Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Which Habits Are Keeping You From Reaching Your Goals?

What's Holding You Back?
A few days ago, I had the opportunity to read quite an interesting post with which I identified myself a lot. The author was talking about "The 10 Worst Habits Holding You Back From Success" and, although I didn’t see myself pictured in all of them (thanks God), I did realize there are some things I do (or have done in the past) which are keeping me from achieving my goals or did prevent me from doing so in the past.

In fact, the phrase I liked the most in the whole article was the following:

"You can have many good habits, but the bad habits will always make you take two steps back for every little step forward." 

And it’s absolutely right: Without one even realizing it, these habits become a very heavy burden that keeps us standing there, frozen, stuck, slowly walking without ever reaching our maximum speed, our best performance, our complete happiness.

Since those are also things that could be happening to you as well, and like me, you haven’t noticed them yet, I wanted to share the post with you. You will find the link to the post I’m referring to and the end of my article, so that you can enjoy both posts fully.

Waiting for the "right time". 

I’m a person who likes to plan things ahead. Anyone who knows me, would tell you that. I think it’s something I have learnt from my own experience and since I have people who depend on me, I'm not the kind of guy who’s going to jump wildly into things without thinking about it, at least just a little.

That’s certainly not me. However, I’ve always understood that "there will never be a perfect time" for anything I want to do. When my actual wife and I decided to get married, over twenty years ago, I’m positive it wasn’t the right time at all, but still we decided to go for it and now you can see how well it came out: After all the years gone by since we embarked on this journey, we are still together, thank God.

Always plan as deep as you can and when your heart tells you "it seems to be the perfect time”, just take a deep dive into the water." 

It also applies to our personal and professional projects, and even the decisions we make in our business: There will never be such thing as the perfect moment. There will only be times in which everything appears to indicate that it’s the perfect time, or the right one. But you’ll never get to find the perfect moment.

The never-ending search for perfection.

And along with "waiting for the right moment", you’ve got this one. I remember from one of the days when my dad was sick in bed, he asked me to give him a shave. Deeply touched by the situation and the moment it was, I took the shaving cream, carefully applied on my dad's chin and then, very slowly, I began to shave him.

I passed the razor and then used my hand to confirm I hadn’t left any little hair behind. If I saw something out of place, I did pass the razor again and then back with my hand to confirm. And while I was doing this shave-and-confirm process with every inch of my dad’s beard, he suddenly told me: "Joel, this is not a work of art. It's just a shave, and nothing more."

How many times in your life have you found yourself in the same situation, spending endless hours on a project in pursuit of perfection? 

And to continue with the opening myself to you kind of thing, I’ve to recognize I’ve been there myself several times. Always remember that all things can be improved, you can always make it better. If this searching for perfection thing is making your projects be awfully delayed, as it has happened to me more than once, then you’ve simply become a victim of this horrendous habit which disguises itself as a lovely sheep when it’s actually a very frightening and ferocious wolf.

Keep in mind that in many cases, "it’s simply a shave and not a work of art." 

Being too stubborn to move on to the next page and let things go. 

Did you know that I crazily felt in love with a woman when I was 18? And even though she was almost 10 years older than me and everything clearly indicated that our relationship was doomed to fail sooner or later, I was too stubborn to accept it.

And even after we broke up, I foolishly waited for that "precious time when we were going to be back together" without realizing that, in doing so, I was denying myself the opportunity to meet another person with whom I could have a normal  relationship.

Just by letting not-working things go and move on, you free your hands to hold on to new things.

Only when I decided to put aside my "hardheadedness", flip over the page and take a few steps forward, my life started again and finally, after a couple of years, I met a wonderful person who continues to be my partner today, thank God.

And so it is with many things, both in our personal and professional lives: How many people do you know who should have quit their jobs  long ago, and yet they are still there, fighting a fight that is already lost? How many businesses have you seen fail simply because their owners did not want to change their course when it was time?

I'm very happy because out of the 10 habits mentioned in the post I’m talking about, I only identified myself with three of them. Maybe in your case, it’s different: it may be more, may be less. Who knows?

Here you have the link for a post I definitely recommend you to read so that you can make your own, personal assessment:

The 10 Worst Habits Holding You Back From Success 

Photo Credits: flynt / 123RF Stock Photo 

Related articles in this blog:
The Hardest Business You Will Ever Make: When Making A Stop And Changing Directions.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

3 Blogging Lessons I Learned From My 9 Years-Old Son.

Three Lesssons I Learned From My 9-Years Old Son.
It's really interesting how life itself is determined to teaching us all things, provided we are willing to listen to what it has to say, and then put those learned things into practice, as long as they are to help us be better.

