This Year’s Magic Word… Focus

Hi Y’all! I’m back writing after taking two weeks off, although I did write one blog post about a local restaurant that irked me; hey, when you’re irked, write about it.

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Star Wars, 1/1/16 w/2nd family

For those of you who missed it (which I don’t know how you could have), when I wrote my last post of 2015, I said that I was going to rest, then plan how I was going to proceed in working on my business and career in 2016. You know what? Things don’t quite work out that way just because you say them.

Although I didn’t really write, my mind was on writing most of the time. Thus, I have a lot of topics to write on because I saved them in Evernote. I tried meditation some more but my mind kept resisting; gotta overcome that. I spent 3 days with Mom and… well, let me just say that I know more about NCIS than I ever wanted to know. lol

I didn’t spend a lot of time thinking about business, which is a shame. I did spend more time thinking about how to forgive myself for not being perfect and great; isn’t that a shame? I’m not big on the term “forgiveness” when things seem or feel extreme, so I’ve retained some major gripes over the years with people I feel have wronged me or others in some way. It’s one reason why there are a lot of people I dropped in 2008 on social media during the presidential season that was Barack Obama elected and never given them a second chance; bad behavior rarely goes away.

I’m harder on myself than others, and there was a lot of things I don’t forgive myself for. It doesn’t mean I haven’t moved on and that I’ve stopped trying to do things, but it does mean that, when I’m trying to shut down and calm down that sometimes those things pop back into my mind, some of them going back decades.

Here’s a more recent example to show you the type of thing I go through and why I’m working on changes.

Mom & I 1302

When I went to visit Mom I turned my computer off. I hadn’t turned my computer off for longer than 5 minutes in a year, since last Christmas when I went to visit Mom, because it wouldn’t turn back on when I got home. In this case, my belief was the computer had been running great, I’d upgraded to Windows 10, added more memory… what could go wrong?

Got back home, turned the computer on… it didn’t come on. I was really upset with myself for my arrogance and stupidity, but I was going to remain calm. After trying all my tricks (I’m not bad when it comes to technology but I do have limits) and not having it come on, I decided to pop my hard drive into my wife’s computer so I could access some things before heading to the laptop.

Only… not only were there issues because, it seems, Win 10 integrates itself with whatever hardware it’s playing with and thus things wouldn’t work properly, but my wife’s computer wasn’t really powerful enough for me to do much. At that point I started hating myself once again because I’d bought her that computer a few years ago, knowing it wasn’t as expensive as mine but the specs seemed to indicate it would run better than it was. I realized that explained why her computer seemed sluggish to her… because it was.

After a long weekend I called a guy I know because I knew I needed to get my computer fixed. He was out of the office so I left a message. About 20 minutes later one of his representatives called and I outlined the problem. He said he’d call the other guy and see what they wanted to do. I came back to my office, decided to try the start button one more time… and the computer booted up; whew! I have no idea why it finally decided to play with me again but I’m a relatively happy guy once more.

At least I was trying to be. That Sunday night I had stopped at my friend Kelvin’s house because he’d brought some sweet potato pie back with him from visiting his family in Maryland. I was telling him more about my computer issues and how my wife’s computer wasn’t up to standard and how I hated myself for that. He said that I should cut myself a break because I did buy her a brand new computer that, at the time, was probably pretty good based on the standards at that time, and that I didn’t intentionally short change her to hurt her.

Until my computer came back on, I hadn’t really taken in those words. Once it did, and after I spent time making sure everything was back to normal, I thought back on those words and realized that I do beat myself up about a lot of stuff that had good intentions, whether they worked out perfectly or not. It reminded me of a post I’d recently read by a young lady named Anna who had recently turned 22 (gasp! lol) and, in talking about 22 things she’d learned by 22, her very first lesson was “Excellence is different from perfection” and her second “I don’t have to be perfect“. I wish I’d learned those lessons at 22! 🙂

Scrabbled
Paul via Compfight

It was in thinking about my computer, my wife’s computer, reading that post and a few other things that told me that I needed to decide on a direction for the year, something that would not only bring me what I’ve been shooting for but put me in a healthier mindset and lifestyle. I came up with one word that was going to be my word for the year, which oddly enough was a major topic of Kelvin’s just a couple of days later in his newsletter: focus.

