Purpose of a Content Strategist – To Make People Happy?

Everyone Wants to Feel Good – Are You Delivering Happiness?

We’re all up on the idea that people buy on emotion. It shouldn’t come as a surprise then that the one emotion that pulls that buying trigger is happiness — from a rush of  your happy brain chemicals: endorphins, dopamine, serotonin, and oxytocin. The one thing people want is to feel good, secure, and satisfied emotionally.

Happiness, surprise, delight and contentment should be central to your unique value proposition and business model. Yes, your business model.

This post is about what it takes to create a happy customer. It begins with building the right content to attract your new customer, designing content that gets them to do what you want, and supercharging their emotions to get them to break free of their own internal constraints.

If you want to create that rush of happy chemicals in your customer later on, you need to do certain special things now.

If you haven’t done them, then at the point of purchase decision, there won’t be any way for you to supercharge their emotions. And you’ll be unable to change their mental context and surmount their sales resistance.

The Precursors of a Happy Customer

I’m going to introduce you to the Amazing Kreskin, who’s used the power of suggestion to delight audiences for decades.  And, I’m suggesting you design such suggestiveness into your social and web content because later on, it makes sales conversion rates much higher.

A brilliant content strategy is built on customers happiness factors. It’s going to make your UVP compelling and your product/brand fascinating and irresistible.

Begin with your End Goal

Content strategists need a wide perspective, looking far above the dust, pebbles and broken branches that line the mountainside path — on one that’s paved with smiles. Creating a happy experience is vital. What “happy seeds” have you planted your current content? Do you know which happiness seeds will work for your customers?

If you haven’t looked at your content this way, I’d suggest starting now. This is applied psychology and in a sense you are conditioning your audience to accept your service/product as the right one. The ideas you plant in their minds now will provide the foundation for sales conversion later at checkout/contact time.  And they’ll believe these ideas were their ideas. Your customers will be delighted with their purchases, but only you’ll know why. Once they’re happy, they won’t care.

I talk about unique value propositions extensively, but your ability to beat competitors on product benefits alone is limited. You need something more. Seeding happiness is that something more. Then add hyperacceleration techniques later, and you should have them breaking down the doors!

In future posts, I’ll discuss psychological techniques in word choice, phrasing, and topic choice.

Choosing the Right Clients

While your sales team and top management appear to be driving new client/customer acquisition, it’s very likely that your content strategist/developer is actually determining which new clients/customers appear out of nowhere.

That’s the whole point of content strategy — to create the right customer.

Happiness Seeding should be a key part of your content strategy planning. Later on, it”ll determine how they will feel about you, the look on their face when they meet you, how much money they will pay you, how creative they’ll be in pursuing business with you, whether they believe in you, whether they believe in themselves, and how long they will be engaged with you.

If your new client prospect doesn’t meet you with total delight, you didn’t do a great job with your content.

After meeting so many clients over the last 17 years, I can tell you with certainty, that your content determines everything about what’s going to happen.

Focus on how you’re going to make them feel, rather than product benefits and features. If you read most corporate web copy, you’ll see it’s filled with “fact about us” and “aren’t we great” and product features. Now they’re scrambling to change that boring copy to focus on making customers feel good.

Amazing Power of Suggestion

When I was a kid, I loved the long uphill bike ride to my Aunt and Uncle’s house on Saturday afternoon. I looked forward to watching the Amazing Kreskin on TV (my family couldn’t afford cable). I had no idea how he did things then. I was amazed.

The Amazing Kreskin foretold what people would feel and say, because he planted it in their brain first. Kreskin was an engaging, distracting talker. That chatter is his content strategy and he expertly changes the listener’s context to make them susceptible.  He got the listener to accept a number, a card, or a location he somehow suggested.  Then when they uncovered the number or card, etc, he foretold it perfectly, like he had ESP.  And more, when people were delighted, it simply reinforced more susceptible behaviour. Viewers were “sold” on Kreskin’s act long before they watched the next show.

Kreskin enjoys talking to everyone. His ideal customer is pretty well anyone — or at least those who have an appreciation of the possible. Your content should have that playful, open and passionate flavour. If it worked for Kreskin, it may work for you too.

