Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Happy Holidays and May Love and Health Fulfill Your Life Throughout The Whole Year 2015

Last year, for my Christmas' greetings post, my wishes were that throughout this year, which was approaching its end, love might abound in your life, my life and everyone else's life.

And I said then: "Why love? Because I've found that if there is plenty of love in our lives, everything works wonderfully well, plenty of smiles, hope, kindness, good thoughts and feelings ... good vibes as people say on this side! "

And I embellish my post with the following sentence:

When love abounds in your life, there is not room for selfishness, and that's good!

And how would it be then if you also had great health?

As for this new upcoming year, I will add one more ingredient: Health!

And not only "cheers" as when we offer a toast, but the health of our souls, hearts, and lives itself. I'm sure if in our lives abound these two things, health and love, we'll be able to reach our full capacity to strongly move forward, to conquer our goals and achieve good things for ourselves and all people around us .

Therefore, I'd like to close this year, starting off by thanking for staying on my side, for being there, reading this blog, allowing me to share with you the things that I think, believe and live, and letting me know your opinions and experiences too.

And after doing so, I also want health and love to abound in your life, my life, our lives throughout this holiday season and the New Year 2015!

Surely if love abounds, there is less room for selfishness and that might even help us become better leaders, better co-workers, better partners, better parents .... and that, most certainly, is not bad to start up the year!

Don't you think? :-D

Merry Christmas and Much Prosperity throughout the New Year 2015!

Photo Copyright: Passiflora / 123RF Stock Photo

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Differentiate Yourself By The Value Shared Through Your Conversations.

Differentiate By Adding Real Value.
Last week I read the story shared by one of my favorites writers, Andrés Pérez Ortega, on his blog. In his post, Andrés commented that, during one of his presentations, one attendee questioned him about his outfit not corresponding to the arguments he presented during his speech.

And just as a coincidence, it also happened that during a conversation, a dear friend of mine asked me if including on his LinkedIn profile a background picture related to his industry and what his company did, would help him differentiate from others who also work on the same area.

I told him there wouldn’t be any problem with it, quite the opposite: I said it would add a very nice visual touch to his profile, but also recommended him not to forget that the best strategy to differentiate himself from other professionals within his industry was to provide valuable content across all platforms where he was present, ending up my comment with the phrase that entitles this post.

Never forget that "the suite does not make the man".

Don’t make the mistake of thinking that just because you dress fashionably, have a very “cool” haircut, an expensive suit and a brand name watch, you’ve made your job on taking care of the most important part of your personal brand, because you'll be making a huge mistake .

Obviously creating a professional image is important, but if the way you look on the outside is not synchronized with your most authentic, inner self, then you're simply creating a false image of yourself and people, at any time, will take notice.

Remember that "even though the monkey is all dressed in silk, it’s still a monkey." If what people see is not authentic, at some point they will figure you out.

A while ago, I wrote in this blog that a personal brand should be, on top of everything else, a free and consistent expression of your true self, both personal and professional, without impositions from others.

And it’s a position I defend and will always do my best in keeping: First of all, the image you project about yourself should be perfectly consistent with your most intimate values and opinions, and can not be any other way.

Differentiate Yourself By The Value Shared Through Your Conversations.

What I definitely think should be your preferred way to really stand out from other professionals in your industry or sector, is the depth of your opinions, they way you add value to other people’s lives and businesses, who approach you looking for your advice or recommendations.

And even more through the genuine value you can add to discussions you’re participating in. If that does not happen, if you are not able to add value to anyone's life, if your opinion is nothing but a collection of unconnected dots, and what you say goes unnoticed, well then you can certainly dress the way you want, and wear their hair style of your dreams because you're being just one more on the pile.

A professional who brings value to its environment in an authentic way, is the one who always leaves the deepest impression.

I think there is no greater satisfaction than to help others achieve their goals and doing it by helping them grow and become better people and better entrepreneurs, sharing with them the best you have to offer based on your experience and knowledge.

Only then, I think, you'll be able to strongly and certainly differentiate from other professionals who simply have stayed on the surface and do not dare to take deep dives within their industry.

On top of everything else, we are human beings wearing too many hats.

Not at all moments in my daily life I am the professional guy who writes this blog. I’m also a father of two little angels (or better yet, growing angels), I have a wonderful wife, I'm still the son of my mother, thanks God, brother of my brothers and, besides all, I'm still a human being who wants to stay physically fit, who also goes to walk the dog, taking out the trash, and so many other things.

Can you imagine how my life would be if I also had to worry about dressing in the best way possible when I go out for a ride on my bike? Or when taking out the trash? Can you picture yourself going out to walk your dog on suit and tie?

I think it wouldn’t make any sense, don’t you agree?

Above all, a personal brand should never be a cage that encloses and limits you.

I do agree totally that you have to dress properly and accordingly to the occasion, of course we all do, and it’s also true we have to follow the proper etiquette codes when in professional environments and all other situations which require it. There is no single doubt about it and it's something I'll always recommended you as a key thing to consider.

But from there to consider that the most important thing a person or a professional has to do to build its image properly is what comes through the eyes, there is a long way. Thinking this way just limits yourself from having the opportunity to meet amazing people, to learn a little bit more each and every day.

The real way to differentiate yourself as a professional is to add value to people around you, both professionally and personally, and always be willing to continue growing as a person, learning from others as well.

Only then you will be in a favorable position to leave a deep, authentic and lasting image on your environment, whether it’s professional or personal.

I recommend you to read the following posts on this blog:
What does a Barbie has to do with your personal brand?
Personal Branding Strategy: A Case Study.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

How Can You Make A More Effective Use Of The World’s Fastest Processor?

The World's Fastest Processor.
One of the biggest challenges we all face in nowadays’ digital environment is the infinite amount of information that can be accessed through multiple and varied platforms.

Just so you have quite a basic, very simplistic idea, I’d like to share with you some of the facts that happen on the Internet every 60 seconds, that is, every single minute:

  • 88,000 Skype calls are made. 
  • 2.66 million Google searches are performed. 
  • Almost 139 million emails are sent. 
  • People watch around 5 million videos on YouTube.
  • 571 Web pages are created. 
  • 433,000 tweets are sent, and ... 
  • 293,000 status updates are posted in Facebook. 
And keep this in mind: All this happens second after second, day after day... or, as people like to refer to it 24x7x365.

If we were to measure it in Gigas, we would be totally overwhelmed by the number that comes out. Truly shocked!

Can you imagine what would happen if you were to consume all this information, or just a tiny part of it? Your indigestion would be phenomenal and surely would send you straight to the hospital.

Let's start by the beginning: Healthy mind, healthy body. 

I’m quite sure that since you were just a little kid your parents probably repeated this phrase to you too more than once: "Healthy mind, healthy body". Not everything in life is about studying hard but also doing some sports. And it also works the other way around: Not everything in life is getting plenty of exercise, but also nourishing our knowledge"

And most of us have grown with this phrase deep in our minds: "Healthy mind, healthy body". The healthy body side of it, you understand quite easy: Not overdoing it with the food, always trying to maintain a healthy diet, doing some exercising regularly and avoiding bad habits. That’s an easy one. 

But... how do you maintain a "healthy mind"? Obviously, the first thing that comes to mind has to do with the information you consume, what goes in: You have to make sure you only “eat” high quality, healthy information and, of course, don’t overdo it with the amount you consume.

