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Get the Free 20 questions to Ask Before Launching Your Idea workbook when you sign up for occasional updates.

The Story You Tell Is A Choice

The story you tell is a choice.
Creating a series of lines in the sand.
Symbolic of values that you’re not willing to compromise on.
Your brand can’t be all things to everyone.
This and that.

The brands that stand out, that have soul, that win by being different, choose.
They choose to stand for something, then make that something the foundation of their story.

What’s your story? What lines in the sand have you chosen to draw?

Image by Martin Kalfatovic.

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The Apple Store, Belonging And Love

What’s the one thing you never find at an Apple Store? That thing you probably found in your hotel room when you checked in. The poorly expressed intention to customers, that guarantees they will never come back. Oh, and it’s most likely laminated and taped up in several places.

Ah yes….. a list of rules.

I found that list pasted four times around our ‘holiday getaway’ recently. Every poorly considered word told us what we couldn’t do in the outdoor spa and what we must do. Every time we saw that note we knew that we weren’t trusted and didn’t belong.

The Apple Store is a place without rules. No glass cases. No velvet ropes between the product and the customer. Everybody’s welcome. That’s part of the reason it’s the busiest store in your city. Every single contact point invites you to experience and start getting intimate. To explore, to touch, to play, to linger and belong. There are no barriers to intimacy. And that’s exactly what your customers want from you.

Your customers want to know they belong

Before they can allow your designs, copy, books and products to belong in their lives, they need to sense your intention. They want to trust you and feel that you trust them too.

Your clients want to be welcomed like a friend and wooed live a lover. They can feel your intention at every point of contact. It’s your job to communicate that with all your heart and soul. Doesn’t matter if you sell shoes, coffee, design, copy or connection. Making rules is lazy. Building trust and expressing intentions isn’t easy, but it’s worth it.

Have you found ways to create intimacy with your clients either online or offline? Tell me more about the businesses and brands that you love and how they do that?

Image by Dimas Barquilla.

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You Are Whoever You Believe You Are

While working with people on crafting stories about their brands, businesses, products and services I’ve stumbled across this under-acknowledged fact. Yes it is a fact, with a capital ‘F’ not simply a theory.

You are whoever you believe you are

Some of the most important stories you tell are the ones you tell yourself. The people who really believe in their heart of hearts that they can do anything, are the ones who do. You know this and you know them too. You watch them every day just doing it. Sometimes your heart sinks a little lower in your chest, because you want to believe that you really are, really will and really can too.

You have a responsibility to step into your story. To play the starring role in the epic that you are scripting. Because this is your life. And because the best of everything will be created by the people who can fill the biggest shoes they were meant to fill.

The world needs you to believe in the power of your dreams enough to give them direction.

Go, practice telling yourself an amazing story and then make it come true.

Image by ho hocus.

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Take People Where They Want To Go

The products that sell, made by the companies that succeed wildly have one thing in common.

They take people to where they want to go.

It’s an elegant business philosophy. The ultimate brand strategy.

Neither push nor pull. Just pure magnetism.

Understand where your customers want to go, then find ways to take them there.

Image by Victor Nuno.

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21 Ways To Nurture Your Ideas

Your mountain is waiting.
So… Get on your way. ~ Dr Suess

1. Create an idea saving system.
Find tools that work for you, Moleskine or Evernote anyone?

2. Be ready to capture ideas anywhere.
J.K. Rowling tells the story of how Harry Potter “fell into her head” on a train journey.

3. Step away from the computer.
Pick up a pen, doodle, mindmap, take photos. Use both sides of your brain.

4. Understand your creative process.

Be aware of what drives you. Reflect on how you make things happen.

5. Use tools that inspire you.
Leather journals, coloured pens, scrapbooks, green ink….

6. Be on a mission.

Why does the idea excite you? Why this idea, why now? What difference will it make in the world?

7. Begin with the end in mind.
Visualise the end product, the colour of the book cover, the texture of the paper, the graphics on the packaging.

8. Stand in the shoes of the people you want to impact.
Now create the thing that makes the biggest difference to them.

9. Set goals.
Have milestones you can reach. A launch date. Write them down, then stick to them.

10. Don’t set goals.
Just go.

11. Follow hunches.
Trust your gut. Act on your wildest dreams.

12. Find quiet space.

Meditation, walks, getting closer to nature, time to journal. What works for you?

