Posts in Productivity
The space between knowing and doing

While working on my online program Build Up Lab, I noticed a trend among the business owners I had the privilege to collaborate with. I can only describe this trend as a “space between knowing and doing”.

It refers to the fact that we don't do what we already know we have to do. Knowing we have to spread the word more widely about our product. Knowing we have to start using email marketing. Knowing that business is taking more from our life than adding to it.
…And not doing anything about it.
This space is dangerous. The longer we wait, the larger it becomes. We start believing our own excuses, we get used to life as it is right now, and we miss out on what we could have otherwise.
Is there an area of your business, where you’ve inadvertently created this space?
This space is often caused by nothing else other than fear. People may say they’re busy, they’re lacking information, they don’t have the money, or they just need to wait until this or that passes.
But underneath all of that is fear. The fear of looking silly, the fear of failing, the fear of being exposed, the fear of losing money. Fear can take many different shapes. Fear is nothing else than a lack. The lack of self confidence, lack of self love, lack of desire to fix something, lack of joy.
Ask yourself, what’s been holding you back? List your reasons. If, like one of the wonderful people I worked with, you’ve been wanting to take advantage of email marketing in your business but you’ve been putting this off for a while, you may have been held back by…
 … not knowing where to start
 … being afraid that you won’t have the time to create “good enough" emails
 … being afraid that you’ll break the trust you’ve already established with your past clients

Try to find a practical solution for each of your reasons. For example:
… I can learn enough about this topic to get started. I’ve learned many other things before, even when I thought I didn’t have the time. I can read a book, take an online course or hire a business coach. Email marketing isn’t rocket science!
… I can always hire somebody to help me. I can start with contractors to make this easy for me to get my feet wet.
… I can create a different email strategy for my past clients than for any other clients I add from now on with email marketing. 

Once you feel more empowered, break your overall objective into small steps that you can start taking as early as today. Give yourself real deadlines for all the steps you’ve outlined, and stick to them to the best of your ability. Find a book or online course by this date. Finish it by this date.

Most of the things you want, you can get. Most of the problems you feel you have, you can fix. As Einstein said once:
“It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.”

(photo credit: Jan Phoenix)

How to get good at marketing without doing any work

I believe this simple and free trick can make a big difference in your business and life, forever.

If you want to get better at marketing (and sell more), all the books and all the online courses in the world won’t teach you as much as this one trick, as long as you commit to it for a while.

Here’s what I suggest to truly learn marketing:

From now on, whenever you pay attention to a product, an offer, a product page, whatever you look at that has a marketing meaning to it, please ask yourself:

  • What about it moved you (in a good or a bad way)?
  • What about it made you take the action that you took (click, buy, read the whole thing etc.)?

In other words, analyze your own behavior, feelings and thoughts in response to what you see. Work backwards from your decision to take action and from your positive/negative feeling and be honest about the triggers that influenced you to get there.

Was it something in the words you read? Was it something in a video you saw? What were the exact words/or lack of words that made your heart jump? Why did you take action?

For example, you’re in the grocery store. Do you tend to pick up the same items almost every time? Most people I know do. Why do we do that?

One explanation is that these items make us feel safe, because they’re familiar and because we trust them. Familiarity and trust are two marketing principles. People prefer what they’re familiar with. People buy what they trust. 

So, familiarity and trust can help you sell your products too. Now that you’ve experienced first hand the importance of these two marketing principles, you’ll start thinking about how you can incorporate them in your own business.

Or, have you bought something recently that had a deadline to it (for example, a discount that expires at some point or a program that was only accepting new people up until a certain day)?

If you did, think about how you felt and what you thought about in these moments when you tried to decide to buy. Did you push yourself to make a decision because you knew the offer would expire soon? Urgency is another marketing principle that works.

Now you can build it into your business. By thinking about how you felt in these moments, you can also anticipate the objections and the facts your prospects might need answered about your product before they buy.

If you get into the habit of analyzing your response to marketing materials this way, you’ll just keep getting better and better.

You can apply this trick to anything you want to learn, not just marketing. I read a book a couple of weeks ago and I loved it. It impressed me greatly, and it made me feel warm on the inside. Then I read another book that made me feel ice cold on the inside.

I was intrigued what these two writers did differently. So, I went back to the book I loved and looked for patterns in the author’s writing style. It turned out there were specific writing style patterns that one book had, and the other one didn’t.

