Relationship building cannot start with a hard sell

Have you ever received a friend request on Facebook or someone wanting to connect on LinkedIn and then soon after you get a message asking you if you’re interested in a business idea or crypto currency or some other sales pitch to buy their premium offering. How does this make you feel?

Think about who you buy from. I am guessing it’s a business or someone you know, like and trust. After connecting with me I don’t yet know you, like you or TRUST you.

I always say intent is important and I don’t think the intent of people who try to sell right after connecting is bad. I do think they don’t know better. Most sales are made first with education and then over time, a sale might be eventually made.

Educate first, then sell.

If you’re going to provide an opt-in, that is, a newsletter, book, checklist or anything similar in exchange for an email address – please make sure that the freebie you provide is remarkable. It’s YOUR mark on it after all so remember that if what you provide is un-meh-morable, that’s precisely how potential customers will think of you.

Your intention should be to blow those newcomers minds and knock their socks off with your free offerings.

Rather than up cycling some old, dusty content or quickly slapping something together in a day for the sake of being able to collect email addresses, you should be crafting a work of art for these people that adds real value and transformation to their lives.

The trust factor is exceedingly important and this only happens if you nurture your relationships

  • Give an experience worth sharing
  • Prove that you can be a worthy guide
  • Demonstrate that you have their interest at heart

Success in EVERY business (company of one or many) is based on trust. 

And to win that trust, businesses must obsess over the questions, concerns, and problems their buyers have, and address them as honestly and as thoroughly as possible—just as much online as they do offline. But it doesn’t stop there. It’s a belief that buyers have changed, and sales and marketing must evolve with them. 

You have a vision, and I have a way to get you there.

When you think about marketing do you feel anxious?

I realized this morning as I was starting a seven day focused marketing program, that instead of feeling happy that I was about to learn something new that might help me improve my results, what I was filled with were thoughts of “will this even work?”

This was going to be a post about how the thought of marketing makes us feel so anxious and perhaps how we could reframe our thinking to make marketing not just more palatable but actually fun!

And then I remembered something I learned from Dr. Maria Nemeth regarding how the journey to completion of just about anything goes. Regardless of the project, this is what you will experience.

The most motivated, intelligent and talented golfer in the world would not be any good at golf if they did not know the rules of the game. The same can be said of success, believes Nemeth, which is often why our dreams are not fulfilled.

The trick is to learn how to take ideas, dreams and visions which reside in the metaphysical reality and turn them into action in the physical reality…

An undifferentiated pool of energy exists in metaphysical reality and from that we develop exciting ideas, or as Nemeth calls them, ‘possibility puffs’.

Sometimes people mistake thinking about ideas, dreams and visions for goals. But the way things operate in metaphysical reality are not the same as in practical reality. We can’t live in the metaphysical reality.

Dr. Maria nemeth

So what holds us back when we try to cross the border between metaphysical and practical?

Our ‘monkey minds’. Monkey mind, or constant chatter as it is described by Buddhists, brings all your doubts and anxieties to the fore.

You get trouble at the border because the monkey mind operates at the border and you look for things to go wrong. You need to learn to observe it otherwise you will be a creature of your monkey mind. You need to take small steps across the border.

dr. maria nemeth

To put plans in place and ultimately hit goals there are three things in the physical reality that you must be aware of, according to Nemeth:

1. Whatever you want to do takes energy, you cannot make it happen with visualisation. There are six types of energy needed to reach goals: time, money, physical vitality, creativity, enjoyment and relationships.

2. Everything is always changing so our strategy and plan may have to change. However, the intention or the goal does not change.

3. Everything is unpredictable. We know things change but we cannot predict the direction of change.

I created a short video, based on everything I learned from Dr. Nemeth, (less than 5 minutes) found here, about why you sometimes don’t always achieve your goals.

I guess the real point I’m supposed to make here is that we can never outdistance our monkey mind. We need to welcome it when it comes knowing that it’s par for the course.

