Life Unsettled gives economic, business and personal advice toward breakthrough success via insights with motivation and inspirational stories in episodes. Discover how you can catapult your career and business or online business. Be inspired to create multiple income streams and what you need to get the time and freedom for now and throughout retirement. Thomas speaks from experience and knowledge as a PhD in Mathematical and Statistical Economics and built several companies. Discussions include marketing, career, comfort zone, management, customer perception, social media, outsourcing, automation, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, podcasting and what it takes to be a success.
Comfort Zone – A guide to Personal Development
The comfort zone sounds so obvious, but personal development is much more involved. If you want to grow, succeed or do anything new, you need to go outside it.
The comfort zone is in a situation where a person is familiar, at ease and in control. Outside of the comfort zone there is increased anxiety and stress. So, the further out a person gets the greater the level of stress. The easiest definition I have found is from Wikipedia
The most comfortable place in usually not the best for learning or working.
If a person repeatedly leaves the comfort zone and has a successful outcome, they will actually decrease the stress of being outside the zone next time. While that may sound so easy, why do so few really leave the comfort of their familiar surroundings.
The very fact that so few venture out into new paths during their life, is interesting. The very reason this topic seems easy is that everyone thinks they understand it and do know it is crucial. If you ask people, most will say they do venture outside their comfort zone.
So many say they go out of their comfort zone, then why do so many stay in home towns that have no future or jobs they dislike? Why do so many follow the same path as their parents or neighbors? It is the most comfortable of places.
Success, by its very nature, means you have accomplished something. Therefore, success is always outside of the comfort zone. In order to have success, you need to do something new or different. Continual learning means that at least minimally, you constantly feel uncomfortable.
Meanwhile, the further out the greater the stress, anxiety and fear which can hold you back. Repeated success outside the comfort zone will increase confidence. As you increase experience, confidence increases, and these new experiences become part of your larger comfort zone.
Over time, you will grow accustomed to being uncomfortable and continually making progress. It all becomes easier. So, learning begets more learning. Success begets more success. The key is how to get to this point and to recognize the pitfalls and negative pressure from many around you.
Going outside may appear crazy.
On a humorous note, you might say that success is based you intentionally making yourself uncomfortable. You are intentionally outside your comfort zone. So, seemingly this is an almost masochistic behavior subjecting yourself to discomfort. Yet, this is a basic and key ingredient to success. So, if you truly are extremely successful, maybe you have to be a little crazy too.
The concept of the comfort zone is a very useful psychological tool. You can only grow if you step outside your comfort zone. You must be willing to learn new things and skills through new experiences to grow and be successful.
From time to time, you must re-assess and step out to new or revised goals. The process would only stop when you decide you don't want to go any further or want a break on the way your goals.
With greater skills and knowledge opportunities will increase. When your knowledge increases, your ability and opportunities broaden. You will also find it easier to make educated guesses and other ideas that come to mind will also become better. You will be better at evaluation.
It is very common to notice the success of so many immigrants. One of the reasons that many migrants succeed is that they are more willing to make additional trips far outside comfort zone.
Career Change – Plan it or Take the Default
Why you should be looking at your future career as an ongoing process. You will have change, probably many times, a career is either planned or decided by others for you.
Career Change and paths to new jobs or professions are confusing and don't always go where expected.
Why now is one of the best times ever for career change and career
It may last 2-4 years, but you’ll need every one of those years to make the most progress.
Largely I am setting a framework for thinking about careers in this episode. It will be followed by more action-oriented episodes and hopefully ideas to motivate thoughts.
You should always be planning on changing careers.
On average people have 10-15 jobs during their lifetime.
Some of these jobs are completely new careers.
If you aren’t ready for a career change, it will happen by
default. Now, sometimes that may be an unexpected promotion. Most often, if by
default, you are in a situation that is less than you wanted.
So, if you want to grow and progress over time, you don’t want to let a change affecting you to be a default change. That is, a new job where you might not have a good choice or at a time of desperation. Start your research and include social media to gain contacts, but be cautious of what you say.
Think about it. You will see many changes, do you want to
plan and figure out how to maximize the results, or even just see progress, or
do you want to leave it to luck.
Also, if others around you are working toward positive
change, it may be like musical chairs and you were not ready when the music
Yes, the music may stop because companies are not living as long as they did fifty years ago.