Faced with such an overwhelming flood of information, the most important thing is to choose only the one which is really valuable. 

And that's what I did over the last two weeks: Check thoroughly the sources of information from which I regularly feed myself to only keep those that add value to my life and discard those that do not.

It is an exercise I recommend you to perform as well: Spend a few hours, a few days or a few weeks, to make a thorough review of all sources you have as a reference, the blogs you regularly read, pages you visit, the emails that you receive, and keep only those which encourages, nourishes and enriches you.

Just as your body needs exercising, your brain needs it too. 

Having already checked the quality of the information you consume, then we come to a point perhaps you've never paid attention to, just as it has happened to me: exercising your brain.

If you are an average human being, like most of us, probably you use 99.99% of your brain to processing information: taking training courses, reading books, writing, listening to podcasts, watching tutorials, speaking, listening ... therefore information coming in and going out.

Paying attention, solving problems and building memories are the fundamental operations your brain performs. 

And all this information is being processed by your brain by performing three fundamental tasks: paying attention, problem solving and keeping memories of all information processed, and all this can be done in a flexible way and at such a lighting fast rate that I can not even name it because it’s amazingly fast.

There are plenty of applications that can help you train your brain in these three basic tasks. Some are paid, some others free; some nicer than others. Finally, there is one for everybody.

I chose one called Lumosity (you’ll find the link below) which I feel great with and highly recommend it. It comes with super simple exercises that increase their difficulty level as you go along and develop your own abilities, and so the game can become highly addictive.

But at this point, I invite you to make your own choice. The important thing to keep in mind is that your brain, like the rest of your body, can also be trained on its most elemental tasks and the most impressive thing is that, as you push yourself more, your brain increases its performance. Really an spectacular thing!

And finally: What can we do to take advantage of all that valuable information we would like to read and review, but do not have enough time for it?

Taking your reading speed a little further. 

In my case, there are multiple blogs I read every day, both for my professional and personal lives. Therefore I largely depend on the speed with which I can read all the content available for me everyday.

After carefully checking the quality of all the sources I feed myself from, as I mentioned above, I still have a large list of sites and blogs I’d like to keep visiting regularly. And my concern was: What can I do to process all this information more efficiently and quickly? That's when I stumbled upon the term "Speed Reading".

Since I was a kid, I’ve always liked to read. As an student and a professional, I find reading not only to be an opportunity for continuous learning but also a great way to relax and focus my mind on other things. And surely like you, I thought I was reading at an interesting speed, until I learned I could go a bit further.

Being able to read and process the information we receive faster and more efficiently, is a very valuable skill. 

Similarly, there are multiple platforms and programs that might help you with increasing your reading speed. As always, there are some better than others, and for tastes, colors. I came across one training course named "Super Reading", a very interesting program, with a very simple structure and requires only 7, 30 minute sessions in 7 consecutive days.

In any case, as I indicated to you with training programs for your brain, you can choose the one that better suits you.

I just wanted to share with you today all this information which has been an spectacular discovery for me: how you can make a more effective use of your brain, and faster process all information available in the web, and continue to feed yourself from the vast amount of information which is available through many different venues nowadays.

Below you’ll find the corresponding links to everything I've mentioned above.

What happens on the Internet every 60 seconds? Infographic updated.
Lumosity: Your brain training program. 
Super Reading: Speed reading and fast learning course.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Let's Make A Responsible Use Of Our Voice In Social Media

Our Social Media Voice.
A few weeks ago a video circulated over the Internet showing a professional soccer player, in fact one of those many call "a legend", a famous master, beat his girlfriend while he was, apparently, totally drunk.

The video in question quickly became popular, and got comments (both positive and negative) as it began to be shared over the internet and especially on social media, as it always happens in these situations.

But regardless of the comments the video generated, what really struck me was having the opportunity to confirm yet again how anyone equipped with a smartphone, a tablet or any similar device, and simply with an internet connection and any social media account, can become a broadcaster for all kind of situations, both true and false, real or invented.

And it’s something that all of us, and I really mean ALL of us, should take into consideration, whether or not we’re running a business: Any person with whom we interact, whether in a positive or negative way, on a professional or personal level, has complete capacity (if they want) to share their own opinions with the community who follows them, and can thus become either an "ambassador" for your company, in the best case; or your "worst nightmare."

It’s a decision that is exclusively on their hands. And that's the big risk (or the great opportunity) for your company’s reputation and even for yourself.

With great powers, come great responsibilities.

But today I want to focus not on your side as a business owner, but on that of the individual who buys things in businesses of all kinds, from that very same shop where you go to do your weekly grocery shopping, up to the workshop you take your car to for repairs.

The immense power that we have to share our opinions over social networks should be used very judiciously.

And even though I feel it’s great that all of us, as consumers and citizens, have the ability to share with the world what we don’t like, what we feel not to be fair, it also looks terrifying to me that any person, at any time and from anywhere in the world - and simply moved by an emotional outburst, or by sheer bad intentions, can put in jeopardy you business’ reputation and even your own reputation, both as a person and a professional.

It comes to my mind the moment when Jor-El tells his son Kal-el (if you’re not familiar with the names, I’m talking about Superman, the flying superhero) that the latter had great powers that no other human being had, nor could ever have, and because of that, those superpowers were to be used responsibly and only to make good things.

And as every time I make statements like these one, I will share with you a story I read about a while ago on an english written blog.

The case of the irritable passenger who was just having a very bad day.

As I said, some time ago I read an article in which a girl related what had happened to her one day she had arrived late to the airport for a flight she needed to take to another city.

Of course, when she finally made it to her flight’s gate, it was already closed. She then approached one of the officers at the ticket counter asking for help, because she really had to get on that plane in a hurry, but the agent told her there was nothing he could do at that time, because the flight was already closed.

The girl, on her frustration and urgency, lost control, got upset and began to complain. Think of the situation: The airline employee trying to respect and hold to his company’s policy, our frustrated girl trying to get on the plane, some things were said, some words were crossed, and it all exploded.

All stories always have two versions, yours and that of the other person involved.

It’s not my intention to judge either party (although I tend to favor the airline, considering that our lady was late for the flight), but the story ended with the lady not boarding the plane and having to book her flight with another airline.

At the end of the day, she got to her destination. But while on the plane, she wrote an article for a blog she was working with, in which she unloaded all her frustration and anger towards the airline and the agent who attended her, who denied her the opportunity to get on the flight and arrive on time to her destination, forcing her to go back and look for another air carrier.

I read her post, as well as many other guys like myself, and had the opportunity to watch her questioning the airline’s reputation, even though she had been fully responsible on her own disgrace, for arriving late to the airport.

The first thing we all need to put to good use is our common sense.

Please note that in the post I read, our lady instead of starting off by admitting she had been responsible for the incident (because she arrived late to the airport), she simply unloaded all her frustration as a customer who believes to deserve everything and blamed the airline and, in particular, the agent by not letting her get on the plane.

We are responsible for what we say, and the damage we inflict to others with what we say.

It’s important, very important, we all make an effort to responsibly use our voice in the digital environment. It’s no longer a simple matter of saying things just because we feel like it, but to always make sure we maintain our objectivity, use sound judgment and common sense while saying anything.

We must understand that, when we decide to complain about anything we consider unfair, or complain to any company for something we believe was not properly done or is simply just wrong, we assume all the consequences that such an act may have for us, whether positive or negative.