Jesus in one of his parables said that "(...) unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 18:3), and I'm sure this has a profound meaning in our lives, not only to "enter the kingdom of heaven" but also to live life on a humble, sincere, and intense way... not only as individuals but also as entrepreneurs and business owners.

You might be wondering why I say so. And as always, let me explain myself.

My 9 year old son, Gabriel David, is writing a blog. He has dedicated it to one of his favorite games: Pokémon. If you have children around the same age, you surely know what I mean and who I'm talking about.

Last week we went on a walk through a dirt road surrounding our city’s airport. It’s a fun ride that gives us the opportunity to share quality time, some conversations, jokes, play some games and, of course, do a little bit of exercise.

Suddenly, Gabriel David started to talk about his blog, the visits he had already had, the different countries those visits were coming from (yes ... my 9 years old son checks his blog’s stats), the platforms more frequently used by his readers and those sort of things.

The first lesson: It’s all about passion. 

And as we continued talking about his blog, Gabriel told me about the many events happening within his “industry”, about Pokémon prizes and bonuses that could be achieved by playing games, we talked about strategies, about things that had happened to him while playing. We also talked about how he kept on learning new things, the interest he has to share these things with the people who read his blog.

His eyes lit up and he smiled while telling me the whole story. I could clearly feel in his words all the passion he felt about it (I guess it’s also because he's my son) and I couldn’t help but get myself infected by his enthusiasm too.

Not only he knows what he’s talking about, but he also enjoys a great time sharing those stories on his blog.

And I think it’s a lesson that very well suits all of us who have a space where we share our own content with the world: Our motivation isn’t only to create content for a group of subscribers, but to share with them the passion we feel about the subjects we write about.

In my case, it is marketing, sales, business management and life itself as it is. In your case: what is the passion moving you forward?

Second lesson: Authentic collaboration.

We all know that children are the most humble and transparent individuals in the whole world. You can see the example when kids meet others kids on the playground: Bring together two children who don’t know each other, who have never been together in life before, and within two seconds (maybe a little bit more) they start playing together without any problem, collaborating with each other, helping each other without major complications.

We adults are a little bit more complicated than that, am I right? 

As we grow old, we fill our souls with “adult” type of things, with our own interests, prejudices, pride, arrogance, selfishness, and so many irrelevant things not worth to mention here. The point is that we lose our ability to be transparent and humble.

And by not being neither transparent or humble, we lose our ability to work with others honestly, without bias, without selfishness.

How was I taught that by my son Gabriel David? He did publish on his blog an entry in which he sincerely apologized to his audience for having spent some months without writing new articles.

He also included, in all honesty, the explanation: "Since we know that we all have homework to do" :-D 

Moreover, in his desire to collaborate, he also posted an entry in which he told his readers, and their parents, "My dad (that would be me) writes a marketing and sales blog." What did he asked me for in return? Simply that I did the same thing and talk about his blog on mine.

Is there a more disinterested way to collaborate with others? When was the last time you were offered a deal like this in which you didn’t feel people were taking advantage of you?

Third Lesson: Be grateful to your audience.

We are all so wrapped up on achieving things, that we often forget the small details. What did I learn from Gabriel David? He published quite a simple post, so simple we could almost call it the "perfect 106 characters tweet" in which he thanked his audience for having reached a thousand views.

THANK YOU, THANK YOU ALL. .Thanks to you my blog has just reached 1079 visitors! You are my number 1. 

And since the real value of learning a lesson is putting what we’ve learned into action, I want to do just that with the lessons I learned from my son.

A million thanks to all of you, my number one, my readers, people who stand by everything I write here in this little corner of the cyberspace. Thanks to you this month my blog is becoming three years old!

Yes, you heard that right: Three years old already. And what better way to celebrate such an important event than by sharing with you those three beautiful lessons I learned from my 9 years old son?

What's left for me to do? To confirm to you my commitment to continue sharing the subjects I'm passionate about, to keep on doing it the most transparent and simple way as I can possible do, although you should keep in mind I'm a big grown-up with all that it means, and to always remember to thank you because without you, this space would simply be an empty one.


To you, my dear reader, for having continued to follow me for three consecutive years and for keeping me company throughout this rewarding journey. And to my son Gabriel David, for the beautiful lessons he unknowingly taught me, deeply touching my heart.

Thank you, dear son! Keep on always doing what you love with the same enthusiasm and dedication!

Posts I recommend you to read:
Of course, this week I invite you to visit my son Gabriel David’s blog, entitled "My Pokemon Games" (sorry… only on Spanish!)

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Beyond The Drubbing, A Valuable Business Lesson For All Of Us To Learn.

A lesson we can all learn.
A few days ago was the match between Brazil and Germany in the Brazil 2014 World Cup semifinals, which ended with a smashing victory for the Teutonic team over the Canarinha 7 to 1, although I’m sure it could have been worse if Germany had wanted to, but that... we will never know. 

