But that is always the way we’ve done things…

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I am not a shoe guy.

 

I probably get one new pair a year. I love to wear Adidas but that is it. I buy a pair and then wear them until they paper thin. I basically live in the same pair all the time.  Shoes are a functional thing before they are a fashion statement.

 

I’ve always been a UK size 9 since I left school.

 

The other day I went with my family to get a new pair. While I say I don’t think of shoes as important, I do seem to buy loud colourful pairs.

 

I found a red pair I liked and asked for UK size 9to try on just to make sure they were what I wanted.

 

Done – I was ready to head to the till with them and my wife says – “why don’t you try a size 10 – I’ve always thought your shoes looked a little small” she says.

 

I’ve always been size 9 – I’m not size 10 but I trust my best friend of a wife, so I try on the 10…….

 

and they feel great…..like the best, most comfortable shoes I’ve worn in years.

 

Lesson: Don’t do things just because that is they way you’ve always done them.

 

Business Lesson: Remember to reassess the most mundane of operations and processes, you might need to tweak things to ensure they work to optimum efficiency.

 

Spiritual Lesson: If you are going to try to understand someone else, people say you should walk a mile in their shoes, I’d like to add :  Try and make sure they are the same size as yours.

 

Tales to Tell to Sell

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Sales makes the world go round. Marketing is critical. Marketing gets sales and sales is life in business.  Simple bullet points that I think we all know.

I just love this advert, it reminds me of the value of connection.  Instead of saying “Buy more of our biscuits!”, this ad shows the value of friends and family and of always being there with you.

How do you sell?

“Buy our biscuits?” or “Remember the times were where together?”  After this ad I want to buy some more biscuits.

A butterfly named HULK

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I enjoy using social media – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. I use them personally as well as for Mariannhill Mission Press and then again for some of our customers.

There are three hats for me to wear:
– Me
Mariannhill Mission Press
– Our Customers

Sometimes I just need to get down and focus on a particular task, like writing copy for a brochure; editing a book, or doing research. I am so used to messages popping up and then checking up on a profile. Nonstop social media monitoring is very distracting and quickly can become a bad habit – hooked on the adrenalin of the hit of a “post”, “Comment” or “like.”…and time slips away like custard on a granite kitchen top counter….forever.

Introducing a super cool app called Freedom.

Subscribe to the service at $6,99 per month or pay $25 for a year to activate the service.

Freedom is a site blocking service built to bring out the beast in your productivity.

– Create your account
– Pay
– register your devices
– create you blocking lists

This is cool because you can create different lists with different types of sites to block:
e.g., A. How I pay for my Porsche – which blocks everything except my email
B. Magazines and News – blocks all my favourite magazine sites
C. Social – blocks all my social media sites

– Then choose how long you want your blocking session to be – I usually prefer an hour at a time.
– Then I get down to work.

If you try and go to any site you have blocked – BOOMED BIG GREEN BUTTERFLY – you can’t get access until your time is up.
There is no Kill Switch – no back door.
Once you are locked out – you are locked out until the time runs out.

You can run it on your phone at the same time as well – so as you choose a list on your desktop or laptop and as if my magic your phone shuts down in the same way at the same time. There is no cheating. (Well there is – but I like pretending ….I mean I have legitimate work to do.)

I am in love with this focusing tool – You may think I am weak, that I must have no willpower and a short and ADD attention span – but remember that this is a big part of my job. So when I need to focus this tool makes it super simple for me.

Type “Freedom.to” into your browser and smile, you are soon to be knighted in the realm of Social Media

I call the butterfly Hulk because like Hulk, the service is solid and green. The App works on Mac and Windows as well as OS for Mac and Google’s Android. It’s a big win for me. Thank you Flutterby Hulk!

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Oh wow!!!! I just love this..You do need to see the movie but still this is funny.

The fun starts at 3:03

The importance of writing GOOD

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As we move further and further into the Age of Information, writing Good, I mean writing well, is a skill that can set us apart from the other plebs out there.

