How To Move Other People

Wouldn’t it be great if you can confidently persuade your boss to support your next project?
And how satisfied would you feel if you can cajole your teenager to limit the screen time?
If you are up for a real challenge, imagine convincing your partner to get a dog?

If you can handle the above situations smoothly and achieve the desired outcome then:

Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

I couldn’t help but borrow this rhyme from Kipling’s poem “If”. We will talk about it another time, but for now, read further if you want to learn how to move people.

We Are All In Sales

Sales? Blecch, I would have exclaimed some years ago.

Vacuum Cleaner Salesman

I was associating selling with being annoying and pushing people to do something or buy a product/service they didn’t want. Today, I know better.
If I could teach my children one skill only, then that would be the skill of selling. I have never thought of myself as a salesperson, but I have come to the realization that we all are.

Only a little part of the sales skills is related to selling products. Selling in a broader sense is moving others to take action and this is what we all spend a significant amount of time on. Today, for example, I have persuaded my daughter to clean her room. I can assure you, this was not an easy task!!
I also wrote this article to convince you that selling is a useful skill. On Monday I will pitch my project to my boss hoping that she will approve its implementation because I understood her needs and requirements well.

woman standing in front of children

Sales is not just about earning money. You can sell ideas, time, attention, anything that can be exchanged and is of value to others.
We can learn a good deal about sales especially from professionals working in not overly commercial sectors, such as education and health care.

Physicians are selling a remedy and are convincing patients to embark on a healthy lifestyle. Teachers are selling knowledge, persuading students that investing time in education will get them a better future.

How To Master Selling With Attunment

If selling is so important and omnipresent in our lives, let us learn how to do it properly. According to Daniel Pink attunement is where we should start.

Attunement is a capacity to see the perspective of the other, to get inside of other’s head. If you are attuned with the other, you are able to step outside of our own experience and imagine the emotions, perceptions, and motivations of the other.

Perspective-taking is related, but not the same as empathy. The first one is a cognitive capacity and it is practiced by thinking and imagining, while empathy is an emotional response. Studies show that to achieve attunement it is “more beneficial to get insight their heads that to have them inside one’s own heart”.

The simplest way to get into the head of others is to start a conversation and ask open questions. Be curious about their world and listen actively. Give space to small talk to find commonalities. People are more likely to move together when they share common ground and we usually have more in common then the first sight might suggest. Check this amazing ad from the Danish Television channel TV2.

For even better results, you can reduce your power to open space to the other person to express himself more freely. Another way to attune is by applying strategic mimicry. Both are explained in the continuation.

Reduce your power level

In his brilliant book “To sell is human” Mr. Pink pulls out a very interesting social science research.

He concludes that reducing our own power level when starting encounters helps to get attuned. When we position ourselves lower and act with humility, it is more likely that we will actively listen and we will be more focussed on what we can learn from or about the other person. Much like the art of improvisational theater, we accept any offer from the other person, so that he can feel free to express himself in an honest and authentic way.

Here is an exercise that can help you discover the power levels of the conversation participants.

Excercise: Discussion map

Next time you have a meeting start drawing a diagram of where each person in the meeting is seating. Then every time someone talks mark an X next to his name. When person A speaks directly to person B draw a line from A to B. Here is an example, from which you can see that ST is talking the most, TT is sitting it out, and AT is being targeted perhaps with criticism or complaints.

To reveal a groups social cartography, building a mental map will ...

Especially nowadays where video conferencing is so prevalent, you have the perfect occasion to exercise this without anyone seeing you 🙂 Go ahead, learn to observe, and discover the power games within your team. Create a better understanding of the social relationships and the context adopted by others to be able to get inside of their heads, assume their viewpoints and start moving them in the right direction.

Strategic mimicry

Another technique that can help us be more attuned is mimicking. You can mimic speech accents, tone, and patterns, body positions, facial expressions, basically all the behavior patterns of your conversation partner. In fact, without realizing that, we are naturally mimicking already like for example if the person you talk to leans back in his chair, we tent unconsciously to follow and lean back too.

This technique is about observing your partner and bringing awareness of his body position and expression. Then using mimicry strategically to build rapport.
I know, at first, it might sound like “aping” others, but scientist’s view of mimicry is different. To them, this tendency is “deeply human, a natural act that serves as a social glue and a sign of trust”. This gives us unconsciously the feeling that we are in sync with the other, which increases trust.

