There's Almost Always Another Way
travel business lessons
"If opportunity doesn't knock, build a door." -Milton Berle

I just spent a weekend out of town on a girls’ trip for a good friend’s wedding. 

The wedding was in West Palm Beach. The flight from NYC to FL ended up getting delayed on the runway, which meant I missed my connecting flight. Suddenly a pretty short and straightforward trip turned into a bit of an adventure.

I was hoping to make it on time for welcome drinks but was told all the flights were fully booked and there was nothing available for another six hours! Aside from not wanting to hang in an airport all day long, I only had a day and a half to soak up my friends and the wedding festivities, so I really wanted to get in earlier.

Multiple conversations, a few sprints through the airport, three airports, three flights, and chasing a flight attendant to plead my case got me into West Palm Beach in time for those welcome drinks. In fact, I was early!

On the much, much easier flight back home to Manhattan, I thought about what went into getting me to WPB. Truth be told, I’m not sure I would have handled the delays the same way before having a business.

I realized being my own boss has taught me a few things, and there were some parallels and takeaways from this trip that relate to our business success. 

How My Travel Delay Approach Is Also My Business Approach

1. There’s Almost Always Another Way

When my first flight was delayed, I was immediately rebooked onto a much later flight. When I nicely asked if there was an earlier flight, I was given a hard no. 

I said thank you and promptly went to another counter. I again asked nicely, explained my case, and was told no. This time, when I got my ‘no’, I gently said I understood and explained I was willing to be flexible if there was a creative way to get me to my destination earlier. I asked if they wouldn’t mind looking again.

Turned out, when we looked a little closer, there was a flight that wasn’t direct, but would connect and get me there three hours earlier! 

The woman behind the counter explained it left in less than half an hour, there was no guarantee I’d have a seat on either flight, but if I was willing to go for it, I should run, NOW!

I almost hugged her, said 'yes', congratulated myself for being smart enough to wear sneakers, and sprinted to the gate, where my second plea bargain began.

You already know I made it to West Palm, which meant I managed to wrangle myself a seat on both overbooked flights. 

This was a reminder that there’s almost always a way to make something work. It might not look the way we expect it to, we may have to ask a few times, find an alternative solution, and get a little creative, but more often than not, there’s a way to make it happen.

2. Sometimes The Path Looks Different Than How We Envisioned It

I gotta tell you, three airports and as many flights to get from NY to FL was not exactly how I planned to spend my day off. But just like in business, you can make a plan, have the best intentions, execute everything to a T, be prepared, and life will throw you a curveball.

It’s tempting to get fixated on things working out exactly how we have them planned and mapped out. There will almost always be a few obstacles and detours, and it’s our ability to navigate them and pivot that determines whether or not we’ll reach our final destination. 

3. Expect Things To Work Out And Be Persistent

I feel like I should preface that this blog isn’t about being a pain to flight attendants, rather the approach and mindset we can adopt when we want to make something happen, be that our businesses, creative projects, or making it to a good friend’s wedding. 

One mindset that will always serve us is the belief that things will work out, which tends to encourage persistence. 

We have to believe that whatever is thrown our way, we’ll roll with the punches, and things will work out. Then body follows mind and we take action accordingly, in business and in desperate flight attempts. 

(Side note: expectations are a tricky thing and a big topic for another day. I believe holding onto expectations too tightly isn’t the way to go, but believing things will work out influences the actions we take and the results we get.)

In this case, assuming there was a solution and things would work out kept me calmer and also encouraged me to be persistent enough to keep asking until I found a solution. If I hadn’t believed things would work out, I most likely would have stopped with my first rebooking.

More often than not, when we believe and look for a way, we find one. When we don’t believe it’s possible, we miss solutions right under our nose. We get and find what we expect.

Whether you’re trying to make it to a girls’ weekend and wedding to see dear friends or make your business work there are bound to be snags, delays, and unexpected circumstances because, hey, we’re all human and living this thing we call life. It’s all in how we think about those obstacles and approach them that determines if we make it to our final destination.

I hope my travel delays will remind you that there’s always a way to make things work even if it’s not how we originally envisioned it, and there’s massive power in believing things will work out and being persistent.

