Why resistance to change is such a big deal

You don’t meet someone and immediately tell them they need to be friends with you.  The same way you don’t do that, you don’t tell someone who you just connected with on social that they need your services.  There is no logic behind such an approach, yet a number of professionals and businesses do that.

As an online marketer I ask myself where they got the idea that this type of approach is effective.  I also, wonder, if they even care or maybe are they just starting as a business or consultant?

It’s interesting how the online world has made it so easy for people to connect and build relationships no matter where they are, yet businesses treat it like traditional marketing.  By traditional marketing, I mean one-way messaging, where users can’t engage with your magazine advertisement or radio ad.  So the next question that arises is if they are having that hard of a time adapting to change.

Transitioning away from a technical talk on marketing and moving towards a human characteristic area, I’ve asked people before questions about change.  More specifically, once I actually formulated my question with the implication of people having a hard time adapting to change or basically, resisting change.

Interestingly enough, the people who engaged with the social media post (it was in my LinkedIn group) said that people welcome change and look for change.  I don’t think that’s untrue, but I’ve seen time and time again, resistance to change a lot more often than the embracing of change.  This behavior comes through in indirect ways, one of which, the example of someone who hasn’t even gotten to know me yet, telling me I need their service or product.  Someone who is looking online about how to go about with their online marketing activities, and who has either A) stumbled across marketers’ sites who are giving this advice or B) who are taking on online marketing by using traditional marketing as their basis.

If people were so apt to change, this type of approach would not be so recurring.  I get at least 10 DMs on Twitter a day that are from businesses and professionals I’ve never interacted with, who sell to me without even using a personalized approach.  But, getting back to humans and change.  Why is change so difficult to embrace?

Well, when we look at different studies on human behavior we find a repeat talk around perspective, around a certain peripheral view.  Humans can see clearly what they’ve experienced and what they hold to be true in life.  It isn’t easy to step out of one’s own person, to be objective and nullify subjective reactions/opinions or at least be aware of them.  Without this characteristic it is no wonder that people aren’t really listening and aren’t really open to new or different ways.

If you can only see what you see as true, then how can you really see what’s in front of you?  You can’t.  So if online marketing specifies that building relationships is key, it won’t be something that a person will really hear.  They will hear marketing and connect that to what they’ve known of marketing up till that point.  Furthermore, anything that is new or different will seem scary, maybe even threatening.  Just look at some of the reactions to Pokémon GO.  A lot of people are criticizing it because they have a set viewpoint on augmented reality or these types of games and don’t see the bigger picture, which is the transformation of how people are interacting, communicating, and absorbing information.

We can resist change all we want, but change happens and transforms.  Thought leaders ride the waves of change, which is why they tend to be leaders.  Those who resist, will eventually learn new patterns of behavior and adapt; for that is what human beings do to survive at one point or another, they adapt.  But it would be much more of a beautiful experience if people were able to step outside their shell and see what that change is for what it is, so for example, that online marketing is not one-way push marketing or that Pokémon GO is not a silly game that only teenagers play.

Change happens and the key is to 1) recognize who you are and what you believe in, 2) step outside of your own judgement and look at something from a neutral standpoint so that you can grasp its true essence, and 3) realize that this is what is going to be, it doesn’t mean you have to like it or do it or believe in it; but it is where society is heading.

It always comes down to awareness and choices.  You, we, are all masters of ourselves and have the capacity to step outside who we are for a minute, so that we may embrace what’s in front of us to be able and fully empathize with it, understand it from its core, and then move on.  We don’t have to make it a part of us, but we should at the very least, look at it with the absence of judgement on our end.  A skewed view, gives a skewed result; and when change is happening, yet you taint it with your own perspective, you really aren’t seeing what’s going on.

 

What do you think about resistance and change?  And how do you handle change?  How do you feel about it?

