Archive for June, 2009

My Twitter lessons .. No 7 (My first Live Twit)

Tuesday, June 30th, 2009

Today was a landmark day for me in my Twitter journey.  I met my first Twit (someone who I only met via Twitter).  I can’t tell you how I actually connected with this person, perhaps they follow someone who I follow.  I deliberately looked at people who were more established on Twitter who specialised in Change.  However, they responded to something I tweeted and it turned out they had spotted my blogs on Ecademy.  I then learnt that in this whole big global community, that they lived about 15 miles from me.

We have just met up for lunch and had all sorts of interesting things to discuss and share.  I think that this is a wonderful example of the possibilities that twitter can unleash.  It has the power to unleash random forces into your live if you allow it to.

You can follow me on @RichardDerwentC


If you want something doing..

Sunday, June 28th, 2009

“If you want something doing, give it to a busy to a busy man” or so the saying goes.  I have noticed that tempo seems to generate energy and vice versa.  If I start the day being busy I go from job-to-job and don’t stop; if, on the other hand, I start off being lazy, I just feel more and more slothful. I don’t know if the state of body affects the state of mind or the other way round, but they seem interlinked.

There are many people, and many businesses that say they don’t have time to make the changes they know need to be made but in truth, given the will, or the belief, if you prefer, there is always time.  I’m not suggesting that simply positive thinking is all you need, but I have no doubt that energy grows on itself.  If you are feeling stuck, try getting busy.

“Success usually comes to those who are too busy to be looking for it.”  Henry David Thoreau

“The more we do, the more we can do; the more busy we are, the more leisure we have.”   Dag Hammarskjold


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Full Stop

Friday, June 26th, 2009

Over the last month or so I have found myself magnetically drawn to the pond.  Now we have a small waterfall, the sound of water splashing is deeply satisfying.  The new koi are a constant source of fascination whether cruising in the depths or leaping out to seize flies.  We have dragonflies buzzing, and damselflies dancing in their neon skins.  Tiny bluetits grab the bullrushes and bees are drinking perched on the weeds.  One way and another, it is a real treat for every sense.  I’m not that good at sitting doing nothing but I have created somewhere that makes it really easy. 

I think we all need to find a place where we can be still.  The world rushes past us.  Mobile phones and PCs bring this frenzy ever closer.  Whether you are into meditation or not, one way to enable change in your life is to just S T O P…. let all the sediment to settle, and then enjoy the clarity this brings.  If you don’t know what to do, if you don’t have enough time for everything, try stopping.  You maybe surprised how much more you achieve.

“One’s action ought to come out of an achieved stillness: not to be mere rushing on.”D.H. Lawrence

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Making Hay whilst the sun shines.. [Weirdness Warning!]

Friday, June 26th, 2009

I‘m sure we have all heard this advice but one of things that I have wrestled with over the years is how to interpret this meaningfully in my life and business.  After all, it is no use having the  benefit of aphorisms such as this if we can’t make them work for us. 

My work involves various different facets or phases and some involve talking to clients and doing work, some in marketing and talking to prospective clients, others in admin-type work, and finally being more creative doing thinking, writing and designing. 

For me, I have come to the conclusion that, unless it is really urgent, there is seldom any value in trying to force things and work out-of-phase with my energy and the energy that seems to surround me.  I realise that I am straying into seemingly ‘weird’ territory with statements like this.  However, farmers will always work in accord with the season and the weather, and some such as Rudolf Steiner advocated doing so according to the phase of the moon too. 

Yesterday, was a perfect ‘English’ day for me; walking in the June sunshine along the River Itchen, in the heart of the Hampshire countryside.  This is a truly beautiful river that runs only 2-3’ deep with fast flowing, crystal clear waters full of trout and gently waving weeds.  I can think of no better image for a flow state than this river.  Being there I feel a state of total contentment and peace. 

If I can somehow connect with my internal state and the energy around me and act accordingly hopefully I will do the best I can in that moment and on that day. This approach is, however, somewhat scary when one’s mind is telling you that you really need to do this that or the other thing and waiting is for wusses!  Doing nothing ‘positive’ can feel both lazy and evasive.  Surely I should be doing something useful!

I don’t know if I’m the only one who wrestles with such ‘stuff’ and would be interested to hear your thoughts on this

 “Most of the shadows of this life are caused by standing in our own sunshine”   Henry Ward Beecher


Social Media Entrepreneur’s Interviews No8 – Romany Thresher

Wednesday, June 24th, 2009

Name: Romany Thresher    Twitter name: @directassist 

What is your main Change challenge at present?

