Do you ever wonder what really happens when you hand over your existing piece of copy for a copywriter to work their magic on?
What are the processes involved? What does it take for a copywriter to turn your marketing message from bog average to bloody amazing?
Well today I’m peeling back the curtain and revealing how it’s all done. So without wasting any further time, let’s get to it, shall we?
#1: The Briefing
When a new client hands their existing copy over to me, I’ve almost always got clarity on at least one thing: what outcome they’re looking for as a result of any work we do. Without understanding this objective, I see no point even taking a client on to begin with. In fact, there have been times past where I refunded a would-be client in full as (through further discussions) it became apparent that they needed to speak with a web designer to achieve their desired outcomes rather than a copywriter like me.
In short: I’m not going to proceed with a project unless I’m certain I can help a client to achieve their goal.
So with the ‘Why’ understood, I then discuss the ‘How’ with the client: what would they like to change about the existing copy? Because I can look over what they’ve got and make my own analysis, but it’s far more important for the client to know that I understand them and the solution they’re looking for. Do they want to make the document less wordy? Do they think it’s too dry, too lacking in vibrant or emotive language? Is there a whole bunch of information that’s outdated and no longer relevant? Do they have some basic information they want repurposed for their website that leads into a call to action?
When I understand that ‘Why’ PLUS the ‘How’ then it’s on to Step #2…
#2: Time For Action!
This is now the time where I sit down, look at the client’s project in front of me, stretch my fingers and then work myself into the ‘zone’ as I cut, write, slash entire paragraphs, edit, create and use the client’s big ‘Why’ as the light house guiding me to shore, with the ‘How’ as my trusty compass. Depending upon the scope of the project at hand, this mission can be completed in a single afternoon or it can take weeks. But the goal is to have that 1st Draft completed and ready to send to the client for a look. This is where it gets interesting, and here’s why…
#3: The Moment Of Truth
When I send the 1st Draft of a repurposed piece of copy through to a client, chances are I am going to get one of three responses and (in my experience) predicting which response I get is always a game of wait and see. It’s the moment of truth because this is the first point where you say to a client “After our conversations and the notes you’ve shared with me, THIS is what I’ve created for you”.
As I said, while I don’t know exactly what response I’m going to get, I can predict it’s one of these three:
a) Fantastic, I love it. Thank you!
b) Ok, can we change or ad these things to the copy…
c) I thought there would be more of a difference between what I sent you initially and what you’ve got in this 1st draft?
While a) feels great and b) is fairly standard, c) represents the greatest gulf between what a client understands about copywriting and how a copywriter works. So let me explain this now…
#4: Copy Editing & Cutting Hair
To explain c) in the above scenario, think of going in to get your hair cut. You tell the hairdresser (or the barber) that you want a trim. Nothing radical, just a tidy up. So the hair stylist gets to work snipping and clipping away. Then comes the point where they stop and they ask you:
“What do you think?”
Quite often, they haven’t done anything too drastic, have they? And this is because if you look in the mirror and tell them to go with a #1 clip instead of a #2, or to trim a bit more off the top/ bottom, it’s not such a big deal, is it? A little extra work, a couple of minutes more and presto. What would be a big problem is if they clipped your hair too short, cut it too fine and you went “No- this is too much!”
What happens then? It takes far, far longer to grow your hair back to the length you intended when you sat in the chair, than it does to cut it further to your liking.
Same principle applies with editing or repurposing copy: if you heavily re-write the clients’ copy first go and they feel it’s too drastic, it takes far more time (and effort) to bring it back closer to the clients’ vision than it does to start with smaller, more subtle edits and then tinker away at it until the client looks at it and is happy that your work has matched their vision.
Far better (and more time-effective) to start small and keep chipping away, than to blow it away first shot and then do all the cleaning up for the second draft!
#5: If at first you don’t succeed
So if (for whatever reason) the client isn’t 100% satisfied with the first edit, then I get their feedback and combining their preferences with my professional opinion on what their copy needs, I get to work on the next draft.
The best part for clients is that, provided they get back to me in reasonable time, there is no extra cost for the additional edits. In fact, one of the 5 Service Guarantees I offer to every client is that from the date that 1st draft is submitted, they have an entire month of additional edits at no extra cost, to get their final piece to their liking.
This has proven to be an effective way of sorting the action takers from the time-wasters. Thankfully, the vast majority of clients I work with are quick to offer their feedback and in a fairly short space of time we’ve worked together to deliver repurposed copy that matches their initial vision and I’m happy to sign off on.
In my previous article (Why Tony Robbins Is NOT Your Guru) I talked about how easily people can be seduced by an individual’s cult of personality rather than the ideas they’re sharing- ideas that can be passed on via anybody who understands them. Saying that, today I want to talk about developing your own ‘code of conduct’ and why this is so important- an idea I learned courtesy of Tony Robbins, from his best-seller ‘Awaken The Giant Within‘.
If you have a copy, flick to Chapter 23 ‘Be Impeccable- Your Code Of Conduct’. In this chapter, Tony relates the story of a young Benjamin Franklin who, despite his achievements by the age of 27, realised he wasn’t actually very happy. So he developed a list of virtues- 12 in all- that he would take account of on a daily basis as a guideline for what he wanted to embody. He later added a 13th virtue (humility) upon the suggestion of a friend. He wrote down this list in a notebook with grids ruled for every day of the week, and would put down a black mark whenever he violated one of these virtues. His goal was to see no black marks on the grid, because that would mean he’d fully internalised the virtues he aspired to.
So this got me thinking: What values did I want to consistently embody? Who did I want to be?
From what I recall, when I first gave this thought and wrote down a list, I had 9 different qualities. But like Ben Franklin’s list, I eventually reached 13. To make it easier to memorise, every single one of these values begins with the letter ‘P’. During my 10- week Fight Like A Pro experience, in our workbooks one week there was a question relating to the qualities we wanted to embody as men. This was an easy exercise for me- I just wrote down the 13P’s and then shared them with the group. One of the guys asked if I’d send him a copy of my list!
Today, I’m going to share 7 of these values I have written down and committed to memory. The 7 I list here have proven themselves especially relevant during my time in business to date. If I go off the rails, lose track and am having a day that (for whatever reason) falls below my usual standards, I just need to memorise these, and I can turn things around:
If I’m going to regularly devote blocks of time towards a profession or a pastime, is it something I actually care about?
Some guys unwind for hours watching movies or playing video games but for me, I don’t get enough enjoyment from those things if I’m doing them solo. I have to really want to see a particular movie or have seen it before and especially enjoyed it to watch it. But I have no problem taking a few hours out to go for a walk, even if it’s grey and overcast outside. Give me the right clothing, a destination and tunes and I am content. Painting is something else that can take hours- days even- but I love being able to make a vision reality on canvas while listening to podcasts or music as I put my work together. One of the earlier indicators that I enjoyed writing was back in Year 7 when, as an assignment, our grade had to write our autobiographies. You wouldn’t think a 13 year old boy would have much to talk about- but I took an entire day off school to stay home and write it. I still remember it now: I had the house to myself, I’d sit down and write several pages relating funny stories or memorable moments from my life to date, then get up and have a snack or listen to some music. Then I’d sit back down and proceed to write some more. It was an enjoyable day.
