Theory and ideas are one thing, but I love a good case study. Proving what I know to be true through doing it is what grants me ultimate satisfaction.
Optimal Productivity is not just a chapter in my book, Human Doing, but a concept I live by.
Quality input to result in excellent output. It’s not about doing as so much that you run yourself to ragged exhaustion, but instead, consciously streamlining your work into flow.
The experience is pleasure vs pain, sublime productivity vs stressful busyness.
September was one of my most productive months to date. And it was blissfully fun. I’ve never been so deeply committed and in love with life and the results of aligning myself to my truth, had outstanding results.
I’d booked my 2,5 month travel adventure: Cape town to Joburg to San Fransisco to Los Angels to New York to Bali to Johannesburg to Durban to Cape Town so with September being my last working month in South Africa for while, I wanted to make every second count.
September started in Joburg.
Certain places feed your energy whereas others drain it. Joburg has always been a source of energy for me, so I knew if I started the month there, I’d achieve all that I needed to.
By Friday, I’d completed my to do list and was able to take time out so spend quality time with friends the entire weekend.
Certain people feed your energy whereas others suck the life out of you. I’d almost completely extracted the energy vampires from my life and September cleared the clutter further.
Creating capacity (I quote Human Doing a lot because it contains a summary of all the fundamentals I live by) means that you have the space to see the gems in your life. Sometimes they’ve been hidden by the fodder of people who take up too much space and offer little value in return.
Nurturing friendships, and connecting with like minded people from your soul tribe does wonders to your energy levels. I draw tremendous creative energy from select people so I fill my life with them. Others, I’ve learnt to eliminate or limit engagement with. Read here for more creating capacity, or watch this interview where I discuss the topic on Afternoon Express.
Sunday I flew home and started my final month in Cape Town.
Aside from having the most fun I’ve had since moving to Cape town (ever?) going out to parties, throwing my own, going away for the weekend, brunches, lunches, dinners, dancing, meeting new awesome people; reconnecting with others and making time for dear friends, and – cherry on top – having my sister with me for the final 10 days of the month – so lots of quality time with her, here is some of what I did professionally:
My new passion project: my return to art with:
- Read throughs
- Rebella Brand finalised: Clothing launched
- Film shoot
(The first Malva Academy took place 29th July and it’s been a wonderful pivot for the Malva brand! No more doing the actual work, but rather empowering teams and people to do it for themselves. )
Training (groups and individuals) included:
- TGF (Foschini): 5 brands
- Eye couture
- Cocoon bedding
This month was like being a brand Doula: helping expectant female entrepreneurs birth their businesses.
- Polarity Process
- Meaningful Mornings with Meryl
- SZ Styling
- – Check out Voice Integrated – it’s a new born!
- Future Females (I’m on the team so assist with this ongoing initiative, but in September, I was also a speaker at our event.) I spoke about Cultivating Confidence and gave a Confidence Challenge. (Did it this month -you can do it too – click here).
- Girl Geek dinner. I spoke about Optimal Productivity.
- Rebella Poetry and Performance.
- Rebella Film Screening.
Malva is Expanding again!
The deconstructed team continues to grow!
- Malva PR is being set up to launch in December / January. Contact us to find out more.
- Malva Publishing is in progress to launch December / January. Too many books to list here but watch this space – there’s a full library in progress!
- Skill Share . From concept to meetings to our first event: Skill Share: How to Podcast
- All things Rebella:
- Books in progress
- Crowdfunding campaign collateral in progress
- Second Rebella film: Home
- Rebella parties
- Actually selling my book again!
I’d just left this project as I’ve been doing so many other things. Felt great to share my work with people again and actually actively put it out there! If you want a copy I’ve restocked Wordsworth at St Johns Pizza with them (021 852 5516), or you can buy Human Doing from Amazon here.
There are projects in progress, but I’ll post about them when they’re done.
This never stops. Writing keeps me sane. It’s my life’s expression.
- New piece for Rebella Society was published: An invitation to the women who leave. I created an audio version here…
- 21 reasons ‘if you liked it then you shoulda put a ring on it’ is a terrible idea
- Once upon a time, I jumped
And many more in progress coming soon…
A bunch of behind the scenes and live videos. Practising with videos. Check out:
And the rest are on my Facebook pages.
During this month, I packed up my life (all the admin that goes with that!), to prepare for my next adventure: travel around the US and time out to just chill in Bali for the month of November.
I don’t think the pace of September would have been possible without knowing
1.) I was leaving.
2.) The support of the most incredible people I have in my my life. Tribing (find your tribe; find your people) is where it’s at.
3.) Integrating the Human Doing principles in my every day life. They are the foundation, the spring board from which I’m able to bounce from.