Now for some great news.
Record Opportunity for Career Advancement
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are about 7.6 million job openings and only about 6.5 million unemployed. This is a remarkable time in history. There is such a huge shortage that companies are more willing to train career changers and even are hiring felons that seem to have true potential.
This will not last forever. It is a rare job market in history and caused by the strong growth in the economy and in both new and reinvigorated industries. Simultaneously, so many people left the work force by the end of 2016 that while unemployment appeared low, there was discouraged workers that gave up searching for good jobs. Companies that were looking for workers were trying to keep the hours below 30 per week to avoid large health care cost of the Affordable Care Act. Enough of that issue, we only are concerned with how to take advantage of today’s work environment and why we shouldn’t wait.
Over the next few years, many people will be retraining for new jobs and many are already returning into the workforce. You need to look at both what skills you have and what additional ones you may need. You probably have transferable skills that while not exactly requested, enhance your appeal and others you get through part time school or work. In any case, it is not a time that anyone needs to feel stuck in their position or status in the marketplace.
Both those that are returning as well as those are changing careers will make a transformation to target their skills and experience to new careers.
It is truly a time you can breakthrough to completely new career paths. I say paths because as learn and gain experience more opportunities open up and you may shift your focus.
Goal Setting for Personal Growth and Development
Goal setting for your personal growth is one of the most rewarding tasks people can do. Do you know what you want to be in five years? Do you know where you want to be in 3 - 5 years?
Your goals should be distant at the start of your journey.
You want to develop your own big picture of your future life. Success is personal. Are you on the correct path to reach your goal? Do you know what you want to accomplish this year, within 6 months and today?
While some might feel they don’t like to set goals, it is important for everything from health and family to wealth. This encompasses all factors for personal growth.
A goal should be thought of as similar to a map and directions to some long destination. The wrong decisions lead to wrong or unfavorable direction and can make the trip much longer or even impossible. You want your GPS to be accurate.
Goal setting process
Your goals are your personal goals. If you have a business or career you may be trying to use it for the wealth and financial freedom you desire or just something that makes you happy. However, all of these are the means to an end in your own personal goals.
They should be measurable goals, but I argue against smart goals. Smart goals are good and important for short term accomplishment. Do not use or set them until you have long term goals and a plan in place. In the longer term, you need to allow flexibility. As you learn and gain experience revision is often useful and sometimes necessary.
Big Goals and Life Change can Take Time
If you are after some big personal goals over the next 5 –
10 years, you are working toward something that you don’t already know well.
That is, if as you work towards it, you will find attributes of the new career
or business that you may not like or just don’t want to do. That is, just like
you had ideas and dreams of a future career in high school, college and later,
you changed your mind. Either your likes and dislikes changed, or your
understanding of the career changed.
Decide a reasonable time frame for your goals. In some careers, 5 years is more appropriate while other careers may only take 6 - 9 months. Choose according to the career or goals you are setting, either 5, 7 or 10 years. Anything shorter than 5 probably indicates you are aiming too low for a real life change. This complete change might include a new career, getting out of debt, i.e. debt free, owning a home in a location you want to be.
Let's say you use 5 years for your goal endpoint and you have a big picture of what you want your life to look like. Review your likes and dislikes. This should be a list just like a list of pros and cons for something you might decide to do.
Big Goals are the Ultimate Satisfaction
The ultimate objective or long term goal if a true breakthrough, will not be easy. You will almost certainly need to develop new skills and become familiar with new technology. If you didn't need new skills, you could step into the new career almost immediately. I'll get more into that in the episode on comfort zone and how to do it.
The steps for a goal will have many very satisfying parts. You may go through a series of positions or promotions that give you knowledge, experience and credibility. If planned well, your financial position and wealth will greatly improve.
A goal that is broken down in small pieces also will be easier to accomplish. However, if an end or final goal is easy, the competition will probably be extremely high. Competition will also be the highest for the most glamorous goals.
There are some things you do not like to do but will be necessary to achieve yo...
106 – Everybody makes mistakes Learn from mistakes
Welcome to another episode of Life Unsettled New Path, Better Future. You've all heard things like, "Everybody makes mistakes. Learning from mistakes. Don't worry about your mistakes. It's just part of the process of growing and learning." I'm going to as usual disagree with many of the gurus out there that tell you to just continue to make mistakes as you progress.