What would have happened if, upon reading her post, the airline decided to sue the girl for the damage she could have inflicted the company’s reputation? Which was going to be “our frustrated passenger’s” answer? That she forgot she had to arrive the airport on time to take the flight?

We must act responsibly and always using our common sense. In our hands we have a very powerful tool, both for good and evil, and we’re able to spread our opinion and reach many, many people in a very short time and with very little effort.

We can unite our voices in defense of really worthy causes around the world and make a great contribution to our society, or we can also use our voice irresponsibly and make us an echo of (whether willing or not) false accusations or disseminate uncertain information.

And that is not a positive contribution neither for you, nor for anybody.

I recommend you reading the following article in this post
When The Crisis Explodes, Don’t Focus Your Eyes On The Tip Of The Iceberg.

Picture Copyright: imagesbavaria / 123RF Stock Photo

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Why You Need To Make A "Reality Check" Every Now And Then?

Why you need a "Reality-Check"?
Whenever you talk with someone who wants to open up a new business, you come across a person who is totally charged with an overdose of optimism, daydreaming to achieve great and laudable goals, completely self-sold into their business idea, because she considers it simply awesome.

And all that is just quite normal and, I would say, appropriate of course.

Optimism is the attitude that will allow you to stay in the fight much longer than others.

But, have you ever wondered why most business plans that are out there, are built upon economic predictions with more zeros than we can even come to think of, showcasing the overly optimistic expectations of its very owners?

Certainly entrepreneurship needs a good dose of optimism to succeed.

It’s true that entrepreneurship is not for those with weak hearts. A good dose of optimism is needed to succeed. But there is a very, very fine line between optimism and mere illusion.

Only from this point of view can you understand the fact that, despite existing so many people convinced they have a brilliant business idea, only 1 out of 10 new businesses survive the first five years of its operation. It doesn’t make sense, does it?

I’m 100% sure that, for being an entrepreneur, you have to be an optimistic person, first of all, to be able to assume all the risks and uncertainties associated with entrepreneurship itself. That’s for sure.

But unless you have a checkbook with an interesting balance which serves as a mattress for you just in case your venture fails and you’d to start all over again, or if you’re addicted to gambling and betting, it’s much more advisable to practice a sort of “optimism based on reality”.

But why do we fall into this excessive optimism trap so easily and often?

Unfortunately, when you're making decisions that involve the possibility to make big bucks (or loss big bucks), you become more prone to look for any information that supports your claims that things are going to be fantastic, because it simply makes you feel better and more confident.

You get yourself tightly connected to your expectations both emotionally and rationally, so you openly ignore any information which confronts your beliefs. People say we often tend to hear only what we want to hear, and this is particularly true when it comes to evaluating possibilities for your business.

Interestingly though the greater the profit you expect to receive, the greater the chances you'll fall into the trap of over-optimism.

Haven’t you noticed your eyes swelling in excitement when you explain others the great possibilities you have to achieve excellent results with your wonderful business idea? And yet, when someone simply shows up in scene and raises two or three things contradicting you or simply showing that things might not come out so wonderful, an unpleasant sensation runs down your entire body and you wish you could simple erase that person from the map.

Overoptimism often tends to be the most common and damaging mistake you can make while managing your business. And this over-optimism can be particularly harmful when you want to explore opportunities inside the most competitive or faster changing sectors.

Practice then reality-based optimism.

Like many things in life, all extremes are bad to you. And this rule also applies to the optimism you put into your business: Neither too much nor too little. Just the proper balance and, on top of everything else, always gathering real data to back up your expectations.

Optimism based on reality generates better results than over-optimism.

It's easy to understand why: It’s very difficult, if not impossible at all, to accurately predict the results awaiting for you at the other side of the road, so being "optimistic-with-facts-on-the-hands" always offers you the opportunity to take more informed and realistic decisions.

It’s clear that optimism will help you keep energy levels high at all times, while moderation will allow you to identify more clearly when it really is not worth it to keep on pushing.

What can you do to practice the "reality-based optimism"?

Some recommendations you can take into consideration are the following:
1. Get to know your industry as well as you can: When searching for new business opportunities, try doing it in areas you are familiar with, those you've already had some contact and experience. Or if you want to dive deep into something completely new, try to get this knowledge bringing in people who shares your interests, passion and already have the knowledge about the industry. This knowledge will help you have a more realistic picture of the market in which you want to participate.
2. Always plan ahead for different scenarios: "What if?" Is a powerful question that allows you to open up your mind to new and more challenging situations, thinking outside of the box about different plans of action, planning for alternatives. Don’t keep yourself from having the opportunity to also look at the "dark side" of the force, for there is also a lot that can be learned from it.
3. Receive advice from more experienced people. Surround yourself with a team which is not afraid to put your proposals to the test. Find people who are willing to challenge you, to raise different ideas. If you surround yourself with people who always lipservice you, then you’ll have very little opportunities to see things from a different perspective. Someone with more experience than you or with knowledge you don’t have will prove to be a very important partner in your venture.
4. Become your most demanding customer. Always try to look at your product from your customers’ point of view and not only from your own. Does your product really captivates its customers’ heart, just as it does with your? Is your product really as valuable for your customers as you think it is?
Practicing optimism moderated by a strong dose of reality is a great way to manage your business and ensure the fewest headaches.

Considering and practicing all recommendations above will allow you to skip the self-deception trap and get you on the track to achieving more realistic and concrete goals.

I do recommend you to read the following posts from my blog to dig deeper on the subject:
Want a successful product? Become your most demanding customer.
A business plan’s flexibility: Obstinacy or perseverance?

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

What Are You Managing: A Business Or A Non Profit Organization?

 A Business Or A Non Profit Org? 
A few weeks ago, having an after dinner conversation with some friends, this subject came up: “What are we managing?”. I commented that the goal for any business should be selling, building profits, and one of my colleagues argued that it wasn’t like that, that it was probably done this way many years ago but not anymore. He said that nowadays a business’ goal was to satisfy customers, putting customers at the center of everything.

And maybe it's like asking "What comes first: the chicken or the egg?" because in order for your business to satisfy a customer, it needs to have actual customers. In order for a customer to become “satisfied” by your business, some sort of transaction must have been generated, the exchange of a product or service must have occurred to assist the customer in  solving a particular need or problem. What other ways can a customer be satisfied by you, if it isn’t by solving a problem?

What other reason would push the customer to approach your business to begin with? Perhaps sole curiosity? How long can you keep your business running if you only get visits from "curious" people who don’t buy?

I do recognize this kind of questioning might sound like common sense, but it happens more often than not to business owners to get confused about what their real goal is. It’s often necessary to go back to the basic concepts and remind yourself what goals were you expecting to achieve with your business, and I mean if we are really managing a business, on the proper meaning of the word itself.

Businesses are created to generate economic profits, regardless of the business model you choose to use.

And that’s why it is so important to have all things perfectly clear in your mind: If you own a business, your goal is for it to become profitable, generate earnings, perhaps in a year, two, three or five... but at the end your goal is to have a profitable business, meaning you are bringing in more money than the one going out, so that at the end of the year you have some cash remaining in your account.

Let’s start by talking about time, money and the effort it takes to manage any business. 

Some people say it’s good to put the dots on top of the “i’s” from time to time, to avoid any confusion that could be potentially costly, and I don’t refer exclusively to monetary costs, at this particular point.

