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✏️ ON MY MIND
Hitting the Sweet Spot: The Surprising Connection Between Alignment and Success 🏀
I’ll never forget the day I hit a game-winning shot on the basketball court.
I was 14 years old and played in a local Saturday league. Our team had made it to the finals for that season, and we were two points down with less than a minute until the end of regulation.
As I stepped up to take the shot, everything clicked. My focus was sharp, my body relaxed, and my movements fluid and precise. At that moment, I blocked out all external noise, took a deep breath, visualized the ball’s trajectory and felt unwavering confidence surging through me.
I released the ball, and it sailed through the air, culminating in a satisfying SWISH! The feeling of being in alignment with the hoop was exhilarating.
But basketball isn’t just about individual success. I realized that our team’s alignment was just as crucial.
I would not have had the chance to take that shot if we hadn’t supported one another all season, communicated effectively, and worked together towards a common goal: winning the championship. Each of us brought unique skills and talents, and our success was built on trust, collaboration, and shared determination.
This sense of alignment extends to my life outside of sports, especially in business.
Last week I shared the following observation with my buddy George Samuels (who helped me gain clarity with a ChatGPT-powered personal brand strategy session two months ago):
By sharing my passion and expertise online, I’ve attracted like-minded people who resonate with my energy and message. This has led to paid opportunities.
Last month someone I’ve known for years, and consider a great friend, approached me after seeing my content online. They recognized our shared values and wanted me to support them in growing their business. This was a perfect opportunity for us to collaborate, learn from one another, and thrive together.
After some initial timing challenges we met up for a coffee in Sydney, and that led to them hiring me as their fractional CMO for an 18-month engagement. (I posted an announcement on Linkedin last week)
So, alignment is critical whether you’re shooting hoops or aiming for success.
Here are four actionable tips to help you find your perfect alignment:
Reflect on your values: Identify your core beliefs and principles. Aligning your actions with your values will create a sense of purpose and fulfilment, making connecting with others who share your vision easier.Cultivate self-awareness: Understand your strengths and weaknesses, and be honest about what you bring to the table. Knowing yourself will help you build authentic relationships and collaborate effectively with others.Foster open communication: Actively listen and engage in meaningful conversations with others personally and professionally. Open communication helps build trust and creates a supportive environment where everyone can thrive.Share your passions and interests regularly online: Post regular social media, blog, podcast or newsletter updates. You don’t need to be the expert, but you do need to show what you’re working on (or studying). Post your experiments, and give people a behind-the-scenes look at your work in progress. The biggest mistake I see people making is waiting for the final, perfect, and polished thing. As Gary Vee teaches, “Document, Don’t Create“. You never know who’s reading/watching your stuff.
By focusing on alignment, individually and as a team, you’ll be well on your way to achieving your goals and making a lasting impact in all areas of your life.
(This newsletter was drafted with the help of GPT-3.5 and edited by yours truly.)
🔨🧰 MARKETING TIP
👍 3 THINGS THAT CAUGHT MY ATTENTION
1/ Read: 71 Pieces of Advice from Successful Freelancers by Rounded.
I’m sharing this for a few reasons:
It’s a fantastic example of how to create a content cluster, with the goal of aiming to rank on Page 1 of Google for a specific keyword. (If you’re new to content clusters, listen to SEO expert Gert Mellak explain how they work in this podcast interview)The quality of how the content is being presented visually and structurally.Having helped Bean Ninjas put together a 2020 eCommerce Recession Impact Report, I can appreciate the content creator’s effort in contacting prospective contributors, collating all their tips and photos, and organizing the content. This isn’t something that you can rush in one day.
2/ Watch: Giannis Antetokounmpo’s thoughts on failure
Giannis’ NBA basketball team, the Milwaukee Bucks, were the #1 team this past regular season. They were expected to go all the way and win their second championship in three years (they won the 2021 championship, returning glory to the city of Milwaukee 50 years after their original 1971 championship).
After posting the NBA’s best record in the 2022-23 season, the Bucks’ run comes to a shocking end after being eliminated 4-1 by the 8-seed Heat in the opening round of the NBA Playoffs.
During their post-game interview, a reporter asked Giannis, “Do you consider the Bucks’ season a failure?”.
His passionate and thoughtful reply was a breath of fresh air in a sport and league that measures everything in terms of wins and losses.
3/ Read: Start Finishing by Michelle Varghoose
I SO resonate with this.
