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.

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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:

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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!

 

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

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

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

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

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

Then of course- straight to the commercial break.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Think about it:

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

If it just showed Sophie on screen, gave her details and told you she’d be up next with no other introduction, it would be much easier for you to tune out and do something else the moment they went to an ad break…

So, what is it that keeps us hanging on?

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

Want to know why?

We care because of their story.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You do it it through the following two mediums:

#1- Video

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

#2- Regular Blogging

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

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

I get that maybe you don’t have a huge amount of time to be writing, editing and publishing a regular blog. But, when you realise what you stand to gain from doing it in terms of actual results, then you know it’s worth making a priority-

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

You’re the voice: