Why Composing Emails When Your Tired is Terrible   (…and how to not be terrible)

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Tired is Terrible

A few days ago I walked into my favorite Starbucks after a long day on no sleep. I pulled out my phone to use Apple Pay and a shy but pleasant barista asked what he could get me. I said, “I’ll have a Bombay Sapphire and Tonic, please.” He blinked at me three times. Slowly, a wisp of a smile curled across his face. I admitted that I was in the wrong place. “It’s like that today, huh,” he said.

I ordered a Venti Black Iced Tea, sweetened and plunked into a seat. The night before, I had deadlines to meet and worked until…well, until it was hella late. Screaming cats in heat woke me up 30 minutes after I dozed off. Then my housemate came home half an hour later. I entertained 30 minutes of sleep at a time over a 4 hour period. That’s not restful sleep. That’s not restful anything.

I was too tired to work the next day. But I push through. Sometimes pushing trough gives a sense of accomplishment. Sometimes pushing through is overrated. I do it anyway.

“…be circumspect,” and taking my own counsel

An associate of mine on the West Coast needed some marketing materials sent. We had clients waiting and a growing list of prospects to contact. Our strategic partners, whom he has tirelessly pursued―with fine results for us―were in the bullpen.

Everybody on his team was rearing to act on my newly-minted Key Messaging Platform. I had an awesome lead generating email written. I emailed the message to him right away for the whole second-set-of-eyes thing. That’s always good, by the way. Tired as I was, I couldn’t think (at all, actually) of letting another day go by.

I had some emails that required “an immediate response” from me. One of my emails did get a response all right. Fi yuo cna raed thsi, you’re a genuis. If you could make sense of my terrible email, you’re a genius, too.

What I wrote:

The idea of doing forces to create a strategic alliance, increase sales and products in this market, introduce a new product, develop a new market segment, move into a new geography, etc.could be something to look into but not if it’s rabbit holing or a distraction from project that will produce financial.

Multiple streams of income is the ultimate goal. I say look into it but be circumspect. 

What I thought I sent:

The idea of joining forces to create a strategic alliance is shrewd. If Blahblahblah, Inc. is willing to become a strategic partner, that would be amazing for everyone. Looking at increasing sales and introducing new products is a smart move.

Blahblahblah, Inc. could give us an awesome opportunity to step into a new geography and develop a new market segment.  This is something to look into but not if it’s rabbit holing. Any distraction from projects that will produce a financial return wouldn’t be prudent. Not right now.

Multiple streams of income is the ultimate goal, of course. I say look into it but be circumspect. Please let me know if there’s anything you need.

This is what I said―in my mind. The email was a different, unintelligible story. It was terrible.

There are a lot of rules for writing emails. Know your audience, avoid attachments, have a consistent voice and so on. My #1 Email Rule? Get plenty of sleep. That’s the first step to being circumspect.

One way to be attentive and cautious:

Under normal circumstances, my energy level is up and I’m writing away like a fiend. I use a note taking app or Apple Pages. MS Word. Whatever. I write. I proofread. I may even run it through hemingwayapp.com―and Grammarly is bomb . When I’ve ascertained that it’s not terrible, I click the send button.

But these are not the most important steps toward you and your emails not being terrible.

The first step to not being terrible―Remember, if you can’t speak in simple, coherent sentences, you won’t do it in writing either. Be circumspect. If you can’t be attentive to what you’re doing, why are you doing it?

The second step― Wait until it’s time. Timing is everything. Honestly, sometimes it is better to put off ’til tomorrow what will likely be terrible today. And don’t make terrible today what you can make brilliant tomorrow (or after a nap, or after setting it aside for a time, or after you’ve meditated, or after you kissed someone who really needs a kissing, or after you’ve eaten).

The third step― Do not people-please anybody. Don’t place yourself in a position with an email that puts you needlessly outside of your strengths. Email, e-schmail. This applies to any project: always come from a position of strength…as best as you can for today.

