I remember the day in vivid detail. I was on a weekend trip visiting my girlfriend at the time in Arizona. She had decided that we should join her friends to go “cliff jumping.” We were early on in our dating and she obviously had no idea that I was not fond of heights. So “cliffs” and jumping off of them… No thanks!
I inevitably found myself on the edge of a 40-foot cliff peering down at a vast blue canvas of water. Then I realized if I didn’t jump, I’d have to start the walk of shame back down the cliff. This was a lose-lose situation for me.
Fear had me. I didn’t want to jump, but I also didn’t want to look bad in front of my girlfriend’s friends. So I jumped and in that moment, I had defied my brain and my neurochemistry.
Our brains are wired to protect us, not to push us towards our goals. Our brains are wired to look for anything that could be potentially dangerous or threatening and keep us as far away from it as possible by using fear. The problem is not all situations warrant fear.
There is a saying in neuroscience that says, “the brain wires the way it fires”, meaning the more you do a certain activity, the more the brain lays down wiring to make that action or activity easier.
‘Fears are educated into us, and can, if we wish, be educated out.’ – Karl Augustus Menninger
When we let fear keep us stagnant and we continue to do the same things that are comfortable, our brain gets “hardwired” to stay comfortable. We become “stagnant.” This can become debilitating for some of us and prevent us from encountering the very experiences we need to grow and succeed.
When we, in spite of our fear, do the challenging things that are outside our comfort zone, we begin to hardwire into our brain change, adaptability, creativity, growth, perspective, and happiness because we stretch the boundaries of our brain’s capabilities and force it to adapt rather than “playing it safe.”
An elite athlete didn’t make it where they are today by going into their training and never pushing past their comfort zone. They constantly pushed their limits of comfort to force their bodies and minds to grow to that of a top performer. The same principle applies to our brains. If we let fear dictate our actions in any area of our lives, it will stunt your growth in that area.
So what’s the first step? How do we go about conquering our fears whether it’s public speaking, starting a business, or launching the product or service? See below:
1. Journal Your Fears
Write down all the fears you have, big or small. Contrary to opinion “size does not matter.” Your brain still operates the same with all types of fear. The key is to first acknowledge what you are fearful about and bring it to light. Be as specific as possible.
2. Prioritize Your Fears
I then rank my fears from highest to lowest in terms of how often I think about this fear and/or how much it disrupts my life. You may find some fears combine into a broader category and that’s ok — we’ll get to that. So for now identify your biggest fear.
3. Support Your Belief in Yourself
I don’t mean just “believe in yourself.” What I mean is to build in support systems that will support your belief in yourself, so that when you start taking action, your support systems will solidify those new experiences and form deeper, more meaningful, and lasting beliefs in yourself.
It may look like building a list of affirmations that you say every morning or a meditation. Whatever it is, it needs to be uplifting and empowering you towards conquering your goals.
4. Take Action & Start Small
Look at your list and identify what your biggest fear is. That’s the beast we’re going to tackle long term, but for some that may seem like a big stretch at first. So instead, see what your 5th biggest fear is, and that’s where you’ll start.
What we will then do is build our way up and take a ride on the “Momentum Train.” Starting small with taking actions toward your lower priority fears and then building up helps your brain build momentum, which provides your brain with plenty of courage and motivation to tackle the #1 fear on your list.
‘Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. The fearful are caught as often as the bold.’ – Helen Keller
5. No Time Limit, Just Consistency
Most goals should be limited to a time domain. For the goal of tackling a fear, time can be a challenging factor to set. Some of these fears may have been unknowingly building up for decades without your knowledge. So I don’t recommend setting a time on when you are “going to conquer your fear.”
Instead set appointments to regularly meet and address your fear. If you’re fear is public speaking, then go to a local Toastmasters once a week. The more consistent you can be, the better.
6. Reframe and Reinforce
As you begin to address these fears, make sure you are reinforcing the experiences you have in a positive perspective. For instance, if you want to be less fearful of public speaking and decide to try out a local toastmasters group, your first time speaking to the group might feel like a train wreck, but when you look back on the situation you can acknowledge that that actually pushed past your fear and accomplished your goal.
7. Rinse and Repeat
This isn’t a quick fix. It may take some time. There’s always a new fear or challenge awaiting us. The key is to have systems like this in place to address those challenges properly rather than allowing ourselves to succumb to fear and derail our lives from their fullest potential.
How do you handle your fears? Comment below!
Image courtesy of Twenty20.com
How YOU Can Create a Powerful 10 Year Life Vision
Where do you desire to be 10 years from now? Joel Brown, founder of the well-known website and podcast Addicted2Success, breaks down exactly how to gain clarity in your life and create a powerful 10-year life vision. The vision process that Joel teaches has transformed the lives of hundreds and thousands of people who use it.
