Starting Out Matters Most

Starting out, even when things aren’t perfect, even when conditions aren’t quite right, is one of the most important of all success strategies. Because, the truth is, that for most endeavors, conditions are never really quite right.

I thought about this success principle as I stood high above the trees looking out on one of the most magnificent vistas imaginable.

The day hadn’t started out suggesting that such a moment might be possible.

Indeed, long before the alarm would go off, I could hear the rain beating against the roof of the motel: a cold, heavy February rain in the White Mountains of northern New Hampshire.

I pulled the blankets up and rolled over in the darkness, sure that it was way too snotty to even consider venturing out.

Two hours later, we sat at the Dunkin Donuts. Our climbing packs were packed; the gear was ready. And the rain continued to pour… just freezing as it hit the surface. Nothing suggested even remotely that it was a good idea to strap on snowshoes or crampons and disappear for a day into a range that routinely and indiscriminately likes to kill its visitors.Screenshot 2014-02-25 17.57.31

A half mile from the trailhead, the rain tapered to a light mist. The temperatures were mild. The wind light. And, before the day was out, the sun poked through the clouds. It was a glorious fun-filled satisfying day on one of my very favorite mountains in the world.

It would have been easy to stay in bed.

Now I am not suggesting that you should be reckless; or act without thinking; or start out unprepared; or not consider contingencies.

But that’s not the challenge that most people face.

Most folks when they’re thinking about starting out on a project – a new career or business, a book, a fitness program, a product launch, a new relationship – want to wait until everything is in place, until conditions are perfect, the set-up ideal. Life is not like that (in case you haven’t noticed). Conditions are never ideal; all of the pieces are never in place.

You’ve gotta start out… and see what happens.

Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.”

Imperfect action is still action; imperfect progress is still progress. And sometimes when you start out – in fact more often than not – conditions turn in your favor. It’s as if the Universe recognizes your boldness and says, “Ah ha, she’s serious;” “Hmm, I guess he means it this time.”

You are rewarded for your audacity, for your courage; and for your faith: Faith in the abundance of a benevolent Universe; faith in the knowing that you will always find the path; faith in the power of your own inner strength.

Brené Brown writes, “Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.” “Be brave with your life,” she says, “so that others can be brave with theirs.”

You have gifts that the world needs desperately. Conditions will never feel ‘right’ to venture out with them.

You need to start anyway.


The handsome Walt HamptonAbout the author:

Walt Hampton is the President and Chief Operating Officer of Book Yourself Solid® Worldwide, an internationally acclaimed motivational speaker, success coach, and bestselling author of “Journeys on the Edge: Living a Life That Matters.”

He delivers high-impact, multimedia keynotes at high schools, on college campuses, at corporate events and at gatherings of professional associations.

To find out more about Walt, click here to visit his website.

How True Visionaries Do Business Development

About two months ago, I started working with the Director of a consulting company in Canada in the healthcare industry.

She contacted me because she grew tired of how she thought she had to do business development and because she knew there had to be another way.

The company did very well but the Owner had lost her passion for her role, which was mostly business development, even though she is brilliant at it.

She fell into the trap of pursuing “more revenue” as her only goal and lost focus of her bigger vision for her industry and the entire human race.

So we started working on bringing that vision back to life, that she knew deep down she had, and integrate it into her business development.

Out of this, everything emerged.

Business Development as a Visionary

We came up with this highly energetic and clear vision about what she saw for the healthcare industry. A world where innovation thrived, where healthcare is a field of prevention and where organizations are tackling the source instead of fixing the problems.

And then, she naturally started to talk about what she saw to the people she met. (more…)

What’s Your Plan?

I train fighter pilots to be the best in the world at what they do.  By the time a pilot graduates from the Basic Course, he’s capable of climbing into a single-seat, single-engine F-16 and employing it anywhere on the planet, any time of day or night, in any kind of weather.  The stakes for the performance of his duties are deadly high.  In addition to his own skin, he’s responsible for the lives of untold numbers of people on the ground below him.  His combat responsibilities require him to make a constant stream of life or death decisions.  

