Jan 30, 2009

We need more action!

If there's one thing I really dislike then it's not walking your talk. I feel down when I'm not meeting my own words and I lose interest when other people don't reflect their words with their actions.

How often have you had a conversation where all sides know exactly what's the RIGHT way to do things, so the whole onversation becomes quickly just repeating: "Yeah, I know that." "Yes, exactly." etc.

No learning for any side, but far too often the smart words are just a nice cover up for inaction. Knowing something doesn't automatically mean that you know how to implement it -- and implementation is the part where things get exciting and often more complex when you thought.

Living in an age of information there's just too much theory lying around, so I think one of the most important skills to learn is to know how to simplify your life. And honestly quite often life gets easier once you start trying out the things you already know -- too much theory without any action might get you confused, but action gets you busy. So as long as you're choosing smartly what to get busy with you're bound to have much more clarity.

Without underestimating the importance of reflection and meditation I honestly think that there can be no innovation, creativity, satisfaction, clear goals and life purpose without proper action.

Here's a peak into the learning expert Maru's opinion about learning (unfortunately in Estonian, but funny anyway:):

Jan 29, 2009

I Want You To Want Me

I want you to want me -- is an absolutely beautiful video about what people are looking for in online dating databases, presented in a most fascinating way.

What are the most important things that people want to say about them in their dating profiles? What do they want? Who they are?

This art project presents some of the common traits of all humans in an almost touching way -- while also presenting quite an astonishing peak into a future possibilities of data representation.

I truly enjoyed!

Jan 20, 2009

Everyone is creating their own reality

I don't like wasting time. In fact -- most of the meetings make me impatient. Most of the small talk makes me bored. I love working and getting things done. I feel I'm failing when I don't know how to do something and it slows me down -- so I get even more determined to get it done. I don't like tasks that don't have a point -- or at least I don't know what it is. And to be successful I need to know what's the big picture.

I use the same logic when raising Maru -- I also don't like when Maru wastes my time. I want him to learn to make proposals instead of wining. I want him to be responsible for his own stuff so I don't have to worry about it.

I might be sometimes seem a bit harsh, but I think it'll pay off in the end of the day -- everybody has more free time and everybody is free to arrange their life however pleases them more.

Today we had an agreement with Maru -- when we get home from work he can go swimming, but later he'll organize his drawer. Agreed. Before he started to work I told him to organize the drawer however he wants' because he's now 5 years old and knows better how he likes his things to be orgnized.

Result -- in fact, quite surprising. It took him 5 minutes to clean the drawer, no complaining at all and things were arranged in a totally new system. I had taught him the classical system for the last 3 years -- put pants, shirts, socks etc together.

What he did? Well, in less than 5 min he replaced the whole system with a new one. When I went to check the final result he produly introduced me: "So here are all the red things, here are blue ones, here are green ones and here I put yellow and orange."

Wow! I had to swallow my first reaction to recommend him to change this and that, comes so automatically to go back to status quo, doesn't it? But I truly think that empowering people around you -- including your kids, friends, co-workers etc is the way to happiness.

I really don't want to worry about things that other people should and want to worry about.

Why you are the best coach for yourself

Why is it so freaking important to know who you are?

Well, quite simply put -- because others know even less about you. So there's no way they are going to be better than YOU in guiding you in your way.

You can learn tons from other people, you can be mentored, coached, consulted and educated, but nobody knows better what you really need and want.

So don't rely on other people, take full responsibility of where you are and where you're going.

However most probably once you really start to stretch yourself you'll meet some obstacles that make achieving a bit more tricky than you thought. Theory is nice, but heroes are born in practice (or that's what I think at least).

Here are a few principles that have been guiding me through times when the challenge takes me near my current limits.

1) Always have a vision of where you're going

This helps you to get through the tough times. Truth is - life is always not easy, sometimes it totally puts you down, you don't get the right words at the right time from the people around you and you might start doubting yourself. Your vision keeps you on the right track and short-lived events fade out quickly.

2) Don't take critics personally, even if it gets personal

When things get hard I usually tell myself: "Well, actually everybody wants me to succeed." This little thought puts my focus back in the right place and I start taking support out of even the toughest critics. So keep your emotions for your lover and use the critics as a positive energy.

