Category Archives: Motivation/Inspiration

Does Your Writing Touch People?

You know, last month I did a series of posts that began with the term “blogging tips”. The whole series was done with the intention of giving people some shorter pieces on blogging as opposed to some of my longer pieces on the subject. I’m not sure how much people liked them as opposed to my normal writing but I do know that traffic increased some, though I think it was for the post on Getty Images more than the blogging posts, as it seemed to have touched a nerve.


It may be polluted
but it’s my lake

I’ve always said that when you write a blog you should be aiming for one of three things: to educate, to entertain, or to inform. You can integrate them into each other if you wish, but you should at least achieve one of those three things with each post.

What I also hope to do with each post is touch someone in some fashion, most of the time in a positive way. If I can make a connection with someone that goes beyond “nice post” status, to the point where that person decides what I’ve given them is strong enough that they can use it in some fashion for their lives, then it’s all good.

I write a lot of motivational posts with that goal in mind, but there’s a post I wrote that was titled Know Your Audience Part II that touched a young man (okay, he’s 38, but that’s young to me) named Alan and encouraged him to write a post linking back to it because of some thoughts he’d been having at the time. The post he wrote was called Why Cicero’s 6 Mistakes Of Man Is All You Need. What’s funny about it is it’s the type of post that, had I read it first, it would have inspired me to write something.

I’m going to own up to something here. I’ve been in business 11 years, but the last 3 1/2 have been horrendous. I’m surviving by the skin of my teeth, which is never any fun. Frankly, there are times when I’m ready to chuck it all in and go jump in the lake; then I remember I can’t swim, I don’t want fish touching me, our lake is considered one of the most polluted in the world (yes, I said world) even though I like walking at it, I’m scared of dying, I know bugs would somehow be involved, my mother would blame herself for some reason, and my own mantra that states “Every day is another chance to start again.” I wouldn’t be true to my own mantra if I took myself out, would I?

And, of course, hearing about things like Alan being inspired by something I wrote, a guy I didn’t even know or know anything about until the middle of July, even though he wrote his post in January. And I realize that’s what it’s all about. It’s about having the opportunity to help change someone else’s life by being honest and forthright and calling out bad behavior when it’s exhibited and trying to teach and motivate and, well, sometimes just plain ol’ have fun.

I’m feeling pretty good as I write this; how many times do you get to feel this way when you write a blog post? Wouldn’t it be nice if you could feel it more often? I appreciate all of you; thanks for continuing to stop by and read what I have to say.
 

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My 3 Top Fears

Time to bear my soul a little bit. This was inspired by another blog post I read yet can’t remember where I read it. Still, it had enough impact on me to become a topic to write about, and that topic is fear.


Fearless Freep ain’t scared…

Why do we talk about fear? We talk about it for three main reasons.

One, because it gives us something to share with others, especially if they have the same fears.

Two, because in its own way fear can be motivating, either making you do something you don’t want to do or figuring out another way around it so it can be avoided.

Three, because like most things, if you don’t acknowledge fear you don’t have the opportunity to fix it, if it can be fixed. I talk about this often on my business blog when I’m talking about one of the most important things about being a leader is not being afraid to hear the truth, no matter how bad it might be, because if you can fix something before it’s totally off the tracks you have a better opportunity to keep things moving smoothly.

Let’s stop dodging the topic, my top 3 fears. Here we go:

1. Bugs.

This my strongest fear, which is why it’s at the top of the list. I hate them all, and I don’t care whether you call them bugs, insects, arachnids, pests, etc. I hate them with a passion.

The fear is so great that I can’t buy bug spray that has a picture on it that looks anything close to being real. I can’t look at them in a magazine, can’t watch them on TV, and if they show up in a movie I either have to cover my eyes or take my glasses off so I can’t see anything (ask my friend Scott about going to the Indiana Jones movies with me lol).

This is one that I’m never going to be able to do anything about. If I know I’m in the room with a bug I have to leave; that’s how intense it can be sometimes. Luckily, it’s not an issue I have to deal with all that often.

At home I have bug spray ready; outside, well, I’m not outside all that much. After all these years I’ve learned how to deal with the knowledge that they’re out there, waiting to get me, but I have the advantage of knowledge versus hunger; I can only hope they continue to stay dumb.

I’ve actually gotten slightly better over the years at dealing with them if they get into the house. I might have to dress up in some pretty strange stuff to get the courage to take one on, but if I don’t do it and my wife isn’t home who will?

2. Death. This is fear number two, mainly because I know this is one I probably can’t avoid. I say “probably” because I keep hoping that the episode of Outer Limits back in the 50’s where the guy got so smart that he evolved into a being that couldn’t die has a chance to work. That’s why I read so many books and many science books. However, this one is probably only a pipe dream. lol

This one scared me up until 2002, when my dad passed away. Then it scared and depressed me. Every year I get older, I realize that I’m coming close to my final day and I don’t like that thought one bit. What’s strange is that as I get older I also have one of those days every once in awhile where I say “hey, if I go, at least it’s finally over”. What that “if” is is never clear to me, and I hope to keep it that way for awhile longer. Still, very few of us get to really prepare for death; it comes when we’re not expecting it and often not ready for it. We always fear the unknown, right?

