The secret to unlocking your amazing creativity

Would you like to become a creative thinking powerhouse?  If you would, then today’s post may be just what you need!

I used to work with a guy who had a thinking cap.  He said that when he needed to be creative, if he wore his thinking cap, it would help him generate the ideas he needed.

Did it work?  Yes.  Absolutely… for him!

But here’s the thing: If you wore his thinking cap, you may not find it so effective.  Unless you believed all the things he did about that old cap, you’d quickly figure out that it is, in fact, just a normal cap and that he generated all those ideas himself.

Similarly, if you used the same tools as me for generating ideas (coffee, lots of green tea, audio recorders, paper, ink pens and music), you’d be unlikely to get the same creative flow that I get from them.

It’s not platitudes: You truly are unique

You think like no one else who has ever existed.  Your unique mind and all those experiences you have lived through, have created an astonishing, uniquely creativity machine.  If you want to tap into that creativity, do what feels most natural to you.  It may involve a thinking cap.  It may involve using an ink pen and some paper.  However, it’s just as likely to involve meditating or using a mind map or taking a long walk or listening to classical music or getting on an exercise bike or dancing to James Brown!

Sadly, many people wrongly believe that they are not creative, because they followed a creativity strategy from a book or a course, which didn’t work for them.  Ironically, the very fact that generic “how to get creative” bullshit doesn’t work for you, only confirms how original your own mind truly is!

Here’s a suggestion:  Be yourself.  Trust your ability to think creatively.  Then, try 1 new way to inspire your creativity each day.  Rule nothing in or out (and that includes having fun!)  Then, put the ideas that worked together, to build YOUR very own creative toolbox.

Passion and achievement: The undeniable link!

Passion is infectious.

Passion is attractive.

Passion is immediately obvious.

Phoning it in

Of course, the opposite is also true.  We can usually tell very quickly when someone is just phoning it in.  For those who are not familiar with the phrase, to phone it in means, roughly; to do something with little commitment or as if it didn’t matter. We see examples all the time, from the disinterested customer care person who asks how they can help us, to the business owner who thinks that good enough, is good enough.

Working with passion

When you think of anyone, in any area of life, who is achieving something beyond the ordinary, you will see they are doing work they are passionate about.  The amazing Blake Mycoskie is passionate about ensuring that every child has a pair of shoes, so when you buy a pair of shoes from his store, he donates a pair to a child in need.  Steve Jobs is passionate about Apple Inc.  He’s so passionate that he put his health second, so he could remain active within the company for as long as possible.  Remarkable volunteers around the world make a huge difference, giving their time and energy to causes they are passionate about.

The bottom line:  Do work that matters to you and it will matter to other people too.  Life is too valuable and too short, to phone it in.

Bloggers: How to write something interesting every day!


If you would like to learn the secret behind those amazing bloggers, who somehow manage to publish interesting content every day, here it is!

Drum roll please…

They have simply figured out that writing is a lot like talking and that talking is easy.  Everyone says something every day that is interesting, to people in their niche.  Prolific bloggers simply write those thoughts down and publish them.

So, unless people tend to fall asleep when you speak with them about your subject, you already have all the content you need.

Some wonderful ideas never become blog posts

A common example of this can be seen when you look at the great comments on social networks, blogs and forums, from people who seldom update their own blogs.  I get comments here often, where the commenter shares an idea or insight, which is as good (sometimes better) than my original post.  I then check their blog out and find it’s had nothing added to it in weeks or months.  They clearly don’t lack ideas for content, they simply choose not to share them as blog posts.

If people listen with interest when you speak, they will read with interest when you write; especially if you just be yourself.

But first, you need to get your ideas out there and in my experience, blogging is the finest possible way to do that.

So, what’s holding you back?

Your blog and doing it your way!

When it comes to developing this blog, I don’t do a lot.

