Big Scary Fear when it Comes to Marketing!

One perhaps not so brilliant way of curing fear?

One perhaps not so brilliant way of curing fear?

Fear! Fear! Oh no – big and scary!

Even typing this out makes my hair stand on end – even though I am really taking the mickey out of it.  In my own business on many occasions I have at times been paralyzed by fear.  Sleepless nights, being really anxious, stressing my friends out (thank you so much Simona, Edward and Jenny!) all to find out “Why on earth was I like that?”.

Fear to me is a very strange emotion in the respect of it’s importance.  Even though I am considered by many to be a successful entrepreneur, I deep down sometimes don’t feel that especially when up against a great deal of adversity or when one takes a knock in their business.

Fear again is strange in that originally I used to be “Real Chicken” of everything and did whatever I could not to feel fear! The reality of this move, I did some very stupid things and lost all of my money and destroyed my life.

Fear is almost that contradiction type of emotion, you need a healthy dose! One extreme is pure Ego / Reckless Behaviour  with the other extreme Poor Self Esteem / Anxiety & Paralysis.

The big thing I have learn as a business owner personally and seen play out hundreds of times with the people I have worked directly is the critical importance of getting the balance of “Reckless Vs Anxiety” balance right. This is much easier said then done and I think in many cases it’s natural to go from one extreme to the other!

In terms of when my business talk a big knock in 2011 and even when I launched the Awesome Marketing Vault, it gave me some big insights here into myself and the Pro’s and Con’s of fear.  If you are up against it, I think it’s very important to listen to it in that of giving you signals to do something about it, but when you have – the other side is that you relax and try to take it easy.

Also, I like to remind myself and fearful clients that this happens to everyone! We all feel fear and anxiety which is great – it means we care! But of course, don’t let it take over like I have to me all the time.

Hope you enjoyed this one and a big thank you from Edward Zia!

The Requiem of Positive Thinking: Part I – The Employee

Listening to my boss and Positive Thinking - Got me unemployed for 6 months!

Listening to my boss and Positive Thinking – Got me unemployed for 6 months!

This is probably going to be an odd blog post for me in the respect that I have been “mentally” writing this for a few weeks now.  Even though I am considered quite articulate, putting into words the emotions and ideas have been a challenge for me on this one. I think this will appear to be a bit more of a serious diary entry, rather than a blog this time – so thank you for bearing with me.

What is interesting about this post to me, is that I usually write with a clear end goal in mind.  In this case, I am actually not sure what that is – my thinking is that as I write away it will somehow unfold. So another apology in advance – please keep up with my writing that may drift from topic to topic, I want to keep this as raw and uncut as possible.

As I write this post I am 34, I started in the professional workforce when I was about 19 – and did most of my University Undergraduate and Post Graduate work around that.

I grew up a big “positive thinker” and as I moved through my life “realism” has kicked in – and since I have been approaching things in a balanced manner my life has completely improved in almost every area.

One area of strange concern to me has been my corporate / employee career – for my whole life, my career has been ironically my own “goal of success” but really ended up being an elusive oppressor.  I now completely love what I do now and I can contribute to others and enjoy the work – but my whole life has had a very “master / slave” relationship about it. That is, I would start out as the “bright eyes” hardworking guy putting my life and soul into many corporates and getting a very small return on that back.

As a qualification, before you think I am attacking the whole workforce – of course not! This could easily be a reflection of me on perhaps being too sensitive, looking at things in an absolute manner or perhaps me being attracted to the wrong employers due to my own “mindset issues”. I once worked with this fantastic man by the name of Mike Davey – General Manager of Wrest Point Casino in Hobart, one brilliant and kind man – obviously had a job to do, but always protected the underdog.

In fact, when I moved from Hobart to Sydney – my original business ventures all were a spectacular failure and I had to go and get a job again. This kind man was referee for me and everything – helped me when I was down!

Conversely, early on in my career – I also had the opposite experience.  One employer I worked for – I would work long hours, reply to abusive emails late at night, finish work at 11PM all to be at my desk 7AM the following morning – and then to top it off, when I finished up with them they falsely accused me of negligence to get out of paying me my entitlements.  All as it was so they could keep all the money they could, at my expense despite the years of dedication and service. I recall that one was painful and very demoralizing and it was the beginning of the end for me when it came to positive thinking.  I felt sorry for myself, angry, confused and cheated – and many more dark emotions.  That started my career on a tough path – I remember I thought it was a “one off”, but it became the start of many and my first “requiem of positive thinking”.

