The Ben Franklin guide to personal breakthrough (why we need a code of conduct):

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:

#1: Be Passionate

From what I recall, this was one of the first values I listed, because time is limited and you can only use it once. It’s inevitable that mistakes are going to be made and frustrations will come. No matter what you choose to do, there are frustrating elements that go along with it. So taking this unavoidable fact into account, what do I actually have a passion for?

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…

Conclusion

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.

Never miss an article again- subscribe here!

12 Big ‘Aha!’ Moments I Had In 2020…

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:.

I’m well familiar with the idea of failing several times over, but hadn’t heard it as an actual formula: https://cameronherold.com/marketing/the-rule-of-27/

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:

https://notesfromthescribe.wordpress.com/2020/03/17/why-your-business-is-already-great-of-little-hinges-that-swing-big-doors/

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”

Bruce Lee

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:

https://notesfromthescribe.wordpress.com/2020/02/20/your-journey-vs-your-goal-or-a-word-of-warning-for-the-ambitious/

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:

https://notesfromthescribe.wordpress.com/2018/10/24/what-paul-kelly-teaches-us-about-success/

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:

https://notesfromthescribe.wordpress.com/2018/11/07/the-night-it-all-lit-up-to-me/

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!

https://notesfromthescribe.wordpress.com/2018/05/30/preparing-to-fight-taught-me-these-3-unexpected-things/

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!

Get every new article straight to your inbox!

Copy, Marketing & Mindset: These Articles Show You How To Hit The Ground Running In 2021-

It’s not long now-

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!

#1- What Your 2021 Copy Strategy Needs:

How To Make YOUR Story Sell- A Demonstration:

The Macklemore Guide To Pumping Out Stat-Busting Blog Content

3 Ways To Sharpen Your Writing Game

How To Write Unique, Memorable Blog Articles That Stand Out

The 9 essentials you need for writing your own website copy:

The 5 Copywriting Action Items You Need For Your 2021 Marketing Plan

#2- What Your 2021 Marketing Strategy Needs:

5 Things You Need To Master Your Marketing

3 Reasons You Should Absolutely Bother To Blog

5 Ways To Boost Your SEO Rankings And Get Found

The REAL Stats On Blogging In 2020…

Here are the professionals and the experts I know- and this is what they can do for you:

5 Questions You Need To Be Asking About Your Post-COVID Content Strategy

#3- Getting Into The Right Mindset To Crush It In 2021:

The Reward Of Just Turning Up:

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

Storytime: The Night It All Lit Up To Me

No More Excuses: It’s Time To Make Your Shot NOW:

Why A Powerful Planner Is Your Roadmap To Reward

In Search Of Your Holy Grail- The Adventures Of A Late-Night Treasure Hunter

In a single afternoon, how I defined success changed forever…

How Are You Staying Business Fit?

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:

#1: Gym

Arnold Schwarzenegger

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.

Benefits:

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.

Benefits:

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!

#3: Walking

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.

Benefits:

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.

Conclusion:

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.

Never miss an article like this one again- subscribe here

7 Lessons In 7 Years: A Copywriters’ Tale…

I don’t know, I mean…winning has a price…and leadership has a price. So I pulled people along when they didn’t want to be pulled. I challenge people when they don’t want to be challenged. And I earned that right, because my team-mates who came after me, they didn’t endure all the things I endured…Once you join the team you live to a certain standard that I played the game- and I won’t take any less. Now if that means I had to go in there and get in your ass a little bit, then I did that. You ask all my team-mates: “One thing about (me) was (I) never asked me to do something, that he didn’t fuckin’ do”. When people see this, they’re going to say “Well, he wasn’t really a nice guy, he may have been a tyrant…well that’s you. Because you never won anything. I wanted to win, but I wanted them to be a part of that as well. I don’t have to do this, I’m only doing it because…it is who I am…that’s how I play the game…that was my mentality. If you don’t want to play that way? Don’t play that way.

– Michael Jordan

Last November marked 7 years since Scribe Copywriting became a registered business...

7 years since I completed the NEIS course. 7 years since I took on my first ever client (a personal trainer named Chris, and I still have a copy of the final draft I sent him, as I do with every other piece of client work I’ve ever written)…

Then something happened recently that made me think of this milestone, and I was quite flattered by it: an old associate of mine, a guy who’s been in business longer than I have (since he was a Primary school kid, in fact!) reached out and asked if I would step on board in a mentoring role with him? It’s not one-way traffic, because while there’s a lot I can help him with, there’s much he can offer me when it comes to business ideas.

This got me thinking…

After 7 years in business (and Scribe is the first business venture I ever founded) what are the biggest things that have stood out to me? If a young entrepreneur reached out tomorrow and asked if I would help to guide them, what are the lessons I would impart on them?

When I stop and I think about that, these are the things I would hammer home to save them the time it took me to discover it for myself:

#1- Be Specific

When I started out, I figured the easiest way to attract (and build) a steady client-base was to provide every service I could think of. So I took a “Yes we can!” attitude to every lead who came my way.

The problem with doing this?

I spread myself too thin. In doing so, I held myself back from focusing on an area of speciality and developing that craft. I lacked a unique identity. I could have spent more time getting better at providing those services I enjoyed the most- built a reputation based on that- and got paid more for it as a result!

If you narrow your demographic, you lose leads in the process. I’ve turned potential clients away because when I looked at what they were doing and found out what their goals were, I realised I wasn’t the ideal fit and disqualified myself. I missed out on the sale. But I gained the time and energy to instead focus on the important stuff- whether that was working with my ideal clients or working to attract more of my ideal clients.

All I can say is I have no regrets about changing tack with this, and my vision is clearer. My goals more straightforward.

#2- Choose Quality Over Quantity

I’ve long held to the belief that life is too short to go for what I don’t really want. Like if your heart’s not in it and doing the work to get it feels pointless, then chances are the reward isn’t that great for you. So why bother?

When I started out, I wanted to earn as much in a short space of time as possible, but realised after a while that I was sacrificing an opportunity to become the best, for the sake of making the most. So I narrowed my focus and it proved to be a better usage of my time and energy with better returns!

