Monday, March 30, 2009

Planning your destiny and managing 4 changes in life

(click on the mind map for a bigger view)

For those of us who have been through a lot of planning workshops, crafting your vision & goals is a basic activity that gets followed by how do you intend to accomplish it.

In the book Embracing Change by Tony Buzan and the workshop I attended lately by Matthew Brauning, your vision is more than just words or what you think of. You should be able to visualize it in full color imagery, sound, and all other senses. As our mind processes information in images, being able to see what we want in our mind will heavily influence our thoughts and therefore our actions. The more we embrace it through focus, the more achievable it becomes.

Buzan describes focus as an extraordinary quality of intelligence that when directed is precise, strong, and goal targeted. It drives the desire to achieve the vision & goals that we have set. As you go through it, the people around you will feel the passion. As a result, it will also attract like-minded collaborators and supporters to you.

Our vision and focus need to be flexible as we can only focus on areas that we can influence. Therefore our attitude must be able to glide through these changes:
  • Natural change
    This refers to knowing what we are capable of and taking the initiative to explore other options. I'm sure you heard the line before, "the mind is willing, but I don't think she has the physical stamina to get this done".
  • Advised change
    Some changes happen to us because it was advised. We are doing it willingly or forced to. Our attitude, the need to be flexible, in order to achieve a bigger goal is important for this to work.
  • Anticipated change
    These are changes that we know right from the start may eventually happen such as settling down, retirement, raising kids, among others. We often approach this positively and take the necessary steps to achieve stability.
  • Enforced change
    Perhaps the most turbulent of them all and often caused when things happen unexpectedly such as mergers, job cuts, elections, emotional abandonment, chronic illness, betrayal, disasters, among others. Managing such change and help others do the same will be most helpful at this stage.
If you are feeling strongly negative in any of the above changes, best to reflect and find out what is causing this emotion or limiting decision that you have at the moment. Talk to someone who can give you advise and understand as you go through this.

Remember that a good outcome is always possible and it is up to you to desire it, want it, and VISUALIZE it! Make it seductive so you will want to get it done. Focusing on the positive, will yield astounding results. Pondering on your negative thoughts will yield more pain for you.

Vision & Focus is one of Buzan's 7 tools for transformation. Use it as you take charge in planning your destiny.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Change Thinking Quotient: Measure your attitude to change

(click on the mind map for a bigger view)

We all have different attitudes to change. Our thoughts, feelings, and therefore what we say as a result has an effect on it as well. Some of us disintegrate at the face of trials, while some fight on, others redefine the landscape, among other reactions.

Whether we decide to act or not, change will take place in our lives. It is up to us whether we will just allow it to make us a victim of circumstance or we play a role in shaping it. Embracing Change, authored by Tony Buzan, has a transformation tool - the Change Thinking Quotient (CTQ) It allows you to review and see whether your attitude towards life geared towards a victim of circumstance, change thinker, or change maker.

The Change Thinking Quotient or CTQ (link to actual spreadsheet - you will need to save a copy and input your score) can be filled up quarterly so you can review your attitude regularly. The odd-numbered questions shows whether you have positive thoughts while the even-numbered shows negative thoughts, and your level of control on both aspect.

Once done, total your answers. Subtract the even-numbered total to the odd-numbered total to arrive at your CTQ. A negative CTQ usually reflects low self-esteem.

A positive CTQ means you are a Change Thinker. If the gap between the odd-numbered and even-numbered is little, then it may mean that you just go along with the flow with issues that needs to be dealt with. If the gap is wide, it also means you are Change Maker.

A Change Maker is considered as someone with high self-esteem. You are not afraid to face change and take responsibility for your own actions.

Regardless whether you are a victim of circumstance, change thinker, or change maker, there is a lot of room for improvement. One must continuously transform to reach their peak. Being conscious of your attitudes, reflect on its source, and improve are proactive steps toward change.

Two of Buzan's 7 Tools for Transformation, Meta-Positive Thinking and getting support from your Change Master Group will be useful to realize this.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Change Maker - 7 Tools for Transformation

One of the best books I have read from Tony Buzan is Embracing Change. It is a great book for those who wants to transform themselves from being a victim of circumstance or change thinker to a change maker.

For those who are already a change maker, the tools and insights shared by Buzan keeps one constantly aware of their patterns and strive for continuous personal improvement. It is intended to assist in enhancing creative abilities, social behavior, and attitude.

(click on the mind map for a bigger view)

Note that I will tackle these tools in separate posts.
  1. Change Thinking Quotient (CTQ)
    A personal evaluation on what is your attitude and feelings in managing change. You'll be able to discover if your behavior leans toward as a victim of circumstance, change thinker, or change maker.

  2. Vision & Focus
    Bring about directed and proactive change in your life.

    This is the change process where you improve and learn through trials.

  4. Mind maps
    Learn radiant thinking and use mind maps to reflect, refine, and give life to your vision.

  5. Meta-positive thinking
    Facing positive or challenging situations head-on, look at what can be done, and changed.

  6. Your change masters
    Role models and mentors as personal agents for change. Their insights and inspiration can help in managing personal change and achieve goals.

  7. Change journal
    Keep one and update it noting if you achieve your aim and assess as well how far you have come.

Learn in every trial

(click on the mind map image for a bigger view)

In my desire to have a brilliant memory, I learned from Tony Buzan that the brain operates synergetically; it grows through repetition; and is a success mechanism. Otherwise, we would not survive and achieve all the little accomplishments we have in our lives.

One tool discussed often in Tony Buzan books, in addition to mind map techniques, is TEFCAS (one of Buzan's 7 tools for transformation). Its value is incorporating failure and feedback as important components for achieving success. Here is what the acronym stands for:

T - Trial
Try something new, different system, or procedure. The phrase, "you'll never know until you try" very much applies here. It is about the willingness to take the risk. Every time we try brings us closer to our goal.