Here is a simple game to help you be more aware of the body language and the expressions of yourself and your conversation partner.

Excercise: Mirror, Mirror

I just played this nice game with my daughter (11). She loves it. It goes like this.

Me and my dautherplaying the mirror, mirror game
  • You stand facing each other observing for a minute what is the body position and the facial expression of the other person.
  • Then you turn the backs to each other and each of you changes something small.
  • After a minute you face each other again and try to see what the other person has changed. Small things, like the head leans a bit on the side now, or your feet are slightly more apart.

This exercise is fun to do and it trains you to become a better observer so that you can easily focus on the perspective of the other.

As simple as it sounds attunement requires deftness and finding the right balance between being strategic and being human, between when to speak up and when to shut up.

Conclusion

By now, I hope you realize that selling is a crucial skill and that in most cases, it is not related to commercial objectives. It is much more about building relationships based on honesty, directness, and transparency. Sales is about understanding and moving people to action. Following  is a modern definition of sales from Pink’s book I can relate to:

“The ability to influence, to persuade, and to change behavior while striking a balance between what others want and what you can provide them”

Mastering sales and moving others is a transformative experience. It takes you from being a follower to becoming a leader. Although it is not something we can learn overnight, we do have the opportunity to practice it and get a little bit better every day.

To Sell Is Human

Too old to start a business?

If you are over 50 and your job is at stake due to the COVID-19 pandemic then you are most probably very worried about the future. The prospect of having to search for a new job might feel paralyzing, knowing that this will be a very challenging task in the current state of the economy. Not to talk about age discrimination which is, unfortunately, an undeniable fact.

As hopeless and discouraging as this situation might look at first, it can also be a huge kick in the butt to finally set up your own business and start doing the things you always wanted to do.

Middle age is the Ideal age to start your own business

Here is why I think that your age is your biggest advantage in becoming a successful entrepreneur.

Silver startups are more successful

Did you know that the chances of startups run by older entrepreneurs are twice more likely to survive?
Or that the highest rate of entrepreneurship worldwide has shifted to the 55–64 age group? (Source: Global Entrepreneurship Monitor)

This does not strike me as a surprise.

Take a moment to think of all the valuable and diverse experiences and wisdom you have accumulated so far. Think of the extensive network you have garnered over the length of your career. These are the advantages that can set you up perfectly for starting a business.

Our desire to grow and explore does not decrease with age, neither do our productivity and mental capacity. We have all the resources we need to succeed.

Midlife brings you to your purpose

Midlife is the period when we naturally question the choices we’ve made, realize our limitations, and truly come to know who we are. At this age, we are closer to knowing what our purpose in life is and thus, creating a life that has more meaning. By now, you are probably asking yourself, how this relates to starting a business?
Knowing your purpose gives you the framework for defining the right products and services that will make your own business unique, competitive, and valuable.

If finding your purpose sounds like an impossible or vague task, I suggest you get some inspiration from the memoir of Viktor Frankl. He argues that we cannot avoid suffering but we can choose how to cope with it, find meaning in it, and move forward with renewed purpose.

Easier to get initial investment

Members of the 50+ club have bigger chances of being able to self-fund their business. This is due to accumulated savings or inherited wealth. For this age group, it is also easier to access their retirement funds, thanks to new, more flexible regulations.

Even if this is not your case, in today’s digital economy, you can start an online business with no initial financial investment. Check out, for example, the lucrative affiliate marketing opportunity, where you can choose to promote products and services that reflect your values and interests from the comfort of your home and get paid for performing a valuable business service.

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Conclusion

My intention was to outline some of the advantages of starting a business at an older age. Entrepreneurship is not only a source of income. It is also a very powerful gateway to personal growth, achieving social recognition, and a deep sense of meaning.

I hope your view of the future is a bit brighter and broader now.
In the highly unlikely case that you still think you are too old for embarking on an entrepreneurship adventure, please spend a few moments here for a reality check.

The Power Of Writing

Do you sometimes feel moody or sad and unable to pinpoint the reason? Is it difficult for you to imagine your desired future in vivid detail? Or perhaps, you would like to be able to transform anger into constructive action?

All these and much more can be achieved by the simple act of writing.

Journaling to get in touch with yourself

Intuitively, I have felt the profound power of writing and have been keeping a journal since my student days. This was the time when I started living on my own and had to rely on my own judgment. On the days when I felt uncomfortable and irritated or excited and overwhelmed, I would find a quiet place – that was easy back then without kids 🙂 – and talk to my journal.