This episode is extremely important but maybe a little bit more complex. As I understand the general logic that people have, you learn from your mistakes so you should expect them and you just keep on making them as part of the learning process. The more mistakes you make, the better off you are because you learn from those.
Well that sounds good, but what are some of the keys to making those mistakes and why and what circumstances is that a bad idea? First of course the good. Yes, by not worrying too much about mistakes and realizing you can correct them and learn from them, you have less fear, less hesitation. You move forward and take on new things and do new things. That's really, really important, and that's where most of the stress or emphasis is.
But that's also just in part. It is good in many situations, but when is it bad and how do you learn? Well when do you have to make a mistake? The idea is that first there's two types of learning. One is from actually making mistake, another is actually looking, researching, understanding, thinking through something logically. You have the two differences. I refer to one as wisdom and one as knowledge.
Knowledge is something that you can acquire, somebody can pass it on to you. Wisdom is something for some reason you just can't logically deduce it. It's why over thousands of years we tend to make as human beings some of the same mistakes over and over again.
I have a chapter in my book, "The Mechanics for Breakthrough Success", on that. You can find it on Amazon. Hopefully when they refer to mistakes, they are referring to wisdom, because otherwise you should be able to get it and learn from somebody else, something logically and then make progress a lot faster. That's going to be a key thing and that is the speed and time.
If they're referring to wisdom, what's wrong with learning from other people's mistakes instead of just your own? I have an episode there where we learn from other's mistakes, OPM. That's not other people's money. It's learning from other people's mistakes. That is when you see something else, observe it, think of the why, think of what happened, learn from that. Or if you have somebody who's a mentor or somebody that you truly trust in certain situations, in those situations should you take their idea over your own? One could say they already have the wisdom that you don't.
So if you disagree, should you take your own idea or somebody else's? I've explained that in another place where I actually was in that situation. As I thought it through, here was this some respected person. He was a professor at Hofstra University. He had an idea. He couldn't really convince me or logically explain to me why his idea was better. Nor could I explain to him why my idea was better. So which one should I take?
Well it turns out that almost everybody will take their own idea. What's wrong with that? Well, it makes think like the two of us staking our ideas like a game on it. Now imagine the Las Vegas odds makers are taking the bets and laying down the odds. What do you think is going to be the biggest odds on favorite? He will be of course. So why don't I take his? Either way I'll learn, but I might be on the right path.
105 – Sales Process Changing at Hyper Speed
Today I'm talking about sales, sales process and the sales environment and the business environment. Do we all think of it in certain ways as we've always experienced walking into stores, online even, walking into a car dealership? Things are changing very rapidly now and in the near future.
I want to go over a couple of the things that are changing, and have changed, recently. Really to my entire surprise is how fast those changes are about to take place. Now, it's important, of course, that we understand and adapt to the changes that are already taking place. The changes that are in the near future are even more awesome.
The average consumer today researches his information to make a purchase. Over 50% of them do this before they even have any interaction with any sales associate. Now, think of that. That's a whole lot of difference between what it was in the past, but it also means that the sales associate has a very different purpose today than in the past. In a couple of years, it's expected to be over 80%. Are you ready?
The biggest thing this means is that the salespeople really need to be interacting with potential consumers before they ever become the consumer for your product or your company. That is, doing things on social media. In fact, even if it's not the exact same customer, the understanding and what's going on plus the idea that they may be captured within the sales research process, along with that more mobile devices today are used than desktops, and it's expected to be 80% in the very near future.
93% of people doing research on mobile make a purchase. Think of that in terms of how important it is then to be on mobile, given it's the dominant search criteria today, and that 93% of those people are going to make a purchase after doing that research. How do you become aware of their search and use it? First, how do you make sure that everything you have, your web site and everything else, is mobile-friendly? It's a lot different than just making slight changes in the size and positioning of the interface.
Now, one key point to make is what should you do if you have sales associates, particularly if you're in a store? You've got a store or storefront. For your sales associate, one of the best things you can do, make sure they have mobile devices with them. They can facilitate. Help the customer do research. Obviously, if you hand the customer something to do research with and talk to them about it, you have a much better chance of making that sale in your store than a competitor, providing you have a good story or a good store.
