Avoiding The Ignore Bin

I’m a firm believer that assumptions can be dangerous.

 

Particularly, assuming someone is interested in what you are offering (ideas, services, products). You wouldn’t do it to your friend, so why do it to someone else?

 

Though I hadn’t been always awesome in this area, I can proudly say, that each end every time (even the painful ones!), I have learned how to improve my approaches (both offline and online).

 

I think that constant learning mindset (reviewing what has happened and finding ways how to improve) has paid off a lot, and helped me avoid the ignore bin when reaching out to ‘Marketing Over Coffee‘ when suggesting a guest.

 

I received a reply from one of the hosts (John Wall)  saying that he appreciated me asking (which is a different approach from the majority of pitches they get). And similar to what Simon Sinek shared about approaching ‘asks’ (ask first then catch-up…or add additional information).

 

The upside of asking first is you’ll likely get more information before your pitch! When I received John’s response, it included the kind of guests they’d be keen to have and the kind of guests that aren’t a fit.

 

 

Notes:

  • Yes, I did get John’s blessing to share this entry. 🙂
  • If you’d like me to send you the structure of the email I sent John, just reach out to me directly.
  • Like me to keep you in mind when I pitch to contacts? Okay. As long as you’ve done your research. Pitch me! 😀

 

 


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Clients

An extension of my post earlier.

I limit talking about this particular income stream because I intentionally limit the people I serve in this area (I’m happy and their happy too because we both get to spend significant time with each other).

To get the best results:

  • Think of ways you can apply this concept to your brand.
  • Read as many entries as you can! Because one of them might be the trigger you need to unblock your creativity. (Yeah I know, that means it’s not likely that you’ll end up as a client…but that’s okay.)
  • Read the FAQ (even if it is cheeky…its still informative!) — if we end up working together…that’s a quick download. Definitely helpful for me to know if we can bond over other things. (Not a requirement…it just moves you up the list!)
  • Understand that I really do constantly generate ideas. Really! And nothing would make my day more than knowing that they are in good hands.

Then

Decide the arrangement you’d be most comfortable with when you send me a message:

  • Fixed Budget (Spots available: 4)- only for previous clients.
  • Results first then Payment (Spots available: 8) – I spend time learning about your brand to find action items (experiments, tests, strategies…) to implement. Then my fee is a percentage (35%) of the results you get. And yes, that means if the result is $180,000 over that period…then my fee is $63,000.

 

Though the first option is decidedly simpler. I give my clients the second option because that way, they already have what they plan to pay for…so I’ll know the client is happy — which means the odds are VERY VERY low for a refund. Less admin stuff to deal with, which means, I can focus on adding more value. 🙂

 

 CAUTION:

If you are someone who is only concerned with impressions (fancy website, photo driving a Maserati GranCabrio — so people would be drawn to you) rather than results (e.g. $72,000 increase sales after 8 months): you are not a fit.

Tempted to try your luck to see if you can ‘game’ the system? Well, no matter how you approach me (by filling up an application form, reaching out directly, or even somehow getting recommended by a current client)…in the end…if you are not a fit, it’ll come out at some point.

Ponder this: Wouldn’t you rather  spend all those hours finding someone who is a better fit for you rather than wait for the day that I’ll say: ‘Sorry…I wouldn’t be able to help you’?

Last Update: 01 January 2017


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The Best Way To Reach Me

As I was having a quick look and update on ‘My Cheeky FAQ’ I realised that it might help if there was a specific entry (and I can’t wait to hear from you if this post indeed helped!) that helps you know how to best send me a message.

 

  • Tumblr – I am on there at least once a fortnight (unless intentionally focusing on completing something and my fan tendencies need to be ‘on hold’ because they are a hindrance rather than a compliment!)
  • YouTube – Though sometimes notifications cross over with Google+ — I still find it a handy playform to send (and receive!) private messages.
  • Google+ – apparently there’s a way to send me messages even if I am not ‘online’ (I’ll get your notifications and that would prompt me to check my messages)
  • Form – This comes in handy if you are on a device that you avoid using to log-in to your various social media accounts. Even if you don’t put your email address, as long as you give me your Tumblr / YouTube / Google+ handle, and I can chase you up there.