Since in my country we have never had the opportunity to go with our national team to such a high level competition, I've been a Brazil’s team fan for as long as I can remember, so the outcome of this game made ​​me feel really desolate. Very disappointed but not at all surprised: We could all see this one coming. 

But since the conversation on this blog is not about soccer, but business management, I'm not going to analyze the game itself but the lessons we can all draw from it to put them into practice in our own businesses and hopefully keep us all from being crushed that way by our target markets. 

Your business success should never depend on a single person. 

Brazil coach had already recognized their game exclusively revolved around Neymar Jr., who for many people is one of the best players in the whole world. I remember hearing this same thing several times in recent years. Before Neymar Jr., was Ronaldinho. Before him, Ronaldo and before Ronaldo there was certainly another one. 

And it's great that a team can count with high performance players, legendary ones such as Pele, Messi, Beckenbauer, and many other players we have seen, but the big question is: What happens when their performance is not at its best? What happens when they simply get injured, as it happened to Neymar Jr.? 

Is the team doomed to lose? Is it fair, not to say smart, that the team’s success is so strongly dependent on just one person? 

The same thing applies to your business: None of your operational areas should depend entirely on one single person, no matter how brilliant that person is. And let’s not even mention your “goals-producing” area, and by that I mean the sales area. 

If your company is still very small, the worst thing that can happen is that all the responsibilities are concentrated on your shoulders, but such situation is temporary. As your business grows, you will be delegating tasks on highly trained professionals, always keeping your eyes on monitoring each area. 

The game is won by the team who scores the goals, not the one playing the best. 

Scoring goals and playing the best, are not necessarily synonymous. In many cases, the team which has played the worst it’s the one who has scored the only goal on the game. Guess what? It’s the one winning the game! 

And again, the same thing happens in your business: No matter how beautiful your offices are, or how innovative your product is, or what a cool website you’ve got. If your product is not bought by as many people as possible, and as frequently as possible, you’ve got a problem.

Your product may have many positive qualities, but if at the end of the day, you’re not able to sell it, your business will come down to pieces. 

Don’t get me wrong: All of these things add up and help you out, but in themselves they’re not decisive to your company’s success. Often the efforts are focused on all areas except the one which is really important: Making sure people will buy the product or service you sell, not once but many times. 

Don’t ever let success get to your head. 

If you have achieved all your goals, set new and higher ones. Germany didn’t get satisfied by scoring the first goal. Not at all, sir. They saw an opportunity and fought to score the second one. And with this came the third, then the fourth. In the blink of an eye, Germany had completely dominated the game, and that's when they started to play more relaxed. I’d have done the same! 

Keep always the same attitude with your business: Never stop looking for new opportunities. 

There are always new markets to explore, new things to do, ways to innovate, to grow, to sell more. Don’t ever stop, and much less when you're winning. 

During this Soccer World Cup, there had been many other games in which the teams were happy with a 1-0 score, or going to penalties, that is, doing the minimum they had to do to win the game. There wasn’t the case for Germany. They were not satisfied with the 1-0, which might have been enough. They wanted it all, and they got it. 

Keep also in mind: There is always the risk that your competitor bounces back and gets into the game and, at the very last minute, they score what they need to move ahead of you and win the game. So, don’t get too comfy while on the top. 

Chronicle of a Death Foretold: When a product is faulty, it must be fixed. 

And this one truly got my attention, but again I was not surprised at all: During an interview, Brazil’s coach not only recognized their whole game depended on just one player but also that Brazil was a team that would suffer very much in every game, that is, it wouldn’t be easy for them to win.

And if he already knew things were this way and that victory would never come easy to Brazil, it’s clear there is something going wrong somewhere. Something is not working right. Something is missing. 

Wouldn’t it have been easier to identify the inner faults and do everything possible to fix them?

Recognizing weaknesses in your product may be a quite altruistic and commendable act, but beyond this, the real action you should take is to implement the necessary changes, improvements that are needed to make your product better and better everytime . A better product has better chances to be purchased. A defective product, doesn’t.

What lessons can we then learn to apply in our business?

  • That no area of ​​your business should ever depend entirely on one person, and if it’s so, you must have a plan of action just in case that person quits.
  • Businesses are numbers, and above all, sales. If you don’t have sales, you have no business. Therefore, concentrate on making what you need to do to increase sales more. 
  • Do not settle just for a successful day. If you achieved all your goals, set your aim on reaching higher goals. 
  • Do not try to dominate the market with a poor product because, at some point in time, deficiencies come to light. If there are improvements to do, make sure to take care of it it as soon as you can. 

Related post in this blog: