Someone Is Always Watching

It’s likely not the first time you’ve heard the expression, “act like someone is watching… because someone always is” – or something of the sort.

I think it’s a damn good philosophy to follow even if it’s not necessarily true. There’s not a single person watching me write this right now, but I act as if there is.

I work as if a group of friends and influencers are behind me watching me, seeking inspiration, watching to learn how to do things the best way, not the short way.

Deep down, we all have a group of people who follow us around in our minds influencing what we do, so, in a sense, someone is always watching what you do, but who that someone is is of grand importance.

Is it all the critics who have said you’re not good enough? Is it the family member who said to settle instead of risk it for what you really wanted? Or is it the teacher who said you were going places? Or the parent who will support you no matter what you choose to do?


Stay Positive & You Choose Who Watches

The Voices In Our Heads

Are not the ones we want to let do the handwork, the grunt work, the creative work for us.

Caring a lot about doing good work doesn’t mean you need to listen to the voices in your head critiquing your work, constantly whispering that it could be better, that you might as well give up because you won’t get it perfect, and it should be perfect.

Real creative work – the valuable stuff – comes from shunning the voices in your head and speaking as a human, just putting yourself out there.

You may not create something remarkable on your first shot, but it gives you a better place to work from than if you think too much about it (and people who think too much are really saying they’re talking with the voices in their end, trying to reason with them, and there simply is no reasoning with the lizard brain).

We have 60 seconds before the lizard brain speaks up when we’re faced with a decision to purchase a product or not. I’ve noticed the same time frame when pitching on the phone and writing creative posts for clients.

60 seconds before we begin to lose our human touch and the lizard brain takes over.

Follow your heart when purchasing. Don’t think about all the scenarios that can happen once you dial the phone, just pick it up and go. And most importantly, write right away. You can always return the product, give someone else a call, and revise your writing.

The point is to start and speak from the heart, not the head.


Stay Positive & Don’t Let The Voices In Your Head Stop You

6 Lessons From Contagious (Why Things Catch On)

1) The moment you start paying people to share or putting a monetary value to them, then they’ll never do it for free again. Many managers rely on monetary incentives or prizes for good work ethic and behavior. Not only is it costly, but as soon as you do it, people won’t continue the behavior for anything less. Instead, focus on social currency. That’s why promotions and cool new titles work better than a pay raise in terms of employee satisfaction.

2) Social currency can be accomplished in three ways. First, sharing something amazing. Snapple facts are remarkable, as in, worth remarking to others about. Second, turn it into a game. Metrics that show people where they are in comparison to others (think Insurance provider rates and frequent flier miles) gives them status, which they’re happy to talk about. Third, make people feel like insiders by giving them something that’s scarce like Cadbury is or exclusive like a speakeasy.

3) Accessible thoughts lead to action. Music you play in a bar can sway people to order more French wine (if French music is playing) or German wine (if German music is playing). Essentially, we have to leverage triggers, but I’ve noticed when we’re so focused on making something out of this world, we forget about making it also top of mind.

4) For as much as I bash the lizard brain and encourage you to ignore the little voice inside your head saying you’re not good enough, any marketer can use the lizard brain to their advantage in a good way. Quite plainly, people share articles, stories, products that get the lizard brain going (excitement, amusement, anger, anxiety, etc,.). The sad insurance Superbowl ads didn’t get shared as much because sadness doesn’t spark the lizard brain.

5) Interesting, surprising and novel doesn’t lead to more buzz than average, uninteresting, and “meh” products because the latter is often ongoing and the former is more immediate.

6)If promoted, telling others helps us celebrate. If fired, telling others helps us vent. Sharing emotions helps us connect.

Book by Jonah Berger. Worth the read.


Stay Positive & Marketing Is About Spreading Love

Bottled Up

You can’t be moved by a presentation a week after as passionately as you could be moved the evening of. Inspiration can’t be bottled and saved up for later. Motivation is also addictive for this reason.

We love the feeling of creative potential, of assertive ambition, of being fueled with passion, but the moment the creative spark ignites, so does the lizard brain tricking us to wait until a better moment, to use our knowledge on our next project, not the one we’re currently working on.

Since we don’t recognize it’s the lizard brain speaking up, we feel bad a week later when we’re reminded about the seminar we went to and how we haven’t put to action anything we learned from it. I recall myself saying how ready and stoked I was to write my next novel after a 2-day writing conference. I never did. So what’s the best solution?

Go to another conference, watch another Ted talk, listen to another podcast episode because the energy makes us happy again, which leads to an addictive mentality, a downhill spiral of bottled up and wasted inspiration.

What has helped me prevent wasting creative energy is to remind myself I don’t need to create something huge or wait for something big to release the passion. Immediately after attending a second writing conference, I wrote an incomplete story. I spent about 20 minutes writing while I ate lunch.

Two things happened.