3) Act as if

If you screw up -- you screw up, what to do. Don't let your head fall as a result. Say you're sorry and move on. If someone looks at you as if you're failing -- look at your vision and act as if you'd be that person already. Always, always, always act as the best in you, doesn't matter what's the current reality. Doesn't matter if your co-workers, boss, mother or teamleader have discovered your unique talents -- you know what you've got and sooner or later you're going to shine.

4) Don't daydream, focus on getting things done

All that positive self talk is good, but it doesn't mean much if you don't bring results. There's no better kick than the feeling of succeeding -- and you get it quite easily by achieving those things that you planned for this day. Yep, this day -- your life is made out of those, so a day means much more than a year. So you need to be getting the small shots of adrenalin from little successes, this is the base of a deep rooted self confidence.

When I feel I'm lacking focus I usually go swimming -- and swim until I see nothing more than the small spot on the other side of the pool. Once I get my mind so focused that I have only one thought -- that spot -- I know I can be the same the next day in the office, only this time my spot is my to-do list.

5) Keep moving

The bottom line really is -- you know the best what is good for you. So move towards it, don't get distracted from setbacks and never ever lose your belief that you're going to succeed big time. I mean -- if this is what you want and you work for that, magic happens. But nobody else can believe in yourself instead of you.

PS: I got my official working permit in Malaysia, so I'm now once again an honest citizen and a tax payer.

Jan 15, 2009

Life takes you to places you want to go

It's 5 PM in Malaysia today, I'm walking down the street to pick up my kid from the kindergarten. Normal day - passing the shops, ignoring the whistling of local workers, enjoy the sunshine and feel with every cell: "Today is my lucky day (if I was a horse even my hooves would be smiling - W-I-D-E)!"

Life is such an adventure that you don't even need Malaysia to make your head spin (though I admit - it does add some extra spice to everything).

Here comes 2009, already turning out exactly the way I wanted it to -- and yet making me watching it coming with my jaw dropped open in surprise.

Today was the first official meeting of project Gifted - short as hell and yet leaving me with a overwhelming excitement about the coming year. Project Gifted is actually a new sister-company of MindValley, started by MindValley founders Mike-Vishen and a third mastermind - Melissa, my soon-to-be direct boss from US, amazing entrepreneur and mother of 2 girls.

It's thoroughly dedicated to ensure that future generations wouldn't lose their genius abilities such as natural curiosity, creativity, intuition and many other things that get lost in the system (yeah, I know, I've cursed the education system many times before, won't start here again). We're starting with a documentary together with Gary Goldstein and are already hiring new people to grow fast in 2009 into a leading internet business in our field.

And the whole thing starts right now, in January, a few months after I was hired to MindValley. What would be the odds? As a single mother crazy about human development, learning and education I couldn't imagine a better place for me.

So until April when MindValley moves to the new office I'm sharing my time between Gifted and MindValley and after this stay working with a small team in the current MindValley office. My role reminds me pretty much the things I was doing as MCP in AIESEC Estonia, with the difference it's focused on education, it's based in an unknown country and the membership is OUT THERE in internet.

So it is - life takes you to places where you want to go, ready or not:)

Revisiting my main professional goal for 2009 - it's simply to become one hell of an internet marketer focused specifically on education.

Yeah, I'm just awed today, so reporting about the details of my work a bit later.

Why It Was a Lucky Day Today for My Future Boyfriend

I got tricked today into giving out 400 ringgit (around 85 EURO) from my pocket -- which was terribly empty already before this act beyond all explanations.

Before you pity me or lose your faith in my ability to manage my finances take a few minutes to read what happened -- and you'll most probably learn a good deal about closing your sales on a rather marketing-resistant well-educated crowd like me.

Hold your breath, I'm about the say something that I've been waiting myself to say in the past 2, ok - 4 YEARS!

Here goes:


(Haha, what did you expect? After 4 years in AIESEC it's a HUGE step for me -- love the organization, but I never had time or money to really do workout)

So I gave out the money and I had no intention of doing it today.

And here goes the 6-step magical sales formula that you can use in your own business - whatever that would be - proved to work on an absolutely broke fresh graduate who loves picking up marketing strategies before they get her off guard.