How he learned to do this is an intriguing matter, but we might never know. The point for content creators and strategists is how your content alters the viewer’s context and lifts them out of their non-buying rut.  Kreskin lifted viewers out of their skeptical rut. As  part of the conversion acceleration phase, you’ll be moving out of that buying resistance to a new “dopamine” induced euphoria where they’re delighted to become your customer.

Audience members believed in Kreskin and his context of magical omnisicence and thus his subtle suggestions worked so well. 72 and so mentally sharp!

So, going back to where we started, your content strategy suggests a state of happiness and pre-fulfillment, knocking out any negative or resistant mindset they’re stuck in.

Your content will foretell your client relations, how much they divulge about their business, and whether they will let you help them succeed. Never complain about them. You designed everything.

You are Your Content so Make it All about Them and Their Happiness

The beauty of digital marketing is that when you get it right, business is so easy and silky smooth, your Irish eyes will be smiling.

As someone who has influence over content development, you have incredible power. Keep happiness as the focus and you’ll achieve incredible profit and performance goals.


Positive People: Start Sharing and Watch Your Business/Life Grow

Is Sharing a Key to Success?

It’s no coincidence that the happiest people I network with online are the biggest sharers and likers online. One person in particular Likes and Retweets more than she Tweets. She’s great and it’s the intent of her sharing that matters. Another woman I know is very giving, with a little nudge. When you make the initial effort, she reponds generously. Having sharers on your side is a big plus in this age of “it’s who you know.”

In this blog post, I’d like to explore the connection between sharing, positivity and success. What’s behind the desire to share things on social media and help others in general?

Pic courtesy of Stanford.edu

Have you thought about why there is social media? Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Linkedin were created with the goal of connecting, sharing, appreciating and growth.  And, to many users, SM are an opportunity to connect personally, professionally, and help others feel good.

Some will share the beauty of their vacations, positive thoughts, antics of their kids, special occasions out, while others offer their wisdom, insight and encouraging words to inspire us and lead. They connect and they share.  I wouldn’t say they are intoverted or extraverted. They just have this motivation to share as though they’ve got too much joy inside and have to give a bunch away.

Sharers are great leaders and enablers – we desperately need enablers

Children it seems, share naturally. A 2008 study by Psychologist Michael Tomasello revealed that children gave and shared freely without any adult prodding or expecting anything in return. The little whipper snappers are downright nice it seems. This tells us that our culture may be why we stop sharing and communicating. It could be that positive people simply haven’t been exposed to enough highly charged negativity and never had their spirit broken.

My question to you is that if you’re not particularly positive and collaborative, how will you fare in the growing sharing economy? Can you relearn to be more positive and sharing?

They have an almost reflexive desire to help, inform and share. And they do so without expectation or desire for reward, Tomasello said.

Screen capture courtesy of askideas.com

Sharing people are unique and worthy models for us to emulate.  Many of them share even though they’re surrounded by negativity, poverty, criticism and limited opportunity.  The point here is that just maybe, sharing is a remedy for a lot of ails at work or at home. Sharing greases the wheels and is consistent with our belief in community. And sharing helps others through encouragement, acknowledgement, and education.  There is no downside.


Positive people believe they will achieve their life’s dreams and goals. Pessimistic people don’t.

Positive People Have an Underlying Intent that Speaks without Words or Actions

If you look at the positive people in your life, what you may see is their general intent.  What they share with you at any moment may not be extremely valuable, but you know their intent is to slyly lead you to your solution with a breadcrumb trail of info and light.

On social media, these incurable sharers have kids/grandkids to boast via Facebook while others might send you a funny email, a question, adventure video, a wise quote, or a helpful ebook. They use whatever they have to brighten your day. Very positive people are sociable and share a variety of things.  Their generosity channels are wide including everything from Linkedin to Instagram to text messaging all to share their enthusiasm and connect with others. Negative people on the other hand may have no social media accounts at all and resist connecting. Silence has its own intent. Of course, there are plenty of negative people using social media too.

So Why Should Sharing be Important to You?

If you’re not progressing and growing in business, achieving new opportunities, creating and sharing value, it’s likely because you’re in a mental rut — stuck in the culture around you. If you let new fresh ideas in, like these, perhaps you can move ahead and get more accomplished out of life than 9 to 5 tasks.  You might get that started by sharing. Break out of your rut right now by connecting with someone online and giving their business a shout out. People will see you’re positive!