For example, the book I loved didn’t start sentences with a solution-ascribing verb i.e. “Do X and you’ll feel better”, but instead started them with “Try doing X and you’ll feel better”, or “Many people don’t feel well. If you’re one of them, doing X will help you feel better.” Same solution, but less commanding.

Two factors that can make you as productive as a toddler

This past year I wanted to work more hours and I couldn’t find these hours anywhere. So, there was only one solution left: find a way to work more within the same amount of time.

This thought may have crossed your mind too, at one point or another.

First, I learned how others have done it and applied the same strategies to my own life:

·      Work for uninterrupted chunks of time (45-50 min). No email, no phone, just work in these chunks of time. No interruption of any sort. Then, take a short break after each chunk of time.

·      Create a morning ritual and stick to it. 

·      Exercise as often as possible

·      Set goals & sub-goals

They worked well for me and I hope they will work well for you as well.

But I felt like something was missing…

…almost as if all these tactics were the condiments or add-ons in a recipe, but not the main ingredient itself.

One day I was gazing at my son playing. He was running back and forth, from one activity to another, never getting tired.

His productivity was way higher than that of any adult I’d ever met or read about. Probably even higher than Peter Drucker’s, and Peter Drucker was a very productive man.

So I wanted to find out…. was there something our kids can teach us about being more productive?

I found two differences between children and adults, two factors that increase a toddler’s productivity and decrease an adult’s productivity. Add these two to any list of tips and tactics, and you’ll probably get a lot more done.

1)   Toddlers never ask themselves “why”. They just follow their heart and do what it dictates.

My son is very clear about his mission, even when he changes missions every 20 minutes. As soon he feels he should do something, he goes for it.

Whether it is to completely dismantle the train track, run around in a circle until he gets dizzy, or play “cars”, he’s always certain about what he’s working towards and never questions whether it’s the right thing to do.

If I ask him “why do you want to do that?”, he looks at me as if I’m speaking a different language.

He doesn’t understand the meaning of “why”. All he knows is the “what”, the mission he’s trying to accomplish.

Adults are different. We constantly deviate from our mission, probably because we’re not as good anymore at listening to our heart.

Somewhere along the way in our lives, we forget to just do what our heart guides us to do. As a result, we start asking ourselves an infinite number of “why” questions, which slow us down.

“Why” is the new movement of the 21st century. It’s not a bad question to ask when we feel we’re on the wrong track. But we’d never have to ask it in the first place if we never deviated.

The only reason why the “why” question has any value attached to it, is because it makes us rediscover our mission, a mission which we could have worked towards from the beginning if we simply followed our heart.

Kids are different. Their heart and actions are completely aligned.

When we’re very clear about our “what”, which is always dictated by the heart, the “why” won’t even matter.

Getting clear about what your mission is, and then constantly grounding yourself in it, will give you more energy.

Your mind will effortlessly look for things you can do to bring yourself one step closer to fulfilling your mission. You will find goals that support your mission.

Of course, our missions as adults are different than a child’s. Our mission won’t be to build a huge lego tower, but it might be to help other people, grow personally, or learn as much as possible about a topic.

2)   Toddlers don’t have negative thoughts that tire them.

Toddlers never think: “I hope my behind won’t look too fat when I lean over to pick up that ball”, “I wonder if my mom was as impressed as I was with my scooter ride”, or “That boy’s haircut looks better than mine.”

Thoughts like these would certainly make them less productive.

I like the spiritual school of thought that teaches that there is no such thing as a neutral thought. A thought is either positive or negative. If it doesn’t uplift you, it’s negative.

"If you realized how powerful your thoughts are, you would never think a negative thought." (Peace Pilgrim)

Many people think they hardly have any negative thoughts, but when they start paying attention, they’re surprised to see how many of their thoughts are negative. Most of them, actually.

I mentioned this to somebody the other day, and he said “I don’t have any negative thoughts!” But I pointed three things to him that he had said to me in our conversation that were negative. He was surprised, like most of us are when we first start examining our thoughts.

Adults live this way without even knowing it.

Unfortunately, I don’t have the secret weapon to help us get rid of these thoughts. But I do know that it’s possible to get better by paying attention. Then, we can make the conscious choice and the effort to eliminate the thought that doesn’t uplift, and keep the one that does.

I do believe that by definition human beings will always have negative thoughts (even Dalai Lama has them, I’m sure!), but I also believe that we always have the ability to throw away some of them.

And as we do that, we create more space in our minds, and become more productive.