The fourth step―If you walk into a Starbucks and order a gin and tonic, you need to go home, buddy.

The fifth step―Go to sleep.

Be you in everything you do. You probably did a million freakin’ things brilliantly today. A terrible, discombobulated email is hardly going to trigger global mass extinction.

Don’t fear making email errors. Mistakes are generally unavoidable. Focus on what you’re doing right. You can always correct a mistake, revise, reiterate.

Final Steps―Stay focused on improving. James Caan, CEO of Hamilton Bradshaw Group, among others, says that the way in which you deliver your message is just as important as what you’re trying to say.

While concentrating on this stuff you’re going to learn what your triggers are in terms of terrible. Don’t skip a meal or short-change yourself on sleep. Those are my triggers. What are yours? How do you solve that problem?

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You Don’t Have to Be an Ambivert to Interact on Social Media

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The entire point of social media is to interact. You don’t have to be gregarious. I enjoy (with the requisite smirk) a good rant from time to time. I’ve even posted a good rant from time to time. But you have to function, that is you have to get in the mix, find your niche, and participate.

Sure, social is a fuzzy concept. When we add media, a means of communication, maybe it gets even fuzzier. So, the application of what it means to be social can vary depending on context and conditions. That’s what they tell me. I don’t know how you can be social without communicating. It seems like a lot of people are trying.

Social media interaction isn’t tough for me. I’m an ambivert―an extroverted introvert who exhibits qualities of both introversion and extroversion. All.the.time. I put myself out there, but I really do live in my head. Social media is perfect for me.

And it makes me a little weird. That’s what they tell me.

I have started doing a lot more weird stuff.

On Twitter: When someone follows me, I write them a little message. Thanks for following! I look forward to your tweets. The exchange of information and insights is always a pleasure. Please contact me if I can help in any way. And I add a little something specific to them, their blog or website that I do actually visit and read.

Every now and then I get a request to Keep the conversation going! And I know. It’s weird. Because I do.

I’d love to get more of those requests!

I started thanking people for retweeting and liking posts. Some people interact. They get it. Some don’t. Never understood that.

On Facebook: I thank people for replying to a post. On my freelancing page*, I even posted a Thank You to all of you who were kind enough to stop by, like my page, and otherwise say Hello. Why? Because you rock!

I always thank people for their comments on my status updates.

Why? Because I’m part of your network just like you’re part of mine. You kinda deserve a response. It’s just good manners.

On LinkedIn: Paul Castain of Castain Training Systems posted an awesome article recently on LinkedIn. Paul said the platform looks like a bunch of people wandering around mumbling to themselves!

And he’s right. Without interaction, social media is whacky self-talk. Paul asks, How many people actually take the time to respond to you? It’s a good question. Are we in the mix? Are we communicating? Or do we maintain a funky attitude that we’re going out of our way when we interact, respond, or say thank you?

Frankly, this stuff almost got me to abandon Twitter way back in 2011. I stayed because I started using it in new ways.  I have continued to evolve how I use that tool.

With LinkedIn, it’s not just a matter of interaction. It’s one of perception. When people say, “Why should I be active on LinkedIn if I’m not looking for a new job?” they’re expressing a fixed mindset.

“I’m working and I have a great resume. I don’t need LinkedIn.” Fixed Mindset.

With a growth mindset, you can see social media in broader terms. I think I still have at least as much to learn as I have to offer on that platform.

My change in perspective, on social media in general and LinkedIn in particular, came about because of changes in my career trajectory. In no small measure, let me tell you.

When I came into contact with brand strategist Peter Economides and his global perspective, my attitude shifted again.

Peter is the kind of person who thinks in terms of how a situation relates to the rest of the world. When I came across Peter Economides, the Greek financial crisis had reached critical mass.

His attitude? Greece is awesome and we’re all connected in a lot of ways. He wanted to evolve branding and rebrand Greece. That’s global in a world that wants to be individual in the most fixed ways imaginable.

Talk about responding and interacting. But before I digress too far, it doesn’t need a grand a gesture.