Are you staying top of mind with customers, generously blogging and Facebooking to keep them informed? No, well, your competitors probably are. Sharing quality information, resources and opportunities show you care.

Below, you’ll find 18 characteristics of positive people. After you read them, you’ll get the bigger picture.

But first, you’ve seen UK philanthropist Richard Branson share a great deal online too. Some might not like his exotic locale of Necker Island BVI as the home of this generosity, but it could be a test of your positivity. He’s enjoying the beauty of the British Virgin Islands and sharing it with us to inspire us. He does a lot for entrepreneurs including being an icon to give us hope that what they’re doing has meaning and is worth it. Positive people make you believe it is worth it.

Graphic courtesy of quotationof.com

Negative People Don’t Share

In complete contrast, negative people share very little. Their deflated spirit leaves them unable to empathize, give encouragement, reveal something about themselves and their views, or share valuable information or opportunity. Their ungiving conservatism leaves everyone else paralyzed and stuck, and emulating their pessimistic frame of reference.

How many emails or FB messages do you get from others telling you of a great job opportunity, or refering you to a new business connection, sharing news, or giving you a shout out? It doesn’t happen that often does it?

When is the last time you gave someone a shoutout with no thought of getting something in return?  Positive people do these things.

The matter of giving and generosity are vital to business too. Bosses who are stingy with praise, information, guidance, and support actually undermine their company’s profit performance, customer service, and client relations. They’re like a tax on success.  One of the reasons I started my own business was to be free to be positive, progressive, successful, and to escape the political culture that drained my spirit and left me feeling empty.

If you’re working for that type of manager or business owner, you know exactly what I mean.

If you haven’t read this post on how to stay positive by Henrik Edberg of the Positivity blog, please do right now.  Being positive is one thing, but staying positive is yet another. Edberg’s post is very energizing and can help you escape what’s dragging you down.  And don’t forget to share it with others.

Mimi Ikonn talks about the role of culture in negativity and in creating negative people.

Positive People Traits

While most of us will quickly describe a positive person as friendly, optimistic and spirited, there’s actually a lot more to the positive person’s character structure.

While responsibility, conservatism, surrender, and frugality might be positive traits to some people, they don’t really meet the key characteristic of a freely giving and caring person who encourages others to live the best life possible.  Penny pinching and prudence just don’t make the cut.

Here’s 18 of the most important characteristics of positive people:

  1. they make tough, challenging things seem simple
  2. they are encouraging of themselves and others – builds people up
  3. they have empathy and can sense the best things to do
  4. they are generous and share easily
  5. they are progressive and not afraid of the future
  6. they are social yet are serious and effective by themselves alone
  7. they lead and take chances because they’re not afraid
  8. they treat everyone equally
  9. they use humor to take away the edge of conflict
  10. they make anything seem possible
  11. they’re not afraid to be passionate and show enthusiasm
  12. they know you don’t have to be perfect
  13. they’re thankful and appreciative
  14. they’re considerate and respectful
  15. they’re ambitious and optimistic because it’s good for everyone they know
  16. cooperative to create a better result for everyone
  17. they spend and invest in enterprise because they’re optimistic
  18. they’re flexible and will change course for better outcomes

Success Through Sharing

Everyone defines success their own way, and we’ll get lots of sarcasm and guffaws about things like money, autonomy, friends, happy family, travel, good health, fitness, popularity, owning house, respect, marriage, education and owning your own business. Whatever it is you think comprises success, it likely will come from helping others and that’s where sharing fits in. When you’re sharing, it’s like success in action — proof that you are making it happen. With that in mind, you should start making it happen now.

How to Start Sharing

  • retweet 10 of your Twitter followers posts each week
  • share 1 blog post per week (It should be a good one!)
  • comment on your families Facebook posts and shares
  • comment on others Facebook posts and shares
  • share a good article on Linkedin
  • comment on 3 other professionals articles
  • wish others happy birthday and congratulate them on a new job
  • Tweet 3 times a day
  • promote someone else online
  • share your opinion on your FB or Twitter page
  • share a free ebook you read
  • share a job posting with someone unemployed
  • Tweet someone’s big sale event:

  • Like a Realtor’s home listing:

  • Comment with appreciation on someone’s amazing vacation:

Here’s a few other Positivity posts you’ll find very enlightening and helpful.