 

 

What you’ll need in your message:

  • your email address!
  • How I can help you. (Really. Tell me! Don’t worry about sounding all ‘sales-ey’. Because the sooner I find out how I can add value to you, the sooner I am able to generate ideas! It’s as easy as completing this statement: ‘Leigh, I want _____ to happen. Can you help?’ If there are multiple items, take some time to consider what is most important for you to achieve. Whether it be finding someone who is equally smitten by BrainDead, or needing creative juice to improve your interactions with people you serve.)
  • If you have references (such as my tweet or a post), it would help a LOT if you include it too!

 

 

 

 


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Trust Experiments

As I was watching Joel Peterson’s talk, I was hit with an idea on how to apply incrementally trusting someone (100 times in little ways).

 

Since I’ve already accepted that sometimes it matters little what I say, and more on that initial connection with the person — I’m going to approach the experiment similarly. Instead of focusing more on fine-tuning (which I probably will…a bit) the right thing to say, It’ll be more on focusing on giving opportunities for the other person to communicate back: ‘I like interacting with you…let’s talk more!’

 

Experiment #1: I leave some items, and ask if the person would be open to watch it (letting them know I’d be back in 10 minutes). The items would be stuff that I am okay giving away (and would not feel gutted in case they get lost). Also, these items must have some value to me (books or films I like). It’s a bit like saying (in action form): ‘Hey, I’d like to take this risk and just trust you. What do you think?’

 

Also…in case I do hand over the items to a curious person — I’m also going to make sure I mention: ‘Oh…if you’d like something to read while waiting, there is one book there that you can check out!’

 

In respect to security, I will ensure that all the items are view-able by the person. So, if the items are in a bag, the bag has to be see-through.

 

The approach is also inspired by Scott Adams (he leans towards Systems rather than goals). Some possible results of the experiment:

  • I find another kindred spirit (bestie for life!)
  • We get talking and that person is actually looking for someone to help grow one of their brands (new client!)
  • An opportunity to introduce them to some brands I like.
  • I learn more about how different people trust, which would in turn help me advise current clients.

 

I’m planning to do more of these experiments in the future as ideas come up! If you’re thinking there might be an opportunity for me to do this too (I think you are right!)

 

 

Do you have some memorable (or even no so?) experiences on how you were able to trust someone in your circle by increments?

 

 

 


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Anxiety and Feedback

The idea in exploring the connection was not as painful as I thought!

 

The idea for this post came from a conversation I had with Rebecca. (Thanks Rebecca for your blessing!)

I think this might be the start of a series of posts about anxiety. It all started more than five months ago when I floated the idea to Rebecca about doing a podcast episode about a book about feedback.

I sent her a link to an NPR feature.

The book is called ‘Thanks for the Feedback’ — and if you’re listening while reading through the entry. You should be able to click on that title and that will send you to a page on NPR. If you have the copy of the book now in your hands — you might notice the interesting notes on the cover (I thought it was a nice touch with the topic on hand!)

Another link I found for the book is their Google Talk.

When I mentioned that I was hoping to do an episode because of what she shared, she was ecstatic (as the book sounded really interesting, and she’d want to know if I did do a podcast episode)

This was the post that was quite instrumental in the lead up to our conversation about feedback.

So if I start a conversation with someone who follows Elementary very closely, and that person finds out that I only watch the non-graphic episodes (usually the one that involve Moriarty I skip)…and just says something like: ‘you shouldn’t judge those story elements if you skip them’. In that situation…I’d likely just shrug and say: ‘That may be so.’ — and not make an effort to communicate with this person ever again!

I just take it (no matter how rude the comment directed at me…and even if it takes me days or weeks to get over it)…as: ‘We’re not a fit, so…you might as well keep your distance.’ — though the level headed version of that would be: “I’m not your kind of person”

And when Rebecca said that it was a very healthy way of thinking (that instead of letting myself get affected by this person’s point of view, or however unkind the treat me — I focus on whether this person is a fit for me. And if not — I walk away from further interactions), and she wishes to have that kind of positivity in her life…I thought: ‘You’re my kind of person! My Tribe ! Similar Values!’