In the end, I turned out close to 50 pages and got full marks for my autobiography, which I titled ‘Some Kid‘. I also read sections of it in front of the class and made the girls laugh, which was a bonus. Point is, writing was something I could spend hours doing. Writing articles like these takes hours to do, so I know I am passionate about it and this is how I can manage to do it as a job. Asking “Am I passionate about this” means I generally use my time wisely and squeeze the most out of it..
#2: Be Patient
Patience is a skill many of us take longer to develop, but the reward is princely. Being patient has helped me to stick with long-term projects, make better financial decisions, not fret if I don’t see results as quickly as I thought I would. Removing emotion from a set of circumstances and delaying impulse has helped me to put a particular situation in full perspective countless times. One great example was during my training during ‘Fight Like A Pro’, where I sparred against a guy with considerably more experience than me. Before I could even think about throwing a punch, he’d have connected three- bang bang bang! The session finished, I wearily slipped out of the ring and slinked away thinking “Stuff this- how am I going to be any good by Fight Night? This is pointless.” Everything told me it was too hard. But as I caught my breath I slowly realised that there were other small things I’d done better today. Small signs of progress to suggest that perhaps I was headed in a good direction? So I came back the next day, and the day after that, and the rest is history. Being patient has helped me to make smarter decisions and to think in regards of the “big picture”.
#3: Be Personable
My definition for this attribute reads as follows: I am open and candid with people when I engage with them. I constantly give insight into it’s like to be who I am, think as I do and go about my life. Likewise, I listen to people especially when I engage with them using the conversational skills I continue to master. As a result, I am attractive to people because they love being in my presence.
Would I say I am the perfect embodiment of this? No. Is it what I strive for? Yes! Using this definition as a reference point when I’m about to meet a room full of new people and envisaging times where I’ve embodied this puts me on the front foot before those other people even meet me. Sometimes you don’t make a notably good impression on somebody until the second or the third time- but what if you don’t get that second chance? Consciously aiming to put my best foot forward and have a positive engagement with somebody that first time makes it easier to develop positive relationships moving ahead.
#4: Be Positive
My definition reads: My destiny lies within my mind. The more I ruminate on what I want and how I will feel and what I will be like when I have what I want, the more I will become that person and the stronger my powers are to attract it into my life. (We don’t believe in pain)
You can’t do it all on positive thinking- you have to do the work as well, obviously. However, adopting a positive mindset gives me more energy and resilience when adversity comes and (as a result) has increased the likelihood that I can bounce back and get on top again. It takes just as much energy and creativity to adopt a positive viewpoint as it does a ‘realistic’ or a negative one. And in each case, you generally get what you expect with the odd surprise thrown in but I know which one feels the best- and has manifested the best results so far!
#5: Be Prepared
This is more than the scouts’ motto or the title of that number Scar sings in ‘The Lion King‘. Being prepared, for me, is really about thinking long-term and using my knowledge and intuition to identify any possible threats that may arise so I can minimise the disruption if they come. So If I go for a ride on my bike, I have a small backpack with me and in the front pocket is a tube repair kit, a shifting spanner and a universal tool in case a nut comes loose or I get a puncture along the way. More than once I’ve been grateful for thinking ahead in this regard! But it also works the other way- it helps me to capitalise on opportunities that may come up later simply because I am ready to act if they present themselves. To be prepared is not just about taking action, but getting into the right frame of mind for what is required of me. You might find it hard to believe, but I don’t always sit down here to write and words just flow. Sometimes rather than fully absorbing myself into a fluid motion of thoughts-words-sentences, the ideas come in short bursts and then I stop…and procrastinate. If I’m writing for a personal project this isn’t such a big deal, but when there’s a deadline and my full ability is required, I have to find a way to get into my peak. So here’s what I do- I either go back and read stuff I’ve written before, whether it’s a relevant topic or not. I remember the train of thought that led to me turning out the piece in question. Or I’ll go to my special folder full of screenshots from passages of other people’s writing that I’ve loved. This also activates the part of my mind that remembers how to link up the words to convey information how I want to convey it, and then I can usually return to the task at hand and churn out the words needed. As I put it in the write-up for my definition of this state: Being prepared is the quiet rehearsal in private that is necessary in order to take the stage later and kill it, with everybody cheering me on.
#6: Be Proactive
In short? Strike first! I expanded on this in a previous article and you can find it right here
#7: Be Persistent
The wording I’ve put for this definition is stronger in tone, but it needs to be. If it isn’t, if you don’t live by something like this, then the grind of life can wear you down: As long as I am working or aiming for a greater cause or state of being, keep moving forward and fixate only on getting what I want or where I want to be. Failure is inevitable- but what happens after is my choice. Choose to keep going forward, learning and becoming more dangerous to anybody or anything that would rather I kept passive and gave up. Being persistent is the nemesis of failure and the haters. (We don’t believe in defeat)
Through persistence, I won the high school cross country at my final attempt.
Through persistence, I won Fight Night after 10 weeks where (as I mentioned already) I had considered throwing in the towel at least once.
Through persistence, I turn out articles like this one every fortnight, even when I don’t feel like the final draft is as amazing as it could be.
Through persistence, I got to where I am now- and keep pushing ahead, looking to get better in some small way every day.
I can lose today and I can be worn down by that- but as long as my heart is still in it and I still want it, I return tomorrow and I go again…
Back when I was 26, I was in London one night and going home from a pub crawl. Here was the problem: while I knew whereabouts my hostel was, I couldn’t remember the name of the street it was on, the name of the hostel or the exact route to get back there. It was late and the underground was no longer running. My only options were:
a) Hop in a cab and try to recall how to get back to my hostel (spending who knows how much in the process) or,
b) To walk unfamiliar streets, in a city whose sprawl is notoriously easy to get lost in.
But then I realised something: I knew that the hostel was just across the Thames. If I could get on that side of the river in that particular area, then the streets would be familiar and I could find my way back to the hostel on sight alone. The problem with London is that (like Sydney or New York City) the streets don’t run parallel with one another, so you can’t go in one direction and predict where the intersections are going to be or where that particular street leads. However- I knew that the closest bridge crossing the river was Westminster Bridge, right near Big Ben. So although I was coming from Camden (with miles to go) if I just used Big Ben as a reference point and walked towards it, I would then find Westminster Bridge- and this would lead me back across the river to familiar territory and my hostel. So this is what I did, and despite unfamiliar surroundings I found my way back.
Think of your code of conduct the same way: getting clear on your values and committing to them gives you a marker to aim towards, even if you’re feeling lost or overwhelmed by current circumstances. They are your guiding light that lead you towards success and fulfilment with who you become in the process.
When you first heard of Anthony Robbins, what did you think of the guy?
For me, it’s around 2009, and I’m looking down the comments thread of the old site ‘Things Bogans Like’. I don’t recall the exact article, but somebody has related a story their brother (then a cabbie) had told them about driving in Sydney late one night and picking a couple up who were headed back to their hotel from a Tony Robbins seminar. They were babbling away at a million miles an hour like a kid who’s had too much Coke (or an adult who’s had too much coke), raving on about how “life changing” and “powerful” it was, and this cabbie had related how “cult-like it seemed”.
So, my initial impression of Tony Robbins was: He must be a quasi-cult leader.