You can listen to the full podcast interview here with Joel Brown or head over to my website AshleyHann.com for more inspirational podcast episodes.
Joel Brown is the real deal. He travels the world coaching thousands and thousands of people to stand in their vision so they can turn their dreams into a reality. He has been featured in the Think and Grow Rich movie, Entrepreneur, Forbes, Inc., The Huffington Post, Success Magazine and more. He has sat down with well-known thought leaders such as Tony Robbins, Deepak Chopra, Jay Shetty, Gary Vaynerchuk, Grant Cardone, John Assaraf and the list goes on.
This is a MUST LISTEN episode all about gaining clarity, creating harmony in your life and creating a powerful 10-year vision so that you can live the life you’ve always wanted.
Joel breaks it down for you step by step. In this episode, we go over:
- The 3 key questions you must ask yourself in order to live a fulfilled life and master your 10-year vision
- How to define success for yourself and discover what you really want
- The 8 areas of life to include in your 10-year vision
- The top, prevalent patterns successful people share and why you should adopt them too
- The 3 main limiting beliefs and bullsh*t stories that hold people back from achieving their dreams and goals
- Why dropping perfectionism is so important and what to do instead
- …and so much more!
If you’re more of a visual person then you can watch my video interview with Joel Brown here:
This is an episode you won’t want to miss. Joel Brown is the 10-year vision expert and teaches his vision process all over the globe to thousands and thousands of people. You’ll want to make sure to grab a pen and paper so you can take notes and action on the strategies he shares with you.
OR you can watch it on my YouTube Channel:
His event: www.elevatetribe.net
The #1 motivation website he built from scratch: www.addicted2success.com
His Circle of Influence online mastermind: www.iamjoelbrown.com/applynow
5 Ways You Can Utilize Information Properly and Think More Efficiently
The mind is a complex system of facets, of which some have yet to be discovered. Still, in spite of all this, there has been enough information to help us gain a rudimentary understanding of it. Thinking is what we all do, although what differs is the efficiency and levels at which we do it.
A lot of things influence the way you think, and most of these factors vary from person to person. However, there are some foundations and basic laws that can help you move from just filtering information and utilizing it to think efficiently.
Below are a few ways you can utilize information properly and think more efficiently:
1. Be quiet and listen
We’re constantly bombarded with information, and the nature of this information determines how we respond. Are you the type of person who doesn’t handle bad or even good news well? If so, learn to take a step back, evaluate things, and look for the way forward. It’s something that stock market traders do all the time, and it works like a charm with practice.
2. Never neglect what your emotions tell you
While a lot of people might not know this, it is true that the conscious thoughts we have only represent a small fraction of the events going on in our heads. At any given point in time, you have the unconscious aspect taking in massive amounts of information, most of which we don’t even know are being processed.
Your brain makes conclusions, good or bad, and starts to generate feelings that rule our emotions in the long-run. So, whenever you have a subtle feeling that points you to a certain course of action or thought, don’t ignore it. At the end of the day, that feeling gets its way somehow, and it’s better you come face-to-face with it and understand its nudges better.
“When you react, you let others control you. When you respond, you are in control.” – Bohdi Sanders
3. Never think while under pressure
Pressure can be good, but a lot of the time, it tends to yield counter-productive results. Regardless of what you’re doing, there are times when you feel pressure. What this pressure does is force you to rely less on the part of your unconsciousness that functions like a trained autopilot system (from all of the training and experiences that you’ve had in the past). Essentially, it forces you to overthink things.
You begin to analyze every aspect of what you’re doing, and you end up using parts of your brain that have no business with the specific activity. So, whenever you take the time out to develop a certain skill, make sure you learn to have faith in your instincts as well.
4. Never focus on one viewpoint
Bluffing is something that professional poker players do almost every time. It’s become an art. However, instead of just bluffing on a whim (which also works at times, by the way), most of them employ a simple trick while playing; they think about how the opposing players would act if they weren’t actually bluffing.
In most cases, the brain tends to search the world for filters in order to confirm the beliefs that it holds. However, the problem with this is that it tends to limit you. At the end of the day, you could be dealing with facts that are just not wrong.
“What’s true of the poker game is true of life. Most people are suckers and don’t realise it.” – Michael Faust
According to studies, a lot of people tend to have moments of insight and solutions to problems when they’re not even aware of the fact that the problem is being analyzed by the brain. These are usually moments when you take a stroll, listen to your favorite track, brew your favorite coffee, take showers, and read blogs; when you feel relaxed and comfortable.
This is because insightful thoughts are usually generated by an influx of neural activities that occur in the right hemisphere of the brain. The best time to plug into the mind is when you’re stress-free, so make sure that you engage in activities that relax you more often.
How do you go about maneuvering around and making decisions in a world constantly bombarding you with information? Let us know your thoughts and advice below!