I am sure we all will agree that managing your business not only costs you money, perhaps a little if you have done your homework implementing “bootstrapping" techniques, but certainly you have to invest some money to make things happen. But it's not just money you have to invest in your business.

If  you were to assign a monetary value to each of your working hours, you would soon realize how much it costs to manage your business. 

In addition to this investment in money, managing your business also demands a significant amount of time and effort. And if each of your working hours had a face value, you would immediately realize your business has a real cost, and is generally quite a high one.

How long can your pocket support a business which doesn’t generate profits? 

Obviously when we reach this point in the conversation, everyone frowns and shrugs. The answer is always "just for a limited time." Or at least, it is most of the time.

It can be "very, very limited time" when the pocket would only hold for a couple of months of operation without generating profits, or "moderately limited" when you've done your homework properly and have set aside a capital that will allow you to cover your business’ operations for a longer period, perhaps a year or two.

No single pocket can hold a business that produces not profits forever. 

In any case, the answer would never be "for as long as you need", and if it were so, then you’re not managing a business but a nonprofit organization: you're basically spending your time, money and efforts on an activity that could easily be considered a hobby instead of a business, and nothing else.

You might now be wondering why I place so much emphasis on a subject that should be completely clear to all  entrepreneurs and business owners, or to those guys who are planning to launch their own businesses in the near future. The answer comes next.

If you know where you're going, you can choose the way that better suits you. 

Humans have the ability to turn simple things into complex concepts, and we have taken on the habit of coming up with new names for things that continue to have the same meaning they have had throughout the whole life, such as what the goal of any business should be.

Having what your business goals are completely clear in your mind, allows you to better choose platforms to be used, and plan much more efficiently all strategies and actions to be executed to promote it, increase awareness about it among people, bring in more sales and, consequently, to create better opportunities to generate profits.

In addition to all that, you’ll have the main performance indicator that will tell you whether you are doing things right or wrong. As I stated on a post published in this blog a while ago:

"Everything you do, must generate either money or happiness, or a combination of both." 

If what you're doing, is not helping you make even money enough for a living, then you must make sure it’s generating a lot of happiness. And if you call it “a business”, then you certainly have to make sure it’s generating profits.

A big hug and thank you for allowing me to share these thoughts with you. I hope you find them useful in managing your small, yet big business :-D

If you have time, you may want to read the following post in this blog:
4 Easy Tips To Effectively Managing Your Time.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

If Things Were Easier ... - The Dog Whisperer's Testimony

As my dear friend, Gabriela Pérez Sambucetti says "only what we share acquires a social dimension" now it is my time to add value to a rich conversation, as I want to share with you guys an article written by a dear friend of mine, Mauricio Priego, in which he pays tribute to being perseverant, confident and, above all other things, to always move forward and fight for all those things that are important to us. 

This is the testimony of Cesar Millan, "The Dog Whisperer". I'll post it here the same way Mauricio published it. Please, enjoy! 

“If things were easier, anyone would be able to make them.” 

Sometimes when I find myself exhausted and struggling to simply get by everyday´s task, this phrase has crossed my mind and I have realized this is the sentence life puts in front of us to keep the stress levels high and take away our happiness and joy. But then I realize that it is ourselves who often make things more difficult than they really are, and I turn my eyes and look at those I love and find in them the incentive I need to resume the fight with renewed vigor, focusing again on my dreams instead of simple trying to get by.

But ironically resuming the fight and refocusing our efforts is not an easy task. Not at all. 

Have you heard of the "Dog Whisperer"? The story of Cesar Millan is a true life testimony of hard work and perseverance, which may well serve as an inspiration to all of us when adversity threatens our dreams and goals (Click on the video to view it)

Surely the famous phrase "The more I know men, the more I love my dog" crossed his mind more than once, the difference being that instead of running away and hiding himself in a a barrel, like Diogenes did, César knew how to re-discover what his dream was and build up the strength of mind he needed to start all over again.

As the poet says:

"Try to be happy with what you have, live life intensely ... if you keep on fighting, you'll finally make it."


Mauricio Priego
Personal Finances Advisor, Systems Analyst, Enterprise Architect. Love Reading. Happy Parent.
Twitter: MauricioPriego 

Thank you, Mauricio, for such a special and emotionally filled post. 

I'm sure more than one of the people reading this post now, will feel completely identified with César's story, as I did when I read your post. 

This is the link to the original post, as it appeared in Mauricio's blog
Si las cosas fueran fáciles... - Testimonio del "Encantador de Perros" (In Spanish)

If you liked it, I think you will also enjoy reading this one too: 
Which Habits Are Keeping You From Reaching Your Goals?

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

What Can You Talk About With Your Customers When You’re Not Selling To Them?

Don't know what to talk about?

This time, I'll share with you my comments and thoughts about a question made by a dear friend of mine from Mexico, who reads this blog regularly. (I also read his, by the way :-D

The question came in the following way:

Sometimes you need to keep track and follow up with your long-term prospects, but this entails two risks for you: 
a) That you become a constant harassment by despairing / boring / troubling them.

b) That they lose interest on what you’re offering along the way, or someone else contacts them with a similar solution (or maybe even the same product) while you’re away. 
These are the two extremes, true, but the challenge is usually how to find the midpoint. On the other hand, there is the issue of what can you use as subjects of your following up contacts: It is clear that if you always talk about your product, the prospect is going to feel "used" and you’ll surely miss the chance to do business... But again, you can’t become best pal with your customer. Again, the point is: how much is too much and how much is too little? 
And it’s also clear that congratulating him on his birthday, or sending a postcard for Christmas, by themselves, are totally inefficient.
What do you think about it? 

And the topic is quite an interesting one, and, in many cases, businesses haven’t fully understood what it means to "keep relevant conversations with their customers and prospects” before, during and after the purchase decision is made.

Where do we begin with?

The most obvious opportunities: Being polite doesn’t mean you’re not brave enough. 

On many occasions I have recommended you in this blog that we should all try to get to know our customers with the finest detail we possibly can, handling information that is relevant to our interests and which also allows us to discover additional ways to be of service, or even open up new business opportunities to develop.

There are small details that greatly enrich the relationship and get you much closer to your customers. 

A greeting card for a birthday, a wedding, a newborn, in the format of your choice, is always a warm gesture to effectively, genuinely approach and engage with your customers.

However, we only celebrate our birthday once per year, we have newborns less frequently and get married, God permits, once in a lifetime (or two, or three… you know what I mean), so these opportunities, by themselves, are insufficient to properly follow up with customers and prospects.

What other stuff can you talk about with customers and prospects, excluding your products? 

If you don’t want to turn your conversations with customers and prospects into boring information exchanges about your products and services, which happens all too often, why don’t you give a try to the following recommendations?

  • Add value to their business, not yours: include within your “conversation subjects”, themes that might be relevant to their industries, their businesses, or even their lives. It's okay if you don’t mention your brand, products and services. Not every conversation has to revolve around you. Dare to open the space to provide real, selfless and genuine value, focusing on providing solutions to real problems your customers are facing. 
  • Show them that you deeply know what you're talking about: You know you have a lot to say about your industry, you know you can offer true, valuable, honest opinions regarding topics of interest. Bring them to the table. Tips, suggestions and recommendations are always welcome in a world where relevant content is King. 
  • Become a reference point for your customers and prospects: Through the value and relevance of the topics you share, your company and yourself become the point your customers want to go to when they need information about industry issues, and you definitely want it to be this way.

