Why You Should Commit 30 Minutes To Daily Learning (Without Fail)

Daily Learning

I own a sieve.

It’s called my brain.

I distinctly remember listening, then reading a book and then months later I listened to it once again. And I couldn’t remember almost 90% of what I’d read and, mind you, listened to, earlier. With such a terrible memory, it does cross my mind that I should really give up. What’s the point of trying to spend hours trying to learn something when it just washes away mindlessly.

And yet, every single day (almost without fail) I still spend at least 30 minutes learning something.

So why do I bother?

Two reasons, really.

1) I get smarter and faster.

2) Unexpected, practical ideas.

About the faster and smarter bit…

I’ve realised that my pathetic brain is not so pathetic after all. If I were to spend 30 minutes learning something I was already familiar with, it wouldn’t be a big problem recalling more than 50% or even 90%. It’s when I run into unknown areas that my brain gets stuck, and remembers little. But if I persist, it remembers more. And then you, I, we all get to a stage where the brain knows the topic quite well.

So for instance, I bought Adobe Lightroom last year. Well, I spent all of last year in Lightroom hell, because I learned little or nothing. This year, fortified with good intentions, I spent 30 minutes a day learning Lightroom. And voilà, about a month later, I’m wondering why I didn’t do it earlier. All those klutzy looking photos, all those erroneous ways of storing the photos—all gone. But it’s taken me many passes to get to this stage. So yeah, repetition does count if you want to get smarter and faster.

But there’s one other thing that’s even more interesting—and it’s called “unexpected, practical ideas”.

So what’s unexpected, practical stuff got to do with daily learning?

Input equals to output, right? Not really, not when you have a mind like a sieve. But no input definitely leads to lousy output. And one of the most underrated elements of output is “unexpected, practical ideas?” So let’s take for instance the scenario that unfolded on our walk today. Renuka was listening to some marketing-based audio, when she came up with some very smart ideas for improving our “welcome to Psychotactics” auto responder.

Was the marketing audio related? No, of course it wasn’t. And I in turn was listening to what she said, and nodding politely, when the idea hit me for a pre-sell for our upcoming home study of the sales page course (version 2.0). Suddenly in a matter of minutes we were swamped with three, very practical, very doable ideas.

Oh yes, there’s this factor of not having time

Nobody has time. Nobody in the history of mankind has ever had time. The people who want to make time, make the time. The others binge-watch “House of Cards” on Netflix. They find ways to get to Facebook. They find reasons and methods to waste the time. This message isn’t for those who make excuses. It’s for those who are diligent and need that extra push to be super-diligent.

However, it’s hard work keeping focused on daily learning unless you get someone else to help along. So find a buddy, or find a group. The more you try to do everything alone, the harder it gets. So first spend at least a little time working on getting yourself someone who will nudge you when you slow down. That way if you miss a day or two, they’ll help you get back on the daily learning pattern.

Daily learning solves a lot of problems

And gives you a ton of ideas.

My brain is a sieve.

I’m trying to block up the drainage, 30 minutes at a time.

So should you.


Next Step: Links you should visit

1) How to  design a solid home page that helps customers find their way around, and do what you want them to do

2) How To Put That Zing-Kapow In Your Articles (With StoryTelling)


Top Selling Products Under $50

Testimonial Secrets: Powerful Techniques to Get Better Clients-And Sales
Story Telling Series: How to suck your audience right in, in a matter of seconds

Sales Pages: How To Write Benefits and Bullets That Speed Up Sales
Article Writing: How To Speed Up Article Writing With Simple Outlines

Visual Basics: How Visuals Help Increase Sales Conversion On Your Website
Design Clarity: How to put sanity into your design with some really simple tweaks
Chaos Planning: How ‘Irregular’ Folks Get Things Done

New! Critical Website Components: How to write compelling content for your key web pages
Free! Excerpt of The Brain Audit: Why Clients Buy And Why They Don’t 



Black Belt Presentation Series: How to completely control the room-without turning anyone off?

Online Membership Website: How To Build A Powerful, Community-Driven Membership Website


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What’s On Your Stop Doing List?

Stop Doing List

One of the things that most people tend to do at this time of the year, is create a list for what they will do in the New Year. My wife Renuka and I do something similar in November or December. We plan the entire year as well. But we do it slightly differently.

We start with a stop doing list

This doesn’t have to be a business list, it can be a personal list as well. For instance, there is a tendency to wake up and check email or Facebook. This is because we now have iPads and iPhones right next to our bed. It’s quite easy to switch it on and get connected. But Renuka read about how it was important to “wake up slowly”. Switching on an electronic device and getting connected right away is probably the worst way to wake up.

This has caused me to switch off all the devices before I go to bed. This means I physically turn them off, so I have to physically turn them on. It’s like getting on a flight and turning your phone off, and it takes a bit of time before it switches on. That time delay is enough for me to think about whether I really need it on or off. And usually the answer is I don’t need it on at the moment I wake up.

This is the power of a stop doing list

Instead of listing all the things that you have to do, you list the things that you have to stop doing. It’s incredibly important thing to do for your own sanity.

Another component of the stop doing list, is to stop working endlessly. One of the main factors of our planning is to work out our vacations.

You may think that you don’t have the luxury to take a vacation, but you often don’t have to take a long vacation.

The body and mind needs a break after about three months work. If you take even a couple of days off, it refreshes both the body and the mind as if you’ve been away for a week. So the first thing that we do is organise the mini breaks. These are little breaks after a month and a half. Then we organise the big breaks.

The big breaks are where we take a month long vacation somewhere in the world. However, the mini breaks are more important than the long breaks. The mini breaks are just after a month and a half, and they help us relax considerably.

For a mini break there are certain components that are important

1 – You must leave your home. You cannot have any kind of break sitting at home, no matter how hard you try.

2 – Switch off your phone and your computer. You are not that important. Set a message saying that you will be unavailable for two days.

3 – You may not be able to take a break every month and a half, but it should be a goal to do this at least every three months or so. In a world that is going crazier by the minute, you need to slow down and let your brain and body come down to a natural rhythm. And the way to get started, is to have a stop doing list.

Your stop doing list doesn’t have to be complicated.

1 – Write down the things you are going to stop doing

2 – Plan your breaks in advance — yes at the start of the year. Then keep to it.

People often smile when I say that I’m taking a break

But my philosophy is simple. I have a choice: I can spend a few days sick in bed, or a few days at the beach/countryside.