I would write whatever came to my mind and for as long as the words kept streaming out of my pen. After that, I felt lighter and calmer with a sense of clarity and direction. This practice is called journaling. Even just 10 minutes are enough to harmonize your mind and emotions.

If you want to start journaling just do it. All you really need is a pen and paper. For more guidance check the advice of Dr. James Pennebaker.

Writing to boost your imagination

Writing is also a perfect way to boost your imagination. This is important because imagining how you want your life to be, is the first step in creating the life you love.

“Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life’s coming attractions.”
― Albert Einstein

Here is a fun writing exercise you can do.

Recall a feel-good, positive memory and write it down. Then rewrite it to be not only positive but perfect, like in your wildest dreams. Let me give you an example.

Here is a memory of mine:

I am having a holiday and for a week I don’t have to waste my time commuting. I have all the freedom to choose how to spend my time. At the end of this week, the feeling of joy and freedom is replaced by nervousness and dread as I face the moment of entering the rat race again. The thought of spending my time on endless, unproductive meetings and commutes instead of on the things that matter to me, makes me unhappy.

Now I will use my imagination to rewrite it. I do that by removing (crossed out) words and adding new (bold) imaginary experiences until it feels perfect.

I am having a holiday and for a week I don’t have to waste my time commuting work. Yet, my work is so interesting that even when I am on a holiday I enjoy focussing on it now and then. I have all the freedom to choose how to spend my time. At the end of this week, the feeling of joy and freedom is replaced by nervousness and dread as I face the moment of entering the rat race again. The thought of spending my time on endless, unproductive meetings and commutes instead of on the things that matter to me, makes me unhappy. In fact, since I have started my own online business, I have all the freedom to choose how I spend my time in general, not only during the holidays. I am really pleased with myself as I reflect on the fact that I dared to stretch myself and create this freedom to live life on my own terms. 

Your unconscious mind can not tell the difference between a real or imagined event. So, by doing this writing exercise you are actually instructing your unconscious on how to support you in achieving your goals. Interesting isn’t it?

Feel like exploring more? This book gives practical guidance on how to harness your unconscious mind.

Write to channel your anger

Writing is also a fantastic way to calm down anger and channel it into productive action. I have taught this simple technique to my daughter and see her regularly applying it.
When she was around 7 years old she used to have difficulty accepting no as an answer. Often she would burst into anger, for something very insignificant, like not being allowed to have another ice cream.
The technique is really simple.

young_manuel13.jpg
Creative Commons: Credit to Manuel Noah Angeja

When her anger tantrum was beginning, I would give her a piece of paper and suggest she draws or describes what she feels. And to my surprise, she would accept my suggestion and stay in her room busy with that paper for quite some time.

She would come out of her room, calm and approachable. I was amazed at how transformational and healing writing was, even at such a young age.

All in all, writing is a very simple and powerful tool to understand and manage yourself better. And who knows, one day you might even discover that you have a talent and the world will be yearning for more of your amazing stories.

Do you have time for the things that matter?

Have you ever felt both overworked and underutilized? Have you ever caught yourself complaining that you have less and less time?
In addition, as we age, we perceive that time passes faster and the urgency to do something great with the time left increases.

There are far more interesting things to be done and opportunities to be pursued in this world than we have time to invest in. To help you focus on the things that matter to you the most, I am describing 3 practices which I find useful:

too many choices
Our world of endless choices
  1. Find your purpose
  2. Filter the opportunities
  3. Get support

By applying these practices you will be able to manage your time wisely and focus on the important and exciting things.

Find your purpose

For some people this might be totally unknown territory. Others consider finding their purpose as the ultimate and mandatory spiritual journey. I prefer to look at it from the practical side and regularly ponder these 3 questions to figure it out:

  1. What do I feel deeply inspired by?
  2. What am I particularly talented at?
  3. What meets a significant need in the world?

By finding the answers to these thought-provoking questions, we can start seeing how we can add value to the world by developing our talents and interests. In my opinion, this should be our purpose, finding the intersection of these 3 domains, finding our highest point of contribution.

We all have experienced that very special feeling when we were doing something we were passionate about. Do you remember the excitement, the lost sense of time, the feeling of being “in the flow”, the extreme focus, the satisfaction?

Once you have at least a slight idea of your purpose you can start filtering the activities and opportunities coming your way.

