Seasons Greetings

network explosionDespite the load shedding, unpredictable weather, traffic jams and stressed out people, this is a great time of the year. Over half of the Joburg population is racing time, trying to update their work load and fit in Christmas shopping before leaving for the annual holiday. The frenzy adds to the excitement of the busy Johannesburg lifestyle, so in the middle of all of this, I would like to take time out of my frenetic schedule and wish you all the best for the holiday season. Enjoy your holiday, wherever it may be, and savour the time spent with family and friends.

Network Explosion, together with businesses that we collaborate with, took time out this week to celebrate a great year with a year end function in Fourways. Hilarity was the theme and relationships were strengthened as we laughed our way through a lunch with loads of refreshments and seasonal spirit.

Thanks to clients and co-workers for all of your support this year and may we move into 2015 with hope and anticipation of growth and good things.

Seasons greetings to you all and a Happy New Year!

network explosion

By Karen Lancaster

What is Mindfulness?

 

Don’t you think that a major part of being successful in business is being successful as a person? When we reach a place in our lives where we are more rounded and content with ourselves, we can spread that into every other are of our lives.

Recently, everywhere I turn I hear or read what seems to be the latest buzzword – “mindfulness”.  The definition of this adjective is to be conscious or aware of something, and synonyms include the following words: sensible, alive, alert, acquainted, heedful and wary.

I’ve discovered that there are whole websites dedicated to mindfulness and plenty of mindfulness apps available for our smartphones. Basically, mindfulness seems to be living a life that is more aware of the moment.  It’s a form of meditation.  A more esoteric definition would be an intentional acceptance and non-judgmental focus of attention on emotions, thoughts and sensations in the moment.

It’s quite an interesting concept and apparently has many benefits including a stronger immune system, decreasing stress and depression, improving focus, strengthening empathy, improving relationships and fighting obesity.

As wonderful as this all sounds, what on earth does it have to do with social media? Well, working in social media tends to make me the complete opposite of being mindful. At Network Explosion, we tend to be future oriented, always looking for new ideas and innovative ways to market our clients through social media platforms. The platforms themselves are changing by the moment and we are continually working at being in the forefront of what is happening. The social media space is very exciting, however it can be pretty hectic and even exhausting at times.

I was initially attracted to social media because of its supportive environment. Slowly I have seen it being consumed by all of humanity’s usual flaws, driven by greed and power. I have also noticed a recent trend where consumers have become disillusioned with corporate power and bullying and have returned to small business and local stores where transparency and relationship are important.  And this is where I see mindfulness playing a part. No matter the size of the business, being mindful, with all of its benefits, should surely improve business. As business owners are healthier, happier, more empathic, focused and less stressed, their businesses can only benefit, especially with improved relationships.

I’m going to give it a bash, I certainly can see no harm in it.

By Karen Lancaster

Focus – Essential Element of Successful Entrepreneurship

Focus

I have friends who have a German Shorthaired Pointer who is their pride and joy, named Casey. She is the most amazing dog with boundless energy and the most incredible focus that I have seen. One of her favourite activities, amongst the many that she loves, is to play ball. Casey can play for hours and in all that time, she never once loses focus. No matter the size of the ball, she will catch it or find it every time. She leaps to incredible heights to catch the ball and it is like poetry in motion. Her eyes stay fixed on the ball and don’t stray until that ball is in her mouth.

And so it is with entrepreneurship. Focused determination is an essential element to successful entrepreneurship. It has been said that focus gives exponential results.

What is Focus?

Focus is clarity of vision.  It is the recognition of where you are and where you want to be. Knowing what is relevant to you and what will get you where you aim to be. Focus is carefully choosing the right opportunities and discarding all others. It is eradicating distractions, which will cause you to struggle on the path to your success. Like Casey, you need to single-mindedly pursue your ball.

When the sun is directed through a magnifying glass, it’s heat is intensified and it has the power to ignite fire. So focus can intensify your path to the future. So, choose your destination, then focus on the means to get there with determination.

By Karen Lancaster

Vision – Essential Element of Successful Entrepreneurship

vision

Walt Disney said that all of our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them. Last week we looked at courage in the life of an entrepreneur, but this week we are looking at another element of successful entrepreneurship – vision.

Without vision and goals:

  • we will have nowhere to go,
  • no-one or nowhere to lead,
  • nothing to focus on.

Dreams lead to vision. Vision leads to goals. Goals lead to action and results.

So the question is “What are you trying to achieve?”

Vision gives us consistency, however we don’t just need vision for that end result, we also need vision for the many steps that it will take to get us there. We need targets, monthly goals and so on.

I have heard the suggestion that when you know where you want to go you can work backwards to get the steps to get there.

We all have different ways of setting our vision and going for it, but it all starts with a dream. Here are some questions to help you work through vision.

  • What makes your heart beat a little faster?
  • What would you love to do all day every day?
  • What do you want to do with your success?
  • What do you want your venture to look like?
  • What kind of people do you want to hire?
  • What kind of company culture do you dream of?
  • How are you going to get there?

And most importantly, do you have a vision and what is it?

 

By Karen Lancaster

Courage – Essential Elements of Successful Entrepreneurship

Courage

I’m sure you’ve heard it said that courage is not the absence of fear, but going ahead anyway, despite the fear. Anyone who has ever had to face a fear head on, like bungy jumping with a terror of heights or caving with claustrophobia, knows the amazing sense of achievement that comes when the fear has been tackled and overcome.

A first time business start-up needs this same courage to break out of old ways and take the calculated risk of going for the dream. The rewards certainly make up for the risks, but it doesn’t make it easy in the early days when bills are piling up and making enough to pay them is a challenge. The most frightening part is probably the initial decision. However, with every big milestone in business, there will be new challenges and courage will have to be exercised again.

Here are a few moments of courage that will be needed as you start your new venture.

  • Courage to turn your back on the security of a job
  • Courage to walk a different path to start your own business
  • Courage to follow your own convictions
  • Courage to stand your ground against those who challenge you
  • Courage to step into unknown territory
  • Courage to follow your instincts

The problem is where do we find the courage for all of this? The following are some simple tips to help build courage.

  • Start with small steps
  • Acknowledge your fears
  • Be willing to fail
  • Don’t focus on anxiety
  • Don’t give up
  • Just do something every day
  • Revisit your vision frequently
  • Manage your stress through exercise, breathing techniques, meditation or whatever helps you best

Courage grows with use. The more we use courage, the easier it becomes. It is much like exercise – difficult initially, but it improves with practice. So, there is nothing else to do but to simply do whatever you keep putting off.

 

By Karen Lancaster

Digital Media Coach, Social Media Marketing

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