I choose the latter.


Next Step: Links you should visit

1) Are you interested in taking your online business to the next level? Then you must have a look at 5000bc.

2)  Do you feel like banging your head against the wall when writing content for the important pages on your website?
Introducing: How to write compelling content for your key web pages. 


Top Selling Products Under $50

Testimonial Secrets: Powerful Techniques to Get Better Clients-And Sales
Story Telling Series: How to suck your audience right in, in a matter of seconds

Sales Pages: How To Write Benefits and Bullets That Speed Up Sales
Article Writing: How To Speed Up Article Writing With Simple Outlines

Visual Basics: How Visuals Help Increase Sales Conversion On Your Website
Design Clarity: How to put sanity into your design with some really simple tweaks
Chaos Planning: How ‘Irregular’ Folks Get Things Done

New! Critical Website Components: How to write compelling content for your key web pages
Free! Excerpt of The Brain Audit: Why Clients Buy And Why They Don’t 



Black Belt Presentation Series: How to completely control the room-without turning anyone off?

Online Membership Website: How To Build A Powerful, Community-Driven Membership Website


Next Step: To get more Psychological Tactics
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3 Ways To Deal With Overwhelm

Deal With Overwhelm

Overwhelm is like doing the dishes.

If you don’t do the dishes today, you have twice as many tomorrow.

And then on the third day of gorging and not cleaning, let’s not talk about it, shall we?

People who don’t keep up with stuff feel the most overwhelmed

You know those people, don’t you? They’re the ones who were around when computers came along. Who needs computers, they said. Then suddenly they were helpless. They couldn’t start up, let alone run a computer. They couldn’t find things on the Internet, and they’re also the ones standing in the queue at the post office to pay their bills (instead of doing it on the Internet).

The point is “overwhelm” is like the weather, it’s here to stay

So instead of acting like it doesn’t exist, let’s instead find simple ways to join in.

I use three systems:

1) Use dead time

2) Do 15 minute segments

3) Write down what’s in my head—and create a timeline

Using dead time

You can’t ever get ahead, but that doesn’t mean you need to fall behind. And dead time exists everywhere and every single day of the year. When I go to pick up my niece from school, I have dead time on the way to school and while waiting for her. I take a book and listen to audio on the way to the school.

Even if I don’t remember it all (and I barely remember 10%) I listen to it like radio. I learn a bit, everyday (yes, those 10% bits really add up). There’s time at the post office, dentist, even watering the lawn.

Of course, I don’t make use of 100% dead time. Sometimes it’s fine to just water the lawns, but most of the time I’m prepared for dead time. Most people aren’t. And that leads to overwhelm because in a day, you have at least 30-60 minutes of pure dead time. In a week, that’s about 5 hours; a month 25 hours; a year 250 hours. But that’s just dead time. There’s also learning time.

And I do my learning in 15 minute segments

At this point in time my day looks like this:

-  Learning Portuguese

-  Advanced functions of my Nikon D7000

-  Studying software such as Photoshop, Lightroom and InDesign

-  Writing a book, audio book, bonus for the book

-  Writing an article every day for 100 days (back to back).

-  Mentoring my niece for 5 hours (six days a week)

-  Managing the membership forum at 5000bc.com

-  Re-writing pages for Psychotactics

-  Drawing and painting a daily diary cartoon

-  Cooking new types of meals

-  Doing my photo book on Africa

-  Compiling a video about my nieces

-  Conducting three live courses (copywriting, cartooning, watercolors)

-  Strategic alliances

-  Email, yes that onslaught of email.

-  And ten million other things, of course!

In short, there’s not a lot of time. So I take 15 minute segments

I will plan for at least 2 x 15 minutes. Maybe one in the morning and one in the evening. And in those 15 minutes I may learn something about a program that will save me a ton of time. Or I may read something that forms the basis of my article and I don’t have to keep wondering what to write.

I believe in the concept that input leads to output. Without input there can be little or no output and if I can’t find 15 minutes, twice a day, well, that’s a poor day for me. And wonderful as these two systems are, nothing works better for me than just writing it down.

Writing things down and creating a time line

The moment I write things down, they aren’t in my head any more. To me that’s a lot of free space considering how much I want to do. So I write it down. But writing it down is the first stage. Then I do a simple time line. And that time line ensures one thing: It ensures that I actually think through how much time I have to do just about anything.

If I just write goals willy-nilly, I don’t get very far. If I put a timeline, I can see where I’m going to get stuck. No timeline is ever going to be perfect, but it’s a great start and most of the time it does pretty darned well.

Deal With Overwhelm

My timeline for the year. Notice I put in the breaks as well.

And here’s my day today…

In 30 minutes I’m going to create a timeline for today and the month to come (I’ve already done one for the year). I’m not going to be at my computer but at a cafe. It’s more productive. I also have a dentist appointment. He’s almost always 10 minutes late. I’m prepared and not going to read some lousy magazines.

And yes, because I’m prepared, the drive to and from the dentist, and at the dentist will make up for at least 15 minutes, maybe 30 minutes or more of learning.

I could put it off of course, but it’s like the dishes

Do the dishes. It’s your best chance against the rising tide of overwhelm.


Next Step: Links you should visit

1) Are you serious about getting your business to the next level in 2014? Have a look at 5000bc.

2) NEW! The Brain Audit: Why Clients Buy And Why They Don’t (Available in Different Formats)

 


Products: Under $50



1) You already know that 80% of a sales letter depends on your headline.

So what’s the remaining 20% that causes customers to buy? Find out more

2) Do You Often Hit A Wall Called ‘Writers Block’?
Learn how the core elements of outlining can save you from the misery of writing your next article.

3) Chaos Planning
Year after year you sit down and create a list of things you want to achieve. Then suddenly it’s January 2014, and you’ve not really moved ahead!
Learn Why Most Planning Fails: And The Critical Importance of Chaos in Planning.

4) Nothing bugs you more than a painful client. A client who hassles you at every step of the way.
Learn how to use the power of the ‘six critical questions’ to get incredible testimonials—and attract clients that make every day an absolute joy.

5) Do you feel like banging your head against the wall when writing content for the important pages on your website?
Introducing: How to write compelling content for your key web pages. A series of three books on how to create your “Home Page”, “About Us” and “Get Customers To Sign Up” to your website/blog. 