Filter the opportunities

All you need to do from now on is, ask yourself every time you are required or tempted to do something, “is this task/project/opportunity aligned with my purpose?”

Instead of working harder and trying to do it all and please everyone, your purpose gives you a framework to explore and evaluate different options before committing. You can deliberately choose to focus on the things that matter and leave the rest aside.

In my case, this was easier said than done. I was not able to choose, for example, between working on my passions on Sunday or spending time with my family. I would always underestimate the necessary efforts and try to squeeze both in my agenda, unrealistically hoping that somehow I can successfully manage both activities. My exhaustion was telling me day in day out, that my energy is limited and that I should change my approach. I am so glad I found a perfect way to deal with this concern in this engaging book:

Today when I am planning my day, instead of asking myself “What do I have to give up?” I reframe the question as “What do I want to go big on?”. This small change has a profound impact on how I perceive my spending of time. It enables me to embrace the inevitable trade-offs as strategic choices instead of ignoring them or even worse, letting them make me feel guilty and stressed.

Once you pick an option worth committing and you have accepted the trade-offs, you will experience peace of mind and freedom to go big on it, show your beautiful authentic self and make your highest contribution.

Get support

If you are serious about focussing on what really matters to you, I encourage you to read the Essentialist book I mentioned above. It is a treasure of tips and tools on how to manage yourself and your time better so you can focus on the matters that are important to you.

Obviously just reading the book will not do the magic. You will need to engage discipline in place and develop habits to consistently and rigorously keep cleaning your life from the non-essential clutter. You will also need to develop self-confidence and leadership skills to be able to say a deliberate no, for example to your boss or family, while continuing to be respected and appreciated.

I am so glad I do not have to do this on my own. Through my SFM membership I have access to a world-class education, talented mentors, and like-minded people to help me along the way. The SFM membership is much like my membership to the fitness center and for the same price, only it focuses on my leadership and digital business skills.

At the SFM, I am not only learning how to create time for the things that really matter, but also how to run a profitable online business from doing those things.
If this sounds attractive to you as well, then you can check the ALL-IN Package membership below.

The SFM All-In Package

Once you gain clarity of purpose, it becomes easier to determine and stick to the activities and efforts that really matter. You will be in control of your time and will have the freedom to make your best, authentic contribution. You will be experiencing joy, and tapping more of your unique potential.

3 Tools To Help You Stay On Track

I am going to tell you nothing new and yet it will be valuable if it moves you to take action. These are the 3 easy to apply tools that will help you progress in a stable and consistent way, whatever your current goal might be:

  1. Define your KPIs
  2. Maintain an action tracker
  3. Focus on one thing at a time

I will dive into each of these standard business tools in some detail below. As I said, they might be known to you already, but the secret of their power lies in applying them on a regular basis.

Define your KPIs

KPI stands for Key Performance Indicator and it is used to measure performance towards a certain goal. For example, if my goal is to become an authority on a given subject and I do that by blogging, some of my KPIs worth tracking could be:

KPI: Number of blogs per week
  • My Productivity: number of blogs per week ( my goal is 7, I am almost there ;-))
  • Audience Engagement: number of blog page visits, number of comments left on my blogs, number of newsletter subscribers, etc.

For each KPI you can set an initial goal and work towards it. Once per week, or in any case on a regular basis, you need to seat down and evaluate your success. You will either have a moment of great satisfaction cause you are moving in the right direction. Or you will have some insights on what needs to be adjusted if the results are not as expected.

Maintain an action tracker

This one is really easy and it takes no more than 5 minutes a day. You need an excel sheet or any other tool that supports To Do Lists.
Write down the most important actions that you need to do tomorrow to progress towards your desired goal. You do not have to write all the things you do, just the most important, challenging ones or those actions which are not yet part of your daily routine.

For some time I used my paper journal for this, cause I love writing with a pen. However, it is difficult to spot trends over a longer period by flipping the pages all the time. For this excel is a much better tool. Every day at some point you need to do a quick check on how far are you with the actions of today and write down the actions for tomorrow. I do it in the evening before I go to bed.

With this tool, you are holding yourself accountable. You can see trends such as procrastination of some important actions for weeks or on a more positive side, you can realize that you have been exercising 3 times per week for a month now, just as you wanted, so make sure celebration is on your action list for tomorrow.