What I found was scary about what I have been through – was that I met many people who had it worse than me.  That is, they weren’t “Jerry Springer” people or bad people many are kind and good-natured university educated, the religious (i.e. Christian, Muslim, Jewish – all faiths), charitable etc – all had some things which although weren’t illegal (expect in some cases) companies did some horrible things to them.

It wasn’t always intentional however, yes – some of the people who do the firing are pure sociopaths, but some as well are good people who are put into a position where they have to be the grim reaper for their company.  I remember I was at Ansett Airlines (if you are not from Australia it was a premium airline from years ago that crashed within days after the downturn from September 11) – they were a company with some great staff, but they financially weren’t stable.  They had employees I think with 40+ years experience who had never worked anywhere else.  I knew this one guy on the line at the Tullamarine Melbourne Base – it was so shocking, he committed suicide (hanging at his house) to deal with the pain.

This is one example of where it’s no ones fault, bad stuff happens to all of us.  What I am more concerned about / appalled by – is that when good people are screwed over by bad people, i.e. it’s someone who has clearly taken advantage of another party.  One top solicitor I know in Sydney – she is extremely intelligent, hard-working at had a great job at a small law firm.

One of the bigger public firms that you would ironically think are “more ethical” and all that hired her on a 6 month probation. When she went on, they asked to bring her clients (which she did and is common practice) and they spent lots of time telling her how wonderful she was.  This included public praise, dinners and everything.  Once they secured her last client (1 week before her probation), they fired her!

It turned out it was all a rouse designed to get her clients.  They knew what they were doing right before they hired her and guess what – 100% legal!

I remember one ironic one – I was worked for a “community”, “Not-for-profit” and it was one of the most evil organizations I worked for.  I worked for the casino in Hobart and they  ironically were fantastic and very ethical and this was the other extreme.  petty, abusive and it had a reputation for that.  I remember going for the job, not wanting it – and they kept chasing me. I even said no originally and they did the sell job on me.  My brief was to get someone in, train them up, build processes and guess what happened when I did that – they sacked me! So the trick was to use me for my knowledge, set things up then get rid of me.

Obviously no ethics and this has been thing thing I have been debating quite a bit with myself:

– Are they just purely evil scum-bags? Akin to rapists lurking on innocent women at train-stations or bandits from the early days? Do they get satisfaction out of other people suffering?

– Are they just self-centered? That is – they only care about themselves and what they can gain.  If being nice to their grand mother or selling someone into slavery makes them money then all good? That is, they will only cause suffering if it benefits them in some way?

– Are they truly messed up? That is – they think they are wonderful through performing a range of mental gymnastics, while everyone thinks they are messed up?

I think there are combinations of these of course, and I can think of people who fit into many categories.  I had this line supervisor that was certainly evil in nature.  They were bullying (and I have had people bully me who were not “evil” in nature) but what separated this person over the rest was that you could tell the enjoyed it.  That is, in the case of this person – whenever they dominated someone, proved themselves “right” (or at least to themselves), or yelled at people – an evil smile could come through.

Whereas, in one job (this was a few years ago, the worst job of my career) a “good” person did something bad to me.  That is, they just wanted to get rid of me right before probation (this was the place that sold me the job and told me 1 week prior how great and valuable I was) and the CEO made up some lies about me.  The HR Manager who was actually a “good” person backed those lies – and then told me one-on-one he was sorry.  I could tell deep down that he hurt himself doing that, and I know that he did it out of fear – not out of getting a thrill.

One that ripped me off on some of my employee entitlements, I wouldn’t think they are evil – but in the category of just purely self centered.  If being nice to me would make them money, then great – if killing me would make them money then great.

On a positive note, when I started my career I had this fantastic line supervisor by the name of John Voudouris.  He was this really kind and good-natured family guy.  He had a very strong code of ethics and I remember that I was moved side-ways into another division.  I then had this really mean manager who blamed for a whole lot of stuff that was hit fault, and John was there to help me out! It worked politically against him in the company to support me – but he did it.

On another funny note, years ago one of my employers was trying to get me to misrepresent one of their properties (i.e. basically make illegal claims about it’s quality and claim it confirmed to a certain scheme where it didn’t).  Really bad stuff and the owner and HR manager at the time were busy “telling me to do it” – I didn’t do it, they threatened to fire me and I stuck to my guns (as the legal penalties were far worse than anything they could do to me).