After a very painful and difficult few months, personally and professionally, it felt liberating to finally come out the other side. I will write about it, but wanted to process the pain into something positive first. To channel the pain of the experiences into creative energy and birth, not just projects, businesses and brands, but to re-birth myself.
September expressed a new version of Malva and me and each layer of complexity is more delicious than the next. As always, everything I do will be shared with you.
“Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is, I don’t know which half.”
– John Wanamaker (1838-1922), department-store magnate
Now we can see which half is wasted. Living in a Feedback world means that we can be far more effective than just reaching people. We can now measure how they react.
No reaction is now a measurable negative reaction.
The best part about Facebook (while self-esteem experts may counter argue) is that they’ve developed the “Like” culture. We are constantly called to action.
Previously for example: with an advert on Radio / TV / Billboard / Magazine / Media print out, you’d gauge ‘eyes’ for ROI purposes. But how effective is it? Someone pays you to ‘look at this‘, and then what? You may have seen it but:
- Are you absorbing it?
- Do you care?
- Is it relevant?
- Do you like what you see?
With Facebook, the answers to these questions can be actively measured. If we see something, we can either:
- Scroll past it
- Click on it
- Like it or react
- Share it
- If we want to more, we can follow the post to it’s source of origin , the page it’s from, and then like the page to see more of the content we’ve deemed as adding value to our lives. Relevant news-feed worthy content.
How do we measure content for effectiveness?
- Reach is bought.
- Reactions can’t be.
Reactions show who connected with the content. It’s an honest, unbiased metric. Thats where delicious social media content shines.
Across a variety of content, you can compare:
Reach to reach, Reaction to Reaction, Likes to Likes etc… all based on spend.
The most interesting metric is the Reach to Reaction Ratio. Because even when budgets are different, the percentage values clearly show what content works and what doesn’t.
If you can convince clients to split budget and do low spend content testing – ideal! But even if you’re working with after the fact data based on their spend, it’s easy to track the results.
And here’s an example from a recent case study.
We had a traditional media content: made for TV ad and a piece of social media content: a visual image.
Because the overall campaign was on TV with the bulk of the media spend there, a hugely disproportionate spend to boost the TV advert vs the image. But even with the micro spend on the image – the content relevance was obvious.
When we compare that out of videos’ 358237 people reached, only 271 reacted – we got a 0,075 % reaction to reach ratio. The picture’s reach to ratio of 8068 to 948 is an 11% ratio.
0,075% vs 11%
Compared, the social image ROI is 14666,66% higher.
These are pretty mind blowing metrics?
This is before the cost to create the content is considered.
It’s clear which content works and which doesn’t. And because Facebook offers real-time assessment, you don’t need to waste thousands of rands to be sure. When content isn’t getting reaction traction – change the content, fast!
P.S: It’s important to remember that with video, there are more Reach metrics to consider as it’s a different medium. ‘Reach’ is tiered so you can also track negative costs when content relevance fails. Using these specific metrics give deeper insight into effectiveness. Click here for a deeper dive into this video’s performance.
Content is king is the statement of the year except that it’s only part true. What the world needs is not just good content. Good is fine. Good is nice. We need delicious content. Good enough, not just to stand out but to consume, to devour and then share with others. Content that makes us orphan Oliver beg, “Please sir, I want some more”. Moorish. Delicious content is your brand’s sweet spot.
It’s not as simple as “video works” so lets make 8 shitty videos. Or, “we need content so here are 8 stock images with the brand logo” or “meme’s are in!“. Just add stock, instant content! It won’t and doesn’t work.
“Modern consumers are demanding. They want the information, they want it now and they want it to be in a format that they can easily digest. This is one reason that video is rising in popularity so rapidly, it’s easy to take in, it doesn’t require much in the way of active participation and it’s visual. Bearing all of this in mind, when preparing a content strategy, it’s important to make sure that the content is:
- Highly visual
- Simple to read, with plenty of white space using language that is suitable for the audience
- In easy to digest chunks of information” (Extract from here)
A good picture can say 1000 words (which is more than a video that gets scrolled over after 3 seconds says).
But we’ve heard all this before. It’s obvious. Stand out, be better. Cool. How? Even if you’re the creative genius that knows how to do all that – how do you prove to your client’s that your approach works?
Share not Sell.
While traditional media may want to reach to teach potential consumers about the product of service so that they know the facts – what it is, where it’s from, how much is it – these old school modalities of Hard Sell are not what social is all about.
Social media is social – a place for conversation. A space to connect; a community. It’s not just about reach and inform, it’s about share and engage.
While we can and must boost for reach – to get our content out there for people to see, that’s only step one. You don’t need an agency for that – you need a company credit card. But after people have seen it?