Skip forward a couple of years later, I’m sitting on a plane awaiting take-off. Flicking through the in-flight magazine from the seat-back, I find a full-page advert for an upcoming Tony Robbins seminar in the UK, with a starting price in the thousands of pounds.
Who on Earth would pay thousands of pounds for this sort of thing? I wondered. My opinion of Tony changed to:
Tony Robbins is a guy who can convince people to part with thousands of pounds for a single weekend seminar= definitely a cult-leader!
So a few months later, when an old friend starts raving about this 10-part Tony Robbins series he’d been listening to and saying I should check it out, you can probably imagine how my internal monologue went!
But in the end, I figured I’d shut my friend up and let him follow his offer to download the entire 10-part series, titled ‘Time Of Your Life‘ onto my laptop. Noticing that each episode went for 90 minutes, I put aside some time to listen to the first one. I sat down in my room, hit play on iTunes and started listening.
Within the first hour, I realised I’d been wrong about Tony…
Far from being just 90 minutes of feel-good sizzle with no substance, over the course of the following 9 episodes Tony shared, step-by-step, how changing your thinking and asking better questions could change your destiny altogether. On top of that (as the name of the series suggests) he demonstrated how to make the best use of your time, set goals for the right reasons, prioritise those goals accordingly and create action plans to help transform those written goals into your reality.
Nearly 10 years on, I still use this method to organise every coming week, every new season and every year ahead- and I still swear by ‘Time Of Your Life‘ as a fantastic introduction to this. I’ve listened back to all 10 episodes of TOYL at least 3 times to date- and I say this as somebody who has never attended a single Tony Robbins event nor worked for his marketing department in any way shape or form.
However, I was still wrong about Tony…
See, not long after that first time listening to TOYL, in the midst of all kinds of turnarounds (small and large) manifesting in my life as a result, I referred to Tony as a “guru”-
Which made the title of Tony’s recent Netflix documentary ‘Not Your Guru‘ rather apt. I’ve watched it and heard mixed reviews. Some people affirm how “inspiring” it is, while others are critical of some of the methods used by Tony and his team. I’m not here to discuss that today, but rather to say that watching ‘Not Your Guru‘ reaffirmed that while my previous views on Tony had been incorrect, my newer opinion on Tony (and people like him) is more realistic:
Tony Robbins is NOT a guru. Tony simply combines proven strategies for emotional/ mental breakthrough with concrete plans of action to achieve these, fuelled by a (seemingly) limitless enthusiasm and energy. But this is not original. Tony is not a guru or irreplaceable. Tony is simply a conduit for ways of thinking that have the power to transform- and that goes for all the other coaches and motivational speakers out there.
This is great news for us, because it means that if a certain prominent individual ceases coaching or dies unexpectedly, the principles and concepts remain and can be taught by somebody else. Instead of seeking those who perpetuate a cult of personality, what we need are more conduits- people able to communicate the same tried and tested principles and help us to do what we need to get where we want to be.
So, who are your conduits?
I’m fortunate enough to have business mentors in my life right now, who I catch up with on a fortnightly basis and we share what’s been going on in our lives, what goals we’ve achieved since last time, what we need to keep working on and holding each other accountable for. It’s a more secure feeling, knowing that if there are solutions or plans of action I’m struggling to put together, I have people who can offer their suggestions or criticisms to get me on the right track.
I consider myself lucky to have people who (so far) have been such valuable conduits into my business and my life, and I’d also like to think they regard me in the same way. I would consider it a compliment, not an insult if they referred to me as a conduit!
Because the truth is, instead of seeking a guru, we need a conduit.
Like when it comes to mentoring people regarding their copy, I don’t strive to be their guru, either. They’re clearly grateful for the ways (small and large) I help them turn out top sales and marketing copy, but I admit I’m not the only person who can do this. Sure I strive to deliver the best value and results for them, but when it comes to the feedback I give on their copy and the suggestions I make, I’m not aiming to be their guru. I just aim to serve as the useful conduit that transfers my first-hand experience and knowledge to them in the most effective manner possible…
So if you’d like professional feedback on anything to do with your copy- whether it’s your strategy, the stuff you’re working on or the stuff you’ve already got out there- then I’m confident I’m the conduit you need to make your copy actually start working for you–
You can schedule a time by clicking the link below, filling out the form and telling me what you’d like help with. Now obviously, my time is limited so this consultation isn’t free- but after just one session, you’re going to be rid of that mental clutter from worrying about what copy strategies you need vs. what you can do without-
Instead, you’re going to have new-found clarity about exactly what copy you need in order to discover the untapped money that’s waiting for you:
The period of various lockdowns nationwide forced businesses to re-evaluate many aspects of their daily operations- office usage, methods of communication (the big winners: anybody with shares in Zoom!) and the art of actually selling their products or services. No doubt you’ve also been affected by these changes to some degree or another.
But now as vaccines roll out here and overseas, and we dare to start thinking proactively rather than reactively, the people who do this the best are going to be the biggest winners. So it follows thatif you want to fully capitalise, you need to have the right strategy in place when it comes to your business marketing.
As it happens, today is your lucky day because I’m about to share the cheat sheet right here with you. As the world begins to open up once more, and people are looking to buy from you again, THESE are the questions you need to be asking when it comes to your post-COVID business action plan:
#1- Who can help you?
During the First World War, a Chicago newspaper published editorials labelling Henry Ford an ignorant pacifist. Mr Ford sued the paper for libel and when the lawsuit was tried in court, the newspapers’ attorneys pleaded justification for their publishings. Here’s how they did it:
They placed Mr Ford on the witness stand and proceeded to ask him questions designed to prove that (beyond specialised knowledge of the automotive industry) he was ignorant- questions like “Who was Benedict Arnold?” and “How many soldiers did the British send over to America to put down the rebellion of 1776?”. Eventually, Ford grew tired of this questioning and told the attorney asking the question that, if he really wanted the answers, he had a row of electric push-buttons at his desk which allowed him to summon the man he needed to provide the answer to whatever question he desired. He asked the attorneys why he should clutter his mind with general knowledge, when he had men around him who could provide the knowledge he required?
The above story is told in the Napoleon Hill classic ‘Think & Grow Rich‘, to which Hill added:
Any man is educated who knows where to get information when he needs it, and how to organise that knowledge into definite plans of action.
The last 12 months have forced countless businesses, regardless of size, to re-evaluate “business as usual”. Right now the time is ripe to be engaging with those who’ve successfully adapted and discover what it is they’ve changed- especially those reporting that business is better than ever. It may not be that individual who holds the direct answer, but somebody they’ve taken on board who is delivering those results for them, in which case it’s really the old case of understanding who’s in your business network.
Are there challenges or weak-spots you’ve identified in your business, or areas you know you want to improve in? This should make it much easier to identify who can help. It might be a case of leaving your heavy lifting, research and planning to somebody else.
#2- When your target audience thinks of your industry, are you front of mind?
Or is it another name they’re associating with what you sell or what you do?
It doesn’t matter if there are better burgers elsewhere, because people still primarily think of McDonalds’. It doesn’t matter who wins the blind taste test, Coca-Cola is still the #1 selling drink worldwide. It doesn’t matter how superior the quality of your product is or how much better your service is, if your ideal leads are thinking of somebody else- and going to them instead as a result- that’s x amount of dollars you’re missing out on every single time you lose that potential customer.
