The Secret Is In The Bramble

Are You A Bramble Marketer?

On my frequent walks in the local area, I get time to observe the local environment and sometimes really useful ideas spring up from things I have seen. The local hedgerows have a lot of brambles and this year, they have been shouting at me to watch them and learn.

What do you think of brambles?

  • A garden nuisance, with their long thorny stems, that are painful and difficult to remove?
  • A walker’s or forager’s favorite, with juicy black fruits ready to pick and munch in autumn?
  • Or maybe you have never really thought about them at all?

Secrets

The bramble holds several secrets that we can learn from if we want. For instance:

  • Did you know there are said to be 1000 described species of bramble in the world, with over 320 microspecies?
  • The study of brambles has its own name – batology.
  • Even more important, the bramble is excellently adapted to obtain its nutrients and light at the expense of other species.

So?

Read on to see what that means for YOU and Your Motivation to Market:

  • A bramble is any tangled, prickly, rough shrub, usually a blackberry in the UK, though it may also be a raspberry in the USA.
  • It has an underground, perennial rootstock that throws up new shoots or suckers in the Spring. Perennial means it lives for many years.
  • The new shoots last for two years.
  • In their first year, these shoots grow as very long arching stems, reaching down to the ground.
  • If the tip of the shoot touches the soil it can develop roots and form a daughter plant. Those roots then form part of the underground rootstock.
  • In the second year, these shoots develop flowers and then fruits.
  • Brambles are difficult to eradicate once they have become established.
  • If you try removing the rootstock, anything left below ground may regenerate.
  • The root systems will be so wide-spread and interwoven that removing them would require digging up the entire area.

OK, so what does all this information mean for secrets in marketing motivation?

Bramble Root System – Perennial Rootstock

The root of the bramble plant is persistent and perennial, it lasts for years.

Being underground it is hidden.

For established bramble patches it spreads all over the area and is very hard to get rid of.

New shoots (first year) try to arch to a distance from the parent plant and then reach down to touch the ground, forming a new perennial rootstock at a distance from the parent plant.

The rootstock throws up new shoots every year.

Learning Points

How can you make your product(s) or your marketing efforts perennial, so they will last for years?

What does “hidden underground” mean for your marketing (or product)?

How can you keep your rootstock spreading so it is hard to get rid of and any left over piece will send up new shoots?

What new shoots do you need to throw up?

Trip Hazard

On footpaths and in areas of semi woodland, say, brambles can create a trip hazard with those first-year arching shoots that root at their tips.

Learning Points

How can you trip your customers into staying on your web page or with your promoted product, so they stay longer, perhaps buy more?

Any “trip” needs to be ethical, to keep your customer interested. What would interest them? Do you know what brought them to that page? What did they expect or want? Can you give them more of that?

First year bramble shoots

These are the long, dangly, arching stems that try to reach as far as possible from the parent plant. Once they touch the ground, they send out new roots. That starts a fresh bramble bush, with the same genetics as the parent.

Learning Points

Can you send out long first-year bramble shoots in YOUR business?

What would those look like? For the bramble, they are still part of the original bush and spread it further.

How can you spread your niche further?

Is there another micro niche you could spread into?

Maybe a different variation of a successful product?

Second year shoots

These shoots are shorter and close to the main plant. This may be because many of the the long first year shoots have been cut back to keep the paths open and not choked with brambles.

These shoots can bear fruits and flowers simultaneously, that is, they keep flowering throughout the summer, even after fruit has been set. The bramble needs the flowers to produce the fruit. It uses the fruit to spread itself further. The fruit contains seeds. The fruit is attractive to animals as well as humans, these eat the fruit and spread the seed, possibly a LOT further than the first year arching shoots can do.

Learning Points

What “fruit” are you using to attract your customers?

What “seed” is contained within?

How will this help you increase your marketing reach?

If you consider this as your social media marketing, your fruit is the meme, picture or quote that everyone wants to share. What seed or message goes along with it? Your URL? A product review? Maybe a free gift that can spread your message?

