7 Ways I Get Motivated

get_motivatedWhether you’re looking for a new job, trying to make your current one better, or planning a career transition, you’ll need to get motivated. Without discipline and will, your dreams and ambitions never come to life, turning even the best intentions into dust.

Here are seven ways to get motivated; pick and choose the ones that work best for you:

Find the why. When we set out to do something, it’s important to keep the why in the front of your mind. Are you looking for a new job because you dislike your boss? Need more money? Want a shorter commute? Getting where we want to go can be a long journey, so never forget what set you out on the road to begin with. Write down why you’re motivated and refer to it often.

Look forward. Pretend you have accomplished your goal. For example, if your goal is to learn a new language to impress a girl, you need to consider if the task is worth taking on—what if she rejects you? View things from multiple perspectives and ensure you are taking worthwhile roads. Once you commit, put the negative scenario out of your mind and concentrate on how good it will feel when you succeed. Visualizing the success story is a surefire way to get motivated.

Just do it. There’s a reason the Nike slogan has endured for more than two decades. In the Data Age, we have so much information available to us at all times that it’s easy to get lost in number-crunching oblivion. But there’s nothing like rolling up your sleeves and getting started. Think about it: A perfect resume is useless if you don’t send out. You’d be better served sending out 10 resumes that are almost perfect than none at all. Rarely are actions an absolute waste of time. Get motivated!

Reward yourself. If your goal is to get a new job, you will need to take action to make a change. Set goals and share them with someone you trust so that you can be held accountable. For example, promise that you’ll send out two resumes a week to relevant jobs. If you succeed, reward yourself with a predetermined item. Likewise, if you fail, be sure to carry out a predetermined punishment. Even if a project doesn’t feel as if it’s worth your time, make it your business to make it worth your time. Otherwise, getting started can feel impossible.

Think of someone you hate. We all know jealousy and hatred are ugly emotions, but unless you’re a Buddhist monastic, they’re also a reality. Why not turn something dark into a tremendous motivator? Image the person you dislike taking action while you rest on your laurels? Wouldn’t you rather be showered with happiness and rewards? Push yourself to get started— get motivated — today!

Give yourself choicesNegative self-talk is often a high hurdle we must clear to get ourselves pumped up to do something we dread. Remember: You don’t have to, you want to. This simple thought-swap can make any task more palatable.

Break it up. What sounds easier? Writing 1,000 words in two hours or writing 125 words in 15 minutes? Breaking your task into smaller parts will help you get started.

Finding the will to get motivated isn’t always easy, but it is always worth it. How do you get motivated?

6 Reasons I Am Thankful for Blogging

thankfulI won’t lie: I am thankful for my life almost every hour of every day. But that doesn’t make Thanksgiving any less special. In fact, I like to use the holiday to think about the “random” things that I am grateful for, aside from the obvious: health and family.

There’s the sound of the railroad horn in the distance. The laughter of a girl. Cherry Garcia FroYo. And there is blogging.

Call it a hobby. Call it a career. Call it a passion.  Here are some of the reasons why I am thankful for freelance blogging.

– Blogging Reignited My Passion to Write. Early this century my journalism degree was gathering dust. Caught up in a world where I was trying to establish a “career” for myself, I found little reason to write. But blogging opened up a door to a world of writing…without an editor. Freedom! My grammar might not be perfect, and spelling errors, well, yeah, they happen. But removing the hurdle of having someone change what I want to say…a huge score!

– Blogging Builds Relationships. They may not be part of my inner circle, but I have formed some valuable and fulfilling relationships thanks to blogging. I hear from people all around the world.  Some are insightful, others are opinionated, but all are engaged. This feeling of connectedness is important to me in a somewhat disconnected world.  [Read more…]

Finding the Time to Blog

busyOne of the most frequent questions I’m asked is when I find the time to blog.  As a full-time employee, the owner of several popular blogs, and a contributor to a bunch of others, I wouldn’t be mad if you jumped to the conclusion that I have no life.

