Your ‘Made In Japan’ Guide To Success (Or, how to make every day a win):

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Black belts- but they didn’t earn them overnight…

Recently in my karate class, we’d finished training for the night and were talking about a certain principle that the Japanese follow. They apply this principle not just to training, but to life itself- and once you tap into this mindset, it manifests in ways far beyond what you might expect…

You see, there was a time when the phrase ‘Made In Japan’ indicated a product was made cheaply and inferior in quality. Yet, over time, Japanese products and technological input came to be highly valued in Western countries that were (previously) dominated by their American or European competitors.

How did this turnaround happen?

An insistence on restoring national pride after WW2 definitely helped, as honour and pride are backbones of the Japanese psyche. At the same time, it was this other concept that oversaw the nations’ reversal from the devastation the end of the war left them with- and it transformed their standing on the world stage…

It was a little concept known as ‘kaizen’

This term features constantly in their language and covers a wide range of subjects- kaizen in their relationships, kaizen in their production line, kaizen in their business success, kaizen in their studies and yes, kaizen in their martial arts training. Tony Robbins was so impressed with this concept that he adopted his own terminology for the same thing- known as CANI (Constant And Notable Improvement).

What does it mean?

Think of it like playing golf: if you’re aiming for a hole in 1 every shot, what do you think your success rate is going to be? Good luck trying to finish the course before dark!

Instead, wouldn’t it be far better to focus on finishing the course 1 drive, 1 putt at a time? Do that, and your low score takes care of itself (practise helps a lot as well- as any golfer can testify to!)

So if you apply kaizen to your professional life- what little aspect can you improve today? If you make one small, daily improvement in the delivery of service or marketing or the training of your team- and keep at it every day- think how different could the outlook be for you just one year from now…

You’d definitely notice a difference, wouldn’t you?

That’s all kaizen comes down to, in a nutshell: improving in some small form every day, knowing that over time the big picture becomes more apparent. Learn a language for 30 minutes a day and you struggle at first, but 6 months later you can make simple statements or requests fluently, at the very least. Learn to box for one session and you may get beaten up a little. But keep coming back and (before you know it) you can step into the ring- and win. I talked about my own kaizen revelation, here: Preparing To Fight Taught Me THESE 3 Unexpected Things

So if you’re feeling flustered or like the day’s got the better of you, I encourage you to stop and ask yourself: how are you doing, compared to yesterday? If nothing comes to mind, think of just one action item or attitude that you could change- and aim to do it better than you did yesterday.

Commit to this, and you get a renewed sense of power and purpose- and pride as the positive changes begin to manifest day by day, week by week, month by month, year after year.

Try it for yourself and let me know how you go- one putt forward at a time…

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Spotlights, Fluros and Fireworks (Or How To Shine Like A Beacon To Your Leads):

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This weekend just gone I was at home, painting a new canvas I’ve been working on while listening to Triple J’s coverage of Splendour In The Grass. Now for those of you who don’t know, Splendour In The Grass is a music festival held in the North Byron Parklands every July. Acts from Australia and overseas perform over the weekend and it attracts crowds of 30,000+, most of them in the 18-35 demographic.

So I’m painting away and listening to the stream on my laptop when something hits me. I can’t pinpoint exactly what it is, because I know most of the acts performing at Splendour and I’m familiar with the lingo people use during their on-air shout-outs (“Banger”, “Spirit animal” “Killed it” etc). I drove Uber on the side for a couple of years back on the Gold Coast, every night I chatted with people just like your typical Splendour-goer and Triple J was my station of choice during those nights out on the road. Yet…as I listen now, I feel an intangible separation from these people.

Suddenly? I don’t feel a part of this generation anymore…

It happens to all of us. One day we’re part of that young, “in” generation and even if we don’t care for the trends or fashions or use the lingo, we at least understand it. But then- without warning- we find ourselves looking over our shoulder and realising nothing of this generation feels familiar to us. To quote Morrissey? “I’ve seen this happen in other people’s lives, and now it’s happening in mine“. This young generation now were born 10 years after The Smiths broke up (there’s a scary thought!) But life goes on…

The older I’ve grown, the less I’ve cared about peer-pressure or the mainstream notion of what’s “cool”. I’ve lived long enough to see that definition (and even the words to describe it) change several times. Yet the fact is that (especially as business owners) we need to be able to connect with the people around us. Rather than alienating them, we need the ability to easily connect with our peers. We need to understand them. We need to invest in them and (likewise) we need people to invest in us.

Now, even if you feel a bit “out of touch”, don’t worry. I have good news for you:

No matter your age or when you were last “cool”, you can attract people, connect with them- and do so while being unashamedly yourself. To give you an example of what I mean, let’s travel back to a time when I was much younger- still in Primary school, in fact- at an age where fitting in with your peers is the most important thing in the world…

It’s a time where Oasis, Alanis Morissette and Hootie and The Blowfish dominate the airwaves, cable TV is a new thing, only a handful of people you know have internet access and for kids across playgrounds Australia-wide, the most valuable stock you can own is your basketball card collection. Personally? I don’t get the hype about it. Sure, if you want to wear the cap of your favourite team or the jersey of the player you idolise, go right ahead. I’ve got a ball and a hoop out the back of my place, in fact. But throwing away money on pieces of glossy card with players pictures and stats on them? I don’t get the appeal. This is an early case of me feeling “different” from my peers and not understanding the masses. I’m not ostracised for this- I just don’t understand the fuss…

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Then my Scout group decides to hold a ‘Collectors Night’- where we all get to bring in something that we collect. Like at school, quite a few of the boys in my Scout group love basketball cards. I imagine that I’ll be the outsider again, who doesn’t care about having images of Shaquille O’Neal, John Stockton or Vince Carter on cards and trading them for glossy cardboard images of Patrick Ewing or Reggie Miller…

By contrast, I take great pride in my collection of cars. I’ve got stacks of them and I keep them in their original boxes or special carrier cases. But if I take them along, will the other guys think I’m weird, or a “baby” for being into toy cars at 9 years old? This scenario doesn’t keep me awake at night, but lamenting how “all the other kids will just bring their basketball cards” is enough for Mum to go out and get me a pack- and to this day I couldn’t tell you what players I got in that set. I’m divided- should I take the basketball cards, pretend to care about them and blend in? Or should I dare to be different and take my big plastic container of model cars?