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What’s so scary about leading with your own voice

What’s so scary about leading with your own voice

As an observer of human behavior in different circumstances, from in person to person interactions, business related events, to social media interaction; I’ve noticed a repeat pattern: the need for many to find their voice through others.

These others are typically industry leaders, whether successful business owners or professionals in a specific field of interest of the individual in question.  But another interesting observation is that of the industry leaders themselves too.  They don’t necessarily look to others for their voice, but have the tendency to connect with those industry leaders who are helping individuals find their voice.

It’s an interesting dynamic because essentially each individual has their own special voice, their unique talent; yet before feeling confident enough to let it out and share it with the world they look to others for guidance.  But not just any guidance, like the how and what from A to Z.

The world can seem scary and everyone starts from scratch with sharing what they are meant to bring into this world, but the question that comes to my mind is why importance isn’t given to their own voice from the start.  What makes each of us who we are is truly valuable and at least a part of the people who are looking to others for guidance have had a supportive family that has probably told them to believe in themselves and always speak their mind.

Side note: I specify supportive family because that is where the filter of how we see ourselves and the world stems from.  If family is not supportive, it only makes sense that a person feels their voice is not worthy.  At least, not until someone shows them otherwise.  However, with a supportive family, the filter of ourselves starts with value of our own voice, meaning individuals should be leading with their own voice from the start.  Or so one would think.

So why is it that before reaching the point of finally giving themselves the credit they deserve they look for steps one to 10 to maybe, hopefully, gain that awareness of their own value (of their own voice’s value)?

Well, after reading numerous psychology and sociology books on the topic (besides personal and professional observations), I gather that it is just very scary for someone to take that leap without validation.  This validation usually comes from external sources, then consequently it becomes internalized.  And for those leaders who connect with leaders who impart their knowledge to help others grow, it is because what is alike attracts.  It is because they see value in that relationship and because they resonate with those leaders.

But is there a way for people to find their own voice without tainting it with the voice of others?  I believe so.  It isn’t easy, but it isn’t impossible; and thanks to the online world, it’s becoming more and more obvious to individuals that they are just as special and talented as the next industry leader.

Some will argue that in order to be of value or be meaningful, a person needs to create something that is concrete.  To me, this is pure BS.  In the sense that, the person’s existence in itself is concrete.  Their everyday actions are their impact on the world.  Even if that impact extends to a small group of people, that small group impacts another small group, and another small group, and all those small groups form a much, much bigger group.

This means that starting today, if you want, (yes, you, because you are reading this, which means you’re interested in using your own voice to share things with the world), you can simply choose to acknowledge your “specialness/uniqueness” and not follow industry leaders to gain a voice, but rather follow industry leaders to connect with peers and people you want to build relationships with, that you may want to brainstorm ideas with or build upon the ideas they are sharing.

You don’t need an A to Z blueprint on how to make an impact with your voice or how to define your voice; you being alive and doing what you do makes a bigger impact than you’ll ever realize; that is, until you finally bring this knowledge to the forefront.  You don’t need anybody’s approval to share your story, to make a product, to build a business, or make a difference.  You only need your heart to tell you why you know this is who you are, why you feel compelled to share something with your own voice.  You want to build a support system with people that make you aware from day one that you are valuable as is, and that adding to your own value is what will amplify who you are and what you share with the world, but that you are no less without those additions.

I would also add that anyone who is a true leader is building peer to peer relationships, they are sharing with others in every blog post, article, or speaking engagement; that each individual should be using their voice and their ideas to make an impact.  That they don’t need them, the leader, to make them good; but that they just need to start sharing their ideas in their own voice.  As Euripides says, “The wisest men follow their own direction.”

We are each wise when we listen to our hearts, when we follow our hearts through our actions, and when we give value to our hearts.  If your intent is to share value, to help others, to make the world a better place with a business, invention, idea; that’s all you need to be on the right path.  Just use your heart to find your voice and build a support system of peers with those leaders you value and resonate with; but do not let them choose or dictate your voice.