A lack of participation, as Paul Castain points out, substantially diminishes the platform. The point of LinkedIn is to do business and people do business with those they know, like, and trust. How can you get to know, like,  and build trust without interaction? You can’t.

Responding, interacting and showing kindness and civility matters. Because we’re human. We’re social. We want to stand out, collaborate, interact. I know I do and if I do there have to be millions of others who do as well. If I don’t know you we can’t get there and that’s ridiculous.

You know what isn’t ridiculous―being social on a social network. One of my problems was I first reacted to social media by going about it as though I was mingling in a crowd. Or maybe wading through a crowd.

The noise out there on the Internet became a way for me to not see the forest for the trees. Navigating social media should be about creating and strengthening relationships. We do this with other people on a one-to-one basis just like traditional networking.

And I don’t want to spread myself out too thin. LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter are my  Big 3. Instagram and Pinterest are tempting. As time has gone by, they haven’t resonated with me. If they resonate with you, get on ‘em!

Then there’s LiveJournal, DeviantArt, Flickr, Snapchat, and more. Lots of choices. (Google + is a story for another day.)

The real choice is connecting with people not just connecting with the “right” platform. At first, the thing for me was to get to know Twitter or LinkedIn, but we’re there to get to know people. When I connect with someone, we have a real interest in getting to know one another. It’s been about like-mindedness.

Being random doesn’t work for the way I’m wired. The more I focus on personal and work specificity, the more selective I’ve become. And the more meaningful the connections have become, too.

Where are you in your journey with social media interaction? Are you a little lost in the forest? Are you giving and seeking opportunities to impart value? Have you spread yourself out too thin making responses and engagement difficult?  Have you gotten to a point where you’re thinking about producing video or a podcast? I’d really like to know. Really.

Thanks so much for dropping by. If you’d like to interact and leave a comment, that would be awesome. Let’s keep the conversation going!

*https://www.facebook.com/pkfreelance/

These 7 Life Hacks Will Help You Get Ready for 2017 Like a Boss

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My grandmother was always saying, “Count your blessings.” I just don’t remember hearing her complain. One of my dearest friends, Sandra, always says―at least once a day―“Be grateful.” She is consistently looking for an opportunity to give recognition and share appreciation.

Basically, these positive women were saying the same thing. Express gratitude. And why? Because you count blessings, not ill fortune. Misadventure isn’t for calculation, it’s for edification. It’s for opportunity―not least of all taking the opportunity to look in the mirror.

What you do is you take a good hard look at your successes. You emulate and reproduce success. You learn from failures. You take an inventory and magnify your strengths so you can diminish deficits.

You don’t want to sit too long in a success. You want to take actionable steps and keep moving. You don’t want to sit in a failure either. Wallowing in emotional paralysis is not going to reduce a deficiency. Learning sure will.

Self-help author, Melody Beattie says, ‘Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.’ Wallowing never accomplished that. And yet, I can say in all sincerity, I’m grateful for my many failures.

That’s right. And why? Because being grateful for the failure unlocks it and opens up acceptance. Gratitude in failure unlocks the lesson and unlocks breakthroughs, momentum, and improvement. When we adopt the attitude that failing isn’t stagnation or diminishment, we can make headway and elevate our experience.

It’s part of an equation―it gets a bit algebraic, but don’t freak out―because we’re adding good stuff, embracing impermanence, forgiveness, and the benefits of moving on.

Oh. And look at that! We’re moving on from 2016.

  • What choices are you going to make?
  • In what ways can you set yourself up for growth?
  • What person, place, or thing do you need to let go of?
  • What strength will you expand?
  • Where’s your level of acceptance and non-attachment?
  • What are you gonna do to infuse more gratitude into your life?

These 7 life hacks will help you get ready for 2017 like a boss:

  1. Express your gratitude.
  2. Emulate and reproduce success.
  3. Magnify your strengths.
  4. Take actionable steps to move forward.
  5. Keep learning. If you fail, it’s for edification, not calculation.
  6. Calculation is for counting blessings.
  7. Give space for gratitude to unlock the lesson.