In the end, I decide to take my meagre collection of basketball cards. But only as backup. I figure that maybe taking something different- something like my crate full of model cars- might actually be worth risking…

So I go to Collectors Night at my Scout hall, with my big plastic container of Matchbox, Burago, Hot Wheels and Micro Machines cars. And they turn out to be a hit. I get into a discussion about Formula 1 (which I follow intently) with one of the scout leaders, the other kids all go through my collection and are impressed with the cars I have. Scott (who has the most impressive set of basketball cards in our group) looks through my collection with genuine interest. As it turns out, I don’t even need to touch my basketball cards.

The crate of cars I brought ended up being the biggest and most keenly examined collection of the night…

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This was more than 20 years ago now, and the exact details have been lost somewhat as time has passed. But I still remember the pleasant feeling of surprise at how popular my collection turned out to be. It felt like I was in a strange dream where other people found my car collection as interesting as I did- except this dream actually manifested itself…

As a younger business owner, there are times where I wonder if doing it “my way” is worth the risk? Should I bother to write articles like this and share my unique story with people, or just keep it to functional ‘How To’ style posts covering subjects that plenty of other people offer their 2 cents worth on as well?

We live in a society where even grown adults tip-toe carefully and let that fear of disapproval or rejection tone their individual voice down. People sit cautiously on the fence or virtue signal for the “right” causes on social media in order to advertise themselves as one of the socially acceptable “in” group. People “go with the flow”- and then wonder why they question their ability to swim upstream in pursuit of glory?

In a world like this, we’re all searching for those who show no fear of standing out with fluro’s, spotlights and fireworks. If you want to rise head and shoulders above the rest, don’t hold back from sharing your real passion with people. Let it shine through in your marketing, your branding and your interactions with them all. If you want to be that bright light who attracts new people, you’ve gotta take that extra step out from the masses who don’t rock the boat and wear beige.

The key to this is daring to be authentic about what you love. Not everybody is your type- but you get noticed. As a result, people respect your authenticity. You breathe easier not having to pretend and on top of that, the next time your leads want a product or service like yours?

It’ll be your name that leaps to mind straight away.

Not so bad when it equals money in the bank, is it!

So if you’d love to be 100% authentic when it comes to your leads (no smoke, mirrors or bullshit) and enjoy the financial rewards of doing so- then let’s talk-

To do so costs you nothing, so in the words of W. Clement Stone? Do it now:

Get In Touch

 

 

 

 

How To Create A 3 Month Blog From Scratch (Part 2):

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When we left off last time, I’d taken you through the first half of the 12 step process I follow whenever writing blog posts just like this one.

Here it is if you’re catching up: How To Create A 3 Month Blog From Scratch (Part 1):

Now it’s time to bring it all home and get those 12 posts out online and into the world, so here’s what you do next:

#7. Write It!

So you’ve got the theme of your 12 posts, summed up in a single sentence. Now is the time to go ahead and write! Don’t hold back here- write down whatever ideas pop into your mind. Don’t put the handbrake on by stopping to edit it now. The clean-up job comes later…

#8. Edit

Before scaling back your drafts, you should wait at least a day. Clear your mind, do the shopping, go for a walk, catch up with friends. You want to come back to your posts with a renewed mindset. This makes it easier to spot what you should get rid of, or what you left out the first time round. Ensure that every sentence of your post advances the story in some way. Crop out any ‘filler’ sentences, tighten the belt on any sentences that drag on too long and get rid of any pointless details. This decreases the risk of your reader abandoning your post mid-way through. Keep it as short and sweet as possible!

#9. Call To Action.

Once you’ve finished editing your posts, you want to drop in the element that gets the phones ringing and the e-mail inquiries flooding in. This sets your posts up to pay for themselves in the long run. Include your call to action- that amazing offer that they won’t be able to refuse. Whether you include this in every one of your 12 posts or you build it up to the 12th post and then hit them with it, is up to your judgement. If you can’t work it out? Come and speak to me…

#10. Distribute

Include at least one image for all of your posts. Having a post with an intriguing or bold image is SO much more effective than just posting words on a screen. I have great respect for anybody who includes a seemingly unrelated, obscure title image that goes on to relate to the subject matter of the post, even if it’s only a single sentence.

Then when you’re ready to distribute- do so. Post the link across all of your social media platforms, your website, include it in your next e-mail to your database. Leave no stone unturned here, because leads can turn up in the most unexpected places!

#11. Measure

Check the metrics in the coming weeks- do particular posts resonate with your audience and get more engagement? Look for common themes- is it the title or the subject matter? The sooner you find the common themes of your most successful posts, the better idea you have what to be sharing on a regular basis- and the bigger kick-on you get from every fresh post you share.

#12. Archive

Make it easy for your audience to find certain posts by archiving them into groups, based upon the subject matter at hand. So if you’re a winery, you’d group posts on new release reds and new release whites separately. Posts on wine expos would again be in a different section. Make it as easy as possible for visitors to your blogging site/ website to find exactly what they’re looking for. Better still, you can go back months/ years later and refresh an old post, revamp it, make it better and recycle it. Sometimes you’ve already written the post that’s going to be your biggest success story so far- it just needs a renovation and a re-post.