One, I learned inspiration is quickly spent. The creative juice waned after 15 minutes of writing, but when I first put pen to paper, I thought I was pumped up enough to write for hours.

Two, I was proud of myself later in the day and even a week later when I thought back to the conference and how I used the inspiration. Even though it was a short incomplete story about an irish boxer who had a fascination with things colored orange, I had conquered my lizard brain.

Don’t bottle up your inspiration. Don’t hang on to motivation. Put it to use, make something, write something, do something differently, and remember, it doesn’t have to be big, it just has to be.


Stay Positive & You’ll Often Come Out Even More Inspired (by yourself!)

Be Remarkable: Shun The Naysayers & Your Lizard Brain

Be Remarkable: Shun The Naysayers & Your Lizard Brain

I tell my team I only want to hear how we can make an idea work. I don’t want to hear all the issues of why it won’t work UNLESS they provide a solution to it that makes the work more remarkable.

Otherwise we push through, we ship, and if it fails, then we figure out why it didn’t work.

Shun The Naysayer, Be Remarkable

More often than not, your lizard brain will speak up with bogus reasons why an idea won’t work, miniscule excuses to quit, to not create, to not ship. “Not everyone will like it,” “they’re not willing to pay that much,” “they already have B that does Y, they don’t need C to do Y too.”

Unless your gut says it’s a bad idea, then your lizard brain is merely shooting shit, unworthy reasons to not take the risk, the leap, and by extension, not do the work that matters.

When fear is shouting at you to stop moving forward, it’s worth reminding yourself something that might not work, might also go viral.

Work that might not appeal to 1,000 people, might impact 10 people who become your new tribe for your next venture.

The book that might not get downloaded a million times, might get downloaded by your future business partner.

Amanda Palmer’s record label said it was a failure her record only sold 25,000 copies. Yet, when she ran her Kickstarter, just over 25,000 backers gave her more than $1.1 million to create something remarkable again.

It’s only when we listen to the lizard brain and the naysayers; only when we don’t push on and ship our ideas, that we truly lose.

Move forward and ship something. If it doesn’t work. Follow Neil Gaimon’s advice: make better art.


Stay Positive & You’ll Be Surprised At How Often Your Lizard Brain Is Wrong

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Competition, So What

I’ve been in the financial aid world for a few years now. Even when I started my undergrad, I had a knack for figuring out everything it took to go through college debt free. What I learned from studying scholarships and grants can easily be applied to public relation strategies and web based tests, applications, contests, etc,.

Maximizing your probability for success in those tests, applications, contests, etc,. boils down to research done by Stephen Garcia and Avishalom Tor. Quite plainly the study shows that there is more motivation to work hard and complete something when there is fewer people being competed against.

The study aimed to help strategists and teachers maximize their student’s potential. I’m writing now to express my belief that the study is better interpreted as a mindset to acquire when you’re doing anything that is competitive.*

Most of the time when you’re competing your lizard brain is going to speak up and tell you that it’s not worth it because you have too little of a chance and you’re just risking humiliation and you’ll feel let down and it’s just a waste of time. But when you convince yourself that there is little competition, there’s little to lose and efforts don’t go wasted.

Your mind is going to play games, anyway. Might as well make them in your favor.


Stay Positive & Don’t Forget Your Fiercest Competitor Is Yourself

Garth E. Beyer

*My original idea behind this was that it benefits you to always tell yourself that there are a few number of people applying for a job that you want. While writing, I realized how relatable this mindset can be to anything competitive. Apply the mindset to what you see fit.

The Lizard Brain, Again?


Yes, because it never really goes away. The lizard brain is everywhere, but the best time to catch it is right at the beginning. The beginning of a project, anyway. Why? So that when it comes knocking again (it always will), you will be ready to dance with it.

Daily I meet people who have things they want to do, dreams, wishes, goals, but don’t start. They are waiting for the right moment, they are waiting for more experience (when starting is the experience they are waiting for), they are waiting to get picked, they are waiting to meet and learn from this person or be referred by that person, they are waiting until the weather is better, or they have more contacts.

They say excuses are endless and reasons are few, but I’m not saying these are excuses. They are very valid reasons. Convincing. Logical. It just makes sense to wait.

What no one focuses on are all the reasons to not wait. This is how you begin to challenge the lizard brain.

The earlier you start the further ahead you are to others. Everyone else is letting their lizard brain win. The experience you want is actually the experience you will get from trying, whether you end up failing or not. The best way to get picked is to pick yourself. The greatest referral you will ever get is the one from someone who never saw you coming. The right moment is now.

It’s not about working your way up a ladder, it’s about doing what you love. And to do that, you have to acknowledge the lizard brain. After that, the rest handles itself.


Stay Positive & Come On Now, Let’s See What You Got

Garth E. Beyer

This post was inspired by someone who is truly going places. Start now.

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