However, it doesn’t have to be this way….
Because with the right content strategy, you can become the #1, front and centre whenever your leads think of your industry….
#3- Do you have a clear process of converting your leads into sales?
If you don’t, then every time a lead gets in contact with you or your team, it’s really left to a game of chance. Some of them might go ahead and buy from you and that’s great- but how many are slipping through your fingers, simply because you aren’t clear on your steps to conversion?
If you had specialised knowledge on the steps that lead to conversion, you could pare back all of your engagements with leads down to a simple process, and following this process you’d be converting leads much easier than you’re currently seeing. With this surge of customer activity incoming, the difference between leaving it to chance and having a process in place could end up equalling massive differences to your bottom line…
So needless to say- it literally pays to get clarity on this and get a process in place!
#4- What should you be sharing with your leads?
The way to become a prominent name in your industry is to first develop a connection with your target audience. To achieve this, you need to be sharing information that’s relevant to their wants and needs- but you also need to tell them about your business, and share your story. Which begs the question:
What information should you be sharing with them?
What are they going to find engaging, and what would be a waste of your time and energy to be talking about?
As I’ve discussed more recently, publishing regular blog articles should be one of the top priorities (if not the #1 top priority) in any content strategy you implement, and with good reason. If you’re still not sure why this is, then take a look at these stats:
#5- What do you need to change/ adapt?
There might have been a way you did things up until 12 or even 6 months ago but it isn’t serving you any more. This doesn’t just apply to personal habits or routines, but also to your business. It might be the case that everything you’re doing still works just fine- but it might also be that the processes that feel normal or comfortable are actually holding you back, whether it’s wasting money or wasting that precious resource you can never refund- time.
So it definitely pays to take stock of:
a) How your business operates
b) How you serve your customers and,
c) How you’ve been promoting yourself- and ask if you’re entirely satisfied or if there’s stuff that needs to change in order to make sure your business is ready for the 20’s? This might be something you can identify through taking inventory of what you’re doing- or it might be something that can only be identified by acting on #1.
But one thing’s for sure- it definitely pays to be certain.
On that note, I happen to know an expert team who can definitely help you with all 5 of these objectives, and have done just this for other businesses, like the Walkabout Wildlife Park: https://vimeo.com/506375051
So if you want to make sure your business is future-proof and ready to win big in this post-COVID business landscape, then it’s definitely worth getting in touch with the Digital Tribe: https://thedigitaltribe.com.au
I still remember being at an old friends’ place and we were talking about the TV sitcom ‘How I Met Your Mother‘. While discussing the characters, my friend mentioned that Barney Stinson (played by Neil Patrick Harris) thought Johnny Lawrence was the real hero of the original ‘Karate Kid’ movie. I cracked up at this: of COURSE Barney would think the bully in that movie was actually the good guy. You can check the clip out for yourself:
Skip forward a few years and I discover there’s a new series coming out on YouTube Red, ‘Cobra Kai‘- and it’s a follow on from the original ‘Karate Kid’ trilogy. As a Goju-Kai student myself (and someone who enjoyed the original trilogy) I was curious to check it out. Would they do the movies justice, or would they (like other franchises) tarnish the canon with poor casting, cringe-worthy characters or shoehorned moral lecturing to reflect Current Year sensibilities? So with a little trepidation, I signed up for the free trial of YouTube Red, sat back and played Season 1, episode 1 of ‘Cobra Kai‘…
What can I say? I loved it. They did the original movies perfect justice, and every featured character from the original movie/s were played by the same actors. And (instead of inserting sugary platitudes to reflect todays’ uptight sensitivities) in many cases they directly laugh at our contemporary moral puritanism.
Sure, there were a couple of character tie-ins that felt a little too convenient to the storyline, and some of the fight scenes are hard to believe- but aside from that, ‘Cobra Kai‘ was (is) a fantastic story that does perfect justice to the original franchise. And here was the other thing:
I no longer saw Johnny Lawrence as the bad guy. In fact, I might go so far as to say I was rooting for him and there was one notable reason for this change: For the first time, we got to discover Johnny’s story, find out more about his life not just back in the ‘Karate Kid‘ universe circa 1984, but also in the present day. All these gaps we’d given little previous thought to existing were filled in, and rather than presenting the picture of a spoiled rich kid using his physical (and social) prowess to bully poor Daniel Larusso, instead we saw a story that felt all too real. It was the story of a young boy with a sour, verbally-abusive step-father who bullied him and provided nothing Johnny needed apart from money. Here was the story of a young man who instead found that father-figure in the form of the talented, disciplined (but deeply flawed) Sensei John Kreese. Yet he would also let Johnny down, evidently leading to the downward spiral of Johnny’s life had taken in the years since:
From laughing about Barney Stinson thinking Johnny was the hero, to wanting to see Johnny succeed and identifying with him on some level- how did this happen? It happened because for the first time, as an audience we discovered Johnny’s story. He was no longer just that cocky blond teenager we wanted to see crane-kicked into defeat. He became somebody very real to us, somebody we cared about. We had Johnny’s story shared with us little by little over each episode and (to date) 3 seasons, and that resonated with us.
All it could take for some people to go from scoffing at you to becoming your biggest fan, is just sharing your story with them.
Just last week I spent nearly an hour on the phone chatting with a colleague of mine, she’s bubbly and energetic and has several business ideas on the go as I’m writing this. As we spoke, she told me about all of the different experiences she’s had and the things she’s put her hand to and I said “You need to start a blog or write a book!” I know that doing so will make people- even those who know her to some degree already- gain a new level of appreciation for her: what she’s really about, her story, her passion- and in turn it will draw them closer to her.
By sharing her story with new leads or colleagues she’s known for some time, she strengthens the connection they already have, which (in turn) makes it more likely that those people are going to mention her or recommend her to others. It won’t merely be that she has the personality, but she also has a story to share, and that is what’s going to make the difference between being a face in the crowd and THAT face in the crowd.
You might be involved in business networking online or offline, and there’s people you’ve come to know for some time in a professional sense. You know each others’ names, know what they do, the name of their company and maybe if you meet somebody new you can connect with them, reach out and arrange the meeting. But they still only know you at a middle distance. Safe. Neutral. They don’t know your story. In this day and age, people love to hear stories-
You go back through my articles over the months and years up until now and I’d like to think through that time I’ve shared my story. This is how you develop a real connection with people and get them to care about your goals, get them to remember you.
So ask yourself: What stories could you start sharing with your audience that would turn them from mildly interested to invested in you and what you have to say?
On one hand, there’s the 2020 most people will remember. Like 1969, 2001 or 2016 it’s one of those years that in years to come I expect we’ll see books, movies and series written and created about that focus on the main stories that set the underlying theme for the year. So on the one hand, there is that. There is the 2020 that is commonly remembered. On the other hand?
There is the 2020 I remember- the year as it was for me, personally. At the start of every new week, I think of one thing that was great about the past week and I write it down on a post-it note. I then fold up that post-it note, slip it into a jar and over the course of the next 12 months, 52 post-its accumulate until (at the beginning of the new year) I tip out the contents of that jar and open up each of those memories- great or modest- that underscored the year just gone by for me.