We don’t need eyes that see. We need hearts that feel. Because emotions that pull at heart strings are more likely to pull at purse strings. What we feel motivates us to action. See and think vs Feel and do. We ultimately want to sell right? So we need people to act: To buy.
When it comes to the content debate of agencies different approaches, the fact is, it doesn’t matter who thought what. It matters what the consumer thinks as that’s who the content is for. And we’ve got metrics to measure that.
Content that Connects.
Great content that connects to our consumers hearts and motivates them to a reaction. When we desire something, we choose to invest in it. We buy in to the brand’s story by wanting to discover more and ask questioning. Customers engage through their reactions. They:
- Voice their opinion through comments.
- Click like or love etc as a quick flick reaction.
- Share the content to reach their network.
- Like your page for more.
Connecting to your brand reveals a sense of customer ownership – almost as if it belongs to the person in some way. People are likely to publicly promote your brand when they feel part of it’s community. They make active choices to endorse what you offer. When they’re really invested, they don’t just react with above examples, they start to generate content for you themselves. They’ll tag or post picture of your product.
Content that Converts.
The online world is filled with a trillion attention grabbing options… products, parties, people, places, porn, pets – and I just picked P.
On Facebook, you aren’t just competing against similar products or services, you’re competing with people’s friends, them stalking their ex’s, their family, celebrities, the news. Everything. They are bombarded with millions of variables – so why tune into your brand’s message? It has to offer value. What’s in it for them?
What content works best for social? Heartfelt, authentic, original content. Lifestyle content. Storytelling. Proper stories distilled into bite size, easy to digest chunks. It’s not an exact science and requires the combined efforts of brilliant creative talent. Valuable content that taps into universal truths and the hearts of individuals. It’s valuable not just because it connects people to brands, but it’s value is directly reflected in its ROI.
Want to know how to create it? First check out proof that it works…The proof is in the pudding! Knowing how to read your ROI data means that you can translate it into your future content strategy.
TV advertising’s effectiveness is measured by it’s GRP metric.
It’s about frequency and reach to get brand recall. The more people that see it, the better. Eyes equal effectiveness. You want reach at scale, you want to remind people that your product is available: TV!
Traditional media is about reach and information. Look here. Know this. So TV advertising is an obvious solution.
Social media is social: a place for shared conversation. A space to connect; a community. It’s not just about reach and inform. Of course you can boost for reach. Like traditional media, you can pay for ‘eyes’. And you can track ROI.
We live in a feedback world.
Social media provides a solution that TV can’t. Direct feedback. The effectiveness of a hard sell TV advert blasting into consumers living rooms can be tested on a community platform for quality control. Our messages to our customers get reactions we can track.
On TV we don’t know if, when the ad comes on, the person leaves the room, changes channel, fast forwards the PVR etc. On social, you do. We’re able to track what people want to engage and disengage with. Their positive and negative reactions.
Social Media is about share and engage. Look here. What do you think?
We now get to know the effectiveness of our brand message. How effective is reach and frequency if we’re numb to it? What’s it costing us to pay for people to disengage and ignore our content?
And it goes like this…
What do you want?
– To reach millions!
It’s going to cost X
– We’ll pay!
What to know if it was effective?
– Yes! How many saw?
X saw. Want to know what happened when they did?
– Huh? But they saw?
Yes, they saw and then they looked away.
– Ja but they saw so, success!
But then they looked away. Is that relevant to you?
– Well, nothing we can do about that.
Except there is. Want to know what it is?
– Uh, yes?
Give them something they want to look at.
If you want to know if people respond / resonate / enjoy what you’re paying to show them? The actual effectiveness of your reach to reaction ratio? Facebook is your solution.
This article isn’t about the type of content they do want to look at (that’s next). It’s about knowing when it’s content that they don’t.
There few things as frustrating as getting stuck. Being stopped half way. Before the conclusion. Before the point is clear. Incompletion. Starting and stopping in the middle. Now imagine paying people to cut you off? Absurd right? Except that clients do it all the time. It’s what happens when their boosted video’s get switched off after 3 seconds.
Traditional Media includes these stats as successful reach. They’ve missed the mark. It’s a “but they saw!” metric instead of the more relevant fact that you just paid for people to disengage fast!
When you’re dealing with a large reach – it can’t be argued that it’s the wrong target segmentation. With a clearly broad audience it’s about the content itself.
Why 3 second views are bad for business.
Are you thinking GRPs only or are you considering the negative cost per audience?