Focus on one thing at a time

Related image
One bite at a time

When you are enthusiastic about something or have a big, exciting project ahead, it is often very difficult to know what is the next best action to do today. If you have 10 things, all contributing to your goal, how do you prioritize them?
Instead of feeling overwhelmed and inefficient, switching from the one to the other task, you need to focus. In other words, the only way to eat a whole elephant is bite by bite.

I personally love multitasking and for me, it is very difficult to stay disciplined and focused on one thing at the time. Luckily, there are books to help me manage myself better. If you are like me, I recommend you to read this book by Greg McKeown.

It talks about how to make the highest possible contribution towards the things that really matter to you. It talks about how to free time by focussing on the essential stuff and actively and consciously acknowledging and accepting the trade-offs we make, the things we leave for later, or maybe never.   

All in all, these 3 tools are very easy to use, but it takes a systematic discipline to make them move you in the desired direction of reaching your goals. 
Let me know what are the tools you use to stay on track! 

3 Changing Beliefs Since I Started An Online Business

Now that I am on this exciting journey of building my own online business, I am noticing that some of my hardened beliefs are starting to change. There are plenty of practical things to organize and new skills to learn in this phase.

From configuring my digital assets to mastering new marketing and communication tools. They all contribute to my progress however, I feel that the shift in my beliefs is the biggest accelerator towards the much-desired financial freedom and more meaningful life.

Selling is bed
Photo by Xiaolong Wong on Unsplash

So here are the 3 changing beliefs:

  1. Selling is bad
  2. Keep work and personal life separate
  3. Entrepreneurship is risky

Selling Is Bad

I am raised in a culture where modesty was one of the highest virtues one could have and selling was the exact opposite. Selling was seen as a dubious job of pushing people to buy something totally useless by applying manipulative tricks and lies.
I was convinced that I am not a good salesperson and that I should not even think of becoming one.

In the process of setting up my own business, I started thinking about my purpose and the value I am adding to the world. Pretty soon, I figured out, that the only reason my business will thrive is if I am adding value to my customers. If my products and services, genuinely help, inspire positive change, inform, educate, or solve people’s problems, then I should be proud of what I am selling, right?

I realized that selling is much more about listening to the customers and understanding the situation they are in and with that knowledge, focusing on the value you can create for them.

Selling is thus a good thing to do when you motivate people to challenge the status quo, take action, and achieve what they desire. As this business school professor told The Harvard Business Review, selling is not about putting undue pressure on and talking incessantly. Rather, selling is persuading, inspiring, and leading to drive change.

I am glad I am honing my sales skills as we speak because they are actually very useful in all kinds of situations, not only in business.

Every leader needs to be good at sales. Whether you want to move your neighbors to invest in a certain good cause or guide your children to develop healthy habits, the sales skills come in handy. They will help you create strong relations with these people, grab their attention, and inspire them to make the desired change.

Keep Work and Personal Life Separate

The second thing I believed is that my work and private lives should be kept separate. I believed that I should strive to integrate well in my work environment by adopting the well-established norms while leaving all my unique traits, dreams, and exciting ideas at home.

You could easily observe this strong division in my wardrobe. The ironed, stiff and boring gray and blue clothes hanging on the one side, and the colorful, comfortable ones expressing my unique personality on the other side.

Me having a video conference with my colleagues while enjoying some fresh air at home

Working on my own business has helped me merge these two worlds and get the best out of them. Working for many years in corporate and consulting jobs has taught me how to blend in my customers’ culture, listen actively, and understand their pains and desires.
On the other hand, my own business is teaching me to cherish the unique experience I have and trust that it is the best source for creative and innovative ideas. I am not talking just about the things mentioned in my corporate cv, but especially about all the turns and the choices, places, events, and insights that influenced me becoming the person, I am today.

Becoming your own boss is the best way to accelerate personal growth.

I believe now that the better you get to know yourself and the more your share your perspective, the more connected you will become with likeminded people, and the sooner you will discover what is the unique value you can provide to the others. And if the others are happy with it, they will be more then willing to reward you.

Entrepreneurship is risky

The risk was my major reason to avoid considering entrepreneurship until I realized that the security I have by working for one company is fake. This is unfortunately confirmed today as we watch millions of people who have been impacted by the current COVID-19 crises.

Someone who works for a company has one source of income, their employer. An entrepreneur can create many different sources. If the employee gets laid off, they are out of a paycheck, but if an entrepreneur loses a customer, they have many more to fall back on.