1. Build a desire - offer a free sample

A gorgeous looking oh-so-popular dance class trainer makes an innocent comment in the end of a fabulous training: "Guys, love making the dance classes with you, but the more people, the more fun. Grab a friend of yours and get her to my dancing class. Don't worry, she doesn't have to pay, just say downstairs you're to Luciano's class and everything's cool."

So, I get an invitation from my roommate - let's go dancing, no charges, great crowd!

2. Get personal

When I arrived to the gym, I had a nice lady greeting me and arranging a meeting after the workout.

Sure I'd meet the lady, I had got the freaking free training -- would be rude to say no, right? And anyway I knew I wouldn't sign up before my next payday.

3. Make it look formal

Don't just sit down with a potential costumer, grab a formal looking form to fill - write down the name, birthday, sex - anything. Seeing this data appearing on the paper works like magic - you feel committed without having a clue why and to what.

4. Freak them out with the price -- and then send to heaven with a special offer

Now use the same form you just filled with the name and other irrelevant data -- to draw the price on it. Yeah, make it visual - this much for registration, this much for one month, this for prepayment and this for whatever comes to your mind. As long as the end-results makes your costumer wanna run away screaming: "IIIIIIKKKK!" you're on the right track.

AND THEN - come out with your special offer. "Just today we have a special offer. It's almost over and tomorrow we're back to our normal price. You don't have to pay the registration fee, the monthly fee is 1/4 smaller for you etc etc - sooooo (oh, I know what's coming!!) - you only have to pay this price if you decide TODAY."

PS: Scarcity makes your costumer WANNA - right now!

5. Make them feel special

It's no surprise that you don't carry around money nor credit cards after it's dark in KL (the naivety of freshly arrived Estonians is kicked out early enough by everyday robbers on the night street ;). So sure you don't assume the money is gonna come now - but the offer ends today. Wiish, what to do now?

Well, you get the costumer feeling special by going to the management and asking if the costumer could pay the next day. Not important if the management is an imaginary creature with a magic stick or a real-time workaholic sitting in the office after 11 PM -- works just fine in both cases.

Just make sure your costumer is busy in filling in the the contract while you're talking with the VIP on the cloud....

6. Get commitment - any kind of commitment is good

So contract signed, but no money on the table. Not good, how do you know your costumer walks back the other day with cash in their pocket?

Easy - make them commit with something so small almost not worth mentioning. In my case - deposit a small amount of money, MYR 10 (2 EURO) is absolutely fine. Who wants to lose their money for nothing? Not a broke me, believe me -- as well as most of the people, rich or poor.

SALES MADE AND DEAL CLOSED! Brilliant, 10 points for Celebrity Fitness and the lovely innocent looking Chinese girl!

But wait, there's something more about it. I have to correct myself - I wasn't actually tricked into anything and the sales was made even before me or the Chinese girl knew about it.

It's something that the kick-ass internet marketing maniac Frank Kern calls "effortless influencing" -- talking from your core identity to the buyer core identity. I assume the fine-looking lady had a thing with fitness - and I had a deeply rooted decision to get my healthy lifestyle something so routine not even worth mentioning.

I have 3 bigger goals for 2009, one of them is to help the gorgeous looking babe hiding under my skin to come out in the daylight, haha. Ok, forget about the wording, but I will be in my top-shape by the end of this year.

Not so hard to sell me a sign-up for gym, don't you think? That's why it's so important to know your market and hit the thought on top of their brains - they'll fall for you, head over heels, savaging the bank doors if that's needed to get what they REALLY want deep down.

On a personal note - my dear future boyfriend, today is your lucky today, Marjam just got signed up for the gym!

Jan 10, 2009

My kid beats me in learning -- big time

I think that most people how no clue how to learn. Honestly - when it comes to mastering new techniques and adapting changes, they -- well, suck. So they come up with lot of nice excuses to make their incompetence socially acceptable.

"I know that already." (in many cases - yeah, right...)
"I don't know how to do that." (and so...?)
"I've never been good at this." (time for a change, maybe?)
"I don't have any talent for this." (talent? khmm...)

Seems that the school system taught us to learn mainly for teacher or the grade -- and we're so deeply in that habit of thinking that we can't let go even when we're free to do so.

But the world doesn't wait. As long as you bury your energy into hiding your incompetence you'll never catch up. Someone who learns quicker will always eat the cream and you'll always have a nagging sound in the back side of your brain: "You're not really good enough."