Keeps flowering

The bramble keeps on flowering even when ripe fruit is available. It takes no account of the fruit that has already been produced, after all, who knows whether the seed in that fruit will reach a suitable site? The only way to reach new ground is to keep on flowering and producing fruit.

Learning Points

Are there any time management techniques you need to employ to follow this strategy? Outsourcing? Automation?

Conclusion

The bramble is a survivor. Its seed can survive up to 100 years and STILL sprout. It spreads 3 ways, by extending its underground root system, by sending out long shoots to form new plants and through seeds, dispersed by animals. The rootstock is perennial (lives many years) and hidden and sends up new suckers or shoots every year.

It is an amazing plant. (I love blackberries in any form).

It also provides a lot of lessons in motivation and marketing. Are you a bramble marketer?

Want A WorkBook For This?

You can get a workbook with the learning points in it as a 3 page downloadable PDF here.

http://www.motivation4success.net/when-the-fish-are-running/

When The Fish Are Running

This is a guest post from Stig.

 

http://www.motivation4success.net/when-the-fish-are-running/
When The Fish Are Running

Fish Are Running

When I was about 9 yrs old my father took me to one of his favorite fishing spots.  It was a dam on a river feeding into Lake Michigan.  Steelhead (Rainbow Trout) were running in mass and pooling at the base of the dam trying to work their way up the ladder.  Not that I knew what Steelhead were at the time.

When we arrived, there were many fisherman already there.  I watched in amazement as they pulled fish out, one after another, almost as fast as they could get their lines back in the water.

What Bait?

So I asked a kindly old looking fellow “Hey, what are you using for bait”.

To which he replied “Bait?  Kid you don’t need bait, just throw your hook in the water and they’ll bite!”

Don’t Need Bait

I doubt he gave much thought to that advice, but I’ve carried it with me always.  When the fish are running, you don’t need bait.  You just need to put your hook in the water.

Pretty much the same as Shakespeare said in his play “Julius Caesar” (only a lot shorter and more easily remembered): “There is a tide in the affairs of men, Which taken at the flood, leads on to fortune. Omitted, all the voyage of their life is bound in shallows and in miseries. On such a full sea are we now afloat. And we must take the current when it serves, or lose our ventures.”

So where are the fish running for you now? Have you got your hook ready to throw in the water? Don’t hesitate, for who knows how long they will run.

Hey Stig: Your bio has a space ready here for you!

How To Stop Procrastinating

What is Procrastination?

Procrastination means putting off doing something. Sometimes that is what we do, even when we KNOW we HAVE to get something done, whether it’s pay a bill, take exercise, prepare a long report, decorate a room, apply for a grant or return something bought online that doesn’t fit! We all do it. We may procrastinate in different areas but we all procrastinate.

Structured procrastination

Some people have used procrastination as a way of getting things done – surprising? This is called structured procrastination and was devised by a Stanford professor who wrote a book called Art of Procrastination: The Art of Effective Dawdling, Dallying, Lollygagging, and Postponing. He used procrastination on BIG (really impossible tasks) to get him to complete smaller tasks. We all do that too – he just used it in a really big way. Don’t believe me? Tell me, if you have an article to write, or a long report or a textbook to read, does doing the dishes or tidying your room suddenly become imperative? We often try to put off starting a big task that we dread by working on smaller, easier tasks that we don’t like doing but that we find preferable (or a way of postponing) to making a start on the big important task.

Student Syndrome

This is where someone is given a task with a long completion time, so a student might be told to write an essay that doesn’t need to be submitted for 3 weeks (or the end of term). Student syndrome is thinking that completion date is so far away that there is not need to start just yet, so it keeps getting put off. A week before the due date, or even the day before, the students suddenly realise this is now due and start to panic. Putting off starting is a well known way of putting time pressure on yourself, so the project gets completed in a rush. There comes a time when the anxiety about not submitting a completed project overcomes the fear of having to get started on something you may not know how to do. You can find out more about student syndrome in this post, together with some resources on how to overcome procrastination.