How much is enough and when it’s just too little? 

Actually, this is really a total challenge for all of us and a quite complicated one: How can you figure out when you stop being an interesting source for your customers and prospects and simply become an annoying visitor in their mailbox or even on the phone?

Think of it as when you’re drinking whiskey:  You never drink the whole bottle at once. You go little by little. Step by step. Sipping slowly, sip by sip, usually in small vessels. Tasting it, smelling it, enjoying it.

Make your conversations like drinking good whiskey: Let your customers find it so yummy and relevant that they prefer to taste it, instead of wasting it. 

Knowing who your audience is and being close to them will help you find the proper balance.

The decision of how much is too much or too little, will vary according to each case, depending on the relevance of the information you share and generate, and depending on how often you may have access to fresh information. You just have to find the balance that works for you.

If you pay attention to these simple steps, you can follow up with your customers and prospects maintaining relevant conversations for a long time, developing with them strong and long-lasting relationships, and you will have earned a guaranteed place in their minds, when the time for making the purchase decision comes around.

I also recommend you to read the following posts on this blog
Social Networks: From Conversations To A Brand New Sale In 6 Simple Steps. 
Who Follows Who In Social Media?

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

When Delegating In Others, You Must Be Confident They’re The Right Ones For The Job.

Make Sure They're The Ones For The Job.
A few days ago I read the phrase that makes the title of this week's post in an article written by Susan Steinbrecher for www.soyentrepreneur.net, which was titled "5 Golden Rules for Young Leaders". I really recommend you to read it, and as always, you’ll find the link to it at the end of my post.

Delegating responsibilities in others, and trusting they can (and will) be a perfect fit for the task, is a skill that every manager, business owner, or person having the desire to create an efficient and productive team, must nurture and develop.

In fact, at one point in time, most entrepreneurs will need to make use of this skill in order to secure their businesses’ growth, and lay the foundations for further developments.

It’s very difficult for any business to grow on top of its initial creator’s shoulders and his unique strengths, no matter how proactive and efficient that person might be.

But let me keep myself on topic today. As I was saying, that phrase particularly caught my attention, because around the same time, in a group I have with some colleagues on whatsapp, the following picture was being shared:

Translation below :-D 
The picture reads: "In my book "Move away, sucker, I do it myself because you don't have an idea" I referred to the advantages of effective teamworking."

And after recognizing the image was created with an extremely high dose of sarcasm, it reflects a reality that prevails in many companies nowadays: The inability of the company’s "leaders" to effectively delegate tasks on their employees.

If you can not trust their abilities, why did you hire them to begin with? 

And I'll start from this very point: At the basis of every efficient working relationship there must be the confidence, on your side, that the person you’re hiring for the position has the necessary skills to do the job the way you expect them to, and nothing less. It’s very simple.

If this is not so, if that confidence doesn’t exist: What’s the reason that justifies the candidate being hired? Why would you be paying them a salary for? Just because it’s a close family acquaintance whom you wanted to lend a hand?

When hiring a person for any area of ​​your business, you must have the confidence that she/he will be capable of doing the job properly. 

When you make the decision to hire people for your business, you're doing it because you need someone skilled enough to be in charge of a particular area, whatever that area may be. If we start from this basic principle, it is then logical to expect the person who will occupy such position will have the minimum set of skills to do the job right, or at least, the way you expect it to be done.

I remember that among the recruitment processes in which I have participated, there was this one in particular in which the candidate finally selected by my boss, didn’t have the basic skills and professional experience required for the position, and yet the selection process was closed and the person hired.

Which was the final result? As you can easily picture it, all the time I invested in training the person, supervising her job and accompanying her to visit prospects and close some business, was simply wasted because, after a couple of months, we needed to fire her.

"The way you'd expect them to do the job" or expectations management. 

As it’s important to hire people who are properly trained for the position they’ve been hired, it’s equally or even more important to establish on an absolutely clear way, what is expected from them once they join your team and take their position.

There is a phrase that comes to my mind right now, which I've heard a couple of times during my professional career: "You better swim or sink!" and unfortunately I had to live it on first person on the very first position for which I “was hired” here in Spain.

It was with a small, local marketing agency (supposedly “hired” although I didn’t have a contract or any formal relationship with the company, so I was simply put on a probation, no salary period) and I was supposed to do new business prospecting and closing.

I was able to schedule an appointment to meet with the head of advertising for a local government office. I invited my boss to accompany me to this meeting so that we could do it together, and also to show him my way of approaching new clients. The meeting went well (from my own perspective) and we all agreed to put together an initial business proposal for the entity.

A few hours after the meeting, and with no apparent reason, I was surprised by my boss canceling my e-mail account with the company then, when I called him to check what was happening he told me by phone that if I wanted to follow up with the client we just visited together, I would have to do it from my own personal email account.

What happened? Well I never got to know and never will. We had left the meeting very happy with the results achieved, but obviously that was not enough for my boss.

Moral: If your new hires don’t know what you’re expecting from them, little can they do to meet your expectations. 

Do not expect your employees to guess what it is expected from them, and neither plant yourself on the attitude of the supreme leader who is only expecting the best ones on his team to survive, without any support from your side, because by doing so, you will definitely be throwing precious talent out the window.

"Swim or sink yourself" is not going to help build a winning team. Only by taking into consideration the following advice you’ll be able to do it:

  • Only hire appropriately trained and skilled people for the specific area that you need, 
  • Thoroughly review with your new hires what your expectations are and what goals you want them to achieve, 
  • Offer every person the opportunity to grow within your company, and motivate them to reach their best performance, regardless of their position. 

Put these recommendations into practice and you’ll see how your team’s performance will reach new and better levels, creating a very positive environment to work in.

This is the article I recommended you to read at the beginning of this post: 
"5 golden rules for young leaders," written by Susan Steinbrecher for Soyentrepreneur 

You will also find a couple of articles directly related to this one, that will sure make for an interesting read: 
The Oranges Bag Management Model.
It’s Time To Grow: When It’s No Longer Good To Wear Too Many Hats.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

"Who comes next?": How to Keep A Healthy and Productive Customers Portfolio

"Who comes next?"
We all know that selling is a complex activity that involves hundreds of different factors, both on the seller’s and the buyer’s sides.

Many of these factors are perfectly objective, such as product features, pricing conditions or delivery mechanisms to put products on consumer’s hands.

But yet, many of these factors (and perhaps as much or even more important than the others) are simply subjective, only present on peoples’ minds.

In some instances we call them "buying signals", just to be able to identify them, and they do refer to all those things the client does, or says, which demonstrates an interest on their side to doing business with your company.

As "buying signals" increase, we get more closely tied to each business opportunity.

Perhaps it all starts when you get a request to submit a proposal, or when prospects call you back after twenty unsuccessful attempts to contact them on your side, or when prospects ask you questions about the product you’re selling or the technology you use, or it might simply be the moment a customer invites you to visit them at their office for a business presentation.

It’s not what your client actually said but what you thought he told you. 

Once the sales process is on the go, product information, data and figures go from one place to the other, questions and answers go back and forth from your office to that of your prospect, then we salespeople have to start trying to interpret all the data we get from our different prospects to assess whether it will all happily convert into a new business for our company, and better yet if we get to know when.