That’s a lot of preamble just to get to such a small word isn’t it? If you’ve stuck with me this long, stick around just a little longer because the things I’m going to focus on might mean something to you and your life/businesses as well.

For me, focus means it’s time to pay attention to a few more things, be more conscious of others, and take more chances after thinking logically about them. Here are my points of focus for the year.

First, my health. This year my main goal is to actually sleep at least 5 hours in one night once a month. I got 5 hours of sleep in a night only 4 times in 2015 (per Fitbit) and that’s not going to get it done. It’s hard to concentrate, or focus, with so little sleep.

My secondary health goal is to lose 10 pounds, which should be small potatoes, but it comes with a catch. I actually have to lose 13 pounds, which includes the 3 pounds I gained during the holiday season. For me this actually means watching “how” I eat more than “what I eat”. My first two experiments of 2016 in my quest for this have had mixed reviews, but one will stay and the other I’ll need to figure out how to modify. When I actually fix this I’ll talk about it again… maybe. In any case, I’ve lost 40 pounds in 4 years, but lost 25 of those the first year, and I want to be better than that.

Second, I need to focus more on what social media outlets are working for me and put more time and effort into them.

Blogging is solid. Twitter has worked wonders and proven to me why I like it so much.

LinkedIn… I was going to shoot for 101 articles there to see if LinkedIn would start sharing more of my content, which had been dwindling drastically in numbers. However, after my last post there got only 19 views, I decided it’s time to leave it alone as far as a promotional vehicle. No more articles there, no more participation in groups… marketing and networking only from this point on. That will save me a lot of time.

Google Plus… it’s close to pulling the plug on my community there because no one seems to care. I may delete one of my accounts there also, since I have my personal account and my business account, although I need to make sure that doing so won’t shut down my business YouTube channel. Yes, I’d be keeping the personal one because the business account only has 7 or 8 connections after 3 years; that’s certainly not worth my time.

Facebook… well, after the posts that are already planned for it in January, I’m not posting anything for the rest of January just to see if anyone actually misses it. If not, I will probably finally shut that page down. I may also shut down my diabetes page, but that one’s up in the air. I administer a music page and I’m definitely going to back away from that.

Photography 101
Ninja M. via Compfight

Third, I want to improve my writing in one major way; I want to stop writing passively. It turns out that my favorite 3 words to begin sentences with when writing are “So, Well, and Thus”. I also begin a lot of sentences with maybe one or two words, followed by a comma, and then proceed with my thought. That’s passive writing, and though that kind of speech serves a great purpose when talking to people, it doesn’t make as much sense when writing. If I write a sentence like “supposedly eating spinach is healthy”, it carries a lot less weight than “eating spinach is healthy”. Writing the first way absolves me of responsibility for my words because I’m not being definitive… that’s just not going to work anymore. It’s not going to be easy… hence, “focus”. 🙂

Fourth, I need to get over this business rejection thing. I’ve been in business 14 1/2 years, yet I have long periods of time where I won’t send an email or pick up the phone to make a call because I don’t want to be rejected or ignored. That’s business; you keep plugging away and eventually you find those folk who want to work with you. I know this yet it can be discouraging pounding your head like that. I also know it’s not personal; how could it be since these people don’t even know me?

Since it’s the only way to get ahead and achieve what I want (and what you might want if you’re trying to earn money on your own), I was happy to read this little ditty about going for 100 rejections written by a lady named Susan Hyatt. My initial goal will be to see if I can get those 100 rejections within my first 2 months, then reaching for 100 rejections in a month and… well, I hope I’ll have contracts and such so I never have to go for 100 rejections a week. 🙂

To this end, I expect this will be the year that I work on creating email mailing lists. What I’ll do with them is another thing, but it’s time to really explore it further. I’ll also be putting together lists of potential clients for all the things I do and I’m going to work on getting comfortable with the phones and better at online research, where I’m actually pretty good already but, as it pertains to health care, is a bit harder to do for the information I need.