Wishing you your version of success,

entrepreneur life essons
How To Get Better At Anything - Even Live Streaming
get better at anything
"The key factor separating geniuses from the merely accomplished is not a divine spark. It's not IQ, a generally bad predictor of success, even in realms like chess. Instead, it's deliberate practice. Top performers spend more hours (many more hours) rigorously practicing their craft." - David Brooks

In case you haven’t heard, live streaming video is all the rage in the online marketing world right now.

If you don’t know what I’m talking about, live streaming is essentially turning on a camera on your phone or laptop and going on video in real time for the whole world to see.

It’s a wonderful and terrifying thing all at once, ha. But, truly, it’s a brilliant way to connect with others. 

Going on camera can bring out the sweats. Trust me, I know. I still sweat from time to time when I go live. That being said, I’ve come to love it, sweats and all.

Every once in a while I get a question from someone asking about how to get better at live streaming.  So, I thought I'd address that today. I realized as I was writing, this applies to getting better at pretty much anything. So, let’s improve together, shall we?

How to Get Better at Anything, Even Live Video

You’ve probably already heard it takes ten thousand hours to become an expert at something. Right?

What if I told you that wasn’t exactly the entire truth?

I mean, think about it. If you watched ten thousand hours of tv, does that make you an expert at filmmaking? Or at being a doctor because you watched an actor playing one?

If you talk for a cumulative ten thousand hours in your life, does that make you an expert speaker? Hardly.

If you work out for ten thousand hours are you guaranteed expert, athlete status? Not necessarily.

It takes more than simply putting in the hours. We can all put in mindless, repetitive hours and not necessarily be any better than when we started. It takes a specific kind of focus for ten thousand hours, give or take, to hone in on a skill.

This is a little something dubbed ‘deliberate practice’.

Deliberate practice is the real ten thousand hours and how we excel at anything in life. I know, I know, you were hoping for a sexy secret with pixie dust and ‘deliberate practice’ doesn’t sound anything like that, but I’ll tell you what, it works. 

Angela Duckworth talks about this extensively in Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance and points to studies showing the effectiveness of deliberate practice and says, “Even the most complex and creative of human abilities can be broken down into its component skills, each of which can be practiced, practiced, practiced.”  

What exactly makes up deliberate practice?

Duckworth clarifies that deliberate practice must include the following: A clearly defined stretch goal, full concentration and effort, immediate and informative feedback, repetition with reflection and refinement (from Grit).

Let’s break this down, and I’ll give you a peek behind the scenes on how this plays out in my world.

1. Set a Stretch Goal

In the coaching world, a stretch goal is a goal that's just beyond what you think is possible...you know, a stretch. In Grit and Deliberate Practice Land, a stretch goal is a little different. 

What we’re talking about here, is getting clear on an area you aren’t excelling at and purposely setting a goal around this. It’s essentially focusing on your weakness. It’s setting a goal for what you can’t do or haven’t done well (yet).

In general, I’m all for accentuating the positive and doubling down on what’s working, but when it comes to getting better at anything, this is what deliberate practice is all about.

So, in our case, a stretch goal might be going live on video and delivering a talk for twenty minutes. For someone else, it might be writing funny quips or coming up with compelling headlines. 

To get better at anything, we first have to define what our weakness is.

2. Full Concentration and Effort

This means playing full out and committing one hundred percent. To improve, deliberate practice requires full concentration, focus, and conscious effort. 

How many of us claim we’re working on something when we’re really phoning it in? How many of us are tuned out to our work or just pressing rinse and repeat on what we’ve done in the past?

If we want to improve live video or anything else in our business it requires all of our attention.

3. Immediate and Informative Feedback

I remember when I was still acting, I always dreaded watching myself on camera after we’d finish a take. At the start, I was stubborn and avoided it all together, but I quickly learned, if the opportunity to watch was there, I had to take it because this was invaluable and immediate feedback I could use to improve the next take.

The same goes for anything we’re deliberately practicing. We want to seek feedback right away. We have to put our egos in time out and be receptive to feedback, so we can see our blind spots and adjust accordingly. 