You do not need to be taught how to speak what is true to your heart, to your person; you just need to believe in yourself! ~ FNM

 

What is your experience in using your own voice from the start?  And what has been your observations when it comes to others leading with their own voice instead of the opposite?

When businesses really care about building relationships or the opposite

When businesses really care about building relationships or the opposite

It’s safe to say that people engage in relationships with people they resonate with or have a good feeling about.  For those who have relationships with people that don’t make them feel good or that they don’t like is another topic in itself; but self-worth and gaining something from the relationship are two thoughts that come to mind.

As for fulfilling relationships, it’s not that people look for people with their same opinion, even though maybe some do, it’s more about feeling understood and that the person or people you spend your time with can relate to you, and each enjoys the other’s company.  The same idea goes for building relationships with brands on social media.

People like to do business with people, not businesses.  The reason people keep coming back to do business with companies is based on how the company makes them feel, how they are treated as a customer, and of course yes, the need for the product and/or service the company is offering.  There are some exceptions to the rule, but they are few and far, and usually there’s more to these brands than just a product or service (Simon Sinek’s TED talk, Start With Why, points to what this ‘more’ is).

I don’t want to get into the technical intricacies of marketing, business and social media strategy; rather, this post aims to share what I’ve noticed and experienced throughout the years as an online marketing professional between genuine and authentic relationship building versus the opposite.

PS I’d love to hear what your experience has been and what you think; so please, please do leave a comment (when you have a minute :)).

What I’ve encountered is a lot of unauthentic relationship building efforts by marketers and businesses alike (even though usually, it’s the marketers who are handling the social channels, but the business also agrees or disagrees to what is happening so the two are making the decisions).

It’s not that marketers and businesses don’t care about building relationships with consumers and their online community, but the intent behind the action is basically, sales and consumption of their product or service, or even ego is in there sometimes, becoming the next rock star.  Of course, a business needs money to stay in business and professionals need to grow their reputation and status to build trust; we all get it.  And yes, these businesses and professionals are also offering value, they are helping to fill a gap, a need; which is great.  However, the fact that these brands claim loudly how much they cherish building relationships, but then through their efforts it becomes very clear that their main objective is something else hits a nerve.  I’m looking for your thoughts because sometimes I wonder who else is picking up on this (or is it just me because I’m in the industry).

The need to grow a business or a name isn’t something I don’t understand, but I’m a firm believer that if you create something to help and assist others then you will thrive.  If you care about the people you’re trying to help, you don’t need to sell to them because your product and/or service was catered specifically for them and their needs.  Caring, for real, about connecting with your customers, not as consumers, but as people you want to relate to, you want to have conversations with, you want to continue helping, you want to get to know; having those components in your social media strategy, and not metrics on how many clicks or followers or sales you’ve made, are genuine intent in building relationships.

If a business is that good at what they’re offering, they can’t fail because the market has a need for them.  It’s that simple!  So, when I see an industry “leader” or brand claiming to care about building relationships, but doing the opposite; it totally turns me away from them.

A perfect example thanks to the personalized aspect of the social app is Snapchat; where there are a great number of brands and professionals snapping away without any interest whatsoever in consuming other people’s content, but rather just creating their own content and adding people (or not adding them), just so that they can be seen and heard.

It feels as if they actually think they can fool me and others; but more than that, it makes me know they don’t care about me.  With this being the case, I will want to engage with them when I need their product or service, but not to build a relationship.  Furthermore, if another brand or professional offered the same product or service they are offering, but with the added bonus of genuinely caring about building a relationship with me, you bet I won’t think twice about switching to that brand or professional as my go to person or company for the product or service I need.

For me, genuinely caring is what will lead to success.  It leads to loyalty and affection for a brand, it leads to feeling like your opinion matters, it leads to feeling like you can count on the business or professional in moments of need, it leads to a life-long relationship; which in turn leads to business growth.  It shouldn’t be about numbers, it should be about people, after all, that’s who businesses are servicing.