Strategies To Overcome Procrastination

1. Reminders

Our subconscious may try to get us out of starting a new habit or starting on a big project by “making” us forget. Habits are automatic but starting to put a new habit into place needs conscious thought each time, as does doing something that moves us forward on a project.

If you have a calendar with large spaces on it where you can write something and which you check daily, then write a daily reminder to yourself for the next 21 days.
Put sticky notes on your bathroom mirror or the inside of your front door, anywhere you will see them several times a day.

2. Visualization and Affirmations

Take 10 or 15 minutes at a quiet time of day to visualise how you will feel and act when your project is completed or how you will feel when you hand it in on time, knowing you have done good work or how you will feel when you have made your chosen new habit automatic. We often avoid tasks that we feel won’t be enjoyable, so think about why you will enjoy the outcome or the benefit you will get from your new habit. Use affirmations. Say them out loud. “I enjoy swimmimg / jogging / dancing / tennis.” “I feel happy and relaxed handing in my completed essay / report / work”. Affirmations should be positive (I enjoy, I love, etc and should be in the present tense, I am, I do, etc)

3. Just A Small Step

I call this “Just One”. You tell yourself you just have to do one (pushup, dish) or stick it for one minute (putting away laundry, filling the dishwasher) then you can stop. Allow yourself to stop after the one if you want, you can do another very soon but often, you will see that it is only a small job and you finish it in a very short time.

4. Reward yourself

I have motivation charts that I use to get me to do certain jobs. I award myself points for doing them (eg a point each time I climb the 3 flights of stairs or for making the bed) and a small monetary reward for so many points. I choose to give myself a dollar for 100 general points or for 50 exercise points. If funds are tight, be creative about your rewards: how about a 15 minute bubble bath or a visit to a favorite website?

5. Encourage yourself

Forming new habits and overcoming procrastination would be easy if we could just decide to change but it doesn’t usually work that way. Rather than making a “never again” vow, tell yourself it’s “just for today”. You can do the same again tomorrow. Step by step day by day is much easier to achieve.

6. Use A Project Motivation Chart

I have found that a Project Motivation Chart uses several of the above techniques and that of a Daruma doll in one easy colorful page. At least, it’s colorful AFTER you have colored it in! You put the chart somewhere prominent, so it provides a reminder (strategy 1). It has space for completing a small step (strategy 3), provides a means of rewarding yourself (strategy 4) and encourages you to complete a project (strategy 5). You complete it yourself so it will contain empty areas until you complete them (like a Daruma doll).

A Project Motivation Chart provides two scales. One is a timescale in days or weeks, or even months if you choose. This one gets filled in every day or week or month that passes, whether you have done anything or not. This provides the time pressure for those who need it and a visual reminder that the completion date is approaching for those suffering from student syndrome. The other scale is a picture or graphic with areas to be completed as you complete a step in your project. So if one of your steps is to read a chapter in a certain book, then you color or shade in one space on the graphic. It is obviously best if your graphic gets completed in step with, or even slightly ahead of your timescale (to allow for difficulties) but even if it falls behind, having it in a prominent place will remind you each day.

What Strategies do YOU use to overcome procrastination?

You can comment below.

Getting Back Into The Flow Zone

Got It In One

Did you ever see a cartoon or comic strip that either captured your feelings exactly or illustrated something that you had felt but never really understood? This is one of the reasons for having cartoonists (and poets and jesters), who often see or capture things that others have failed to observe. I have seen two of these in my life. cartoon from www.weblogcartoons.com

Cartoon by Dave Walker. Find more cartoons you can freely re-use on your blog at We Blog Cartoons.