As I have the ‘idea gene’ (oh yeah some days I can’t keep up!), my next thought was: ‘Hey! What better way to see if I can pitch some ideas for her to try!’

 

So…I continued my questions…to make sure I  was able to get as much understanding as I could of her point of view before my idea pitches. Rebecca shares that her anxiety may have to do with her inability to consistently think in that way. What happens is if she gets a comment from someone…and because she spends too much time thinking about it…it ends up becoming negative.

Since action was quite important to me…I thought I’d ask if there was a baby step she thought she could take.

Then I got this answer: “I think I need to try to be more positive? Or maybe just be accepting about what people say about me?”

I thought ‘uh oh’…too general. Then inspiration hit.

I suggested she watch ‘It’s Kind of a Funny Story‘ because of that particular scene that accurately represents how a person’s thoughts can just go on a downward spiral based on an unexpected event in their life.

I didn’t mention it to Rebecca yet, but if you’re thinking of collecting a LOT of material about this, you can grab a copy of Dan Harris’ book (10% Happier) — as he has his own ‘automatic downward spiral story that involves Duluth’. I’m hoping Dan’s sense of humour would appeal to yours too! It did with mind while I was reading the book.

So back to ‘Thank You for The Feedback’. I haven’t yet finished the book. Though, what I’ll do, is just grab a concept from the notes I’ve made so far and that can be the starting off point.

“When we give feedback we notice that the receiver [the recipient] isn’t good at receiving it. When we receive feedback we notice that the giver isn’t good at giving it.”

Sounds like a double standard right (Though it’s quite easy to fall into that kind of thinking if we were looking at things only through our lens)?
So a really nice way to sum up the heart of the book: ‘Doug and Sheila give ideas so we could deliver feedback in a way that the person we’re giving it to would be more receptive’. And on our end, ways on how we can be more receptive to feedback…and with practice we are able to learn from anyone.

Stressing out looking for a coach right now (finding the right one)? You don’t need to stress anymore! So…instead of finding the right coach — you can just learn from just about anyone (too much of a reach? Hehehe — If your cynical voice is being loud right now…just quiet that voice down).
If you already have a growth mindset (including the acceptance that in every feedback you receive…there is something that you can use…even if it just ends up as a reminder). This is probably why people resistant to change are usually the ones that are quite draining to be with (try it!). So you can make that book as a litmus test for people around you — to find out how they react (are they for change…or not?). And you might find that those people who haven’t reacted positively about the book might be the same people who are a drain when they are around you.

Three forms of feedback:

  • Appreciation – “I’m really happy you’re my mum”
  • Coaching – “you can put less stress on your spine if you sit up straight”
  • Evaluation – “Based on your sales figures, you are currently at second place” (So those jeans that either are too big or too small for you…there you go!)

 

The reason it’s quite challenging to identify these, is because sometimes we are looking for one kind, and then sometimes miss that we’re actually being given another kind. Once the kind of feedback is identified…I’ve realised it’s so much easier to not only drill down — it’s also easier to decide if you’d still want to waste your energy in finding out more.

It’s like a sorting box:

  • To The Bin
  • Maybe
  • Something that can definitely help

 

Another thing I’d like to mention is one of the biases that comes out when feedback goes from the giver to us. Because these biases are present, we are unlikely able to classify the kind of feedback we receive   This one is called ‘Truth Trigger’ — anything that doesn’t sit quite right. If we get feedback that touches that specific trigger, whether that feedback be expected or unexpected — the result is the same, that what the person tells us gets us a bit unhinged.

For me one example was a particularly stinging one — it happened awhile back…and it just…I was just surprised when it happened.

 

It was quite unexpected because the person where it came from was not the sort of person who’d act that way (you know…’rude’ or ‘like a jerk’).

When I have initial exchanges with someone, all those build up a person in a good way or in a bad way. And with this person — the information points towards: ‘You can trust her, she is your kind of person’.

It was during one of the Q&A process sessions…I go through sending perspective interviewees questions, then they come back with answers. And because it’s a long form format — it’s not just: ‘here’s your questions’ — then when I get your answers they gets published. So this person was going through the process (I think we got to the second round of questions by then?) then things about her started to unravel.

