IN-Spiration Challenge: Wear Confidence on Your Sleeve

Confidence is everything. Any person can have a good idea or say something inspiring, but no one will hear it if there’s no confidence behind it. People would simply ask, “WHY should I listen to this guy?”

Right now, you might be thinking, “But I am confident. Why am I still not getting people to listen?” Unfortunately, the answer could be what you are wearing.

Confidence is a lot more than just what you say and how you say it. The truth is that we live in an extraordinarily visual society. Style is how you show your confidence.

Think about it for a moment. Think about everything in your closet. Now, pick out an outfit that makes you feel more confident. What makes you feel comfortable? Are they the same piece of clothing? More than likely, they are not. When we think of the comfiest piece of clothing in our wardrobe, we probably think of our favorite pair of sweatpants and an old t-shirt. Not something you’d wear to pitch meeting. Instead, you’d want to feel sharp in a nice suit or a classy dress. Right?

Every day, when I walk to my closet, I think, “What outfit will give me confidence today?” Even if I’m only wearing it to get coffee and write, I put that effort in to elevate my own confidence. That is why I am challenging you to do the same.

Starting tomorrow, I’m challenging you to walk to your closet and “put on” your confidence for the day. First, put on something that you would wear every day and take a picture. Think about how you feel and how you are standing when you are wearing that outfit. Then, find an outfit that brings you confidence.

You know those shoes you have in the back of your closet that made you feel powerful, but you wanted to save for a “special occasion?” Make today a special occasion. Want to wear jeans? Elevate them with a nice top and add a stylish accessory.

Once you find that confident outfit, take a picture and print it out next to the photo of your “comfortable” outfit. Do this every day so, at the end of the week, you can see and feel the physical difference in your confidence. Let that be your reminder the next time you want to dress in leggings in a large t-shirt to work because you felt lazy that day.

Check out the gallery below for some of my go-to confident booster outfits.

Life in Another’s Shoes: How to Embrace Empathy

This week we have spoken quite a bit on the importance of empathy and embracing all walks of life. However, we have yet to speak about how to develop empathy.

Empathy is a crucial skill whether you are dealing with coworkers, employees, customers, or friends. It is what gives us the human connection person everyone craves. In fact, it could be the difference between a good leader and a great one.

Does empathy not come naturally to you? Here are a few ways to empathize with people in your life so you can better understand what they need.

Put Yourself Aside

A pivotal part of developing empathy is to put yourself aside.  Empathy is about putting another person’s feelings before your own. Don’t create something just because you think YOU would like it. Develop’ product because you think other people will enjoy it or find it useful. Look at some of the most successful inventors in history. They didn’t create things because they would get rich. They did it because it would make the lives of others easier.

Put Yourself in Other’s Shoes

Although it’s one of the easiest the concepts to understand, this step is one of the hardest practices in developing empathy. The best way to strengthen this skill, you need to READ and IMAGINE yourself as a completely different person. If you are middles aged, middle-class male business owner, read about a young boy risking his life to immigrate to America or the experience of a single mother struggling to make ends meet in the slums.

Ask Questions

One of the easiest ways to understand someone else’s perspective is to ask questions. Ask how someone would react to a situation or what kinds of struggles they experience every day. Not only will you learn more about how other people live and think, but you will also make that person feel heard.

Listen

The most important part of empathy is listening. Even if you don’t agree with a person’s opinion, listing to their story and ideas will help you understand them. Don’t talk. Don’t argue. Just take a moment to listen and comprehend what they are saying. Notice their body language. Open your heart to them as they are opening up to you. When they share their opinion, make sure they know you heard them. Validate their opinion. It might not be correct, but it is THEIR’S, and they are not going to let go of that thinking easily. All we can do is peacefully agree to disagree.

 

Inspired Brands: The Success and Diversity of “Hamilton”

Our country was created by the persecuted. Those who came from Europe were persecuted for their beliefs. Native Americans were driven off their land because they were believed to be inferior. Slaves were tortured and traded because of the color of their skin. Our country has fought for every right and liberty it has. Sometimes, it even if it means fighting each other from Civil War to Civil Rights.

