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Posts Tagged ‘law of attraction’

Make Your Own Luck

Have you ever noticed how some people just seem lucky? No matter where they go or what they do, opportunity seems to favor them and they’re always getting ahead. They get the guy (or gal). They get the job. They get the client. They get the promotion. They get the raise. They win the door prize. They get the freaking parking spot!

Would it surprise you to know that these “lucky” folks probably take a lot of steps that “unlucky” people don’t take? Chances are good that every day, they’re doing something to improve their “luck” – meaning it may just look like luck to those looking in from the outside, rather than what it really is: a particular way of living their lives.

If you’d like to start bringing some more luck your way, here are some things you can do to improve your odds:

  1. Expand your horizons. Be willing to socialize, meet new people, embrace networking instead of dreading it. Remember to also keep in touch with your old friends, colleagues, vendors, and clients. Check in with them once in a while to find out what they’ve been up to lately.
  2. Know what your goal is and see yourself accomplishing it – literally, in your mind, playing out like a movie. Better still if you’re acting it out instead of watching. Give thanks for achieving that goal as if it’s already happened.
  3. Give without expectation – let it be OK if people don’t send thank you notes. Lend a hand where you can. Be a mentor. Sponsor a Little League team. Giving feels great and the rewards come back to us in amazing and often unexpected ways.
  4. Learn to be spontaneous once in a while. If you’re the type who’s got every minute planned, there’s little room in your life for luck to show up. Be open to new things and interested in the world beyond your immediate surroundings. Go out of your way to meet a stranger today!
  5. Look for opportunities. Sometimes good fortune seems to fall into your lap – but just as often, opportunity knocks because you were paying attention. You followed through on that zany idea, made that call, or asked for what you wanted.
  6. Leave your comfort zone once in a while. Luck’s probably not going to fall on you while you’re staying safely hidden away from the world. Read blogs on topics you’d never considered before. Listen to a podcast about a place you’ve never been. Join Toastmasters. Take a Zumba class. See an art film or a documentary.
  7. Work hard. Really – it’s the rare lucky person who hasn’t worked hard to get where they are. The universe will see your efforts and reward you with that “lucky break.”
  8. Don’t underrate optimism. Most lucky people have a wonderfully positive outlook on life. More importantly, they expect good things to happen to them.
  9. Take setbacks in stride. No matter how much effort you put into “being lucky,” life is life and you will invariably experience the occasional obstacle. Are you going to waste time asking, “Why me?” or get right back up, shake it off, and know that tomorrow’s a new day?
  10. Focus on the present moment. This is not to say you shouldn’t make plans, but live in the now. Relish THIS moment and leave worries about the past and concerns about tomorrow for someone other unlucky schmuck.

How lucky do you want to be? You probably have a lot more control over it than you realize.

Oh, and Happy St. Pat’s!

An abbreviated version of this story originally ran in the March issue of my newsletter, The Creative Quill. If you’d like a complimentary one-year subscription, please email SubscribeQuill@writemarketdesign.com with your snail mail address.

Laura

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Scott Adams exemplifies WYTAYBA: What You Think About Your Bring About

I once heard a story about Scott Adams, creator of the Dilbert comic strip. First published in dilbert131989, the comic strip gained a quick following. But Adams wanted more. He wanted to be THE most famous cartoonist in the world. According to the story I heard (mind you, now, I’ve never done the research to back this up), he saw as his nemeses three cartoonists of immense fame and wide regard: Berke Breathed, who drew Bloom County; Gary Larson, of Far Side fame; and Bill Watterson, creator of Calvin and Hobbes. Adams felt that if he was ever going to make it to THE top, each of these three comic-drawing gods was going to have to put the cap on his pen and call it quits.

In the meantime, Adams was leaving nothing to chance. He started writing affirmations and repeating mantras to himself. He cut up strips of paper on which was written “I am the most famous cartoonist in the world,” and pasted them everywhere: bathroom mirror, refrigerator, computer, phone, car sun visor. Anywhere he looked, this affirmation was there to inspire him.

And then, unbelievably, one by one Breathed, Larson, and Watterson decided to end their strips, leaving the road clear for Adams to ascend to greatness.

I’m not sure he was ever the most popular cartoonist in the world – or even in the United States – but no one can argue with his success. The Dilbert comic strip was the progenitor of several movies, an animated TV series, a video game, and hundreds of pieces of merchandise. Adams received the National Cartoonists Society Reuben Award and the Newspaper Comic Strip Award in 1997. And his lovable misfit and entourage appear in 2,000 newspapers around the world across 65 countries, translated into 25 languages.