I am reminding myself that I need to take small steps standing on the border of my new project – not trying to see it all – but doing what can be done every day for the next seven days. Be encouraged and remember to look at the short video here. Your journey will make more sense and although I knew of it, I needed to be reminded today!

How to extract value from EVERYTHING you read

Many persons read good books, but say they do not get much good out of them. They do not realize that all any book or any lesson or course can do is to awaken them to their possibilities; to stimulate them to use their will power.

You may teach a person from now until doom’s day, but that person will only know what he learns himself.

You can lead him to the fountain, but you can’t make him drink.

I extracted these paragraphs from the first chapter in Theron Q. Dumont’s book called ‘The Power of Concentration’.

We are all very different and so it is impossible to give instructions that will be of the same value to all.

I recently read, for example, a story of how this guy went from a C student to a prestigious college graduate.

Matt Rizvi definitely is self-aware.

This is what he said:

I’ll admit it…

I was not a good student in high school.

In fact, I was lucky to graduate.

And it’s only thanks to some extra effort in my senior year that I squeaked out a 2.35 GPA.

It’s not that classes were hard.

I was lazy.

But even more than that, I was complacent because I had a “safety net.”

You see, I grew up in Virginia.

And like many states, the public universities in VA have deals with local community colleges where they’ll automatically accept transfer students if they:

  • have good grades
  • complete certain gen-ed requirements
  • and graduate with their associates degree

So that’s exactly what I did.

After high-school, I went to New River Community College.

And because it was my last chance to get into a 4-year Uni, I didn’t mess around.

I went to (almost) all my classes and graduated with a 3.89 GPA (chemistry screwed my perfect 4.0).

And as a result, I got accepted into The College of William & Mary — a prestigious school that’s taught 4 U.S. Presidents (Washington, Jefferson, Monroe, and Tyler), it’s considered a “Public Ivy,” and it’s the 2nd oldest college in America (behind Harvard).

But here’s the thing…

I would’ve never done well in community college if I didn’t have that urgency.

And it’s been a recurring theme in my life.

I only get uber productive when I’m slammed with tight deadlines and have to get things done (or else).

Just consider…

After I spent 3 years working for Agora, I started getting complacent again.

I was “fat and happy” with all the royalties I squirreled away in the bank.

So I felt like it was finally time for me to leave and take a chance at my own biz.

But honestly, it didn’t go well at first.

I had too much time and money on my hands.

There was no need for me to be successful right away.

It was a gift. But also a curse.

And as a result, it wasn’t until I burned through a year’s worth of savings that I really started to buckle down, get my shit together, and get some real traction in my own business.

So what’s the lesson here?

Well in my case (this isn’t the same for everyone), I work best when the stakes are HIGH.

I need to keep my feet to the flames if I want to stay productive and avoid the complacency curse.

Now, I’ve learned that it doesn’t mean I need to constantly throw away money.

Instead, I try to keep myself booked with more projects and commitments than I think I can handle.

Because even though it may be overwhelming at first…

I always seem to miraculously rise to the challenge and push myself further than I thought possible.

Up until this point, we might see some aspects of ourselves in Matt but be careful…

**Matt did say that this isn’t the same for everyone and he’s right except he concludes this essay with:

So if you’re struggling with complacency yourself, do what I do:

  • Give yourself LOTS of tight deadlines.
  • Raise the stakes.
  • And use urgency to your advantage.

How can you extract value and apply what you’ve read, in a way that makes sense for you?

You need to start looking for patterns in your life, just like Matt did. You are naturally motivated to do things in a particular kind of way. Initially Matt described himself as lazy when really he is perhaps intrinsically motivated to overcome or meet challenges.

Which is why Matt’s prescription at the end is not one that you blindly follow without first understanding yourself. And the way you can start doing that, is to look back, just as Matt did, and note how you behaved in the past in various situations.

Theron said it best: As most people are very different, it is impossible to give instructions that will be of the same value to all.