The more you follow these 12 steps, the easier it becomes to write months’ worth of material in advance- and the better results you get from the articles you share.

Now, while going through these 12 steps gets easier the more you do it, the one thing that never changes is this: it always takes time. Even for somebody like me, it’s still a timely process- and I do this for a living!

So if you’d rather hand this whole task over to somebody else, I understand. I’d be happy to chat with you about how we can make your blog a big hit with your target audience- so let’s get the conversation started today:

Contact Me

How To Create A 3 Month Blog From Scratch (Part 1):

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Writing 3 months’ worth of blog content- at the same time?

This might seem like ‘Mission Impossible’, but you’d be amazed how easily it’s done  when you peel back the anguish of writers’ block- and realise it’s just a 12 step process that you can replicate over and over…

Blogging (as it’s been proven numerous times) is one of the most effective ways to gain brand new leads and then convert them into cash. We’re all looking for reputable people we can trust, and real statistics show that blogging has a fantastic flow-on effect for businesses great and small:

Some Real Numbers To Make You Re-Think Blogging

So it (literally) pays to build that unique level of trust with your target audience- and there are few better ways to do it than blogging.

But…what do you write?

Nothing to worry about- because I’m going to share the 12 step process that allows you to churn out 3 months of blog material ready to post (or 1 post a week for the next 12 weeks). So let’s get into action:

#1. Identify Expert Topics

This is your time to brainstorm and identify the questions and problems your key target audience face.

80% of all the money you make comes from just 20% of the people who buy from you. So it pays to focus on these people, especially. When you identify these people and the burning questions and problems they have, you’re setting yourself up to cash in- big time.

#2. Identify What’s Trending

Take a look at the businesses or the professionals who are similar to you.

What problems are they solving?

What questions are they answering?

You might discover the questions nobody else is providing the answer to- in which case, go for it!

It also helps to pick up on anything you might have missed in your initial brainstorming session. A handy place to uncover this information is a site like answerthepublic.com

#3. Identify Your Communication Style (Tone)

When it comes to getting your readers to feel like you understand them and build up that rapport, getting the ‘tone’ right is crucial. ‘Tone’ is the language and the feel to your written copy. It’s often a subtle element, but over the course of time it makes a notable difference to the “feel” of your articles.

The 20% I mentioned earlier? They’re the group you want to aim for. Write in a manner they identify with. If your target audience are Highschoolers, the way you write for them is different to when your target audience are retirees. Get it?

Match the tone of your articles with your target audience and building up that sense of trust is much easier to do.

#4. Nail The Core Elements Of Communication

Where do you plan to distribute your blog?

Will you send links via e-mail to your database?

Will you share your posts on your website or social media?

Wherever your target audience are, there you should go. Drop your line where the fish are!

#5. Objectives

What results do you want from sharing your posts?

Do you want more subscribers, more orders, more sales?

You’re always seeking to build a stronger relationship with your readers, because that’s where the time taken to publish your content pays for itself.

So considering this- do you want your readers to come away with a better understanding of who you are, what you stand for and what drives you to do what you’re great at?

#6. Storyline

This should be planned out before you begin to write. Look at the axis of your next 12 posts- are they self-contained, or is there an overarching storyline to them?

Maybe it’s a step-by-step process you want to teach people, or you’re lighting a fire under your prospects so that by the time post number 12 is uploaded and read, you’ve got them ready to show the money and buy whatever you aim to sell them.

Your storyline serves as the reference map for the writing that follows. It helps you to identify whether you’re sticking on point or whether the storyline is wandering off-course. After all, your time is too precious to waste!

Next: We go through Steps #7-#10 and I reveal the crucial final step that enables you to conquer the “Boss Level” of your blog posting and enjoy the spoils that come with it, to maximum effect.

So stay tuned…

 

5 Ways To Boost Your SEO Rankings And Get Found (So easy you’ll kick yourself for not having thought of them already!)

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You may not realise it but right now, as you read these words, people are looking for you.

You might not know who they are, and that’s a pity. You should…

The reason is, once you got past that “getting to know you” bit, it could turn into a highly valuable, mutually beneficial relationship that lasts for years and brings an entirely new income and referral stream to your front door…

So why isn’t this happening?

Because they don’t even know you exist!

You may just be two ships, passing in the night. But you can change this- transform yourself into the lighthouse they see from far away, shining like a beacon.

To achieve this (and here’s the best part), you don’t need to fork out tonnes on your marketing budget or spend weeks crafting a highly-detailed plan. It’s all down to three key words:

Search Engine Optimisation

So here’s 5 ways to boost your SEO rankings and get found- so easy you’ll kick yourself for not having thought of them already:

#1: Research Your Keywords

You want to apply the same keywords your online audience use when they’re searching for your specific industry in your specific area. So, if you were a real-estate agency in North Lakes, you’d want your main keyword phrase to be something like ‘Real Estate North Lakes’ or even ‘Realty North Lakes’.

Sure, you might have a bit of competition for those main search terms- but what about the secondary search terms? This is where your area of speciality comes into play. What do you provide that your competitors don’t? What sets you apart from the rest?

Overall, your priority here is to understand the language your target audience uses when  they go searching for a business like yours.

#2: Optimisation

You want to include a reasonable amount of quality content across your website and social media platforms. I don’t mean stuffing your content full of keywords (the bad old-fashioned way), although it might help if you update your meta tagging to include terms that are user-friendly.

I’m talking about including a page for legitimate testimonials from happy customers. Get video testimonials whenever you can. Have a Q&A section and a page with profiles for each of your staff. Content like this is useful for your site browsers but also online search engines like Google.