Except that’s not true. At least, that’s what I tell myself.  😉

As the father of a newborn, I realize more than ever how important it is to squeeze precious seconds out of every minute that I get.  Here are a few places you might find me honing my blogging skills.

Before you lecture me on distracted driving, read on! Every time I am idle in the car, I use the opportunity to focus on my breath, inhaling deeply and exhaling smoothly. My Zen hero Thich Nhat Hanh taught me that the best way to clear my mind, focus on the present, and relax myself to be receptive to creative ideas, is to simply breathe. A traffic stop is the perfect place to do this. In fact, some of my best blog ideas have come using this technique.

When you go to see a doctor or dentist, there’s a good chance you’ll be waiting. Rather than reading a three-month old sports magazine you could care less about, take out your smartphone or pad and start on your next blog post. [Read more…]

6 Ways to Build Blog Trust

trustAs a successful freelance blogger, I am often asked by clients and peers if there is a secret to making money blogging. There is no magic recipe, but an important ingredient is building trust.  Any decent relationship is built on trust. Without it, you have nothing more than two people in a room. Violate it…and you’ll spend a lifetime working (often unsuccessfully) to get it back. Earning and maintaining the trust of a significant other is hard enough, but a bloggers’ job is even tougher. You need to earn/maintain the trust of strangers. Hopefully, lots on them.

Building trust doesn’t happen overnight, but it’s an important ingredient to cook up a winning product. Here are few tactics to employ in order to build trust on your blog, and in turn, become a better blogger.

– BE YOURSELF. Successful blogging requires that you insert yourself into the written world. Not every blogging situation calls for it, but if you are looking to build an audience and earn readers’ trust, you need to give them (at the very least) a glimpse into who you are. We trust people we know, and if readers don’t know you, how can they trust you?

– STICK WITH IT. The longer you blog, the better your odds of earning trust. It shows people that you are in it for the “long haul.” In a world where many blogs fizzle and disappear after a few weeks, readers will not vest themselves until you prove that you will not “abandon” your blog. Also, the longer you keep you blog running, the more you prove your commitment (not to mention, search engine love). Quality beats quantity, but standing the test of time will earn you some clout. [Read more…]

What I Look for When Hiring a Freelance Blogger

hiredI have had the good fortune of hiring lots of bloggers and other content creators over the past 10 years.  When staffing any editorial position, whether it’s a one-time gig or a full-time career, there are certain traits/abilities I look for.  Obviously, strong grammar and command of the English language are essential skills. However, there are other things I like to see in a blogger as well.

One of the biggest challenges a busy freelance blogger faces is conceptualizing article topics. Bloggers are a dime a dozen.  But bloggers who can produce compelling content are a much rarer breed. Interesting articles generally begin with a thought-provoking topic. Hiring a blogger who can come up with ideas on their own, as well as enhance the topics I have provided, is a tremendous asset and a big time-saver for me!

You’ve undoubtedly heard some variation of the expression, “every good idea has been taken.”  That being said, almost everything has been written about in some form or other. The best bloggers can take pre-existing content and quickly put their own spin on it, turning it into 100% original content. From adapting press releases to covering a topic that has been explored a million times, good bloggers can customize on the fly and deliver a written product that cuts through the noise. [Read more…]

STOP! Read This Before You Take a Blog Course

blogI’m on quite a few mailing lists for continuing education programs at various colleges in the New York area. It’s no surprise that the number of digital media course offerings has grown exponentially in recent times. What IS surprising is how unimpressive the resumes of the instructors are.

I’m not sure how enrollment for these classes looks, but based on the sheer volume of offerings, I’m going to venture to guess that they do quite well. With that being said, I wanted to offer some tips for any readers who are considering taking a blog course.

The first thing you’re going to want to do is vet the instructor. Since you’re talking about digital media, their work experience should only be a few clicks away. Take to the Internet and do your own research on how popular their blogs are and how they maintain their social media profiles.

I’ve come across quite a few blogging instructors who do not have a proven track record in the blogosphere, or worse yet, teachers who have no blog at all.  If they have set up a blog as a prerequisite to teach the class, it will be obvious.  Do your homework. [Read more…]