6) Do you know that visuals immediately improve your sales conversion?
Learn how to create drama and curiosity and help improve your web page conversion with visuals.

7) Do your websites, brochures, presentations, etc… confuse your clients? 
Put some sanity into your design, even though you are not a designer?


Black Belt Presentations: How do you create presentations that enthrall, hold and move an audience to action?

 

 


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How To Stop Your Left Brain From Thinking

How To Stop Your Left Brain From Thinking

Do you know how you freeze when you see the tool bar on a program like Photoshop?

Do you know how you’d feel if you were thrown into a cockpit and asked to fly a plane?

Yes, you did know how you felt, the first time you were asked to drive a car.

It’s your left brain at work

The left brain is the bully brain. It doesn’t just complicate things with its logic, it goes one step further. It drowns out the free-thinking nature of the right brain. But first let’s deal with logic.

The left brain is mathematical and logical

So like all maths problems it likes to be correct every time. Which is fine when you’re dealing with maths and 7 + 3=10 (and can never be 11). Every thing has to be black and white.

It’s different when you’re drawing, or playing music or writing an article. You can have your black and whites and a range of rainbow colours. This of course drives your bully brain totally crazy. It’s trying desperately to pigeon-hole what you do into black and white. And of course, it fails. This sends you into a bit of a spiral as you consider the options to rationally solve the problem.

Instead you should reach out for the right brain—the crazy brain— instead

The right/crazy brain doesn’t give a hoot about being black or white. So if you wanted to teach someone Photoshop, the right brain will accept that you don’t own a computer. It will also accept that you don’t have Photoshop in front of you, or the fact that you’re sitting in a cafe instead. And yes, you can teach someone Photoshop a lot quicker when the bully brain has been shut down.

This “crazy brain” activity applies to article writing, as well

Let’s say you’re writing outlines. And you logically want to think through the outlines. Well, that’s going to take you about 15-20 minutes per outline and your bully brain ping pongs between black and white. But instead do something quite radical.

Cause the bully brain to shut down

The way to do this is to give yourself a fixed time. So you have to cover the entire outline in fewer than say, 5 minutes. Immediately your bully brain will snarl. Surely you can’t have speed and quality, it hisses. But ignore it. Just go with your crazy brain. And at first, you’ll get resistance, but eventually the bully, like all bullies, will just get fed up and leave.

I found this when I was teaching shorthand back in 1990

My dad used to own a secretarial college. And I’d just learned shorthand (which is a way of taking dictation really quickly, just using a bunch of squiggles). And I’d been deputed to dictate to a new batch of students. Well, I started the dictation slowly, but as the days passed, ramped it up to a rather quick speed.

My mother (who also taught at the college) was not impressed

She told me to slow down. She told me that the students would make mistakes. And yet, we found that the mistake rate had actually gone down when the students didn’t have time to think. Their accuracy was up and their speed was better too.

But does that mean you should always go with the crazy brain?

No, of course not. Both brains have their value. But you have to recognise that the bully brain doesn’t do very well when dealing with fuzzy stuff that doesn’t end up with 7+3=10. So you have to bypass it. Sometimes speed works. Sometimes it doesn’t.

Sometimes change of method, location, technology—there are different things that work. And your job is to find out how to stop your bully brain from taking centre stage and prancing around like a spoiled two-year old.

Is the bully brain taking over?

If you freeze; take too much time; if what you do is driving you crazy, you need to stop the bully brain. Find a way to access your crazy brain instead to tackle the same job in a totally different way. You get your work done and most importantly that bully brain shuts up.

Phew!

P.S. The brain loves a break.
So no matter what you’re doing, take a break, if only a small one. A few minutes makes a big difference. Don’t head to Facebook. Just take a genuine break. Step outside for a few minutes. Or just lie on the floor and relax your back. And the brain functions a lot better.

Try it.


About The Brain Audit
There are two very specific extra “weapons” that The Brain Audit gave me. Weapons that I never got from the many copy writing courses out there (and if you’re like me, you’ve got them all, too).

The Brain Audit

The Brain Audit not only explains HOW the brain works, but also WHY it works. This is master-level applied psychology, necessary for any self-respecting marketer.

Gabor Wolf
Marketing Consultant— Budapest, Hungary 
Judge for yourselfThe Brain Audit Kit is a complete system that enables you to understand what’s going on inside the brain of your customer.
(P.S. The Brain Audit has received over 800 testimonials)


Top Selling Products Under $50


1) Story Telling Series: How to suck your audience right in, in a matter of seconds
2) Client Attractors: How To Write Benefits and Bullets That Speed Up Sales
3) Outlining: How To Speed Up Article Writing With Simple Outlines
4) Visual Basics: How Visuals Help Increase Sales Conversion On Your Website
5) Design Clarity: How to put sanity into your design with some really simple tweaks
6) Chaos Planning: How ‘Irregular’ Folks Get Things Done
7) Critical Website Components: How to write compelling content for your key web pages


1) Black Belt Presentation Series: How to completely control the room—without turning anyone off?
2) New! Be Kind, Be Helpful or Begone: How To Build A Powerful, Community-Driven Membership Website



Next Step: To get more Psychological Tactics
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The Blech System of Pattern Recognition

The Blech System : Headline Writing

 

Did you eat something today?
Drank some sort of drink?
Well, there’s a good chance you’ve been exposed to the multi-billion dollar flavour industry. Almost all the products we eat or drink have these flavours and companies spend massive amounts of money researching to make sure the get the right flavour for their product. And yet, in the early 1990s, a well-known flavour company did something really weird.

They’d conduct tons of very expensive market research and then ignore that research
Instead they’d go to one of their employees and ask her to taste the flavour and they’d wait for the “blech” response. If this employee said ‘blech’ and contorted her face in disgust, the company would do something even more weird. They’d treat that particular flavour as the winner. And invariably, the flavour would do amazingly well in the marketplace.

But what was causing that employee to say “blech?”
No one really knew—not even the employee. She could kinda describe what she felt, but if you asked her to write it down so that anyone else could get the same “blech” response, she wouldn’t be able to explain it to you.

But the results were outstanding nonetheless.

This is the “blech” factor at work with most talented people
They cannot tell you why they think something is wrong. But they can spot an error a mile away. In the case study above, the employee was doing the opposite. She was identifying what she thought was an error, which of course the public loved.