Traditional media argues that these videos are about views. What’s socially relevant is how many people actually watched more than 3 seconds and then; how many clicked to watch and not just had the video auto play without sound which is the by standard terms – the bulk of them. It’s also why Facebook video’s usually have subtitles added. (A Facebook video vs a TV ad are two completely different genres but that’s for a separate discussion.)
You can’t optimise a 3 second view. It’s bad. Additional boosting is like flogging a dead horse. You need to proactively look at the content quickly. It needs to change.
For results of the case study… keep reading…
“Marketers have different purposes for engaging their audience with a Facebook Page, but most want to know how engaging their content is. You need engagement to convert your audience to action.” – Michael Leander Extract from here.
My personal opinion of the TV content – based on a lifetime in entertainment industry +25 years is irrelevant (is it?). So lets just stick to the facts. Cause data don’t lie.
- The most popular TV ad was the 15 second version.
- Boosting cost: R13749.12
In this case study video campaign, the bulk reaction was
- 3 second video views: 268 903
This means that is cost the client R.07 cents for people not to watch the video but scroll past and disengage.
While traditional media argues that it’s incredibly low for “eyes”, it could be argued that it’s an incredibly high cost for people to NOT even want to see your content. At least you know.
- 50% video views: 115 366
Where viewers watched half and then clicked off. They didn’t get to the punch line. They stopped caring / finding it relevant / were bored – a multitude of possibilities. Bottom line, they didn’t fully engage.
- 100% video views: 43 280.
A 100% video view costs R0.46
So of all the people reached:
- 16% completed watching the 15 second video.
- It cost near to 50 cents to get people to see.
- Of whom barely anyone reacted.
So, of those that watched, what were the reactions?
Upon checking the actual 18 comments (after 43,280 views):
- 10 were negative – complaints on the price.
- 4 people tagged others.
- 4 people asked questions (mostly about price)
And 1 person commented on liking the content itself. 1 person in 43,280 person that actually watched the full video, thought it was good enough content to comment on. If only clients only needed one instead of thousands. But, they don’t.
When we compare that out of videos’ combined 358 237 ‘eyes’ measured as reach, only 271 reacted. (Liked, commented or shared the post)
That’s a 0,075 % reaction to reach ratio.
The data speaks for itself and the proof, as we love to say is indeed, in the pudding.
- Above 1% engagement rate is good
- 0,5%-0,99% is average and
- Below 0,5% engagement likely means that you need to realign your messages to that of your audience’s expectations – and in the process attract more compelling and engaging contributions from your community members.
What’s the solution?
It’s clear that people didn’t like what they saw so the content needs to change, so:
- What content do people want?
- How do you use Facebook to test for effective campaigns before spending millions on the cost of creating and running a TV campaign?
Tune in next week for the answers.
We are witnessing the formalisation of the shared economy.
Access versus Ownership. Sharer versus Consumer. And for companies what this means is embracing the idea of Collaborators versus Competitors.
Living in a world connected through online technologies, previous limitations of time and space no longer have a reactive effect on business opportunities as more and more startups are being created via virtual agencies, companies and offices. Outsourcing staff and space keeps overheads to a minimum and so the financial risk associated with a new startup is drastically reduced. It’s collaboration at its best.
The rise of Digital Nomads
From the corporate culture of convention and doing what is expected: working 9 – 5 jobs in a fixed office space, we have moved into a new area that celebrates the individual and advocates working to suit your lifestyle choices.
Working from home, co-work spaces, accessible Internet connection and affordable travel options means that we can now work anywhere at anytime. Co-working spaces double each year globally because simply put: co-working is what people want.
These ‘global citizens’ and ‘digital nomads’ are transforming the startup scene. This shift cultivates a creative culture of invention and people’s work expresses who they are.
It’s a time of rapid growth, prompted by advances in technology innovation and the world, as we knew it, is changing to form a landscape we can’t fully comprehend. So how do we keep up with this shifting space?
The evolution to P2P Lending
The old 80’s order of more means more, mass consumerism and greed, spiralled out of control into inflated overdrafts, loans and ultimately the collapse of the economy. The ramifications of the 2007 – 2009 modern-day Great recession are still in effect and new solutions have become life saving necessities for the world’s economic situation. (Click here for a link to the banks acquired or bankrupted during this period. )
Shifting consumer mindset
Now, more than ever, not just in business but in the world around us, sustainability is paramount to success.
A prime example of a collaborative mentality in the financial sector can be seen in the increase of Peer-to-Peer lending, instead of the competitive nature of traditional banking models – many of which have failed to provide sustainable solutions.
In South Africa: Rainfin (self-described as the best way to borrow or invest money) promises a better solution.
RainFin is a community of people and businesses investing in one another’s future. Their online marketplace directly connects borrowers and lenders, allowing for cheaper credit for borrowers and better returns for investors.