Before you think of how you could scale your operations up, consider what you already have in your possession. Take note of your existing customers, and ask how you could provide more for them- especially if it increases the opportunity to get more testimonials, better referrals and more money as a result of this.

When you’re focused on delivering more value first and foremost, you take more pride in your work, you do better work and the numbers take care of themselves anyway. Quality over quantity, every time!

#3- Meeting, Greeting & Mingling

In the very beginning, I asked a mentor what my top priority should be in order to drum up business? They said networking, and this answer seemed unusual- backward even. It was 2013, and didn’t modern marketing mean you should have a great website, a strong social media presence and plenty of videos to highlight how awesome you were?

But I took their word for it and so off I headed to this business breakfast or that event, loaded up with business cards and ready to chat. Looking back now, it was a great idea. Sure, a lot of business these days is carried out online, and by next year its’ predicted that any company who doesn’t have a website is as good as dead in the water-

Yet, the need for human interaction hasn’t been phased out by technology. We still want to connect. Think about it, who do you trust more?

a) Somebody you’ve only heard about online, or

b) Somebody you’ve met, whether they were introduced to you by somebody you knew or you’d never heard of them until your paths crossed

I’ve picked up new clients just through chatting to the right person down at the pub. I’ve picked up new clients because I met them through a networking event. I’ve picked up new clients through a referral from somebody I’ve sold to in the past, or somebody I’ve never directly done business with but who knows what I specialise in and is happy to recommend me.

I don’t know how tech-savvy you are or how polished and up-to-date your online marketing presence is. Neither do I care- you’ve got to be meeting and greeting. If business networking is still good enough for the likes of Richard Branson, then it’s good enough for you, too.

#4- Just Turn Up

Looking back, I notice how I’ve often found success or discovered breakthrough at a moment where I wasn’t expecting it. Either I hadn’t expected a lead to green-light a proposal I’d sent them, or I’d woken up without any sense today was going to be anything special.

As the Scouts motto says: Be prepared. There are times I felt unprepared or not in the mood to go to some event I signed up for. The day came and there was other stuff I’d prefer to be doing. But I went anyway…and on several of those occasions, I either learned something new and useful, or I was introduced to new people or opportunities that came in very handy for my business.

To become great, you’ve got to be consistent. Do the work, go to that event and be seen- even when it seems like nothing you do is making a difference. Don’t die wondering. The people who turn up and fail are still better than the ones who don’t turn up because they thought they would fail. Talk is worth $0. But action (ultimately) delivers real results. Remember that…

#5- Make Connections And Share Ideas

“It is a well-known fact that a group of electric batteries will provide more energy than a single battery. It is also a well-known fact that an individual battery will provide energy in proportion to the number and capacity of the cells it contains. The brain functions in a similar fashion. This accounts for the fact that some brains are more efficient than others, and leads to this significant statement- a group of brains coordinated (or connected) in a spirit of harmony, will provide more thought-energy than a single brain, just as a group of electric batteries will provide more energy than a single battery

Think & Grow Rich

You have great ideas that other people need to hear. But other people have great ideas you also need to hear. This is where networking and finding great referral partners comes in very handy. Instead of doing the work of one horse, you find a team of horses who make it much easier to pull that load.

Of course, you need to make sure you find the right connections, and I’ve spoken in the past about how to set apart the good people from the people holding you back

Yet when you’re brainstorming ideas or troubleshooting in the presence of other people- especially those who understand your business and have shown their worth- metaphorically your thinking goes from just one horse to a team of horses- and discovering that brilliant new idea or breakthrough becomes much easier…

#6- Make Every Day Count

I heard somebody a little while back lament that “the days are long, but the decades are short”. The older you get, the more you realise the truth behind this.

I can’t see the point in wistfully lamenting how quick time goes or how short life is- because the fact is that, to our knowledge, life is the longest thing we’ll ever experience.

So in light of that, the most you can do is to make every day count. At the end of every day, if you can reflect, think back and recognise that you did something of value- be it learning a skill, becoming better at your craft or having a valuable interaction with somebody who is important to you- then you made it count.

In business, I know I made the day count when I look back and through the day I worked on client projects, wrote more of my own content (be it a draft for an article idea, a video or an e-mail) or I spoke on the phone with referral partners or business connections. On top of that, if I went to the gym or headed out for a walk or took part in some other past-time that was more productive than just sitting in front of a screen and contributing nothing of worth- then sure, I made that day count.

We can’t stop time from marching forward as it always does. But we can start making every day count for something- and doing it consistently. Then one day we’ll look back with few (if any) regrets.

#7: Decide

To wrap up this piece, I want to confess something here-

When I started Scribe as a venture, I only viewed it as a short-term career. My real goal was still to get into film and TV, especially TV. I’d done 3 years at uni, completed my bachelors’ degree and I had ideas for creative projects I wanted to pitch. THAT was how I’d make a name for myself, and copywriting was just going to be my flexible “side gig”, something to pay the bills in the meantime…

But something changed. Too long to list here in full, but I started wondering if getting into film & TV was really worth it? Growing channels like YouTube made me realise that much of what I’d envisaged could in fact be achieved by this new platform, without the traditional constraints of network television. On top of that?

This whole copywriting thing suited me more than I expected…

Because in turning up

In writing

In learning time-management and self-discipline

I was learning more about myself than I’d imagined!

I’ve spoken about the power behind making a decision before

I remember doing the same with Scribe. I made the decision that whatever it took to build up this business how I wanted it to be- with maximum satisfaction in what I did and how I did it, with a healthy balance sheet to match- I would do it.

So whether you’re a start-up or an established business, whatever you envisage when you dare to dream?

Just decide.

Looking back now, after 7+ years, I think of how there was so much I was yet to realise when I started out. A website, a set of business cards, a signed document from ASIC and a registered ABN and it’s developed into this?

But for me, the story continues to be written. There’s always more to learn…

Never miss an article again!