Yet what I also do is ask myself if there was anything of note that I learned over the past week? Was there anything that particularly stood out, whether it was something new or something I’d known ages ago but was given a fresh reminder of? If you’ve been reading this blog for a while now, you know I write these articles at the dawning of every new year. So what I’ve done again is pick just one thing I learned from every month in 2020- and share it here with you, whether it’s a new idea or something that’s simply worth hearing for a second time:
The Rule of 27- you may well have to fail 26 times in a row for success at last on that 27th attempt. So as long as your heart is set towards it, never give up.
There is that often played Michael Jordan v/o from an old Nike ad. You might have heard it:.
So essentially, you have to go through 27 failures or rejections for that one time you succeed. This is why it pays to be clear on what your objective is, so you can save time and reach your outcome more quickly!
With patience and a problem-solving attitude, even problems that appear insurmountable can be fixed easier than we might think.
It may come as a surprise to you, but I’m not the most tech-savvy guy. I’m not a technophobe as such, it’s more that I’m usually hesitant to adopt new technology or systems unless I can see real advantages to doing so beyond window dressing or minor changes. So early in the year when my trusty laptop began to show symptoms of ageing (slow to process information, randomly lagging for up to 30 seconds at a time having barely done anything etc) I wondered if it was time for a new laptop?
But instead, I decided to first see if I could fix the problem myself. Time was the most important commodity and I couldn’t afford to lose much of it- but still I contacted Apple Care, explained the issues and thankfully, they suggested there was a way beyond dipping into my long-term savings account and springing for a brand new MacBook! Long story short, I had to save my entire HD to a backup disc, wipe the HD and then reinstall everything. It took about half a day in the end, but here I still am, and the laptop is going strong, at speeds I hadn’t enjoyed in a while!
What had appeared like a giant frustration and inevitable waste of time that hit me in the pocket, instead turned out to be something I could fix myself with a little guidance. I had this moment where I thought “Maybe this doesn’t just apply to this thing, but to most other issues that come up in life: first find the right guidance and see if you can’t manage it yourself”.
The Tony Robbins golf analogy/ plastic surgery analogy: the results you’re looking for are found in that 1-2% you do differently.
I don’t remember the actual title of the video unfortunately, but there was something in the heading that made me click. It was a video in which Tony Robbins is speaking at a conference and he recalls taking up golfing lessons. He was failing to clear the ball off the tee correctly, mostly hitting dirt and he was about ready to give up. But then his instructor explained that Tony wasn’t far off- and then Tony realised this success principle applies everywhere, from golf to our very definition of beauty- I talk more about it here:
The way I persuade people is similar to the way I enjoy certain songs over others: the lyrics (words) might have a message that’s relatable, but the way it makes you feel is key. So in order to be Persuasive, think about how I want the other person to feel- and aim for that, first and foremost. Making them feel the right way is the key to all kinds of opportunities…
If you write your own copy, internalising this is one of the most important things to take stock of when reading back what you’ve written: regardless of how articulate or how clever your writing (your message) is- how do you want your audience to feel? If you get too bogged down on the small technicalities, you can miss out on getting your ideal result while other less able, less eloquent, less _________ people unlock all kinds of opportunities, simply because their message resonates with people.
Think of it- how many of your favourite songs do you enjoy purely for the lyrics, as opposed to how you feel when you listen to that song? The same principle applies here…
Seeking to be a leader one day (be it professionally or in your relationships) means living as a leader does now.
It really boils down to the idea that in order to become it, first you must be it. To enjoy the privileges of leadership means having to make adjustments, compromises and sacrifices now that many don’t or won’t do.
Being present means not concerning yourself with the mistakes you made in the past, nor worrying about missing shots you haven’t even taken. It means only bothering yourself with the things you can influence and control.
Like many, one of the Netflix series I enjoyed most in 2020 was ‘The Last Dance’, the story not just of the Chicago Bulls 1997/98 run to their 6th NBA title of the decade, but the whole story of Michael Jordan up to that moment in time. But there was this comment in the final episode that resonated with me. The Bulls have flown to Utah, and provided they win this 6th game in the final series, will clinch their 6th NBA title in 8 years. Footage shows Michael on the coach into town from the airport, kicking back and listing to Norah Jones on his Discman (remember those?), then joking about on the court during pre-game practise and goading his team-mates. Then the voice-over mentions how Michael didn’t see the point in worrying about shots he hadn’t taken yet, concerning himself with missed opportunities that hadn’t even presented themselves at that current point in time. Instead, he was always present.
“The great mistake is to anticipate the outcome of the engagement, you ought not to be thinking of whether it ends in victory or defeat. Let nature take its’ course, and your tools will strike at the right moment”
Thinking about how we were complete or that when we do x we will be ‘complete’ is pointless- because with every new opportunity comes a compromise of some sort. Instead, it’s about doing our best and enjoying what we have from where we stand right at this moment
In short? It’s all about gratitude. I go more in depth on how important this is, here:
If you know what you’re worth, then go out and get what you’re worth. My time is now.
It’s one thing to recognise your worth, but it’s a whole other step to go out and put it into action. This might mean making some uncomfortable changes in the process, adopting strange new things while having to rid old habits in thinking or action that don’t benefit you. But if you have a real belief in your worth, then there’s no better time to stand for it than right now!
What can feel like a challenge is, in fact, often a lay-up for us to reach new levels, break new ground and set new records…
“Sometimes, opportunity comes to us disguised as a man-eating lion”. I don’t recall where I heard this, but needless to say that it’s changed how I regard uncertain or adverse situations ever since. And often we don’t realise we actually grew or reached a new level until we look back. Similar to how you can’t fully appreciate the view or how high up you are until after you’ve climbed the mountain:
If there’s something you don’t like in your life, change it- or work out what’s going to give you the best chance of changing it, and then do that.
It’s one thing to complain about what we don’t want in life- but another thing to take actions (however big or small, usually the latter) to change that. This year marks 10 years since I did just that- and the rest is history. But it didn’t change overnight- it was a process. You can read more about what caused me to make this decision right here:
It’s important to do the best we can and turn up, because sometimes (just from making the effort and being present) we put ourselves in line for great situations to turn out and opportunities to present themselves that bring us what we seek.
Effort and being in the right place doesn’t always get you what you seek. And failing usually sucks, to some degree let’s face it! But just being present (wherever we need to be or where we think we need to be) and putting our best effort in is a winning move in and of itself. Any success you gain from it is just the icing on the cake- you know what I’m talking about. I can think back to countless examples where (for whatever reason) the temptation was there not to turn up or to back off and not put in the full effort- but I did it anyway and got a great result after it. The satisfaction is always the equivalent of a cold beer after working outside on a hot summers’ day- such a relief!
To take the road less travelled by might not necessarily mean it’s a road less-travelled by other people. It could be a highway compared to the trails we’ve been taken. But to US, it could be the road we haven’t travelled, and that might just be the reason we should take it!