  • I don’t do guest blogging.  I’ve written just 1 guest blog post; when approached by John Jantsch of Duct Tape Marketing, to help with American Small Business Week.
  • I don’t write a newsletter.  A growing list of thousands of people, already read this blog via email each day.
  • I don’t attend blog conferences.
  • I don’t use auto-responders.
  • I don’t use SEO software.
  • I don’t use landing page software, either.
  • I don’t use special commenting software.  I object to you having to give your details to some Internet start-up, in order for you to leave a comment here.

However, I do a few things too.

  • I show up here regularly and write.
  • I make my own rules.
  • I reply to every comment, where someone directs their comment to me or mentions me.
  • I write useful posts, rather than great posts.  I’d rather be useful, than a smartass!
  • I write independently.
  • I continuously strive to be of as much service to you as possible.

I am not saying that this is the way to develop a successful blog, because IT ISN’T!  It’s just an insight into my approach.

That’s my point!

Be cautious of anyone telling you that their way is the way or that you need to buy their stuff in order to succeed.  Both are factually incorrect.

Here’s a great place to start: Produce useful content and put it where people will see it.

Do you want something better or more of the same?

At some point your business will surely arrive.

The question is; “where?

Look at your progress over the past 12 months and project it forward 12 months.  Unless you have significantly improved your strategy, you can usually expect more of the same.  So, if you are happy with another year just like the last one, stay as you are.  However, if you are still working long hours and seeing little real progress, you need to make a decision.  You need to decide if you want to waste another year of your life making little real progress or if you want something better.

Running a successful business is about growing something of true value.  Successful small business owners work hard and enjoy the rewards.  They enjoy the rewards of living where they want to live.  They enjoy the rewards of working with great clients, who pay them what they are worth.  Most importantly, they earn more than they need; allowing them to build a wall of financial security around their loved ones, which nothing can break.

I see this every day

I work with small business owners every day, who have decided to get serious about the development of their business and income.  We start off by looking at where their business is right now and then, we look at what they want to achieve from their business.  In many cases, they have never previously thought about exactly what they want in financial and lifestyle terms, so I work on this with them. I then work closely with them for a whole year, to get them from where they are to where they want to be.  I can report that after almost 17 years, it’s still enormously rewarding and exciting to help people improve their lives in this way.

Part of my work often involves helping small business owners to rekindle that same excitement, which they felt when they started their business.  Many come to me, after figuring out that they have slowly dropped their lifestyle expectations, to fit the limitations of their under-performing business.  I then work with them to turn that around, so they start to dream again; only this time with a plan of action and the support they need.  By the way: If you would like to find out how I can help you too, simply click here and let me know.

The next 12 months can be an exciting, rewarding  year for you and your business.  For most small business owners, however, it will be a chance to simply relive the same frustrations over again.  You deserve far better than that.

So, make the decision today to get the answers, help and support you need.

What if?

We often tell ourselves that we are open-minded, yet we seldom make significant changes to our routines.  We read the same kind of books, gravitate to people who dress like we do and listen to those with similar political or religious views to our own.

It’s comfortable, but seldom leads to real growth.

It’s easy, but far less inspiring than we deserve.

So, what if?

  • What if you decided not to watch any TV, for the next 7 days?
  • What if you decided to give 100% to every piece of work you do and every interaction you have, for the next 7 days?
  • What if you decided to start your day with gentle exercise, for the next 7 days?
  • What if you decided to write a blog post every day, for the next 7 days?
  • What if you decided to do an act of great kindness for a different person, every day, for the next 7 days?
  • What if you decided to listen to a radio station that plays different music to your usual taste or has different political opinions, every day, for the next 7 days?
  • What if you decided to write a thank you note each day to a different person who has helped or inspired you, for the next 7 days?


How to take your business to the next level

Today’s post is all about how to take your business to the next level.  It starts with a simple exercise.