Fifth, and final for now, I’m going to look at criteria a bit better, figure out what I consider is really important, and spend more time on that, wasting less time on non-productive things unless they’re geared towards my health. Long term this should mean more production, better production, less time visiting sites with little to no value, more learning, more networking, and less to beat myself up over.

Right now this means more consistent videos, write or put together another book, look to doing a webinar or two, at least one local live presentation, a few speaking engagements, and fewer things to irritate me to the point where I’m not focusing on my own thing. It will probably mean writing more often here and in other places, and to highlight this there will be a post on Thursday as well this week where I’m going to talk about something I’ve recently done on Facebook to help my personal stream treat me better. One of my thoughts is that for some of my blogs I want to write articles ahead of time that will take care of the entire year first, and then if I come up with other things I want to say it’s extra content. If you remember, I wrote over 350 articles total in 2015. I’m planning on more in 2016; somebody stop me! lol

Time to stop; time to focus. Time to focus more on me, and time to focus more on you. If I’m feeling good, I’ll be better and that only means better things for y’all. At least that’s what I’m telling myself. A good year to everyone and let’s all be awesome!

MakeItSo
 

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Working From A Position Of Fear

I’m going to own up to something up front. I’m not as confident a person as some people think I am. Often, I feel like I’m reacting more than being proactive. Sometimes, when it gets overwhelming, I don’t act at all. Does that surprise you?

Fear Itself
Christi Nielsen via Compfight

It shouldn’t. Truth be told, even the most successful people have times when they’re unsure of something. Some of the smartest people in the world have had times when they’ve questioned their own beliefs and the work that they’ve done. I’m betting that every person who reads this has had the same thing happen to them, if it’s not happening right now. Who’s ready to own up to that?

FEAR – False Evidence Appearing Real. Who’s heard that phrase? It’s totally true; I mean, think about it for a minute. Do we fear things because we know that they’re absolutely going to go badly or because we suppose they will?

Sometimes fear is a smart thing. Fear is what keeps us (most of us anyway) from jumping off cliffs with towels around our necks thinking we’re going to fly like Superman. Fear is what keeps us from picking up cookies in the dirt and eating them.

Sometimes fear is irrational, but it is what it is. I’m scared of bugs and a few other things that I have no real explanation for. There are people scared of leaving their homes. There are people scared of clowns… well, that one might be valid. 🙂

Sometimes fear is something we have to fight. There might be an underlying cause, to the point that you know it’s there, know how to fight it, but sometimes you just can’t put it all together and overcome it.

The last one is the one I’m addressing today, because it’s the one that holds all of us back from achieving what we really want, which is success. Who doesn’t want to be successful? Do you know how to be successful? I talked about it in this video, which some of you new folks might not have seen since it’s from 2013:
 


https://youtu.be/wigiJMeRunU

So, I do know the path to being successful. Yet, this is my biggest weakness. After 14 years of being in business for myself, you’d think I would have this one conquered. Heck, I even know how to do it, along with its counterpart. What’s the issue?

I’ve been told I’m too nice at times; yeah, I don’t believe it either. lol My issue is that I don’t want to bother people, even during the day when they’re in a business that I can offer services for that I know they need. Trust me, I know they need at least two of the services I can provide, and other people probably need some of the other services I can provide, though they’re not all that critical.

Corporate Books

I go back and forth between that thing where, growing up, I was taught not to bother people or, as we all heard, “talk to strangers”, as opposed to “you’re the president of your company; you’re supposed to bother people.” By the way, I am the president of my company. It’s official; take a look at the picture of my corporate books to the left. 🙂

Here’s the thing. If we’re in business, or we’re trying to be in business, or we have something we want to market or sell, we have to be willing to put ourselves out there and get it done.

We also have to be willing to do other things that help us out by giving ourselves an opportunity to have something to help promote us. That’s actually the reason I wrote my second book titled Leadership Is/Isn’t Easy, because it gave me a second book on the topic of leadership that I can promote, since my last book was from 2004 and the newest product I had after that was from 2009; I have to do way more than that.