It’s a solution that speaks to us as individuals: it makes sense to save cents.
We’ve become far more conscious of the choices our companies make and how these affect people and the planet. ‘Boutique‘, ‘Niche‘ and ‘Customized‘ are becoming terms synonymous with successful companies, instead of the ‘Bigger and Better‘, ‘Faster‘ and ‘More‘ slogans of the past.
From Chinese factories and supermarkets to hand crafted and local artisanal markets, we’re focusing on scaling hyper local initiatives by returning back to basics.
The rise of online marketplaces: (Etsy, AliBaba) and locally Hello Pretty, highlights the shift into combining efforts to share in sales success instead of the ‘each to their own’ mentality of singular online shops. Working together and doing less with more has become an important fundamental for successful startups. Teamwork, joint efforts and cooperation provide simple solutions to complex problems.
Ideas like company collaboration, skill share, co-work spaces and virtual offices are replacing corporate monopolies, set expertise, traditional offices and time based, location fixed staff.
Why is this trend so important?
Our reactions determine our reality. Our choices define us.
In business, how you view a situation and how you choose to respond to it, determines your success or failure. The same circumstance will affect various entrepreneurs very differently. Deciding if we view others as collaborators or competitors will influence our every day dealings and governs the nature of the companies we create.
In the dawning of this new, more enlightened world, sharing means caring not lack. The understanding is that there is enough to go around: a shift from a scarcity perspective into a perception of abundance.
Ideas are being combined instead of stolen and when this happens, the outcome is collaboration and progress, instead of petty one up-man-ship. The whole becomes greater than the sum of its parts, instead of scattered collection of fractured fragile startups struggling to survive.
My Collaborator not my Competitor
The problem is, that those who don’t embrace the changing dynamic are not going to be able to keep up with businesses of the future.
And not everyone is ready to shift his or her perspective. The fear-based mindset that there isn’t space or enough for everyone in this inclusive, open world is a limited belief that stunts growth.
“He will take from me” instead of “I could learn from him!” is the competitor’s viewpoint. Instead of seeing others as potential assets, they are viewed as potentially dangerous liabilities.
Simply explained as the ‘Food court’ mentality: placing many restaurants in close proximity to one another encourages food sales for all the businesses. This model works. ‘Clusters’ and Precincts in cities: for design, finance, technology work because of grouping similar ideas together. The old saying, “Birds of a feather flock together” and “Like attracts like” are true.
And through online technologies, finding your people is more possible than ever before. We’re able to connect with like-minded potential colleagues from across the globe and work together on projects, ask questions and engage in solutions that improve both parties service and product offerings. This is only possible when we embrace the notion that people are our collaborators and not our competitors. When we become fluid and not fixed.
In this way, companies are able to focus on an individual’s talents and strengths to the best of their abilities, so that instead of getting employees to do things they like, they start to do more of what they love. This is a powerful place to be because the more someone loves what they do, the more they produce and the higher the return on the individual as an investment.
Collaborators are future focused and geared for success, whereas competitors are stuck in past paradigms and geared for failure.
It isn’t a question of choosing which one you should be, but how quickly you can you transition to embrace the progressive collaborative state of the reality that is.
The proof is in the pudding as Malva gains 6 new brands in their portfolio.
The following Kraft Heinz brands now form part of Malva’s client base:
- Ambient brands: Wellingtons Sauces, Planters Nuts and Miracle Whip.
- Frozen brands: Today’s pastries , Mama’s Pies and Big Jack Pies.
According to Morne Fourie (Head of Marketing and Innovation Africa for Kraft Heinz Company) brands need to earn the right to talk to consumers in the digital space. It was Malva’s outside the box, inside the heart thinking, that was the key factor in winning all 6 accounts.
Malva creator, Lauren Wallett says, “Creating a deconstructed, tech enabled agency enables real value through creative connections and choice collaborations. We’re excited to introduce a global corporate to a fresh way of creating content that connects.”
It’s Christmas Eve, and the year is finally winding down. 2016 has been a year of huge growth for Malva and we’re gearing up for an even bigger 2017. Exciting new clients, collaborations and creative projects are on our ‘To do’ list.
We launched this, our brand new website and blog and it’s attracted the ideal clients for us. As always, we’ll share our learnings and marketing tips with you, right here.
Here’s what you missed on the blog:
Start with some self motivation:
- How to clear the clutter in your life
- How to bring your A game and what that means
- Everyone has ideas, so what?