Give yourself some credit. You done good. Say goodbye to 2016 with a feeling of great pleasure and happiness. I’m so anticipating a new life and it comes with not just a clean slate, but with lessons learned. Are you with me?

Gertrude Stein Loves Social Media

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Social media in and of itself is meaningless.

Shocking declaration from a content writer and social media coordinator, blogger and everything the hell else I am.

The fact is there are worse things that go on and on in our daily lives that interfere with our freedom and self-determination and we love those things. We have a taste for whatever we can use more so than for the things that we can love.

Bear with me on this, because there is a beyond-Facebook point to what follows here. But, let’s get to social media and Facebook as a case in point: There is nothing good or bad but thinking makes it so.

For me, social media is usually thought of as “good” for 5 reasons.

Reason No. 1—Social Media is good because it’s a tool. Not just something we can use but something we can love. As a bright shiny distraction, social media keeps me in touch with people and the thing I value most―relationship.

As a freelancer, social media gives energy and propulsion to mastery and purpose. That is, social media is effective for promoting ideas and plans, for career and evolving projects, for meeting potential clients and launching entrepreneurial initiatives.

I have often repeated that to me social media is underutilized by community development practitioners, counselors, therapists, healthcare professionals and healthcare entrepreneurs. Over the last 2 years, I have witnessed a huge change as these professionals have really caught on. Their relationships have grown hugely matching any and every sector out there.

For me, it begins and ends with relationships. I had a great conversation with a friend of mine, a passionate VP of sales and consultant with a radical web development company. He was telling me about how corporate was pushing for closings. While we sure did agree that there’s nothing wrong with wanting to close more deals, as we spoke we came to a couple of important conclusions.

  1. Closing a deal, like anything else, is not a magical occurrence because it does not exist in isolation, and cannot appear by sheer force of will.
  2. Before you can close, there is a full spectrum of actionable items you need to bridge.

The first and last item on the spectrum is relationship.

Reason No. 2—Social Media can be a veritable provenance of insight, creativity, and well-thought-out viewpoints. Setting aside Caturday and the millionth mention of Nikola Tesla, platforms like Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook obviously work for me and other freelancers.

The people I have met through social media have helped me shape my main goals and helped motivate me to move forward―in spite of conventional ideas of what success should look like. My connections and followers on social media have provided benefit and value as I pursue freelancing.

I’ve learned a lot and continue to as relationships grow.

They have inspired an upgrade of self as the new year approaches. Success for me has been hinged on becoming a person business, so to speak―not at all precluding being a business person, but in essence, running my life as though I am the brand.

After all,  I am the capital, I am the operation.

This is a season to explore a sort of economics of Self―an investment in functioning, becoming a think-tank of mission and goals; networked and affiliated, sharing and earning―not merely consuming.

It’s okay to be an artist and a guru, it’s also okay to acquire and accumulate. The seeds I have planted concerning the business I am into today and frankly, the business I am not into (what’s none of my business)—have begun to bear fruit. Even the iPhone pics of the food I cooked at home have provided dividends.

Reason No.3—Because Facebook allows me to stay in contact with the real people in my life, I am enjoying connections with friends, and family [of choice] without having to lie about “let’s keep in touch,” or about FaceTime and phone calls none of us will ever make.

If I had a dime for every time I said or was asked to keep the conversation going. Wow.

There’s at least one opinionated virago out there who’d be happy to tell you: This ain’t news, this ain’t special, interesting or Earth shattering. Like Gertrude Stein said, ‘Nothing will ever be more interesting than the American Civil War.’

Let the mossbacks say what they like—it’s none of my business. Truth is, I have known some of my Facebook friends―yes indeed they are Facebook “friends,” but they are actually genuine friends, too―going back to the age of 12. We’re in contact with one another because it’s the best way to keep in touch.