It doesn’t matter which way you slice and dice the result, the fact remains: the talent for identifying the winner remained in place. But the problem is that the person still can’t explain the steps involved.

And this is why talent becomes so very mysterious
Vic Braden is a tennis coach of great repute. He has the same problem. He can spot a double fault before the player hits the ball. Professional tennis players are able to go through entire games without making more than two or three double faults. And yet, like magic, Vic can tell—long before the ball has been hit.

There’s something about the way the players hold themselves or does just before, that causes Vic to call the double fault.

And there’s a reason why they can’t explain this pattern recognition
For this we have to go down the road with two sets of parents. The sun is rising. And one parent turns to their child and says: “Look at the sunrise. It’s so beautiful.” And the child learns the word “sunrise” and “beautiful”.

The second parent walks with their child and says: “Look at the sunrise. Look how blue the sky is right at the top. Look how it then moves to a mix of yellow-ochre and blue. And then finally look how much yellow ochre there is on the horizon. And notice that orange glow just as the sun comes up, maybe even a little pink.

And yes, isn’t that a beautiful sunrise?

Now what’s happened in the brain of these two kids?
Something quite interesting actually. Both are seeing the same sunrise. But one is being exposed to a completely different set of facts that goes way beyond the terms “beautiful” and “sunrise”.

They may not even understand what “blue” and “yellow ochre” is, but they will register it.

As you have registered it in your brain right now.

When you step out to look at the sky, you will never see “blue skies” again. You will see shades in the sky that you’ve never seen though you’ve been looking at skies for decades.

The problem is that the moment of recognition is brief and often unimportant
If you asked the parent: When did you teach  your child to recognise the shades in the sky? they will often have no recollection. The child themselves, will have no recollection of the event.

And yet the brain is at work. It’s seeing the pattern and recognising it. Sometimes the pattern is pointed out by someone else, as I’m doing here. Sometimes the pattern is just detected in your brain, without any conscious effort.

Over time, the pattern builds up and there comes a moment when “blech” becomes the norm. When you can see the “blech” factor unfolding before your very eyes.

But this does bring up an important question: Why is the “blech factor” so important?
It’s important because the definition of talent (yes, my definition) is a “reduction of errors”. The fewer errors you make, the more talented you are. So for instance, if you were writing headlines and I showed you, and worked you through a series of ways to write headlines, you’d have to go through three separate stages.

Stage 1: How to detect a blech headline.
Stage 2: How to fix it.
Stage 3: How to get a great headline.

And because headline writing consists of simple elements that you add or subtract, it’s easy to know when a headline is blech
And how to fix it. When you fix it, you get a great headline. There’s no great magic to it. But without the blech factor it’s hard to tell. Because beauty or greatness is abstract. But when that child grows up a bit and looks at an oil painting that has a perfectly blue sky from top to bottom, they’ll know something is wrong.

They may not be able to tell you that the shades are missing, but they’ll voice their “blech”—and you’ll think of them as extremely talented, even though the can’t explain why they are able to spot the good from the crappy.

That employee was able to detect the blech factor
Even though the market research (yes, the very, very expensive market research) was pointing in one direction, she would be able to spot a winner by the one flavour that made her feel all “blech”. And it made her company millions of dollars in contracts.

But it’s all a mystery, because it can’t be bottled. That code may not decrypted easily. And yet, there is a code, if you’re truly interested in learning a skill.

When you find the right teacher and have a system of training in place, this code is easy to crack
You have to learn the code. And practice it. Then it becomes second nature.
You know the good stuff. And you know the blech. And you can fix it.

And people call you “amazingly talented”.
And you smile and say “thank you”.


About The Brain Audit
There are two very specific extra “weapons” that The Brain Audit gave me. Weapons that I never got from the many copy writing courses out there (and if you’re like me, you’ve got them all, too).

The Brain Audit

The Brain Audit not only explains HOW it works, but also WHY it works. This is master-level applied psychology, necessary for any self-respecting marketer.

Gabor Wolf
Marketing Consultant— Budapest, Hungary 
Judge for yourselfThe Brain Audit Kit is a complete system that enables you to understand what’s going on inside the brain of your customer.
(P.S. The Brain Audit has received over 800 testimonials)


Top Selling Products Under $50


1) Story Telling Series: How to suck your audience right in, in a matter of seconds
2) Client Attractors: How To Write Benefits and Bullets That Speed Up Sales
3) Outlining: How To Speed Up Article Writing With Simple Outlines
4) Visual Basics: How Visuals Help Increase Sales Conversion On Your Website
5) Design Clarity: How to put sanity into your design with some really simple tweaks
6) Chaos Planning: How ‘Irregular’ Folks Get Things Done
7) Critical Website Components: How to write compelling content for your key web pages


1) Black Belt Presentation Series: How to completely control the room—without turning anyone off?
2) New! Be Kind, Be Helpful or Begone: How To Build A Powerful, Community-Driven Membership Website



Next Step: To get more Psychological Tactics
Subscribe: :
Get Updates via RSS | Get Updates via Email


Let’s Just Get To The Bottom Of This Hill, Mr.Frodo

Working_Smarter_View_From_T

Imagine thirty thousand menacing obstacles in your path to success.

You’re dehydrated. Hungry as hell. And wobbling like a drunk on too much Guinness. Your eyes hurt, your head throbs and your will is all but broken. You’re not even sure you want to go on.

You feel like Frodo.

As in the character Frodo, in the final episode of the ‘Lord of the Rings-The Return of the King.’

Terror and dismay gleam from Frodo’s big, expressive blue eyes. In the distance, he can see his goal. But it seems to him like he’ll never get there. He turns to Sam and says in a defeated tone, “Sam, it’s the Eye,” referring to the eye of Sauron – the enemy he must destroy.

And Sam turns to Frodo in a soft, encouraging voice and says, “Let’s just get to the bottom of this hill, Mr.Frodo.”

Let’s just get to the bottom of this hill, Mr.Frodo.

I spoke at the World Internet Summit in Sydney, Australia, a few years ago. And I saw about two hundred and fifty Frodos in the audience.

Confused. Weary. Inundated with dozens of tactics and strategies about the Internet, their eyes stared into nothingness. Frozen stiff at the task of having to build an Internet business from scratch, almost all of them seemed to have a cross too heavy to bear.

And they didn’t exactly have Sam to egg them on.