- How to make productive choices
Online Marketing essentials:
- 3 ideas to simplify your website
- How to say less and show more
- Focus on the fundamentals
- 8 Questions to focus your business offering
- Creative Consultations
For the love of Instagram:
- The Diagonal: Pattern posting on Instagram
- 8 Fresh ideas for your Instagram strategy
- How to create a floating heart pattern on Instagram
And a bit of Magic:
Happy Holidays! Wishing you a motivated and magical 2017
Every decision, every choice you have ever made, has led you here, to this point in your life. Right here, right now, you are on the dot. It’s up to you to choose where to go from here. Only you can step up and take yourself to the next level, if you want to.
Remember that what you do, don’t do, redo, do over and/or overdo will define who you become.
(To redo is to try something again, whereas to do over is to start again, but in a completely new direction.)
Making the above decisions will involve asking further questions.
Do, don’t do, redo, do over, over do
Do, don’t do, redo, do over, over do
Do, don’t do, redo, do over, over do
With whom you
Do, don’t do, redo, do over, over do
Do, don’t do, redo, do over, over do
In finding answers to these questions, the biggest question of them all is to ask yourself:
In other words, for what reason are you doing what you are doing?
When you learn how to answer this question, your choices will have become conscious. You will be living your life on purpose, knowing that you can choose whatever you want to do, because it serves you. You’ll understand that there is no right or wrong choice, even if you decide to make a more destructive and less productive choice, because this is your one and only life. No one else gets to live it but you, and when you own this fact, you can tailor it to fit yourself.
Ask yourself ‘why’ before doing anything else. The more that you do, the more ingrained the knowledge of who you are will be in your consciousness. It is an excellent way to get to know yourself, and your actions will reflect integrity and character.
If your answers start with, ‘Because I should / must / have to’, ‘Because it’s expected’, or ‘What would people think if I didn’t‘, then you need to look at your decision again. You may be able to deceive others, but you can fool yourself for only so long. The person to whom you are most accountable – and who deserves your honesty – is you.
How do you keep motivated so that you can reach fulfilment?
You need to be plugged into the energy source. When you are aligned, you form a direct connection with the energy source, and this access allows life to flow. Things begin to move in a positive direction. You go upwards and onwards, and your connection to the energy source allows you to begin to grow up.
What is your energy source?
Your definition of your energy source will be specific to you – that is, you need to define it. The idea of an energy source has been predominant in religion, spiritual teachings and various philosophies. It is, ultimately, deeply personal. It is the infinite, ongoing power that never runs out. Whether you define that as a higher power, the universe, Love, the idea of the best version of you – your source is what connects you to yourself and the world. It is the unlimited energy source that you need to access in order to do anything purposeful in your life. Your source of energy is the foundation; it is the ultimate home from which you begin, and to which you return. It is what generates the energy that drives you forward each day.
If you’re filling your time with unproductive and draining activities – pouring yourself into ineffective pursuits that encourage negative behaviour – your energy levels will be depleted and you’ll become disconnected from your resources. Soon you’ll be unable to continue moving forward. Without plugging into your energy source you can’t access your greatest assets. You may be able to run on ‘borrowed fixes’ (or indeed on empty) for a time, but your engine will shut down sooner rather than later. To access a constant, uninterrupted flow of energy, you need to stay connected to you. In this way, you avoid ‘running dry’.
However, it is important for you to continue monitoring your energy levels in order to determine when it’s time to conserve, and when it’s time to refuel. There is a significant difference between keeping busy and doing a lot of stuff, and engaging in real, conscious productivity. ‘He’s a machine’ or ‘She’s a steam train’ is typically followed by ‘He burnt out‘ or ‘Then she had a breakdown’. In contrast, Human Doings are intentional about their actions. They do things on purpose because each action matters to the bigger picture. They have a plan and avoid engaging in unnecessary, random doings. The more cognisant you become about every doing, the sooner you’ll customise a lifestyle of your choice.
Whatever you do – whether it is selling services, products or yourself – your time is a direct exchange for every doing. Therefore, if you learn how to maximise output for time use, you’ll be more effective and efficient, get far more out of your work situation, and achieve your personal and professional goals much sooner. Maximising efficiency is a necessary step toward reaching your optimal productivity levels.
The shortest point between the start and finish lines is a straight line, necessitating a singular, focused direction. However, instead of our choices reflecting the simplicity of 1, 2, 3 – that is:
- 1, I wanted something; so
- 2, I did this; and
- 3, I got what I wanted …
Our actions look more like this:
Patterns we’ve become stuck in from past experiences affect what we do before we even do it.
The idea of ‘a clean slate’ before we begin (so that when we do face a problem or set ourselves a new focus, we are as productive as possible) is a nice notion, but it’s not a practical solution.
We are all different degrees of messy.