Now, with all the information, cloud-based and now we see artificial intelligence being used. Yes, today, artificial intelligence is already being used in many of the apps that you have on your phone. What does that mean? It means they're adapting to your decisions and your process, the way you click and the things you do, such as your location. Yet, with all the data that's being gathered right now, and tons of information and data being gathered, from everything that you visit, everything that you click, the searches you do, et cetera. How far will it go? Today, companies are using approximately 12% of that data so far. This is a huge set of business opportunities.
Now, you might think they are using so little because the data's so overwhelming, but it's not that. Some of the things that basically the technology is catching up with the data, but it's catching up incredibly fast. I went just this past couple of days, to the Digital Summit in Philadelphia, and it was amazing, some of the things that were discussed there. They also had one of the sponsors was IBM's Watson, and it was interesting to see that and how it's related and how it's actually being used by individual companies.
104 – Future Marketing – Customer Sourced
The future marketing like everything else today is impacted by technology. Most people today have no idea how much information on them is changing marketing to them. In the future marketing, companies will use AI. VR and augmented reality to build marketing for them specifically based on what they do and did.
Today, we’re going to continue from a previous episode where we talk more about what was going on with sales and the sales process. Let's talk a little bit more now about the technology and the future that’s coming up as well as what is existing today and what we have to look for.
Now, to carry on a little bit from last week, we talked about social media, sort of the final part, the final cut. With social media, you can, today, build relationships and build relationship with people who are influencers in your area or your field, as well as people who may potentially be influencers within the sales process of your business, of your product, but relationships can’t be abused. There are some approaches that are really weird and they reek of the time when people thought that they could do it with business cards.
There was actually even some car dealer or something or a used car salesman. He used to talk about and teach people how to just buy tons of business cards and leave them all over the place. Throw them places, et cetera, and it’s almost like we have some of those people out there. As you’ll notice in social media whether it be Facebook, LinkedIn, et cetera, you go and make a contact and somebody sends you back an immediate message saying, “Oh, here’s what I do and here’s what I’m selling. Are you interested?” Well, that’s today considered very obnoxious. It's annoying and while it might work once in a while and will cause stories to be told about how I did this. Some will say I generated sales without thinking. It’s the without thinking part that really is troublesome because it’s not going to build a good business.
What will build a business today, and future marketing? Of course, more and more so, it’s customer service. Customer service now is always on. Think of not just like your instant TV but it’s always on. Customers have access today to more information from other customers, as well as ratings, et cetera, some of it false. You have to monitor things for that reason. It’s why you often hear that buyers are right now considered to be 65%, two-thirds of the way through the sales process because of research before they even reach out to the sales person in your company or any of the company for your product or competitive product. That number is expected and will probably grow easily to 85 plus percent. How do you get ready?
That tells us two things. Sales is rapidly removing the salesperson. What is it replaced by? Customer service, information, the things that make your company and your product more attractive and how comfortable that person is. Get back to building that relationship with existing, as well as potential customers. Today, you can already geotarget to such an extent. You are, say, a real estate agent in a particular area, you don’t need to blast in advertisement into the newspaper. A car dealer doesn’t have to blast an advertisement into the newspaper. They can actually target people who are interested in cars and thinking about buying a car based on social media characteristics that already exist within their very targeted market area.
Technology is changing even more and those changes are going to accelerate quite a few things. Before I talk about what they will accelerate, keep in mind why you need to be interested in this tech that’s coming out. Don’t say, “Well, I’m having trouble keeping up,” because quite frankly, this technological change that’s occurring gives you or your competitors the opportunity to substantially increase
Customer ReviewsSee All
Learn from other people’s mistakes!
Just listened to your episode on learning from other people’s mistakes rather than your own. Great stuff! I definitely agree. I have been fortunate enough to have plenty of mentors to learn from in order to avoid a lot of costly mistakes. Now, that doesn’t mean I haven’t made my own, but I have learned from them. Love the short quick hit format as well. Keep up the good work!
Such a well-produced podcast on a topic relevant to so many. Give it a listen and subscribe today!
Fabulous Content Thomas!
Thomas' podcast offers a ton of valuable information for every aspect of business. As a Solo prenuer, I need this type of advice to help my business get to the next level - without costly mistakes. Listen to every episode - you will learn so much! Coach Riana Milne