I said to them, like I say to you. “Let’s just get to the bottom of this hill, Mr.Frodo.” Then we’ll do the next hill, and the next and the next, till we get to our destination.

You’re bound to be struggling. I struggled at Yoga class. I’m a first-class doofus. Five minutes after we start the class, I wonder when it’s all going to end. I look at the ‘human pretzels’ twisting and turning to the left and right of me, and I can’t ever see myself being so flexible. And I despair.

But I’ve got my own personal Sam. I simply say to myself:”Let’s just get to the bottom of this hill, Mr.Frodo”

And hurrah, yippeee yahooey, I actually made it past
Yoga session No.2. :)

Share your ‘Frodo Story’ here.


Next Step: Links you should visit

1) How do you create presentations that enthral, hold and move  an audience to action? Find out more…

2) Are you serious about getting your business to the next level in 2014? Have a look at 5000bc.

3) Are you losing tons of potential business because you don’t know how the brain works? Read how The Brain Audit can help you.


Products: Under $50
NEW!
You already know that 80% of a sales letter depends on your headline.
So what’s the remaining 20% that causes customers to buy? Find out more

1) Do You Often Hit A Wall Called ‘Writers Block’?
Learn how the core elements of outlining can save you from the misery of writing your next article.

2) Do you know that visuals immediately improve your sales conversion?
Learn how to create drama and curiosity and help improve your web page conversion with visuals.

3) Do your websites, brochures, presentations, etc… confuse your clients?
Put some sanity into your design, even though you are not a designer?

4) Chaos Planning
Year after year you sit down and create a list of things you want to achieve. Then suddenly it’s January 2013, and you’ve not really moved ahead as you’d expected!
Learn Why Most Planning Fails: And The Critical Importance of Chaos in Planning.

5) Nothing bugs you more than a painful client.
A client who hassles you at every step of the way. Learn how to use the power of the ‘six critical questions’ to get incredible testimonials—and attract clients that make every day an absolute joy.


Black Belt Presentations: How do you create presentations that enthrall, hold and move an audience to action?

 


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The Core Difference Between Winners and Losers

The Core Difference Between Winners and Losers

There are two kinds of people on the planet.

Those who make excuses.

And those who don’t.

The ones who make excuses don’t start that way

No one is ‘born talented’ at making excuses. But over the years they learn to get out of things. They learn how to blame the weather, their parents, their teachers, the system, the chewing gum—yeah, pretty much anything that can deflect the blame. And give them the excuse they need.

And then there are those who don’t

Or rather won’t.

We all have our difficulties and some days we feel like making excuses. And we start mumbling, but stop before the mumble pushes itself into a rumble. And we get the job done.

Amazingly all of us have similar capabilities. Similar capabilities to get stuff done

Or completely screw up our lives with excuses.

When you wake up in the morning you get to choose which route to take. As one wise person said: The difference between successful people and unsuccessful people is that smart people hate doing the same things that unsuccessful people hate doing—but successful people do it any way.

As you go on this journey, you get the chance to back out

To make excuses.

To blame the chewing gum.

Or not.

You have the choice.

You decide.


“I have a business and attracting new customers require a continuous effort. I am always searching for ways to take my business to the next level.”

 Story Telling Series: Psychotactics

The Story Telling Mini Series gave me the road map for my web-site.
Demet Kitis, Canada
Judge for yourself: Story Telling Mini Series


NEW! The Brain Audit: Why Clients Buy And Why They Don’t (Available in Different Formats)


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1) Testimonial Secrets: Powerful Techniques to Get Better Clients-And Sales
2) Story Telling Series: How to suck your audience right in, in a matter of seconds

3) Sales Pages: How To Write Benefits and Bullets That Speed Up Sales
4) Article Writing: How To Speed Up Article Writing With Simple Outlines

5) Visual Basics: How Visuals Help Increase Sales Conversion On Your Website
6) Design Clarity: How to put sanity into your design with some really simple tweaks
7) Chaos Planning: How ‘Irregular’ Folks Get Things Done


1) Black Belt Presentation Series: How to completely control the room—without turning anyone off?
2) Online Membership Sites: How To Build A Powerful, Community-Driven Membership Website


 

 


Why A Timer Is Your Best Friend (When Writing Articles)

Why A Timer Is Your Best Friend (When Writing Articles)

Imagine you have to go away for a week on vacation

Suddenly something intensely interesting happens with your planning. You have no time to waste. Facebook, Twitter and all other idiotic distractions never show up on your screen. TV watching becomes a luxury. Every moment of your day is focused on clearing your schedule so that your vacation is truly restful.

Incredibly, having less time causes us all to be truly productive.

And to be truly productive with article writing, we need a timer

But that’s crazy, you say. Surely a timer isn’t going to help. If a timer were the solution to the problem, every writer on the planet would simply buy that magic timer and voile, the article would get written.

But let’s put that objection away for a second and examine why a timer works.

A timer works on three separate fronts:

- Editing

- Topics

- Outlining

Let’s start with editing…

Most of us detest putting out an article that’s less than perfect. Of course, this is the opening chorus for chaos, as you can see. We write, cancel, edit, edit, write, delete, edit, edit the story is familiar to you, no doubt. But if you’ve got no time to edit, you do a cursory edit after you’re done, because hey, you have no time.

And that’s just the first reason. The second reason is simply the choice of topics.

Topics can be a menace 

Usually, if you’ve done even a bit of preparation, you’ll have about twenty topics to write about. But even if you have just two or three topics, you’ll soon start a merry dance. You’ll start writing one topic, decide that’s too hard, go to the second, and then bounce away to the third.

This chomps into your time on any given day and leaves you frustrated. But if you have a timer, the message is clear, you have no time. This is your topic, now get down to work. This gives you a clear sense of focus, and what’s more forces you to resort to the third point, namely, outlining.

Outlining becomes critical when a timer is involved

Without a timer, it’s easy to just sashay into an article, get lost and start all over again. But when time is short, you need a checklist. And your outline is your checklist.

You are forced to spend the critical five-seven minutes creating an outline (if you haven’t already done so earlier). And it forces you to make sure you don’t dawdle over the outline either. It’s all go, go, go. No time to waste.

Ok, so a timer may well help, but how do you set the timer? 

Should you set it for an hour? Two hours? Three hours? When I first began my writing career, I used to spend two days writing an article.