Your Journey vs Your Goal (Or, a word of warning for the ambitious):

“Money doesn’t change you- it just highlights who you already were”…

Let’s go back- many years ago now, in fact…

We’re going back to when I was in preschool- that far. But I remember it still: the wooden pirate ship where my friend and I hid every day when the teachers called us in for nap time- thinking today would be different and they’d miss us. Nap time itself- lying there in the cot, bored out of my brain while they played new-agey music in the hope it would lull us to sleep (and I imagine the teachers looked forward to coffee, gossip and a brief respite from dealing with a classroom of unruly 4 and 5 year olds!). I remember being in the playground one day, the smell of damp autumn leaves covering the ground, blue gym mats laid out, kids playing in a stainless steel sandbox, thinking about how my cousins were coming over to our house tomorrow and looking forward to that…

From my recollections, it was the first time I’d ever thought about something in the future- and that memory itself is now almost 30 years in the past.

But I also remember one of the albums Mum played in the car around that time. And from that album, this famous track was my favourite:

I loved the fast tempo, the aggressive electric guitar riff that underpins the whole song, and the guitar solo at the end that breaks away and fades out with the track. The whole song, to my 4 year old self, just felt badass.

What’s interesting though is when you read the lyrics- because while the song is about chasing a dream, in the timeline of the song we never actually reach that dream. It is, in fact, a “moment in time”, of pursuing that dream, on a journey from a to b.

Then there was the major assignment I had for Year 7 English- we’d read ‘Boy’ and ‘Going Solo’ by Roald Dahl, both autobiographies covering his childhood and then his adult life as well. Our assignment was to write our own autobiographies- tell the story of our lives in the 12 or 13 years of their entirety…

But what I fondly remember most to this day wasn’t handing the assignment in.

It wasn’t getting 50/50 for my efforts either (can you blame me for bragging about this one?)

No, what I remember fondly is getting to take a day off school to write the thing. Mum and Dad were at work, my sister was at preschool- so I had the house to myself. I spent the day channelling memories and the stories of my life, writing them down, then taking a break to go watch TV for a bit or make lunch- before going back to my craft. It was a great day where I wrote something start to finish, and had a lot of fun doing so.

Reading some of my recollections out to the class, everybody laughing at my stories, the top marks I got- those were just the cherry on top!

Just recently, I was at a business get together where a colleague of mine took us all through goal-setting, step by step. We each had to write down a goal, and then take it to pieces to itemise the finer details of achieving that goal- how we were going to do it, what we needed to obtain, how we imagined feeling once we achieved that goal. Upon completion, attendees reported feeling a sense of new-found clarity about achieving their goals, and my colleague really showed his worth in taking us through this exercise.

Yet here’s the important thing to remember about the goals we set-

We can become so fixated on our goals that we ignore arguably the best part of going for said goals: it’s not the achievement itself where you feel the most contentment. It’s the journey itself!

Stop for a second and cast your mind back to something you set out to do, a goal you envisaged. Got it? Now ask yourself this, and be honest: was the point when you achieved your goal at last the most memorable, or was it everything you did up until that point instead?

Time after time- it’s not about the goal, but about the memories we create, the people we meet and the person we become on the way to reaching that goal. This has been the premise of countless best-selling movies and novels, and with good reason.

You see, in my earlier days of business, I made the mistake of imagining a future point in time where I’d have a certain professional profile, drive a certain car, have made a certain amount of money and live in a particular house- and how good it would feel to know I’d “made it”. Understandable sure, because I was just starting out and of course you think about how you want your business venture to end. But then one day, I did something a little out of the ordinary: I sat back and visualised living in that house I wanted to end up in. I imagined having reached those other goals, achieved them, and sitting in the spacious living room looking out over the balcony of my place, every little detail clear…

Then after about 5 minutes, I thought “Ok- now what?”

In just 5 minutes, I’d discovered something about our big, audacious goals: they are not the be-all and end-all. No doubt you’ve had other goals you set yourself throughout your life, then reached them- and guess what? You didn’t suddenly start feeling happy did you? You didn’t suddenly think “Now I can just cut right back and do nothing for the rest of my time here because I achieved X” did you?

I think back to my Fight Like A Pro experience

Sure, Fight Night itself was memorable…but after that one night, it was over. No more training, no more preparation for that big night- it was over, done. I passed (as best you can ‘pass’). But after about a week, I understood why so many guys went back and trained at the gym after their initial Fight Night had been and gone, why more than a few fighters on the card were guys who’d done this several times before as well. Because even now, I fondly remember that 10 week experience- getting fitter, getting better at fighting and learning about myself- the whole journey all the way up to Fight Night. 1 night vs 10 weeks- which do you think contains more fond memories?

We can look at other people in our field or even just in business generally who we think “have it made”, and be tempted to imagine how much better we’d feel overall if we were ever in their position. But here’s what so many people don’t realise before it’s too late-

You’d get there- achieve that big audacious goal- and realise that wasn’t “it”- and be left feeling the same way you did achieving all those other goals you’ve achieved in life:

Is this it?

I wrote more about enjoying the journey, here: This Is What Gratitude Really Gives You

But today I wanted to encourage you to re-think how you regard those goals you have, whether it be on a professional or personal level. Not that you shouldn’t aim for them (as long as your heart is in them, of course) but to appreciate the journey itself- the simple “doing” part of whatever it is you do-

Because one day, it’ll be what you remember fondly- so enjoy it while it lasts!

Don’t miss an article- get it straight to your inbox- click here!

Here’s 12 Important Things I Realised In 2019:

When I strategise at the start of each week, I think back over the week just past- did I learn anything of note? Because while you might have a little ‘Aha!’ moment every day, if you don’t make note of them then it’s easy to forget they happened. So I write them down and file them away for future reference.

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while then you know I’ve written about this before: 12 Things That Made Me Go ‘Aha!’ In 2018

So today, we’re looking back on the things that stood out to me the most over the past 12 months, those little ‘Aha!’ moments or bigger revelations that were (in the words of W. Clement Stone) “Little hinges that swing big doors”.

Yet again I’ve chosen one specific lesson from each month and I expand upon what it really means:

Summer Icon copy

“Too much screen time (even counting smartphone use) narrows the vision and gives me this ‘boxed in’ feeling. Be smart about screen time- where and for how long.”

