Evolving Success - Animated
A Necessity for Progress and Success: The Manifesto
I believe that to succeed with your blog and your life, you must center yourself on a written version of the core values that mindfully drive you - a manifesto. This has been my theme of late because it changed my life and can better yours as well.
But, the challenge requires a lust for change and improvement, a commitment to take actions that work toward change, and a well written and thought out manifesto. You use the manifesto to keep you on track, measure your evolution toward success, and provide a motivation to succeed.
Bonsai as a metaphor for discovering design and vision
About 3 years ago, I moved into an older home, with the rough bush above. My bush was actually in bad shape, with large areas of disease and decay.
I had almost decided to rip the damn thing out, but standing there, looking at the bush on a cold, rainy day, I glimpsed beauty deep within is structure.
I developed an obsession for the challenge, wondering if I could succeed in a task that I was not trained or prepared for.
Reality gives glimpses of potential order and success
You live in chaos. Everyday you try to order and design the world to make a safe space for yourself. With the mayhem in modern life, imposing order is no easy task. Yet, you fight hard to make each day the best. You seek perfection, and you work your ass off doing it.
You can attain the perfection you seek, but only if you clearly define and understand what you are searching for. There is no universal standard of success, and what pleases you offends another. You carve your unique design of success.
But, you must do so consciously, in writing, and then chisel away at it. Michelangelo, genius creator of Pieta and David, said that "Every block of stone has a statue inside it and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it.”
What environment leads best to creativity?
As an awesome writer and communicator, you are curious about the world and thrive in a creative environment, am I right? You typically think of an innovative atmosphere as being free from constraints, boundaries, and rules. But, you are wrong.
The most powerful creativity comes from innovative ideas guided and constrained by rules and boundaries.
You may not have considered the necessity of boundaries, but your positive qualities can trap you in inefficient routines time sucking diversions. To be productive and meet your writing goals, you must monitor how you spend your time, stay focused, and have a specific goal or objective in mind.
The subtle traps of curiosity and learning
A month ago, I wrote the "Advanced Blogger's Guide: How Jump Start a Kicking Personal Brand,” and the research sparked my interest in the psychological effects of design on readers. When you visit and read websites, unconscious visual cues affect the way you feel about the site and content. Brands manipulate your natural visual response to create a strong, intimate connection with the audience.
The power of visual and responsive design entranced me, and I continued my research with vague plans to write a few more pieces on the psychology of vision. I failed to establish clear boundaries and objectives for my research, and I ended up feeling, after the experience, that my return to blogging was like returning home after wandering through the wilderness.
Consider what makes Google's Brand so powerful.
Why the marketing universe revolves around brands?
Do you think of yourself as a brand? Sounds demeaning, in a way doesn't it? A brand makes you sound like a thing. Like you're a Walmart, McDonald’s, or Google.
But these corporate giants make the real money, and they do it by building a brand story made of words and images that have a powerful impact on consumers.
However, if you are self-employed, a pro blogger, author, or freelancer, you must also consider your identity as a brand to market your products and services effectively. The only way to effectively market a brand is telling your story. In case you’re wondering, most individuals and small business are not very effective in this area.
So, creating a strong personal brand sets you apart in the market and plants you in the minds of others. Not only is the image ingrained in minds, if effective, the image or brand becomes a meme (Richard Dawkins' definition) with the potential to go viral.
Personal branding arises from a series of first impressions that build to a recognizable image: personal, negative, positive, or somewhere in between. In essence, the brand becomes like a person. Once consumers feel like they know and trust your brand and why it exists, then you can sell to them.
A consistent, personal, and powerful brand is key to any business success.
You can rise to a higher level of authority and influence as you elevate your brand story, by being social, strategic, and authentic, in your written and visual communication with the public. The first steps seem obvious in their simplicity: "be likable," "be consistent," be memorable." You obviously need to make these moves, but arriving at that the end point is the supreme challenge of marketing. What is your first strategic step?
The wolves target sheep bloggers.
I'll admit that I want to make money blogging. I see myself as a professional writer. Do you too?
I dream of blogging away on my MacBook, sitting on the porch of a forested cabin, the day warm and sunny. Had similar visions? Maybe involving the beach instead?