This is an important fact to keep in mind as a business owner, a marketer, and as an American. Your audience crosses sea to shining sea. And yet, many focus on one group or another.

A perfect example of a successful brand embracing this country’s beautiful differences is the award-winning musical “Hamilton.”

Embracing Diversity From Sea to Shining Sea

Unless you live under a rock, you know about of this little Broadway musical. The show, by the brilliant Lin Manuel Miranda, concentrates on an intriguing idea: a hip hop musical about the founding fathers. The musical had a multicultural cast with Miranda, a son of Puerto Rican immigrants, as the lead. Actors like Daveed Diggs and Leslie Odom Jr. originate other iconic roles.

After the show’s opening, many asked why Miranda chose to have such a diverse cast portray such iconic characters. In one interview, he said, “In ‘Hamilton,’ we’re telling the stories of old, dead white men, but we’re using actors of color, and that makes the story more immediate and more accessible to a contemporary audience.”

And that’s what happened. Being able to get a ticket to “Hamilton” was difficult. In fact, it was equivalent to Charlie getting a golden ticket to Wonka’s chocolate factory. Every day, millions flock to the theater to see the show. Fans buy soundtracks, mixtapes, and anything else to connect to the cultural phenomenon.

Why Hamilton?

Because it became a story everyone could relate to. The little boy in the projects became Alexander Hamilton writing his way to the top. Immigrants are like Lafayette and Hamilton upholding ideals of a country they weren’t born in. Women could see themselves in Eliza or Angelica.

Indeed, it’s a musical for everyone. America is for everyone.

Our nation is a quilt of faces, ethnicities, religions, languages, sexualities, and ideas. Remember, don’t focus on one because it will make you the most money. Embrace everyone and inspire them with your brand.

Keep in mind Lin Manuel Miranda’s inspiring words. “And Love is Love is Love is Love is Love is Love is Love is Love is Love.”

What do you think of Miranda’s words? Of diversity in marketing and business? Let us know in the comments below or on Facebook or Twitter.

In-Spiration Challenge: Embrace Empathy

It has been awhile since I have posted anything on our blog. It’s partially due to the hectic work schedule that I pushed myself through the last several weeks. It’s also due to the design of our blog post schedule so we can continue to deliver quality content more efficiently.

Then, Charlottesville happened this weekend. It changed what I initially planned for this week’s theme.

This week we are going to focus on empathy.

Empathy is a skill that I am proud to possess, something instilled by my mother. It is also something often overlooked in the business world. It’s thought to be a weakness. It’s a symbol of status to be able to turn away those who cannot afford your product. It means you are a luxury brand; it’s exclusive.

However, this can not only be a disconnect from untouched target markets, but it can and has become dangerous. By making people believe that they are better and deserve superior treatment to everyone else, we begin to encounter anger when they are treated the same of everyone else.

Think about it

We see it every day in customer service and sales. There will be some customers that are calm and understanding when faced with a small mistake like the wrong coffee order. Mistakes are human and the coffee is remade. Then, there are the customers that throw a fit. They insult. Sometimes they yell. They also get a new cup of coffee, but who do you think those employees look forward to seeing again? Who will get the more active customer service?

The calmer customer displayed empathy, understanding, and they are the ones that will earn the loyalty of the many. The other is a product of culture telling them “You are inherently worth more and you don’t need to understand those considered below you.” Then, when they’re not treated with the utmost care, they get angry.

That is what we see now but on a larger and more dangerous scale. We are now faced with an entire group of people that were told they were better, deserved more, and who believe that power is being taken away just because some else wants to be treated with equality.

As business people and as people who control the image of society in the media, we have an obligation to condemn this behavior. We must show that we will no longer stand for this lack of empathy toward other cultures. We are all equal human beings who deserve to be respected, not threatened or forced into the shadows. Now is the time to understand one another, love one another.

 

The Challenge

So, my challenge for every one of my readers is to spread compassion. Display kindness. Express empathy towards those targeted by this hatred. Create an atmosphere at your business that embraces different cultures and ideas. Most importantly, do not show indifference.

Elie Wiesel once said, “The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference. The opposite of beauty is not ugliness, it’s indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it’s indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, but indifference between life and death.”