My story isn’t that unique though! I know plenty of people that have had way worse things happen to them and even though one can accuse me of “thinking too much” or “being overly sensitive” it’s a common problem these days.  I am all for capitalism – but one trend I have noticed (especially in Sydney) is a real “dog eat, dog world”.  I meet lots of people who have been fired, kicked out, lost contracts with funding held, been sexually harrased by bosses – only to be countered by a defamation suit and the lists goes on.

Interesting enough when I was working as a marketing manager in the pre-GFC world – I could do an easy $120K + / year.  These days, getting $90K + / year as a corporate is a challenge.  Before I got my business brains together, it was very demoralizing thinking that “all my skills had gone to waste”.  Although I had grown up being a happy little corporate with my self-esteem tied to my bosses opinion of me, my biggest mistake was being too slow in realizing that my skills in this space weren’t viewed or held with the esteem they once were.

I always did what my bosses said for years and in many cases – I got punished for it.  In fact, when I started undoing this thinking and actually doing something for myself (i.e. my own business), the financial and mental rewards have been there! This is the bit that has been frying my brain:

My Old Teaching – Be all positive, live for your boss, and be frustrated poor and unemployed.

My New Paradigm – Work hard for your job, but live your own life and build your own equity.

In that previous job where the “not evil”, but very “gutless” HR manager supported lies to feed me to the dogs, in the space of 1 week I went from thinking I am great and valued – to not having professional employment for 6 months!

This was the first (of many) big cracks in my thinking – I was taught to always love your boss and do what they say and this time my family and I got punished for it.  So an interesting concept – when I was younger I used to look around and think “This is all isn’t right” and then I would use tons of “positive thinking” and pretend everything was fine.

Being broke and 30 changed lots of my thinking! So that is my part I for now on “the requiem of positive thinking” my mini-blog within a blog.  I am not sure what is going to come next, but if you can relate to any of this – you are welcome to drop me a line at my wesbite or comment below!

Hope you enjoyed this one – took me a while to get the words out, so hope it made sense.  Thank you from Edward Zia for the read!

The Dangers of “Faking it Till You Make It”

You don't think you will get exposed?

You don’t think you will get exposed?

In quite a few courses I have done they have all given similar advice of “Faking it Till You Make it”.

Conceptually I get it and agree with it partly – i.e. you may not be brilliant yet, you feel insecure, but “Pretend” you are to help you get there.

That makes some level of sense in that when we start something new, we may be totally brilliant at it – but at some emotional level we feel bad.  We then “Lie” to ourselves, saying we are great and eventually we believe it.

Hmm makes sense, but I have seen the dark Under-Belly of this used (often to the charlatans demise around the Sydney scene recently.  Consider these examples of unethical deception at work which I have witnessed personally:

LIE #1 – People pay me $500 for my services

REALITY #1 – The liar exchanged money (i.e. $500 for $500 so it’s NIL) with others so they could make this exagerrated claim.

LIE # 2 – I just did over $200K+ worth of sales.

REALITY # 2 – This person has no money.  I know that – they told me so and when you meet them you know!

LIE # 3 – I have consulted to Microsoft, Dell & HP

REALITY # 3 – The person just solicited them and failed – now they call themselves consultants to them.

I don’t doubt that some people are fooled by this, but the reality is that most people with some level of Street Smarts see right through this.  I have plenty more examples of this very unethical marketing too.

What I find very odd is that for the people that are doing this – they aren’t getting results.  That is, honest hard-working people are doing better – but you get these shonks coming to market thinking they can do better.

So I am all for puffing yourself up to make yourself feel better – but be really careful about when your “Spin” turns into “Lying”.  It’s actually against the Trade Practices Act and you won’t want to wind up on TV! Substance, Facts and Substance! By all means a bit of Spin is good – but watch yourself out there. As for you liars I am talking about above – I hope you get what is coming to you soon.

And you honest people are totally awesome and rock!

Hunting “The Negative” Disguised as “The Positive”

Negative People love “Street Art” on their Cars!

As you have probably picked up – I have almost made it a hobby of attacking both extremes of “Thinking”.  The strange irony I have found with all of this is that many “Positive People” to the extreme, actually aren’t positive at all!

They are truly negative people who either have an agenda or they are putting on a show trying to convince the world they are really something they are not.  I had a very funny experience at a place where I did some training at.

