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Marketing and the Mat

By Gail Z. Martin
In yoga, your mat becomes the space in which you grow, stretch, and find rest.  Your mat is both a laboratory for self-exploration, and a refuge where you work out the stiffness that comes from carrying the burdens of life on your shoulders.

When you come to your mat, it’s important to come without judging yourself.  Yet, while you don’t judge, you are supposed to be aware.  Are you more stiff today than yesterday?  Does something hurt today that didn’t hurt yesterday?  Is one side moving more easily than the other?  Did a pose finally “click” for you?

This process of checking in with yourself has value outside the yoga studio.  How often do you go through the workday berating yourself for being off your game, instead of reacting to the variations of every day with compassion, asking yourself why today is different for you?

We’re not robots.  We’re going to have high-energy days, and days where we sleepwalk, days when we feel like talking and days when we don’t, days when ideas come easily and days when every thought seems to require hard work.

What would happen if instead of judging ourselves and beating ourselves up because we’re not just like we were yesterday or the day before, we ask: What’s happening with me today?  Where am I strong today?  What’s going hard for me?  Then play to your strengths instead of fighting your temporary weakness.  If today it’s easier to be social than to write, get your phone calls taken care of and leave the writing for tomorrow.  If you’d rather be working alone than talking with other people, switch your to-do list to accommodate what your mind and body are telling you they need.

When you recognize your daily fluctuations in energy and interest, and adjust your expectations and to-do list accordingly, it becomes much easier!

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Letting Go of Perceptions

By Gail Z. Martin

When I started practicing yoga, I had a lot of ideas–perceptions–of what it should be like.

I thought it would be really hard. It wasn’t.

I thought everyone in the class would be as bendable as Gumby.  They aren’t.

I thought my teacher might be a fire-breathing vegan ascetic.  She isn’t.

I thought I might really embarass myself.  I didn’t.

One of the things I learned from yoga was how often our perceptions are totally wrong, and how we limit ourselves when we believe incorrect perceptions–especially when it comes to what we’re able or unable to do.

What perceptions do you need to re-think?

Have you held off from tackling something that scares you (like social media) because you don’t think you can do it?  Have you shied away from practing a new skill (like public speaking) because you’re afraid to fail?  Have you held back from doing something you’ve always wanted to do because you’re afraid of what someone else might think?

Now’s the time to break loose from those old perceptions and find out just how wrong they are.  When you challenge the perceptions that are holding you back, you find out they’re nothing but shadows–fears, misinformation, and misunderstandings that are keeping you from freedom and fulfillment.

Why not make today the day you challenge at least one perception and see what happens?

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A Matter of Balance

By Gail Z. Martin

Yoga has become a big part of my life since I started practicing two years ago.  I can’t do some of the fancy postures where you seem to levitate on one finger (and that’s ok, because yoga also is about letting go of competitiveness).  But one place where I can see a big difference is in my balance.

I got a WiiFit for Christmas a year or so ago, and when I did the yoga section, it rated me on my balance by having me stand on the WiiFit board on one foot and then the other while it recorded how much I wobbled.  And did I wobble.  The little red dot jiggled all over the screen.

Then I started to really work on yoga poses that emphasize balance.  At first, I wobbled and lost my balance.  I had to start over, put a foot down, steady myself against a wall.  But an amazing thing happened with practice.  I got better at it.

I still can’t levitate on one finger. But I can stand on one foot without wobbling for much longer.  I can lean foward while standing on one foot as if I’m about to take off in flight without falling over.  And every time I move through my balance postures, I gain strength and confidence.

How’s your business balance?  Are you wobbly, thrown out of kilter by every news report about the economy or every conversation you have with someone who thrives on the negative?  Or are you remaining balanced, calmly working your plan, making course corrections when needed, remaining focused without veering into wild overconfidence or bottoming out in despair?

Do you get all your news from one source, or do you seek balanced input, questioning input that predicts impending disaster, validating before believing negative news, making sure your news sources don’t have hidden agendas?

How’s your life balance?  Do you still have time for friends and family?  Do you take time to enjoy nature, a walk with your dog, a good look at the stars? Do you take time for yourself?  Take time to give to others?  Take time to learn and play and care for your body?