Heck - you are. You're awesome! Just look at the countless surveys made by your capabilities to learn and you'll be stunned - Burt Goldman is one of our partners in MindValley who made it from an amateur photographer to the photography hall of fame in 6 months. And he's over 80! Another survey proved that the brain is capable of changing and evolving throughout the life.

It's just something I quickly picked from the webpage I'm currently managing, but there's so much more. The bottom line is - there are no excuses in not learning new things with ease. You can, no doubt about it.

As I'm fortunate enough to share this part of my life with the Grandmaster of learning - my 5-year old son - I'm learning so much about LEARNING almost every day. Kids don't question if they can or not - if they like it they do it.

When I look at my 5-year old Maru I'm just fascinated by the way he learns -- and how easily I can screw up his natural learning process. You see - kids are like sponges, they naturally suck in the information, without over analyzing it. They learn what they like and they master with a super-speed.

It's amazing actually. Maru learned how to swim in less than a week.

A WEEK! How many grown ups you know who can't swim? Why, I ask? Are they less competent than a 5-year old kid? Nope, there's something else going on.

So looking into the way how kids learn you can boost up your own learning process - because after all we're all humans and though we lost much of our abilities in the school system we can reverse the process with some conscious practicing.

So I'm learning tons from Maru. Want to know how he picked up the swimming skill so fast?

Here's what happened. We arrived to Malaysia and though Maru loved water he had no clue how to swim. Seriously - he was splashing around in kids pool, loving it, but never making a serious effort to swim. In fact he didn't want to practice or the even remove the swimming west -- he actually resisted my attempts to teach him. If you want to know - sometimes I was internally pissed off -- I wanted to teach him, but he DIDN'T WANT TO LEARN.

This assumption is 100% WRONG.

Kids love learning. What really happened was that I didn't BELIEVE that he could swim. I assumed he needs teaching -- and of course I had my own understanding of how the process should look like.

The truth is that people don't need to be taught. They want to learn. It's kind of as assuming that they already know everything they need to know and all you need to do is to support the process.

So once I discovered my own dangerous assumption I changed it immediately: "He loves swimming. All I need to do is support his curiosity."

Now here's the most powerful conclusion I made -- and I guess this is the main reason why Maru started to swim that quickly.

Here it is, simple as hell - learning is based on curiosity.

Once something interests you - woohooo, you have just discovered your 5* highway to the mastery! Go with your natural interest, let go of the expectations of how you SHOULD learn it - and believe it or not, but you start improving with unbelievable speed.

So once I didn't teach him anymore, but just helped him to do what he enjoyed - the progress was visible in hours. No time expectations, no understanding how quickly everything should happen - just being there to support the process - floating around in the big pool with my arms supporting him, just having fun and encouraging him to challenge himself more.

Now once you know that curiosity boosts your learning, there are only a few simple things to remember to speed up your own learning:

1. Notice your interests
2. Feed your interest with the right activities
3. Enjoy the progress

Th same applies for coaching and raising kids - the natural curiosity is the best indicator of the greatest growth. Just feed it -- and you've hit the gold mine.

I think for basics that's more than a good start. Seriously - if you would know how much this simple conclusion has helped me to stay focused while working in MindValley you'd be amazed. Noticing your interests and letting them flow is the single most truth about succeeding I've picked up.

Jan 9, 2009

I'm Reading Your Mind

You know when you sometimes say something else what you really meant to say? Example call your friend with someone else name or just drop a out-of-the-context word in the middle of the sentence.

Then of course you quickly correct yourself and seemingly it was just a slip of your tongue, a stupid mistake, nothing more.

Well, a friend of mine introduced me to an interesting concept of a Freudian slip. This simply means that people never say anything accidentally or out of the blue -- there's always some subconscious thinking process going on in the background, so what we say just reflects what we're really thinking about.

Is this true? Who knows, but once you start thinking about it -- you soon start noticing some pretty interesting stuff going on.

A colleague of mine sent yesterday an SMS to her friend who's been trying to pick her up some time. A casual SMS to a good friend saying: "How have you been?"

Well, that's what is was supposed to say. In reality she sent over some spicy stuff saying: "How hard you been?" Freud wouldn't have too much of a trouble explaining this one :)