Settle? I don’t think so

I have a really strong view that I could never expect you to invest in coaching if I don’t do it myself.

Why should I?

It’s a bit like working with a fitness trainer who is obviously overweight and unwell.  It just doesn’t ring true for me.

So I tell you this, not to justify myself or so you can pat me on the back, but simply to let you inside my world for a moment…to reinforce that I practise what I preach.

You see, noone is above help. Noone is perfect. Noone has it all together. And noone has all the answers.

And I felt that keenly recently, when I was reviewing my presentation for the first round of the 8 Weeks to Content Confidence program.

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Your truth vs the marketer’s truth

I read somewhere once that you should get new trainers (you know, sneakers/joggers/sandshoes/runners) every 3 months if you exercise regularly. Apparently if you don’t your shoe will no longer provide you with the support and shock absorption you signed up for.  You’ll be ‘at risk’ of all sorts of things.  I’m wondering whether that was purely marketing hype put out by a sports shoe company, but regardless, it stuck with me.

Every 3 months I should be shelling out around $150 for a new pair of trainers.

Really?

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Improve your health: write some words

Writing therapy is an actual ‘thing’. It’s not just for us nerdy wordy souls yearning for an outlet for our unsatiated brilliance. It’s actually a form of expressive therapy that uses the act of writing, and then the processing of that writing, as a way to heal.  The premise behind writing therapy is that by writing one’s feelings down, emotional trauma will gradually ease.

Interesting.

Whilst I’ve never formally undertaken ‘writing therapy’ as such, I certainly know that I get great satisfaction from scribbling down thoughts when I’m in a muddle about something. It helps to clear my head and offer the best answer when I see all the ideas in black and white in front of me.  I also remember as a teenager how wonderfully satisfying it was to express my inner most desires and angst in my secret diary, and how I always felt a little closer to the ‘truth’ or ‘real me’ as a result. So I guess that was my own form of writing therapy; nurturing my emotional health through words.

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Thanks for nothing winter solstice…or maybe one thing…

Are you feeling like there’s a LOT going on at the moment?
You wouldn’t be alone.

Apparently with the winter solstice comes lots of change. (I have no technical term for this, but it’s a ‘thing’…and not just for woo-woos!)

Believe it or not, the winter solstice may affect a lot of things in your life, including your mood, your sleep schedule, and maybe even your sex drive. But there is one upside…Here’s the lowdown:

1. You might just feel a bit ‘blah’.

Everyone’s heard of the winter blues, but there’s a real science behind why this time of year has you feeling bummed out a lot of the time.  Your brain’s serotonin level (the “feel-good” neurotransmitter that your body produces) are largely affected by the amount of exposure you get to daylight. So when the days start getting significantly shorter, and there’s a limited amount of sunshine, your serotonin levels can drop, causing you to feel a little moody and melancholy. Adding self care practises to your routine — such as deep breathing, meditation, leisurely walks, and yoga — can help boost your serotonin levels, and as a result, your mood and overall well-being.

2. Your sleeping patterns might go cuckoo.

When you’re not getting enough vitamin D — as a result of not being exposed to enough sunlight — your body can feel super exhausted and lethargic. The change in seasons that brings us into the winter solstice can affect your body’s circadian rhythm, which regulates your normal sleep cycles, as well as your ability to produce melatonin, aka your body’s sleep hormone. To put it simply, the lack of sunlight could definitely take a toll on your snooze time. But the dark circles under your eyes don’t need to be your default winter aesthetic. Take a vitamin D supplement or invest in an electric light box to remind your body that there is, indeed, a light at the end of this dark tunnel we call the winter solstice. Or you could just go to Queensland for a few months.

3. Your head may go bang.

Though the research isn’t definitive, there are reports that cases of migraine are on the increase during the winter months. The swift change in temperature can lead to changes in the body that result in tension headaches (you know the ones where it feels like there’s a rubber band around your head?). Try some essential oils, a warm bath, or a big block of chocolate…I hear that helps anything!

4. Apparently your sex drive could take a toll, as well.

Who knew?  Apparently testosterone plummets during winter. Maybe try getting cosy in front of a fire or finding a way to make ugg boots and a dressing gown sexy!

5. Finally, a light at the end of the wintry tunnel.

The winter solstice isn’t bad, guys! It might have you suddenly feeling like Vincent van Gogh (minus the whole cutting off your ear thing, hopefully), and you may just be inspired to tap into your creative side. While this isn’t a concrete finding, an increase in creativity during winter months is basically all about perception. When the chilly temperatures of winter force us to go inside and bundle up with a warm mug of tea and cosy blankets, we’re more likely to connect with others and as a result, inspired to create and to brainstorm new ideas. So…embrace that. It’s a GREAT time to get working on that book you’ve always been meaning to write, that blog you’ve been meaning to start, or that new social media channel you’ve been meaning to tackle.

Have you felt the effects? Positive or negative?