30 Traits Happy People Possess

Are you a Positive Person

Giving from Abundance or Need?

Top Entrepreneurs Share their Best Advice



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Insight: What Do Realtors and Others Like to Read?

Review Your Google Analytics Stats and Learn

I wanted to give you a good look at which content Realtors are interested in on my blog in the last little while. Right now, what is your first thought that realtors would be most interested in? Compare your initial thoughts to what they are actually reading.

Most of my traffic comes from Google with a small smattering from Linkedin. I have to admit, I haven’t had the time or money to spend on outreach for this blog, but when I do, this content will pull in some major traffic.

Oddly enough, my post on fascination was behind only the post on the millionaire real estate agent in time spent reading.  There were lots of visits to the post on the Toronto/Vancouver real estate market forecast and one on social media marketing strategy.

So Much for the Belief that In-Depth Posts aren’t Wanted

Over the last two weeks, the post on Fascination has an average view time on page of 18 minutes and the post on how to be a millionaire real estate agent has a view time of 26 minutes! The post on creating a great UVP came in tops at almost 30 minutes average reading time. Wow, I’ve never seen that anywhere. Must be getting people thinking;)

From the graphic below, you can discover what Realtors (and other visitors) viewed most.

Most of my posts have high level thought which may not appeal to most visitors, but intelligent or ambitious realtors do like them — and they are my target prospects. When visitors spend an average 6 minutes on your page, that’s good. And Google takes note of this. When you’re writing your blog posts, aim for lots of interesting and supporting data, good photos, infographics, and interesting stories that involve the ideas you’re speaking about.

Hopefully, these insights will help you create better, more engaging content for your readers. Please remember that online, you are your content.



5 Ways to Scale Up Your Business

There’s a lot of talk today about scalability in business development. Even before an entrepreneur has made their first sale, they’ve already put considerable thought into how the business can be grown. If it can’t be grown, is it even worth pursuing?

You may not be ready to scale up, but you need to be thinking about it. If this is your first thought on scaling up and taking growth risks, then this should be an exciting time. You’ve got the perfect conditions. The US economy is beginning to roar and these windows of opportunity for growth don’t appear very often.

Scaling up is important. Taking your time when building your new business and ensuring you’re able to scale up may be what makes your venture the one in a hundred that survives. You’re not the only one who must believe in it either. Who would invest in a business that won’t grow or survive?

What’s remarkable about companies like Google, Virgin, and others is their passion for growth. There’s nothing old school about them. The culture of these companies is wide open for fast growth and development. They’re afraid of nothing. They were optimistic and quietly enthusiastic and that fed their belief in the value of scalability.

Google and Virgin: A Commitment to Growth

For Google, Larry Page and Sergei Brin were tech guys focused on making their search engine bigger and better. They could see the future back in 1998. Google was going to be successful. They had no idea that in ten years they would be billionaires, and making everything from driverless cars to eye glasses with an internet connection. They applied the lessons of scaling a search engine and applied that to their business. And you know the rest.

And Richard Branson saw only what his company Virgin Records wasn’t. That dissatisfaction compelled him to grow into airlines, mobile phones and even space travel. Again, growth and scaling up were the driving business development philosophy. That focus on growth became an essential part of their brand identity and brand image.

The growth rates were high. There was no complacent, slow growth model for these winners.

Virgin Mobile — now a worldwide cell carrier and much loved brand, scaled up nicely. Branson had the audacity to think they could compete in  the regulated, protected  wireless industry.

Whether you’re a small coffee distributor, artist, model/wingsuit flyer, real estate brokerage, or marketing agency, scaling up gives you the certainty that your business will compete and become even more profitable. Those are powerful motivating forces.