That’s the thing about fear; it inhibits us from doing what we need to do. So we don’t ask out the person we’d like to date (okay, I’m married, but you know what I mean lol). We don’t ask for more sauce for our lasagna. We don’t want to ask for our money back when we buy something that’s deficient.

We don’t ask for the sale. We don’t put the things we create out into the market. We don’t promote our services, our blogs, our businesses… we’re fearful of the reaction we might get because… we do the same thing to others who are trying to sell and market to us. Who can disagree with this?

It’s a lesson we have to learn. We have to break the fear of trying. We have to break the fear of rejection. We have to break the fear of not being good enough. Something I was listening to last night brought it all together with this statement: “I’d rather fail a hundred times than wonder what could have been.”

That’s why about six weeks ago I asked what can I teach you? I’m going to be creating more products and marketing them. I’m going to create a few product pages of some things I’m really high on and I’m going to promote them. I’m also going to reach out and talk more about services I provide; those you might not necessarily see on this blog but I’m going to do it anyway.

Because all of us can be successful, but it takes courage because that’s what overcomes fear. And unlike spiders and grasshoppers (ugh… lol)… this one I know I can defeat. Who’s with me?
 

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What’s Your Story?

A bit over 4 years ago I wrote an article titled The Art Of Storytelling, where I talked about some of the stories I’ve written on this blog as it related to the topic of writing. A few days ago I came across another article where the author was purporting to talk about why storytelling wasn’t good for business but in actually he was rebutting something he’d read where the author said storytelling was bad for business. What a twist eh?

Earth Day
Casa Thomas Jefferson via Compfight

This article isn’t about writing; it’s about you, your person, your life, and what you’re ready to tell the world so that you can get what you want from it and from others. That sounds a big daunting and a little bit narcissistic, doesn’t it? It’s not; let’s talk about it.

There’s a guy named Ryan Biddulph who writes a little blog called Blogging From Paradise; some of you might know him. Basically, he blogs about his travels throughout Southeast Asia and how he gets to live a pretty good life, along with his wife, because of the success his blogging has led him to have. I learned about him through my buddy Adrienne, and checked out his blog and read some of his life story before deciding to buy his book, Blogging From Paradiseicon (well played Ryan lol).

It’s a pretty good book but truthfully, the reason I bought it is because he told a good story and I thought that the book might either be uplifting enough for me to figure out my own thing or that I might pick up a few things from it. The story he told, and continues to tell, is his own, and he’s pretty open about it (the story about giant roaches crawling on his face… okay, that one I didn’t need…).

The reality is that most of us who buy things online often buy them from people we trust and have gotten to know. A website with hundreds of thousands of visitors every day probably sells less product than someone who has 500 visitors a day who comes because they like the person whose blog or website they’re visiting. I like to talk about the “100 True Fans” concept I got from Chris Pirillo many years ago (I’m dropping a lot of names in this post aren’t i?) where he said if you could get just 100 true fans you’d probably get rich because they’d do all the marketing for you without having to be asked based on their enthusiasm, and it could carry you to ultimate success.

My wife always asks me why I talk about so many things that happen in my life through my blogs. Truth be told, I hold a lot of things back; there are stories you’re never going to read on any of my blogs because they’re none of your business (of course, if you want to learn a lot of personal stuff about me you can check out my 100 Thing About Me post); how’s that to get some of your interest? 🙂

Yet I do share a lot of stories, true things that happen in my life. I’ve had a lot of adventures that I can relate into talking about blogging, writing, leadership, diabetes… you name it, I’ve got a story for it. I tell the truths that some others might not tell; I don’t always end up looking good, though I like to say that as long as the story ends up being good, it’s all good. lol

Why do I tell these stories? One, because they have a point. Two, because sometimes they’re funny. But three, because I hope it shows that I’m a pretty real person, such that if you or anyone else decides you want to look at something I’m marketing (like my latest book, Leadership Is/Isn’t Easy, or links to other books I recommend) because of the stories I tell, who knows, you might buy something that not only would put a smile on my face but a small chunk of change in my pocket. That would encourage me to write more often; who wouldn’t love that? 😉

There’s definitely a place for content that only covers “how to” topics; heck, I write some of those. But there’s also a place for writing content that passes a message along that came about because of something that happened in your life. If you can tell that story well enough to intrigue people, and you have other stories you can tell to try to get them coming back often… who knows, you might end up rich beyond your dreams.

