I’m a big fan of Brian Tracy. For those of you not familiar with him he is a motivational speaker and a successful businessman. I was introduced to his teaching several years ago by my husband. My husband, at one point in his career, was involved in sales and Brian Tracy was an integral part in his success.
More than just sales, however, Brian Tracy is helpful when it comes to personal development. Back when I first started my online writing journey I had very little confidence and was somewhat overwhelmed with all the possibilities. It’s easy to doubt yourself and give up in the beginning. Brian Tracy’s teachings helped me to fake the courage when it wasn’t there. By doing so, I didn’t give up on learning how to make money doing something I loved to do.
Psychology of Achievement
I’ve been through a lot of Brian Tracy’s books and just a few days ago checked out the Psychology of Achievement audio book from the library. It’s a short 2-CD book but it’s jam packed with personal development tools and goal setting techniques.
Every time I read a Brian Tracy book there are sayings and concepts that stick with me. This particular go ‘round, one of the concepts was positive versus negative thought patterns. He then explained that positive people focus on solutions while negative people dwell on the problems. Which one are you?
Panda, eHow and Tanked Earnings
As I was listening to his book I realized that I unknowingly implemented some of his goal setting and personal development tools. In this book he talks about problem solving and gives an outline of steps to take for not only solving problems but doing so quickly and efficiently.
He suggests that once a problem arises take the following steps:
- Approach problems logically (versus emotionally)
- Change your speech patterns or your language from negative to positive (challenge vs. problem)
- Clearly define the situation or challenge
- Identify the possible causes
- Identify the possible solutions
- Make a decision
- Assign responsibility for implementing the solutions, and finally
- Set a deadline
In retrospect as I read his book I realize those are exactly the steps that I took right after Google’s Panda algorithm change and the eHow article buyout. Check it out:
Step 1: When I looked at the situation initially I had two options; I could cry woe is me and flitter from forum to forum and blog to blog posting complaints about how unfair the whole situation was and how hard my income was affected by the changes. Or, I could get about the business of regaining my prior level of income.
Step 2: I looked at the situation as a challenge and a character-building obstacle. If I looked at it in any other way, I would’ve fallen into the negativity trap of self-pity. A challenge however is something that we all can rise to.
Step 3: I had to clearly define the challenge. In this case the challenge was that my major source of income was no longer available and my secondary source took a major hit. The result was a 52% drop in income. My challenge was how to replace that 52% drop in income as quickly as possible.
Step 4: This was a no brainer. The causes for the income drop were algorithm and business model changes that were out of my control.
Step 5 (a long step): When it came to identifying the possible solutions my list was long. I sat down and thought of just about anything and everything I could do as an online freelance writer to regain my prior income level. This took about a day of brainstorming to figure out what I was going to do next.
I could have continued doing what I had done in the past. That meant I would have to work harder by increasing my content on existing sites in an attempt to regain my prior glory. The problem with that was there were too many factors out of my control. I have a lot of articles on Suite 101, but Suite had fallen out of Google favor. HubPages and all the rest of the content sites have fallen out of favor too so in my opinion it didn’t make sense for me to continue spinning my wheels on such sites knowing that it was a tenuous uphill climb. I had to find other more enjoyable solutions.
Because of my brainstorming session, I came up with several solutions to my challenge. I have yet to implement all of them because I’m taking them one at a time. What I like about the brainstorming session is that it opened up my mind to a host of options. Once I complete option #1, I’ll go onto option #2 and then #3 and so on.
I think brainstorming is something that we as freelance writers should do periodically so that we don’t continue to limit ourselves to the obvious solutions only. Get creative. There are options that are less visible but take a bit of creativity to unearth.
Step 6: I made the decision to implement the option that I thought would bring in the most income in the shortest period of time. I made that decision within 24-hours of my brainstorming session (in the first 24 hours after Panda/eHow I went back to Demand Studios, but realized that was a huge mistake).
Step 7: Assigning the implementation responsibility was easy because when I looked around the room there was only person with her hand up so I chose Felicia to implement the plan. Actually, she was the only person in the room that didn’t have paws so assigning tasks was a no brainer. Before implementing the solutions, however, I had to write out the game plan.
Step 8: Setting the deadline was also easy. I knew that I had to get back to my prior income level within six months. That was the goal I set and that’s the goal I am working towards. I’m in month five and am very close to being where I was before this whole thing happened. Why? Because I chose to look at the solution instead of the problem.
I had to chuckle when Brian Tracy then said (after listing the 8 steps), that by implementing the steps you can achieve more in one day than the average person can achieve in a week. In my case it was 6 months instead of 12 or 18.
More than Just Writing
Since reading Psychology of Achievement (I’ve listened to it over and over since I first checked it out of the library), I realize that his methods can help me in other areas of my life. To that end, I’ve taken new directions on a couple of challenges in my life.
If it works for me, I know it can work for you. Sometimes when you run into situations where things aren’t turning out the way you want them, take time to evaluate, brainstorm and plan. It’s amazing how such simple steps can help you to shape your future.
|If you enjoyed this post, why not sign up for NJFM’s Motivation for Writers Newsletter.
A dose of motivation will be sent to your inbox every Monday.