It usually doesn’t take this long before my ‘fit alarm’ goes off. Somehow this person fell through the cracks and managed to evade it. I remember thinking of ways on how to be stricter in my filter — maybe test first an initial correspondence to see if the ‘real them’ would come out.

 

After a day or so being upset at what happened and thinking to myself: ‘how could I avoid this happening ever again?’, I thought that I should just accept that things like that happen (people who have a tendency to be unkind and struggle to listen well would occasionally slip through the net I’ve set up) and what is important is that as soon as I recognise that I should stay away from this person…I act.
So while reading her reply, I just noticed something was a bit off. So I asked: ‘Was there something I could have done to make it clearer?’ — I mean…rather than: ‘What the!? Did you read my email before saying yes!? I had mentioned the approximate amount of questions!’

So the reply I got was something like: ‘I’m only answering these questions because I had some time, but after this no more.’ —- My brain was fuming! I’m thinking: this lady didn’t read anything at all (well that’s not true, she did read something — but somehow is only picking then twisting what she has read however she wants it to come across)! ‘What!? What!? What!?’ (Replay the above…Chorus of: ‘Did you ready my email!?’)
This was what really set my ‘Truth Trigger’ off: ‘No one will answer 50 questions’

This time my brain was sizzling!? ‘Whhaaaaaat!? — What is this person on? I mean…it’s clear that people ‘have’ (and not just in general!!!). Look…look at the Q&A’s!!! I put in time to make that Q&A invite for you as clear as possible and not only you don’t read it…you don’t even check out the samples!!!’

So once I’ve calmed down. I thankfully was able to write something less fumey like: ‘Would it be okay to cancel our Q&A?’ — I knew…that was it. Walk away.

The reason that I was just going off my memory, is that I didn’t want to look at those emails (my gut says I’ll be kicking up those feelings of being ‘pissed off’ again). Yes, my ‘fiery personality’ might burst out again. And if you’re thinking ‘fire in my heart’ is a reference to that…okay…maybe. I know that I was thinking of something else when I wrote it (more like the energy to move towards progressing a project that is particularly close to my heart), though I wouldn’t discount it, because emotions can be pretty crafty!

There’s another one (yay! Bonus!?). Though none of my ‘brain fuming’ amusement. I think it’s quite okay to add this one (it’s called ‘Identity Triggers’) because there is a bit of an overlap with the ‘Truth Trigger’ in a way…that it’s about us. One way to find an example for it is: ‘Remember the time when someone didn’t like a film that you liked (especially when you shared how much you liked it)?’. And the person who you shared it to didn’t like the film? Then you felt offended somehow? One reason for that could be that your identity is linked to some part of the film. So When the person didn’t like the film — it feels like they are saying: ‘I don’t like you’.

Another source is Simon Sinek’s talk (USI) — where he mentions about Mac users — if you insult a mac (even if its not theirs)…you’re basically insulting them.

It’s a cool book! 🙂 And I noticed that one of the notes I’ve made that I don’t have any issues with receiving feedback anymore. Even after writing that…I still think that I was able to get something for being a better ‘feedback receiver’.

If you do end up reading the book. Let me know which section you found the most helpful!

 

I thought that I wouldn’t be veering off what I’ve written, and what ended up happening is that I had to go back to the text while listening to the audio post*

 

 

* To get a copy of this episode in audio (and to get notification of future ones), all you have to do is jump in the funnel. 🙂

 

 


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Help!

I know I need a coach so I could move twice or thrice (or even ten times?) the pace I’m going now.

 

Two challenges about that:

  • If I pick the wrong one — I’d end up wasting my time and money, which are both in short supply at the moment.
  • I already know that I am not that effective when absorbing information from a book or course (I’ve bought a number of books because of an initial emotional attachment prior to the purchase). Action points usually come when I am in the process of thinking about a snippet.