3. Failure. This is definitely in the top 3, and unfortunately it’s the one that’s closest to me, and fortunately the only one I might have some control over.

The thing about failure is that it means something different to each of us. For me, failure has more than one meaning, which is sometimes scary. Failure is not feeling comfortable enough to do more sales to promote my services, which of course could eventually lead to total failure of my business.

Failure is not having anyone read anything I write anymore, which could lead to my blogs shutting down and no one hiring me to write for them any longer. Failure could be disappointing my wife to the extent that she decides I’m not the right one for her anymore and could leave. Failure could mean gaining back the weight I’ve lost (19 now and counting), or never losing another pound. Failure could mean adding onto the one main health problem I do have because the body just can’t take it anymore. We all know where that could eventually lead to (see #2).

Those are my 3 biggest fears; anyone else willing to tackle this one, either on your own blog or here? Do you have ways you work on overcoming any of those fears? And can motivation help you deal with some of those fears?
 

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What Do You Do When You Don’t Want To? You Just Do!

All of us fall into a malaise here and there. Sometimes it’s called depression. The general feeling is that you don’t want to do anything, nothing at all. And yet, nothing at all is sometimes something as well; it can get confusing.

You folks who read this blog and maybe some of my other blogs see how much I write. Sometimes I think that I might just up and stop writing altogether, one because I may not be in the mood, two because I sometimes wonder if it makes a difference, and three because I wonder if I write for me or for others and can’t really answer the question.

Do you know what I do when I don’t want to do? I just do, plain and simple. By the way, that’s not grammatically correct on purpose, in case someone wants to bring up my post from two days ago. It is a type of speech I’m used to, and thus I decided to use the phrase.

Getting back to the post, as I said, I just do. When I question my writing I just write more. I change topics and write on it. It’s lucky to have 5 blogs, and it’s lucky to write some blogs for other people. It’s lucky that I’ve started the second edit of what I hope will be my next book. It’s lucky that I have a detective story that I can work on here and there. It’s lucky that I have other writing projects that I’ve started that, when I really need something else I can work on.

Something else about writing is that, when I’m in the mood when I don’t want to, I can take a break, read, walk, or just lay down and do nothing for some time and think or rest. When I do any of these other things, it gives me time to think, time to explore, and inevitably I come up with more to write about.

Of course I don’t only write for a living, and yet I find that the same processes work when I’m doing pretty much any other project. The things I mentioned that I do are, in essence, their own way of doing something. Even on those days when I feel like I’m having trouble focusing, which does happen, I can find a way to “do”. I might grab the smartphone and work the crossword puzzle if I need to stimulate my mind. I might read the comics and laugh at that. I might check on my chess moves on one of the two chess sites I’m a member of. I might go through email. I might leave the house, go to the gym, a restaurant, the lake…

But I “do”. I know that everything I do might eventually become an inspiration for something to write about. I know that I must “do” because if I don’t, there’s no reason to stick around and live. I know that I must “do” because one never knows what’s coming later in the day, or the next day, or the next week or year.

As I acknowledge the 15th year that I’ve been married today, I recognize that it might not last the day, it might not last the week, it might not last the year, it might not last years. So I have to “do” today, “do” now, because now is where I am; now is where you are.

So if you’re thinking about doing nothing, if you’re depressed and not feeling the urge to do anything, just “do”, and “do” with a purpose, even if it’s just to sit down and cry. By having a purpose, “do” always inspires.
 

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Making Money Is Not Evil

Back in November I tackled the subject of making money in a post titled Are Your Views On Money Holding You Back. I pretty much made it clear that I tend to believe most people hold themselves back because they see rich people, or at least people they view as doing very well, as untrustworthy, and even though they want money themselves they don’t want to be seen in the same light by others.


by 401K via Flickr

Lately there’s been a lot of bashing against people who write these “make money” blogs. Yes, a lot of it is warranted, but not because they’re writing about making money.

The bashing comes because most of the people writing about it aren’t making any money at all. Some of those people might be making some money, but they’re not making a sustainable living wage. If you’re making $20 a month by blogging, you’re certainly not an authority on it. If you’re even making $1,000 a month, that’s actually pretty good but it doesn’t make you an authority on it.

Some years back, one of the topics I used to write about all the time were the affiliate marketing programs I was testing; I tested a lot. With each program I tested, I wrote about it, what I saw, and if I’d made any money off it and how much. Late last summer I started a series on all the programs I’ve tried and talked about the kind of money, or lack thereof, that I made. You can see an example of my talking about these affiliate programs here. In my mind it was the most honest way to talk about these things. I mentioned Commission Junction in that post, saying I love how many things they have and how it offers lots of options for advertising, yet also admitting that I’ve not made a lot of money in, what is now, 4 years.

Making money is NOT evil; how you make it might be. Those that pursue income by lying or being sneaky are evil. Well, that might be a bit strong but go with me here. When I was first learning about selling items online I purchased a book from a site called Rich Jerk. The book was actually pretty good, and its follow up, which was a series of extra chapters, weren’t bad at all either. They have an interesting schtick that I didn’t mind of being rude to customers; I thought it was pretty funny.