A post by Brendon Callagher on Complex.com titled “The 25 Best Sunday Comic Strips of All Time” placed Dilbert at #13. And my Google search for “most popular comic strip” shows Adams in the fourth position.

dilbert

What does this all have to do with you and marketing your book? Everything. First of all, have you ever answered the question: What is your #1 goal? Is it:

  • To publish your book?
  • To sell 10,000 copies of your book?
  • To make The New York Times bestseller list?
  • To go on a world tour with your book?
  • To have your book made into a movie?

Before you can achieve it, you have to know WHAT your goal is. And regardless of how distant and unachievable they might seem, none of these is out of the realm of possibility for any author. When it comes to achieving your goal, however, the deeper questions are: How much do you want it? And what are you willing to do to get it?

Adams probably did a lot more than just write, post, and say affirmations all day. But he was certain he had to embrace the success mindset he wanted to achieve. This is an essential part of the Law of Attraction. There’s a made-up word, wytayba, pronounced WHY-TAY-BA, (an acronym,  actually, that stands for “what you think about, you bring about”), that most Law of Attraction practitioners focus on daily. Where are your thoughts? What is your focus? What do you spend the most time concentrating on? If it’s not your number stan-wytabaone goal, you either need to change your goal or learn to refocus your thoughts.

I was recently gifted with an idea from the Arizona Marketing Association – a group of like-minded entrepreneurs and businesspeople who gather monthly to discuss marketing ideas, tips, and tools.

Think about a simple device you probably have in your hands for hours at a time daily – your smart phone. Would you believe that the average person checks their device – that means looks at and/or unlocks their home screen – between 85 and 110 times a day?

What if you were to leverage that seemingly innocuous task to your benefit by having it help you focus on your goal? It’s easy enough to do. Write your goal on a piece of paper – clearly so you can read it. Then take a picture of that goal and make that image the lock screen for your phone. (If you don’t know how to do this, find the closest sixth-grader and ask them.) Going forward, every time you go to unlock your phone, you have an added imprint of your goal – a reminder of what you intend to accomplish next in life. (This image is my new lock screen.)

I’ll tell you, I’m sure a lot more focused on publishing my novel by April 22nd (the day before the L.A. Times Festival of Books begins) than I was before I added this simple, elegant reminder to my phone.

Here’s to accomplishing your goal and living WYTAYBA!

Laura

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Learning something you didn’t know you didn’t know

I had an interesting experience with a client this week. He’s writing a book about job search techniques and has hired me to put the book together for him. Now, he asked me at the start of our project to be patient with him, as this is his first time through the publishing process. I usually try to keep that fact in mind with every client – to remember to meet them wherever they are. While there is generally some overlap in terms of the things people need explained, by and large the questions are always different. This one surprised me, though.

I sent the client the front matter and first chapter in the format I’d designed for his book. He wrote back, almost immediately:

At the top of each page appears my name or the book title. I printed out a page this AM.  

It is the first time that I have seen such a format, and I’m a bit uncomfortable with it. Is this something new?  What is the rationale behind the format?

Please share the reason for the format.  Then, I will give you an immediate response to keep or eliminate it.

As I’ve alluded, I hear all kinds of questions from new authors, but this was a first. I scratched my head a bit, and then responded:

Pull almost any book off your shelf. There is a header at the top of most books. It is not by any means a requirement. Just makes for a more finished look.

I can remove it if you don’t want it, so just let me know.

Microsoft Word - Stan Finds Himself for TFOB

Then came his sheepish response:

It’s unbelievable, I never noticed. Keep it.

So I think there are two lessons here. First – it’s helpful to hire an expert, but when you do so, you’ve got to be willing to trust them. You’re hiring them because they can fill in a lot of the blanks you have, particularly about things you don’t know that you don’t know.

what_you_dont_know_charts

More important, though, is the underlying statement my client made: “I’m a bit uncomfortable with it.” REALLY? He’s a bit uncomfortable with having his name on his own book? Why might that be? He spent a lot of time writing it. He’s clearly an expert on the subject and is offering some very good advice that he knows has already helped many people find jobs. He’s willing to put his name on the front and spine of the book. But the idea of putting his name in the header – that concerned him.