Take a stand. Invest in love and empathy.

In-Spiration Challenge: Learning to Inspire Yourself

To start with, this post is a little late and we would like to apologize for that. Now that we are a month into the Write Mind Media brand, we are experimenting with the order of our usual posts to make a greater impact on our readers. Once we have a set schedule, we will post it here.

Now, for our challenge, which we are going to try on Mondays for now to inspire the rest of the week.

Our challenge this week is…. Be Your Own Inspiration.

We’re challenging you to be your own inspiration because if you cannot inspire yourself, you will never be able to inspire others. This could be through your own quotes and writings or look back on your own experiences. Look back on your life. What did you do that shook you to your core and shaped you into what you are today? Did you fail, but were persistent enough to get back up and follow your beaten path?

By reflecting on your own life you can find pearls of inspiration that can touch the lives of your audience just as they affected your life. We are daring you to take that into your own hands. Own it. Take pride in it. See these moments for the inspiring pieces of the story they are and allow it to shake the world.

So, write your own inspirational quote. Write a short memoir even if you are the only one reading it. Inspire yourself. You may be surprised by how much it will energize you to succeed in the future.

Then share them with us. Write Mind Media is always looking for inspiring quotes and stories to feature on our blog. We look forward to hearing from you.

Our In-spiration Challenges are meant to push the limits of our followers so they can inspire themselves as entrepreneurs and human beings.

What is “In-spiration?” In addition to creating custom content for entrepreneurs, Write Mind Media LLC is dedicated to helping business professionals create inspiring brands.  We help them to become better business professionals and human beings through inspirational quotes, an in-depth look at how these ideas can help you in business, and developing weekly challenges to push our readers to do better.

IN-Spiration: Think About Change From Different Point of View

Now that we’ve talked about taking action and chase your dreams, we have to talk about what happens when you keep trying the same approach with no positive outcome. We want to explore change can be very different depending no the person. There is only one quote that is perfect for this idea.

“Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” Albert Einstein

Humans are creatures of habit. We do the same thing every day even when we are desperate for a change in our lives. If we even think about deviating from the daily plan, we become terrified of being unproductive or failing at life. Want a quick change to spice up your life? You change your hairstyle. When we want to lose weight, we go on the same diet that takes off a couple quick pounds, but only leads you to gain twice that weight after. If you want to enlighten yourself, you go on an “Eat, Pray, Love,” trip. Do you continue to meditate when you return to your normal life or does it become a picture on your mantel?

This becomes harmful to our personal discovery. Even when we decide to change it’s in predictable in a way that keeps others from judging us. Want a quick change to spice up your life? You change your hairstyle. When we want to lose weight, we go on the same diet that takes off a couple quick pounds, but only leads you to gain twice that weight after. If you want to enlighten yourself, you go on an “Eat, Pray, Love,” trip. Do you continue to meditate when you return to your normal life or does it become a picture on your mantel?

Want a quick change to spice up your life? You change your hairstyle. When we want to lose weight, we go on the same diet that takes off a couple quick pounds, but only leads you to gain twice that weight after. Want to travel? Don’t just go on road trip to your grandparents’ house.

You are different from everyone else. Be different in every aspect of change. Go left instead of right. Don’t just cut your hair dye it bright red or blue.

Do what feels true to you. Be your true self by any means possible and don’t fall into insanity or mediocrity.

Now, what do you think? What does this quote inspire in you and how can you apply it to your business endeavors? Or your personal endeavors?

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What is “In-spiration?” In addition to creating custom content for entrepreneurs, Write Mind Media LLC is dedicated to helping business professionals create inspiring brands.  We help them to become better business professionals and human beings through inspirational quotes, an in-depth look at how these ideas can help you in business, and developing weekly challenges to push our readers to do better.

In-Spiration: The Importance of Action in the Face of Inspiration

Maya Angelou taught us the importance of self-reflection. Karl G. Maeser explained the necessity of being a better version of yourself. Today, we look to Thomas Jefferson, one of our country’s founding fathers, about how self-reflection and the desire for evolution are nothing without action.

“Do you want to know who you are? Don’t ask. Act! Action will delineate and define you.”
― Thomas Jefferson

We touched upon this topic with Maeser yesterday. After all, evolution is just another form of action. However, evolution can happen both internally and externally. An action is nothing, but physical. It’s applying for the job, setting your alarm earlier, and going to that yoga class.

The reason we are expanding on how you apply your self-reflection is that it is imperative to success. No one has ever succeeded by standing still, whether it’s a person or a rock on the shore. Eventually, your will erode until you become small, broken, and easily swept by the tide.

Constantly working and pushing for what you want is the only way to ensure your success and you can be certain that your hard work will define you as a visionary, influencer, and innovator.

Will it take time?  Yes. Years? Probably. Most of the best business men and women were determined individuals that worked long, passionate hours for years to achieve their dreams. So, don’t give up now. Keep going. Act and show the world who you truly are.

Now, it’s your turn. Do you agree with our interpretation of today’s quote or do you think you can do better? Act! Let us know in the comments below or leave a comment on our Facebook page and Twitter. We want you to inspire us.

What is “In-spiration?” In addition to creating custom content for entrepreneurs, Write Mind Media LLC is dedicated to helping business professionals create inspiring brands.  We help them to become better business professionals and human beings through inspirational quotes, an in-depth look at how these ideas can help you in business, and developing weekly challenges to push our readers to do better.

How to Network: The Foundation of Influence

Courtesy of Kaboompics

In addition to writing and marketing, I have also worked in entertainment and if there is one thing that I have learned in that experience, it is that networking is everything. Knowing people and collaborating with them not only gives you new opportunities, but it also lays the foundation for future followers.

However, not everyone understands the importance of networking or are too shy to follow through with conversation. That is why we are giving you a few tips on how you can improve your networking skills

1. “You know, sometimes all you need is 20 seconds of insane courage, just literally 20 seconds of embarrassing bravery, and I promise you something great will come of it.”-Benjamin Mee, “We Bought a Zoo”

 

Courtesy of Kaboompics

When I met Elie Wiesel for the first time, it was because of 20 seconds of insane courage. The goes with meeting people like President Muhammad Nasheed of the Maldives and interviewing Piper Kerman, the author of the book “Orange is the New Black.” If you see someone that you admire or who you have always wanted to work with, 20 seconds is all you need to say “hello” and make a first impression. Don’t let those 20 seconds leaves you in the dust.

Bonus Tip: If you’re really nervous meeting new people, have a go-to friend that will help introduce you and make sure the conversation doesn’t die. Think of “How I Met Your Mother” and Barney’s favorite game “Have…You Met Ted.”

2. Speaking of First Impressions

Always be ready for a good first impression. If you were to see me out, working on these blog posts, you would see me in a nice outfit (normally a nice blouse, heels, and my Lucky Brand jeans that I swear by) with my hair and makeup done. You only ever get one shot at making a first impression and you never know when it might happen. It might be at a conference or it might be at Starbucks in the morning. Always be ready and waiting to make that next, crucial connection.

Bonus Tip: Invest in a conversation piece. With a simple outfit, they grab attention and can start conversations. Mine is a pair of saddle shoes that no one can believe I got from Payless.

3. “Let Me Give You My Card.”

There is nothing more important than making sure that you leave a conversation with a person’s card and they leave with yours. Invest in nice, eye-catching business cards that stand out amongst the 50 other cards people get at conferences. Also, don’t forget to send a quick “Nice Meeting You” email after big events to keep the conversation going.

Bonus Tip: Don’t be afraid to get creative. Horror filmmaker, Lynne Hansen, leaves “I Make Films Like a Girl” buttons at every film festival she attends. By the end of the festival, everyone knows her name.
Courtesy of “I Make Films Like a Girl” Facebook page

4. Have to Go to Conversations Starts

Small talk sometimes is a good way to start a conversation, but are cliché and die off quickly. Prep some interesting topics in your field that will not only make you memorable but will also impress the other side of the conversation. If they think you know what you’re talking about, they will be more likely to come to you in a pinch.

Bonus Tip: Want to speak with the expert from that panel you loved? Don’t be afraid to wait on the edges after to speak one-on-one with them and ask in-depth questions about the topic. It shows your initiative.