If you’re a local business, you definitely also want to include a ‘Contact’ page with a business address, primary phone number and an embedded GEO site map (which can be easily done right here: Geosite Map Generator

#3: Google Local

Local Google+ pages gives you more exposure, while also helping you to open up a two-way communication path with your customer by responding to reviews and creating post updates. You can find out more on Google+ here: Google Places for Business vs. Google Local

#4: Consistency

Inconsistency can negatively affect your online presence, which is why you need to be consistent when you list your business name, contact number and address across all your online pages. This makes search engines like Google happy, and it also makes your customers happy. Make it as easy as possible for them to know who you are and how to get in contact with you.

#5: Get The Word Out There

Collecting reviews from happy customers on Google+ or via video testimonials, is one of the most traditional (and authentic) ways to stand out online. Make it easy for your customers- let them know they only have to write a review once (if writing one) and if they don’t have a Google+ account, that’s ok. Let them give you a glowing review on LinkedIn or Facebook instead!

Whether they want to type your testimonial or speak it out loud, the most important thing to remember is: always be authentic. Don’t bribe them or ask for positive reviews. People can spot a fake easily and you’re better than that, anyway.

The best word of mouth is when its’ genuine.

I’ll leave you with these easy action items for now, but let me know how you go covering these 5 steps. Sharing your success stories is always welcome!

Preparing To Fight Taught Me THESE 3 Unexpected Things:

I sit across the desk from Gavin (gym founder and former Australian middleweight champion) as he tells me what a journey I’m in for over the next 10 weeks…

He says there’ll be times where I’ll question myself and want to quit- yet how often guys come back again after Fight Night because of the transformation they experience along the way…

He speaks glowingly of Fight Night- about how it’ll be “One of the best things I’ve ever done”…

I figure he’s giving the whole Fight Like A Pro experience “the big sell”- and why wouldn’t he?

So I go out, shoot a quick video for my YouTube channel with Gavin to announce what I’ve just signed up for, and later that evening come back for the group photo…

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It’s always worth doing for the t-shirt…

I have fighting experience already (being a 7th Kyu red belt in Goju Kai Karate) and while the idea of learning boxing appeals to me, I’m not entirely sold on Gavin’s vision of what the coming 10 weeks will be like for me. I’m just keen to learn a new form of physical combat and get my fitness levels up. You see, my year to date has been a difficult one- like an endless trek up a mountain, with no time to stop and rest. That hasn’t pushed me to the point of quitting, neither did any challenge I faced in karate training and so I doubt this is going to be any different…

But as I’ll discover soon enough, I was wrong…over the next 2 and a half months, there are some big lessons and personal revelations to come…

#1. “Did I Get Better?”

So, how did I find the first few weeks of training?

Not too bad.

Learning the techniques to stance, jabbing and and punching all required a bit of adjustment from the karate techniques I was grounded in- but aside from that, I saw all this new training and information as just more of the lessons and challenges I’d gone through all year to date. Why would I want to quit? You’d have to be hopelessly out of shape or of weak character to think about quitting.

But then came the time for sparring…

Sparring Night

Gloves on, head guard strapped up tight, mouthguard in, stepping into the ring to spar face to face with an opponent. The real challenge came when I was pitted against the experienced guys- before I could think about throwing a punch, they’d land several with lightning fast blows-

BAM! BAM-BAM-BAM!

Gloves pounded into both sides of my head and my stomach. They backed me into the corner of the ring with nowhere to retreat. I got belted with nothing in return.

Soon enough, time was up. I sucked in deep breaths, heart pounding, sweat burning.

I thought of Fight Night…

I thought of how guilty I’d feel if people I knew gave up their Saturday night and paid money to come and watch me go out with a whimper. To get beaten here was one thing- but to get my arse handed to me with people watching- people who cared about me?

Who am I kidding? Why am I bothering with this? Stuff boxing, I don’t need to do this…I thought in that moment. What was the point? I was so far off that Fight Night would be a complete anti-climax. Surely even my opponent would feel disappointed that I was such weak opposition for him!

All of this went through my mind in less than a minute, with the idea of being competent at fighting (let alone good) like a mountain peak beyond my reach…

But-

I’d still manage to finish the session. Headgear off, unfasten the gloves, pull the mouthguard out. As I stood there and unwound the wrapping from my knuckles, it sunk in: even if I felt like a human punching bag right now, in some small way I was better than when I began that evenings’ session:

Either my stance had improved, or my jabs and hooks had more power behind them, or I’d be quicker at ducking or slipping my opponents’ punches and hitting him with the counter. It was like this after every training session, without fail. That’s why I kept coming back: the idea that Hey, I might still be far off but I just got better at this. Let’s keep going and see where this leads?

This would lead all the way to Fight Night: 3 rounds and 6 minutes to show everybody how much I’d improved since the day I first stepped into the Fight Like A Pro gym.

I’ll get to that big night soon enough. But first? There were other lessons to come:

#2. “Could I Have Done More?”

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I trained 4 times a week: Tuesday afternoons, Wednesday and Thursday evenings- and also at the crack of dawn on Saturday mornings.

At 5:10 my alarm woke me. I’d throw on my trainers, shorts, singlet and zip up my jacket, get into the car and drive down in the Winter darkness to our 5:30am rendezvous at Currumbin.

We’d all stretch as the sun peeped up over the horizon, do a light jog for a few k’s and then return for the big slog: 20 minute circuits up and down the steps of Currumbin Alley. Even for someone who represented my school and won medals in Highschool Cross Country, this was an uphill battle in more than one sense of the word:

When you’re expected to jog for 20 minutes straight and every step- going up or down- jars your knees, hips and ankles- you quickly begin to question why you should keep going? I’d think Stuff this, I don’t have to bother with this! How will it make any difference?

Then at last Kevvie, (one of the trainers) would be at the landing, calling out “Come on guys, finish up strong!” in his Kiwi accent. One final blast (especially once in view of the trainers below) and then pull up on the grass, sucking in deep breaths, hands on hips, sweating in the cool morning air.

What a relief it was to be over!