I, too, have had my (un)fair share of piling on too many projects and getting frustrated that nothing ever seems to finish. I’ve gotten better at prioritising work that brings in the moolah and parking all my other nice-to-haves.
I can’t say it’s a bulletproof system just yet, but I’ve come a long way and have fewer days of feeling like I’m running around like a headless chicken.
💸 WEALTH BUILDING TIP
Here’s an interesting strategy for getting yourself a pay rise, courtesy of Scott Pape (author of Barefoot Investor). He calls it ‘Career Compounding’.
Question: do you know what the biggest mistake most people make when it comes to getting a payrise?
Answer: They don’t actually ask for it. Instead they come up with excuses like:
“Maybe my boss will notice if I put my head down and keep working around the clock”
Maybe, but it’s unlikely. Though it will definitely lead to you picking up the slack for your lazy co-workers, who sit on Facebook all day or waste company time arranging their honeymoon.
“I’ve done my job, as per my position description, so I’m entitled to a pay rise”
Actually, no you’re not. All you did was what you were employed to do. It means you held up your end of the bargain. That means you’re entitled to be paid what you signed on for. You don’t get promotions and above-average pay rises when you do your job — you get them when you go above and beyond to become a linchpin for your boss.
“I don’t know how to negotiate … I feel awkward”
Seriously, 90 per cent of the negotiation is done before you sit down with your boss. In fact, it’s done over the preceding 12 months. And if you follow my five-step Career Compounding strategy, the only awkward thing will be how much your boss gushes in the performance review.
Introducing: Career Compounding
Did you know that, on average, you’ll spend 90,000 hours of your life working.That’s a huge chunk of your precious time on earth — add in sleeping, your daily commute, and sitting on the can, and there’s not much time left over. You’ll actually spend more time at work than you do with your family and friends.
And here’s the killer: odds are you are totally unfulfilled with what you’re doing at work.
According to a Gallup poll in 2011, almost two-thirds of Aussie workers consider themselves to be ‘emotionally detached’ from their employer. That results in them turning up, punching the clock, and doing the bare minimum to keep their job.
The solution is to stop being passive. If you’re going to devote 90,000 hours of your life, you want to make it pay — you want to Compound Your Career.
Step 1 — Commit to being the best employee in your company
The simplest way to become a multimillionaire is to commit to being the best at what you do. Very few people you work with have ever made that commitment. Those who do, get paid a disproportionate amount of money. Do you think a CEO works 200 times harder than a regular worker? Of course they don’t. And trust me, they’re sure as hell not 200 times smarter either. They’re just committed.
Step 2 — Make a list
Take out your position description, but this time look at it from your boss’s point of view. How does your job make her life easier? How does it contribute to your company? Most jobs can be boiled down to three fundamental tasks. Write them down. Then set yourself an ambitious goal for each task that you’ll have to stretch to achieve over the next 12 months. Write them down too.
Step 3 — Arrange a meeting with your boss (no emoticons)
Present to your boss your list of prioritised tasks, and your goals — and genuinely ask her for feedback.
You’re not doing this to be a brown-noser. You’re going to devote the next 12 months of your working life to this, so you want to be crystal clear that you and your boss are on the same page. Once you’re both in agreement, ask her if you can have a follow-up meeting every eight weeks or so to track your progress.Take notes on whatever she says, and for godsakes, smile.
Step 4 — Put your goals into your calendar for a daily reminder
You now have your ambitious 12 month goals. The key to progress is doing a little bit on them every day, and tracking your progress. You’ll be surprised how much you can get done by hitting your goals for an hour a day, rather than bitching about the boss.
Step 5 — Follow up with your boss
Never talk about money, or promotions, in these meetings.
Always talk about what extra you could do to help your boss. What can you do to make her life easier?
The bottom line is this: you want to frame it in your boss’s mind that you’re hungry, but humble. Be grateful for the opportunity to take on more responsibility. Then show her the daily progress you’re making towards your goals. So that’s your 12-month Career Compounding Plan.
Now my original suggestion was that this could earn you a 5 per cent raise. But if you actually do these five steps, I think you’d probably get a 10 per cent raise.
Stop for a minute and think about what a difference that could make to your life.
Then shut down Facebook
.And do it.
Tread Your Own Path!