Another Cartoon

Another one was a Dilbert cartoon back in January about getting back into “the flow” after an interruption. Have you ever experienced a brief interruption that totally ruined your concentration? Even someone asking you whether you wanted a cup of tea or coffee or whether you were warm enough? I couldn’t understand why it always took me so long to get back into working after such a brief interruption but the Dilbert cartoon explains it perfectly. You can see that cartoon here: http://dilbert.com/strip/2017-01-05 Go and check it out then come back to read the rest.

Flow Zone

For some people, whether exercising, computer programming or doing other work, they get into what they call the “flow zone” of optimal experience, where progress or exercise seems easy and the work just seems to flow and all the pieces just come together. It is a state of deep concentration and effortless, where what seems like 10 minutes to you may actually have been two hours but it takes time, maybe 15  minutes, to reach that state and interruptions can throw you right out of it, needing another 15 minutes to get back in and then another after another interruption.

It’s often easier to get into a state of flow after you have looked over your project, thought about it and made some decisions on it, such as how to go about it, which exercise program to follow, which report to write or which subject to study.

While being in a state of flow or “in the zone” puts you into deep concentration mode, this is NOT the same as being in a reverie or daydream. That is not productive though it may be very pleasant. After all, the old saying is true, “If wishes were horses, beggars would ride”. Dreams without action are just wishful thinking. Being in the zone or the flow, means having an optimal experience as it gets things done and you are taking action and making progress, often much faster than you thought possible because you are working smarter.

What Action Are YOU Taking?

Have you ever experienced being “in the zone” where your progress just flowed? How did you get there? Can you do it again? Are you able to get back into it after an interruption? If not, what action could you take to use this work smarter tool?

http://www.motivation4success.net/how-to-declutter-your-home-for-good/

How To Declutter Your Home For Good

Are You Organized Yet

Please note, this page contains affiliate links.

In our materialist and consumer-oriented society, it is paradoxical that many people say they would love to own fewer things. Our houses are crammed full of all sorts of items that we do not really need. Imagine how much more pleasant it would be to live in a clean, well-organized home that only contained what was really important to you.

http://www.motivation4success.net/how-to-declutter-your-home-for-good/Learning how to declutter your home and pare down your possessions is important if you want to avoid becoming overwhelmed. However, this task can seem impossible. Where can you begin? The mere thought of sorting through everything that you own and deciding what to keep can make you feel defeated before you ever get started.

How To Begin To Organize

Fortunately, there are some simple tips that you can use to make this project a lot easier. First of all, it is important to start small. When you look athttps://amzn.to/2OZ6JYx your home as a whole, it is all too easy to give up in despair. Instead, pick a small section of your home and focus on that.

This can be a single room, or even a single corner of a room. Even clearing off a shelf can be enough to get you started. Organize that drawer in your kitchen that is crammed full of junk, or recycle those old magazines that have been sitting on your coffee table for months.

Start Small

Starting with a small, manageable project gives you an immediate taste of success that provides much-needed motivation. By choosing an area that you can clean up and organize in an hour or two, you will not get overwhelmed as easily. If you feel discouraged later on, you can always go back and look at that area to feel better.

Too often, people throw themselves into this process and feverishly try to work at breakneck speed for a few days. They may get a lot done, but then the motivation fades and they wind up back at square one. If you really want to get your house organized, you need to make sure that you make slow, steady progress.

Just One Step A Day

Rather than trying to get everything done in a long weekend, focus on doing a little bit every day. Even 20 to 30 minutes a day will add up over the long run. You may be amazed at how much you can accomplish in this fashion. In addition, you will be less likely to burn out and give up quickly.

Try to develop a regular schedule for getting rid of clutter, instead of just doing it when you feel like it. Set aside a chunk of time each day when you focus on this task. Once it becomes a regular part of your daily routine, you will start doing it without even thinking about it.

Once you get over the initial hump, learning how to declutter your home is not as difficult as you might fear. You just need to get in the habit of keeping things organized. Before long, you will have pared down your possessions and your home will be a more pleasant place to live.

You can find more help on decluttering and how it can improve your health on this page.