Photo by My Life Journal on Unsplash

Once I understood these dynamics and realized that no one owes me anything, not my company nor my government, it became crystal clear that I should take full responsibility for my financial future.
This is what motivates me to invest in myself and my business, to figure out what is my unique contribution to this world, to imagine the ways to achieving it, to find the methods that increase my productivity, to persist, to be the creator of my life!

When managed properly, being an entrepreneur can actually be one of the safest and most fulfilling careers possible.

Conclusion

I am thankful to have discovered that entrepreneurship is the constant fire that energizes and challenges me to be a better version of myself every single day. Since I have started on this amazing leadership and personal growth journey, I have challenged many of my limiting beliefs and created new possibilities for me and the people around me.

If entrepreneurship and setting up your online business sounds interesting to you, check this excellent training below.

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Can I become financially independent?

Can I really become rich? Can I achieve financial independence?
I am not born in a rich country, nor in a rich family. I work for a salary and am already halfway through life. According to the businessman and committed financial educator Robert Kiyosaki, I am a bit late with starting to think about this subject.
However, he also says, it is better to start now than never which is why I dived into his #1 New York Times bestseller “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” and here is the wisdom I found.

He basically says that the two most important things you need in order to get rich are financial education and a mindset change. With these two in your pocket, you can develop a plan to thrive and avoid being a victim of these difficult COVID-19 times.

Financial Education

This is something we generally do not learn at school. These are subjects like Accounting, Marketing and Sales, Law, and Investing. Even if you happen to have specialized in one of these subjects, you most probably do not use this knowledge to become financially independent. Instead, you are filling the pockets of your boss or the government.

Learn Financial, Digital Marketing and Sales skills as soon as possible

The children of the rich people take in the knowledge of these subjects with the mother’s milk. They learn to make the money work for them on the dinner table. This doesn’t mean, that for them, it is not hard work to become or maintain their wealth, but they do have a huge start advantage with experienced mentors guiding them.

I am not so worried about learning new skills. If you are anything like me, having a career in the fast-paced corporate world, you are used to updating your skills on a regular basis. We also have a natural need and curiosity to grow our knowledge, so spending time learning new skills feels satisfying for most of us.
So, why not follow the advice of the rich dad of mister Kiyosaki and pick up on Investing to learn how to create assets that will bring us passive money?
Why not follow Digital Marketing training, or Sales and Online Business to learn how to inspire people. To understand how to add value in their lives, for which they will be grateful and willing to reward you.

Mindset change

This one is the tougher of the two things you need most to get rich, according to the book, and I fully agree with Kiyosaki, as I have tried it. Changing your mindset takes time and lots of discipline. It requires identifying your fears and learning how to embrace them without being distracted from your goal. In other words, learning to take controlled risks and building your courage and self-esteem.
You will need to get to know yourself much, much better. Discover your purpose, your strengths, passions, and beliefs. Change those ones who are not serving you anymore.

Financial independence requires a mindset change from employee to entrepreneur
M.C. Escher “Hand with Reflecting Sphere

You will need to start loving yourself including the things you do not like at the moment.

As you can imagine, these are not easy tasks. However, they are very fulfilling and will add enormous value to your life. Instead of being a vulnerable employee, you will be an entrepreneur who takes the lead, imagines, and creates the future he loves. You will become wealthy, an achiever, and will be able to impact the world in a profound and meaningful way.

The mindset changing is a journey of personal growth. If you want to progress quickly, the support of likeminded people and mentors, who are steps ahead of you, is crucial. Getting the right skills, that you can do on your own. There are plenty of books and online courses.
But you can not do the mindset shift alone, or at least not quick enough to live a substantial part of your life in abundance.

Having the support network, on the bad days, on the days you are doubting and feeling miserable is of uttermost value. Having people who will hold the space for you, who will listen deeply and guide you in every step of this incredible journey is the key to keeping persistence and not giving up halfway through.
You might be lucky and find this sort of support in your current circle of friends, yet the chances are high that their mindset is exactly the one you want to change. You know that you are a product of your environment, right?

The SFM platform has both

This is why I want to introduce you to the SFM mentoring and training platform I am part of.

Check the ALL-IN-PACKAGE of the SFM mentoring and training platform

Their biggest value is not the sophisticated tools and world-class training programs, events, and webinars, but the personal guidance and support they give to help you break through the ceilings in your life and business.
It is the people, the community, the unique culture of helping each other to grow and become the best version of yourself. Check what they offer by registering for this Free Webinar and let me know if I can be of any help to you in your personal journey to becoming rich and living life on your own terms.