This is a key element to improving and excelling.

A note that this isn’t about judging or beating ourselves up, instead it’s acting like observers or scientists in our lives and looking for feedback. Bonus points for finding someone else to give you outside, constructive feedback. 

Bringing it back to live videos, as painful as it may be, I watch my live streams after I’m finished and take notes to give myself that immediate feedback. I look for ways I could have tightened up my delivery. I watch for ticks. I also notice what I’ve done in terms of filming, lighting, and background, so I can improve the next time around.

Whether you’re looking to get better at live streaming or anything else, find ways to get or give yourself feedback ASAP.

4. The 3 Rs: Repeat, Reflect, and Refine

This is gold. It’s not enough to deliberately practice once or twice, it’s about continuing to go after stretch goals, focusing and taking effortful, action, getting feedback, and taking a moment to reflect and understand what that feedback means.

How can you refine your efforts? What can you do differently?

After you have an answer, this is where the magic happens, you then repeat the process. You keep repeating the cycle until you’ve mastered your goal. Then, you choose a new one!

That’s the true secret to getting better at live streaming or anything else. You can’t buy it. You can’t manifest it. You have to do it. One messy attempt at a time.

As Duckworth says, “great performers in every domain improve through deliberate practice….hidden behind every effortless performance on YouTube are hours and hours of unrecorded, invisible to the outside, challenging, effortful, mistake-ridden practice.”

Which is kind of beautiful because it’s an equalizer. I promise you this, if you keep showing up and practicing deliberately you WILL get better, even at live video.

That’s my not-so-secret answer to you for how you can get better at just about anything in life, even live video.

Wishing you your version of success!

deliberate practice

P.S. Have you experienced the benefits of deliberate practice? Let me know in the comments below!

How to Come Up With Content Ideas When You're Feeling Stuck {Plus a FREE Guide}
content ideas
"Inspiration is for amateurs - the rest of us just show up and get to work." - Chuck Close

Ever sit down to write a piece of content, say a blog post, Instagram post, or video outline and feel like you’ve got nothing?

Click here to get instant access

A few days ago, it may have felt like you had 8,432 ideas swirling around, but now that it’s time to put pen to paper, nothing seems quite right. You’re drawing a blank. Everything suuuucks.

Or maybe you’re worried you’ll run out of ideas? That this will be the last good idea you’ll ever have (I know that thought has crept into my mind more than once).

As someone who creates a fair amount of content, I’d be lying if I said I never drew a blank. 

Turns out creativity doesn’t come on tap and it’s not something we can buy, but when our work or business relies on it, we can’t always wait until inspiration hits either.

I’ve got a few tricks up my sleeve for those times when the Idea Well is dry. I wanted to share a few of them with you today, in case you ever get hit with the what-am-I-supposed-to-write-now demons. 

Turns out I had more ideas than I thought, so I’m sharing a three with you below, but if you want the full shebang, I put the rest into an easy to access and use free guide for you!

 

Click here to get instant access to The Ultimate Content Idea Generator!

By the way, these are all things I do, not just a laundry list of ideas to fill up a blog post, so they’re tried, tested, and approved! Let me know which one you like the best!

(Rather watch and listen? Click below to join me in a Facebook Live!)

 

 

How to Come Up With Content Ideas When You're Stuck

1. Start an Ideas Journal and Schedule a Brain Dump

content ideas journal

This sounds overly simple, but it works. 

I schedule blocks of time here and there, sit down with my idea notebook, and brain dump content ideas.

The rules for a good brain dump? There are no rules! Every idea is valid. By allowing all ideas and not judging them, I find it allows more to flow freely. Often as one idea comes pouring out, it will trigger another one.

I choose a daunting number and set it as a challenging goal. This forces me to write ALL ideas down and throw some of my perfectionism to the side. Truly, all ideas are fair game in a brain dump. You never know what else they’ll inspire or mean three months down the road. You’re also not obligated to use any of the ideas you come up with, so the pressure is off.

After you’re finished, you can go through your list and mark what feels most aligned with your work or that you want to focus on next and add them to your content schedule. (Don’t have one of those? I’ve got my KISS method for you right here.)