Have you experienced this for yourself? I remember back in the day they used to say that too much TV gave us “square eyes”- and while my eyes are still round, what I’ve noticed is that being engrossed in your screen (be it your tablet or phone screen) for too long, wrapped up in the information beaming into your retinas- gives this claustrophobic feeling when you look away at last. Real life goes on, and it’s difficult to fully engage. If you’re like me and you do so much of your work online (like writing this article, ironically enough!) then you have to be careful with just how much time you spend looking at a screen.

My advice is to be smart about it- and in your downtime, get active, go find people to hang with, keep your screen time to a minimum and feel your world ‘expand’. Look at everything with new eyes.

Summer Icon copy 2

“I don’t do pain, I don’t do fear and I don’t do defeat. I am stronger.”

This one was inspired by the moorish YouTube Red series ‘Cobra Kai’ (which I’ve written about previously): The Truth About Cobra Kai’s ‘3 Strikes’ Policy…

In the Cobra Kai dojo, Johnny (yes, the bad guy from the 1984 original, all grown up and now the sensei) drills the following message into his students as they train:

“Pain does not exist at this dojo. Fear does not exist at this dojo. Defeat does not exist at this dojo.”

The first two are (to some extent) distractions that we can choose to ignore as we focus on the doing part. Fear is a feeling, no more. We can choose to make it irrelevant and just do. Pain is a temporary thing, and it’s something we’ve all encountered in one form or another. But it’s how we respond to pain- and that brings us to the next part: defeat. There’s a difference between losing and defeat. Losing is coming off second best in a battle. But defeat is to give up, and come off second best in the war altogether. Of course you have to choose your battles wisely, but those ones worth fighting are not the ones to do defeat in- to give up and walk away from.

Instead, it’s our choice to be stronger than all of this.

Autumn Icon copy

“We choose our chains- so what do our habits become?”

Back in March, I watched a presentation in a YouTube video, talking about how we develop our nature and how chains of addiction are formed. It outlined the following path:

  1. Choice- choosing to do something
  2. Habit- regularly choosing to do something
  3. Automatic- we do something without even making a conscious choice
  4. Identity- something becomes a key part of our very identity
  5. Nature- to be something is in our nature

You can see where this leads- for better or worse. I’m not naturally an early riser, for instance, but in the past I worked jobs where I had to be on premises by 6:30am. So I made the choice to go to bed earlier and wake up at 6. It then became a 5 day a week habit. Then it became automatic- I’d find myself waking up around this time, even on weekends! 

Momentum is a big thing here- people who are a success, manage to sustain success because the choices that underpin the habits of success seep in until they become part of their nature. They may fail at some things, but they don’t fail for long because success is part of their nature.

If you want to see a better 2020, here are the choices I’d recommend you make: Devote full focus to whatever it is you’re doing. Be mindful of time spent doing any task. Conserve energy for the most productive/ positive outlets. Meditate. Think about working smarter, not harder. Exercise gratitude every day for small but good things. Rinse, repeat, and see what manifests…

Autumn Icon copy 2

“It takes just as much effort to play small as to play big. So what do we choose?”

Following on from March’s revelation, you should be able to see now how we can choose what becomes our nature. To play small requires compromise and shortcomings, just as playing big does. But one gets better results, outcomes you’ll be far more content to live with. So what are you going to choose?

Autumn Icon copy 3

“With the right attitude, opportunity can present itself everywhere. So Be Prepared.”

Something you notice when you read or watch the stories of enough successful people, is that a hefty amount of them didn’t enjoy success right away. There’s any number of wealthy business figureheads who started life with worn shoes, a week away from being turfed out of their cramped 1 bedroom apartment and onto the street. Sports stars who were diminutive in size or with physical ailments you’d think would wipe them out of contention. You get the idea. But what took these people to success was the right attitude. Instead of failure being a sentence, they saw it as a lesson, a bump in the road. Then they kept on going. Before the opportunity presents itself, first we’ve got to be ready to take it. It’s one thing to get your foot in the door, another to actually walk through that door- and stay- so first and foremost, we need to have the attitude that matches success, before success itself manifests.

Winter Icon copy

“Regardless of what else may be happening (or not happening) in life at a given time, getting the important stuff done, crossing off the other outcomes and keeping the wheels moving- that’s the best thing you can do in the meantime.”

This is another mark of success- being able to still devote focus to the key areas and action items that constitute success, and getting them done. A winning team, business or organisation is underpinned by their ability to keep working away and focusing on those major items, regardless of anything else- and this means that sometimes you’re able to achieve success against all the odds. Those are often your most glorious triumphs that reveal far more about yourself than an easy triumph.

Winter Icon copy 2

“Boldness is the ability to go ahead and act without being sabotaged by fear or doubt, and to do so believing in a better future.”

In short? Just do it. Feelings are temporary, and often irrational. But results last forever.

Winter Icon copy 3

“There is more than one road to the Holy Grail”

I spoke about this last year in my final piece, towards the end: A Tale Of 3 Cities- My Take On The 2010’s, Part 2…

When we recognise that there is not just one fixed path to our ultimate outcomes, it makes us more adaptable, resilient and allows us to think more creatively. In addition, we’re less susceptible to comparing ourselves with others and wasting our time measuring ourselves by what we see of other people, not knowing the smaller details to put it all into perspective. If you adopt a “Whatever it takes” attitude, you open yourself up to opportunities and experiences you wouldn’t have enjoyed otherwise.

Spring Icon copy

“Despite the time you put into preparing something, sometimes deviating and trying something new or different actually brings you better results. Don’t become too set in your ways”

This really follows on from what I shared for August. But it’s good to have a message like this sink in that little bit more, because of how it opens your world up- and the possibilities that lie before you.

Spring Icon copy 2

“The value of your net worth is found in your network.”

I’ve often found that meeting great people isn’t entirely reliant on the people you have in your circle- instead, it’s found in the people they have contact with. When it comes to business networking this can be highly prolific because while you might go to an event with 20 other people there, if those 20 people each know 20 other people, you’re looking at potentially 400 people- and how many of those 400 people might be the very type of person you’re looking to connect with.

So it pays to be mindful of your network and finding a few good people to get alongside, because once you make the right connections, opportunity flows on from there.

