we take are how we find ourselves. Without travel, we become lost and can’t understand how we fit into this world.

Knowing I’m loved and knowing the importance of these journeys helped rebuild me.

 

Japan can show you what is wrong too.

So far I’ve made Japan sound like it’s all roses – it’s not. I saw people working ridiculous hours. I saw Japanese people who had become obsessed with meaningless westernized brands. I saw women who still appeared to be second class compared with men.

Japan didn’t show me perfection; it showed me reality and that means that there are always going to be things that need to change. Each of us can form part of that change.

 

Objectification of women has changed men in a bad way.

For some reason, Japan gave me immense clarity. I noticed that me (and all other men) have become hardwired to look at women’s bodies. Even the nicest most loyal men who treat women well have been affected. I noticed this unconscious behavior in myself while in Australia and began questioning it.

Do we need to look at women in such a physical way? Is it really necessary? Is this addiction taking up so much of our creative genius and potential?

The answer to all of these questions, after Japan, was that a problem exists and this addiction is not serving as well. I’m not proud of this fact and I for one plan on not only being aware of it but also changing it. This idea helped rebuild me.

 

The Samurai showed the benefits of discipline.

While being an Aussie tourist walking through the grounds of the Imperial Palace, I saw some of the emperors Samurai training. The facility was surrounded by fences but being a tall guy, I could still see over the fence.

I found these Samurai to be cool because they were laser-focused on what they were doing. The Samurai had purpose and precision accuracy. Their discipline taught them patience and you could see the courage in their actions. Everything was thought through and nothing was left to chance.

The Samurai helped me rebuild my life by reminding me of what discipline can do when we embrace it. A disorganized mind combined with actions that are all over the place results in a lot of nothingness. Start with being a master at one thing instead of trying to be mediocre at lots of things.

 

Concrete Jungle vs. Nature

Before Japan, I was obsessed with visiting places like San Fran and New York to see big concrete cities and skyscrapers. Now that I’ve been to Japan I’ve realized that I’m completely bored of that. Going to My Fuji and some of the mountains in Kyoto is far more impactful.

Concrete jungles are all the same once you’ve seen a few. They all have lots of box’s – some tall, some wide, some full of lights and some full of views. When you see enough of these, you no longer become impressed by them.

Nature is impossible to top though. No matter how many lakes, mountains, beaches or forests I visit, I never get sick of them. That’s because it’s in our human DNA to feel a connection with nature. Nature is a place we can relax and recharge the batteries.

Japan taught me that for the rest of my travel adventures I am going to focus on beautiful places that encompass nature instead of man-made structures and fake tourist attractions like theme parks. Knowing what nature means to me has helped me to rebuild myself.

 

See as many places as you can.

This trip to Japan made me see that I get bored after around five days in one country. I’ve discovered that it’s ideal to see as many places as you can. The more of this Earth you experience, the more your life changes.

 

Don’t forget attention to detail.

Japanese people, I learned, are obsessed with attention to detail. Everything from the signage at train stations to the way they present food has been thought of.

“It’s not about being perfect; it’s about being purposeful”

It’s the little things that the Japanese people do that make you fall in love with them by the end of your stay in their country.

 

Manners feel good.

I quickly saw that Japanese people are very kind and have amazing manners. They say thank you so many times. As you walk out of a restaurant, the whole team say thank you like a giant choir. Being grateful and acknowledging each other is at the heart of their culture.

You can’t help but smile when you witness this way of treating one another. Not every stranger you meet in a foreign country is trying to commit a terrorist attack.

All I can say is manners just feel good and it put’s you in a positive mood. Plus, you walk around with a big fat smile on your face and that feels refreshing.

 

Connection through transport.

Japanese culture feels very connected and that’s partly to do with their very efficient transport system. There’s a subway station on practically every corner that’s affordable. Trains run every few minutes, so there’s never any need to run to the subway station to catch a train.

The bullet trains allow you to skip between states or regions in a very short amount of time. No need to board a plane or go through the razzle-dazzle of airport bureaucracy gone mad (thanks to perceived terrorism and the news).

While sitting on the Shinkansen (bullet train) to Kyoto, I saw families that were on their way to visit one another. They looked so relaxed and sat there enjoying the countryside of Japan as I did. It was a regular occurrence made possible by a fantastic transport system that is orderly and well thought out.

 

Technology is exhausting.

The negative side of technology is prominent in Japan. There are cities that are littered with giant LED screens, bright lights and technology on every corner. In these places, I felt unable to think clearly and the bright lights made me feel like I suffered from Attention Deficit Disorder.

There was technology within the toilet seat, on the plane, at restaurants and ugly vending machines selling fat causing sugar water on every corner.