There are plenty of businesses with this mindset as well, just doesn’t seem as many as the opposite sometimes.  Not to mention the fact that the biggest differentiator between traditional and online marketing is the two-way conversation (the pull, not push component).  Maybe it’s just too hard for brands and marketers to move away from the traditional way of doing things or maybe they just don’t care.  As consumers become more and more empowered in the decision making process of what they buy, businesses will have to rethink their ways or perish.  Even for those customers who may complain a lot, good for them; good that they can voice that and possibly get brands to act upon it and improve their offering, as well as customer relationship behavior.

Looking forward to your experience and thoughts on the topic!

Dealing with the unforeseen and unexpected events of life

Dealing with the unforeseen and unexpected events of life

Unforeseen events are a part of life.  Some people have an easy time dealing with them, while others have a tough time with them, and then there are others who fall in between, who are trying to make it easier for themselves to handle the unexpected.

The primary challenge with anything unexpected is precisely that, the unforeseeable part.  Even if you remove expectations from your mindset, the number of different scenarios that can play out in a specific situation or in dealing with a person are endless.  It isn’t that we can’t predict or read situations or people, but what can happen in life, the circumstances that can take place, are limitless.

The component that causes a reaction in these unforeseen situations is surprise.

The best comparison that comes to mind is a surprise birthday party or someone who walks into a room and you don’t hear them, and when they approach you, you’re startled.

No matter how well you try to prepare for what life throws your way, a curve ball will always come your way, and that initial reaction can include perplexity, anger, disappointment, sadness, and other similar emotions to a surprise or startled body-mind reaction.  Whether the emotion is nice or not so nice depends on the situation and on us as individuals.

At the end of the day our perception and how we want to live our life can bring us to leave things as they are or try to transform situations so that they lead to growth or so that the impact is not in the negative.

For those who have an easier time dealing with the unexpected, they have already chosen to be proactive and positive in life.  They want for themselves to face life head on, with love and stamina in their heart.  For those who have a harder time, it comes down to two choices, accepting life as is and being fine with their thought process and ways or (2nd choice) trying to transform their reaction by taking the opportunity to attempt a different reaction each time they are faced with the unexpected.  The in between people are already working at transformation, and each person has their own way to try and transform their internal reactions to the unexpected so that they may use what just happened in a productive and positive way for themselves and in their life.

Personally, I’ve found helpful to ponder why I’m reacting a certain way to the unforeseen event.  I also ask myself what’s the problem, what am I holding on to and/or what am I judging, and how can I make what just happened ok to me.  I also look at how I can grow from the situation and persevere on my chosen path.

At first this was not something easy at all.  It was very hard not to be angry when someone used me or tricked me or when the plans I had made got ruined because of something I could not change (did not have any control over).  As I slowly took the time to remove myself from each of these situations, calm myself, and look for the lesson I could learn, for what I could take away to grow internally and to change my feelings with these types of situations, it got easier and easier to reduce the time of the “negative” reaction and instead put myself in a position where I immediately look for my growth opportunity in the challenge I’m being faced with through what just happened.

Hopefully sharing this exercise can help you through your unexpected events; but also…

I would love to hear about how you react to disruption, the unexpected?  Also, what do you do when disruption happens? What do you think about unforeseen circumstances? And are you looking to transform how your initial reaction?

What’s the deal with lack of authenticity by business owners and marketers

What’s the deal with lack of authenticity by business owners and marketers

Authenticity, we all talk about it or at least there’s a lot of chatter on the topic within the online marketing and entrepreneurial space, but I wonder the different interpretations and reactions there are around it.  The question arises from the fact that the world is a very subjective place, and rightly so.