And that’s exactly when the selling issue becomes complex: How do you know if the client actually says what it says and it’s not simply lip-servicing you? How do you know if there is a real intention to actual finalize the purchase? So many how’s and so little answers...

And the problem is that sellers most of the time, don’t do the appropriate questions they should make for fear of losing the business or damaging the relationship and end up losing the prospect. However, there is a “rule-of-thumb” we all must keep always in mind.

Time spent in a customer who will not buy, could be dedicated to one who will. 

And that's why you have to ask the right questions at the right moment, to see if the time you are investing in a prospect will actually end up becoming a commercial transaction (of any kind and amount) and therefore turning into a mutually beneficial relationship for both parties involved.

If you don’t ask these questions, then your customer base could simply become a huge database that doesn’t generate any money to your business. And that nobody wants!

“Who comes next?”

And although it sounds like an speech template for cashiers in fast food restaurants, it’s a skill you should develop if you want to grow a healthy and productive customers portfolio.

"Who comes next?" refers to your ability to decide, from your point of view as a company or as a sales agent, whether the prospect you've been dealing with will actually become a new customer for your business, meaning it will generate some kind of profit, and from there make the decision to continue to follow up or not.

Being able to say "Who comes next?" allows you to concentrate your efforts on the opportunities that are really worth your time. 

Word of advice: You don’t have to be rude or impolite to tell a potential customer that you’re no longer interested in doing business with him, quite the opposite.

It’s simply a matter of strategy: Once you've decided that it’s not a prospect that will help you achieve your sales and business goals, you just flip the page over, move on and focus your time and efforts on somebody else.

Remember that the most valuable and scarce resource in life is time, therefore, you should only invest it in good things, both for your business, for your sales and even for your personal life.

Why you’d want to have 500 thousand records in your database, if you are only doing business with 50 of them?

You should learn to say "Who comes next?". You’ll immediately notice how your contacts with customers will be much more positive and productive, and you’ll be able to achieve your best numbers on sales.

Image credit: artqu / 123RF Stock Photo 

You should also read on this blog
How Not To Become A Prisoner of Hope

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Why Is Your New Sales Strategy Bound To Fail?

Why Is It So Hard To Understand?
It's part of human nature to resist to change. We've all experienced it either one or many times in our lives: Changes in school, work, emotional status, location in space. 

Changes of all kinds. And even though most changes are for our own good, we instinctively oppose resistance. It’s part of our nature. Perhaps it’s due to our survival instinct and our need to stay in a place where we feel safe.

Your implementation of a new sales strategy for your business is going to face the same challenge: Your resistance to change. Not just your own, but that of the whole team which is supposed to be putting the strategy, and it’s related actions, underway.

In the world there is a whole industry dedicated to providing entrepreneurs like you all the training they might need to increase their sales and do it more efficiently. Books, seminars, lectures, "webinars", calendars (just kidding!) and a bunch of other resources for both the business owner and the actual sales people.

And yet today, we haven’t managed to achieve the amazing performance levels we were offered at the beginning.

What's going on then?

"Easier said than done" 

Have you noticed how many people quit smoking, only to get back on the habit just a few weeks or months later? Or those who enroll in weight loss programs, just to abandon them halfway down?

If we are confident the results will be great for us and/or our businesses, why do we quit then? 

Maybe the reason is that you got extremely excited about the expected outcome, but were not quite willing to do all the work needed to get there. Who knows.

There is no single salesperson, or business owner in the world, who doesn’t want to increase sales. That’s self-explanatory and evident, but when you come to realize you’ll have to make more phone calls, to increase your daily visits, knock on more doors, send more emails, make more offers ... more, more, more.

That's when your whole energy drains out and you immediately resort back to your comfort zone, right where you were before, your “I feel safe here” place.

"I know what I'm doing, why should I change?" 

And it’s more noticeable if you consider yourself a seasoned professional, with a strong background on what you do, and, if you've being able to achieve all your sales goals in the past, chances are you are probably convinced there is no way to improve the way you are doing things, because you are already doing pretty well.

For all veterans and successful professionals, it's hard to understand things can always be done better. 

And even if in the past you haven’t reached your best results, perhaps it happens you have got yourself used to such performance, and such conformity then becomes the main obstacle keeping you from realizing there are more efficient ways to do your job.

Remember the book "Who Moved My Cheese?"? Well, keep then in mind all the time the little mouse lost bitterly regretting about not finding his cheese at the same place as always, instead of opening his mind and searching for different approaches to his situation.

The first thing you need to do to overcome this obstacle is just that simple: Open your mind and recognize that things can always be done better, even if you've been doing pretty good so far.

"This time it will be different" 

Don’t try to justify things by coming up with excuses, and simply give yourself and your business an opportunity to grow better. It's like when you're on a diet and go to a party just to find succulent things you’re dying to eat: "It doesn’t matter if I go out of my diet just for today while at this party", or when you try to justify you won’t put additional time on a customer because "I have a very good relationship with the decision maker."

If you hide yourself behind excuses like this, you’ll always find a way to postpone your new sales strategy implementation. 

You can always start your new sales program next week, you can always implement your brand new actions some other day ... you’ll always find an excuse to continue doing what you’ve always done. The problem is when excuses grow in number and you're drowning on them.

When was it you said you wanted to start your new diet?

The key element in the whole process is discipline. 

Only with discipline you can bring your plans to completion and achieve great results with your new weight loss program, as well as with that new sales strategy you want to implement in your business.

Excuses and justifications are the opposite of disciplined behavior. 

If you are convinced that results will be for everybody’s benefit, and understand there is a more efficient way to do your job (or that of your team), if you are confident it’s the correct way to get better outcomes, then close your eyes and stick to it.

It may all sound very difficult at the beginning, but it’s not that hard really. To solve all your problems, first you need to understand there is a problem and recognize how important it’s for you and your business to solve it properly and soon.

Once you've reached this point of self-assessment, it’ll be much easier to cope with the obstacles that will always show up right on your way and try to divert you from implementing your new sales strategy.

If you truly believe in the strategy you are about to implement, and if you agree to put up the time and effort it requires and have the discipline to stick to it, then you’ll have a great chance of achieving the results you’re expecting.

It's just a matter of discipline ... and patience, like all things in life.

I recommend you reading in this blog:
How to Develop Your Selling Skills and Get Better Results.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

LUCY: Are We Aware Of The Powerful Impact Our Content Generates?

The Impact Of Our Content.
With the explosive growth of social platforms, your business has the opportunity to directly communicate with its customers in an open space, where everyone can see you, and with the ability to reach hundreds or thousands of people.

This communication and its responsibility were usually handled by professionals specifically trained in such areas as journalism, public relations, communications and so forth, but nowadays is a completely open space where anyone, just like you and me, without any previous experience or required training, can participate.

And that's what I think might be the reason for the subject I’m sharing with you today: the importance of the content generated by you to be shared, with more or less frequency, with the people who follow you on your Facebook Fan page, your Twitter account, your company's blog, and finally on whichever platform you have chosen to engage with them in conversations.

What impact does that content have on the people who receive it? Does it bring added value to their lives? Are they enriched? Does it make them better? Or on the contrary ...

The film Lucy and an open invitation to drug abuse. 

A few weeks ago I went with my wife to watch the movie "Lucy" starring Scarlett Johansson and Morgan Freeman. I like both actors a lot, him for the many movies I've seen him acting, and I like her because I truly find she’s a great heroine, since I saw her in his role in "The Avengers." 