Obviously I had not a clue about outlines or timers. And you won’t fancy a two-day timer anyway. So here’s what you need to do:

Step 1: Set a timer for the topic.

Step 2: Set a timer for the outline.

Step 3: Set a timer for the article writing.

Step 4: Set a timer for the editing.

Step 5: Ditto for the formatting.

The topics and outlines should ideally be done the day, or night before. If you’re doing it all at one go, you’re not allowing your brain to rehearse the article in advance. But let’s say you don’t do it in advance, set about 5 minutes for the topic/sub-topic generation, and pick one topic. Then outline the topic in no more than 5-7 minutes. Any longer and you’re doing something wrong.

Writing should go on for about 60-90 minutes at best. Then you stop.

You edit for 10 minutes and format for another ten. Add it all up and you get about 130 minutes. That’s a little over two hours for an article with a timer.

But isn’t two hours a lot of time?

Yes it is. And that’s the kind of time you need to put in to turn out an article. In fact, some writers may take as many as three hours per article it really depends how much command you have over the structure.

But that’s just at the start. As you get more control over the structure of article writing, the same task can be achieved easily in under an hour.

Yes, I used to take two days to write an article. Today it takes me fewer than 45 minutes. And this means I can write 4-5 articles in a day if I choose to do so. Of course you can see how this helps when writing a course or a book.

You can now plough through about 4000-5000 words in a morning, without too much strain.

But newbie writers make the mistake of working without a timer 

And the clock ticks away relentlessly, getting the writer more tired by the minute. You see, it’s not just time that’s being drained away, but also energy. The more time you spend, the more tired you get.

The more tired you get, the more cruddy the result. By the time you get to the editing and formatting stage, you’re so exhausted that article writing seems like a chore to avoid. And eventually you decide it’s too much of a misery and avoid article writing altogether.

This painful experience can be minimised if you get that tick, tick, timer going.

A timer forces efficiency. And it forces you to stop. It gets your editing mania under control, your topics and outlining in order. And when the buzzer goes off, it’s time to finish the article.

But what if the article is unfinished?

Have you missed all your vacation flights? No you haven’t, have you?

You finished your tasks, turned off the lights, locked the door and somehow made it to the airport. In a similar manner, you’ll do the same with your articles. As you reach that deadline, you’ll get the job completed, formatted and ready to go.

Try it.

It might even end up being the key to your future vacations.

bat_smile


NEW! The Brain Audit is now available in many formats

Brain Audit Epub and Kindle
1) You can get a physical book
2) You can get the ePub/Kindle/PDF version for $9.99
3) You can get an audio version
4) Or you can get the the more interesting (or should we say “most interesting”) option The Brain Audit Kit.
Find out more Brain Audit Options


Top Selling Products Under $50


NEW! Critical Website Components: A Simple Step-by-Step System to Creating your Key Website Pages

1) Testimonial Secrets: Powerful Techniques to Get Better Clients-And Sales
2) Story Telling Series: How to suck your audience right in, in a matter of seconds
3) Sales Pages: How To Write Benefits and Bullets That Speed Up Sales
4) Article Writing: How To Speed Up Article Writing With Simple Outlines
5) Visual Basics: How Visuals Help Increase Sales Conversion On Your Website
6) Design Clarity: How to put sanity into your design with some really simple tweaks
7) Chaos Planning: How ‘Irregular’ Folks Get Things Done


1) Black Belt Presentation Series: How to completely control the room—without turning anyone off?
2) Online Membership Sites: How To Build A Powerful, Community-Driven Membership Website


 

 


The Curse of Super Momentum: Why We Feel Stuck

The Curse of Super Momentum: Why We Feel  Stuck

Have you ever driven a car really fast? At some point it seems like the car is standing still. You’re doing 100mph, but it sure feels like you’re not really moving. You get this feeling on a plane as well. You’re hurtling at 500mph and you feel like it’s a terribly long flight and you’re bored, frustrated and there seems to be no destination in sight.

This is the curse of super-momentum

I’ll have participants on a course like cartooning for instance. Some participants do just one or two cartoons a day. Some do sixteen a day. So who feels the most stuck?

Yup, it’s odd, but the ones who are doing sixteen feel like they’re not making progress as quickly as they should. They feel like they’re standing still. And it’s true, you do feel like you’re standing still.

Several years ago it would take me a day or two to write an article

Now I can turn out three or more articles in a day. But I often feel like I’m doing nothing. I’ll get up, write two or three articles. Read through about 50 posts, go for a walk and I feel I’ve done NOTHING! I feel the same with my watercolours. In 2010, you couldn’t talk to me when I was doing a wash of watercolour. Now I can do three washes while having breakfast. And I think I’ve done nothing.

Super-momentum is the reverse of lack of momentum

Lack of momentum makes you feel like you’re doing nothing. And you usually are.

But super-momentum reeks of the same lack of progress. It’s time to recognise that your brain is playing tricks on you. That indeed you’re in a plane hurtling ahead at 500mph.

That you are moving ahead incredibly quickly.

Even if you can’t feel it.


NEW! The Brain Audit is now available in many formats

Brain Audit Epub and Kindle
1) You can get a physical book (directly from Amazon)
2) You can get the ePub/Kindle/PDF version
3) You can get an audio version
4) Or you can get the the more interesting (or should we say “most interesting”) option The Brain Audit Kit.
Find out more Brain Audit Options


Top Selling Products Under $50


NEW! Critical Website Components: A Simple Step-by-Step System to Creating your Key Website Pages

1) Testimonial Secrets: Powerful Techniques to Get Better Clients-And Sales
2) Story Telling Series: How to suck your audience right in, in a matter of seconds
3) Sales Pages: How To Write Benefits and Bullets That Speed Up Sales
4) Article Writing: How To Speed Up Article Writing With Simple Outlines
5) Visual Basics: How Visuals Help Increase Sales Conversion On Your Website
6) Design Clarity: How to put sanity into your design with some really simple tweaks
7) Chaos Planning: How ‘Irregular’ Folks Get Things Done


1) Black Belt Presentation Series: How to completely control the room—without turning anyone off?
2) Online Membership Sites: How To Build A Powerful, Community-Driven Membership Website


 

 


The Best Way To Fail, Is To Stop

The Best Way To Fail, Is To Stop

How do you fail at something?

You simply stop.

I’ve seen people who could be exceedingly good writers, artists etc.

And yet they stop.

Then they lose momentum.