Each of us sees the world from our eyes, we each have feelings and reactions attached to things that happen, to a type of behavior, and so on and so forth.  Yes, there are groups of this type of thinking, which is why friendships form and relationships move forth.  We associate and spend time with people who we can have seamless communication with, which means they get us and us them.  It doesn’t mean we have the same opinions, but somewhere in that relationship there’s a mutual understanding of what each person is expressing.

Humans gravitate to that which resonates with them in some shape or form.  This brings me back to our main topic: authenticity.  I’ve been mentioning Snapchat a lot lately, and it’s because it’s an awesome platform that really allows you to have great conversations with people and get to know them through their snap stories.  It is a true relationship building social media platform.

As it’s grown in popularity with business owners and marketers, strategies and ads are starting to appear; but even before this I noticed something.  Let me make a pre-note before I continue:

  • The people I follow, I follow because I am interested in building relationships with them and I want to hear what they have to share. So, I watch every snap story I can with the time at my disposal; but lately with some of them I’ve noticed myself tuning out.  I talked about this with a friend (a friend I made on Snapchat, yes 🙂 and PS if you’re looking for fitness tips and some great motivation you should definitely follow him) and our chat made me think a bit more about this reaction of mine.
  • I asked myself why am I tuning out, what’s going on? My answer, after a couple days of thought on the situation was unauthentic versus authentic.

I don’t know about you, but it seems relatively easy to pick up on authentic versus scripted to me.  For me, it starts with this gut feeling and then finding myself not really listening to what I’m watching.  At first I thought that maybe it was my judgement, something about how I communicate that triggered a closed off response; but then it dawned on me that it’s because I feel that the person I’m listening to isn’t really sharing their life or stories or advice with me, they’re selling me on something.  There’s this veiled façade of genuine with behind it a script (whether it’s an intent of getting me to do something or believe something or buy into something).

This realization doesn’t make me want to steer away from listening to what these individuals have to say, but it does make me ask another question…why is it so hard to be authentic for business owners and marketers.  I focus on this group because they are the ones I see day in and day out online with their scripted snaps, tweets, Facebook posts, etc.; and I wonder how do consumers or viewers do it?  How do they sit through the messages?  Is it just me?

As a person who is branding online, I’ve gone through the struggle of marketing while being genuine.  Every time I’ve tried to think of how to integrate what marketers or business owners say works, I just twitch.  If I share something that has an end game (so to speak), that is not purely genuine to my person and heart, it just doesn’t feel right.  My solution has been to just be me, it’s what keeps me going and it’s what feels right.  At the end of the day, it’s the relationships we build that make our lives beautiful; and for business growth, I firmly believe that as long as you want to help others and offer value everything will work out.

So, I ask you, what are your thoughts on authenticity versus unauthentic and how do you react to unauthentic messages?  How do you identify them and what do you do as a consequence?

What real self-confidence looks like and what it doesn’t look like

What real self-confidence looks like and what it doesn’t look like

There’s a big difference between a true sense of security and one that only appears to be so.  Even though sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference, due to subtle indicators that aren’t visible from the outside.

There’s at least two reasons I can think of that make this topic something important to explore.  One is for one’s personal growth and the other is for when you’re dealing with others.  The key determining factor of confidence is not requiring proof.  What I mean is that if someone is confident in their idea or whatever it is they’re taking on in life, they won’t feel the need to prove it to themselves or others.  If there’s even a minimal need of this, then confidence might be around the corner, but it hasn’t fully taken place just yet.

When we look at the definition of confidence, three of them are:

  • The feeling or belief that one can rely on someone or something; firm trust.
  • The state of feeling certain about the truth of something.
  • A feeling of self-assurance arising from one’s appreciation of one’s own abilities or qualities.

The way confidence is defined makes it pretty clear that there is no need of proof.  You know (you feel and/or believe) whatever the decision or whoever the person you’re bestowing confidence upon is a sure thing.  I would go a step further and add that even if it’s confidence in uncertainty, it’s still confidence because it’s rendering uncertainty a sure thing.

