• "It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena..."

  • “I can’t believe they did that”
    • “Maybe that isn’t so bad”
    • “Wait! What was that again”
  • “Did I forget to shave?”
    • “No, I shaved”
    • “Why did I think I hadn’t shaved?”
    • “I need to be more aware of what I’m doing”
    • “But isn’t me thinking about being more aware not being aware of what I’m presently doing?”
  • “You’re an idiot”
    • “It’s only a matter of time until they notice you’re a fraud”
    • “Then you’ll go bankrupt”
    • “No, wait, you’re awesome”
    • “Awesome, awesome, awesome”
    • “You’re so not awesome”
  • “Am I late?”

If I can imagine as many potential dangers and embarrassing situations, I can avoid them all and look beautiful to others.

That sums up the goal of mind rumblings: To protect against things that won’t happen or don’t matter. Once we’re aware that brain rumblings serve no purpose other than to protect us from improbable situations, we can start seeing them for what they are: distractions from what’s taking place.

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A blank page, a roadblock, a delay…

Why do we get stuck?

  • Because we’re afraid. Afraid that what we do won’t work. Afraid that it will be subpar. Scared of being embarrassed. 
  • Because we’re elsewhere. We’re supposed to write, but we’re thinking about our finances. We should be writing the report, but we’re thinking about vacations.

Being asked to jump the high jump is intimidating if you’ve never jumped it before. It’s even more intimidating if you used to train but stopped. So we procrastinate, delay and stall.

The remedy then is to train – continuously work on improving. Training makes us more comfortable with failure and allows us to push through.

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I can’t stop thinking about this:

No one has experienced your brand or your product the way you have. They don’t know about the compromises and choices that went into it. They don’t understand the competitive pressures or the mis-steps either. (Seth’s Blog: The Foggy Mirror)

Having gone through and driven rebrands, platform redesigns, ad and email campaigns, I can say that this probably where most marketers go wrong.

We spend too much time in our bubble and not out enough there, watching what our audience does.

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Yesterday, there was one way to achieve marketing success: outspend the competition.

If your customer needed a vacuum cleaner and you were present on more TV and radio channels, there’s a good chance you got the business.

Today isn’t much different. You still need to outspend.

But you also need to out-brand.

That’s not always the story that’s told. Most marketers are in one camp or the other. But a brand builds trust and outspending without faith yields unimpressive results. On the flip side, building trust has often become synonymous with “don’t sell,” but a company that doesn’t sell…

Outspend doesn’t mean running a huge budget and hoping for the best. Similarly, Brand doesn’t mean creating and sharing content without knowing how to ask for the sale.

The trick is knowing both.

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When the waves pick up and your boat suddenly starts rocking back and forth, you immediately notice to motion. Soon, though, if the movement persists long enough, it becomes the new standard. You tolerate the discomfort and learn to go through the motions.

The longer you go through them, the more complacent and oblivious to the situation you become. This isn’t resilience. This is submission.

Why is it that sooner or later we end up going through them, no longer aware of each step, each turn, each detail?

At which point do we go from paying attention to the details, to merely day dreaming through them?

Maybe the answer is less important than the solution. Maybe it’s more important to take note of early and subtle shifts that takes place when you submit: a skipped beat, a justification, a dismissal.

All signs that complacency is setting in.

From there, I think it becomes easier to start noticing the motion again.

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I enjoy managing my own investments. I’ve had some decent over the past year which is when I first started. I’ve performed better than a few benchmarks, but I’m no Ray Dalio.

Investing is unrelated to the core of what I do. I have 15+ years experience in digital marketing. Yet I enjoy it enough to put in some effort.

For all the time I spend improving my digital marketing skills, this is a welcome break.

Branches are important. I think single focus wears you out in the end. That doesn’t mean the goal is to be scattered. The ultimate aim is still to do great work. Finding branches helps you do that.

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One of the great things about Seinfeld was how each character’s story came together to set up the show’s punchline.

Today, your marketing is the same. Many tangled and intertwined stories that set up a punch line: a qualified prospect or sale.

The characters are your various outposts – Facebook, email, blog, Twitter, LinkedIn, AdWords, syndication, trade shows, etc.

Each post, each status, each email tells their story but link to each other in a way that may not be yet visible to your audience: your customers.

Of course setting up your show is difficult. There are many moving parts, all dependent on different mediums and platforms. So the necessary first step is messy. We can’t be afraid of trying out, testing, experimenting and playing around with each character all to support your brand’s storyline.

Ultimately, the entire thing needs to move towards congruence, measurement and optimization. But it’s that first, messy beginning that puts off so many.

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Preoccupied seems to be the general state of mind these days (in the West anyway).

  • Why are my kid’s grades slipping?
  • Why can’t I get ahead?
  • I need more money.
  • I just can’t get to work on time.
  • I think I’m getting fired today.
  • Why did I say that at lunch today!?!
  • That was a stupid mistake! I’ll get reprimanded for sure.
  • I can’t do a project like that.
  • Will my kid drop out?
  • I’ll never get out of debt…
  • And the list goes on indefinitely.

The thing about being preoccupied is, as the word indicates, whatever you’re thinking about hasn’t occupied you yet. You’re imagining the worst case which means it can become a self-fulfilling prophecy: The more we worry and ignore what really is, the stronger the preoccupation gets and eventually becomes and all-consuming occupation.

The first thing to do really is to call out the pre-occupier. When you call out your debt, your child’s slipping grades, your mistake, you start to realize that it’s simply a situation you can remedy.

The second step is to take action. What concrete steps will get you out of debt? What can you do to help your child? How can you make sure this mistake never happens again?

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To name it is to clip its wings. An unnamed frustration, a block, a disturbance has the power to infiltrate any project and make it derail. It can change to course of a relationship. It can wreck a lifetime of work.

But if you name it, it withers and dies. If you state your frustration out loud, write about your block, talk about your disturbance, then you can identify it for what it is: a fact of life. No life is smooth and easy. There’s always trauma, there’s always a wall, there’s always a discomfort. They’re part of life just like breathing, sleeping and eating.

When you remain silent, however, then they become more than that. They take on a life of their own and become part of you instead of remaining a fact. Calling them out, puts them in their place and liberates you and allows you to become their parent, the mentor, the boss, the employee you need to be and do work that matters.

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Most speed bumps are well intentioned – a way to slow motorists down in school zones, parking lots, and anywhere else keeping a low speed is safer.

In business though a speed bump is deadly. Ask a customer to wait too long to try on a pair of shoes and they’ll walk away. Add unnecessary fields to an order form and they’ll click (or tap) away.

The most detrimental speed bumps are the ones that occur at the bottom of the sales funnel. The ones that happen when the lead is demonstrating an interest in becoming a customer. Wait too long to return their call and they’ll forget you, make the buy button too hard to find and they won’t.

Some speed bumps are strategic. If you get too many leads, making the conversion process more complicated is a way only to get the most excited. Especially when you sell enterprise software or high-end consulting services that require dedicating n on behalf of the customer). If that isn’t your case, focus on removing speed bumps.

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