I’m guessing it’s all just a part of putting his work out there for the world to see. If we ever hope to have any success at all, we authors must get over our fear and worry about what people might say about our books. Yep – it’s human nature to focus on the one bad review or lose sleep wondering how we’ll get the negative critic to come around. But we get what we focus on. So while we’re in thluke quotee midst of the publishing process, we really need to focus on why we’re writing, discovering ways to connect with our audience, and keeping our end goal in mind, whatever that may be.

You wrote the book – you deserve to put your name on it, and to proudly display it and talk about it and sell it to the right person in the right situation. Go ahead – I dare you. Claim your success and let your author’s light shine for all the world to see.

Laura

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Celebrating other authors’ successes fuels our own

Originally ran on Sunday, October 26, 2014.

I learned to read fairly early – at age 3-and-a-half or 4 – not because I was particularly precocious, but because I wanted to be able to read the Sunday comics on my own. So I demanded that my dad teach me how to read. Over the years, as the comics have waned in column inches and volume in daily newspapers, my interest in them has simultaneously declined. No longer the first thing I reach for, days can go by without my even seeing a comic strip.

Yesterday, however, I noticed and read the color comics, and this Pearls Before Swine strip caught my attention because it so well captures the human condition – including the attitude of many authors. I’m sure neuroscientists and sociologists and psychologists have studied what it is about human nature that so routinely causes envy rather than celebration when we hear of someone else’s success. And if it’s someone in our field (e.g., a fellow novelist, business coach, financial advisor, or guitar instructor), our envy level is likely to go off the chart!

It’s an abundant universe – someone else’s success does not mean my failure – yet we so often view it that way.

high tides

Sometimes aphorisms have their place, and this is certainly one such situation. Even if it may not feel like it in the immediate moment, your fellow author’s self-publishing success is a good thing for you! And it would be much better for you if you could celebrate with him or her than let the green monster consume you.

Reasons to celebrate your fellow author’s success

  • Envy is one of the surest causes of self-sabotage, so find a way to be genuinely happy for your successful author friends.
  • Being less than happy for others who are succeeding – particularly in the area where you want so badly to do well – inhibits your own chances for success. When you see another person’s win as a success for you, you open the door to hope for your own success.
  • Celebrating with others multiplies your opportunities to rejoice. When you are able to congratulate your fellow authors on their successes, you invite them to be willing to celebrate when your book does well.
  • When you’re truly happy for others, they are more likely to be truly happy for you. But real relationships invite the sharing of the highs and the lows. You want to develop the habit of empathizing when things are down and rejoicing in the good times.
  • The law of attraction teaches us that we manifest that which we focus on – and what we resist persists. So if we resist others’ happiness at the expense of our own, we’re likely to be chasing our own happiness while never really fulfilling it.

But let’s say that  you’ve been trying everything and nothing you’re doing to market your book seems to be making any difference. In spite of your  best effort, you’re still struggling, and the last thing you can do is be happy for your friend who just got picked up by a sizable publisher. Here are a few things you can do to lift yourself out of your blues so that you can be truly happy for your friend. They’ll take some work, but with effort, you’ll get there.

  1. We’ve mentioned this one before, but it bears repeating in the #1 spot: Keep a gratitude journalRecording the things for which you are grateful on a daily basis will help you stay focused on the good stuff and enable you to shrug off any emotion that resembles envy.
  2. Slow down and meditate. When the jealousy monster threatens to rear its head, take a moment to take a breath. Slow down. Stop. Meditate. Getting clear about the direction you want your emotions to take will enable you to put the envy to bed, if only momentarily.
  3. Recognize that positive emotions are as contagious as the negative ones. Read the next sentence out loud and with as much gusto as you can muster: BOY, AM I ENTHUSIASTIC! Read it aloud again, this time like you mean it. Say it one more time, with a big smile on your face. I obviously can’t see you, but I’m pretty sure that if you did the little exercise above, you feel better now than before you began reading this post. You have the power to propel positive emotions to the forefront, so why not use it?
  4. Look for opportunities to celebrate someone else’s success. This may involve gritting your teeth or even facing the envy and doing it anyway. Send a congratulations note. Blog about your friend’s success. Buy an extra copy of their book. If you can find a way to celebrate in spite of the awkward feelings, you’ll get the goodwill flowing, meaning that it will soon be flowing right back to you.
success of another

Use this mantra whenever the envy threatens to throw you off course.