13. Plan meticulously.

Map out desired outcomes, skill sets, milestones, resources.

14. Work quickly.
Start to finish in a day.

15. Practice blue sky thinking.
Ask what if.

16. Resource and outsource.
Play to your strengths. Learn the skills you need to execute and get help when you need it.

17. Try and fail.
Today’s mistakes are the foundation for tomorrow’s successes.

18. Focus.
Limit distractions.

19. Do the work.
Hit publish, press send, hang the picture or launch the website. An idea without execution is just an idea, it has no impact on the world.

20. Do what it feels good to do.

Ideas that get you up early and keep you up late are the ones that live.

21. Remember that You Are The Map Maker.

Don’t let fear stop you from doing the things that matter.

How do you nurture your ideas? Over to you in the comments.

Image by Bethan.

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Change How People Feel Not What They Do

Every marketing decision you make should be prefaced with this question;
“How will it make her feel?”

Of course you want people to do, but you need them to feel first. When people feel they act. The feeling is what leads to the doing.

Think about the websites and cafes you love to visit, the book titles that attract your attention and the things that you own or covet. They have found a way to tell a story that short-circuits the connection to your heart.

It turns out that changing hearts not just minds, is a great business strategy.

Image by gak.

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If Only

If only there were 26 hours in each day.
If only they understood.
If only the competition didn’t compete.
If only there was more space.
If only the economy wasn’t in such a mess.
If only chocolate didn’t taste so good.
If only the gym wasn’t so far away.
If only they hadn’t launched first.
If only holidays were longer.
If only you didn’t have to take so much time off.
If only people still cared.
If only the margins could be moved by two pixels.
If only you’d read the instructions first.
If only you hadn’t waited.
If only they’d paid attention.
If only she hadn’t noticed.
If only that, not this.
If only then, not now.
If only you had [————].
If only you could do [————].
Nothing to stop you.
If only you could let go of if only.

P.S. If only the media uploader was working you’d see this gorgeous image….. seriously!

Image by Jamie Henderson.

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What Does Success Look Like?

Is it starting or finishing?
Getting there in a hurry?
Or stopping to take in the view on the way?
Is success the elimination of failure or growing with every experience?
Big deals?
Or a series of tiny impacts?
Is success really a destination or more of a journey?
One big blinding flash of brilliance?
Or a thousand of sparks wisdom?
Empire or legacy?
All or nothing?

Success could be viewed from 336,000 different perspectives.

True success though, is creating your own definition, then living that.

Image by Paojus Alquiza.

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Knowing For Sure

What you often want is a guarantee. The sure fire thing. The one that cannot fail. You will ask, how will I know for sure? What’s definitely going to stick? You will question if you are putting the cart before the horse, then try to work out how ‘most people in your shoes’, put horses first to produce a winning product. That’s the human reaction to uncertainty and it’s also what suffocates great ideas.

The best ideas are born, from the uncertainty. Most people, in any shoes build a winning product by getting over the fear. They just start. There are no guarantees. You need to be okay with that. Your certainty must come from knowing that you want to bring something great into the world. Take that knowing and use as the catalyst for doing.

Without action in the midst of uncertainty there would be no Instagram, Discovr, Blueberry Basil Pops or Field Guide To Now.

Once you start wondering about ‘people in your shoes’ and horses versus carts, the idea stops being important enough to matter.

Wonder just enough, then go do.

Image by today is a good day.

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What For What

I gave, now it’s your turn.

Quid pro quo.

Now we’re even.

That’s how business is supposed to work.

Exchanges of like for like.

A trade.

Transfer of ownership.

Profit and loss.

Transactions that can be measured.

There’s no room for generosity in business.

Unless it’s your business.

Because that’s how you’ve designed it and that is who you are.

This doesn’t mean you give away the farm or work for coffee.

It means you practice wholeheartedness.

You work with integrity from a place of intention.

Stand up for what you believe in.

Make sure that every interaction is one that you are proud of.

Walk in your client’s shoes.

Because you can.

And because you recognise that doing business doesn’t mean you have to live by a what for what ideology.

Image by Amy Lloyd.

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