2013 has been a tough year for me productivity wise. After accomplishing close to all my 2012 goals, I ratcheted all my goals for 2013 without considering environmental changes. Needless to say Sebastian's latest posts have come at a good time.
The problem is I mentally associated my previous productivity pattern with the norm, and although I can allow myself to ratchet back down, (for instance allow myself to watch 4 hours of television a day), I can't help feeling that this is disappointing.
My weeks consist of a few highly focused, productive days, followed by a few days where I just sit on the couch watching The Walking Dead. This suggests to me that my problem isn't a result of bad ratcheting, although that may be a factor, namely, setting my goal to 4 hours of tv a day and then slowly decreasing that amount to 3 hours and so on, won't fix this. I think there is a structural fix that needs to be done with emphasis on environment. I also think that if I squeeze out all my will power, and create a string of successful days, that the solution will stay permanent (yes, i also believe that will power is a limited resource).
So for now, I will change 3 things:
1. leave the house. Aside from eating, sleeping and other general needs, I will be spending the rest of my time outside the apartment.
I was jumping on a trampoline and feeling pretty good from landing some moves I was working on. I did a back hand spring, and bounced a few times back and forth gaining momentum. Then a front flip - pretty soon, I felt invulnerable. Maybe it was the release from all the fear and frustration of not getting my moves, or if it was the bliss of being in the air, but I felt invincible. Then, with momentum carrying me upon landing, I ricocheted off the trampoline and banged my heel on the steel base of a vault. The fall must have only been 3-4 feet max, but ouch. Funny how quickly invulnerability fades when you realize how fragile the human body is.
I’ve choked many times. But compared to others, I’m really not that much of a choker. Honestly, we make a big deal out of choking, and the reality is that almost everyone cracks under-pressure. Clutch is what’s rare, that’s what makes 4th quarter Tim Tebow so exciting.
I want to be clutch. So I read this book.
Basically, the book outlines five traits of clutch.
These 5 traits are what makes people clutch -and they make sense, but there has to be something more, what about Tim Tebow?
Part me wants to believe that God is doing this out of amusement, to use Tebow to promote himself. But I think I can make a better guess.
Its been two years now since the start of my fantasy football league. When I first started, I knew nothing about football. My first draft was a mess - I used a cheat sheet I found in the July issue of ESPN magazine. I drafted a defense with my 10th round pick (everybody knows you only draft defenses and kickers with the last two picks). Worst of all, I was in a league full of sports junkies, guys who watch every game every Sunday.
This season I’m 2nd place, with the best season record. I’ve made around 7 trades. I know the names of most teams starting players, and a few of their backups.
I guess it takes something as trivial as fantasy football to show me that improvement is a long and slow process, but improvement happens. Too often I look at things and get disappointed because of the results. I’m so focused on improvement that frustration quickly swells up. Why am I not getting better? I expect so much from myself that I can’t see small progress for what it is: a tiny bit improvement.
But everything takes time.
Even if it takes years, I know that I’ll reach my goals eventually. And if i can get good at fantasy football, something I don’t care and didn’t even try to get good at, then of course I’ll be good at something I poured sweat and tears into.
Subject: Showcase your yoga studio through video
A lot of potential customers visit your website. Have you thought of putting a video of your yoga studio on it?
If you're interested, I would love to have a quick phone meeting.
Thanks in advance for your time,
Since Part 1, I’ve been trying to ramp up my sales skills and actually close a sale. So I bought 3 sales books. The problem with these sales books is that they are mindset oriented rather than action oriented. I’m looking for a technique or a script I can use today, whereas instead these books give general advice on trying to understand the customer. I agree that this is something that I should know, but is not directly applicable.
One of the key things I learned is that selling to VITOs (Very Important Top Officers) is a lot different than selling to common small business owners. VITOs are hyper-busy and want you to be direct about your offer. Small business owners on the other hand, appreciate small talk and compliments. They like formalities and building friendships before buying.
I also learned some copywriting. It’s surprising how difficult writing a simple email copy is. It’s also surprising how little material there is on teaching writing small business email copy. I’ve asked Sebastian Marshall and Daniel Odio and they’ve offered suggestions. Sebastian told me that I needed to shorten my copy, and to have a stronger call to action.
So I was sending out cold emails and I got a response:
Our company is in Texas, it appears you're in CA.
How do you work with companies remotely?
Due to selective ignorance I didn't think about how to work with remote clients. Any suggestions? Btw, I'm running a video production company.
A few weeks ago I’ve been dealing with the struggles of almost every newly graduate or close to graduating: finding a job. To get a job means I have to provide value to the person who hires me and I’m insecure about that. I’m an accounting major, and I barely know anything technical about accounting that could apply in a firm. I’ve learned a little about business but I’m not nearly skilled enough compared to anyone in the industry. I have no technical skills compared to the engineers and computer science majors. What value can I provide?
I brought this issue to my friend Ken and he gave me one of the biggest insights of the year.
I was struggling with the same thing when I was searching for jobs, but I realized that employers know that we’re new graduates and that we don’t know anything. Adding value is for someone who’s already five years into the industry…we’re new graduates, college only proves that we’re capable of learning. And that’s what employers are looking for when they hire you: someone who they can teach to add value to their company. Coming from Haas (School of business at Berkeley), I saw this way too often that kids would bullshit to employers as if they’re already five years into the industry. “I can make decks and models of this or I can streamline that”, they end up sounding like tools. They don’t know anything just like the rest of us.
“Then why should employers pay us 40k—50k a year when we know nothing and can’t do anything?” I asked.
I haven’t been too optimistic after getting no replies from my first networking event.
And yesterday’s networking event left me even more cynical. It was a free event hosted by the Young Professionals Association here in town. It began well, I met a very friendly lady who was interested in hearing about our business while waiting in line to get into the event. Then from there, my nerves just continued to get rattled. It wasn’t similar to the first networking meeting, where the people talked to you with courteous interest. The young professionals seemed distant as if they didn’t even want to network. Half of them were only there for the free booze. Halfway trying to make conversation with girls, this cynical fury took over. I decided to get things done rather than being intentional (or seeming intentional) to meet people. I decided to ask about their business, tell them about my business, ask if they knew anyone who needed my video production services, then get their card and move on.
At the end of the day I could still call it a success. We handed out all of our cards and had a few interested people.
The morning after, I attended another networking event, but this time the crowd was much different. The people were much older, and warmer. I felt compelled listen to them more and even if they didn’t benefit me, I felt compelled to befriend them.
It’s interesting to compare the two: the older group that I’ve enjoyed more networking with, and had more quality conversations with, and the younger group that I’ve made more connections with in quantity.