  1. Hire Skilled, Versatile Talent. Your workers are your UVP and product. Find those with more skills and knowledge bring more to your company and can contribute in many dynamic ways. Companies are starting to get this. You need staff who will be able to flex, adapt and grow quickly and who can help where help is needed.
  2. Use Software.  The big interest in SaaS is because companies can create apps that allow workers to do more, and help more customers to interact directly with them. No big outlays of proprietary software that bogs them down. By outsourcing their software (e.g., Hubspot, Hootsuite, Google Docs, Google Drive, the Cloud), they can focus on their core competencies and not micromanage tech stuff.
  3. Think Big, Act Bold. Having an open imagination to see possibilities is a life or death thing now. But sitting around dreaming won’t get you anywhere. You need to act boldly, go beyond your current level of confidence and give yourself license to do whatever you want. The rules imprison. From your inbound marketing strategy to your produce/service development, keep a broad mind and be prolific. Continually sharpen and strengthen your UVP and marketing strategy and go for it!
  4. Work on your Business, not in it. If an entrepreneur/manager is plagued with micromanaging the nuts and bolts of businesses with his wrench set, he’s nothing more than a repair mechanic. Leave the work to the workers, and focus full force on networking, leads, and new business development. You are the businesses future.
  5. Find Good Financing.  You can’t grow a business without money. Whether traditional asset-based financing with big banks, or crowdsourcing, ensuring you have the cash ready to grow is very smart. There’s nothing worse than having to sell equity to grow to the next level. If your business outlook is good and your brand looks good, someone will want to lend to you. Business loan market is enormous right now because businesses are growing.

Good luck with your new business development planning and execution. Give Dave Kerpin’s article on barriers to scaling a read too.


Popular Coffee Brands on Twitter

Social Media Listening Tools

Are you using social media as a marketing performance measurement tool?  Twitter tweets, follower counts and other data are an excellent source for marketers. You can learn more about how consumers interact with brands and use that to improve your product/service and brand UVP.

twitter-successWhy is twitter becoming an important measurement tool? Of all the social media channels, Twitter is the most responsive, open ended and it uses text, which can be understood. Sure there’s Facebook too, however Facebook doesnt cooperate with marketers.  And the range of followers on the introverted Facebook accounts is minimal compared to the extravert Twitter channel.

You can measure your brand’s performance using a variety of paid or free social media listening apps and tools.

Coffee brands are being measured. Thousands of tweets carry a surprising amount of information about what makes a coffee brand special and why consumers like a particular brand.

You can pick out the brand’s UVP, it’s market, consumer profiles, and times of day that social media enthusiasts are talking.  Find out how a brand is promoted in a grass roots way.

If you own a new Tassimo or K cup coffee brand or operate a local cafe in Costa Rica or a coffee shop in Toronto, using social media listening tools can help you listen to customers and generate awareness of your business.  When you’re conducting your marketing audit, ensure social media analysis is done in detail. It’s only going to increase in importance.  These tools are key to a hyper accelerated growth strategy too.

Coffee Brand Infographic courtesy of Unmetric

Read up on the success stories of businesses such as Markcol Coffee Distributors, Solar business opportunities, Leanne Laine Wine Art. Inspiring ventures and people show you your idea just might work too.

Help! Our Brand is Stuck

Is your business stagnating or even beginning to fail?  Are sales falling and you’re wondering what has happened?

brandpackagingThere could be hundreds of things wrong with your product, services, promotion and customer relations, but what’s likely failing is your brand. It’s one of the most complex topics but as a business owner you need to grow your knowledge of branding and the brand image.

You could hire a branding expert, which isn’t a bad idea because they understand the complex intricacies of brand theory, planning and development. And they can help you with the “hows” of packaging a new brand image so it’s continually relevant to your customers.

I only mention that because branding is becoming the most important task in marketing today. The reason: competition, media and technology. Your brand must be powerful and clear, continually top of mind, and relevant to your customers.

This post is about giving you the courage to examine your brand image and unique value proposition. This should be a fascinating journey of discovery if you haven’t ventured into the topic of branding.

Markets and competition change. This is why 90% of businesses fail.

The Brand is King — Only if it’s Relevant

Your brand is the promise of value your customer sees and remembers.  It’s reflected in everything from your customer service to your advertising to your web design. It’s the first impression prospects see and it’s the memory they take with them. So if your business is failing, your product/service is no longer relevant (is uncompetitive) or your brand promise has missed the moving target. Are you certain you know what your customer wants?

Your Brand and Your UVP

All businesses start with a statement of the unique value they will deliver to customers — why their business, product, service is relevant. This is your unique value proposition. It’s clear, compelling, personalized and even gives you a reason to believe. The UVP is also your brand promise.  Your UVP is at the center of your branding which is how your UVP is packaged and communicated.