The Purpose of the written word is to share insights, examples, and provide some guidance but the real learning comes when what we read, awakens something in our soul, perhaps something that the book did not express; and we get to take that which applies to us and benefit in a deep and meaningful way.

If you need help in understanding what drives you to achieve certain outcomes and the unique opportunities that accompany those drives then “get in touch” via the contact form you will find at the bottom of this page.

Are you speaking with your heart?

Challenging times often find us resorting to prayer.

We beg and beseech because we are at our wits end and need change.

We often think that those amongst us not praying, have no faith yet a quote by Marianne Williamson comes to mind:

There is no such thing as a faithless person; we either have faith in the power of love, or faith in the power of fear. For faith is an aspect of consciousness. Have faith in love, and fear will lose its power over you. Have faith in forgiveness, and your self-hatred will fall away. Have faith in miracles, and they will come to you.

While we ask God to guide us out of our dilemma, we worry that relief won’t come fast enough or “in time”. We don’t realize that the very act of worrying is a form of prayer that attracts to us, that which we do not want.

To worship, to pray…we must go beyond words.

You can mouth the words of a prayer all day long and just waste your time, unless you also speak with your heart. And to speak with your heart means to embody first.

  • If you pray for love, be loving.
  • If you pray for wealth, be generous.
  • If you pray for health, practice health yourself.

The Peace Prayer

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace:
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy.

O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

Every day I say this prayer, and every day I fail, but like anything else, it’s a work in progress and I hope that eventually, I can sincerely embody it.

What is your favorite prayer? How can you begin to embody it?

Turn words into work

When he was in second grade, Harry Truman came down with a rare bacterial infection that paralyzed his arms and legs. The boy who could hardly stand to be indoors was suddenly and helplessly bedridden. “That’s when he started reading,” Truman’s sister recalled. “He couldn’t do anything else.” He read so much that when, miraculously and abruptly, he recovered, it was recommended that he skip third grade.

The infection would never come back but the reading bug was incurable. 

The greats, Truman concluded, were all “readers of good books, particularly books of biography and history…Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers.”

We’ve become really good at matching memes to our current reality.

I’ve always felt that words expressed by others sometimes capture what I want to express so well, (as Ryan Holiday did in the opening paragraphs of this post) that I needn’t reinvent the thought nor rewrite the prose. So I am all for using memes to support us in sharing ideas around leadership, careers, business, digital marketing and optimization.

I watch the mastery of other writers in awe. I have to take in the words bit by bit, as if biting from a sugary treat, making sure that I manage overwhelm, with tiny nibbles, chewing and savoring, the taste almost too much to bear.

One such writer is Rachel Carson

In a review, Brain Picking’s author Maria Popova shared…As The Edge of the Sea alighted in the world, critical praise and honors came cascading, trailed by invitations for lectures and acceptance speeches. Always uncomfortable with attention and public appearances, Carson became even more selective, prioritizing women’s associations and nonprofit cultural institutions over glamorous commercial stages. When she did speak, her words became almost a consecration, as in a speech she delivered before a convocation of librarians:

When we go down to the lowest of the low tide lines and look down into the shallow waters, there’s all the excitement of discovering a new world. Once you have entered such a world, its fascination grows and somehow you find your mind has gained a new dimension, a new perspective — and always thereafter you find yourself remember[ing] the beauty and strangeness and wonder of that world — a world that is as real, as much a part of the universe, as our own.

Reading allows us to discover new worlds. Memes provide thoughtful sentences that give us the information we want to share, in a small, digestible chunk.

What happens after?

More than any book read, or meme shared, is what happens after the reading and sharing. Are we applying, learning, gaining insights, or practicing, in our lives?

Is the intention to ride the meme wave to popularity or cull specific memes that help us advance our philosophy and influence real change?

We must turn our words into work

From March, 2020 to March 2021, Samuel Thomas Davies wrote a weekly newsletter called “Words Into Works.”