Some of the people that I know on Facebook, in fact, the biggest circle of people that I know in social media, are people that I’ve known since I was in my 20s. There are some people in social media that I’ve known from anywhere between 5 years to just a few weeks. Or less.

Reason No.4—My social media presence is evolving as I evolve, and as social media itself evolves. It truly is a journey.

I began freelance writing as a generalist. I was told to find a niche and I organically grew toward creating content for websites and work as a social media coordinator. This wasn’t just something that happened overnight. But being no great fan of irony, I had to make an exception because as I niched down, I expanded my competencies. All because I value relationship building.

This is what happened as a result of nurturing relationships: A potential client and I connected over Skype for a 30-minute meeting. His website content was sparse and poorly written. He wasn’t a writer and didn’t want to be a writer.

We ended up talking for almost an hour and a  half. It wasn’t all business. Not directly. We were getting to know one another as people first, as business associates second.

Then he asked, “How can you expand on what you’re already doing?”

So, not being a fan of irony, I am a huge devotee of the epiphany. The ah-ha moment. The proverbial lightbulb over my cartoon head. The end result of our conversation was that he saw an appropriate fit and hired me as a Social Media Coordinator.

Expanding competencies.

Reason No.5—Everybody gets so much information all day long that they lose their common sense. ― Gertrude Stein

There’s a lot of noise on the Internet.  The noise is part of the two biggest challenges that you and I face.

The first is to not allow our best moments and our momentum to get rerouted by every single great idea that pops into our heads.

The second is the closely related Bright Shiny Objects.

I use my Mac’s Stickies, Notes, and Text Edit apps. When I get an idea, it goes on Stickies. If later in the day it seems not too excessively insane, it goes on Notes. Then, if it’s not just another bright shiny distraction, I look into it further.

Some ideas are awesome ideas but they’re not for me. There’s the issue of what resonates and what integrates. If it isn’t fundamental to my process, or can’t become part of the mix, I cannot waste my time on it.

Then there are the pure, unadulterated Bright Shiny Objects. I have mixed feelings about these. Nowadays, I allow myself a short amount of time for them. In the past, I could really mess up my flow, the efficiency of my entire day.

It’s 9:00 a.m., I’m having coffee and researching an article and before you know it, it’s lunchtime and I haven’t written a word. Chasing squirrels is a Bad habit!

Well, not always. There have been frequent experiences where distractions led to discovery. Researching one topic has often led to inspiration, jotting another two or three ideas on Stickies, and honoring my process.

Best of all, allowing yourself to chase something shiny can lead to an introduction.

I consider it quite an honor to have connections on LinkedIn and Twitter with influencers and thought leaders. Maybe some of these relationships were inevitable, but if allowing time for the chase initiated a conversation then no harm no foul.

If we allow a small part of our day to be taken up by a bit of distraction we may find that it doesn’t automatically have to interfere with purpose and mastery.

Mastery is about living our lives in a more meaningful and fulfilling manner.

Purpose strives for achievement.

We are not our distraction. We are made up of countless traits, not just distraction or any other single characteristic or habit. Our daily purpose is to enhance the enjoyment of our work and our being. Work is only a part of our existence and will never to prove our worth.

Whether we’re multitasking, strictly focused, or totally distracted, we have enough fulfillment and purpose to carry us through. Social media engagement has been the capstone of my freelancing adventure.

And sometimes, we do need to disconnect on a whole mess of levels and just be still. Like Gertrude Stein said, ‘Everybody knows if you are too careful you are so occupied in being careful that you are sure to stumble over something.’

Stumble over your next blog topic, your next connection, the influencer or thought leader you connect and engage with. You have the mastery and the tools. Social Media is one of them. Love these things. Love them all.

 

Photo Credit: © 2016 Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

The Content Machine

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I’m stoked about this.

There’s hidden gold and I have a new way to find it for you!

To be frank―you have assets you’re overlooking. I can give new life to existing content, make it profitable, and create new content for expanded use in other areas.

This is guaranteed to make a huge impact on your business and on your audience.