Your brand isn’t your logo or your web design. It is something very complex. It might help to view your brand image in terms of packaging.  That helps with clarity, but with a business, your packaging is how your unique value proposition is put in context — presented as the clear choice for your target customer using images and words.

And in the era of social media, your brand or UVP  is expressed in your Tweets, Linkedin comments, blog posts and comments, and Facebook posts along with your web page copy and design. Are you even doing social media? Traditionally, brands relied heavily on print ads and other graphical design strategies to get the brand value across. But with social media pages negating custom design, the brand value has to be communicated through your content. This is likely where your brand is failing. Your web and social media content may not suck, however they may not  be presenting your brand promise effectively.

Brands Gone Bad

Are you on the verge of becoming the next Hummer, Oldsmobile, or Blackberry?

Traditional branding promotes consistency over years, but by the time that message is fully ingrained in the audience’s mind, the market has changed. All your patience is wasted time. We need to be on our toes and up to date.

How do brand’s go bad? They don’t keep up with the competition. Customers see that your product is aging or doesn’t have the new fancy designs they saw online; or they discover your staff aren’t knowledgeable or competent; or you’re not talking about all the latest events and trends they care about; or you don’t appear to want to deliver top value to them. It all comes through in how you package your communications.

Why Are You the Most Compelling and Relevant?

If you can’t answer that question, you’re in trouble. It’s so easy to go out of style and become irrelevant. And relevance is the key. Customer’s mindsets, perceptions and understanding change. They discover new types of value, new desires and expectations, and new alternatives. Their loyalty to you is minimal. Get over that. Relevance equals loyalty. So you create your own customer loyalty.

The imagery, stories, colours, style, context, and benefits must communicate a relevant promise. And today, brands need to be personalized.  We endorse or recommend products and people because they’re personally relevant — they reflect our values, hopes, desires, preferences, and the importance of our experience. What shared values does your brand have with your target audience?

When you revitalize your brand, you reposition it to delight, surprise, satisfy and assure your prospect.  A brand becomes most relevant when it:

  1. embodies the customer’s personal values and beliefs
  2. comes across as credible
  3. differentiates via the customers key decision points
  4. makes itself memorable by attaching itself to customers values and beliefs
  5. uses images and messages customers relate to right now
  6. is crystal clear about the benefits everything points to

What’s the Next Step?

This blog is all about progressive, leading edge thoughts on building a compelling, competitive, sustainable, and profitable business. Explore the topics and return often for more insight.

From creating your UVP and improving your personal brand image, to developing new businessexploring new markets, learning from failure, improving employee performance, to the more esoteric assets of being attractive and fascinating, I want to help you build a new era business.

If you’re truly hungry for survival and success, you’ll explore these topics.

Make the Right Decision Every Time

Too Much of a Good Thing

You’re a lucky guy (or girl). So many options and possibilities in your personal and business life. You have:

    • 5 different job opportunities
    • 7 different people you could date or marry
    • 4 different places you could live
    • 8 different types of businesses you could launch
    • 11 different markets you could enter
    • 5 new clients to choose from and 10 routes you can pursue with your current clients
    • 4 different networking groups you can join
    • 5 different educational courses you could take
    • 3 different sports you could learn/excel in
    • 6 different ways to invest your savings
    • 14 different books/blogs you could read
    • 87 different cars you could buy
    • and a whole bunch of dreams I’ll bet
Gotta hand it to Superman. He does have laser vision.

Your life is blessed with so much opportunity. Yet you’re paralyzed in a rut inside a fog, watching your own wheels spin, and feeling haunted by expectations you feel you can’t reach.

This is exactly why most people limit their options and choices and never really learn how to optimize their decision making abilities and achieve their potential.  The anxiety from uncertainty is too much to bear. Giving up is easier.

“The key to reaching mastery in decision-making is the ability to focus your physical, mental and emotional resources on an issue like a laser beam. Such focus enables you to reach decision clarity faster and easier.” – Luda Kopelkina

Perhaps a plan and a process of deciding can help you clarify your objectives, assets, threats, opportunities, and maybe even make it fun. I hope so, because I’m going to learn and implement a process described by Luda Kopelkina. I think it may be the solution I’m looking for.

Make the Right Decision Every Time

Luda Kopelkina offers insight and tips in her book The Right Decision Every Time.

The book is kind of exhaustive, so I thought you might prefer a quick overview.