Spring Icon copy 3

“Sometimes if you want to enjoy the view, you’ve got to make the climb first!”

This one came to me while out for a walk one warm afternoon late in the spring. I saw this long, steep grass hill and felt the desire to hike up it. It was a bit of a climb, and by the time I reached the top I was in a sweat! I walked on, along a street that followed the ridge of this hill. Then rounding a corner- I stopped. Looking out before me was an amazing view of the beach, lined by Norfolk Island pines, then the ocean beyond it- a view I’d never seen before. I only discovered it because I bothered to climb a hill I’d never ventured up before.

Here was this amazing view- and yet I wouldn’t have found it if I didn’t make the effort first of all. That’s the thing about enjoying the spoils of success- most things of real value don’t come easily (as I’ve talked about before): Finding True Things Of Value (Or, The Best $50 I Ever Wasted)…

It’s life’s great testing ground. Provided you just do it, keep learning, remain open to opportunities and appreciate that there’s more than one road to the holy grail- you might just get to enjoy that beautiful view after all…

Summer Icon copy 3

“Little hinges swing big doors, sometimes even without our realisation that they have”

Ever had somebody say “You’ve changed”? It probably felt pretty good, didn’t it? But what was the best part- somebody noticing a positive change about you, or that you’d (probably) barely noticed any change about yourself, which made the other person’s compliment a welcome surprise?

I’m convinced that the key to achieving this is found in the steps we looked at earlier:

  1. Choice- choosing to do something
  2. Habit- regularly choosing to do something
  3. Automatic- we do something without even making a conscious choice
  4. Identity- something becomes a key part of our very identity
  5. Nature- to be something is in our nature

That little hinge could be just a (seemingly) moderate change in diet, a change in routine, a change in schedule or a change in attitude.

And if you want to see big doors open for you in 2020, then it could be one (or all of) these little “hinges” that make them swing for you at last!

Get these articles straight to your inbox the moment they drop

A Tale Of 3 Cities- My Take On The 2010’s, Part 2…

Previously, I outlined the crossroads I found myself at, right around the summer of 2014/15: 

A Tale Of 3 Cities- My Take On The 2010’s:

Some people seeking direction go and travel to “find themselves”, but what they don’t understand is this: you can go anywhere you want, but if you don’t first change your inner-game, then you just end up in new surroundings with the same old problems. This is what happened my first year back in Brisbane- a continuation of the same problems and mindsets that existed before- and they needed to change.

But in this situation, it turned out the answer to my dilemma of “Where next?” already existed. It was all a matter of the timing. Because here’s 3 things I didn’t tell you about my life at the end of 2014:

a) I was studying part-time down on the Gold Coast, doing my MBA and commuting once a week for class

b) I’d heard about this driver/ rider app called Uber- new to Australia, it gave you the ability to earn money picking up passengers, driving your own car and working whenever you wanted to. I’d joined as a driver in September and made money driving people all around Brisbane. It was the perfect side-gig

c) I’d started attending a business networking group that met in the city, having been recommended by a colleague of mine-  a LinkedIn specialist named Julie

So in February 2015 I’m down on the Gold Coast for 3 days, at an online marketing conference at the Grand Chancellor in Surfers Paradise. Also with me are the Director of my business networking group and a fellow member who specialises in corporate video. Throughout the conference we’re animated- passing notes between us in a mad surge of brainstorming, brimming with great ideas. Then on the second day, during a presentation, the Director leans over and tells me she’s decided to open a new group here on the Gold Coast and she wants me to come on board as assistant to the Group Ambassador.

In a split second it all lines up: I can fulfil that role, and coupled with my studies, it would then make perfect sense to move down here. I can continue driving Uber on the side and if I need to go to Brisbane for anything, it’s just 45 minutes up the road.

In an instant- there’s my answer! I talked more about this experience in my very first article here: To Infinity- And Beyond!

So nearly 5 years to the day since I moved to Brisbane, I packed my belongings into a rental truck, drove down the freeway and spent the first night in my new place. The smell of fresh paint still hung in the air as I crashed out on my bed, surrounded by cardboard boxes from the move.

I quickly adjusted to my new surroundings. It was nice to be somewhere with less traffic, and the beach so close I could ride there on my bike. I could walk to uni when I had class or exams, and our new business networking group was close by.  It was the welcome change I’d been waiting for.

Burleigh Heads 3

In many ways, it felt like a breakout year for me with a sense that I was on the verge of great things- meeting people and making new connections with plenty of potentially valuable business opportunities. I remember the day before I flew back to see my folks for the Christmas holidays, going for a swim down at Surfers Paradise and looking along the beach scape of high-rise apartments, feeling like I’d finished a successful year. I was really optimistic about the year ahead.

But then the year ahead actually happened…

From early on, 2016 turned into a hectic period for me. It was like a hike up the side of a mountain that rose high into the mist, with barely time to catch my breath. Here were just a few of the goings-on:

  • I ended up dropping out of uni because I didn’t have time to juggle the workload any longer.
  • Some key personnel had left our business networking group (including the Group Ambassador), and their absence made a notable difference. In their wake other people followed, we changed venues, attendances dwindled and by May, the Director called time on our Gold Coast group.
  • Coupled with now driving to Brisbane every Monday afternoon for business networking, driving Uber into the early hours for extra coin on the weekends and general duties, I was clocking up around 800k’s a week on average. The only full day off I really had was Sunday- provided I didn’t wake up too late, having sometimes come in from taking fares at 4am.

Yet despite this backdrop, there was a period of time through the winter/ spring that I still remember fondly, when I took part in the 10 Week ‘Fight Like A Pro‘ journey, culminating in not one, but two fight nights at Jupiters’ and The Marriott respectively. I learned about boxing- and some unforeseen lessons about life itself. You can read about the whole experience here- and I strongly recommend you do: Preparing To Fight Taught Me THESE 3 Unexpected Things:

Simone D Photography28012801

Those 10 weeks probably summed up 2016 better than anything else could…

Recently, I read back through my journal from that year, and realised that if I’d kept going as I had been, I was probably close to burning out. After a year that began so full of promise, the reasons I’d had for moving to the Gold Coast were no longer relevant, and there was no particular reason to return to Brisbane either. So I made the decision to pack it in and return to the Central Coast for the time being. My family were there, as were old friends, and it was probably just what I needed even if it was a reluctant move.