Or at least making a living doing something you love… whatever it may be. Think about it. While you’re at it, here’s a story I told about trying to get Verizon FiOS in my house back in April. I share this because, strangely enough, it’s become the 2nd most watched video on this particular video channel; who knew?


https://youtu.be/bWSngeoW4sY

 

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What Can I Teach You?

Last week on this blog I talked about the career that up until now has dominated my business life. Health care finance can pay well. It’s also a very fickle business though.

IMG_5934a_proof
looking professorial!

I talked about how I needed to find a better business model instead of constantly beating my head against a wall. The wall I’ve been banging my head against is inflexible; it one I’ve had no control over.

Then I closed with “We should learn how to live the life we want instead of the life we think we should be living. And if we can make money that way… then why not?”

This is the beginning of “why not”. For a big part of it, I’m reaching out to y’all, the masses (well, let’s see about those masses), to see how I can help “us” (this guy Greg is going to hate me for all the quotation marks lol).

Here’s the deal. Below are categories of things I’m pretty proficient at; some of them I’d not hesitate to say I’m expert on them. Although I’m going to create products and such of all of them at some point, what I’m looking for is some feedback on what a majority of you might want to see me create that you’d actually pay for.

So you know, part of this is based off the book Ask that I reviewed back in June. It’s main premise is that we sometimes need to ask our audience what it is they’re looking for, that they’d be willing to pay for if they knew the information they were getting was going to be top quality, then building off that.

I’m not totally following the whole thing because part of my purpose is different. I’m looking for the “feel good” part of things as much as I am the “make money” part of things. I’m tired of just marketing to a group that doesn’t want to talk to me; I want to market and talk to people who not only will talk back, but at some point say “You know, I’m going to check out this thing that Mitch put together.”

This is a major test of my social media marketing skills. To that effort, I putting something similar to this on three of my other blogs as well. Not only that, but I’m going to post about this topic pretty much every single day this week on each of those 4 blogs, changing a little bit of it up here and there. On Thursday for this blog I’ll have a different post, just to break things up (and because I think it’s a pretty good idea), and on Friday on my business blog I’ll have a different type of post, back on one of my proficiencies.

The first thing I’ll ask of you is to vote on something below; that is, once I put it down there. The second thing I’ll ask if for you to share this post, or any of the other posts I write this week, with your peeps. I think the more people who participate in this, the better opportunity I have to make the right choice as to what comes first.

Then again, if I don’t reach the goal on any of them… my decision at that point.

Let’s get to it. Below are 9 categories of things I’m very proficient in; yes, someone can actually be good at more than one thing. Under a couple of them, I’ve broken the category down slightly further than the main category.

The first thing I need is for you to pick one thing; one choice per person. You can leave your request on the blog, or you can send me an email to mitch@imjustsharing.

The second thing I need is for you to pick how you’d like the training delivered to you. One of these I’ve put in there in case local folks participate in amazing numbers; gotta have hope right? Or, if you believe you’d able to pull something together that could get me to come to where you are and get paid for it… even better.

The reward? Other than what I promise will be a top flight lesson, the first idea that has five people select it and the way it’s delivered, I’ll pick 1 person from that group to receive that training for free. If I get 20 people eventually under that same selection, I’ll give away 2 more free trainings.