And they possibly never regain that pace and momentum again.

The interesting part is that they don’t intend to stop forever

They just stop for a day, which turns into two, which snowballs into weeks and months. And then it’s just too hard to recover. I know this because I’ve done it often enough. I’ve drawn cartoons for a little over 30 years. You could say I’m pretty good at it.

But all I have to do is stop

Suddenly I lose the ability to draw. I look at the paper. I look at the pencil. The paints are tucked away somewhere in the deep recesses of my desk. And the days and weeks slide into oblivion until it takes enormous effort just to get started again. And this is with something I love and am very capable at doing.

Imagine the frustration when you’re learning something, and you stop 

It’s a lot worse. And what bugs you even more is the mindless excuses you make. You think your excuses seem logical. No they don’t. An excuse is an excuse. Everyone has time to do what they want to do. All of us take the time to bathe, brush and clothe ourselves, even on the busiest of days.

But surely everyone needs a break…

Yes they do, and go right ahead and take that break. But be aware that the longer the break, the more you’ll have to battle resistance to get back to where you once were.

So keep the break short. If Mt. Everest falls on your head and you need an unexpected break, well take it, but make sure you have someone bugging you to get back.

Someone? Yes, anyone. It could be a friend, a neighbour, your spouse, lover, even a nine-year old who lives down the street. They’ll nudge you, bug you, remind you. And then you’ll decide to start again. It’s much too easy to fall off the bandwagon and not get back on, if you’re working alone. So get yourself a co-pilot that will make sure you don’t stop.

Because the best way to fail is to stop.

Stop reading.

Stop writing.

Stop drawing.

Stop walking.

Stop.

It’s a sure recipe for failure.

————————-

NEW! The Brain Audit is now available in many formats

Brain Audit Epub and Kindle
1) You can get a physical book (directly from Amazon)
2) You can get the ePub/Kindle/PDF version
3) You can get an audio version
4) Or you can get the the more interesting (or should we say “most interesting”) option The Brain Audit Kit.
Find out more Brain Audit Options.


Top Selling Products Under $50


NEW!  Critical Website Components
A series of three books on how to create your “Home Page”, “About Us” and “Get Customers To Sign Up”.

1) Testimonial Secrets: Powerful Techniques to Get Better Clients-And Sales
2) Story Telling Series: How to suck your audience right in, in a matter of seconds
3) Sales Pages: How To Write Benefits and Bullets That Speed Up Sales
4) Article Writing: How To Speed Up Article Writing With Simple Outlines
5) Visual Basics: How Visuals Help Increase Sales Conversion On Your Website
6) Design Clarity: How to put sanity into your design with some really simple tweaks
7) Chaos Planning: How ‘Irregular’ Folks Get Things Done


1) Black Belt Presentation Series: How to completely control the room—without turning anyone off?
2) Online Membership Sites: How To Build A Powerful, Community-Driven Membership Website


 

 


Why Working With Your Brain Is The Key To Avoiding Writer’s Block

Why Working With Your Brain Is The Key To Avoiding Writer's Block

Olive oil
Aubergines
Onions
Garlic, Cinnamon, Oregano, Minced lamb, Tomato purée, Parsley
And red wine.

Writing an article is like making a yummy dish called moussaka

And making the moussaka takes a bit of work. The first port of call is of course, the ingredients. You have to make that all important trip to the supermarket, the butcher and the veggie store to get the ingredients.

Then there’s the prep work, the cooking and finally, the serving.

In short, four major steps.

Article writing is a lot like making a dish

There’s the outlining, the research, the writing and then finally the editing. And the best way to get frustrated and head right into Writer’s Block is to do all four steps at once.

And when you think about it, it’s crazy. Just doing the outline would get you a bit tired. Then maybe it’s time for a bit of research, but even a little can get you pooped. By the time you get down to writing the article, you’re all wrung out. Who the heck is thinking of editing or formatting right now? All you want to do is get out of your misery.

But this misery is pretty easy to avoid if you understand your brain

If you notice, the brain works just fine in batches. It functions nicely when handling one thing at a time. But try and do all the stages at one go, and you get physically and mentally tired.

Then you start making mistakes and of course the entire article often falls apart. You can’t think, you’re too tired to act, and now you believe that you’re not a writer after all.

Instead all you need is a bit of planning

And yes, I know that you may believe that you don’t have the time to break up a single article into several stages, but that’s the most efficient way to write.

- You outline.

- Then you do your research, if needed.

- Then possibly next morning, you write.

- And finally, let it sit for a while, then edit and tidy it up a bit.

Cooking, writing, dancing—any activity that requires brain power also requires the brain to power up and power down. To have rest periods so that the enthusiasm and energy come flooding back. And the time gap gives you time to think and percolate the ideas, instead of just trying to turn it out in one go.

But can you get it all out in one go?

Yes you can. There are times when you’re all fired up and turn out that dish from start to finish. But in most situations, you want to work with your brain and work in stages.

Stages allow for much better, less frustrating articles.

And yes, yummy moussaka.

Bon appétit.

Or should we say, “kali orexi!”


P.S. The Brain Audit Workshop is coming to Amsterdam this June!
(Only  7  seats remain)

Inline image 1
http://www.psychotactics.com/workshops/brain-audit-workshop-amsterdam


Top Selling Products Under $50


1) Testimonial Secrets: Powerful Techniques to Get Better Clients-And Sales
2) Story Telling Series: How to suck your audience right in, in a matter of seconds
3) Sales Pages: How To Write Benefits and Bullets That Speed Up Sales
4) Article Writing: How To Speed Up Article Writing With Simple Outlines
5) Visual Basics: How Visuals Help Increase Sales Conversion On Your Website
6) Design Clarity: How to put sanity into your design with some really simple tweaks
7) Chaos Planning: How ‘Irregular’ Folks Get Things Done


1) Black Belt Presentation Series: How to completely control the room—without turning anyone off?
2) New! Online Membership Sites: How To Build A Powerful, Community-Driven Membership Website


 

 


The Four Critical Zones Required to Speed Up Your Learning

The Four Critical Zones Required to Speed Up Your Learning

Have you ever seen two pianists play the same music?

It’s the very same score, the very same piano, but one seems to play it better than the other. Not just a little better, but a lot better. So what makes one person’s playing so different from the other?

It’s inborn talent.