I have about seven months to take this wet-behind-the-ears aviator and turn him into a steely-eyed fighter pilot.  In that relatively short period of time, I have to train him to perform a mind-boggling number of disparate tasks in the airplane.  Of all the skills in which he needs to gain proficiency, the most important one doesn’t involve aiming the gun, launching a missile or dropping a bomb.  The most important skill a fighter pilot needs to perfect is the ability to think for himself.  By that logic, it stands to reason that my most important job as an instructor pilot and as an officer in the Air Force is to ensure that I foster in my student pilots and in the troops who serve under me that skill.   (more…)

How to Write a LinkedIn Pulse Piece & Drive Traffic From It

Driving traffic and potential customers from social media websites is always a challenge. There is so much competition that you have to do something unique — almost every time — to give yourself a solid chance.

Fortunately, there are more ways than you usually think of for driving traffic from social media websites.

When we talk about social media marketing, we mostly think of Facebook and Twitter. However, LinkedIn is another platform that can drive significant traffic.

In February 2014, LinkedIn opened its publishing platform called LinkedIn Pulse. It allows anyone to publish content on LinkedIn which is then shown to many LinkedIn users.

LinkedIn Pulse has great potential, but still so many online businessmen and content marketers do not utilize it properly.

In this post, we discuss how to write a LinkedIn Pulse piece and drive amazing traffic from it.

But before we dive into the nitty gritty details, let’s first take a look at why you should use LinkedIn Pulse.


Why LinkedIn Pulse?

LinkedIn is a platform where individuals and businesses build credibility. It’s a very professional platform — unlike Facebook and Twitter — and can be used to enhance credibility and stamp authority. If a business regularly publishes high-quality content to LinkedIn, it is more likely to appear as an authority in its niche.

  • On LinkedIn Pulse, you can easily publish and leverage shorter articles. Over 70% articles on LinkedIn Pulse contain less than 1000 words. On the other hand, guest-blogging requires long-form content with much more efforts and hardwork.
  • Instant approval is another great advantage of choosing LinkedIn Pulse. In comparison, publishing a blog post on a well-established blog can easily take a few months.

Now let’s discuss a few proven tips and strategies that can help you succeed on LinkedIn Pulse.


1. Pick an Excellent Title

Just like any other online publishing platform, LinkedIn Pulse is also a somewhat crowded space.

It’s true that there are not as many publishers there, but there are still too many pieces of content. The only way to make your post stand out is to craft an excellent and highly interesting title.

Remember that LinkedIn has an algorithm. The more people click on your post to read it, the higher reach your post will get. LinkedIn will start showing your post to a larger number of people. It’s a snowball effect.

And it is the headline that encourages people to click on a post and read it. Craft interesting, intriguing, and highly valuable headlines that can attract more and more people.

Here are a few resources to help you writing the perfect headline for your post:


2. Pick the Right Topic

Headlines matter. However, no matter how good your headline is, it won’t work if you select the wrong topic.

Usually, these are the three types of topics that work best on LinkedIn Pulse:

  • Business development and growth
  • Career
  • Self improvement and personal growth

But if your topic doesn’t fall into any of these niches, don’t worry. There is still plenty of opportunities.

Check out LinkedIn’s Channels. You will find plenty of topics. Ideally, you should try to find a topic that matches one of these channels.

Why is it important?

It’s important because each of those channels contains thousands of subscribers. If your content gets featured on any of these channels, it can garner a lot of attention and exposure.


3. Reverse Engineering

LinkedIn Pulse is still a relatively newer platform. There is still so much online marketers need to understand about it.

We don’t have concrete answers for what works and what doesn’t. So, in such a scenario, one of the best advices is to use the reverse engineering methods to learn from the best.

There are certain publishers on LinkedIn that drive thousands of traffic visitors from LinkedIn Pulse on a regular basis. In their own unique ways, they have identified the perfect formula of making it work.

Read their posts. Visit their profiles. See what they are doing. And learn from it.

  • Notice how they use the platform
  • What types of posts do they write?
  • Which are their highest performing posts? Try identifying the reasons.

Then use that knowledge and apply it. By following tried, tested, and proven methods, you give yourself a much better chance to succeed.


4. Grow Your Followers

Growing followers on LinkedIn is an extremely crucial step that so many content marketers and LinkedIn publishers completely forget about.

Most publishers get views only for featured articles. However, publishers with thousands of followers do not have that problem.

