Write. Just Write.

writer'sblock

Ever had writer’s block?

I have. (And, probably will have again — many times.) A technique I experimented with recently is this:

Write. Just write.

I sat down in a coffee shop with my tablet and just started writing, seemingly without thinking. I typed random thoughts. I pushed myself to simply move my fingers, concentrating on the process.

At first, those thoughts seemed unrelated, but within the span of five minutes or less, I realized that those thoughts were related! It was as if my “data dump” of miscellaneous thoughts, once they appeared on my screen, suddenly began to make sense to me. I was able to quickly connect my “dots of randomness” into a cohesive story.

Now, this “story” is not necessarily one that I’m ready to share here on my public blog. It’s the technique of unblocking that I feel is worth sharing.

Try it. Let me know if it works for you.

Write. Just write.

by Rebecca Cochran

Quality Over Quantity

LessIsMore.jpg

We’ve all heard the phrase, “Choose quality over quantity.” It’s often used in a consumer-oriented context, i.e., if we buy a few high-quality items (shoes, bathroom towels or furniture), those items will last longer and bring us more satisfaction than if we purchase a greater quantity of lower-quality goods. In fact, I can hear my dad’s voice, saying, “Less is more” and I still believe him.

Yet, “quality over quantity” also applies to how we work, how we play and how we practice.

On the work front, as a business owner, I definitely subscribe to the business model of “Less is more.” That is, I am happier (and more successful) working with a fewer number of clients at any given time. Rather than saying, “yes” to every client and project that comes along, I’ve learned to be selective, allowing myself the time to really get to know my clients and their needs. And, since I’m not overcommitted, I’m able to provide them a higher quality of service.

I can parlay this to my social life, as well. By choosing my friends carefully, I can pretty much assure that my leisure time is spent wisely. A few smart, interesting friends who challenge me and make me better are all I need.

As a marketing consultant, I have worked with business owners in a wide variety of industries. Typically, I encourage companies to limit their service offerings.

Whether on your website or in your sales pitch, instead of listing every single service you can possibly provide, my recommendation is to focus. Focus on a few key products or services that represent your core. Focus on the offerings that you do best and that you enjoy doing. Not only will you deliver at a higher quality, you’ll make the buying process easier for your prospects.

In today’s highly competitive world, less is definitely more.

by Rebecca Cochran

Walk. Look. Create.

footprintsI’ve been walking daily since I was a little girl. I have my father to thank for that. I relished my evening walks with him during my adolescent through teenage years. We’d set out, just the two of us, every evening after dinner, walking, sometimes talking, always observing the world around us. When we’d return, we were ready to tackle the dinner dishes and relax into the evening.

Walking is a gift. It is something most of us can do for free. Walking doesn’t require any special talents. We don’t have to buy any special clothing (although a comfortable pair of walking shoes is recommended). Most of us can simply head out our home or office door and just walk.

Walking is nature’s cure-all. No matter how I feel when I set out on a walk, I always feel better by the end. If I’m tired when I start my walk, I’m rejuvenated when I finish. If I’m feeling overwhelmed with work or personal issues when I begin a walk, I am clear-headed and focused by the end. And, of course, the long-term physical benefits of moderate-impact aerobic activities like walking are well known.

As an adult, no matter where I’ve lived – city or suburban setting, no matter the climate, I’ve always kept up my walking ritual. A daily walk, even a short one, is a must for me. I’m not one to listen to music or the news while I walk. I focus on my stride (to create a sort of natural rhythm). And I focus on my surroundings, trying to notice things that I’d miss if I were driving the same route.

I walk best alone. (Sorry, Dad.) Friends regularly invite me to join in their walking ritual, but I usually decline their offers. The benefits I derive from walking come when I’m able to think and observe in silence.

The simple act of a daily walk allows me to solve problems. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve begun a walk thinking I had a big problem to sort through, only to determine, 10 minutes in, that I’d been blowing the issue way out of proportion.

And, best of all, I regularly experience creative breakthroughs when I walk. These breakthroughs happen when I’m not even trying. The act of walking and focusing on my stride clears my head. Ideas flow naturally. Dots connect themselves.

Walk. Look. Create. It’s really that simple.

by Rebecca Cochran