In it, he shared one big idea from one of the best nonfiction books of all time.

Reading is a shortcut, a way to get where you want to grow without having to learn by painful trial and error. As leaders, what we’re reading is leading us.

And how you read matters.

Are you taking notes? Are you integrating what you read into your daily life? Don’t just fill shelves on the wall. The goal is to learn so that we can lead. What we are reading will eventually lead us.

What is your philosophy and how are you leveraging your knowledge to help those you serve?

If you find yourself in a hole, STOP DIGGING!

What’s our natural tendency when things go wrong?

What happens when someone says something we don’t like?

What happens when we’re looking for something but can’t find it?

We obsess over mistakes, seethe and complain to anyone who’s willing to listen to how hurt we are, or turn the place complete upside down because we just can’t LET IT GO!

The first rule of holes is – when you find yourself in one, stop digging.

This however might be the most violated piece of commonsense wisdom in the world, says Ryan Holiday.

Tony Robbins cautions – see things as they are not WORSE than they are.

Like anything else, the first step is always awareness. Recognize that you’re in a hole.

  • If you have an unhappy client that is constantly complaining, and nothing you do is ever satisfactory, then you’re in a hole.
  • If you’re losing money on a project and you haven’t yet reached the end, you’re in a hole.
  • If you’ve been trying to make a relationship “work” for a while but the more you work at it, the more it stays the same. Guess what? You’re in a hole.

The “Law of Holes” adage first appeared in the Washington Post dating back to 1911.

“Nor would a wise man, seeing that he was in a hole, go to work and blindly dig it deeper…”

This old proverb can be applied to business, economics, gambling, friendships and love. The philosophy is a simple way of learning to let go.

In the Daily Stoic, Ryan Holiday advises:

Today give yourself the most simple and doable tasks: just don’t make stuff worse. Whatever happens, don’t add angry or negative emotions to the equation. Don’t react for the sake of reacting. Leave it as is.


Click here if you need help planning your way out?

Caught my eye…

Do you think you need permission to succeed?

We admire folks whose names we see in neon lights. We celebrate bestselling authors, athletes, chefs, ninja warriors, ordinary people showcased doing extraordinary things…yet we fail to picture ourselves as successful.

Countless people have asked me some version of – “How do I find my purpose, and when I find it, how will I know that it’s mine?”

Initially I subscribed to the “find your passion” philosophy but then many would complain that they had no idea what they were passionate about.

Then there was the whole “do what you love and the money will follow” movement. Still many remained confused as they loved many things but simply did not have an idea how to make money doing that.

More recently, exploring your ikigai has become popular. [If you’re interested in exploring this further click here for a workbook guiding you through Finding your Ikigai.]

Ikigai (ee-key-guy) is a Japanese concept that combines the terms iki, meaning “alive” or “life,” and gai, meaning “benefit” or “worth.”

When combined, these terms mean that which gives your life worth, meaning, or purpose.

The famous Japanese sushi chef Jiro Ono provides an apt illustration of ikigai, conceived as devotion to a pursuit that brings a sense of fulfillment or accomplishment.

Chef Ono has devoted his life to innovating and perfecting sushi-making techniques. He runs a small, exclusive 10-seat sushi restaurant in Tokyo, Japan.

Chef Ono has achieved the highest Michelin restaurant guide rating of three stars and is widely considered the most accomplished sushi chef globally.

Central to Chef Ono’s ikigai, one might say, would be pursuing excellence in sushi preparation and sharing this excellence with those who love sushi and fine dining.

So how do you discover YOUR Life Purpose?

The purpose of your life is to serve in a way that brings great joy to yourself and others. Don’t worry about finding it. Instead focus on serving a purpose and then your purpose will serve you, like it seems to be doing for Avalon Arscott who caught my eye this week with her tag line:

Breaker of Language Barriers. Speaker of French and Spanish

Avalon is the CEO and Lead Language Expert at The Language Boutique. She had a clue about her love for languages at the tender age of 9, where she imitated accents, while listening to Spanish tapes her mother would play in the car. Unconsciously she was gleaning a vital skill that would catapult her into doing what she does today. English is one of the hardest languages to learn and teach and so she feels well equipped to teach Spanish and French in a way that is practical, functional, engaging and inspiring. 