When you start to work on your balance, it’s amazing how good it feels.  Why not make a conscious effort toward regaining and improving your “balance” and see what happens?

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How Flexible Are You?

By Gail Z. Martin

I love my yoga.  In the two years that I’ve been practicing, I’ve gained flexibility and balance, along with confidence.  I’ve learned just how “yummy” stretches and twists can feel.  And I’ve gotten more comfortable in my own skin.

Flexibility is both a part of practicing yoga and an outcome.  In the beginning, most people discover just how stiff they are, how un-flexible they’ve become due to age, a sedentary lifestyle, or old injuries.  With time, the body becomes more supple as you practice, able to move more freely.

Maybe your company doesn’t require physical flexibility, but success in today’s world definitely demands mental flexibility.  So, how flexible are you?

Do you waste time missing “how things used to be”, or do you dive in to the challenge of learning something new, like social media or using a smart phone?

Are you fearful of technology, or flexible enough to learn how to use it safely and confidently?

Can you adjust your sales funnel for the “new normal” of the current economy, or are you still trying to win business like you did in 2007  (and wondering why it isn’t working)?

Are you comfortable trying out new networking groups, new live  or virtual events, and new ways to connect online?

Without flexibility, we become stiff.  When we’re stiff, we move less and less until we don’t move at all.  When we work at remaining (or regaining) flexibility, movement is a joy.

Where are you stiff?  How could you loosen up?  Where could you practice some flexibility?  Make a conscious effort to be more flexible and see what happens!


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What is Your Outrage Distracting You From Doing?

By Gail Z. Martin

In the book “Meditations from the Mat,” the author asserts that when we allow ourselves to be caught up in outrage over something external (such as politics, neighborhood gossip, or the behavior of celebrities or the stock market) we are using outrage to keep us distracted from the problems in our real life.

Wow, that explains a lot.

I thought it was a valid point.  When we rant and rage about something that we can’t control, we keep our minds off the things that really matter, things that we could do something about if we would face up to them.

I can remember times in my life when I was consumed with outrage over something I couldn’t do anything about.  And if I’m honest, I can also remember that there were problems closer to home that I was just as happy not to think about, either because I didn’t want to take the action necessary or because action would require change I wasn’t ready to make.

We seem to live in an age of perpetual outrage.  If you can’t manufacture enough on your own, there are talk show hosts, columnists and blogger who can stoke your fire.  So what issues are we using all this outrage to avoid facing?

Odds are, it’s different for different people.  It might be health problems, getting financial matters in order, addressing relationship problems, or taking responsibility for upgrading skills.  It might be dealing with old baggage, forgiving or asking to be forgiven, taking a risk, or accepting limitations.

Whatever the issue behind the outrage, it won’t go away.  Not only that, but the outrage itself is bad for your health, damaging to relationships, and toxic to productivity.

Maybe it’s time to turn off the TV, stop reading, watching, listening or hanging around with the outrage mongers, and get down to business becoming the change we want to see in the world.

What could you do with all the energy you’re wasting on outrage?  This is one “energy crisis” you can solve all by yourself.

“Like” my 30 Day Results Guide page on Facebook and enter for a chance to win a grand prize worth $497! 30 Day Results Guide – https://on.fb.me/sDMf1R

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Are You “Beyond” Help?

By Gail Z. Martin

I recently talked with a couple of prospective coaching clients, but had to sadly admit they were “beyond” help.  It’s not that I couldn’t address their issues, or that I wasn’t confident that I could develop a strategy that would enable them to overcome the obstacles standing in their way.

They were “beyond” help because they spent the entire interview call assuring me that they knew everything there was to know, and that, despite the fact that things weren’t going the way they wanted them to, they really weren’t open to suggestion.

I felt very sad for them, because it’s entirely likely that their problems will persist.  The problems may even get worse, leaving these people frustrated and worried.  These were smart people who had accomplished a lot.  Something had even driven them to inquire about help.  But in the end, their egos wouldn’t permit them  to actually accept that help.