The Why Game

Here is a fun game that can help you get some valuable insights about yourself.
The game is called “Why” and it is very easy to explain. I have also included my uncensored answers from this morning to help you grasp it quickly.

It goes like this:

  • Think of a topic you want to explore,
  • Start asking why until no more answers come to you,
  • Write down whatever comes to your mind/pen/heart.

I do this game always with my customers when trying to understand what they really want. This is a crucial step in any product or service development, to avoid throwing money away by building something no one will ever use.

Why am I doing this?

Today I was my own customer. I wanted to understand why am I putting so much effort into setting up my own business online.

Why 1: Why do I want to have an online business?
Because I want to have more money. I want to increase my income.

Why 2: Why do I want to have more money?
I want to have more money to have more possibilities: have a bigger space to live, go more often to the South of France, regularly visit and help my parents in Macedonia, to name just the first things that popped into my head.

Why 3: What will I solve with having more possibilities?
I would have more space for myself and will need to do fewer compromises, for example with my partner or employer (ideally, I will only have partners, no employers). I would be independent financially, but also more autonomous in terms of taking important decisions.

Why 4: What will change if I can make autonomous decisions?
I will be and feel free. I can choose how I want to live my life.

Why 5: How will my life change if I am free to live as I want?
I will live in harmony with myself and the people around me. I will constantly grow and develop and provide value to others. I will be closer to my true self, have a purposeful and meaningful life!

It is so rewarding to get to know yourself better and realize that behind the obvious need for “more money” there is a profound purpose, worth all the effort and dedication.

The Dilts logical levels

nlp pyramid levels - Google Search | Guided writing
Robert DIlts’s Logical Levels

The “Why” game is based on Robert Dilts’s logical levels. You start at the bottom level, your environment, and with each why, you discover the upper layers of yourself.
The more you know about yourself, the better you will be able to produce desired changes in your life. Changing something on a higher level will certainly produce a change in the lower levels, while this is not the case the other way around. Read more on this at SkillsYouNeed.

Conclusion

I hope you will enjoy this game as much as I did.

You can use this game to get different insights about yourself or others. For example, you can analyze a habit you want to get rid of and figure out on which level a change is needed.
Or you can focus on your customers and analyze why they are or are not buying your products.

You can do it as often as you like. I would love to hear if you have found this game useful and what are you using it for.

Writing a shareable story about anything fast

Stories are a foundational part of our culture. We use stories to communicate, to remember things, to build our identity, learn, teach, entertain and inspire.
Although it is natural for us to tell stories, creating likable and shareable ones requires a special skill.
You can hone this skill and profit from it daily. Colleagues will hang on your lips during your presentations, your blog subscriptions will rise and your marketing will flourish. Even at home nowadays, with the Corona lockdown, this skill is indispensable. Why not impress your children with it and make homeschooling an exciting adventure.
Let’s get started with the basics.

The basic story structure

I will let the famous and highly prolific American writer Kurt Vonnegut explain the structure of a story.

To summarize, there are five basic elements:

  1. Exposition – description of the basic context and situation: who, what, when and where.
  2. Inciting incident – Objective or something needs to happen to push the story forward. A protagonist with a certain desire or forces that are for or against the protagonist’s goal.
  3. Rising action – a conflict that impedes the protagonist from achieving their goal.
  4. Climax – we see if the goal is achieved or not
  5. Resolution – The result, what this all means in the end, the lesson learned

Let’s find these elements in the popular fable “The Fox and the Crow” credited to Aesop, a storyteller believed to have lived in ancient Greece. 

The Fox and the Crow - Storynory

Exposition: A Fox once saw a Crow fly off with a piece of cheese in its beak and settle on a branch of a tree.

Inciting incident: “That’s for me, as I am a Fox,” said Master Reynard, and he walked up to the foot of the tree.

Rising action:  “Good day, Mistress Crow,” he cried. “How well you are looking today: how glossy your feathers; how bright your eye. I feel sure your voice must surpass that of other birds, just as your figure does; let me hear but one song from you that I may greet you as the Queen of Birds.”

Climax: The Crow lifted up her head and began to caw her best, but the moment she opened her mouth the piece of cheese fell to the ground, only to be snapped up by Master Fox.

Resolution:  “That will do,” said he. “That was all I wanted. In exchange for your cheese, I will give you a piece of advice for the future: “Do not trust flatterers.”