In her book Yes Shonda Rhimes starts off with “Hello I’m old and I like to lie”. She makes things up because she has to. She enjoys making stuff up. It’s in her DNA.

“The very thing that had me on my knees in church during recess reciting the rosary for one nun or another at St. Mary’s Catholic School in Park Forest, Illinois, is an actual honest-to-Jesus-Mary-and-Joseph job.”

The only obligation you have is to use your abilities to the fullest. You’re here and that’s all the permission you need to be a success. Not sure what you’re bringing to the table? Start here…

The psychology of suffering…

“We must learn to reawaken and keep ourselves awake,” Henry David Thoreau wrote in contemplating what it really means to be awake, adding: “Only one in a million is awake enough for effective intellectual exertion, only one in a hundred million to a poetic or divine life.”

That’s what legendary philosopher and founding father of modern psychology William James (January 11, 1842–August 26, 1910) addressed half a century after Thoreau’s famous words, in a superb speech he delivered before the American Philosophical Association at Columbia University in December of 1906.

“Compared with what we ought to be, we are only half awake… We are making use of only a small part of our possible mental and physical resources.”

This statement is still true today.

Frederick J. Eikerenkoetter II, better known as Reverend Ike, was an American minister and evangelist based in New York City. He made famous the following statement:


His newspaper ads proclaimed:

  • “UNLEARN sickness and know health.
  • “UNLEARN poverty and know prosperity.
  • “Learn how to break every limitation and solve every problem YOURSELF.”

In our search for success, what we don’t realize is that we are really looking for ourselves. Sadly most of us don’t realize it.

Most of us believe that in order to experience happiness, we must first go through suffering. We must suffer first, before earning our reward.

We were put on this planet fully loaded to significantly contribute to our individual success yet the psychology of suffering requires that we not use the very tools and talents that we were born with.

No one is average

In his book ‘The End of Average’ Todd Rose shows that no one is average. Not our kids, not us, not our employees or our students. It’s a fact with enormous practical consequences.

While we appreciate that people learn and develop in distinct ways, these unique patterns of behaviour are lost in our schools and businesses which have been designed around the mythical “average person”.

It’s time to change that!

We must accept the challenge of using the tools and talents we possess. Abraham Lincoln said that “Most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be.” Let our purpose be to make our lives as successful and as happy as we possibly can.

To paraphrase author, Keith DeGreen from his book ‘Creating a Success Environment’ – Let us view our existence, not from a mantle for suffering but as a dress rehearsal for the eternity of happiness we deserve.

This is the month to step back and reset

We are midway through 2021. It’s probably a good time to take a look at the goals you set for yourself at the beginning of the year.

  • Is this still what you want?
  • Do you wish to change your direction?
  • Do all these goals still matter?
  • Have your daily actions brought you closer to your goals or further away from them?

A reset is a time to reinspect your goals and your energy levels

Chi, also ki or qi, is the inner energy each of us possesses, the life force that permeates the universe. Your Chi is the source of creativity and the amount you have to spend on any given day is limited.

You might be using up all your Chi on everything else BUT your goals. This may cause you to feel frustrated, discontented and probably angry at times. These emotions make it even more difficult for you to get back on track.

You need to gain control over your stress

For me it was giving up crazy expectations I had for myself and my life. Not only around thoughts like “I should be here by now’ but also around how much I could actually get done in a day.

Until I started to time exactly how long I took on specific projects and tasks I was lousy at guestimates. Something I thought would take one hour, in reality took four. I was mindful not to squander time while I was measuring. I worked with a timer and took breaks in between each hour spent on work.