Although I am an experienced Marketer – I enjoyed some additional studies that I did.  What was very funny is that when I engaged with them, they were a real “Love Hugging” crowd.  You get the type right? All full of group hugs – “Love”, “Abudance” and all that.

Don’t get me wrong – I am all for “Love” and helping “Poverty” and all that.  The thing I found of interest is that what sat on the surface, was far from what it actually was.

Going back to some similar early experiences I had as well – you find some places spend an incredible amount of Marketing Effort to put on this “Happy” front so they can get people all excited so they can charge more.  What was quite interesting, is that as I learnt more about many of these organizations (i.e. when the facade crumbles), you get the real stuff:

The Attitude.

The Never Ending Up Sell.

The Aggression the Minute you don’t do things their way.

Yes you heard me! These happy places actually can turn aggressive on one when you don’t “Do what they want”.  That is – regardless of whether it’s good for you or not, some organizations only are “Happy” when they are making money out of you.

Hmm interesting no? I think there is a real lesson to be learnt here about really how being “Fake & Positive” is used as Marketing Tool – and not an actual Principle.

My big learning from all of this is to by all means be trusting and take reasonable commercial risks – but if someone is “Too Positive” keep an eye out.  In my own experience, truly Positive People are balanced caring individuals.

The “Super Positive” people are usually quite volatile.  It often swings the other way against you when you least suspect!

So if you find some “Negative” people doing “Positive Marketing” – you have my permission to do some “Street” art on the side of their premises.

Shallow Graves and Evil Unethical Scammers

To All the People Who Scammed Me – Suck on this.  How’s that for Positive Thinking you whackers?

Now, before you ready this – please don’t think I am a “Cowboy” or some fruit cake that just does things based on how I “Feel” in that moment.  “Gut Feel” or more precisely “Intuition” isn’t always 100% Accurate, but in my own experience – it’s 80%+ accurate.

I have gone against my Gut Feel at times very successfully, but I have learnt the hard way – if my “Gut Feel Alarm” is going off, I better pay some attention to it.

Recently I had a very strange request from a Referral from a Referral to help out on a Project they were working on.  It was very odd and the person who needed my help was just “Acting” like my best friend (even though I have known them for about 10 minutes).

As you know I have had cultists and all those lovely people have shots at me – so I am very wary about “Instant Friends”.  So I was careful, went against my gut feel and helped this person.

Cutting a long story short, I worked hard for this person – delivered everything they wanted and then they didn’t want to pay me.  That is – they made up this lie justifying why they can weasel out of it.

I then went and told a few people who met this person and they laughed at me.   In fact, one of my friends picked up that this Rat-Bag was trying the same sort of thing on them.  It did knock me around a bit, but now I look back and almost snigger at the event.

The reality is that there are Evil Rat-Bags in this world.  The Positive Thinking Wankers / Dickheads out there make out “The World is such a Nice Place” – but seem to forget that over 50% of the world’s population lives in poverty.  Whenever I point these facts out, the wacko’s just put me down or say I am “Out of Sync with the Universal Energy”.

Well to you Positive Thinking idiots (who usually have no money) – I know some very powerful people that think you are completely out of touch.  The most successful people I have met are “Positive Realists”.  That is, they want the best out of a situation, but accept at the same time there is alot of negativity in the world one must navigate through.

So my advice from this painful experience? Your Gut Feel isn’t always right, but a good indicator! And if someone screws you in business like I got nailed a few weeks ago – move on! Not worth it.

If anything, hopefully those Negative Evil Scammers will one day cross the wrong person – and wind up pushing up daises somewhere in the middle of a park.  Boy I wish I learnt this 20 years ago!

Negative Thinkers: The Joy of Shooting them in the Face

Time for some Love you Bully / Negative Thinker :)

Time for some Love you Bully / Negative Thinker!

I don’t know about you, but I am sick and tired of Negative Thinkers (and of course, Negative Thinkers who disguise themselves as “Positive Thinkers”).

You may remember from my last post, a certain “Negative Thinker” engaged in Vampirism with my poor neck and only now are the wounds starting to heal.

Like anything upsetting in our lives, sometimes we can get knocked off our chair – but then we gradually put things into perspective and move on.

This has really got me thinking about my whole life and reflecting back on my Wins, Losses and everything in between.  I remember right from the age of 8, right to my nice age of early 30’s now – there have always been “Negative Thinkers”, “Bullies”, or “Vampires” that whenever I have wanted to achieve something noble or big for myself – they are there to slow me down or not make it happen.