(Source: How to Score a $1.6 Million Pay Rise)
Introducing “Value Velocity” (for entrepreneurs)
If you read the above and thought, “but wait Anf, I run my own business. How can I apply this strategy to my situation?”
Here are some ways that someone running a one-person business can tweak the 5 steps outlined in Scott Pape’s Career Compounding strategy to increase their revenue every year:
Step 1 – Commit to being the best at what you do and what makes you different
As a one-person business, you are already committed to being the best at what you do. Focus on your niche and specialize in a specific area to take this step further. This will help you become an expert in your field and stand out. People will typically pay more for specialists than for generalists.
Step 2 – Make a list of high-profit services:
Instead of focusing on tasks that make your boss’s life easier, make a list of services or products that are most profitable for your business. Identify your most profitable offerings and prioritize them in your marketing and sales efforts.
Step 3 – Arrange a meeting with yourself:
Schedule regular check-ins with yourself to track your progress and evaluate your goals.
Instead of seeking feedback from a boss, review your analytics, sales, market trends, and customer feedback to understand what’s working and what’s not.
Use this information to make data-driven decisions about how to optimize your offerings and grow your revenue.
Step 4 – Put your goals into your calendar and review regularly (daily and weekly):
Use your calendar to set consistent work hours and establish a routine that helps you achieve your goals. Block off time for marketing, sales, and client work, and stick to it.
This will help you stay focused and avoid distractions that can prevent you from meeting your income targets.
Step 5 – Follow up with your clients:
Instead of simply delivering services, focus on building long-term relationships with your clients by becoming their strategic advisor and partner. Follow up regularly with your clients to see how your offerings are helping them grow their business, and let them know when you’ve identified new opportunities.
That could be bigger (more expensive) problems you could help solve and ways to improve their current business.
To give you a real example – Over the past seven years, I naturally transitioned from being a content writer to content marketer and now a fractional Chief Marketing Officer (CMO).
(By the way, if you’ve done something similar with your own business, let me know. I’d love to include other examples of folks who have been able to increase their income by increasing the value of their services in upcoming newsletters)
🐦 COOL SOCIALS THIS WEEK
One simple practice can transform your life:
But it can quickly become boring, repetitive, & uninspired.
So I developed a journaling method that keeps the practice 100x more fun, captivating, & impactful.
I call it “quest journaling.”
Here’s how it works:
— Justin C Scott (@iamjustincscott)
Apr 28, 2023
🔧 TOOL OF THE WEEK
Whether you’re a business owner, freelancer, marketer, professional content writer, or copywriter there’s a lot of marketing work to do, and usually not enough time in the day.
You have to write blog posts, social media posts, emails, and ads that will drive traffic and sales, but you don’t want to spend hours writing content.
Jasper AI uses artificial intelligence to generate thousands of unique pieces of high-quality content for your business. Content that is engaging, interesting, valuable, and gets results.
Anyone can use the software – no technical skills are required at all. It also works with any niche or industry; just choose the topics you’re interested in, and it’ll take care of everything else. And best of all? No more writer’s block!
So why would you use Jasper when you could use ChatGPT for free (or lower cost)?
Let’s address this because if you’ve been using ChatGPT then it’s a valid question.
Now I’ve been playing with ChatGPT, and I gotta say, I still find myself going back to Jasper to write high-quality articles.
Jasper is designed to take a lot of the headache out of “prompt engineering.” If you know what that term is, you likely are comfortable with ChatGPT and see it as a useful tool. If you are not comfortable with that term, you likely need help getting the most out of AI, which is where Jasper excels.Jasper rarely gives “we’re currently processing too many requests” downtime-related errors (unlike the free version of ChatGPT).
Ready to give it a whirl for yourself?
Btw, want to see the tool in action? Here’s a video that I recorded on Using Jasper AI to write a long-form blog post in less than 30 mins.
🤔 PARTING THOUGHTS
C & I are in Ho Chi Minh City (leaving by bus to Bao Loc tonight, where we’ll hang out for a few days). We’ve been finding new cafes to escape the scorching 35-degree-celsius heat.
Saw this written on the wall inside The Simple Café (my new fave cafe here):
PS. – Did you get value from this newsletter? If yes, then please:
Forward it to someone else who might find it useful too.Consider supporting my work and becoming a paid subscriber.Reply and tell me what you liked about today’s newsletter, and/or ask a question that I can answer in a future newsletter (I’m always looking for ways to help my readers and topics to explore).
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