But then something happened-

5 minutes later while stretching down, I’d think of how I could’ve done more. How I could’ve gone harder. Despite how much I resented every step and silently cursed the trainers every time they’d call out for us to “Push harder!” I regretted knowing I could’ve done more. That feeling like I’d conserved something, not pushed myself just a couple of percentage points further?

It felt like a wasted opportunity.

After that realisation, I always gave everything during those morning sessions. Whether it was running those 20 minute cycles or doing sprints, burpees and crawls down on the beach, I kept asking Is this the best I can do? Because I knew that stronger than the will to back off, would be the feeling of regret afterwards if I had something left over and could’ve done more

#3. “What’s The Most Important Thing Right Now?”

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At last- it was Fight Night…

Gavin brought us all together in the ring before our friends, family and guests arrived. He spoke for about 10 minutes and at one point he said that if we stepped into the ring tonight and didn’t feel scared and wonder What am I doing here? then there was something wrong with us!

As it turned out, I was drawn to fight second. Before the opening bout of the night had begun, I was already away in the dressing room with my cornerman Tony and my other trainers, warming up. Soon enough, the time came to go down the corridor, out towards the packed auditorium and await my big entrance. Standing behind the stage, out of view of the crowd, I got last-minute reminders:

“Keep moving, go in and throw a few quick jabs then back out again.”

“You’ve got the reach- use it to your advantage!”

“Remember to back away, don’t be afraid to back away and catch your breath then go in again. If you stay in close range he’ll get to you- make him come to you and wear him out, let him use up his energy coming towards you.”

I was tuned out to everything except what they told me. I felt completely indifferent about the fight I was about to walk into. No emotion, no anticipation. Nothing except committing every instruction given by Tony and my trainers to memory, adding it to my training so far.

Then I got the tap on the shoulder. It was time to go. The announcer introduced me, fighting in the red corner. I hopped up the steps onto the stage, into the blinding lights and camera flashes. I struck a pose and shadow boxed as ‘The Touch’ by Stan Bush blasted through the auditorium- just as I’d requested.

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You got the touch! You got the poweeeeeeeeeer- yeah! After all is said and done, you’ve never walked, you’ve never run- you’re a winner…

I moved to the beat as I strode out through the crowd, ducked under the ropes and stepped into the ring.

I paced back and forth.

No nerves.

No gripping fear.

No wondering what I was doing here, with an auditorium full of people about to watch me slog it out for 3 rounds against my opponent, Glenn. I’d sparred him a few times already. I knew he’d be a difficult fighter because no matter how red-faced he got, no matter how gassed he was, he’d go hard right to the end…

Then- he made his entrance, as Bon Scott’s voice boomed through the sound system to snarling guitar riffs:

Jaaaaail-break! And I’m lookin’ towards the sky….Gonna make a jaaaaaaaail-break! And I wish that I could fly…

But I zoomed right back in to the task at hand. In that moment, it was the only thing that existed in my conscious mind.

Headgear on, gloves strapped tight. The referee brought us together and made the rules clear. Then we returned to our opposite corners. A pause.

Ring-aling-aling-aling-aling

There was the bell. This was it.

I recall what followed only in small flashes: the dark void outside the ring. Sizing up Glenn. Someone’s voice from my corner going “Ben- double jab cross!” or “Ben- move away, move away!” Somebody would land a few hits and the cheering would surge.

Then the bell sounded. Back to my corner to sit down and listen to Tony. Just one minute ceasefire until the fight resumed. For that minute, nothing existed in my world except:

a) Getting my breath back and,

b) Every word Tony said

I barely drank from a water bottle held at my mouth, because even that posed a distraction to me.

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I felt no emotion- positive or negative. For me, there was only the will to listen. Then the bell rang- up to my feet again.

By the third round, I yearned for that final bell to come and finish it all. It was now a grim, exhausting slog. I was more agile than Glenn and could throw quicker punches- but he had fists like mallets and if I let my guard down even a moment, he’d be in my face throwing sledgehammer punches. He was tiring quicker, but he wouldn’t let up. As a result, neither could I. Sweat pored from Glenn’s bright red face. I felt myself tuning out to anything but Tony’s voice or the announcer counting down the minutes or seconds left. Meanwhile, the crowd cheered and yelled out incoherently. I felt a brief flash of resentment for them, watching us like trained circus animals. So few of them had a clue what we were going through. I wanted it to stop and I knew Glenn wanted it to stop- but neither of us could do a thing about it. So we had to keep going…

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Ring-aling-aling-aling-aling!

At last! It was over!

The next 45 seconds was the worst feeling of the entire 10 weeks. I staggered to the corner and slumped over the ropes. My legs felt like pipe cleaners. One of the trainers peeled off my gloves, someone patted me on the back and someone else poured the contents of a water bottle into my mouth. Somewhere in the background, ‘What Do You Mean?’ by Justin Bieber played (and that was not my choice). I was rigid on the spot. I didn’t want to breathe, move a muscle or do anything…

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Some energy slowly returned to me in the following minute, however. The referee brought Glenn and I together, either side of him in the middle of the ring. Glenn had got a few solid shots on me right at the end and barged me up against the ropes- but I’d given him good measure over the whole three rounds.

Then the referee took my right arm and held it aloft.

Winner!

I was handed the trophy, but it felt like nothing more than a formality. In every bout, somebody wins. Tonight, the win was mine. The announcer came over to me with the mic and asked for my thoughts. I couldn’t manage a lot more than saying how tough it was to fight Glenn and how buggered I was.

That was it. I made brief chatter with Glenn and patted his young son (who he was now cradling) on the head. Then I stepped down from the ring, trophy in hand. My only feeling was relief, nothing more.

But then, Tony and my cornermen came over full of praise for me- because I’d gone and done exactly what they’d told me to do.