One of the gifts I got for Christmas was Matthew McConaughey’s recently published autobiography ‘Green Lights’. It was funnier than I expected it to be, yet throughout the book Matt shares notes that he’s kept in his journals over the years and revelations he’s enjoyed along the way. He has this way of talking/ writing that makes me think of Owen Wilson’s character Kevin from ‘Meet The Parents’ and sometimes the way Matt talks/ writes about ideas he’s had or stuff he’s done made me laugh when it wasn’t intended to be funny. But there’s plenty of great ideas he shares and on those grounds alone I recommend it, besides being an entertaining read. But there’s one revelation that stood out to be:
See, I’m sure you’re familiar with the Robert Frost poem “Two roads diverged in a wood and I, I took the one less travelled by- and that has made all the difference.” And ever since hearing it, I’d always presumed that the road less travelled meant doing what most people won’t. But it was Matt pointing out that in fact, it’s about taking the road that is less travelled for us. Maybe something we’ve never done is something most people have? Sometimes, taking the more conventional or mainstream approach might be the one thing missing that makes all the difference for us.
So as you figure out for yourself what is your “road less travelled” I wish you all the best in 2021!
Christmas Day is nearly upon us and the silly season has come around once more- that weird time of year where the days just seem to run into one another and you go from having a stack of plans and RSVP’s to no real plans. The smell of pine trees, tinsel, scented candles, saltwater, sunscreen and rain on hot asphalt. The sound of ubiquitous Christmas carols, cicadas, clinking glasses, crackling barbecues and evening thunder. Already, many are “clocking off” for the year and in many cases you could say it’s been well-deserved!
While I know that for many people this period is a fairly lazy one as work and the usual daily/ weekly commitments take something of a back-step, there are others who use this traditionally quiet period to study. To re-evaluate. To set big new goals for the new year. So what I’m doing today is leaving you with a few articles worth taking the time out to read through in your downtime:
These articles I’ve chosen below all help give you clarity in putting together your strategy, what you need to be doing and how to get into a winning mindset to make it all happen in 2021. If you do the work, I know from experience that committing is going to make a BIG difference in what you see and where you find yourself 12 months from now.
So while I’m not ghosting out completely, this is my last article for the year.
Merry Christmas, and see you again in a month or so!
How often this year have you heard people refer to “these uncertain times” we’re living in? I’m not that old, but I’ve already lived through 9/11, the War On Terror, the GFC and the unexpected shifts in the western political landscape of 2016. All these moments in history were referred to in the same terms. The reality is, we’re always living in uncertain times. It’s only the daily, routine of our immediate world and the one presented to us by the news networks giving us the illusion of certainty, that “business as usual” will keep on keeping on, that life is comfortably predictable. We begin to think that the existing status quo will always run government, our local area will always be a slice of heaven untouched by greedy developers and the Melbourne Storm will always get away with playing grubby football. But it takes just one changing of the guard, just one clandestine handshake deal in an underground car park or just one star player/ coach/ referee calling time that causes the music to change.And then people get kind of worried, because they don’t know what song is playing and they don’t like not knowing what it is straight away. They’d rather hear Barry Manilow again for the 1,000th time than hear Billie Eilish for the first time.
But I digress…
Last week I posted the following question in several business groups I’m an active member of:
Your 3 biggest business predictions for 2021 are?
And then I waited to see what people would say. Here’s just a selection of what people responded with:
Increase in vegan products. Push for local manufacturing. Crypto boom.
ASIC turn back on the insolvency tap and the house of cards tumbles. Out of the ashes of bankruptcies will be innovation.
Gaming industry dominance
Working from home
Change in spending habits and bigger divide between people being more conservative buyers and crazy impulse buyers (Especially in the online space)
Big Tech getting in to Education business…Apple and Amazon go towards health. Google will go more towards education. Facebook will have more data breaches.
The Invention Company will come up with a viable alternative to big-tech with end to end encryption, absolutely no data collection, with a subscription model for all tech needs. Starting with is for phones with internal basic internal communication apps and no ads!
Global economic crash
Spectacular real estate crash
New financial order
Thinking back just 12 months ago, what ideas did you have in regards to how 2020 was going to turn out? Looking at them now with hindsight (which is 2020 Vision, no pun intended) how close (or far-off) were you?
Today I’m giving my 2 cents AND inviting you to share your own bold predictions about what 2021 holds in store, from a business perspective. I’m opening it up to you regardless of your industry because I’m genuinely interested to see how different our forecasts are!
So as I take a moment to think about what the new year might hold in store for us, here are 3 things I’m predicting, and as you’ll see, each one is connected to the other. I’m calling it ‘The Chain Reaction Of 2021’:
#1: The Commercial Real Estate Market Will Overflow
In his bestseller ‘Rich Dad, Poor Dad‘ Robert Kiyosaki claims that the end of the Industrial Age and the beginning of the Information Age coincided with the toppling of the Berlin Wall in 1989. In that single year, 10 former Communist countries opened up to the west, bringing about the fall of the Iron Curtain. This also coincided with the dawn of the internet age and then there came the dot-com boom 10 years later, meaning that (with one or two exceptions) the entire world was now connected like never before in our history.
Similarly, I’m convinced that one carry-over from the Industrial Age, 30 years on, has drawn to an end with the COVID pandemic and the new restrictions it introduced to how businesses oprated-
See, one thing various lockdown measures made people realise in 2020 was just how much work they could achieve at home or in a designated office space besides their traditional work station. For some years leading up to now, the idea of people commuting more than an hour each way 5 days a week to go and work in a communal office space seemed archaic to me. Like having to wear a tie at work, it’s a leftover from the 20th century business model and (for various reasons) has carried on up until now.
But as our cities become more crowded, so it forces real estate and rental prices upwards- especially in our larger urban centres. Unfortunately it’s now too often the case that people can’t afford to live in the same city they work in, leading to traffic-jammed highways, packed commuter buses and trains, plus hundreds of hours wasted each year just travelling TO or FROM work.
It had to change sooner or later. The upside to the COVID lockdown and upheaval of standard work practises is that it forced many people to stay at home instead of going to the office- and as a result, businesses are going to look at the figures and realise that their employees still managed to get the work done- but remotely. Just because you can’t see your staff doesn’t mean they’re not doing the work, and this is something many bosses have struggled to adapt to!
But conversely, if your team can work just fine remotely, why bother paying rentals for office space? Allowing people the freedom to work remotely and (maybe) catch up once a week for meetings in a communal work space equals great savings on rent, but also on the time spent commuting, better wellbeing, less stress and a more productive team.
I forecast many businesses seeing the future and changing their work model, leading to a flood of office spaces for lease in the commercial sector for traditionally white-collar jobs. This is going to be an uncomfortable adjustment for people in commercial real-estate, but (to paraphrase a former PM) perhaps it was the adjustment we had to have?
#2: There Will Be A Surge In Demand For Business Hubs
Not everybody who stops going to the office every day will necessarily work from home, however. Especially those who are the one working member of their family and might want some peace and quiet to work away from the yapping neighbours’ dogs or the screaming kids!
I expect there to be a surge in demand for business hubs, where people can find a desk/ office, work in their own hours, enjoy direct access to 1st class facilities and do what needs to be done with human interaction from other professionals or work staff always close by. I know of one such hub not too far from me, and I can vouch first-hand for the facilities they offer: https://www.nexushub.com.au
The interesting thing about this scenario coming true is how it would impact the dynamic of the traditional office space…
#3: An Increase In Cross-Business Collaboration
Think of it this way: Instead of the traditional office space, where you might have different departments all working for the same company, in a work-hub you have people working for all different companies in direct contact with each other: They might be friends outside of work, maybe they chat in the dining area or play friendly games of table tennis or strike up the traditional “water cooler” conversation standing around the microwave.