10 Simple Yet Effective Ways to Bring Out the Successful YouTuber in You
YouTube is a social media platform that has turned many a normal person into a celebrity. With over 1.9 billion logged-in users visiting YouTube every month, it is a hugely popular platform that is being actively used by people who are leveraging its reach and popularity for reputation building, increasing visibility, creating and driving brand reach and last but not the least, earning money.
We keep hearing success stories of YouTube influencers who were nobodies when they started out and today run some of the most popular channels on YouTube and are considered reputed influencers in their niche.
There is absolutely no doubt that if done right, a presence on YouTube can be a massive boost for your brand (if you are a business) and ensure visibility of stratospheric proportions (if you are an individual).
But, at the end of it all, most people want to get onboard YouTube for the money. If your channel is popular enough, it can be a regular source of income for you. So, how do you become a successful YouTuber and establish a popular YouTube channel?
Here are ten great tips to help you on your way:
1. Identify your YouTube Goals
What do you want to achieve out of YouTube? Straight off the block, this is the question you must answer. YouTube can help build your brand, both business and personal, if that’s your goal. It will help improve your reputation and differentiate yourself from the competition. It could also become a revenue generation medium for you.
There are many reasons you might want to start a YouTube channel, and you need to zero in on the right one. Identifying your core goal or set of goals will help you plan your YouTube journey effectively.
2. Identify the Right Niche for Your Channel
Making videos is a resource-intensive activity. It also needs a rare degree of passion to make videos because you are going to put a truckload of effort into it. So, make sure to zero in on the right niche for your channel, meaning the kind of video content you are going to post. If you are an individual, the content must align with your interest, preferences, skill sets and knowledge.
If you are a business, it must align with your business’s services or domain. Think very carefully whether you will be able to keep making videos about a specific topic, subject or domain regularly. This will help you choose the right ‘content type’ for your channel.
3. Trust Yourself
There are some YouTubers who give up because they think they are not cut out to be successful YouTubers. There is absolutely no doubt, you will be wracked by self-doubt when you start, especially if your videos aren’t finding enough traction. The key here is to have confidence in your ability and pursuing your end goal indefatigably.
Don’t give up because of setbacks; some of the top YouTubers started off slowly and built their audience steadily. When it comes to YouTube, it is important to understand that success won’t come easily or quickly.
4. Be Prepared for Criticism
As a YouTuber, you have the ability to showcase your knowledge and skillsets to the world, but this also sets you up for criticism. There are people who are going to like your videos and there are those who won’t and will go a step further and criticize it through the comments section.
And very often, this criticism isn’t constructive and its only aim is to make fun of you and your video. Can you handle this criticism? You must if you want to be a successful YouTuber. Try developing a thick skin and don’t allow even the most virulent criticism to affect you.
5. Respond to Comments
Make it a habit to respond to comments, irrespective of whether these appreciate or criticize your video. Your response tells your viewer that you care and are prepared to listen to their views. This helps you build a relationship with your viewers who can then turn into channel subscribers. Don’t think YouTube videos are one-way traffic wherein you make a video, a viewer sees it and forgets about it. A video is a means of driving interaction and engagement.
6. Follow other YouTubers
You might have some great content ideas for your channel, but you must also keep track of what other YouTubers are doing. There is always a chance that you will get some inspiration from their videos as to how to make a video more interesting, get the lowdown on audience engagement tactics and find technical aspects as well including camera work, audio etc.
7. Attend Meetups
There are plenty of YouTube meetups, conventions and conferences happening all over the world; it is imperative that you attend YouTube events happening in your region. This way you will be able to meet fellow YouTubers in the region, and who knows, you might also meet YouTubers, you follow and want to emulate. If you get the opportunity to discuss notes or get tips, do so. This will help refine your channel content
8. Keep Measuring Your Performance
Start measuring your YouTube performance from the word go. You need to keep track of various performance metrics to know how well you have done. A metric like ‘views’ is super important but so is ‘watch time’. ouTube judges the performance of your channel on various metrics and uses these to rank your videos in search results. There are plenty of tools that can help you track and measure YouTube performance based on various parameters.
9. Don’t Judge Yourself Too Harshly
Don’t set impossible standards for yourself. You are going to make mistakes and learn from them. No video is perfect and don’t think you can start making amazingly successful videos from day one. So, judge yourself, but don’t go overboard. Don’t compare your work with people who have many years of YouTube experience behind them; this would be counterproductive and play havoc with your confidence levels.
10. Keep at It
If you want to bring out the successful YouTuber in you, you must keep at it. Plan a video publishing schedule and stick to it, irrespective of whether your videos are doing well or not. Remember, once you set cadence, you will get better at your videos, and this will drive more engagement.
A successful YouTuber is no different from a successful person. You need to work hard, learn from mistakes, and more importantly learn from others. And you must make use of all this learning to create better and more more engaging videos.