Caution, I'm not a film critic. Be advised. I’m not telling you how the movie goes, as it would be great if you could watch it yourself and make your own opinion. The special effects are spectacular, the soundtrack is really good too, and in general, those who made the film were able to create this tense, distressing atmosphere that characterizes this genre. On that side, it’s all really good.

However, towards the end of the movie, my wife and I were shocked. The message that was throbbing in our heads with bold, red, capital letters and really loud, was awful.

Get intoxicated with drugs, and you will become an omnipresent god. 

There is a drug in the world that gives you the ability to use 100% of your brain, to become an invincible human being, have super powers and, eventually, be "everywhere at anytime" as God Himself.

What an interesting choice for a young teenager who is going through difficult times in his life! Or for even a more grown-up person who might find in this message the hope he needs to move forward with his life and give drugs a try.

Be aware of the content you generate and its probable impact. 

Obviously, I don’t know what could have been going through the minds of people who wrote the screenplay for this film, nor his intentions, or anything like that. What I have completely clear is that, somewhere along the way, they stopped paying attention to something: The impact that the movie could be generating in the audience that would be watching it.

For your fans and followers, what you say and share can have a significant impact on their lives. 

And it's something you have to take into consideration, regardless of your product, your company and the type of industry in which you move: There will always be people who consider you as a reference on something, for whom what you say serves as a guide and is taken as a model.

For them, content that you generate and share through your social profiles has an importance that can go far beyond what you can measure with analytical tools. Your ideas and suggestions can change their lives ... for better or for worse.

Are you willing to take the responsibility that it entails?

Willing to lose his life to become the most popular guy on the group. 

You know the "Science of Stupid" show, in the Discovery Channel? Have you noticed the vast amount of people doing weird things that involve taking enormous risks, all in order to record it in video and upload it to YouTube hoping it goes viral?

Bones and broken noses, people who have suffered permanent injuries, even people who have lost their lives trying to do things that previously were only performed by individuals specifically trained for them: jump on skis by steep slopes, jump on top of vehicles, and many other things.

How many bones are you willing to get broken to make your YouTube video go viral? 

There is actually an infinite amount of crap that people, especially younger people, are willing to do to gain notoriety and be the most popular soul of their groups.

When are we going to stop this madness? When will we stop being willing to lose everything, to achieve those "15 minutes of fame" that so many people look forward to so anxiously?

Let's assume our responsibility as communicators. 

Since you have decided to use social platforms to share with your customers and friends the content generated by your company and interesting content generated by others, you should keep in mind always that responsibility.

As a communicator, you are morally responsible for the impact your words and ideas have in the public receiving them. 

There will always be people who see your company, your product or even your own person, as a leader on something. For them, what you say is very important and can have a significant impact on their lives, their businesses, their careers, both in a positive or negative way.

If you really want to build a better world, make sure, at all times, that the content you generate and share, adds value to people’s lives, solves problems, helps them be better, raises awareness about important issues.

Only this way, we will be acting as responsible communicators to the world and to ourselves. Don’t you think this way everything would be better?

I recommend you reading this related post in this blog:
Corporate Social Responsibility: Are We Starting From The Right Point?

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Smoke Selling: My Thoughts About Our Need Of Immediate Success.

Immediate Success? Think again.
Ready, Freddie, with batteries recharged and now back to posting on my beloved blog to continue to share with you conversations about things related with business management, sales, digital marketing and anything else that could add value to your life, my life, our lives, and on top of everything, to our businesses!

One of the things I like about going on vacation, apart from the disconnection and the relaxation that comes with it, is having the time to exercise without worrying about how long it takes me to complete my routine, or having to come back home at an specific time so that my daily duties don’t pile up and fall between the cracks.

And one of those days when I was out on the road with my bike, all sweaty, exhausted, and yearning to get back home fast but completely aware that I needed to continue pedaling for like 45 more minutes to get off the bike, take a shower and lie down on the couch to rest, I started thinking about how great it would be not to have to undergo so much effort to maintain a proper and healthier physical condition. I would love it to be much easier.

That is, for a moment, my thoughts stopped at these miraculous programs that offer you to "get a flat stomach while watching TV, sitting on your couch", or as one guy tweeted a while ago: "I clicked on an ad that said "get your dreamed body today" only to find out they were advertising a weight loss program" then I realized how deep it has gotten into our lives, and the way we manage our things, the need for immediate gratification.

In other words: The desire to minimize the efforts required to achieve the wonderful results we all expect. I say "minimize the efforts" not to say removing them altogether.

"No pain, no gain." If it doesn’t hurt, you’re not winning.

I was returning from cycling one day and when I arrived home I got on the weight scale to confirm that all that sweat, those trodden kilometers, all that weariness, and all that effort were really being translated into a drop in my weight, which was my initial goal.

In doing so I was completely shocked by what I saw: Not only I hadn’t lost weight but had gained 5 pounds. Just imagine: FIVE POUNDS! When I was supposed to be losing weight or, in the worst case, staying at the same weight.

Frustration doesn’t help you solve problems. Making decisions and implementing them, does. 

I closed my eyes in anger for a while but after a bit of reflection and a call to sanity, I promised myself to better control my eating habits, push myself a little harder on the bike and start doing some abdominal exercises to help me up.

"No pain, no gain" is, and has always been, one of the favorite quotes I keep from my teenage years when practicing karate, and has been a phrase that has always accompanied me.

"If it doesn’t hurt, it doesn’t grow" we said to ourselves when we were training with weights, and the phrase has always been a reminder that, in order to achieve our goals, we necessarily have to push ourselves beyond our own limits, sometimes just a little, some other times, a lot. But we must always strive for.

You have to put aside the myth of instant success. 

Some time ago in my social profiles I shared an article which contained a very interesting reflection about the fact that when we talk about successful people, we put so much emphasis on their successes that we come to think they were born being already successful, and we forget about the most important part of the story: all the work and effort they have made to get to where they are today.

Because it’s easy to think that Bill Gates started Microsoft from his home's garage, but it’s not as easy for us to think about the many hours that elapsed before such time, or even those that had to elapse after, before his dream, his company, his idea became what they are today, and what we know him for.

Without efforts, nothing happens. Without work, commitment, dedication, enthusiasm, patience, neither. 

And I am sure the most important lesson is not so much related to his success, or the success of many others like him, as it is to the effort, enthusiasm, faith and commitment that allowed him to get there.

Certainly it would be great to have your company being among the next one receiving a million dollars funding, being acquired by a foreign multinational corporation, or achieving ever growing sales volumes. It would certainly be terrific.

But forget about thinking it will happen overnight, effortlessly. "No pain, no gain."

For every success story, there are thousands who only made it halfway. 

When we think about successful soccer players nowadays, for instance, names like Ronaldo, Messi, Neymar Jr, Toure, Bale, Lahm and many others may come to mind. Have you ever stopped to think about the many players, excellently prepared and very talented, who have not achieved, nor will ever achieve the same success?

Have you ever stopped to think about the thousands of excellent players who simply made it half-way up? And what about the others who, for different reasons, will never make it?

Work, work and more work. Remember: There are no magic solutions that do not involve some effort on your side. 

Even those programs promising you’ll get to have your "dreamed body" state, in the fine print, that you’ll only make it if the program is accompanied by a diet and a healthy lifestyle". Have you ever read that?