At some point, if I don’t reach an agreed upon number, I’ll probably take the top 3 and run this again. As I said, I’m putting this out on 4 blogs, and since each blog addresses something different, you might think that picking something on this blog would be a snap… but you just never know… not everything below is something that’s covered on this blog. Who knows, some of you might learn something new about me from the choices below 🙂

These are the areas you have to select from (categories are underlined):

Blogging

Business blogging
blogging for money
blog writing
article writing for others

Social Media

benefits and dangers of social media
social media marketing tips
YouTube & video basics

Motivation

How to motivate yourself
Motivating Others

Self Employment

Leadership

Being A Better Leader
Training Others To Be Leaders

Diversity

Customer Service

How to provide good customer service
Training others to be good at customer service

Personal Budgeting

Hospital Revenue Cycle

Medical Billing techniques
Understanding Charge Master
Understanding the Revenue Cycle

Now, method of delivery:

Book
Udemy course
Webinars
Email course
Podcasts
Live seminar
1 on 1 training (in person, Skype, Google Hangout, phone)

Remember, only one per person. If you mention more than one, you have to tell me which one is first. You don’t even have to promise me you’ll buy; I just want to know which one you find the most important to you, and how you’d prefer it to be delivered.

I thank everyone in advance for participating and sharing this post, or any of my other posts from any of my other blogs regarding this. Onward and upward!
 

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Capturing Email Addresses – I’m Almost On Board

In January 2014 I wrote a post titled To Capture Or Not Capture Email Addresses; That Is The Question. As the title suggests, I was looking for a compelling reason to start capturing email addresses, beyond the old saw “the money is in the list”. As the comments on that post indicated, only one person was making any real money from having a list.

where its at
Creative Commons License Chris Preen via Compfight

My major lament about it all was I had nothing tangible to sell, thus what would the purpose be? After all, without a product there’s no money to make right?

Well, it’s 16 months later, and now I’m closer to going the route of capturing email addresses. Why?

Two reasons.

The first is that one of the thoughts from last year, the only one that broke through my mind, was the possibility that RSS feeds might go away. Even though there’s been no more talk (at least as far as I know) that Feedburner will be shut down by Google, since they’ve been shutting down lots of other stuff one never knows what they might do.

I love RSS for my own use and I’m sure lots of other people do also. However, I know some people, out of fear, have gone to something called Feedly, while others have started using Flipboard. I’m using Flipboard myself, but I’ve only connected 3 blogs to it, one a local sports blog that shows up in my general feed, while the others I have to specifically go to.

What am I also worried about? At one point I had nearly 400 people subscribed to this blog. Now it’s down to 151, and I have no idea whether they’re subscribed to the RSS feed or the email feed, mainly because I can’t find that one on Feedburner anymore. I do know that most of those who used to subscribe did so through the RSS link.

Thus, having the ability to capture email addresses might be the smart thing to do to make sure people will continue receiving my stuff… if they want it.

The second is that I’m about to not only have a couple of new products, but I’m going to be doing a massive push for sales of the two products, and starting to capture email addresses wouldn’t hurt the process long term, especially since, if it turns out to be successful, I might be doing more of this type of thing.

Still, I want to differentiate the email from what most people send out. My thoughts are that I would send out an email once a week highlighting every post I’ve put on on all my blogs, any videos I’ve created, any interviews I’ve given, and have a brief thought of my own on there that’s not anywhere else. I don’t know many other people who could claim to offer that much information weekly.

Of course, the issue might be deciding what type of original thought to share. Having multiple blogs gives me multiple topics to discuss, but will the people who subscribed through this blog care about leadership? Will the people who subscribe through my business blog care about finances? Details, details…

I haven’t solidified all the details yet but now that I’m close I’m ready to ask some of you what you think about it all. Remember though… just because you offer advice doesn’t mean I’ll necessarily take it. lol I say that because I’m expecting some of the opinions are going to counter each other, and I’m smart enough to know it’s pure folly to try to appease everyone.

By the way, if I do this thing I found a WordPress plugin that looks like it’d be up to the job. It’s called WP Email Capture, and it sets up a double opt-in process to make sure no one’s subscribing someone else just to be sneaky. After that… I’ll figure out how to send out my newsletters, which will initially probably be manual since I don’t expect a major run early on.

That’s all I have for now; your thoughts on it all?
 

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2015 Mitch Mitchell