We’ll build a PK Content Machine to serve you! Sure, it sounds a little mad scientist-y, but in reality, we’re creating new opportunities for you and your website to grow your client base.

Ask me how we can build an exclusive PK Content Machine that will find hidden assets and how I can integrate them into your Lifetime of Content subscription.

Stop by PK Freelancing and let’s develop raw ideas and turn the best ones into

  • Abstracts
  • Blog posts from the best abstracts
  • White papers from the best blog posts
  • Webinars from the best white papers
  • Ghostwritten articles from the best content above

 

 

 

[Special thanks to Ed Gandia.]

The Power of Content & Social Media Expertise

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What marketing strategies are you using right now? A more important question might be how well are they actually working for you?

If you’ve given up on using Social Media and Internet marketing vehicles for your business, don’t throw in the towel just yet. In addition to offering a Lifetime of Content Program, I opened the Pk Freelancing Social Media Café.

I help people and businesses implement social media strategies that are proven to generate more leads, website traffic, and targeted followers. My programs are simple to understand and results-driven to get you the best outcomes possible on Social Media.

Social media, when used correctly, can be one of the most powerful business and marketing tools you will ever use. The problem for most companies is that they don’t know where to start or they don’t have the time or staff needed to get consistent results.

My purpose is simple: I Coordinate Your Social Media and Provide Outstanding Content To Make Sure You Get Results. Guaranteed!

I have developed programs that can handle the needs of almost any size company in any industry and in almost any country.

By outsourcing your Content and Social Media needs, you have more time to focus on your business while you leaving your marketing up to a professional at a fraction of the usual cost.

If you want to learn more about Social Media and find out if our plans are a good fit for your business, I would be happy to connect over a 30-minute consultation.

You can follow this link: facebook.com/pkfreelance/

Dispose of That Evil Sense of Being Swamped in 1 Easy Lesson

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I recently changed my habits and strategies. First of all, I now call them routines and action plans. Helps the mindset and it enhances my self-care. Trust me.

Habits sound negative. Strategies sound complicated. Routines and action plans sound easier.

I wish I could remember where I got this from so I could give credit where credit is due, but here it is anyway.

I write it all down on what I call my Giant List. Everything I want to do, everything I want to accomplish, everything I want to take action on. Write.it.down. My MacBook Air has a “Notes” app. I use the heck out f it.

I have a weekly prioritization ritual. I scan the Giant List and it’s obvious that I’m not getting all that stuff done today. I literally have a 100+ item list.

My anxiety and that evil sense of being swamped want to rear their ugly pimply heads, but I’m an adult and these two aren’t going to defeat me. Pshaw! The very idea!

My “ritual” is to ask myself, what 3 things do I need to accomplish that will guarantee this week will feel like a win?

I use the free app TickTick and input the 3 highest leverage, highest priority tasks from The Giant List and I let go of everything else.

This, oddly perhaps, helps me commit to taking action because I’m not setting myself up for frustration, or worse, failure. I tweak my 3 commitments so they’re realistically accomplishable in the next 7 days. And I get to work.

If I finish any of my 3 tasks sooner, I feel accomplished and I’m free to take a look at my list and add something else―an easter egg of sorts―something fun.

Remember―self-care needs to factor in here, brah.

I find that since I’ve been doing this, I’m much happier. The momentum is strong, and the results are improved. And I like concurrent rewards like doing tedious things at my favorite Starbucks instead of insisting that I soldier through it. Pshaw! The very idea!

Today is Sunday. It’s 81ºF/27ºC. My self-care is about Starbucks and lounging, chatting with friends, and reading with absolutely nothing hanging over my head. Freedom, people.

My “better half” (as my Mom so aptly calls her) is spending her weekend driving from Modesto to Huntington Beach to San Diego down the PCH and FaceTime is here so I can keep her company. I share in her travels. She sends me pics and FTs when she wants to see my mug. I love it. It’s freedom, people. *ahhhh*

Having control over my routine and action plan over the week gives me a self-care Sunday to breathe deeply and just be. Can’t beat it!