Right from bad bosses, to manipulative people, or even deceptive Multi-Level-Marketing people (who have mastered the art of looking “Positive”) – you have to be careful in this day and age to make sure people don’t suck you into their precious “Agendas”.

One thing I have learnt to take pleasure in, is standing up to the bullies and “Negative Thinkers” who don’t really give a rats about you personally – and only care about what resources they can extract from you (i.e. be it sick pleasure form your suffering, taking your money or even your time).

In fact, one thing I notice is that we when stand up for our own-selves and focus on what we want in OUR OWN lives, just like Cock-A-Roaches the Negative Thinkers scatter when the lights go on!

So my big learning, make sure you are living your own life and doing WHAT MATTERS to you!  And if you have some free time over the weekend, go and shoot a bully in the face or something like that.  Do you think I am joking? Maybe (depending on who is asking). Boy I wish I learnt this 20 years ago!

“Positive Thinking” & How the Government Dominates Us?

You Just Need to Be “More Positive”

The Government, The Greens and many leftist factions right are really taking over Australia and punishing the masses.  Two of their clever tricks are “Labelling” and “Positive Thinking”.

That is, if you aren’t a fan of the Carbon Tax – let’s say due to the ideas of jobs going overseas, weakening the economy or you just can barely afford to survive financially as it is – the Leftist and the Government just label us:

– “Anti-Environmentalists”.

– “Global Warming Deniers”.

– “Negative”

– Etc Etc.

It’s really sad in Australia how people in the Media and the Government is really limiting free speech.  That is, the minute we disagree with something – they just attack us with the other extreme.   Just because we don’t want to destroy the Australian economy – we get accused by the far left of crazy ideas that we love “Destroying Forests” or whatever.

Unfortunately, these people really understand how to use “Labelling” and “Positive Thinking” against us.  Because, unless we agree with them – they just use these horrible labels and call us “Negative” and make out we are “Bad” people and the like.

Then, if you get sucked into their arguments, they con you into just being “Positive” so you just become Passive and don’t question or do anything about it.  “Positive Thinking” can be dangerous in the wrong hands, they use it as a weapon to dampen people with opposing arguments. Be careful it’s a jungle out there! Remember, the Government and these Leftist Factions are political machines and experts in manipulation.  As long as you remain aware what they are doing – they won’t suck you in!

[Edward’s Comment years later: Oh yeah, Tony Abbott is Prime Minster.  Yeah! We won in the end, ha ha to all you silly socialists out there!]

The Unfair World We Live In – Not Letting it Get to You?

One thing, that I have honestly struggled with over the past year is the world we live in. It’s not a very fair place – and being a Christian myself I have pondered again and again the time old question of:

If there is a God, then why do bad things happen?
Now, before you think “Oh No, this is one of Those Preachy Blogs and Ed’s Going to Preach to Me” I just want to make it clear that that is not my intent and I respect whatever God or No God you choose to believe in. Thanks to Mel B from Flickr for the angry kitty pic.

Now, putting that aside – this has been doing my brain in! For example:

– Why does someone genuine like Michael J. Fox suffer from Parkinson’s?
– Why do children starve in 3rd world countries, who have never done anything wrong?
– Why do “Good People” suffer?
Then, this bit fries my brain:

– Why does Paris Hilton do no work and have lots of money?
– Why do some people have rich parents and don’t have to work like me?
– Why does Nicolas Cage still get work and star in movies?

These above questions which have been bugging me, I bet have bugged man since at least 5,000BC. But I finally figured out the answers to this question:

No one really knows. The people that “Say They Know” probably don’t.

You have to control your focus. That is, you can never figure this out and you will go mad in the process.
If anyone does find out this answer, they will probably know the meaning of life – which means if you have, please let me know 🙂

This article leads to another lesson I think, which is that it’s critical to “Choose your Focus” wisely. What do I mean by that? Well, you can for example focus on:

– How unfair the world is?
– How rude people are?
– The fact you are alone right now.
– The fact you haven’t achieved what you want in life right now.

Or alternatively, you can focus on:

– What you need to do to improve your own situation.
– Who you care for and vice versa.
– Jumping on Facebook and saying hello to your friends.
– Focusing on what you can do now to improve your situation.

I am not saying “Be Positive” and ignore problems around you – I am just saying that sometimes we can focus on “No Win” situations that will just send you mad.

Here’s to not going mad! 🙂