I finished the year going up to Byron Bay for a few days with a mate from school, and we climbed Mt Warning which (in the end) felt quite fitting considering the 12 months I’d just gone through: What Paul Kelly Teaches Us About Success

I took some time off, and eased into 2017 picking up the pieces. I held my first ever ‘Stories That Sell‘ workshop, where in just half a day I demonstrate how to write a regular blog just like this one, revealing the easy process I follow that enables you to deliver content like this- and do it consistently.

I attended new networking groups, met new contacts, began teaching myself Spanish, started karate training again (which I’d done in Brisbane and then fallen out of once I moved to the Gold Coast) and just worked away. The year came and went, in 2018 I returned to the gym mid-way through the year (should’ve gone back earlier!) and it was freshly inspiring to see my weight increase by 10kgs in the space of 6 months and build notably stronger muscle definition. I painted a picture and wrote a 60,000+ word story that was based on an old story I’d written but felt could do with a revamp.

This was all backdrop to business growth- new connections, referrals and discoveries through my own research and a brand new website to match- Take a look for yourself

Rolling into 2019 and as I write these words, I’ve expanded further and I’m now the Group Leader for a new business networking group close-by. I spent a few weeks temping for a company in Sydney, and it reminded me of our need for real connection with each other in this tech-saturated age: Where’s our community at in 2019? (A brief observation)…

It also gave me a renewed appreciation for my regular workload- I couldn’t believe the amount of times in this temp job where I was sitting there, left with nothing to do. Waiting on somebody else to approve something before we could send it out, co-workers on the design team going about their business discussing matters I had nothing to do with- and I was left there with hours still to go before the day finished. It was a wake-up call, that’s for sure!

Still, I don’t want to get too far ahead of myself just yet. I keep working away, always looking for improvement whether it’s delivering more value for clients or bringing more value into my life. Looking back over these past 10 years, its’ funny to look at where I’ve ended up. I never thought I’d be here!

Before&After

L: New Years’ Day 2010 R: October 2019, Receiving my nomination as a finalist in the 2019 Business xCellence Awards from bX Founder, Matt Alderton

If I had to sum up the biggest lesson I’ve learned since 2010, it would be the one I included in a link from the first part of this article:

Figure out what you really want in life- then decide to do whatever it takes to get there.

That doesn’t mean compromising your convictions or your standards. It simply means to keep on doing. And be careful about using the words ‘never’ when it comes to your future. Because it could notably limit your destiny:

I never thought I’d take up boxing or step into the ring.

I never thought I’d go back and work full-time, even as a temp.

And back in March 2010, I never thought I’d return to the Central Coast.

But here I am- for now. You might have an idea of how you’re going to reach your goal, and if that how doesn’t go to plan you might worry. But as I like to say:

There’s more than one road to the Holy Grail.

You just need to be alert, keep your mind on that end goal and be prepared to make small changes along the way to re-adjust your path.

In the words of W. Clement Stone: Little hinges swing big doors.

Merry Christmas, and see you soon in 2020!

 

A Tale Of 3 Cities- My Take On The 2010’s:

In reality, a decade is simply a period of ten years that could fall between any two points in time you choose. But as it stands, we’re closing the book on a particular period of human history to be forever known as “the 2010’s”. Maybe it’s too early for us to agree what this decade will be especially remembered for (if you ask me, I’d say the increasing influence of internet culture on a political and societal level), but rather than focusing on this, I’m instead going to reflect on a personal level…

See, I clearly remember the beginning of 2010, where I was at, my mindset and what I hoped for the future. I worked permanent part-time in retail liquor, having returned home to the Central Coast at the end of 2008 after 4 years away, doing my bachelors’ degree at QCA in Brisbane. But after about 3 or 4 months back, I felt restless. When you’ve been away for a period of time like that, people inevitably move on and things aren’t as they were.

Truth is, you can’t go home a second time…

Meanwhile, I had plenty of colleagues and friends in Brisbane who I still kept in regular contact with, so I began applying for full-time positions up there in retail liquor. With 3+ years’ experience, it was work I knew well, something that’d take care of financial matters while I continued working towards my desired career in film and TV. Then I landed an interview and, using the opportunity to catch up with some friends, I flew up to Brisbane to meet with a company rep at the Royal Exchange Hotel over in Toowong. The interview went well- so well that later that evening while catching up with a friend and his girlfriend (now wife) for dinner and drinks in town, I got a call offering me the full-time position, starting in a fortnight.

So one sunny morning in March of 2010, my Ford Telstar fully loaded, I merged onto the M1, popped the Empire Of The Sun CD into the car stereo and the opening track began to play, called ‘Standing On The Shore’. Nearly 10 years on, I still remember this moment so clearly with the freeway, the horizon and a new era all out there somewhere in front of me…

“The future’s in my hands, hold it in my palms”…

So I arrived in ‘Vegas. Found a place on the south side. Started work at my new store. Reconnected with old acquaintances and met new ones. In my downtime I didn’t want for social invitations, I was out so often that my two housemates (18 and 19 y/o girls at uni) commented that “We must seem like losers with no life!”

On the surface level if you saw me, you’d have thought I was happy and thought Oh to be young again! But that wasn’t the case. I go into more detail about the slow descent I found myself on- and how I managed to pull myself out- here: The Night It All Lit Up To Me…

TLDR; on NYE at the age of 25 I made a decision that whatever it took, I was going to turn my life around from the rut I found myself in, because I’d had enough.

Brisbane-Fireworks-NYE

2011 arrived and while things didn’t change overnight, the 12 months that followed  ended up being a period of my life I remember fondly. I resigned from my job (one Christmas season in retail was enough for me!), found another job as a driver/ storeman working with a bunch of guys who were good fun, and the hours were stable. I moved from the southern suburbs to a great place in the inner-city with an old friend. With a new friend, we organised a trip to the UK to watch Liverpool play, a bucket-list item I’d had for some time. I was out on the town with mates most weekends, getting amongst it and just enjoying the fact that- for the first time in a long time- I felt genuinely positive about myself and about my future. Even now, I hear songs from back then and I fondly recall those days. It was also around this time when more than one person suggested I should get into copywriting as a side-gig, and (with no idea what that entailed) I looked into what working as a copywriter involved- and I was sold.