Often our focus is a bit blurry, but that’s okay. Becoming a Human Doing means that you’re a work in progress. As long as you’re working for you, by practising the management of yourself, you’re on the right path. Life is, after all, a journey, not a race. If you continue doing and moving forward, you’ll get to where you want to be. The more conscious you are of what’s working for you and what isn’t, the more certain you will be that you’re heading in a productive direction. Visualise to determine if you are going up, down or sideways; or are on the borderline between extremes; or are stagnating and going nowhere. Life is not necessarily linear. Sometimes an unexpected turn can cause exponential progress or regression. Don’t panic – simply monitor your direction. In this way you’ll be able to change direction or continue on your path.
Keep on keeping on.
The sooner you decide to shift toward proactivity, the smoother the journey will be and the faster you’ll progress. Monitor your reactions to situations so that you can evaluate the shift. Are you focused towards the future and moving forward, or are you bogged down in past paradigms? You may never have a completely clean slate, but ‘conscious doing’ allows you to get as close to ‘clean slate’ as possible.
Ideas are like breathing. They’re vital to the creative life (without them your creativity would perish); but they are only a starting point. Just as every human around you lives and breathes, every human also generates ideas – continually.
Have you met those angry ‘idea victims’ in your time? You will recognise them by predictable expressions: ‘You know I actually came up with that idea years before the movie was produced / that item was made / she started that business. It was my idea.’
You don’t own the air you breathe, and neither do you own the ideas floating around you like electrons. You can reach up and capture one, but unless you decide to do something with it, it’ll slip out of your grasp, back into the universe for someone else to utilise. We are merely channels for ideas. The more aligned we are, the easier it us for us to channel. And the more we focus on growing ‘up’ in the pursuit of actualisation, the better the channel will be.
There are so many variations of the same idea that many may seem similar. The best ideas are combinations of a few existing ones. Creating a combination is a personal choice, so entirely up to you. What makes your idea unique is how you resolve to do it – that is, prepare, organise, ensure, look after, accomplish, complete and achieve it.
You need to execute your idea.
It’s highly improbable – almost impossible – for someone who has exactly same idea as you implementing the idea in exactly the same way as you. Your individual tastes, experiences, work ethic, passions, etc. would more than likely translate that idea into a singular, unique creation.
This in no way condones or makes excuses for copying others. Blatant and obvious intellectual theft is unacceptable. Copying is not the same as having an idea. Thankfully, we live in a time that celebrates originality, authenticity and integrity, a time in which copycats are easily exposed.
That first moment of inspiration – that ‘ah ha’ instant – is only the very first breath. Inspire literally means to ‘breathe in’, which you need to do before you take the first step in your journey. Anything of lasting value takes time to prepare. And the foundation needs to be strong to protect the fragile new idea.
Stop deluding yourself with the notion that it’s good enough to have so many ideas. It‘s not.
Most of the ideas will be weak, or will need to be combined with others before they can become relevant and worth the effort to pursue. Even then, lots will fail. But that’s okay! The important thing is that you do something about it. In the journey of success it’s the perspiration that counts, not the inspiration.
It’s lovely to be able to dream big, to delight in the fantasies of our minds and imagine how good life will be when our dream becomes a reality. Our Big Dream is usually a mixture of some of our best ideas. The more we dream it, the more we are able to enjoy it – almost as if it was already a reality. We live the experience in our mind and this can be extremely satisfying.
But we also know that coming up with ideas isn’t necessarily the most important thing we could be doing. How can we tell if our big dream is a true calling or a big distraction that actually prevents us from getting things done? Asking yourself the following questions is a good place to start:
Is your idea a big dream or a distraction?
Ask yourself the following questions…
- Am I running away from reality, preferring the comforting bliss of delusion – that is, lots of talking and thinking but no noticeable results?
- Am I spending hours imagining scenarios that play out in my head but never actually happen?
- Is there always someone else to blame for the dream being impossible?
- Do you have an idea that escalates quickly? In other words, it starts as something simple, but grows to huge proportions until it’s a massive business in your head – though nothing has actually begun in reality?
Those ‘ideas’ need to be addressed. Returning to tangible goals will show you what’s realistic and what’s delusional. It would certainly be easier to live in our heads instead of the real world, where bills need to be paid, groceries need to be bought, cars need to be serviced, bonds need to be covered and the often mundane realities of existence abound. Escaping into your mind is fine from time to time, but one cannot live there. There is a time for dreaming and a time for doing.
The sooner you take action, the sooner the dream becomes a reality.
Everyone would like to follow their dreams, but once dreams enter reality they often look very different to how we imagined them. We forget that time and space are parts of reality. Dreams take longer than expected, they cost more and aren’t always exciting; they can even be draining. But none of this means that we should give up on them. We simply need to get realistic about the fact that dreaming is not enough to get us anywhere.