Then one day they sent a special link to show us how we could make some easy money online. It took us to a video where this guy showed us a way to make money using Craigslist. What he did was find an image of a cute dog on Google, and used it in an ad on a squeeze page. Then he posted something on Craigslist about the need to give his dog away to someone because he was moving and couldn’t take his dog with him. Within hours he’d had around 25 people send him email asking about the dog. What he did was reply to every person, telling them he’d found someone for his dog, and then talked about the training he did on his dog and sent them a link to his sales site. And he actually ended up making 7 sales from it, since his squeeze page was for a dog training manual.

Some call that effective marketing; I call it smarmy. It’s that kind of thing that keeps the hairs on the back of my neck raised high, wondering if certain things are scams or not. And that’s a horrible way to go around the internet thinking, but it’s also the safest way.

Please, go out and make money. I want everyone to live the life they want to live, which I hope is a happy life. Just do it honestly; trust me, if you don’t, you will eventually get called out on it, and then where will you be?
 

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How Well Do We Know Ourselves?

Here’s how the conversation went:

@JustKissie When people tell you you’ve changed, it’s only because you stopped acting the way they want you to act. #BidTheeFarewell

@Mitch_M Or the way they got used to you acting; just sayin’… 🙂

@JustKissie Either way. They could be who they really are … but we never know the entirety of anyone … so how can we say they changed?

@Mitch_M I think if we know people well enough we know when it’s either them or us; have to really know people though.

@JustKissie Do I smell a blog post coming? Do we even know ourselves?

@Mitch_M Possibly; you writing it? 🙂

@JustKissie WE will write it. You know I write quarterly … if that.

Since I knew the “we” was me, I guess I’m writing it, and it’s this post. To start with, how many of you remember a post I wrote last year titled What Makes People Change? If you didn’t read it, you might want to check it out before going further with this one for some back story.

Anyway, Friday I went to visit my mother for Easter. Yeah, I know Easter was on Sunday, but we knew the crowds would be murder on Sunday so we always do our get together on the Friday before whenever possible.

While there, she’d called and asked the lady who lives across the street from her to come over because Mom had bought a gift for her little girl. So they came over, Mom gave her the gift, and the little girl loved the gift.

We sat and started talking about property values in the area and how they’d dropped since representatives had started trying to sell the house of the man who’d killed his wife, which was right next door to this woman. As we kept talking, we weaved through a history that each of us had with this man and it seems that my mother and I, for the most part, had a very different history and knowledge of this man than Mom’s neighbor did. The only thing I knew that was confirmed by this neighbor is that this man was doing cocaine; that was the easy part.

It seems this man actually had a very violent history, all while living across the street from Mom. He’d actually physically hurt all 4 of his wives (I only knew of 2, Mom knew of 3) and that one of his wives actually had to do one of those midnight special moves when he was out of town to get her and her daughter away from him and go into hiding; shocking stuff.

While it was shocking to see just how little my mother and I knew about some of the demons of this man, the conversation above with Miss Kissie made me start to think about just how little most of us know about ourselves, or are willing to accept about ourselves. Would we become different people if we were suddenly rich or poor? Would our behavior change drastically if suddenly we were famous or powerful? What about our behavior would change if one of our friends suddenly had some of these things and we weren’t as much a part of their lives anymore? Would we be jealous; would we be happy?

I guess overall I’m kind of lucky because I’ve spent a lot of time being introspective. I have no jealousy or envy of others, no matter what they do. I might want to emulate success, but I don’t begrudge anyone their good fortune, whether I believe they deserve it or not.

I almost never think anyone owes me anything unless I’m accused of not doing enough when I feel I’ve done all I’ve needed to do. If people never acknowledge that I’ve done something good for them, I’m okay with it, although it would be nice.

Could I kill? Well now, that’s the interesting question to respond to isn’t it? I have to answer it this way; I probably could depending on the circumstances. If I had to kill to save my life or the lives of those I love, yes. For any other reason I believe I can say no, but that’s after I learned to control some aspects of my younger behavior that I wasn’t overly proud of. Hopefully there are negative aspects of our childhood that we change as we get older. If those are the attributes that people look at and say we’ve changed, I think most of us would be happy with it.

One final thing, addressing my friend Kissie’s question as to whether we can say people have changed if we don’t know their entirety. My response would be of course we can. I knew a musician friend of mine had changed many years ago when he started doing cocaine, even though I only saw him every few weeks. I didn’t need to know his entirety to notice that.

I’ve known people I’ve worked with who were timid and quiet that, over time, became a lot more vocal and stood up for themselves. I don’t need to know their entirety, to know if that’s how they were in their real life to know they’ve changed at work.

It takes perception to notice changes in others. It takes bravery to notice changes in yourself. My longest friends will probably tell you that I’m the same as I was in my late teens. In some ways yes, but in some ways I’m not even close. I sometimes think we’re harder on ourselves than others are on us. Sometimes that’s not such a bad thing if it propels us to try for great things.
 

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