 

Yep…I still have a bit of the residue of ‘magic bullet’ thinking: “Ah! This course would solve all my issues with getting the cash flow I’d like”. Which is a bit like my brain constantly bugging me (yep…just like a restless passenger during a roadtrip): “Are We There Yet?” (aka: “Have I found the ‘Secret Shortcut’ to getting to six figures?”)

 

One way I could approach the ‘coach search’ issue — is just spend a bit of time reaching out to 50 coaches. Craft a pitch, then see how each would react (I think this would be a bit like a ‘hero test’ too — seeing a bit on how someone would react privately…when not being watched or overheard by the public. I understand that there is a chance at least one of them might come back to me with a bit of attitude — or worse…acting like a jerk towards a perspective client).

 

But then, finding a coach might not be the frog I need to eat. It may be one of the other tasks I’ve been slowly inching towards: like drastically reducing clutter.

 

Have you found the right coach for you (which was a result in finding the right system to find that coach)? I’m all ears if you’re open to tell me the story (or send me the link to your post about it). 🙂

 

Do you have clutter you have to wade through too? I’d love to get a chance to cheer you on!

 

 

Additional Reading and References:

 

 


 

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Business Lessons From The East Dillon Lions

I’ve been re-watching (my fourth?) the last half of Season 5 the last two weeks and got an inspiration to write this post after the scene of the Lions (right after doing the Haka!) walking into the field to face West Cambria.

 

If you haven’t seen the series…there are going to be spoilers below.

 

When thinking about a masterpiece (even when filled with teen angst) series such as this, it’s difficult to compare seasons — as they are each unique in each way. I think the reason Seasons 4 and 5 resonate more strongly to me would be that it was about building something with very little resources.

 

Despite my tendency to worry and default to ‘flophouse thinking’ (a bit similar to Dan Harris‘ inner voice telling him that if he goes bald, he’ll lose his job and end up in a flophouse in Duluth), my not being cynical about the events of FNL does show that there is a big bucket of optimism within me that I can draw from.

 

 

Lesson # 1: Decide Then Take Stock

At one point during the series, Levi (The principal of East Dillon) tells Eric Taylor that he wasn’t suppose to take the job. It was an interesting line because Eric and Tami didn’t consider going anywhere else aside from East Dillon after Eric lost his job coaching the Dillon Panthers.

Though there were transfers from the Panthers to the Lions in season 4 — Coach Taylor wasn’t really focused on recruiting players from the Panthers. Rather he was focused on finding out what resources he had (sub-par players, zero boosters, and barely any community support) within East Dillon and worked from there.

 

 

Lesson # 2: Make Sure The Strategy You Use Fits Your Particular Situation

It was interesting to notice that Coach Taylor does not attempt to mold any of the players according to any of the previous ones he has coached. He doesn’t mention once to Vince about how he coached Matt Saracen, and as a result it helped them win the State Championship during his first season as head coach of the panthers.

 

Lesson # 3: Focus and Execute

Getting back to that scene right at the corridor between the locker room and the field right before the West Cambria game (Season 5, Episode 11) when the team is pumping themselves up — you’d think that that was the energy they are picking up from their fans. It’s only after the cheering and battle cries are over that it is revealed that it is an away game, and they are booed and pieces of food is chucked at them.

What was so gallant about the Lions walk to the field, was that as soon as they emerged from the cover of the walkway, the disapproving sounds and torrent of popcorn didn’t affect their stride.

 

 

 

The Result?

The Lions Won State after only two years and Coach Taylor got offered his dream job (Head Coach of a Division I School).

 

While choosing people to work with while building a business and deciding on a strategy is equally as hard, it is another battle when you’ve got people around you (sometimes well meaning) leading you astray from your goals. I’ve found that as long as I keep my strategy within reach (I’ve just printed out my weekly schedule and daily actions) I can minimise spending time on (or getting distracted by) activities that would have little impact on effectively building the business.

 

 

Additional Resources:

 

 

Got any revelations recently while watching a TV show?

 

 

 

 

Search Terms:

  • Business Lessons From Friday Night Lights
  • Start-up Lessons From Friday Night Lights
  • Start-up Lessons From The East Dillon Lions

 

 


 

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Jeff

This exchange:

HB: Is there a succession plan?