Here’s to celebrating your fellow authors’ success!

Laura

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Some thoughts on protecting your author blog content

People can be jerks. I know that’s not really a news flash, but it’s important to remember, because if you’re posting your work on the Internet, some of those jerks are liable to steal it. Here’s the absolute truth: If you want to protect your content so that no one ever steals it, don’t publish it. Anywhere. Ever. Because all the protecting in the world is not going to stop someone who really wants to copy your stuff from doing it.

Am I in any way implying that this is OK? NO WAY. No. Not OK. Stealing other people’s content = bad. Really bad. It’s just that stopping the ones who are intent on doing it can be a pretty challenging endeavor. And it’s not just blog copy. I have a friend who was the dog daycare pioneer in Phoenix. She is a master marketer and had a website with very clever content. One day, she received a phone call from someone inquiring about a job opening advertised on her site. She asked where the person lived so she could give them directions to come in for an interview – and it turns out they lived in Maryland. No – they were not looking to relocate to Phoenix. They were looking at a site for a dog daycare in Maryland whose Web folks had stolen the entire content of my friend’s site – right down to the job descriptions. Only they forgot to change the phone number on this particular page.

My friend was understandably angry, but she chose not to pursue legal action, knowing the fight would be long, ugly, and expensive. Instead, she gave it up to the gods of “what comes around goes around” – also known as karma. I think she did the right thing.

All that being said, you obviously would prefer that people didn’t steal your content. So how can you protect yourself? Well here’s where I’m going to turn things over to someone who’s much more of an expert on this subject than I am. Awesomely Luvvie did a post about this very subject of protecting your content, and I HIGHLY encourage you to go and read it through, because it has tons of great information, including:

  • Knowing your rights
  • Monitoring your work
  • Stating your permissions
  • Registering your work
  • Defending your work

This post has too much good information for me to even begin to synthesize, so please go read it! Just to give you a taste, here’s the opening of the section about knowing your rights:

Know Your Rights as a Content Producer

The first way you need you protect your content is by knowing your rights. The moment you press “publish” on a post, you own it. You don’t need to have your work federally registered to prove that you own the rights to it. Yes, having the official “copyright” from the government makes getting damages easier, but it isn’t necessary. So your blog post is yours.

Here’s my own last bit of advice on this subject:

What you think about you bring about, so don’t spend a lot of time worrying that someone’s going to steal your content. A number of years ago, a photographer took a famous photo of the full moon shining over a bluff in California that was made into posters and greeting cards. Then the Internet came along, and people who liked the picture began posting it on their sites. For a while, the photographer made his living suing people who had used his image without permission. All I kept thinking when I heard that story was, “Really? Why didn’t he just go take another great picture?”

It’s the World Wide Web. People share things. Sometimes they borrow inadvertently; sometimes they flat out steal stuff. Either way, it may happen to you. So what will you do about it? Get mad and drive yourself crazy, or get even by writing even more great content to share with the world?

MARCIE

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Do your writing and book marketing projects have goal dates?

Whether it’s your writing process or your marketing plan, do you have goal dates attached to your projects? Do you have a timeline, a series of deadlines, a goal list, or some general thoughts that one day you’ll get it all organized? Timelines – even for those of us who resist discipline as a confining box – are our friends. Though the word may have something of a negative connotation, deadlines help us accomplish our goals. If it’s the word itself that causes you anxiety, change the word. Use timeline, goal date, or ADOC (anticipated date of completion) instead.

You may have heard of the concept of SMART goals:

S – Specific

M – Measurable

A – Achievable

R – Relevant

T – Time-bound

The date aspect may be the most important, because a goal without a date is nothing more than a wish. Without a date attached to your goal, you’re not really committed.

This came up recently for me when I was sharing my progress on a project with my coach. I was fortunate enough to get an audience with a valuable expert on my topic, and at the conclusion of our conversation she asked when I expected to finish my project. The best answer I could offer in that moment was, “It’s still a ways off, but I’ll let you know.” My coach, of course, suggested that I set a goal date for completion of this project! What a novel idea.

When you set a goal with a date, it becomes an affirmation – a commitment to achieve the goal and see it through to manifestation or reality.

Those who teach and subscribe to the Law of Attraction (the belief that what we focus on is what we create) often suggest adding a postscript to the end of your affirmations: “This or something better.” The thinking is that God/Spirit/the Universe is grander than we can even imagine, so what we, in our humanness, might think to affirm could be much less than what we might actually achieve/receive. So rather than limiting our affirmations to our human perceptions, we add “this or something better,” to make room for the grandest possible results.