For instance, Bernard Marr is an influencer with nearly 900,000 followers. Even his worst-performing posts get thousands of views.

So focus on growing your followers. It will ensure that almost all your posts will get at least some traction and exposure.


5. Finish With CTAs and Incentives

Here is the most important tip for you.

Whichever post you publish on LinkedIn, always finish it with a specific call-to-action. That call-to-action could be anything:

  • Sharing your post on other social media websites, such as Facebook or Twitter.
  • Following you on LinkedIn.
  • Visiting your website.

It could be anything, but the important part is that you at least include some type of call-to-action. A post without a proper CTA is a total waste.

Furthermore, here is another tip that will serve you very well.

If you are driving traffic to your website, do not simply redirect them to your website’s homepage. You won’t be able to retain them.

Instead drive them to a squeeze page where you can capture their email information and build a long-lasting connection. Moreover, introduce a lead magnet — a free guide, email course, or whitepaper — at the end of your LinkedIn Pulse post to encourage more clicks and visits.

Having an incentive can dramatically increase the number of clicks and, therefore, the total visitors to your website.


Final Words

LinkedIn Pulse has a lot of potential. However, it is being underutilized by most influencers and content marketers.

If you are committed enough, you can make LinkedIn Pulse work. And these 5 tips that we highlighted in this article will definitely help.

Welcome To Pain Island


Here’s the thing. If you’re a coach or a speaker looking to write a book, your readers (a.k.a. potential clients) want to know that you’ve overcome the same challenges that they’re currently facing. They want to know that you’ve had your own on-your-knees moment—that horrible moment when you recognized that something had to change; that you couldn’t go on the way you had been; that the status quo was no longer a viable option.

This horrible moment often represents total failure. It represents pain, Pain Island, as Vrinda Normand likes to call it.

In Elizabeth Gilbert’s memoir, Eat, Pray, Love, we open with Elizabeth in the bathroom on her knees, literally and figuratively. She’s praying to God for an answer to her gut-wrenching dilemma: She doesn’t want to be married anymore, but she can’t seem to justify asking for a divorce. This is the moment that sets her on that famous, cross-continent journey to healing and self-discovery.

It’s a wonderful example of Pain Island.

Pain Island often involves the personal stuff we’d prefer to hide: affairs, eating disorders, heroin addiction, bankruptcy, you catch my drift. And even if the catalyst for change isn’t quite so dramatic, most of us expert types are reluctant to share such experiences, because we don’t like to admit that we haven’t always had our act together.

But the shameful stuff—the cat doo we’d like to hide in the litter box—is actually the stuff that sells. That’s the stuff that bonds your reader to you; that allows them to feel a little less alone in this great, big, complicated world; less judged, more understood.

Think back. What did that on-your-knees-moment look like for you? Where were you? What was going on in your head? What were you feeling? Who was with you? What were you saying? What did you hear, touch, or smell? Place us in that moment with you. Paint us a scene.

By the way, Pain Island is likely the introduction for your book. The beginning point for both you and your reader. This is the beginning of the journey. That kick in the pants that gets you, the hero, moving forward on your quest for a solution.

Remember, every good story begins with pain. Readers want to know what the problem is right away. They don’t want to wade through thirty-nine pages, or chapters, to figure that out. Without a problematic situation, or ten, there’s no story. Game over. The book gets tossed.

Here’s where things can get sticky. If you’re over the age of five, you’ll have lots of on-your-knees moments from which to choose. But the moment I want you to choose must be relevant to the big result you sell.

My Pain Island has little room for that moment my Iranian husband took a second wife. It has everything to do with shoving my memoir in the bottom drawer after having it turned down by a few big-time agents. Of seeing my husband get his book published before me, and garnering all of those kudos. Because the big result I’m selling involves writing and publishing a book.

This is the defining moment, the beginning of your journey towards creating that one big result for yourself. What is that moment for you?


About the author:

annsheybani-300x299Ann Sheybani is the author of How to Eat the Elephant: Build Your Book in Bite-Sized Steps. She received her Masters in Creative Writing from Harvard University. One of our certified Book Yourself Solid® coaches, she’s also a book coach with a sales and marketing bent. She helps speakers and coaches create powerful, client-attracting books.

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