Yet instead of talking inwardly, about their own company, they’re talking outwardly- about each others’ companies and about the companies of other people in the work space.
What this leads to is more opportunities for a diverse range of businesses to communicate with each other not just at a senior level, but at a staff level as well. There are more open channels (and more channels) for new concepts, strategies and ideas for partnerships to be traded where traditionally it came down to random discussions on public transport during the commute, or in the pub for the after-work drinks.
On top of this, internet access means that these ideas can be exchanged with decision makers in the company in near real-time. A simple email or video call to discuss a possible new concept or partnership is much easier. The end result of this is more widespread collaboration between businesses and greater room for innovation as the ideas marketplace opens up.
With the opportunity comes new risks, however: businesses are more likely to have good team members “head-hunted” and company confidentiality is easier to compromise either accidentally or on-purpose. How exactly businesses counter these risks remains to be seen, however the bigger picture holds far more advantages for companies looking to modernise their working environment than it does threats.
So as you can see, my top 3 business predictions heading into 2021 are all connected. If #1 happens, then #3 is the logical conclusion. But over to you- do you think I’m onto something with these or is there an important detail that I’ve missed completely?
Either way, tell me what you reckon and remember to share your predictions for the coming 12 months!
It’s getting to that time of year, isn’t it? The days are heating up (at least here in Australia!) the nights have grown muggy, the cicadas are buzzing outside, Christmas decorations are hanging up in department stores and there’s a rush of activity as people look to organise Christmas parties, secure clients and settle projects over the festive season and coming new year period…
It’s also a time where businesses are reviewing what’s worked for them over the past year and what can be done better. For any business, how they respond to this is entirely dependant upon their unique circumstances. But if you’re now aiming to improve your customer interactions (higher lead conversions, more sales volume, better $ value per customer etc.) then there’s one solution that can unlock all of your targets for the coming 12 months…
For the answer, look no further than your marketing and sales copy. Devoting special attention to this is crucial from both an SEO perspective (in terms of having a strong web presence and getting found by leads) but also from a lead interaction perspective (e.g having the right communications that convince your leads to go ahead and take action).
But if the idea of having to re-evaluate and renovate your business copy is giving you a flustered feeling and you swear you can sense a migraine coming on- I understand! Because it’s not just about looking at how many platforms and mediums you have- you’ve also got to ask what copy you need for each of them?
Fear not- because today I’m giving you an overview of the areas you need to be focusing on and writing copy for in order to achieve your big, audacious 2021 goals. Below I’m going to show you how to make this vision come true:
Think of your website as your online business headquarters. All of your businesses online messaging should connect back directly to your website. The aim of your website is to share as much relevant information about your business as you can and then successfully persuade your website visitors to take the next step- whatever that desired next step may be. On your website there could be multiple courses of action, depending upon the page your leads are browsing. While on the home page you might want them to contact your sales team, on the ‘Products’ page you might want them to place an order, then on the ‘About Us’ page you might want them to click the checklist. In addition to this, you want your website to rank well for SEO so that people online know you actually exist. When you’ve got effective website copy you get more valuable interactions with your leads visiting the site as well as satisfying the search engines. Your website shouldn’t just be visually eye-catching. It should also read well, clearly outline who you are, how you help customers and encourage leads to take the next step in your sales funnel- whatever that next step might be…
So I’ll keep this part as short and sweet as possible: Publishing blog articles informs and engages your ideal target audience and also establishes a connection with them, building trust. The more people trust you, the more likely they are to buy from you- whether that’s on a short-term or long term basis. On top of that, when you have articles getting good interactions and being shared by your followers, you can gain even more leverage boosting your top performing articles through Facebook ads. If you’re going to promote your business on Facebook and put money behind your campaign, why not give your target audience something actually worth taking the time out to read? To discover what sort of articles are always a hit (regardless of your audience) get your complimentary copy of ‘The 3 Posts People Stop Everything To Read‘ right here: https://www.scribecopywriting.com.au/stay-connected
#3: Social Media
It’s not enough to simply have a placeholder presence on your professional social media platforms. Similar to your website copy, you need to create a comprehensive run-down of your business: what you do, how you help your customers and why people should reach out and contact your business. On top of promoting your business to potential customers, social media also serves as a powerful online business networking tool. The better your social media copy is, the more appealing you become as a potential referral partner to fellow business people, regardless of whether you’ve actually met them or not!
#4: Email Database/ Sales Letters
If you don’t already have an email database- get one. People are meeting and engaging with more new businesses every day than ever before, and having just a single point of contact with leads is a recipe for otherwise valuable customers to slip right through your fingers. Just a bit of lead nurturing could’ve converted these people to customers, and allow you to enjoy top value from your existing customers. Seriously- you’re 10 times more likely to sell to a previous or existing customer than to a new lead. So it pays to stay in contact!
If you’re a business that regularly features at trade shows or has multiple products in your range then you definitely need to be putting out sales letters. Otherwise, how are people going to know about the amazing offers you have going? There’s plenty of emails inundating people’s inboxes on a daily basis, so writing an entertaining newsletter or an engaging sales letter that converts does require a particular level of skill- but when done properly, the results pay off and are absolutely worth the time taken to master the art…
An e-book serves a similar purpose to blog articles, except that you can write a whole novel if you want as opposed to a single article. The added benefit is that you can use your ebook as a lead magnet (adding more people to your lead database and therefore your sales funnel) or you can sell copies of your ebook online, creating a further revenue stream that means you can sell without even being present. You get paid multiple sums without having to spend any more time on selling (or delivering) once your ebook is launched.
On top of this, when you have an ebook available it also builds your credibility to both leads and referral partners alike. This makes it more likely that people are going to trust you (essential with higher priced buying decisions) or to refer you on (which again means you can sell on autopilot).
So while all the above should make perfect sense, in order to go ahead and actually do it you still need a strategy in place. You also need to know what you’re going to write, so you don’t end up wasting time writing copy that isn’t going to make any notable difference!
But you can avoid this, and ensure every moment of your time is well spent writing copy that gets results for your business:
Because I have just launched The Comprehensive Copywriting Guide– your all-in one toolkit that shows you how to write all the copy you need for:
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Normally, I train at the gym 4 times a week with the dedication like it was a paying job. But last week was a little different…
Last week I only managed 3 sessions. So what happened? Well, on Saturday it was the birthday gathering of an old friend and for the days’ activities we’d booked in to go kart racing…
Now if you know me, you know that racing karts is something I love, and have done ever since the first time I drove as a 9 year old. So on Saturday, relying on a combined 25 years’ experience, I was soon in the lead. Setting fastest laps, pushing it to the limit and doing so without spinning out, crashing or running off onto the boggy grass sections even once.
Strangely, it began to feel less like we were puttering around in hire karts and more like an actual motor race…
Maybe it was the purpose-built, open-air track that allowed us to reach higher speeds? It could’ve been seeing a mate spin out on the main straight, tyres smoking like you’d see at an actual racing event. Or maybe it was the pure physicality of it all? At the end of the days’ racing, chatting with one of the guys he commented how “coming here and driving is like putting in a session at the gym”.