And so I’m coming back from summer break with my commitment renewed: Work, work and more work. With all the dedication I can, with my whole enthusiasm, passion, and above all, patience to further develop the projects I’m working on knowing that, if I don’t push myself as much as possible, I won’t be able to achieve the results I expect.

And as for you, I would like you to always keep this thought in mind: Forget about overnight success, both for yourself and your business, and focus on the small, everyday victories. Keep even in mind that there might be victories and failures on your way to success, and it’s all perfectly normal.

What is 100% true is that if you don’t push yourself a bit, you’ll never know if you can make it, and the saddest thing will be that you’ll think that what you're doing is not worth it, when it probably is.

"No pain, no gain." If it doesn’t hurt, you’re not winning.

A big hug for you :-D

Here you have a link to the post I recommended you to read at the beginning:
El éxito como un resultado del fracaso. (Sorry, only Spanish, no translation)

And this post in my blog which you can also find interesting to read:
5 Very Productive Habits You Can Include In Your Life Today Self.

Image credits: iStockphoto / Tom Wang

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Let’s Be Congruent: Preaching By Example.

Well, at this point in time, we all agree that you should do what you keep on preaching about, right?

And by that I mean we all must, on top of everything else, be congruent people, thus our life should be a true example of the things we say, think, and what we recommend to others.

In some of the post I’ve written on this blog I’ve recommended you to maintain, or at least try to maintain a balance between your professional and personal life.

I've always said you have to work hard to achieve the goals you've set, but also you have to set time aside to enjoy the family, take a moment (or many) for leisure and healthy entertainment, to exercise and to disconnect from some of the digital world that overwhelms us at times.

Or better yet, to connect with your "offline" world, with the environment in which you live and breathe every second of your life, with the things you touch, smell, and taste.

And being that things are this way, this post will be a very short one with its sole purpose being to let you know that I will be taking a well deserved summer break, to enjoy my wife and kids, to share time with the family, go to the beach and truly sunbathing, relaxing and enjoying with intensity.

I want to take these days to share simple conversations, to relax and spend time with my beloved ones. In a few words, to reconnect with my "offline" life, recharge the batteries, reflect a little bit about all the things I've done throughout this time and those I’ll do, think a lot, read, relax and be completely ready and sharp to get back to writing this blog on the first week of September.

I wish you have a great summer with your family and loved ones. Enjoy the most you can, have a super-duper time.

So I’m switching off! I look forward to getting back with you first week of September.

Have a great summer time!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

5 Highly Productive Habits You Can Add To Your Life Today.

5 Habits To Add To Your Life.
And since I believe all conversations must come to a conclusion, and last week I wrote about 3 toxic habits I discovered to have had throughout my life - habits which, of course, I promise to replace with better ones - I couldn’t help but write about another post that I came across last week.

It was quite an interesting post and referred to 5 very easy to adopt, positive habits you can incorporate into your life today that will surely help you carry on a more productive routine.

At least, they have worked for me a lot, and even though I don’t consider myself a highly successful person, as they indicated in the article, I can assure you that since I have put those habits into practice, the way I live my life has become much more focused, productive and less stressful.

First of all: Get an early start on your day, everyday. 

My day usually starts between 5:30 and 6:00 am. Sometimes I just can’t make it and simply sleep a little longer, but usually I wake up around that time, meaning very early.

Why so early? Because by that time of the day, my wife and kids are still on their deepest sleep hours giving me time enough to catch up on many things. In addition, by waking up early my day is a little bit longer, and that’s always a good thing.

Second: Write down all your pending and important things to do. 

When we are younger and have little things to do, it is really easy to solely rely on our memories to keep all our stuff in order and all things where they are supposed to be. And as long as it works for us, there is no problem with it.

But when things start to get a bit complicated, or when you have multiple projects you’re working on at the same time, a formal agenda is definitely your best assistant. I have tried several tools along the way: Nozbe, Wunderlist and, the one I'am currently using, Todoist, which I found to be the best one.

It's very different to start each of your days early and exactly knowing what you're going to do and how you’ll invest your time. 

I have developed the habit of checking all the things I have pending for any day or even for a couple of days, the night before, so that I can get a pretty accurate mental picture of how my next few days should be, so that I can do all the things I really want and need to do. It’s a lot better this way.

Third: Exercise. 

Well, really we shouldn’t even mention this one here since it’s pretty obvious: Exercising is a very valuable activity, not only because it allows you to improve your overall fitness, keep your muscles strong and flexible, and your heart pumping to its full capacity, but also because it’s an irreplaceable activity to relieve stress.

I got hooked on the bike about two years ago and I can tell you that my body demands me to go for a ride on my bike regularly. You can choose the activity you feel more comfortable with or the sport of your choice. It works the same.

Physical exercise is, for me, the most natural and effective way to diminish stress levels in my life, and recharge batteries. 

In any case, the important thing is that excercising should be a core part of your daily routine, and you shouldn’t consider it only as training for your body and muscles, but also as an opportunity to unload the stress that builds up in our bodies and our minds every second of our lives.

When I come back from every ride on my bike, and after taking the corresponding shower, I feel myself completely refreshed and highly energized. You can share with all of us how you feel after every exercise session.

Fourth: Have all your priorities for each day clearly established. 

There is a phrase you must engrave deeply in your hypothalamus: "to be extremely busy doesn’t equal being extremely productive," and you must repeat that to yourself whenever you feel you are doing many things at one time and yet, it’s clear you are not moving forward.

How do you resolve this situation? Clearly establishing the things you have to accomplish each day, whether they all are small steps forward within larger projects, or just finishing smaller things.

A while ago I made a statement on this blog: "Everything you do, should bring you either money or happiness, or a combination of both" and it’s many times a very necessary point of view, and a way to identifying priorities.

Every minute gone by will never come back. Therefore, every minute of your life should be spent on things that bring something positive to it. 

Time is our most precious resource, and also is not renewable at all: Every minute that goes by, will not return, it doesn’t repeat itself, neither can be enjoyed again. That’s why we tend to say that every second of our life is unique. And since time is not replaceable, you must make sure to use it in those things that are really important to you, or that are part of your life plan, however simple your plan might  be.

All the time you spend on other, non-relevant things, is wasted time.

And finally: do yoga, meditate, pray. Your choice. 

As you know, and if you didn’t know you know now, I am a believer ... a strong one. And as such, I invest time of my day (usually when I'm walking the dog every morning) to pray and get in touch with God to put my things on His Hands, to look back and review the things I do, have done and will do, in order to clear up my mind and try to regain my inner peace.

Always look for an intimate space where you can connect with your “inner self” and achieve an emotional and spiritual balance. 

This moment of prayer allows me to put my emotions under control, to double check what is worth and what isn’t, separate important things from those that are not so important, to get in focus and replenish my energies.

As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, those are five habits that I have put into practice in my life and have helped me make a much more effective and efficient use of my time.

It doesn’t mean it’s the holy medicine your life needs but if you could incorporate in your life those habits you feel like to be needing, it would be phenomenal. In the post I’m recommending you to read today, you will notice they say "those are the habits that separate successful people from the average one."

How about giving us an opportunity to see if they work for us? What do you think?

The post I’m referring to from the beginning: 
5 Habits That The Super Successful Have Before Sunrise

Post I recommend you to read in this blog: 
4 Tips for Productivity Manage Your Time so Effective