At that moment, a great rush of pride surged through me. Like I said, I felt no emotions going into the fight, focusing only on what I needed to do to win, on saving my best fight for when it counted. Despite the overwhelming fatigue- I’d gone and done exactly that. I’d been given a plan to follow in order to stand my best chance of winning- and followed it every step of the way.

For me- that was the real victory.

Leading into that fight- and throughout it- I’d felt on a different level of focus. The intensity was crazy. The crowd, the occasion, how I might feel about stepping into the ring? I’d shut it all out, shut out everything except for the key objectives of the fight.

If I could tap into that level of focus in other areas of my life- working, writing, meditation- what new level of results could I unlock?

***

In the following months, Gavin called me back. I was happy to return and resume training amongst familiar faces. I began sparring a new guy there, named Rory. I took him aside one evening and gave him some pointers on his technique, with no idea that (in the end) I would be the one drawn to step into the ring on Fight Night and face off against him…

On the night itself, utilising what he’d learned, Rory saved his best fight for when it counted- and got the win. In every bout, somebody wins. This time, the win was his.

But to the point- my Fight Like A Pro experience gave me some valuable lessons:

I learned that even in getting knocked around and feeling as if we failed, the question that really matters is: Did we do better this time?

I realised that as tiring or frustrating as a task might be, making that extra 1 or 2 percent effort is worth it to reach the other side and know there was nothing more we could’ve done…

And I discovered the power of tapping into a new level of focus- where nothing exists apart from the task at hand and what I need to do to reach its’ desired outcome. I discovered that zooming in completely on an objective- where everything else ceases to exist- is where you cast off emotions or distractions that would otherwise hold you back from reaching your peak.

On that note?

I want to say thanks to Tony. Thanks to my trainers. Thanks Glenn. Thanks to everybody who helped me on my way to that one night in September.

And thanks also to you, Gavin-

You were right after all! (And I’m still waiting for my DVD from Fight Night #34- you bet I’m keen to watch it back)…

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  • If you want to find out more about the Fight Like A Pro Experience, you can get all the info right here: Fight Like A Pro

 

 

 

What ‘The Voice’ Teaches Us About Keeping People Hooked…

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Do you ever watch a movie or show on TV and then go Hang on- I see what’s really going on here! and you wonder how you didn’t notice it until right now? It happened to me one night, just recently…

I’m packing my suitcase for a week’s trip away, and the TV’s on. I’m waiting for ’60 Minutes’ to come on because there’s a story I want to catch, but while waiting for it to begin, ‘The Voice’ is on…

Now I don’t normally watch ‘The Voice’. Actually, besides sport, I don’t watch a great deal of TV as is- be it FTA or cable. Anything else of interest I can find online.

But on ‘The Voice’, they’re doing the intro for an upcoming contestant. She’s 16 and her family are there to watch her audition. They share her back-story, including a home movie of her singing when she was just a small girl. Then comes the story of her father- a military man who was a casualty of war in Afghanistan. Cut to the news clip of his death and footage of his coffin draped in the Australian flag. This girl says he’d always say “Go” before she sang. Tonight, she says, she’ll hear him say “Go” in her head, as she takes that stage to put herself at the mercy of the 4 judges…

Then of course- straight to the commercial break.

But all of a sudden, despite having little interest in the show- I want to see how this girl fares…

Why should I care about the fate of a single contestant I don’t know on a talent show?

Why do we endure the bombardment of ads, always dividing our introduction to a new contestant and their on-stage audition?

Watching the TV that Sunday night, it suddenly ‘clicks’:

The producers are clever. They don’t get paid the big bucks for nothing.

And if you’re wired the right way, what I’m about to share with you could be a revelation to your marketing, the effect it has on your audience- and the results you get:

Firstly: Imagine if ‘The Voice’ was covered like the Olympic games?

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Imagine if you just saw the name, age and origin of the contestants. Saw them come up to stage. Begin to sing. They do their bit. Members of the panel turn around (or none of them do) and that’s it.

Think about it:

“Here we have Sophie Bush from Lismore. 26 years old and this is her first audition. After that last audition attempt by Chung Lin from Melbourne, she’s got a tough act to follow. Chung, of course, deciding to go with Kelly’s team for the next stage…Sophie’s coming up now and there we see her family…and here she goes, to perform her rendition of Whitney Houston’s 1992 hit from ‘The Bodyguard’, ‘I will always love you’ “

If it just showed Sophie on screen, gave her details and told you she’d be up next with no other introduction, how easy would it be for you to tune out and do something else the moment the ads came on?

So, what is it that keeps us hanging on?

Why do we care about somebody we’ve never met, doing something no more life-threatening than getting up on stage to sing a song of their choosing and hoping that at least 1 of 4 pop stars will press their button to say “I like this one”?

Want to know why?

We care because of their story.

We discovered their back story, why they wanted to audition, how long they’ve been singing, what hardships they’ve endured to get here, why it means so much to them to get up there on stage and sing, how it would feel for them if just one of those judges turns around before they finish their song…

So when that 16 year old girl from the Gold Coast talks about her fathers’ death and you see the videos he made of her singing as a young child- the videos he no doubt expected to laugh at with tears in his eyes one day at her 21st or her engagement party as he reflected on how far his little girl had come- we want her to go out there and succeed because you understand how much this means to her. On top of that, we know how much it would mean to her dad as well…

Do it for him- we’re all right behind you!

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That’s how they hook us into the story, make us care- and keep us tuned in.

It’s exactly the same with your online content. If all you share is dry, static information like where you’re located and what you do, there’s only a shallow investment from the people who bother to read it.

But if you give them reason to care by sharing your background, your story, your trials and your triumphs and why you do what you do?

People suddenly care about you and they’re eager to hear more! It doesn’t matter if your goal is a common one (to keep making money) because in the process of sharing your story, people invest in you and want to find out more.

