Category: Marketing Insights

Creating a Life that Matters

Note: This is a guest post by Pete Bissonette.

Are you doing what matters most to you?

Does your work give your life meaning?

I’m not asking whether you are happy, but whether your life has meaning.

A study in the Journal of Positive Psychology examined attitudes toward happiness and meaning. It showed a meaningful life and a happy life overlap in certain ways, but are ultimately different.

“While happiness is an emotion felt in the here and now, it ultimately fades away, just as all emotions do,” wrote Emily Esfahani Smith about the study in The Atlantic. “The amount of time people report feeling good or bad correlates with happiness but not at all with meaning. Meaning, on the other hand, is enduring. It connects the past to the present to the future.”

Another study confirmed this, she said. “People who have meaning in their lives, in the form of a clearly defined purpose, rate their satisfaction with life higher even when they were feeling bad than those who did not have a clearly defined purpose.”

Giving your work meaning can be a simple shift in perspective, as it was for me.

Back in the 1990s the focus of our company, Learning Strategies, was to sell more audio programs and enrollments. We were sales oriented as were most companies.

Then we switched our mindset from selling to helping more people experience their potential, and two things happened. First, I felt more fulfilled and happier, and second, our business grew significantly. The level of meaning in my life increased considerably as did the success we enjoyed.

My colleague Stewart Emery and his co-authors of the book Success Built to Last interviewed two hundred of the world’s most successful people and uncovered the same experiences.

“Above all else, no matter where they have chosen to excel—in business, the arts, sports, social service, community, or family—each has achieved success by focusing on the things that matter most to them,” he said.

“Enduringly successful people follow their hearts, aligning their thoughts and actions with their passions,” said Stewart. “They become energized by their work and stay on purpose and committed in the face of setbacks and challenges.”

I couldn’t agree with him more. During our company’s long-term success, there have been some extremely difficult times. But as long as we held fast to our vision to serve others, we really never had to worry. It fueled everything we did.

To create a life that matters to you, consider the following:

  • What gives your life meaning? What brings you the greatest joy? Loving what you do and who you are is the greatest motivator for building lasting success. Just shifting our company focus from sales to impacting people, gave me and our staff meaning, and it continues twenty years later. Is there a shift like that you can make?
  • Are your thoughts toxic or supportive? Are negative thoughts and self-doubt or the criticism of others drowning out that voice inside of your head—that whisper or “silent scream” telling you what really matters? Learn to responsibly manage your thoughts in ways that keep you on track to your goals, despite obstacles or burdens you will undoubtedly face.
  • Are you taking action? What are you doing to bring you closer to your goals or attract into your life people and activities that will support you? While meaning drives success, meaning without action will get you nowhere.

When you align your thoughts and actions with what gives your life meaning, you magnify your passion and impart greater clarity to your purpose than ever before.

About the Author

Pete Bissonette is author of the forthcoming novel, Breakfast Tea & Bourbon, where living a meaningful and joyous life weaves through the story. He is the president of Minneapolis-based Learning Strategies, a personal development training and publishing company founded in 1981. For more about his novel, please visit: http://www.breakfastteaandbourbon.com/

How to Craft an Effective About Page

Man using a laptop with light bulb over his headYour About page is really about your target audience—providing your prospects with information about you, demonstrating how you differ from all the other companies out there, speaking to their needs, and giving them a reason to reach out to you.

That said, it can be hard to craft an effective About page, and many businesses make the mistake of simply writing a dry business biography.

Generate New Clients by Attending Networking Events

Business network concept. Communication.Networking events aren’t just opportunities to rub elbows with other entrepreneurs. They’re also an opportunity to find new customers and clients.

Why?

Basically, if you’re selling products or services for consumers, every networking event is filled with potential customers. Entrepreneurs buy consumer products and services too. And if you sell products and services for business use? You’re still in the right place.

Here are some tips for generating new clients by attending networking events.

Have your elevator speech ready.

What’s an elevator speech? It’s basically a super-short, interesting summary of who you are and what you do. Short means about 30 seconds or less, allowing you to get the point across even if you don’t have the other person’s attention for long. Use it when you meet people for the first time. It’s an ice breaker that may lead to questions about your business. At the very least, the person on the receiving end learns who to contact when he or she needs the product or service you provide.

Give out business cards.

As you introduce yourself and strike up conversations, pass out your business cards. Sure, you have a great website, and everyone in the room has smartphones, but business cards give people a tangible way to remember you and what you have to offer after the night is over. Let’s face it. It’s hard to remember phone numbers and website addresses when you’ve only heard them once.

Don’t sell.

You’re not there to take orders and collect cash, right? You’re at a networking event to network. Go ahead and do that. If you are friendly and interesting, attendees will remember you in a positive light and be more likely to call on you when they need something. If you go around the event pitching your products and services, you’ll only turn other attendees off. It is okay, however, to insert what you do into relevant conversation. For example, if a group is discussing computer problems and you repair computers, share how you’ve handled similar problems for your clients.

Be helpful. 

Make sure attendees know you’re willing and able to help. Be willing to share information and resources or make introductions. Share insights and offer to meet up to continue conversations in the future. This makes you more memorable, which may lead to sales and referrals.

Ask for referrals and recommendations.

No one knows what you need unless you ask for it. Get to know at least a few of the event attendees, and share your goals and objectives with them. Share how referrals and recommendations can help your business, and be willing to reciprocate.

Generating new clients is an ongoing process. To increase your client base, you have to remember that potential clients are everywhere, even at networking events. With this in mind, you will always be ready to reel a new client in.

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7 Must-Read Blogs for Entrepreneurs

There are many, many helpful blogs out there for the budding or established entrepreneur. However, there are only so many hours in the day, and no businessperson can read them all. When it comes down to it, you have to choose a few that you simply don’t want to miss. We’ve made this job easier by compiling a list of 7 must-read blogs for entrepreneurs:

Are Business Cards Still Relevant?

There was once a time when a businessperson didn’t leave home (or the office) without a stack of business cards at the ready. The business card was one of the most critical tools forgetting your name and contact information out there. In today’s world, websites and Facebook pages may seem to have replaced this more tangible calling card, but business cards are still relevant.

Here’s why:

5 Tips for Surviving Networking Events

networking eventNetworking events can be essential to the success of any business endeavor. Remember that old saying, “It’s not what you know. It’s who you know?” That still holds true.

Networking gives you the opportunity to make important connections, get leads and referrals, learn more about your industry and competitors, and make a name for yourself in your field. Despite this, the idea of attending one of these events may strike fear in your heart. Don’t worry–with a few simple tips, networking is a breeze.