I have a notebook dedicated to content ideas, that way it’s easy to refer to and find. I also add to this notebook sporadically on non-scheduled, brain-dump times whenever a new idea for content pops into my head. 

Additionally, I use the notes section in my phone to store content ideas and half written posts, for those times inspiration hits and I’m not at my desk (which is more often than not!). 

*A tip: I start each new note with ‘blog topic’ or ‘blog post idea’ or ‘Instagram/Social Media post’. This way, it’s easy to use the search bar at the top of the notes section to search for my ideas on days I’m drawing a blank.

Trust me, you want to do this. I’m currently at 1,115 notes and counting in my phone, and some of those are loooooong notes I’ve taken on books and lectures. There’s no way I’d be able to, or want to, wade through all of those when I’m feeling stuck and in need of inspiration.

Find a system that works for you, but be sure to include a way to search and find your ideas later. We think we’ll remember them, but that isn’t always the case!

2. Challenge Yourself to Come Up With Ideas Every Day

Creating ideas is a muscle that needs to be flexed and gets stronger with repetition.

I remember when I was acting, the thought of being able to memorize 17 pages overnight seemed impossible. It wasn’t until I started practicing memorization that it became easy. Coming up with ideas works the same way. The more we do it, the stronger the muscle gets. 

content ideas notebook

We have to practice coming up with ideas just like anything else.

You can use James Altucher’s method (which I love) of coming up with ten new ideas every day

My version of this? I challenge myself to write something original every day. I batch all of my social media content except for Instagram intentionally, and use Instagram as my playground, idea workout, and practice! I post on Instagram daily, which forces me to come up with a new idea and write something about it every day.

Are some days tough? Absolutely. Do I have to search and repurpose content once in a while, sure. Do I dig into prewritten content sometimes, you betcha. But, this still ensures that at least 5 days a week, I’m writing and coming up with something new, which keeps this muscle in shape.

You don’t have to use my way to work out the idea muscle, find something that works for you. I highly recommend working out your idea muscle daily!

3. What’s Your Story?

Another great place for original, non-derivative content? Your life story! Not only is your life filled with great stories to share, no one else has your story, so pulling content from personal experiences ensures it’s unique and helps ward off the copycats.

your story

Take some time and review the important moments in your life. What did you learn? How did you grow?

Think about your current life experiences. What’s noteworthy? What experiences relate to your work? What experiences taught you a life lesson? What’s your ‘hero’s journey’?

What personal stories represent your business and brand? What stories led up to where you are now?

Is there a behind the scenes story you can share?

Think about the stories in your life that helped you create your business or that tie into your mission. 

Get vulnerable and think of a tough time you had and what you learned as it relates to your clients and work. Pick ‘everyday’ stories that make you relatable and help explain a concept that might be confusing otherwise.

Your life is ripe for the picking with content ideas!

As a bonus tip, don’t forget to have fun!

But, really. Don’t forget to have fun. Shake it up. Have a solo dance party. Have a glass of wine. This is about CREATION and creativity.

I know the pressure threatens to kill the fun sometimes, but shake it off, and remember why you started. Remember why you want to create content in the first place. Remember you GET to do this!! You GET to make something. 

I promise you, more ideas flow when we’re happy than when we’re bullying ourselves and putting pressure on ourselves. I can say this with authority because I’ve tried it both ways ;). 

Stripping the joy from creation will stop ideation in its tracks.  

I hope this helps you come up with a few ideas the next time you're feeling creator's block.

WANT MORE? CLICK HERE TO GET INSTANT ACCESS TO 15 WAYS TO COME UP WITH CONTENT IDEAS WHEN YOU'RE FEELING STUCK!

A loving reminder, you have great ideas. You are enough. Your voice is unique and special. You have important stories to share. You are capable of so much more than you think.

With so much love, I’m wishing you happy creating!

xoxo, Kim

P.S. Want some space to brainstorm, think out loud, and strategize your content? Need some accountability? Want to figure out how to make your content work for you in your biz? I’d love to support you! Click here to learn more about working together and schedule a free coaching consultation!