The rest is history…

While 2012 turned out to be the step-up I’d hoped for, not everything went as expected, as so often happens. But there came valuable lessons I needed in order to adapt to my pending life as a business-owner. Arguably the biggest turnaround came when I took the time out to listen to the 10-part Tony Robbins series Time Of Your Life, and (despite my initial skepticism) it completely changed a number of things:

  • How I viewed time
  • My appreciation of life for the here and now
  • How I organised outcomes and understood the why underpinning those outcomes
  • How I monitored progress on a personal and professional level, and
  • How effective I was at achieving my desired outcomes.

Looking back now, it was absolutely necessary that I made these changes to my habits, because they were the catalyst for what came next: Why A Powerful Planner Is Your Roadmap To Reward:

TLDR; Listening to Time Of Your Life and following up on the exercises revolutionised how I managed time, organised my goals and measured my ongoing success in achieving those goals. Whatever you think of Tony, if you want to become more efficient at managing your time, setting goals and achieving your goals, I can’t recommend this series highly enough.

My Post-30

The year finished with me completing the NEIS (New Enterprise Incentive Scheme) course (Link Here), getting Scribe registered as a business and printing my first run of business cards. I remember how impressed the NEIS course curator was that I already had cards to share before we’d even finished the course! I had people keen to talk/ work with me in the new year and by the time I’d signed off, I’d completed my first paying client job.

I couldn’t wait for what was just around the corner!

2013 was my first full year in this new life as a business owner. Year dot. What can I say? I discovered a lot! The next 18 months were really about growth, networking and learning, as you’d expect. I realised that carrying out my trade- the actual writing of copy- was only a small part of the job. It also dawned on me that beyond just writing copy or managing a business, doing this was teaching me stuff about life that I’d never comprehended before. Or maybe it was just part of getting older, with my 20’s nearing an end?

It wasn’t just my perspective on a lot of things that changed, but my life circumstances as well. Many of the reasons I’d returned to Brisbane in 2010 were no longer relevant for me. In some ways, my life and my future outlook had been completely different back then. Looking to the future, was this the best place for me to be? Considering the nature of what I did, I could work/ live virtually anywhere. I had no strings tying me in this place anymore.

So if I could go anywhere- where should I go?

Through the second half of 2014, this question increasingly weighed on my mind. By the Christmas break, I knew that one of my big aims for the coming year was to figure out the best place for me to be at this point in my life- and go wherever that was.

In the meantime I did the best I could, waiting for the answer to become apparent…

Find out what happens next- Part 2 coming soon!

After 7 Years In Business, These Are The 7 Books I Recommend Most Highly:

Before I go on, I first want to give a mention to the late Jennie Gorman, who recently succumbed to long-term illness. If you’re a business owner in South-East Queensland, chances are you either knew Jennie or knew of Jennie. While I didn’t know her as well as many other people did, I know she was always very well connected with the business community in the South-East, and her regular ‘Mastermind’ groups came from an idea featured in the very first title in today’s list. Jennie understood that no successful business person achieves their vision solo- that any successful person relies upon their connections, the people in their circle and the shared experience and wisdom they provide in order to achieve great things in life. While I unfortunately didn’t get the chance to ask Jennie, I’m sure she read the majority of these titles and would endorse their worth to people on this same journey as us. RIP…

“Readers are leaders”

I don’t remember where I read this one, but it absolutely rings true. Since I was 13, I’ve always had a great interest in reading books to do with personal development in some form or another. My “gateway” book (if you could call it that) was titled Being Happy, which I found in my parents’ book collection one day and opened out of curiosity. I think it was the title and the cartoon illustration on the front that drew me in. Written by author/ cartoonist Andrew Matthews, it wasn’t a thick book by any means, with easy to read paragraphs that were punctuated by Matthews’ cute illustrations. As I delved into it, I became fascinated by the novel idea that a great deal of what manifests in our lives is the result of how we think about ourselves, the world and the thoughts that dominate in our daily lives, before anything else.

Maybe I had more power than I thought?

I put some of the concepts into practise (e.g thinking about what I wanted rather than what I didn’t want, imagining that “how life is” was in fact changeable and under my  scope of control to a great deal). Beyond just thinking it, I had to live it and- surprise surprise- I saw results. The rest is history…

Fast forward to now and considering my job, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that a lot of books I’ve read are focused on improving in business, writing or some form of personal development. In fact, much of what I’ve shared here over the years can be traced back to the ideas of dead authors, whose words live on many years later, still just as useful, relevant and full of transformational potential as ever.

So after all these years, here are my top picks, in no particular order. As another saying I heard once goes “If you ask 10 different people you’ll get 10 different answers”, but for me, these 7 titles have the potential to make a huge difference in how you market your business, how prolific you are at selling, how well you can write copy- and how much true contentment you get from life. So in no particular order, here we go:

#1: Think And Grow Rich (Napoleon Hill)

12797394.jpgWhat you learn: In Think & Grow Rich you discover the 13 steps essential to achieving riches (not just material riches but also riches of opportunity and personal success), in addition to the potential power each of us has to shape our destiny via our subconscious. Through the countless examples Hill discovered over the 20 years of research he invested putting this book together, Think & Grow Rich overwhelmingly outlines what is possible to each of us when we tap into the right mindset and take the time to understand how our subconscious mind directly affects the path our life takes, for better or worse.

Why you should read it: Think And Grow Rich is great because there’s just so many examples of people unlocking all kinds of successes through history by utilising the steps outlined. This is one of those books where page after page you get flashes of revelation and highlight single sentences or entire paragraphs that are well worth the revision later. Hill has a way of explaining the concepts in a language that is straightforward and simple, taking into account how our language has changed in the 80+ years since Think And Grow Rich was first published. To date, this is still one of the best books to just flick through from time to time and reacquaint yourself with the great wisdom found within.