On the flip side, what I loved about Japan was that talking loudly on a not so smart phone was prohibited in most places and there were locations where phones were non-existent. Japanese people seem to know how to balance life between being “ON” and being “OFF” when it comes to their phone.

“Instead of wasting your life away on your phone, Japan teaches you to become present and appreciate the here and now”

You notice things that you normally wouldn’t where I’m from in the Western World. With so much empty space, Japan is a great place to rebuild yourself. The rebuilding process needs thinking time away from phones.

 

Minimalism and being space conscious is beautiful.

The Japanese people are obsessed with being space conscious. They have double-decker car spaces, cube-shaped cars, cars made for people who must be three-foot tall, hotel rooms where you can barely open the door and space-saving retail shops like you’ve never seen.

 

Time is money in Japan.

My plane was on time to the second. Every train was on time. The tour guide at Mt Fuji was on time. The hotel cleaning was to the minute and so was the checkout. Time is money and it’s one resource we should take more seriously. Time gives you the opportunity to rebuild and grow.

 

Low energy states can be healed by travel.

More than a year since my last break, my energy levels in my career were at an all-time low. I had headaches every day and felt uninspired to a degree. It turns out all I needed was a holiday to rebuild.

Your body guides you.
Your heart guides you.
Your mind guides you.

This Japan trip taught me to take time to relax and recharge. Don’t ignore your body ever!

 

Climbing Japanese mountains is a metaphor for life.

I climbed this mountain in Kyoto. Halfway up I wanted to quit. I thought to myself “I’ve seen enough. Why go to the summit?”

That’s the problem right there. When we’re working on our goals, we give up too soon. We settle for okay instead of amazing. If this mountain were your life, would you give up when it got a bit hard? I’m telling you not to.

All the growth and everything you ever wanted comes from pushing that extra 2% to reach the top of the mountain. The feeling at the top is indescribable. Only those who are prepared to go the extra mile will know what it feels like to look down from the top.

Two more things to remember:

1. Once you reach the top, there’s always another mountain.

2. You must also help someone else climb the mountain to reach your full potential. Living is giving.

This mountain I climbed in Japan taught me so much about rebuilding my life (and yes I love mountain analogies).

 

There’s no place like a hot spring to contemplate life and rebuild your life.

While lying in a hot spring (Onsen) in Northern Tokyo, I sat there and thought I was going to be enjoying a relaxing time in a hot spring. What no one told me is that my entire life would replay before me. The onsen became a place to contemplate everything that had transpired thus far.

The hot water from the springs has a certain effect on your mind. I often find that my best thinking and ideas come from a shower and I’ve heard other people talk about this same experience.

“The hot spring sent my mind into deep thinking that I’ll never forget”

 

To enter a Japanese hot spring, you must be fully naked. You can’t bring clothes, material possessions, technology or a corporate mask. There’s nowhere to hide and no phone to look at. You sit there naked and bare your soul. It’s the one time where people can see you for exactly who you are.

Before contemplating my own life, I observed the men around me. Many of them seemed to be contemplating their life. Some looked tired and worn out from years of slaving away and doing hard labor.

Many of them looked like they were wasting away from years of working too hard and not remembering what truly matters. It was as if they had finally discovered what matters but that it was now too late. Then I saw the exact opposite – young men who had their whole lives ahead of them.

They too would sit there and weigh up their options. Should they follow their dream or fall for the Western myth that is collecting useless objects of little value? There were times where I wanted to answer this question for them.

I realized after a lot of thought that these young men had to come to that realization themselves. When you discover these truths of life yourself, everything changes and the principles stick.

I saw these young men by the end of my time in the hot spring for who they were and what they could become (their potential). I finally understood that they too could change the world in some impactful way if they chose too. We all have that choice and it’s ours to make.

“This stark comparison between the older men and the younger men was one of the most profound lessons of my Japan trip”

Both generations of men also looked up at the sky while doing this deep thinking. I found that quite bizarre and all of them did it.

What’s strange is that I also looked up at the sky without consciously being aware. Once I’d finished observing the men in the hot spring, I turned my thinking over to my own life. I had truth bomb after truth bomb as I sat there. I found myself running to the change room every 30 minutes to write stuff down.

What I had achieved so far and what I needed to do next became so clear. I sat in the hot spring proud of who I’ve become. For the first time in my life, I got to sit there and appreciate everything I’d put out into the world. I hadn’t stopped to see how far I’d come before this moment.

I was so focused on the present and trying to gain future success that I didn’t even know how proud I could be of myself. This fact has become the foundation of me going through the rebuilding phase yet again after five years since my last major self-renovation.

 

In summary….