Drawing on her breakthrough research with 115 CEOs, she offers practical, proven techniques for structuring decisions, achieving clarity about the real issues involved, and using that clarity to improve the quality of every decision you make. She defines clarity in decision-making, identifies 5 root causes for decision difficulty, and introduces the “Clarity State”: that singular moment of focus where things fall into place, and solutions become obvious. Next, she introduces a set of powerful techniques for overcoming decision difficulties, stripping away decision complexity, and achieving the Clarity State.

Achieving the Clarity State.  Basically, it’s a process of discovering what’s most important to you and following the path to it. But wait, that path is full of hurdles, barriers, guard dogs, and misdirections!

Achieving clarity and focus are her keys to mastering decisions. This graphic reveals the 5 phases of good decisions:


She points out the 3 bad habits that kill clarity: multitasking, competitiveness, and workaholism.

She describes 5 hurdles to overcome too:

    1. lack of a clear objective (knowing what you want) (25% occurrence in CEOs)
    2. lack of clear constraints (understanding your barriers) (15% in CEOs)
    3. dealing with emotions  (13% in CEOs)
    4. lack of a clear perspective (choosing a frame of reference) (30% occurrence in CEOs)
    5. inability to select among options (17% in CEOs)

Her process recommends to:

    • Calm down and achieve a quiet mental state
    • Create a decision map
    • Contemplate the decision
    • Deal with emotions
    • Achieve clarity of perspective

Chapter 12 may be one of the more useful ones. It’s about aligning your decision making with an outcome. Starting with the end and working your way back is a common goal achievement technique. Since the book is designed for CEOs, it’s meant for those with good intelligence and ability to visualize. I won’t lie to you. It’s deep stuff. But we can all visualize as far as we need to, and as far as our mind and experience enables.

Successful people seem to have the art/science of evaluating/prioritizing down pat.  She describes a number of these people in the book. The foundation is knowing what is most important, and Kupelkina offers a process to discover and clarify what’s most important.


Discover new ideas on new business strategyentering the US market, scale up your business and improving skills. Digital marketing success comes with good SEO, reaching social influencers, and great outreach.

Passion/Desire is the Highest Intelligence

I haven’t been feeling well this past week, so in that awful state, something seemed to be pushing me to feel better — the word passion. Perhaps I’ve let my flame die out and it needs to be relit and I should follow. One thing about being ambitious, is that there will be those times when you burn out or get lost. That’s when we need to review our goals and purpose.

loversThere’s been lots of drama movies and novels about the tragedy of settling for a lesser life, where the protagonist gives up and settles for substitutes. So this post is the reverse — a why and how to guide to a new philosophy of passion. Of course, there’s much more to read on the topic.

And I read several articles about how following your passion is the worst advice ever. In fact Google reports negative articles about the topic. The authors suggest it leads you on a path to ruin. Well, that’s a reflection of how our culture distrusts the power of self-directed living.

Why is Passion Important?

Let’s define passion shall we? We’re actually not referring to romantic passion, although there is a clear line between that and life passion. Romantic passion certainly helps drive the point home nicely:)

Figure 1 Courtesy of Leanne Laine Wine Art – See wonderful, passionate art at http://leannelainefineart.com/ But passion isn’t owned by artists, singers, entertainers, writers, photographers, foodies, travellers, Xtreme sports people, or music and wine lovers.

A passionate life is one where you’re open to discovering your most powerful emotional forces and letting them guide your decisions. And it’s where you become an inspiration and a compelling person in other people’s lives .

Since it’s common to “run out of gas” so to speak at many times in your life, you might need a little lift or reminder. Sometimes it’s a serious wakeup call — that you’ve let your life seriously decay.

Benefits of Reconnecting to Your Personal Passions

  • a better job with the right rewards
  • the right marriage partner or improvement of your marriage
  • better friendships with more fun and meaning
  • self-esteem and contentment
  • better health
  • higher productivity and commitment to work
  • diminishment of worry and depression
  • improvement of intelligence and skill
  • faster learning
  • add more value to others lives

You’ve Got Plenty of Options

Once you find your passion and feel it, there are many paths/choices you can make.  Your passion may be fulfilled by 100 different career paths or personal paths. There’s no one single track. There’s choices and better decisions.