But, I'll be damned before I become one of the ravenous wolves that feed on bloggers in order to make that lifestyle possible. These wolves drink from the jugular of innocent and insecure bloggers, who only long for a bit of success.
The wolves have become so numerous that they feed upon each other, willing to bleed their own kin to make a buck.
Not sure what I'm talking about? Try a Google search for "blogging" or "writing," and you will see the wolves leap from dark dens to nab you. The list Google returns will be full of wolves, concealing their beady eyes and sharp teeth.
Few websites discuss blogging or writing unless they have essential, expensive products to pitch. Many are motivated to exploit other bloggers and get rich. Try to find a writing or blogging website that has not targeted you specifically to latch onto your money. It's difficult.
This is to be expected, I suppose, because these are businesses after all. But, writers are extremely vulnerable, naively believing anyone who promises a quick route to fame. We have fragile self-esteems and seek validation. Bloggers are easy prey.
Lila Moore has addressed the problem of scams for writers and bloggers:
These days, writers face a range of scams from mildly annoying to lethal. Deadly scams are ones which can destroy your bank account, your credibility, or your ability to profit from your work. Not all of these scams are perpetrated solely by malicious outsiders: some of these scams only work because the authors themselves are complicit and some of these scams are perpetrated by the authors themselves.
If I haven't hooked you yet, then I've failed.
You read this far. I am happy about that. What brought you to this point?
Your answer to this question is significant.
Your experience with my page holds the first keys to keep readers on your page. What comes next?
Dazzle your reader with everything they see and read, to compel them to stick around for the rest of your story. I will share a few tips that will steer you in the right direction. Be sure to download your free bounce rate checklist at the end.
The first thing you noticed was the visual design.
Let's take a quick look at your experience arriving to my site, in chronological order:
Only one to three seconds have passed at this point, but you have either succeeded or failed already. What comes next?
You Believe It, So It Must Be True
Do you believe in miracles?
In the United States, as of 2010, "80% [of the population] believe in miracles." The Oxford Dictionary reveals that most Americans believe in:
a surprising and welcome event that is not explicable by natural or scientific laws and is therefore considered to be the work of a divine agency.
Matt Stopera of Buzzfeed revealed the statistic in his shocking collection of data on what Americans believe.
I am dumbfounded that 80% of Americans today believe that a divine being or force defies natural and scientific laws to mess around here on earth.
Why you love your writing
I usually believe my posts are brilliant when I draft them.
Do you think the same of your writing?
I am not arrogant or delusional, and you aren't either. However, we are thinking wrong.
When it comes to my writing, I lose objectivity and fall in love with my words.
I even try to consciously avoid this love affair.
Admit it. You think everything you write is brilliant too.
This is natural, and love for your words is actually positive. If you thought all your writing sounded stupid, you would lose confidence and quit writing.
Don't let that happen.
Falling in love is a defense mechanism in the case of writing. You avoid crushing your self confidence, essential for an author.
You fall in love with your blog posts because you are a brilliant person, and you should embrace this self identity. Your confidence helps your words to sparkle and motivates productivity.
In reality, however, first drafts suck. Yes, all of them.
They lack precision, cohesion, unity, and brevity. This is normal because when drafting, you put your ideas on the page as quickly as possible, staying in the writing zone, focused.
But speed compromises quality in writing.
Sometimes you fail.
Has this happened to you?
You worked super hard to draft a solid blog post, and in the end you realized it sucked. The writing just didn't turn out as you had envisioned.
You are not alone in your failure.
I am with you, and I'm not just saying this to be kind. The best blog writers fail. Jon Morrow, Brian Clark, Darrin Rouse, Demian Farnsworth, and Seth Godin all write crap now and then. They just don't publish it in that form.
Sometimes failures are simply destined for the trash. But, often your hard work can be saved with a strategic rescue. This effort requires courage because you are coping with flaws and failures, and you are tempted to think that you are stupid.
But you aren't. The current piece of writing may be. But you are an intelligent, strong writer. You can make this work if you are willing to invest in the piece.
Failure is success in progress.
Why not invest a bit more time in the difficult writing you have already accomplished rather than start over?