JB: Yeah, there is a succession plan for me, and for all of our senior executives.

HB: There is somebody who would take over?

JB: Yes, absolutely.

HB: Who?

JB: Secret.

 

🙂

 

Just a reminder that how someone came across before…could be different. Maybe it’s the medium!

 

What are your favourite Jeff Bezos videos and articles?

 

 


 

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The 1% Improvement Strategy

Yep, change is difficult (and sometimes painful)! So why not deal with the difficulty (erm…pain) in a way that is less confronting (okay veer your eyes away from the immense clutter from your desk)?

This is a video that no matter how cheesy it came across (it was the green screen graphics for me), I didn’t mind sharing it because it was where I first discovered the one percent principle. The idea was to just do enough to progress 1%.

To the ‘past me’, it was mind-blowing. Something I could manage without getting too overwhelmed and end up retreating to something that would ease the ‘pain’ of going through the action (like…say…finding 20 people to send encouraging notes to…or watch a film that has been on my ‘to-watch’ list).

Come on! One percent right? Easy peasy!

Oh…looking for something to ‘remind’ me to progress? Yeah…yeah…you can send me a message and ask if I’ve finished my current laundry pile (I line-dry, so it’s sometimes so easy to put it off if there is a chance of rain!). 🙂

What’s awesome about getting to your goal (even if it’s going to be clearing your laundry pile like me), is it’ll find it’s way to other aspects of your life (even in your business). There’s a section in one of the episodes of ‘The Unmistakable Creative’ when the guest mentions this effect (if I don’t have the link up to the episode by the time you read this…you are more than welcome to give me a yell).

What is it for you?

 

 


 

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Recommendations and Introductions: Just Go For It!

If you are sitting there staring at your screen unsure whether to press send, here is how I structured a guest recommendation (For Catherine Hoke from Defy Ventures) for the popular business podcast Entrepreneur On Fire:

  • Step 1: Asked Cat if she wouldn’t mind me sending a recommendation to one of the podcasts I listen to.

I wasn’t particular at this point, as I hadn’t asked John yet —- and the upside was: in case John declined, I could have been able to keep looking for another podcast to recommend Cat)

  • Step 2: After I got Cat’s okay, I sent John a short email
  • Step 3: Upon receiving a reply from John requesting for an email Intro — I wrote up a draft to send Cat to comment on what I wrote.
  • Step 4: Sent John the pitch after getting the okay from Cat

 

Sure John!

First off, I’ve never met Catherine, and our only contact has been through email (I sent her a note — which she appreciated, and that was our first contact). I did mention about putting her forward as a guest for EOF, and she said yes.

Her email is: [redacted for privacy] (I have cc-ed her in the email as well)
Some topics that would make her a memorable guest in EOF:

  • When introducing her to Fire Nation you can use the words: “What if you were known for the worst thing you’ve ever did?”
  • Sports background (she was on the wrestling team) – which links up well with what she does with Defy.
  • She used to be a VC, and how she left that life for her ‘Aha Moment’ (giving inmates a better chance once they have served their sentences — by offering to teach them a way to run businesses.).
  • How she ended up visiting her first prison (and how it changed her previous perception about those who are in the prison system)
  • Her ability to raise support for Defy financially (not sure if it was one of Catherine’s talks or an article about Defy — that it is all privately funded). And her general ability to get other organisations involved as well.
  • Her courage (How she was able to dust herself-off after taking a fall — The events between PEP and starting ‘Defy Ventures’)

Here’s a video I found on YouTube that has good quality (no need to turn up the volume that much), and features Catherine giving a talk about herself and her journey.
– Leigh

 

  • Step 5: Just get out of the way! 🙂

 

As with any recommendation, the hope is for things to turn out as best it can. And this was no different! I was at the edge of my seat while listening to the episode for the first time (tension level: equivalent to when I watch those heart stopping scenes from Homeland).

 

 

Thankfully all went well (Whew!). So well that John and Cat gave me the go ahead to share my involvement with their introduction. 🙂

 

 

 

Keen to hear about how you structure your recommendations and introductions!

 

 


 

First time visiting? It’ll be great if you head here after reading. 🙂