Everyone reading this blog post has the opportunity to rebuild their life and consistently self-disrupt themselves. Going to places like Japan gives you the opportunity to experience life and see how far you’ve come. You can’t be ON 24/7 like those picture quotes tell you to be.

Once in a while, you need to be proud of who you are and think about who you can become.

Japan is a perfect place to do this and rebuild your life. Stay true to yourself and inspire others.

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

The Six Point Marketing Makeover That Will Score You An Endless Stream of Business

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Marketing

Every business has room to improve, but marketing is a habitually ignored facet. We spend so much time posting on social media and money on ad buys that we forget to evaluate the overall efficacy of our marketing efforts. Our efforts eventually become outdated, and we are left wondering why. With a little effort, you can transform your marketing to generate a consistent stream of ongoing business. It won’t break the bank, and it is doable – if you allow yourself to establish a game plan and stick to it.

Here are the six pieces of a true marketing makeover that will forever change the playing field for you:

1. Define Who You Are

If you polled your customers, who would they say you are? I’m not talking about what you do, but who you are. What do you stand for? What are your values? What are the (business) issues making you want to write a manifesto? While none of the answers completely define you, they all speak to some important aspect of your overall brand.

Customers need to know who you are. Thankfully, we’ve seen some great examples of this. Nordstrom is defined by how it handles returns. Zappos is renowned for its customer service. Toms (shoes) is the “One for One” company. Your product face may be public, but what about you? The better you define your brand and the people behind it, the more the right customers are attracted to it.

2. Explain What You Do

“We employ the highest levels of craftsmanship in our products,” or “your satisfaction is our highest value” – these are wasted space. If you want to establish a brand that attracts customers in like moths to a light, you need to run away from ambiguous, gratuitous statements and embrace specificity. “We teach people how to podcast using the latest low-cost technology,” or “we make shoes that will last ten times longer and are ten times more comfortable than any competitor in the space.” These are statements telling customers exactly what you do.

In communicating what you do, it’s important to reinforce the value system you claim to have (i.e., who you are). This gives your customers a framework to develop trust and see the authenticity of your brand. Explaining what you do, however, is about making it easy for customers to recognize why they need you. If you explain what you do well enough, your customers will often realize they have a problem they didn’t know they had – and you can fix it for them.

“Communication – the human connection – is the key to personal and career success.” – Paul J. Meyer

3. Identify Who You Help

You’ve probably heard that the “riches are in the niches,” and regardless of whether you agree with the statement, there’s a gold nugget hidden in it. A well-defined target market will help you structure custom-tailored messaging that will hit every time.

The most effective marketing efforts target identifiable characteristics of your customers that link a specific need with a specific solution. The characteristics may include gender, age, nationality, domicile, language, relationship status, or similar personal traits, but should also include past engagement behavior, third-party engagement behavior, and other market-driven information. You don’t help “people,” you help one person at a time.

4. Give First, Receive Later

It seems that everywhere you look, someone is trying to sell you something. What if instead of selling, you were giving? You can be a real estate agent who delivers free weekly reports on home sales in a region, or even a health coach who offers a free webinar on food choices and without selling anything specific during the presentation. Believe it or not, generosity is marketing.

When it comes to your marketing makeover, one of the easiest things you can do is give something to your customers. Maybe it’s a 10% discount or maybe it’s a free one-on-one session. Whatever it is, understand that when you approach your marketing with a mind to attract people, you should always begin by giving. There is also a very practical online reality to this component: The vast majority of people attempt to block ads served up to them. Giving, however, isn’t blocked; it’s embraced.

5. Have Something To Sell

This may shock the socks off a few of you, but many businesses forget to have something to sell. The marketing wheels are turning and consumers are being attracted, but once converted, they have nothing to purchase. This might seem so obvious you can’t think I’m serious, but I am. Time and time again, I’ve consulted for businesses that are devoid of meaningful products or services.

In the process of creating a new marketing paradigm, you can’t forget to connect the dots from a marketing effort to the product or service being marketed. If your marketing works, you’ll have hot customers ready to spend money. They need something to spend it on, so reverse-engineer the experience, identify the product or service, then ensure your campaign is appropriately linked to it.

“The more you engage with customers the clearer things become and the easier it is to determine what you should be doing.” – John Russell

6. Do it All Over

There’s no easier way to walk back towards irrelevancy than believing you can put your marketing on autopilot. To be sure, you can automate certain actions and triggers, but you can never automate the creativity that goes into designing a timely and meaningful connection with your customer. Once you walk through all the steps above, do it again six months later. You’ll be surprised at how things evolve.

Which one of these steps is most important to you in your career? Let us know by commenting below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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