The’ll even tolerate your adverts along the way, just to keep hearing from you!

So: How do you achieve this on a regular basis, get people tuning in- and investing?

You do it it through the following two mediums:

#1- Video

In this link is a great example of a 3 and a half minute video where (even if you’ve heard nothing from Kerwin before) you find yourself caring because of the STORY he shares:

Kerwin Rae: Let’s Get Vulnerable

#2- Regular blogging

Sure, you’re going to share your expertise, service updates or important announcements with your online audience- and posts like these are very important in the process of persuasion…

But it can’t just be static information. You need to go deeper and share your personal story- your triumphs AND your struggles. Your goals, why you keep making the effort on behalf of your staff, customers and subscribers and how you got to be where you are.

I get that maybe you don’t have a huge amount of time to be writing, editing and publishing a regular blog across your online channels. But, when you realise what you gain from doing it in terms of real results, then you know it’s worth making a priority- whether you do it or somebody else does it for you.

So, if you’d like that online audience to sit up, pay attention and tune in and become somebody they can’t wait to hear more from? Then let’s talk.

You’re the voice:

Contact Me

 

 

 

 

Some Real Numbers To Make You Re-Think Blogging:

I’m back again- did you miss me?

If you’ve been following for a while now, you know I’ve spoken a few times about how crucial it is to post a regular blog if you want to take your rate of leads, long-term, paid up clients or customers to the next level…

So I’ve been away, scouring the web for some real statistics on blogging for you to read, research and think about- whether blogging is something you’ve thought of up until now or not.

The figures you see below are just a handful of real numbers when it comes to blogging and how integral this element of marketing is to online business success in 2018.

Now, if you’re already 100% satisfied with the scope and the sheer number of leads and sales you’re currently getting, the rest of this post won’t matter much to you and I won’t waste your time. But for the rest of you?

Sit back and take note!

 

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= Percentage of companies with a regular blog who’ve landed a paying customer from a blog-generated lead.

I’ve spoken before about the real benefits that come from keeping a regular blog, in posts like this one:

3 Reasons You Should ABSOLUTELY Bother To Blog

Essentially, savvy online marketers make blogging a priority for the same reason well-connected, reputable professionals and business owners alike make it a priority to attend regular business events like conferences, networking events or workshops-

They’re eager to discover new ideas, but they also want to connect with new people who might be a great strategic alliance for them OR be their next, big spending customer. But to reach these people, first of all they want to know a few things about you:

They want to know what you do.

They want to know what you could do for them.

They want to know that you’re the real deal and can get the job done for them.

So if you keep a regular blog, you’re ticking all of these boxes for an online audience that is, for lack of a better word?

HUGE! (vale Darrell Eastlake).

Anyway, here’s the data that confirms just how many businesses are enjoying these very results:

Design Damage State Of Marketing Report

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= The percentage of Fortune 500 companies that had a public blog as of 2016

Did you think regular blogging was just a fun side-hobby for garage operations or people with more free time than paying customers?

You MAY want to reconsider that- especially if you have BIG ambitions for your business.

How big?

Try ‘Fortune 500’ big. These guys are blogging on the regular, too. Think they might be onto something with this one?

I reckon they are, but go ahead and tell me if you agree or not?

Fortune 500 Companies With A Public Blog

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= A company with a blog gets 67% MORE leads than a company who doesn’t blog

Do you want to spend your time wisely, doing activities that are proven income generators for your business?

Maybe you’re still not fully sold on the idea of blogging, after reading that report on the Fortune 500 companies?

So maybe this is more to your liking:

Study Reveals More Pages Equals More Leads

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= Participants in a Hubspot survey (mostly small to medium sized business owners).

Of them, 796 of the respondents kept a regular blog. And this is what they had to report:

Study Shows Business Blogging Leads To 55 Percent More Website Visitors

So at this point, if you’re not keeping a regular blog then you might be wondering “Why not?”

Be wary in doing so, however- because no matter how great you are at writing your own material, keeping a regular blog always takes time- even for a single post. On that note?

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This is the average amount of time (in minutes) it takes to write a new post:

2017 Survey Of 1000+ Bloggers- Orbit Media

So…

If you’d love to open the floodgates for new lead traffic, sales AND long-term customers that all comes when you’re strategically posting a regular blog- BUT

You don’t know where you’ll get the time to do so- or how to get started?

Let’s chat: Get In Touch

 

 

The Content Creators’ Secret To Smashing Post-Easter Burnout:

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Ok, so the Easter long weekend has been and gone…

Long days spent indulging, partying or taking it easy with family and friends- and now it’s over.

How are you backing up?

A shorter week means this weekend comes up quicker but on the other hand?

There’s that pressure to get stuff done in a shorter space of time…

Going “back to work” straight after a break like Easter can hit us like a bucket of icy water in the face! 

It’s one thing if you work for somebody else and your tasks are laid out for you. But if you’re the captain of your own ship?

Right now can feel like a real grind as you think of all the things that need to be done of your own accord. It’s especially challenging when you’re in a field that relies on use of your creative powers and expertise because chances are you can’t just take a paint-by-numbers approach to your work. Instead, it requires full focus and brain-power- two things that can feel especially hard to summon at will at a time like this!

So, this week I’m sharing the 3 things I always do that ensure I sign off on a productive week, regardless of the long-weekend I’ve come back from:

#1. Consolidate

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A longer weekend break has (no doubt) left a larger pile of ‘to do’s for you than normal. Coming back to this pile after taking it easy for a few days can feel especially discouraging. So…

Consolidate!

Just focus on the most important tasks. Those ones that have an absolute ‘must do’ deadline attached to them. If they stand to make you money this week- focus solely on them.