I want you to imagine something.  I want you to imagine that next year, you only need to generate 10% of your usual income from your business.  Now, while you are imagining that, answer this question and write your answer down in detail:

What would you do differently, if you knew you had the freedom to run your business for a whole year, with almost no pressure to generate income?

Thinking with freedom

Most small businesses reach a plateau or levelling point, beyond which they are unable to grow.  As our thoughts determine our actions, if we fail to think of ways to get our business to the next level, we also fail to take the actions required.

By regularly focusing on how to pay the bills next month, we get the short-term answers consistent with that kind of thinking and take short-term actions.  This starts a cycle that leads, at best, to stagnation!

That simple exercise at the start of this post, can help you identify a uniquely valuable product or service, which can take your business onto a whole new level of achievement and contribution.  It inspires next-level thinking, rather than the fearful thinking that is born from financial worries.

How it worked for me

When I did that exercise for the first time, I went one step further.  Rather than use it as a way to generate an idea, I used it as a way to build the blueprint of what is now my business!  I immediately set about doing work that mattered, rather than work that would pay me in a week or a month.  It changed how I worked forever and has given me the freedom, to help other business owners, do the same as me.

I’m not suggesting you take it as far as I did, though my experience has been 100% positive.  However, at the very least, this simple exercise can be used to uncover progressive, value-driven ideas.

Leadership: A simple yet powerful lesson!

On a visit to The Louvre Museum in Paris, I tested a theory.  It was a simple exercise, to demonstrate the way people will follow what you do, if you are prepared to take the lead.

Here’s what I did.  I grabbed my camera and very visibly, started taking lots of photos of a fire extinguisher, which was hanging on the wall.  It was just a regular, standard issue fire extinguisher.

It must be art

Within seconds, people started looking to see what I was doing.  After a couple of minutes, I counted 9 other people, who had come over to take photos of this uninteresting, fire extinguisher.  These people had used my enthusiasm for photographing it, as a short-cut in their decision making process, to determine that it was art.

Maybe it was art and they just needed someone to point it out to them?

Why this matters to you

The world is full of people, just waiting to focus on YOUR craft.  But first, you need to create your own art and then be willing to stand up and lead them.

This amazing opportunity is staring you in the face!

You have a great opportunity in front of you, right now.  It’s your chance to overcome a major small business challenge and reap the rewards.

  • Here’s the challenge – Google makes it possible for your prospective clients to find someone offering a similar service as you, for 10% less.
  • Here’s the opportunity – If you offer genuinely unique value then you set the fee, not your cheaper competitors.

We each have a choice.  We can focus on attracting fee sensitive clients and struggle to be paid what we are worth – OR – We can rise above the competition and build unique value.

Thankfully, the choice is yours.  This post will help get you started!

This mindset can ruin your business, but only if you let it!

Some business owners seek progress, others seek comfort.  This leads to 2 very different outcomes:

  • The smart business owner seeks progress. They seek the answers they need, from trusted, informed sources and then take the action required.  They do the right things, correctly.  They grow each year, enjoying measurable progress.
  • The struggling business owner seeks comfort.  They seek answers to the wrong questions, usually on the cheap, often from people who are ill-informed.  They then work hard doing the wrong things and relive the same frustrations, over and over again.

Not me, Jim!

The irony?  In my experience, almost everyone who is in that second group refuses to accept it.  They will read that description and see it fit people they know, but not themselves.  They fail to look at their business objectively and blame outside factors for their results.

They blame the economy for their lack of success, even though others in their industry are booming right now.  They blame fee-sensitive prospective clients, without realising THEIR marketing is what attracted them.  They blame the tactics of their competitors.  They blame cheap imports.  In fact, they will blame anything and everything, rather than accept that the success or failure of their business is in their own hands.

In short: Given that we reap what we sow, if we want a better crop we need to sow better seeds.  Blaming others puts you into a failure loop and is unlikely to make you any healthier, happier or wealthier.