I realised he was right. I’d never given much thought to the physical side of it until recently. Overall, I’d done a total of 56 laps of the 800-metre circuit over the space of 90 minutes, with virtually every lap done at qualifying pace (i.e where you’re pushing the kart to the limits’ of its’ capabilities).
It also got me thinking- if I didn’t have the weekly fitness regime I normally do, could I have managed to complete all 4 sessions driving lap after lap at 10/10ths- or would I have fallen victim to the physical fatigue? One person (not naming names) had such a toll taken on them that they were physically sick in the middle of the second session. An old friend of mine (who also regularly trains and can lift heavier than me) ended up sitting out the third session because “he felt a bit how you going”.
So I began to wonder: if being in good physical state made a difference here, what difference does it make in the daily running of our business? Am I claiming I’ve found “the secret” here?
No, there’s always more work that can be done, and obviously diet matters as well. But what I want to do here is give an insight into a typical weeks’ fitness regime for me and the side-effects I’ve noticed over time:
Like I said, I train at a local gym 4 times a week. It’s a 1st class facility and has accommodated several NRL teams in the time I’ve been there. To give you some perspective, I am 6″1 and weigh between 81-83kgs on average. I don’t generally do leg exercises (and I’ll get to that soon enough) but on alternate days I either do floor related exercises or lifting/ squats. On the days where I’m on the floor and use the weight machines, I focus on my chest, back and bicep muscles. I aim to ad as much weight as I can manage and do two sets with 8 reps each. I use equipment like the dumbbells, chest press machines, the vertical lift machine and the seated row. On alternate days I do 3 sets of 8 reps squatting, using the bar and then I do 2 sets of 8 reps as I lift then do vertical dips- as many as I can manage until it feels like my shoulders are going to give out! I finish every session with 10 minutes abdominal exercises, ensuring that I get the full upper-body workout. In addition I drink a protein supplement when I get home.
Besides (obviously) gaining muscle mass and strength, my day always has a “complete” feel to it after I finish a session at the gym. Call it the endorphins or whatever you want, but even if I’ve had a workday that didn’t go completely to my satisfaction, there’s that sense of “at least I had a good workout”. Added to that is just the subtle confidence you get. Taking photos from when you start training and then (over the months/ years) taking new photos of yourself for comparison is great motivation. It’s a physical representation of how much we’re able to transform ourselves, and a reminder that the body is just one area. If we adopt the same attitude to our business, to our thinking- we can similarly go beyond what we expect. To see a photo of me where I don’t recognise myself- in a good way- is an awesome feeling!
#2: Martial Arts Training
I also train goju-kai (literally “hard soft”) karate. This form of karate utilises both open and closed hand techniques and I’ve been training on and off for the last 6 years. When I still lived in Brisbane I was part of a great dojo over at Camp Hill and I trained there 2 nights a week. More recently here on the coast, I could only manage to go along to one of the two weekly training sessions, but it’s just been announced that another night has been added, so watch this space. Besides (obviously) practising punches, blocks and kicks, we also do a lot of work on stances and breathing exercises.
Besides the obvious benefit of learning self-defence, martial arts training is also great for improving your reflexes. To co-ordinate a set pattern of techniques (known as a kata) you need to master not just your stances and your positioning, but also your timing. Combined, all of this serves as a further boost to your inner confidence. Then of course there’s the people you meet along the way!
I know a lot of people like to go for a walk of, say, 30 minutes or so and with this in mind I might as well preface this: I like long walks. I’m talking walks of two hours or more. Looking at my phone’s health app, that usually means anything between 20-30,000 steps in an afternoon. You don’t need to go for crazy long walks like that (and even if you wanted to, I get that you might not have the time) but if you are able to manage it? I can’t recommend it highly enough from both a physical and mental perspective. Like putting in a solid session at the gym, the feeling when you get back through the door after an afternoon’s hike is both weary and satisfying. When deciding on a walk, I like to find a route that takes me past attractive scenery and (if I can manage) puts me amongst people for at least part of the journey. When you’re in the work scenario that I am, you can spend your day solo, typing out articles like this one with little personal interaction whatsoever. So on my walk I like to get amongst it at some point or another, wherever I might be. If you live near a beach or a major river, there’s a great destination for you. Likewise, if you live within reasonable walking distance or your city or town centre, you can get amongst it here, or even find a great park nearby for a stroll. I don’t go for one of these long walks every week, but it’s something I do at least once a month.
First of all is the strength in your legs and thighs that you build up. Especially so if the route you walk incorporates some uphill sections along the way. Added to this is the physical stamina you develop- you’re able to walk a steadier pace for longer and this develops your endurance. I remember once I ventured off the usual track and I chose to explore a steep grass hill before me. I’d already been walking for an hour, so making it up this grass hill was a slow, steady affair. But then when I reached the top I found myself on a road along a ridge and looking out was the most wonderful view across the ocean.
It occurred to me: if you want to enjoy the view, you’ve got to make the climb first.
And this is the other thing these long walks do: it’s a great workout mentally. Because as you’re walking along, you find yourself thinking of different things- it could be a present problem or a potential scenario that may come to pass. Yet as you toy with it in your mind while getting physical exercise, your mind goes to work, exploring ideas you might not have previously considered. If you love brainstorming new ideas or have problems that you haven’t been able to find a solution for until now, take a hike. And of course, if you’re more of a cyclist, this works just as well- plus you can cover more distance. I know it myself from all the times over the years I’ve taken my mountain bike out for hours and come back weary, but happy- and brimming with revelations previously untouched.
Here I’ve shared what works for me. But maybe for you, it’s something else- maybe you enjoy kayaking, horse riding, jogging or spending hours out in the surf? Of course, if you have a dog (especially one of the bigger breeds) then they need regular walking too. You find that this doesn’t just have a positive impact on your fitness, but in other areas too- like your ability to come up with new ideas and to think positively.
Walking away from the go-kart track on Saturday afternoon, my arms were heavy, my legs were taut and there were red marks on my knees where they’d banged against the steering wheel. There was a well-earned beer or two somewhere with my name on it. Yet it occurred to me that (without even realising) I’d been regularly training to do what I’d just done: drive at 10/10ths consistently for a total of 56 laps in less than two hours, without losing speed due to fatigue or making myself physically ill. In the same way many of the (seemingly) irrelevant exercises I did while boxing training were preparing us to step in the ring and fight to the end, my usual exercise routine had unwittingly prepared me to drive fast- and do it consistently:
Regular weight training had developed the strength in my arms and shoulders required to control the steering wheel and physically guide a speeding, jolting kart over the bumps and through the corners of the 800 metre circuit, lap after lap…
Karate training had sharpened my reflexes so I could make short, sharp adjustments to correct a slide that would otherwise scrub off speed, or pounce on a gap where I could sneak past another driver without costing me seconds of my lap time…
And those long walks had developed the muscles in my legs and physical stamina, which (ultimately) gave me the ability to drive fast and do it consistently with minimal fatigue, which would not just have a negative impact physically, but also on my ability to focus and make split-second judgements.
To neglect our physical health is to take great risks with our mental well-being and (therefore) our ability to make good decisions that directly impact our business. Like I said, you don’t have to follow what I do to a tee, but I strongly advise you get your own regular fitness routine in place- and start enjoying the benefits- even in those unexpected places!
Remember: quality of health = quality of life AND quality of business.
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