Facebook engagement – 7 easy strategies that work

Love it or loathe it, Facebook is undoubtedly one of THE best places to market your small business.  There are gazillions of users, you can post various types of content, and it’s easy to reach a very specific audience.  However, unless you know how to play the game (and it’s an ever-changing one), it can be a frustrating source of misery that only serves to suck you down rabbit holes or see you deleting your profile in disgust. Generating great Facebook engagement is not as simple as it used to be.

So how do small business owners make the most of this behemoth?  They build a targeted audience who want to hear new things from them regularly and who are inspired to respond.  And it is this last part that is the key.

Engagement.

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Is your business persona solid to its core?

So I was watching the Voice last night. I’m a little bit obsessed with it, although I am now at a point when I can actually feel a ‘backstory’ coming on before it happens 😫 (jaded? not yet, not really!)
 
And so last night as I saw Sheldon step on stage, and then the first notes of Alessia Cara’s ‘call-to-arms’ song “Scars to your beautiful” played, I immediately wondered whether he is really living the story he is portraying. He makes no secret that he is battling with accepting who he is (a very flamboyant and theatrical young guy who loves wearing makeup and ‘dressing’). He’s trying to figure out not only what kind of artist he is, but what kind of person he truly is, all whilst doing it in one of the most public forums possible (with harsh critics everywhere). That song, which is all about acceptance of self, seemed to perhaps be more aspirational than a reality for him.
 
I was so interested to hear Delta’s comments afterwards about whether he was fully congruent and genuine. There was definitely something left unsaid. It was an interesting angle for her to raise, but given she sees him off-screen as well as on maybe there was merit?
 
I make no judgments about him at all, because I don’t know him one iota, but what the exchange threw up for me was this whole notion of creating a public persona, then stepping into it, versus uncovering who you really are and wearing that with pride.
 

Then the question arises…are we ever able to truly know who we ‘really’ are?

 
Or are we all just versions of a persona we created yesterday, five years ago, when we started our business, when we got married, when we became a parent, or when we were teenagers…?
 
Too often I see people on social media, whose business personas start to crumble at the slightest hiccup. The slightest nudge in the wrong direction makes them quiver, the first ‘bad client’ sends shockwaves through their bones, the mere hint of criticism serves to knock them sideways. And their bravado falters, and sometimes shudders to a halt.
 
Is your persona, your story, your public face, solid at its core? Is it yours or one you’ve bought or borrowed from someone ‘successful’ in your industry? Are you living it every day, on and off the stage?

Teaching this old dog new tricks: #COPYCON18 (a conference for word nerds)

It’s easy to view yourself as an ‘expert’ once everyone else does.  You get asked to speak on certain topics, requested for input into articles, and invited to sit on panels – for me that’s being a copywriter, a content coach, a marketing coach.  You could be forgiven for thinking to yourself: I’ve got this. I reckon I know my stuff – (finally!).

And then suddenly you realise a couple years have gone by and you haven’t really done much ‘professional development’ or learnt anything super new in your specific field of expertise. Or along the way you’ve diversified, and the thing you’re known for is only one small string to your now blossoming bow.

That’s when #copycon18 came into my field of vision.  Great timing and just the ticket to reignite my copywriter’s soul.

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Boundaries create your own Tuscan movie

Christopher is muscular and tanned but lithe, like most of the men around here.  They work, physically, for most of the day, every day of the week. His hair is long and dark, tousled and unkempt, and his eyes are dark but dancing. He has that relaxed way of wearing a shirt with the top few buttons undone and the sleeves rolled up, exposing strong forearms and a brown chest, that is suggestive, but not on purpose. He swaggers gently, meaningfully, and takes his time to construct his sentences, tasting every word in his mouth, ensuring they’re the right ones. The words finally fire out at warp speed, defying the calm countenance from which they emit.

He then sees us, shrugs to his friend, and says: “G’day, are you guys from Australia? I’m from Brisbane.”

Whaaaat?

You see Christopher made a choice.  A very distinct, clear choice to live his life a certain way.

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How many words should my book contain?

Book writing is a big deal. It’s no simple undertaking. The first question I get asked when someone is considering using my help for their book writing project is ‘how many words should my book contain?’

My answer is always: ‘How long is a piece of string…?’

No, really…how long is it?

I know that doesn’t help you AT ALL, and sounds like the kind of smartypants answer that would have gotten me in trouble at the dinner table, but it’s true.  Your book needs to contain as many words as it takes to cover off your topic properly, without repetition and without gaping holes in the knowledge.

I get asked the ‘how many words’ question almost immediately people engage with me about writing their book.  And it’s normal to wonder. I get it.  Because a book writing project is a big thing. There are a LOT more words in a book than in anything else you’ve probably ever written (unless you were one of those crazy smart people who sat down and wrote a PhD.!) And the prospect of writing a whole heap of words can be daunting.  It’s time-consuming, you’re wondering whether you actually know ‘enough’ and you’re hoping like heck that I’m not going to charge you for editing ‘by the word count’!

It’s just as frustrating for me as it is for you that there is no perfect answer to this million dollar book writing question.

So, will you settle for some guidelines for your book writing word length?

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