Here’s to setting and meeting your deadlines!

Laura

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Advice-giving can be a dangerous business

If you propose to speak, always ask yourself:
Is it true? Is it necessary? Is it kind?
— Buddha
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A friend used to tease that my instincts as an editor must make life challenging for me because I see the errors or problems in so many situations. While that’s not an utterly inaccurate assessment, I prefer to view it as often seeing ways to improve things.

However, since I’m neither omniscient nor infallible, my way to improve things is usually just my opinion and/or suggestion. Unless, of course, it is a case of noticing something that is just flat-out incorrect.

Such is the situation with the current Infinity commercial, in which the announcer says, “If everyone accepted the status quo, the world would still be flat.” Actually, no. The world was never flat, so it could not still be flat. Even following the analogy they seemed to be attempting to its logical conclusion, chances are, by this date in 2012, someone other than Aristotle (384-322 BC; argued in his writings that the earth was spherical) or Columbus (1451-1506; reached India by sailing west from Spain because he knew the planet was round) would have long since proven the orbed nature of the earth.

Other frequent observations I make include people’s self-talk. Things like, “I’m always so broke,” or “You just watch. I’m sure I’m going to get fired.” This also goes for our blogs, Facebook posts, and the ways we interact with people. Since we empower the thoughts we give the most attention, why do we so often focus on the things we don’t want? Want to get in shape, publish your book, or find true love? It’s probably not going to happen if you focus on how fat you are, how much you don’t know about publishing, or how all the guys out there are jerks. (For more on this, I recommend two excellent books: Mike Dooley’s Infinite Possibilities and Sandra Anne Taylor’s Secrets of Attraction.)

Perhaps the most obvious observation comes with books: I can tell within a paragraph or two whether or not an author has had his or her work professionally edited. The worst thing is when the author is someone I know, and the subject matter is good but the book itself is terrible because they didn’t bother to hire an editor.

My challenge is: What, if anything, should I do about it?

Think about a little thing like having a grain of pepper stuck in your teeth or forgetting to zip your fly. Would you prefer to have someone tell you, or would your pride make that kind of comment too embarrassing to hear? Then amplify that a hundred-fold. Having someone tell you, “Your book really isn’t very good” is probably a lot like hearing “Your baby is ugly,” except in the case of the book, things can be done to improve it.

Quite a number of years ago, I was in a lousy relationship and bought a self-help program called Light His Fire, by Ellen Kreidman. She offered a money-back guarantee if the program didn’t help salvage your relationship, no matter how bad it was. Though my relationship turned out to be unsalvageable, I didn’t request a refund because I learned so many other important things from her program. One of those was a lesson that applies to this topic of advice. Kreidman’s suggestion: Unless someone specifically asks your opinion or advice, keep your mouth shut. And by and large, I think she is correct. We don’t do people favors by going around offering unsolicited advice or making them wrong. When they want your advice, Kreidman suggests, they will ask for it.

Hmmm… That still doesn’t really address my challenge. If I hear or see something I know could be vastly improved, what, if anything, should I do about it? Should I go my merry way, knowing a blogger is self-sabotaging her success or that an author is unlikely to find the publisher they’re seeking, given the current state of their book?

One suggestion from coaching circles is to ask, “Are you open to some feedback?” I think this works in certain situations — but it also can create an awkward impasse. What if the person really isn’t open to feedback but feels pressured to say they are? And what is the motivation behind my need to give the feedback in the first place? Is it really altruistic, or is it in some way intended to build myself up? In my situation as an editor, I would never want the person to think I’m ginning for business by insulting them, which is why I will probably never tell someone who doesn’t ask that their book really needs editing.

I’d love to hear your opinions on this! Have you ever offered unsolicited advice? Do you appreciate when others tell you, “You know what you should do…”? Would you want someone who had an expert opinion to give it to you if you didn’t ask for it? Tell us what you think in the comment section below…

Laura

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Visit the Write | Market | Design Facebook page to meet other authors and aspiring authors who have a sincere interest in writing, publishing, and selling the best books they can. And if you need a self-publishing consultant in your corner for anything from advice on structure to developing a marketing strategy, drop us a note at MarcieBrock@WriteMarketDesign.com or give us a call at 602.518.5376!

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