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All posts in the Communication category

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841: You May Have Heard Email Is Dying

You may have heard that email is dying.

It’s not.

The newsletters that blasts customers with offers to buy things – they’re dying.

The automated responder lists that track your every move and hound you to progress – they’re dying.

The over-designed, over-polished, this-wasn’t-made-for-me emails you can’t trust – they’re dying.

Businesses and individuals continue to use email every day, just like they always have. Open rates aren’t going down for no reason, customers have simply learned what ‘spam’ is, and they extend that term to more things than they used to. They don’t want to be bombarded with pervasive, never-ending offers anymore.

Email was always supposed to be a conversation, wasn’t it?

Those never go out of style.

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837: Create More

What are you not creating right now that you know you should be?

That skill you’re developing is overwhelming and challenging until you embrace the act of doing it imperfectly at first. When you create more with the new skill, it won’t be new for long.

That content you wanted to make is overwhelming and scary to put out there until you embrace the act of doing it imperfectly first. The sooner you press publish more often, the sooner you get to the content you wanted.

That project you’re strategising, researching, discussing, planning, roadmapping, brainstorming, flowcharting and journaling… is only a project when you actually do something. The sooner you create, the closer you get to your project becoming a reality.

You get better when you do it more.

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835: If You Want To Be Successful

How many catchphrases like these have you seen in your life?

Here are three classics:

“Read at least 5 books per month if you want to be successful.” Tropes like these breed the notion that reading creates progress. Reading simply corrects action. Correct action creates progress.

“Outwork your competitors if you want to be successful.” Overworking and “hustle” breed the notion that hard work creates success. Farmers work harder and longer hours than chartered accountants, yet the former usually earns less than the latter.

“Learn how to sell anybody if you want to be successful.” Becoming an annoying salesperson breeds distrust in everybody, such that we go out of our way to avoid anyone who sounds like they want to “sell anybody”. We buy from those we trust, those who wouldn’t “sell anybody”.

Read to learn, work smart, help people achieve their goals. Or, “do the opposite of the catchphrases”.

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834: Look For The Important Bits

It can be tricky to spot the important bits sometimes.

During a website project, we’re distracted by a particular font the boss wanted, who is going to take photographs and whether payment is Net30 or Net90. What matters is saying and visualizing the right things to the right people. That’s it.

During a house sale, we’re distracted by the escrow deposit, home inspection period and who the appraiser might be. What matters is having a house that’s worth the price and a buyer prepared to pay. That’s it.

During an advertising project, we’re distracted by the camera angles, caption text and fine-tuning of pixel tracking data. What matters is saying and visualizing the right things to those who will raise their hands if interested. That’s it.

Don’t overcomplicate this. Look for the important bits and for those who do the same.

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832: You’re Confusing Everyone

What’s important right now?

Every priority is like a pebble in a body of still water: the more you drop in, the more ripples emerge.

If your answer depends on the day or the hour, nobody will be able to tell where the ripples are coming from, nor will they have a clear view of the pebble.

If your answer remains constant, the ripples all point to the pebble and visibility is greatly enhanced as the water settles.

Most organizations doing important work don’t seem stressed or frenetic because they’re doing the wrong things. Rather, because they didn’t commit to their priorities.

Do you know what yours are in your pursuit of important work?

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826: A Race To The Death

Having drive can make life full of life, or a race to the death.

Take one look at Instagram’s endless stream of “entrepreneurial” picture quotes to spot the difference:

“Wake up at X every day”: I like routine more than most, but turning life into a drill doesn’t make life more fun. Life isn’t for wasting, but it’s not a drill, either.

“Workout X hours a day”: All good work needs persistence and consistency, but there’s more to a day than a to-do list. Often times, great work benefits just as much from what we do between the things we do.

“Invest at least $X/month”: For some, it’s nothing. For others, it’s putting them on rice and beans. There’s no one path to fulfilling work and life. Those who claim otherwise haven’t yet experienced enough of either.

“Read X books per month”: I read a lot, but I’ve seen many people transform it from an act of learning and applying, into a mere race to keep up with. Learning without application benefits nobody.

“Enjoy life”: After you’re done competing someone else’s list, the best you can hope for is to live in someone else’s shadow.

Do your important work. Nobody else is going to, they’re all busy chasing prefab dreams for reasons they were told were important.

Enjoy the ride, difference maker. No dead man ever benefitted from having achieved “inbox zero”.