It is important to guard our Chi, and also develop a ritual for renergization which might include a cup of tea, a short nap, a 15 minute walk, or just sitting doing nothing – staring into space for ten minutes.

Whatever you need, give yourself that creative nourishment

As you reexamine your goals, remember that your body is an energy vessel and you need to constantly fuel and rest to recharge.

Now might be a great time to get your annual wellness checkup. If you don’t have a regular doctor, check out one of my clients Dr. Ryan Rabilall at OMNI Total Health. He doesn’t know I’m writing this and I have no arrangement to receive any commission for referrals. OMNI is a client and I totally believe in their focus on the total you, not just your physical health. Phone: (868) 233-6526 Email:

Although you may have a plan, keep yourself open to opportunities as they arise and be willing to go in another direction.

Not sure where you stand today? Click here to take this first step NOW!

Don’t stop trying in trying times

The late and beloved rabbi of famed Temple of Shalom in Chicago, Louis Binstock said that often it is not the wrong start but the wrong stop that makes the difference between success and failure. To quit while we’re ahead would be silly; to quit when we’re behind is even sillier. It requires will to hold on a little longer. It requires wit to know that the measure of success is not the luck, the breaks of the game, but the conquest of failure.

The trouble with most of us is that we stop trying in trying times.

I’ve been thinking a lot about Hoover’s response to the Great Depression versus Roosevelt’s response in the context of what our nation needs to hear right now as we go through this pandemic.

Hoover’s response to the crash focused on two very common American traditions: He asked individuals to tighten their belts and work harder, and he asked the business community to voluntarily help sustain the economy by retaining workers and continuing production.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt was elected president in 1932. He immediately embarked on an ambitious plan to get the country out of the Great Depression.

America has seldom felt worse than in 1933, the depth of the Great Depression. With unemployment reaching 80 percent in places, people were desperate. Many lost their homes, and when the banks began to fail, their last dollar as well. The message from newly elected President Franklin Delano Roosevelt was bracing: “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” Roosevelt’s optimism created what Newsweek columnist and NBC News contributor Jonathan Alter calls “The Defining Moment.” Here’s an excerpt:

So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is…fear itself — nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance. In every dark hour of our national life, a leadership of frankness and of vigor has met with that understanding and support of the people themselves which is essential to victory. And I am convinced that you will again give that support to leadership in these critical days.

Addressing himself to the causes of the economic crisis and its moral dimensions, Roosevelt placed the blame squarely on the greed and shortsightedness of bankers and businessmen.

Roosevelt then turned, in the following excerpts, to the daunting issue of unemployment, which had reached a staggering 25 percent when he assumed office:

…the withered leaves of industrial enterprise lie on every side; farmers find no markets for their produce; the savings of many years in thousands of families are gone.

More important, a host of unemployed citizens face the grim problem of existence, and an equally great number toil with little return. Only a foolish optimist can deny the dark realities of the moment.

Our greatest primary task is to put people to work. This is no unsolvable problem if we face it wisely and courageously.

There are many ways in which it can be helped, but it can never be helped merely by talking about it. We must act and act quickly.

After touching briefly on foreign relations — “the policy of the good neighbor — the neighbor who resolutely respects himself and, because he does so, respects the rights of others” — Roosevelt turned again to the economic crisis, assuring his countrymen that he would act swiftly and with determination.

In these times that we face in Trinidad and Tobago, we need to keep hope alive.

I am not saying ignore the facts. As Roosevelt said – Only a foolish optimist can deny the dark realities of this moment. We cannot deny the realities of the COVID-19 virus but we simply cannot stop trying. We cannot lose hope and we must remain open that there is a way, even if that way has not yet presented itself.

I wrote on Saturday about two businesses that were lockdown inspired. This might be the time that you need to take a step or two backwards to reorient yourself and prepare to take a next step.

If you have difficulty reimagining your life and discovering new possibilities, use the form at the bottom of this page to get in touch.