That’s what most people will tell you anyway. They’ll jab their fingers at you and tell you: “This is the difference between someone who’s born with the gift vs. someone who was simply playing because he or she had to do so.”

And of course, they would be wrong

What looks like inborn talent, isn’t inborn talent at all. It just looks like that because one person is playing so much better than the other. And to understand why one person does things so much better than the other isn’t easy to nail down. But there are four critical elements that enhance learning. They are:

1) Work

2) Play

3) Downtime

4) Sleep

Zone 1: Work

Let’s start with work. Work is when you’re learning something. You have to carefully follow the instructions, stay in line, and do what is completely outside your comfort zone. This is the part we spend most of our time in, when learning a new skill; a new talent. But of course, we ignore the second zone completely. A zone called play.

Zone 2: So what’s play?

Play is where you don’t stay in line. When you do what’s in your comfort zone. When there are no instructions to follow. Where you do crazy, goofy things that no one can judge you, and not even you can judge yourself. We talk time and time again about how kids learn faster than adults, but you know what’s coming next, don’t you? Yes, adults don’t play.

We put our nose to the grindstone and ignore the play zone completely. And kids play, play, play. All the time, even when learning a new skills, they default quickly to the play zone. And you as an adult, have more fun teaching a kid a skill when playing a game, rather than when making them work. And yes, while work and play is great, it’s not enough. We also have to explore the third zone: downtime.

Zone 3: Downtime

I was recently at a watercolour workshop in Spain. And when the teacher finished showing us how to do a particular painting, he would tell us to pick up our coffee/tea and get started on our own painting right away. See the problem? No, I couldn’t. Because you see, I used to be like that teacher. I thought that if people spent some time getting their coffee/tea, that was enough downtime. But no, that’s not downtime at all.

Downtime is a complete break. A break where the brain decompresses and assimilates the learning. But it’s not trying to assimilate anything. It’s just chilling out, as it were. And in doing so, it lets the brain relax and re-energise itself before implementing the ‘work’ once again. Having downtime is important because the brain gets too tired from learning a new skill. Most of us view downtime as a wasted time.

And it’s not wasted time at all. A tired brain works a lot slower and ineffectively than a rested brain. And yet we ignore downtime. We don’t make it part of the system, any more than we make play part of the system. And yet, it’s vital for the brain. Vital to refresh itself, put the pieces together and take a lot better control of the skill we’re about to learn. Which of course, takes us to the last zone: sleep.

Zone 4: Sleep

Most of us say we get too little sleep. But given a chance, most of us squander opportunities to sleep. At night, for instance, most of us will rather watch some TV, trawl through Facebook or do something that makes us stay awake—than sleep early. And sleep is the play part of downtime. If downtime is when we’re consciously decompressing what we’ve learned, sleep is the chill out version of decompress. It’s when the brain goes into waka-waka mode and has a fiesta processing the learning in a completely different—and playful manner.

And sleep is important by night, but it’s also critical by day. A simple 20-minute sleep at your desk doesn’t make you groggy and yet sharpens your ability to focus. And yet, we don’t sleep much. Either by day, or night.

Notice what kids do instead?

They sleep a lot. They have a ton of downtime. They play a lot. They also learn a lot. Kids make the maximum use of all four zones. We don’t. We think we’re adults. We don’t have time. And yet the opposite is true. If we created a strategy for ourselves to have all four zones going, we could learn faster and more efficiently than any child could ever learn. But we don’t give ourselves the chance. All we ever do is work.

Like Ahmet, for instance

Remember that watercolour class? Well, there was this guy called Ahmet. Ahmet worked relentlessly. He took notes endlessly. He practiced long after the rest of us were gulping down sangrias in jar loads. And Ahmet struggled. He’s been practicing for years and struggling for years. He doesn’t sleep much, has no downtime and definitely no play time. It’s all about work, work, work.

To learn a skill efficiently, you need all four zones to kick in

As a teacher, you’ve got to put at least the first two zones into action: work and play. As a student, you’ve got to make sure you have downtime. Time where you’re doing nothing at all. And yes, you should get more sleep.

When one person plays the piano better than the other, it’s often not because of the sheer work. Look closely at the person’s habits and you’ll find something else as well. So when the next person jabs a finger at you and lectures you on inborn talent, ask them if they get enough downtime, sleep and play.

Because work alone, just doesn’t—work.

P.S. In the cartooning course, we have work and play time. Work time is when you do the assignment and play time is when you do the doodles. In the Article Writing Course, we get students to write about their travels, their hobbies—anything but work. And this is play time. Later, we get them to move to work articles.

In the headline course, attendees write tons of headlines. Some of those headlines are about dinosaurs, monkeys and bananas—playtime. Every course, every learning experience can be designed with work and play in mind.

And yes, downtime can be organised too. Organised breaks (e.g. the weekend) or a week in between a course, coffee breaks and games at live events—all downtime. Of course it’s up to the student to get their sleep. But you as the teacher need to put in a word so they know why they need to switch off their iPad and TVs and just doze away, by day or night.

 

P.S. Do you have a question or comment? Write it here and I will respond.


Next Step: Links you should visit

1) How do you make your presentations come alive? Find out more about The Black Belt Presentation Series

2) Are serious about getting your business to the next level in 2013? Have a look at 5000bc.

3) Are you losing tons of potential business because you don’t know how the brain works? Read how The Brain Audit can help you.


Products: Under $50
NEW!
You already know that 80% of a sales letter depends on your headline.
So what’s the remaining 20% that causes customers to buy? Find out more

1) Do You Often Hit A Wall Called ‘Writers Block’?
Learn how the core elements of outlining can save you from the misery of writing your next article.

2) Do you know that visuals immediately improve your sales conversion?
Learn how to create drama and curiosity and help improve your web page conversion with visuals.

3) Do your websites, brochures, presentations, etc… confuse your clients?
Put some sanity into your design, even though you are not a designer?

4) Chaos Planning
Year after year you sit down and create a list of things you want to achieve. Then suddenly it’s January 2013, and you’ve not really moved ahead as you’d expected!
Learn Why Most Planning Fails: And The Critical Importance of Chaos in Planning.

5) Nothing bugs you more than a painful client.
A client who hassles you at every step of the way. Learn how to use the power of the ‘six critical questions’ to get incredible testimonials—and attract clients that make every day an absolute joy.


Black Belt Presentations: How do you create presentations that enthrall, hold and move an audience to action?

 


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