The success we have seen of others also stems from past experience and some of them are the result of failure.

In every trial, ideally, we should get better. If not, at least, we can learn each time.

"Launch a mobile application version (IOS, Android, BlackBerry) for the broadsheet by March 24."

E - Event
Every time we try, an event occurs. These are various activities such as an interview, examination, work submission, among others.

"Get at least 10 students to sign-up for the Blog and Social Media Entrepreneur Program."

F - Feedback
Find out how did you do and areas you can improve on.

At times, some may just stop here and give up. Those who do have verbal responses to failure includes I quit, give up, can't, among other negative reactions. These expressions affect the mind's thinking system. More destructive are powerful emotions liked disgraced, undignified, diminished, shameful, disillusioned, debilitated, discouraged, and demotivated.

Whenever we have these, it sucks the will from us to improve or give the situation another chance or try. It creates fear of failure unless we change our attitude.

However, if you see failure as a learning process, then you know that you just have to keep getting better and do better.

"Less than 50% from those who signed-up joined the webinar last night. We should do an SMS follow-up reminder - in addition to e-mail."

C -Check
Assess if you are still on track with your success goals. Assess as well the feedback that you got and see which you can use to improve.

"Target goal of 100 subscribers is still not met to date. Some of the interested parties find the price a bit steep. How can I further improve?"

A - Adjust
Incorporate feedback and put your agenda back on track.

"Add an installment payment scheme in our learning programs. Roll it out for the next module. Advise all previous parties who inquired. Target 100 student sign-ups for 2012."

S - Success
Enjoy success after success after success.

"We have a growing number of successful graduates who are visible online with their social media project achievements. Get them involved in the program as mentors too and strive for a mutually rewarding collaboration."

Learn more about TEFCAS at the Ultimate Book of Mind Maps and Embracing Change.

Monday, March 16, 2009

My Five Personal Transformation Sequence & Breakthrough Experience with Matthew Brauning

I went through a transformation breakthrough for the past three (3) days and it came at a time when I needed it the most. Least did I expect to go through this experience from entrepreneur, speaker, and book author Matthew Brauning. (check out his book Total Freedom from Addictions)

I've been feeling guilty for the past few months for not being able to attend Geoffrey Kwitko's events (met him at the Adelaide bloggers/social media Christmas get-together), organized under the Adelaide Start-up Club, and promised myself to finally deliver regardless whatever his upcoming event will be. As soon as I returned to Adelaide, the nearest event for me was the Double Your Dollars seminar which turned out to be a 3-days workshop.

Here are key learnings that will change me forever:

Solved my inner conflicts
I've been through an experience lately when I know I want to let go of something and yet, at some trigger point, I do and feel exactly the opposite. Go through internal struggle and start all over again.

As it turns out, our conscious mind sets the goal but the unconscious mind does the work. If the unconscious mind gets neglected, one will go through a continuous battle with their inner conflicts. This includes understanding repressed memories that suddenly pops-out later in our lives and those that have influenced the decisions or values we have today.

Letting go of negative emotions
All of us have negative emotions like anger, sadness, fear, hurt, and guilt. I went through the process of discovering the root cause and got to know myself better.

Admittedly, the process is something that I have to practice and continue to master. But my brain never felt more calm as it is now.

Feeling 100% motivated in pursuing the future of my design
I always knew the things that I wanted to do. But now I have tools to review my thoughts and decision. I now know how to "undo" my thoughts or decisions about them and discover earlier events that may have influenced it.

Be definite that I want to live and be the cause (100%). Take responsibility and action for what I've created.

Trigger creative thinking
I've been studying about making thinking a usable skill and was able to apply it in the personal values, business ideas exploration, suggestion handling exercise. I enjoyed that part a lot and hope to try it out in one of our club activities soon.

Enjoy life to the fullest
With the accumulated insight that I have gained from people, peers, book authors, experts, and the skill I just gained in the past 3 days, I am certain that I can enjoy life much more.

Thank you Geoffrey, Adelaide Start-up Club, and Matt. (hugs)

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Handling Membership Retention Challenges - a chat with Jojy Azurin

It is interesting whenever something online catches your attention and eventually become an inspiration or model for what you want your site to become. That is the feeling I got when I signed up for Business Summaries, a membership-based site that gives members an executive book summary every week.

At some point last year, I almost thought of creating something similar with it through this blog. Realizing later on that I'm not ready for it.

Last February 25, I got the chance to meet the entrepreneur behind Business Summaries and that is Jojy Azurin. Thanks to entrepreneur of a public relations agency in the Philippines, Mel Dominguez, who tagged me along for the meet-up.

Jojy is also known as a pioneer in the search engine optimization field specializing in landing page optimization. He is into affiliate marketing and have done experiments in the said area as well.

As we are both into membership-based sites, I appreciated the insight Jojy shared and some of them I also observed happening in my club site. Some of them are:
  • Having quarterly or monthly schemes may decrease membership retention. Those who charge on a monthly basis often end up losing majority of those who joined on the 2nd or 3rd month.
  • Offer an annual membership upgrade during the 1st 3 months in order not to lose them after such period.
  • Use individual members as champions in getting the companies they work for - to avail of corporate subscription.
  • Experiment with landing pages and pricing rates. Jojy observed that cheap product pricing are often seen as inferior or low quality by visitors. He even sold more when he increased his prices.
On another note, I'm happy to announce that Jojy agreed to give all final top 10 emerging influential blogs for 2009 an annual subscription to Business Summaries. The same goes to 10 writing project participants who may also win a subscription during the raffle. I'll include this in our plug soon.

Also, Jojy is now a club member. =)