I think at one point or another, we’ve all been like that.

If you’re a parent, you know the frustration of having a toddler–or a teen–resist asking for help because they’re convinced they can do it on their own.  At a certain level, that’s an opportunity for growth and learning.  But in the cases where you’ve given it your best shot, done everything in your power, and it still isn’t working, you’ve got two choices: keep beating your head against the wall or shove your ego out of the way to get the help you need.

What are the places in your life where your progress is stalled?  Might it be because you’re resistant to asking for help?  Is your ego worth whatever it’s costing you to achieve less success than you could attain?  It’s difficult to humble ourselves enough to ask for help, but the rewards far outweigh the embarrassment of admitting that we don’t know everything.

“Like” my 30 Day Results Guide page on Facebook and enter for a chance to win a grand prize worth $497! 30 Day Results Guide – https://on.fb.me/sDMf1R

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Six Things to Think About Before You Self Publish

By Gail Z. Martin

With the rise of ebooks, many writers are going the self published route.  Is it right for you?  Before you decide, here are some things to think about.

#1 Is your book fiction or nonfiction?  In general, nonfiction is easier to sell because many nonfiction authors also speak on the subject or are in a business related to the subject.  That provides a natural avenue for sales outside of bookstores that fiction authors don’t have.

#2 How much do you like to do marketing?  Even traditionally published authors shoulder most of the burden for marketing their books.  Self-published authors do it all.  If you don’t like it, aren’t good at it or won’t get around to it, better think twice.

#3 Can you deal with snobbery?  There’s still a lingering stigma in some corners (mostly fiction) about self-published work (at least, until you sell a gazilliion copies, which is more the exception than the rule).  Bookstores won’t stock you, and even genre conventions may not roll out the red carpet.  There’s little enough glamour left in publishing even in the traditional manner, so if you’re in it for the ego boost, better think twice.

#4 Can you sweat the details?  If you’re going the self-pub route, you’d better be obsessive about details.  That means paying for editing (no, you can’t do it yourself), formatting, cover art, ISBN numbers and similar details, shopping cart workings, etc.  You are essentially launching a new business.  Are you up for it?

#5 How will self-publishing this particular work affect your brand?  Again, in some  corners of non-fiction, like Internet marketing, there are people earning seven figures off self-published home study courses.  In other industries, there’s still a bias toward traditional publishing credits.  Make sure you help, not hurt, your brand with how your book represents you.

#6 Are you really angling for a traditional book deal?  Yes, a few people gotten invitations to publish their originally self-published book with a traditional publisher, but many others have lost the ability to sell that work to a publisher because it has had prior exposure.  The verdict is still out on this, and publishers aren’t consistent.  Make sure you can live with your decision.

Self-publishing is more acceptable than ever before and technology has closed the quality gap.  With the Internet, you can reach a global audience.  But to succeed, you need to ask yourself six questions and be honest with your answers.

Writing a book is a fantastic step toward achieving your dreams, promoting your business and exploring your creativity.  Make this the year that you make your dream come true!

“Like” my Thrifty Author page on Facebook and enter for a chance to win a prize package of author resources: The Thrifty Author – https://on.fb.me/srVa13

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Keywords Are King

By Gail Z. Martin

Consumers and reporters often turn first to search engines like Google for their news. When they look for information that is relevant to your products and services, how likely are they to find your Web site and your press releases? Think of your own behavior as a consumer. It’s rare for someone to look further than the first page of search results.

“Keywords” are the terms customers use when searching for information with a site like Google. Many companies make the mistake of focusing solely on getting their company and product name onto search engine results and forget that prospects may not yet know the name of their company or product. These valuable prospects are going to search on more generic descriptors, “used car” instead of “Ford”, “plumbing services” instead of the name of a company, or “color printers” rather than a brand name product.

Choose the keywords carefully for your online content to make it easy to search.  Your content will work harder for you when search engines serve it up in the first page because you’re using strong, popular and relevant keywords.