Marketing stories

Knowing how to build authentic, shareable stories is paramount if you are in the marketing business. The stories in marketing are specific. They are usually about:

  • the character of the brand
  • the features and benefits of the product
  • the value of the service

To tell a marketing story respecting the above basic structure use the two worlds technique:

  1. Describe the world that is (lacking something)
  2. Describe the world that could be (the change)
  3. Place your product/service right between these 2 worlds

Tell the world that is from the consumer’s perspective, so that he can feel that something is missing.

There is a great course on Linkedin if you want to dive deeper into this topic:

Welcome from Storytelling for Advertising Campaigns by Stefan Mumaw

A good story never makes someone feel in a certain way, but rather pulls out of them something they already feel. A good story adds value. Wouldn’t it be great to master this skill?

From Idea to Reality

Many of us have plenty of marvelous dreams, but often we do not put work into making them become reality. The dream come true process is not rocket science, it requires some discipline and persistence, but it can be learned.
I know this for sure because anything we see around us has started as an idea, as somebody’s dream. Somebody, who believed his dream can become a reality, did all it takes to make it happen.
We have the amazing power to create things out of nothing, out of an idea, a thought. And luckily this process is well explained nowadays and we can all learn to apply it.

Visualization

One technique that will certainly help you in this process is visualization. You probably are already familiar with it through the teachings of your favorite spiritual leader, personal growth mentor or business leadership coach.

Credits to Creative Commons: Ahmad Nady, Ali Anwar

Visualization technique can help you:

  • Envision the final goal and strengthen your belief in achieving it,
  • Identify the resources and actions you will need to take to succeed,
  • Keep motivated to strive for your goals and dreams.

Visualization has this effect on us because apparently our brains can make no difference between dreaming, imagining or stuff happening in reality. The sensory experiences of the dream or the visualization can be just as convincingly real.

Here is some scientific proof from Psychology Today, if you don’t believe my words 😉

I decided to try it myself and finally go for the spacious house on the top of a cliff overlooking the Mediterranean Sea in the south of France. Something like the Bubble palace of the famous French fashion designer Pierre Cardin.

The Bubble Palace of Pierre Cardin

The devil is in the detail

Let’s do it. Get yourself in a comfortable space without distractions and think of something you want to have or achieve. Now, start mentally imagining it as if it has already happened. Stimulate your imagination by asking questions like, how does it look like? Which colors and patterns do I see, what do I smell, how do I feel knowing that I have achieved my goal? Who is around me, what are we talking about? The more detail the better.

Actually the word visualization doesn’t cover all the aspects you include while imagining. It is not only about the visual part. You need to include all the other senses, the movement and your global state of being. It is more of a mental projection in time and space, but that might sound like science fiction, so let’s stick to the word visualization for the sake of simplicity.

Back to my goal of living in a house by the sea. Every morning in my 15 min visualization slot, I imagine myself waking up, going outside in the garden and checking the calmness of the sea. I do my yoga exercises while being caressed by the gentle breeze and the warm Mediterranean sun. I synchronize my breath with the sound of the waves. I become one with the nature around me and the feeling of calmness and joy runs through my whole body.
Before I start working in my spacious living room, with the glass doors open to the sea, I take pleasure in smelling each of the plants I have personally planted in my garden: the pine and the fig tree, the rosemary and my favorite at the end, the agapanthus azur.

Is it easy?

I wouldn’t say it is, but it can be very empowering and rewarding. Imagining beautiful things and daydreaming sounds like fun, but that is just the beginning. To progress in the realization of your goals, you need to be disciplined, create a routine, hone your skills of imagining more detail, especially for difficult goals, which might feel like mission impossible from this perspective.

I will have this beauty in my garden ( agapanthus azur )

If you are anything like me, visualizing isn’t your natural skill. I get distracted very quickly and start wandering off to random thoughts or the todo list of the day ahead.
Luckily, this book “How to get lots of money for anything Fast!” by Stuart Lichtman contains a well-structured technique that helped me learn it, much like driving a car.
Don’t get turned off by it’s cheesy, over the top title. It is an easy read, a great, practical manual in setting up goals, designing the solution and monitoring the progress.

One final tip, do not keep your plans and dreams for yourself. Talk about them with your friends, your community and mentors. In this way, they will soon become part of your reality. There is nothing to be ashamed of in wanting to create the life you love! Go for it!