 

IN-Spiration: Self-Evolving Must Always Follow Self-Reflection

Yesterday, we explored the importance of self-reflection. Why is it important to regularly examine your life? Today, we will seek inspiration from a 19th-century educator on the importance of constantly be evolving yourself.

“Be yourself, but always your better self.” – Karl G. Maeser

We live in an age where anyone can be anything. Individuality is encouraged. Being innovative can lead you to great success and influence. However, one must also approach this with caution because it can possibly restrict your self-reflection.

How does it do this? Because if you believe the habit is what makes you YOU,  you will be more likely to not change it.

When you develop your own style or way of doing things, it is YOUR’S. You’ll defend it. If you do something that is against the grain of society, you might say it is a part of what makes you unique. You’re a rebel. No rules are good rules. When that leads you to get stuck, though, you need to look into your own habits first. It doesn’t matter if it’s part of your aesthetic. If it doesn’t work, it needs to go.

Let’s look at Netflix, for example. The multi-billion dollar company started as nothing more than a Blockbuster* your could use from your living room. One click of a button and the company would send your favorite movies straight to your mailbox. When they started their streaming service, they tried to separate it from the Netflix name, calling it Qwikster and upping the fee for the service. It backfired on them.

Netflix quickly realized that they couldn’t keep their old way of business and still succeed with Qwikster. They had to completely change. So,  they started offering more streaming under the Netflix name. However, It wasn’t until they completely changed and became a production company in their own right that the company found its true success. Without that transformation, we would never have shows like “House of Cards,” “Orange is the New Black,” or “Stranger Things.”

Self-reflection, whether in business or your personal life, can only be successful if it leaves to personal evolution. So, take your moment. Breathe and reflect on your life. Then, get to work.

Now, it’s time to decipher Maeser’s quote for yourself. What do you think he means? Is being yourself hinder you from being a better form of yourself? Let us know in the comments below or leave a comment on our Facebook page and Twitter.

What is “In-spiration?” In addition to creating custom content for entrepreneurs, Write Mind Media LLC is dedicated to helping business professionals create inspiring brands.  We help them to become better business professionals and human beings through inspirational quotes, an in-depth look at how these ideas can help you in business, and developing weekly challenges to push our readers to do better.

*Blockbuster, in case you are too young to remember, was a video rental store that was extremely popular in the 90’s, but died out in the early 2000’s. At least 10 are still open in the United States today.

Motivational Monday: Channeling the Light of Maya Angelou

Today’s motivation comes from the life of a favorite poet of mine: Maya Angelou.

About Angelou’s Life

While she is known for her book “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,” she was also known as a singer, actor, director, and civil rights advocate. In fact, she was a good friend to civil rights leaders such as Martin Luther King Jr.

Most importantly, she was a spiritual leader to many through her words and no-nonsense attitude. She forbade curse words in her home due to the power the words could have. Leaders of peace like Nelson Mandela and President Barack Obama called her a friend. She was truly a “phenomenal woman” as she described in her popular poem.

Photo Courtesy of Maya Angelou’s Facebook Page

Angelou had a difficult childhood, having been sexually assaulted at the age of eight and being mute for several years after the incident. Even then, she knew that her words held the power to change the world. Eventually, she would pen the story for “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.”  The memoir would be what took her from a famous entertainer and activist to a global icon.

What We Can Learn From Maya Angelou

This week, we are focusing on becoming your own inspiration, to use your life as an example of perseverance and success. There are very few people that personify this ideal than Maya Angelou who faced adversity from so many fronts throughout her life as an African American woman.

Even though she has passed on, I doubt that her words will ever be forgotten. They are not unlike the words of Elie Wiesel, Alexander Solzhenitsyn, or Malala Yousafzai. They serve as a testament to a life lived. She learned from her experience, reflected on it, and allowed those lessons to make her a better human being.

As an entrepreneur and as an influencer, you must learn from your own life experiences. What would make your life easier? Think of what inspires you, makes you happy or sad. If YOU don’t ask the questions…someone else will and they will be the ones that inspire the world.

So, follow Maya Angelou’s advice.  “Be a rainbow in someone else’s cloud.” Find your light so you may inspire others to do the same.