Why You Should Prefer Emails to Phone Calls if You Want to Be More Productive
“Email” and “productivity” rarely go together in a sentence. Emails have been declared as one of our largest time wasters. A McKinsey report stated that people spend around 2.6 hours each day responding to emails. That’s 13 hours a week, 52 hours a month and over 60 days a year! Imagine what you could’ve achieved in 60 days!
Emails also negatively affect our cognitive resources. When we think of responding to them while doing other important tasks, it takes up to 23 minutes and 15 seconds after being disrupted to return to full attention to a current task. Imagine how much our cognition and productivity gets fractured when we get distracted over and over again.
Constant emailing also drains us mentally. And at the end of a day, we realize that we’ve achieved nothing worth mentioning. With a phone call, you can sort issues and solve problems quickly, right? In theory, you’re right. But we live in a practical world where many variables come into play.
Below are three variables that make phone calls adversely affect our productivity, and why emails are a better alternative:
1. Wasting Time
Most “five-minute conversations” can quickly turn into 35-minute calls because people ramble about irrelevant aspects. This derailment, several times a day, severely limits the limited time and energy you have for important tasks.
Emails, on the other hand, force writers to streamline their thoughts and stick to the point. Emails can save you plenty of time and energy because you avoid lengthy phone calls. The constant strife to keep your own emails short and crisp also makes you a clearer thinker, which rewards you in other aspects of your life.
“It’s better to waste money, than it is to waste time. You can always get more money.” – Hal Sparks
2. Inaccurate Responses
An unexpected phone call can catch me caught off guard on a topic. I might respond emotionally or give an answer that doesn’t do justice to what I want to share. In a world dominated by panic buttons and fire-fighting, these don’t just stress me out but the caller as well.
Emails give me flexibility to prepare a coherent response and share it when I’m satisfied. If I feel a surge of emotion, I can sleep over the thought and share a better (more rational) response the next day. Many page-long email responses to emails that upset me have turned into a simple “thank you for your email” the next day.
3. Constant Back-and-Forth
Phone calls often are ineffective to solve business problems. Accounting for multiple people, their views, their timelines… One phone call can quickly turn into three.
Emails are quicker and more effective than even conference calls. They let you communicate with multiple people at the same time. You can share information, assign tasks and give status updates while being as specific as possible.
You must be wondering, “What about back-and-forth emails then? Why do we waste precious time on them?” Yes, email has earned a bad rap. But it’s not because of the medium; it’s because we handle it ineffectively.
A Better Approach to Emailing
For most people, constantly refreshing the inbox is part of the daily to-do list. It keeps them busy and gives them a kick of dopamine – the feel-good chemical.
Ironically, this quest to remain busy makes people compromise on taking action that can move them forward. Using emails prudently, rewards you with plenty of energy and mind space to focus on tasks that truly matter.
Here are three steps that benefited me without succumbing to the side effects of email:
1. Checking Them Less
I check emails just 3 times a day – at 9:30 AM, 12:00 PM, and 4:30 PM. If you don’t have the luxury to do the same, you can start by checking your emails for ten minutes at the end of each hour. Most senders expect a response in a little over an hour. So they won’t mind a slightly delayed response. This gives you 45 undisturbed minutes each hour to work on your core tasks.
2. Responding Quickly
People delay responding to emails at least 37% of the time, which turns finding emails and responding to them into additional tasks that cost time and lead to attention residue. Most emails take under two minutes to respond. When you can respond to an email, do so instead of putting it off. This won’t just put your mind at peace, it’ll also reduce the number of “did-you-see-this” follow-up emails in your inbox.
“I do love email. Wherever possible I try to communicate asynchronously. I’m really good at email.” – Elon Musk
3. The If-Then Technique
The If-Then technique helps you address multiple scenarios at once. For instance, an email that says, “Can we meet at 3:00 PM?” becomes, “Can we meet at 3:00 PM? If not, please advise three other times that work for you.”
This technique is also effective when you want to suggest ideas or provide instructions on alternative steps. For example, “Here’s Plan A. If it doesn’t work, connect with [name] and ask for [specific information]. If you don’t get what you need, inform me.”
I’ll admit. This sounds like more work in the current moment, but it drastically cuts down the number of trail mails, confused correspondences, and fire-fighting instances that occur due to miscommunication.
The If-Then formula is the single most effective technique I’ve learned from The 4-Hour Workweek. All of this doesn’t mean that you abandon phone calls, In fact, it’s better to use the phone for sensitive topics or if an email conversation gets dragged. But remain mindful to not let phone calls waste your time.
If you want to pursue a meaningful life, place a premium on your time. Do things that create time for you to pursue meaningful actions and avoid doing what pulls you away from them. In the knowledge economy, this is the key to success.
Do you prefer email or talking on the phone? Share your thoughts below!
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