So when it comes to yourself, if you notice a need for approval or confirmation of being on the right track (with a decision or your thought process on a subject), you may want to explore why you feel this need.  Through questions and thought on the need for approval you can arrive at the reason for your uncertainty or lack of confidence on the matter and in turn, you can find answers or get the confirmation you need to move towards confidence.

If it’s confidence when dealing with others, what I’m talking about here (for the purpose of this blog post) is confidence portrayed in a boastful, arrogant and conceited way.  Confidence at its purest form, at least in the way I’ve experienced it and seen it, is authentic (it feels super genuine, like it’s a part of that person).  It usually comes across as a person who is expressing in their body language, tone and choice of words certainty, affirmation in regards to their belief with no signs of belittlement towards others.  When I’ve seen it in its arrogant form (so to speak), it is quite different.

When someone acts with confidence, but isn’t; it comes across as a competitive dialogue or as a person who is talking in a way that expresses superiority (where they are superior to me or to those they’re talking to or about).  This type of confidence when encountered can tell you an entirely different story about the person you’re dealing with and that story is that this person is super insecure.

Their confidence is merely a façade that gives them a false sense of security (and superiority, if I may add) that is a clear sign of them needing confirmation from the external (validation) that they are good at what they do or are doing the right things. When dealing with these types of individuals, it is quite hard to empathize or be nice to them, and think nicely or at least neutrally about them.  The reason is the belittlement component.  No one likes to be talked down to.  With awareness of this though, one can know that when dealing with someone who shows signs of arrogant confidence they are most likely quite insecure.  Their need to feel superior, which is shown through their behavior and how they talk, is a representation of this.

The next time you see someone who expresses themselves with an arrogant confidence, just remember that they are probably suffering with many doubts and insecurities.

 

How do you identify true confidence?

Your own decisions and accepting the consequences

There are always so many topics I’d like to write about at once, there’s always so much to share and talk about when it comes to the human condition.  Today’s topic of choice is making your own decisions, and accepting the consequences of those decisions.  I want to stress the choice of word “own” next to decisions because that’s quite an intricate topic if you ask me, and when associated with something that’s put into practice, like a decision, it becomes even more multifaceted.

Although the word (own) seems pretty straight forward, when you look beneath the layers of human behavior someone can say it, but not put it into practice.  Let me expand on this.

Most of us, if not all of us, will say and believe that we have made those decisions on our own, through our own thinking and possibly our gut feeling.  For starters, since the day any of us are born we are raised by individuals who teach us thought process, who teach us ownership, who teach us about our societal structure and teach us how to become part of that structure.  Until a certain age, we might not even question what we think, it is just something we do.  Slowly, we learn about consequences and decision making.  Now, let’s put it in the context of the topic at hand (because essentially, this analysis alone could go on forever).

The portion of those individuals that say this and talk about the events that come from their decisions (the consequences) in a positive or proactive way are the ones who did make those decisions on their own.  On their own, meaning they really felt in tune with the decision, since they’re not expressing regret or complaints about the events that followed.

On the other hand, those individuals who always seem to have something to complain about with what comes following their decisions or who always express regret for the consequences might want to take a second look at the idea that they think they’re making their own decisions.

If you really believe in something, you typically feel in tune with it and what follows.  Even if it brings about a mistake, believing in your choice will drive you to continue pursuing it, to find ways to get around the problem, not stop at the first obstacle.  It’s innate for humans to go after the things that feel right or good.  It’s innate for humans to move away from the opposite.

So, if a person is consistently making decision after decision, without being happy about the outcome, then the decision is most likely not their own from within, but rather their “own” from without.  From without meaning that possibly someone they admire or something they read indicated to them that this was the decision to make or possibly it’s what they believe is the way (the right decision) since it’s all they know.

Essentially, unhappiness with the consequences of decisions give us the opportunity to explore ourselves from within and really find out what is our own decision.

How do you recognize true ownership of decisions?