Passionate People
Figure 2 Screen Capture courtesy of Tiny Buddha Passion creates potential. It’s the precursor, spark, and power behind success

For Creative Higher Intelligence

What if you made choices based not on intellect, but instead by what you loved? Yes, I’ve read 2000 books and written two myself, but I only did it because it made me feel good. Intellect can get in the way, but it doesn’t have to if you’re aware of what’s going on.

When you follow your heart as opposed to your head, you can feel a difference in confidence, energy, clarity and happiness.  The common belief says differently — that passions are fleeting, foolish, and time-wasting.  People don’t follow their real passions because they’re scared to death of them. They choose anything but their real passion — mostly out of fear.

Passion may get you past all fears. pic courtesy of http://izquotes.com

Full Sail to your Destination — You!

I’m making a case here for passion/desire as the correct rudder and sail of your ship and that it’s a better source of good decisions than discipline, systems, concepts, prejudice, or drive. I’m reminded of a saying: “The heart knows today what the mind will discover tomorrow.”

I’m just saying, keep it in mind as you go about your daily duties, obligations, and drudgery.

I’m not suggesting we abandon data and analytics as a guide, but use that rich data as an additional guide to find our true passion.  And in business, that might be in discovering and attracting the right customer and offering the right product. In life, it might be in discovering and attracting the right marriage partner and friends. Go against your passions, and it’s guaranteed misery.

Energy, Enthusiasm, and Authenticity

Passion unleashes tremendous energy, enthusiasm, and drive, and acts as a natural compass to guide the mind to the right decisions. The magnetism off of passionate people can power others. We respect them because they seem authentic and well put together – by the glue of passion.

The industrial era values of hard work, discipline, drive, persistence, credentials, and sacrifice continues to shape business decision making today. The new entrant, data, is being added to the mix for long term results that are actually short sighted. Did all the analytical, data rich, financial experts foresee the Saudi’s choice to let the price of oil drop in the last 4 months? Did any investors lose millions? Was anyone prepared? Are there businesses and cities in dire straits now?  What did data do for anyone back in 2008?

That’s trillions of dollars in business education, intelligence gathering, computers, software, and business decision making capabilities, yet they didn’t see it coming and are now dealing with crisis. A heart driven industry may have been more aware of how the Saudis felt and what they believed.

bransonsimpleWhen I think of heart in business, I think of Richard Branson, who never bellows out in Tony Robbins stadium fashion, nor proclaims with an angry snarl of a Donald Trump. He doesn’t have the educational credentials and actually suffers from dyslexia. Who would hire him to run an empire? His dyslexia may be his gift from the heavens, protecting him from being paralyzed by common attitudes. He is closer to his passion and makes people-friendly decisions for his companies.

Discovering Your True Passions isn’t Easy

Pursuing inner passion takes courage. Your intellect is being tossed into the back seat and only be asked for back seat driver advice.  But, using passion as a guide, you’ll be making good decisions soon enough. There are no barriers or challenges too difficult because that part of your brain doesn’t recognize them. It stays focused on an adaptive path to your desire, whatever that is. It’s all about magnetism and a childlike faith that you will capture what you’re after.

Smart people fail a lot. They’re crippled by barriers, processes, incompatibilities, requirements, and even tradition.

How do you let passion guide and drive you and your business? Here’s some thoughts:

  • Quietly meditate/reflect on what your strongest/deepest desires are. These are your goals.
  • Think about what it is specifically that’s your passion: freedom, expression, helping, security, mastery, love…
  • What is it you feel when you picture the things you want? There are certainly images you are seeing right now. Write them down. Don’t block, let them out.
  • What are the specific emotions you are feeling and what causes them? When you see exactly what you want, what is getting in your way? Write it down quickly.
  • What are the specific fears that are getting in the way of getting what you want? Why do you not deserve it, or why do you believe you’re not smart enough and committed enough
  • What is the first step you can take to unleash your passion and get where you need to go
  • Do others objections stop you in your tracks or are you oblivious to them?
  • Is working with a personal life coach a great idea? (assuming you can you afford it)

If you do have the courage to follow your passion as a guide, you’ll be butting heads with the system for sure. But you can’t stop passion. It can be resisted, suppressed, and vilified only so long before it wins. So, here’s to you finding your personal passions and meaning and greatly improving your life. Good Luck!

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