(Excerpted from the brand new book 30 Days to Online PR and Marketing Success: The 30 Day Results Guide to Making the Most of Twitter, Facebook, Linked In and Blogging to Grab Headlines and Get Clients by Gail Z. Martin)

“Like” my 30 Day Results Guide page on Facebook and enter for a chance to win a grand prize worth $497! 30 Day Results Guide – https://on.fb.me/sDMf1R

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A Cart of Your Own

By Gail Z. Martin

Now that you’ve decided on how to accept payments, it’s time to shop for shopping cart programs.

Online carts vary tremendously in cost, ease of use, and flexibility. Ideally, you want a program that has capacity for you to grow without being prohibitively expensive for your transaction volume.

OneShoppingCart.com is a program popular for its user-friendly attributes. There are many other programs to choose from; just be sure to investigate cost and capabilities before investing.

At a minimum, an online shopping program should enable you to do the following:

  • Accept some form of online payment (ideally, several types of credit cards plus PayPal or a similar online money transfer program)
  • Offer a variety of products
  • Set prices and edit descriptions for your products
  • Deliver your downloadable products as part of the purchase process
  • Notify you via email when a purchase has been made
  • Track applicable sales tax

In addition to the basic functions, you’ll find it helpful if your cart can also:

  • Handle multiple payments (enabling you to offer payment plans)
  • Accept “affiliates”–resellers who promote your products in exchange for a percentage of sales
  • Create autoresponders to continue the conversation with buyers by offering follow up messages via email
  • Provide you with options for how your “buy” link is presented and how your digital products are delivered
  • Create coupon/discount codes

Many template programs, such as Citymax, come with their own shopping cart functionality. While convenient, these programs often have limited capabilities. If you outgrow the template program and want to change your Web hosting, you’ll also have to rebuild your shopping cart. These built-in programs often do not offer enhanced capabilities such as the ability to accept affiliates or process payment plans. Think ahead to determine what range of functions will best serve your business over the next few years.

(Excerpted from the brand new book 30 Days to Online PR and Marketing Success: The 30 Day Results Guide to Making the Most of Twitter, Facebook, Linked In and Blogging to Grab Headlines and Get Clients by Gail Z. Martin)

“Like” my 30 Day Results Guide page on Facebook and enter for a chance to win a grand prize worth $497! 30 Day Results Guide – https://on.fb.me/sDMf1R

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The Magic of Setting Intentions

By Gail Z. Martin

My co-blogger Sheryl Eldene really woke me up when we were talking about setting intentions and she suggested setting them daily or even hourly, not just big life goals.

Wow.  That’s so simple, and so powerful—but it never occurred to me until Sheryl mentioned it.

Now, I do it all the time, and I find it makes a tremendous difference in how my days go.  I wake up and set an intention for the day, and it changes everything.  Maybe I have a challenging schedule.  Instead of thinking, “Wow, today’s going to be grueling”, I now set an intention, “Even though it’s busy, I intend to have a clam, productive day.”  It helps reduce the stress level, and makes my perception of the day much more positive.

Hourly intentions help, too.  If I have a meeting with someone who can be challenging, I don’t waste time dreading it.  Instead, I set an intention: “I intend to keep this meeting calm and stay on track, diffusing tension and achieving a win-win.”  It’s amazing how it changes everything!

I usually also try to set intentions for the week.  That’s a little harder, because so many variables can arise, but with an intention stated, it’s easier to stay on track.  An intention is not a to-do list, so it’s not just a list of what you “intend” to accomplish!  Rather, I set a weekly intention of making sure I get the most important tasks done well, refuse to stress about what doesn’t get done, and remain calm and positive to those around me.  I’m certainly not perfect and setting an intention doesn’t mean I’m never stressed or grouchy, but it’s amazing how many fewer rough patches there are when you program your mind with a positive intention.

There’s nothing wrong with setting long-term intentions, but it’s harder for us to stay out track with things that extend far into the future.  Why not break your yearly intentions down into intentions by day, week, month and see what happens?  After all, if we live out our intentions on a daily basis, the days add up!

Give it a try and see how it makes a change in your outlook!

“Like” my 30 Day Results Guide page on Facebook and enter for a chance to win a grand prize worth $497! 30 Day Results Guide – https://on.fb.me/sDMf1R

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