Realigning my business to a specific niche. At present, there is an abundance of virtual assistants popping up all over offering similar services. In order to differentiate my business from competitors, I now specialise in a particular area. For existing clients I have done an excellent job at handling all their social media and online presence. Increasing online visibility is something they know is important but something they do not have the time or inclination to do day-in-day out. It’s a little bit scary but first impressions are that I am getting much more enquiries than before. My existing clients have all received massive benefits and that has given me the confidence to take this big step

What is your strategy for dealing with it?

Continuous research plays a very important role for me when dealing with strategies, monitoring and keeping track of new ways and methods to do things. What has helped me a great deal in being efficient is my constant hunger for learning which has now made me a bit of a girly geek as some have suggested.

My strategy is one of changing systems, processes and marketing material to meet the new focus.

For example, revamping my site content, training existing staff, and looking at the packages that I offer clients.

Are you using social media as part of that strategy, if so, how?

Yes I am most definitely using social media as a part of my strategy. It’s what I do for clients so I have to be great at it!. .

We have developed a social community to interact more closely with community members so we can learn to understand their needs and provide resources and tools which can help them minimise their costs whilst increasing visibility.

Attend networking events, continue to blog, participate in targeted social networking communities and make use of Twitter to communicate, share tips and relevant information to help business owners establish themselves and increase their online visibility using social media, events and workshops.

I currently manage accounts for existing clients who supply me with their content and are struggling to maintain their online visibility on a regular basis so that they can focus on more face to face networking and other areas of their business which needs their attention.

What is your top Change tip?

Change is necessary for growth both personally and professionally.

Change is something we need to do constantly in order to grow. Life has a way of putting us in a situation where we are forced to change direction. I call these times growing pains as it often comes with some form of calamity. Focused change is when you know what your ultimate life goal is and you make a decision to change and focus on bringing about change, this often comes with very pleasant gifts.

What role does emotion / intuition play when you dealing with Change?

Emotion plays a very important part in change. I still have to work on my emotions and often fear mixed with excitement will be my emotion, this can sometimes stop me from moving with change. Thankfully I am strong willed and am not held back by my emotions

If you embrace the change things will happen. If you resist change, which I have done a few times in the past, the doors close, the opportunities cease to present themselves and it seems twice as hard to get to where you should’ve been in the first place.

Do you ever find Change brings unexpected gifts?

Yes, often. The greatest gift change brings to me is the people who come into my life. They are often very precious and valuable.

What thing best symbolises Change for you and why?

Not changing symbolises death for me. Change on the other hand, symbolises life, ever growing and experiencing new things which then gives you the ability and opportunity to help others and add value to the people around me.

Previous Interviews:

Social Media Entrepreneur’s Interviews No7 – Stephen Bray

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009

Name: Stephen Bray Twitter name: @Stephen_Bray

What is your main Change challenge at present? 

Building a brand new business from a beach hideaway.

The ‘beach hideaway’ doesn’t really matter, but building a business is always a challenge.

One challenge that stands out is the personal development equation. Do I play to my strengths, leverage my core skills but stay essentially the same, or do I work at overcoming ‘blockages’ or ‘weak areas’, extend my neural maps in the hope of a ‘bigger’ more ‘enriched’ life?

Logic, and many gurus, would urge that I focus on what I know, and what works, but I’m a glutton for learning so although my business might be all the bigger for it, just using ‘core training’ doesn’t work for me.

What is your strategy for dealing with it?

I keep a diary to monitor what’s working today, and also jot down what I want to change, and when, as the business grows.

But that’s just one strategy. I also like to speculate on what I might do if certain components of the business were to be removed, for example if there was an earthquake, (a very real possibility in Turkey), how I would continue to operate. This frequently provides unexpected solutions.

Since I’m self-employed ‘thinking days’ are important. These really are days off spent swimming, or on other family activities, but my best ideas tend to emerge when I’m not faced with a computer. They help keep life in perspective and remind me when I’m spending too much time on my business and insufficient on my other interests.

Are you using social media as part of that strategy, if so, how?

I make lots of video, but tend to deliver it via AmazonS3, rather than YouTube etc. The reason is that I can then deliver different types of video to different audiences.

Social Media I think of as a means of making relationships, although delivering great content can play a part in that. Really though I should use Social Media in a co-ordinated way. At present my Social Media presence reflects the ad hoc way it evolved.

For example I built my Ecademy Profile when I was still commuting to cities to deliver face-to-face training, supervise family therapy clinics, and consult to family business owners.

My Facebook account started as a means to communicate with my wider family and friends, before the marketers moved in. I haven’t really done much to optimise it as a means to get business. YouTube and Twitter are experiments at present.

To make these work effectively I would need to devote some time to creating recognisable profiles, and also planning what would, and would not, be included when posting to each account.