You can leave the rest of them for next week. Your professional world won’t come grinding to a halt because of it- believe me!
#2. Exercise

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After the chocolate, alcohol and food you enjoyed over the long weekend? This is definitely a priority!

Burn calories and make sure you get your quota of exercise this weekend:

Walk.

Swim.

Ride your bike.

Get to the gym.

Doing stuff like this recharges your body. Not only that, but it puts you in a refreshed frame of mind as well, and it’s perfect for sharpening your creative mind…

You see, writing as a professional feels like I’m a police detective at times. Even in my free time, my mind can still be “on the job” so to speak. So I might go for a walk up the mountain near my place or shift the afternoon’s work for the evening and go for a ride instead. I down-tools on my work brain, get into the moment and enjoy my surroundings. Physically I go to work but mentally, I take it easy…

By the time I get home, I’m often buzzing with ideas and I’m ready for action!

Just from exercising and “switching off”…

#3. Relaxation

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Don’t worry what people around you are doing. Go easy this week…

Feeling as if you need to go twice as hard to compensate (or through a sense of guilt) is only going to burn you out before next week. I get it- you love what you do- but it’s about being prepared. This week may well be less productive than normal- and that’s okay!

So relax.

Put your feet up at night.

Meditate.

Take breaks during the day if you can.

This is different to coming back from the Christmas break- you’ve gone from working at your typical pace to a sudden halt for Easter- and then you’re dropped right back into action come Tuesday morning.

But don’t go and sabotage next week from feeling like you need to do everything before Friday. 

Take it easy.

Recharge your batteries.

Get yourself fully prepared- and we’ll see you next week, ready to do what you do best

Here’s How To Make Your Next Post An Epic:

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Monday evening, I was near the end of a long train journey after a week in our nations’ capital, catching up with friends. It was late at night and all I could see out the train window was the reflection of the carriage interior staring right back at me. So I pulled out my phone, scrolled through Facebook- then saw a brand new post from an old friend, in which he talked about his love for the Steven Spielberg box-office hit, ‘Jurassic Park’. I read it- and I was hooked. Straight away I read it back again to analyse why I loved it so much…

You can take a look at it for yourself, right here:

Running And Screaming: Jurassic Park & Kids

Now (presuming you went on and read it)- what makes this piece special?

It serves as a perfect example of the 3- step formula for writing posts that people love to read. I assume you did yourself a favour and took a couple of minutes out to read Jono’s post, so I’ll go ahead and refer to it as I reveal these 3 steps to you:

#1. Use Pop Culture References.

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He starts out by referring to ‘Jurassic Park’. This is a movie an entire generation saw at least once (myself included). So we understand what Jono is talking about from the very first sentence. Referring to popular movies, TV shows or music is always a winner, because you don’t need to spend time explaining who the people/ characters/ movies/ bands are. Your readers get it right away.

When you set the scene for your post, it always helps to use something that your audience can easily identify with. It can be a more specific reference if your market is niche and has those interests (wake boarding, designer watches, hunting etc), but obviously when you reference more mainstream art, film or music then it’s going to appeal to a greater number of people.

This is how you get them reading from the start. Then…

#2. Let The Spotlight Fall On YOU.

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If you’ve seen Jurassic Park even once, then you have an opinion on it:

“I LOVED the soundtrack, and the special effects blew me away!”

“I was so scared when the T-rex got free and went after Lex, Tim and Dr Grant!”

“It was one of my favourite movies of the 90’s!”

“I used to get frustrated because they were so close to opening an awesome dinosaur park and then stupid people ruined it all”

(That last one was how I always felt watching it as a kid)

Point is- you have a unique opinion on this movie.

So does Jono- and after opening by referring to Jurassic Park, he turns the spotlight onto himself- and tells us about HIS response to the movie:

For him, Jurassic Park was the first movie that he really began to ANALYSE, as an art form (this movie obviously played a big part in shaping Jono’s passion for film). He says that despite the dinosaurs and the incredible special effects, he regards the actual plot of the movie to be about a man learning to love kids. He highlights two scenes to explain why he came to this conclusion, and then (seamlessly) moves on to a universal principle- the idea that we often hate what we fear. He connects this with Dr Grant’s dislike of children and THEN Jono reflects on his own life, a time when he disliked children and didn’t want them. Yet, in the same way that Dr Grant ends up clearly having much affection for Lex and Tim by the end scene of the movie, Jono now has two children of his own and relates his own experience of hate and fear morphing into love and acceptance.

He doesn’t just tell us what Jurassic Park is about- he goes a step further and tells us what Jurassic Park is about for him.

You don’t need to talk about movies. It could be something you’ve done in your life, something you achieved, a hardship you faced, a concert you went to or a TV show you loved.

The takeaway is that after telling your audience about it, you then want to switch the spotlight onto how it relates to YOU. What is this story REALLY about?

This is what people want to know!

#3 Make The Personal Universal

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What Jono has done brilliantly is recognise that his personal feelings are feelings shared by most of us. Yes, these are his own thoughts on children- but how many of you read his words and thought “I remember feeling that way!”

After telling us about his response to the movie, he then manages to bring us on board and make the personal universal. He shares life lessons that almost anybody reading can understand and relate to themselves.

As another example, I once wrote a post where I recalled the time I won the regional cross country in Highschool. The purpose of sharing it wasn’t to brag about my athletic prowess- it was to explain that as tempting as it is to compare ourselves to people we think are “ahead” of us, the only thing we should take pride in is beating our own “personal best”- because that’s what puts us in our most powerful position…

So after you’ve shared your own experiences and feelings, make sure you relate it to how the reader feels. Tie it into their own experiences, give them a gold nugget of wisdom, something to think about. Make the personal universal!

Now, if you follow these three steps?

You’re on your way to writing a blog that entertains, informs and makes a connection- all in the one post. Trust me- your readers will love you for it- as will the people they share it with!