#2: The One Sentence Persuasion Course (Blair Warren)18938967._UY475_SS475_

What you learn: Quite simply, you get a clear, stripped-down-to-the-framework understanding of the art of persuasion and why it works. It’s one of those concepts where once you learn it, you can’t unlearn it- and you begin to see examples of it everywhere…examples you’ve encountered time and time again, but hadn’t been able to join the dots until now.

Why you should read it: Firstly, this is a short book- you can finish it in less than an hour! You’ll reach the end and go “Is that it?” But this is a great example of a good thing coming in a small package. If you work in marketing or just want to get a clearer understanding of how persuasion works, you can’t afford to miss this one. On top of that, like I said once you learn ‘The 27 Words’ you’ll spot them everywhere- and save a LOT of time when it comes to devising a strategy (big or small) that encourages your desired audience to take action!

#3: Words That Sell (Richard Bayan)5167h0iLXtL._SX260_

What you learn: Not so much a book you read cover to cover, but more a quick reference guide. At your fingertips, you have thousands of different words and phrases designed for all types of copywriting catering to all kinds of audiences. With this as a reference guide, the copy you write becomes bolder, more interesting, powerful and effective.

Why you should read it: Think of Words That Sell as your copywriting toolkit- if you have any interest in writing the marketing copy for your business or for somebody else’s business, then this is your one-stop quick reference guide if you’re searching for just the right word or sentence to use on your website, social media platform, sales letter or special offer. Never lurch to a grinding halt with writers’ block ever again, because this handy guide is always within reach and ready to give you a tonne of options so you can get on with the job- and pump out effective copy that sounds just right. But if you’re writing for somebody else, don’t let them know you use this as a guide- better to take the credit and have them think you’re a genius!

#4: Awaken The Giant Within (Anthony Robbins)51VV261Y4aL._SX326_BO1,204,203,200_

What you learn: The concept of our personal beliefs, how they’re formed, why we feel the way we do about certain circumstances and most importantly; how we can improve our sense of wellbeing simply by understanding the basis of these beliefs and asking the right questions. Robbins also goes into further depth exploring the concept (and application) of kaizen, which I talked about here (Revealed: The Success Formula That’s Made In Japan)

Why you should read it: I’d actually recommend reading this in conjunction with listening to Robbins’ 10 part audio series Time Of Your Life, and doing the daily exercises he sets out. I know Tony is a guy who polarises opinion- some people regard him as one of the great modern personal gurus, while others view him as a snake-oil salesman peddling nothing more than reheated feel good platitudes and short-term fixes- and I admit I was once in that latter category. But then (from a friends’ encouragement) I reluctantly began listening to Time Of Your Life and not only did I go on to finish the series- it had a BIG impact on how I went about evaluating myself, organising my top outcomes, setting priorities for those outcomes and implementing ongoing checks and balances to make sure I didn’t stray too far off course while chasing down my big goals. So call me a believer all you want, I still highly recommend reading Awaken The Giant Within and (if you like to be thorough with such things) listening to the Time Of Your Life series plus doing the exercises in both- because it may just be one of the most productive, life-changing investments of your time in a long while!

#5: Unlimited Selling Power (Donald Moyne, Kenneth Lloyd)

91teF2bHOCLWhat you learn: As the title boldly suggests, in this book you learn the core principles that underpin successful selling, in depth examples of exactly how a great salesperson operates, and what motivates people to buy from them.

Why you should read it: If you work in marketing or selling your company’s products or services, then you can’t afford to miss this one! It’s not just an effective guide when it comes to selling on the business front, but also on selling yourself- selling your ideas, your plans, your concepts, your desires to people. If you’re somebody who feels a tinge of anxiety when it comes to selling, or you need certain circumstances to be “just right” in order to sell, then this book is a great guide to graduate into the most effective salesperson of all- the one who can “sell from anywhere”. There’s also (obviously) the advantage that you’ll never hear another pitch the same way again- because you’ll recognise exactly how they’re making their pitch and why certain salespeople appear to have that Midas touch.

#6: How To Wow (John Dwyer)

How-to-wow-book-v2What you learn: Authored by John Dwyer, the man who (amongst many feats) convinced Jerry Seinfeld to appear in adverts for a Hunter Valley based building society, How To Wow is a refreshing guide that encourages you to think outside the box, look at previously untapped possibilities and dare to do things differently- regardless of what your industry looks like or what you’re selling.

Why you should read it: If you’re not content to be just like every other business in your industry and you instead want to become the stand-out name, then this is the book to read. Even if you don’t finish it with some amazing idea that completely transforms your marketing or promotions, it at least will encourage you to take a completely fresh approach when it comes to delivering maximum value for your customers and brainstorming your next big promotional idea in future. So get hold of a copy- and dare to think differently…

#7: The 3 Posts People Stop Everything To Read (Ben Mackie)


Screen Shot 2019-03-01 at 10.40.27 amWhat you learn:
Quite simply, at a time where the battle for people’s attention has never been more critical, you learn what kind of blog articles people still stop to read- and why this is.

Why you should read it: I know, you might accuse me of giving myself a free plug here. But this is my site, so why not? In all seriousness though, you should definitely grab a copy if you recognise what regular blog articles achieve for a business online (as we unpacked here: Some Real Numbers To Make You Re-Think Blogging) AND you want to write/ publish articles that are actually worth the time it takes. Because as you already know, there’s so much bland content out there clogging up our feeds, fading away unnoticed on somebody’s website- and the tragedy is two-fold. Not only did people waste time and energy to publish articles nobody cares about- but so many times the topic they share could’ve been a hit- if ONLY they’d followed the principles I outline in this easy to read e-book.

You know what the best part is? You can read The 3 Posts People Stop Everything To Read without paying a cent. All you need to do is enter your details, join our database and your very own copy gets sent straight to the e-mail inbox of your choice with just one single ‘click’. And even in the unlikely event you decide to unsubscribe from our database, you still get to keep your copy!

You can easily read this AND The One Sentence Persuasion Course in less than a day- and that’s 5 of the 7 here crossed off already! So what are you waiting for? Join up and get your FREE copy of ‘The 3 Posts People Stop Everything To Read’