This is what I recommend to others in ‘Your 52 Week Internet Marketing Program’, which is one of my Free Products. The time has come now to take my own public image in hand.

What is your top Change tip?

Use a pen and paper to record your achievements, track what’s working, see how far you’ve come, and sketch out future plans.

What role does emotion / intuition play when you dealing with Change?

Emotionally charged decisions are rarely good ones in the business world, but businesses based on a love of life, people and planet will inevitably thrive today.

Understanding the emotions of others also is pretty essential to building relationships both with colleagues, and customers. It helps to know your own emotional foibles too and then take responsibility for them.

Remember people sometimes react adversely to change so emotional outbursts and panic decisions are common, so staff need to be trained to cope with challenges.

Intuition is more complex. I think that traditional people had a feel for the weather and the land that enabled them to lead nomadic existences. Most reading this will have lost that ability but we still have developed visceral responses to situations based upon our own life experiences.

If a change matches some previous experience in some way the story that was involved may not be immediately replayed, but instead a person may experience what they perceive as an ‘intuition’. This may be helpful provided the sensation really seems intuitive, rather than the invocation of blind panic.

So I tend to trust my intuitions and go with them even when they may appear illogical. Later I may well see why the decision to follow an intuition was a good one.

Do you ever find Change brings unexpected gifts?

Wouldn’t life be dull if every day were the same as the one preceding it?

Change brings unexpected gifts ~ but this isn’t necessarily a reason to force changes to happen.

On the other hand when a business is slowly dying it can be a good idea to create a crisis. The managers get ‘sharper’, business plans get tighter and the ‘dead wood’ leaves.

Maybe the business finds a new direction, or identity?

My business isn’t facing that kind of challenge. The decision though to stop travelling and base my business in this beach hideaway location has some parallels.

Since I changed direction I’ve met a whole new network of contacts and colleagues and I enjoy communicating with them enormously.

What thing best symbolises Change for you and why?

The dawn always represents change to me. I’m often awake to witness it and no two dawns are the same.

It holds out the special promise of new people, mysteries, events and challenges, yet it is a quiet time when I feel as if I might be the only inhabitant of our world.

Of course as the dawn ends and the day begins I’m called back into the society of others with all their stories, dramas and scripts and that’s good too because, unlike the dawn when I feel a timeless connection to the moment, the day with its computers and timepieces speaks of mortality.

Will I survive the day? Might some disaster befall and remove me from this place?

Have I done all in my power to leave others without debt, or bad feelings?

What unfinished business needs attending to first?

Get on it!

Previous Interviews:

Learning from our children

Monday, June 22nd, 2009

If you are a parent then I’m sure that you will agree that we learn as much from them as ever we teach them.  My eldest has finished an intense 3 year degree and has just come home to us.  Obviously there was a lot of late night, cramming and adrenalin fuelled tension leading up to the end of term.  So it isn’t surprising that she is feeling very tired.  However, I think that her weariness goes deeper.

When we leave behind one phase of life and are hanging around in Life’s Waiting Room, profound tiredness is a common response.  It comes partially from the need to recharge and partially from the rawness of the feelings, and we retreat into this sleepy place.  The need to re-energise our system is valuable, but fear can trap us in this place and tell us that we are too tired to come out and face our future!  There is wisdom in the saying “Feel the Fear.. and do it anyway!” 

If you, or a loved one, find yourself trapped in a sleepy place, you need to find that gentle balance between sympathy and challenge.  In the end, the mother bird calls her chick from the nest.

“The day the child realizes that all adults are imperfect, he becomes an adolescent; the day he forgives them, he becomes an adult; the day he forgives himself, he becomes wise”   Alden Nowlan


Social Media Entrepreneur’s Interviews No6 – Christine Miller

Monday, June 22nd, 2009

Name: Christine Miller        Twitter name: @ChristineMiller

What is your main Change challenge at present? 

Our main challenge at present is transitioning – engaging a wider audience for our magazine ReSource by raising awareness of our profile and value proposition as an essential source of information and guidance for intelligent living. Variously described as ‘a masterpiece’ (Tony Buzan) ‘highly important work’ (Edward de Bono) and ‘envelope-pushing’ (Tom Evans), we’ve also been describes as a ‘well kept secret’, which is perhaps charming – but not conducive to fulfilling the huge potential of our offering.

What is your strategy for dealing with it?

We are doing this by changing the way we present our content from mainly offline to fully online. This transition meets the needs of the market better – by bringing our five year archive of rich information to new markets, it serves different types & generations of readers; it enables us to deliver relevant knowledge more quickly, and gives us the ability to provide the community input and interactivity our supporters, fans and readers want. We have researched reader wishes and requirements and so we have a revamped multi-media website in progress, offering online content with differing levels of access for members and readers.