Not all dreams come true, but reality always does.
The idea of being a dreamer is very exciting. Being practical (which actually leads to long-term success) sounds incredibly dull by comparison. We crave inspired new thoughts, not the daily slog and administration that comes with reality.
Sorry to burst your bubble: the real world is where you live. You need to focus on making dreams real. In order to do this, you have to get real about yourselves. This means knowing your limitations. Consider the example below.
Betty loves singing at her local karaoke bar on Friday nights. She dreams about being discovered one day and becoming a famous singer. However, she is 50 years old, has never had singing lessons, lives in a small town in South Africa, and aside from the karaoke bar has never sung anywhere outside of her shower.
Betty’s singing is her hobby. Realistically, it’s probably not going to be her career.
You can enjoy many things that should never be turned into your business. Just because you love a certain ‘doing’, this doesn’t mean it’s going to be a successful business. Neither does it mean you shouldn’t do it; just realise that it’s an investment to propel you forward in your actual business or career.
Often with dreamers, the practical part of ‘getting real’ is quite boring, and consequently they give up soon after the initial excitement wears off. When you understand that you are all you’ve got, you don’t put the blame, focus or impetus on anyone else. The debits don’t stop when the Big Dream arrives.
Is your Big Dream worth pursuing?
This is called a reality check. You’re not in the ‘could have’, ‘would have’, ‘should have’, ‘what if’, ‘if only’ stages of delusion. It’s highly likely that you are already taking the necessary steps to do what needs to be done to achieve the dream.
Ask yourself regularly:
- What’s the Big Idea?
- Am I taking the steps to make it real?
- How far along am I?
Bring your A game = do your best. That’s been my personal interpretation. And it’s the urban dictionary one too. Pretty sure we all have the same idea when we hear this statement. But like so many statements tossed around, the question we should be asking is:
How do we show up in life with it, every day? How do you bring your A game? How do you do it? It’s in asking for the practical application of the statement that we are brought back to the same place that every question takes us: something needs to be done.
It’s in our Human Doing potential that we’re able to transform ourselves. To do and become our best versions. So when thinking over some of the central themes of the book Human Doing, it suddenly dawned on me: this is how we bring our A game in life!
Bringing your A Game. A 7 step by step guide:
The more conscious our choices become, the more intentional our doings will be. So much of why we do what we do relates to past paradigms, negative stories, limiting beliefs, our internal trickster and made up myths. Combined these ideas hold us back, keep us stagnant, put us down and make us repeat patterns. Basically, they affect our ability to shift, change and grow.
The more aware we are of why we do what we do, the easier it is to let go of what no longer serves us. We have to dig through consciousness into subconscious. A good place to start is my examining what we do. Our actions stem from our beliefs about ourselves.
The more aware we are, the better aligned we can focus on becoming. Alignment happens when our thoughts, feelings and actions are working together and not pulling us in different directions. What we think, feel and do move us toward a common goal. We don’t self sabotage by thinking we can, but feeling we can’t so not achieving what we cerebrally set out to.
When thoughts, feelings and actions are aligned we form a direct channel to tap into our energy source and life feels like it’s in flow…
We develop a ‘Can Do’ attitude of productivity vs liability. We have a ‘winning’ attitude when we realise that our lives are up to us. Any ‘victim’ mentality is replaced with our personal Hero’s journey. We become the star of our own show. We are the hero destined to save ourselves.
We’re able to take action in our lives. It’s no longer about ‘having what it takes‘, it’s about ‘doing what it takes‘. We progress instead of regress.
We learn the art of accepting what we cannot change. We can choose to embrace or let go. This covers aspects of ourselves and people, places and things we interact with. Becoming a Human Doing / Bringing your A game is not about perfection! It is about acceptance. Of ourselves and others. This takes constant practise, forgiveness and compassion. The best place to start is with you.
We are accountable for all that we say and do, so our words and actions are considered. We mean what we say and follow through with what we set out to do. When you stop making excuses and blaming others, you’re on your way to being accountable.
The combination of all these doings results in the most important one: our unique expression of authentic true self. When we radiate our truth, we attract the life that we desire.
Instead of projecting versions of ourselves to fit in to society’s norms and expectations, we reflect our truth. The combined bright white light of all our multicoloured various doings result in the unique radiation that is: You. As you are. Enlightened, ever-changing, energy in motion. Stardust exploded.
Put another way: a Human Doing. The result of bringing your A game.
Hope you have a great week bringing your A Game!
If you’d like a daily prompt to help you practise these ideas, sign up for our Confidence Challenge. It’s free, fun and takes 1 week only. #HumanDoingCC More power to you x
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