More and more we are writing email, banging out tons of text, posting things on social networks such as Facebook and Twitter. The ability to express ourselves in a clear, concise manner is taken for granted.

There are some great resources out there to help improve our weak points.

Lynda.com has some excellent courses that cover personal communication as well as writing and punctuation.

http://www.hubspot.com
is a website with a stack of great writing resources, for example this article on compelling copy.

We need to improve our writing skills to:

create better funding requests
write more credible business plans
write better newsletters
create better adverts

Writing is a critical part of nearly all our jobs.

Due the brain’s amazing plasticity it never to late to learn or improve.
It would be worth investing some time in this critical area of our lives.

A great tool to consider is Grammarly. They claim to be the world’s most accurate grammar checker and I believe them.
Check out: www.grammarly.com

You can add it for free to your web browser, Google’s Chrome, Mozilla’s Firefox and Apple’s Safari and it can run in your Gmail, Facebook posts, Twitter and more…FREE.  It also works in the back end of WordPress. (No more silly mistakes for me then.)

It offers synonyms for words you might over use in your text; it provides suggested improvements to your text, catches spelling errors, helps fix punctuation and check sentence structure. MS Word does this you say – Yes – but not to the level that Grammarly does.

There is a downloadable desktop app that allows you to work offline. You can also upload files to run through them. Currently, there is a limit of up to 20 pages (36 000 characters), but hey are working on increasing this. I really can’t wait for this because I often check books with 300 pages or more.

The paid version at $29 a month gets you:
150 critical grammar and spelling checks
100+ additional advanced grammar and spelling checks
Vocabulary enhancement suggestions
Genre-specific writing style checks
Plagiarism detector that checks more than 8 billion web pages

They offer a better price if you pay quarterly and then an even better price for an annual payment.

I am a big fan of the online Handbook they have up on their site which has focused information on grammar, punctuation, sentence mechanics as well as sentence style and clarity. Nice Grammarly!

Grammarly is definitely worth the spend, it will make you look like a pro.

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Fresh eyes that can spin your socks off

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I am not sure if you ever saw the Mind blowing cool movie “Dumb and Dumber”

This movie broke boundaries of life being lived large and loud – It is must watch!. I watched it and wept with the bitter emotion – was this only hope for humanity?

This is the original trailer:

Now here is the oscar winning cut!
I think it is great to see a whole complete other side. Show the world what you want it to be.

Make sure you consider both options when life gives you choices. I find it very interesting that the same movie can be edited into two completely different looking films. Be aware of this when facing conflict. The world can be presented in different ways – the same info but different presentation.

Editing in films and in our lives can make a huge difference.

For fresh trailers reimagined check out https://www.youtube.com/user/TheWatercooler

The most disturbing, but much needed documentary on Porn

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This is the most disturbing documentary I have ever seen. Do not let your children see this but if you are going to watch anything about the evil of porn and its effects, then this is the one to watch. I don’t think you’ll ever need to see anything else.

Please be warned  – the trailer below is VERY GRAPHIC – but I believe the documentary holds a valuable lesson!

Vanity Fair highlighting modern Slavery!

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The Dominican friar Xavier Plassat, fighter against slavery, on the Araguaia River. Photograph by William Langewiesche.

 

I have found myself guilty of judging.

I thought “Vanity Fair” was a high flying glam magazine for the bored and rich.
I thought the gloss colour magazine could only write about expensive shoes and silly runway fashions.
I was wrong.
This one of the best articles I’ve read in a long time.
I must point out that it was brought to my attention by the Southern Cross Newspaper – our very own South African Catholic newspaper.
The article is about the fight against Slavery and Human Trafficking  – specially led by a French Domician friar  – Xavier Plassat.
It a very long read with horrifically haunting photos – but wow!!!…what a read!
Read it and learn.
But the thing that I would like to highlight here is that we all have a role to play in bringing good work to light.
I don’t think I could be blamed in thinking Vanity Fair could have nothing to offer. But I was wrong. I am sorry.
We all can use our business, our school or our organisation to bring attention to important issues.