Are you using social media as part of that strategy, if so, how?

Yes, social media is very important to our strategy; we use a number of social networking sites such as Ecademy, LinkedIn and Facebook, plus blogging, Twitter and Friendfeed to increase our presence, build relationships and showcase content. I am building targeted groups and providing relevant content for them to demonstrate value and contribution, and we will be using YouTube and our own TV channel to deliver video content.

What is your top Change tip?

Recognise that change is constant and inevitable. We change with every thought and every breath – it’s a paradox in that we appear to stay the same, but in fact we are in an ongoing state of change. There’s a difference between natural change, such as the seasons; planned change, such as the scenario described above; and unexpected change, such as a life-threatening illness or sudden loss. Whilst all change requires adjustment, it’s when change is unexpected and/or we feel we’re not in control of it that real discomfort arises, so it’s important to learn some tools for staying in control of our own responses. Remember to breathe – pause, reflect, listen, then act. Stay flexible and alert and recognise change as an opportunity to grow – often the change that appears most disconcerting and uncomfortable contains the greatest benefits. It’s a question of taking a perspective that allows you to look for that benefit, staying open to possibility and adjusting your actions to respond appropriately.

What role does emotion / intuition play when you dealing with Change?

In my experience, emotion and intuition are two different things. When I’m dealing with sudden, unexpected and apparently undesirable change, and if there is resistance, I tend to adopt a reflective approach and examine the emotions I’m experiencing around it, and ask myself if the feelings produced are based on reality and truth, or on fear of the unknown.

Intuition, or gut feelings, plays a large part for me in decisions around dealing with change. I trust my intuition, and have much experience of that first inner prompt being the right one; when I’ve ignored it, I’ve lived to regret it!

Do you ever find Change brings unexpected gifts?

Yes, absolutely. Blessings in disguise; I’ve even written a poem and blogged about that topic. In my experience, the gifts or blessings are sometimes hidden to begin with, and reveal themselves as events and time unfold. Once I’ve processed the immediate response around a change, I endeavour to operate from the present (recognise the ‘present’ of the present) and say to myself about the unexpected: ‘it is what it is, how can we make the best of it?’

What thing best symbolises Change for you and why?

This poem* (see extract below) was written at a time of great change both for me and some close friends, and it expresses how I respond to change. I also like the ‘change’ idea of metal being tempered in a forge – subjected to great heat, moulding and pressure in order to emerge as a purified, refined and much stronger element with greater longevity and higher purpose.

Previous Interviews:

* Blessings for Everyone

Whatever happens
In our lives
We can learn from it,
Accept and assimilate the experience
As a Blessing.
When I was a little girl
My mother would advise me
After some disappointment,
Some less than perfect event,
That it was
A blessing
In disguise.
It has taken me a long time
To fully appreciate
The wisdom inherent
In those words.
Now, I can see
How So many things
That have and
Have not
Are really, truly
What I have gained
From my less glorious times
Has been immeasurable
In Emotional
Mental and

© Christine Miller 2006

21st Century Philosophy – Tweet others as you would be tweeted

Sunday, June 21st, 2009

I was writing yesterday about what seemed to make a good ‘tweet’ and it occurred to me that one might sum it all up as Tweet others as you would be Tweeted – nice line I thought, then this morning, I thought it rather summed up up the whole approach to successful networking.  What do you think?

How do you wish to be tweeted?

My Twitter lessons .. No 6 (what are you Twittering on about?!)

Saturday, June 20th, 2009

I seem to remember my mother saying “What are you twittering on about?” when I was young and she was harassed.  This usually happened when I was gabbling away nineteen to the dozen.  Too much noise and not enough information!  That kind of sums up my Twitter dilemma.  I’m finding it hard to contact / spot / engage the real person amidst the snow storm of noise that scrolls down my screen. 

Occasionally something real happens and and it is like a little ray of sunshine breaking through the clouds.  I’m sure many of the people I’m connected with are well intentioned, intelligent even interesting folks, but it isn’t that easy to find that much evidence of it in their outpourings. 

If you are wondering what to say in answer to the perennial question   “What are you doing?” here is what I’d be interested in seeing:-

  • Something that lets me see who you are
  • Something that shows me you know what you are talking about
  • Something that amuses me, engages me, entertains me
  • Something that helps me
  • Something that educates me

What I don’t want is:-

  • Any offers to get thousands of followers
  • You to sell to me
  • Free offers that are as useful as McDonalds happy meal toys

I’ll allow others to judge how well I’m managing to find this balance, but I got a lovely compliment yesterday from someone whose opinion I value that suggested I’m making progress.

I’d love to hear what you think makes a successful tweet.

You can follow me on @RichardDerwentC