If your intention is to catch fish, there is no point in going fishing when the tide is wrong. I like to fish for saltwater, striped bass in Rhode Island. For the type of fishing that I do, the tide matters. You might not always catch a keeper when the tide is right, but going fishing against the tide will guarantee that you won’t. There are times in my own life when I have chosen to fish with the tide and when I have chosen to go against it.
The transitional stages of our lives are much like tides. I suspect that science and psychology have not yet identified all of the stages that exist in humanity, and that they probably fluctuate from person to person. However, some very common transitional stages are tidal. I read a news report based on a recent survey that concluded that older people are less unhappy than younger people because they have fewer outside stresses such as: money, children at home, and interpersonal work relationships. I believe older people are also more familiar with the tides, and may bring acceptance to events more frequently. Of course, this is my own general observation.
Whatever your intention is, the more you can align yourself with the tides, the easier it becomes to achieve the results you want. It is entirely possible to create a life for yourself in which you do what you want to do instead of what you have to do as long as you remember that doing what you want to do is not the same as Doing whatever you want.
I am guilty of mistaking activity for productivity. Without an objective, activity will result in expended energy and resources and not much else. Focus is what turns activity into productivity. In most cases when I fail to make a distinction between activity and productivity, I categorize my actions as “planting seeds of opportunity”. Other terms to describe this would be: “a lot of irons in the fire”, “multitasking”, “jack-of-all-trades”, and “complete and utter lack of focus”.
The “seeds of opportunity” analogy is probably one of the easiest to dissect and uncover the flawed logic. If you plant too many seeds, and do not tend them properly, most (if not all) of the harvest will rot on the vine before you have a chance to get to it. And so it goes with business. If you are running around planting seeds, be sure you know where you planted them, and tend to those relationships properly, or you’ll end up with a lot of spent time and energy to build a compost heap.
Our lives are filled with opportunities. These include the opportunity to complain, to argue, to get angry, frustrated, to cry, or to give up just as much as the opportunity to change, to hope, to grow, to laugh or to have faith. Your true nature will determine which choice you will make. When faced with adversity, it is often difficult to recognize these positive options on our own. This is when we reach out to others for support. I recently experienced the healing power of positive thoughts and friendship when my 19 month-old daughter was hospitalized and underwent surgery to treat a very bad infection. There is no doubt in my mind that the thoughts and prayers of the people in my circle of friends (as well as those from people they told that I have never even met) made a huge difference. My wife and I were completely overwhelmed and comforted by this support. We were not alone, even though we were out of town when it happened. This positivity we received flowed through us and I know it affected my daughter’s recovery. Certainly the medical attention she received was top-notch and we made the choice to bring her into the ER, which reminds me of a story:
A man was trapped in his two-story home in the aftermath of a very serious hurricane that brought heavy flooding. As the floodwater reached the top of the first story of his home, a National Guard rescue boat came around to pick him up and he responded from a second-story window by saying, “No thanks. God will deliver me from this.”
Later that day, as the floodwater covered the second-story, the rescue boat came around again. And this time, he responded from the roof of his home, “No thanks. God will deliver me from this.”
Even later that day, as the waters began to cover the roof of his home, a helicopter hovered above to take him from the rooftop. Once again he responded, “No thanks. God will deliver me from this.”
Not long after this attempt, the man was swept up by the floodwater and died. When he got to heaven, he asked God with some hostility, “What happened?! I had faith that you would deliver me from the floodwater!”
And God replied, “I sent two boats and a helicopter. What more did you want?”
God’s true nature is to help and He sometimes works through us to deliver it. If you want help, it never hurts to ask for it. If we aren’t helping each other, what are we here for anyway? This is not a dress rehearsal. You are a gifted and sentient being, and you can make a difference. You can make the life you want by choosing it.
There has been so much talk and publicity surrounding social networking and Internet marketing that it is easy to feel “out of touch” with what’s going on out there in cyberspace. The truth is: If you know how to market using the traditional methods such as print ads and direct mail, you are most of the way toward being able to use the tools provided by technology today. The most important adage still applies: Know your target audience.
One of the greatest values presented by the growing dominance of Internet marketing is in its ability to help you to create hyper-targeted marketing campaigns. Through the use of tools such as email auto-responders and opt-ins, you can build an incredibly focused list that is yours to market to at any time. The auto-responder allows you to automate a campaign that can run for days and months. If you don’t know your target market, it won’t matter if you can’t use an auto-responder or an opt-in. They’re useless in a “spray and pray” approach to marketing. Fortunately, they aren’t as costly as a snail mail campaign gone bad.
There is no “trick” to Internet marketing. If you bombard potential leads with garbage, that’s exactly where your electronic marketing material will end up. To be successful it is absolutely vital that you lead with value. If you can provide useful information to people, they will most definitely be more receptive to what you have to offer in terms of service, or product or business opportunity. This is where the social networking component fits into the picture. It is tied to another well-known adage in business: Build relationships with your clients. The social networking sites that are hot right now include Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. These sites allow you to present an image of yourself or business to people all over the world. You do need to be aware of the tools and how they are used by others. If you’re not careful, you will quickly find your Twitter account loaded with spammer turds. Some people feel the need to cut right to the pitch, not unlike those at a live networking event that walk up to you and hand you a card before they’ve listened to whether or not you’d be a qualified lead or even asked you for your name. They’re working a “numbers game”. And that’s OK for them, but I’m personally not interested in doing business with people like that. I remember hearing that Warren Buffet has 3 questions he asks before he goes into a business deal: Do I like them? Do I respect them? Do I trust them? Seems pretty reasonable to me, and I think Warren Buffet knows something about business.
So before you start worrying about how you can use social networking and Internet marketing to drive business, start thinking about what your ideal client looks like. If you stick to some of the time-tested marketing strategies, you will have no problem learning the tactics involved with using technology to gain new leads and clients.
It has always been funny to me that the verb “doing” is spelled exactly like the sound effect that is sometimes used when describing a off-key bell: “DOING!”. What I have noted in all of the personal development courses, books, videos, blogs, Vlogs, CD’s, tapes, and seminars I have seen is that you will not get where you want to go unless you are doing something about it.
The steps are generally the same:
1. Write down what you want
2. Start doing what needs to be done to get there
I do not disagree with this at all. Obviously, you cannot sit back and wait for life to happen. One person’s “Why” will be always be unique to another’s and neither will be more valuable or necessarily more important than another’s. The only real difference between people who get to where they want to go, and those that do not, is Step 2. The people that make it to where they want to be will answer the call of that off-key bell and start: DOING!
Waiting for everything to be perfect before you begin your life as an entrepreneur is procrastinating. If you truly desire success, you must be willing to take the risks associated with it. If a baby bird stays in the nest too long, the mother bird will force it out, whether it can fly or not, because it will have become too much of a burden to the mother bird, but more importantly, to itself. We are fortunate that as entrepreneurs we do not have to fear being pushed from a great height, but if we don’t push ourselves, we will not experience any successes or failures to learn from, and what’s the point of that?