I had been talking with #HighStakesMastermindGroups about signing up for the classes and getting my license for months, possibly years, but as my cursor hovered over the “Submit” button I was still full of fear. Thoughts like: Can I do this? Is this the right move?, What if I mess up?, ran through my head.
“Fear is a vital response to physical and emotional danger — if we didn’t feel it, we couldn’t protect ourselves from legitimate threats. But often we fear situations that are far from life-or-death, and thus hang back for no good reason. Traumas or bad experiences can trigger a fear response within us that is hard to quell. Yet exposing ourselves to our personal demons is the best way to move past them.”
Fear is a normal human reaction. It originally protected us from lion attacks, but is still present in our everyday lives. I’m not exactly running from wild animals in my home in the suburbs, so why do I (did I) feel fear in this situation? In reality, it is because I was jumping into an unknown situation.
According to an article from the Harvard Business Review, “How Fear Helps (and Hurts) Entrepreneurs”, for many entrepreneurs, fear is a constant companion. Not only do you have fear of losing business, but all of your employees could also be hurt if the business is not successful. However, if entrepreneurs get stuck in this fearful mentality, they may find a more challenging climb for their business.
So, that begs the question, what should an entrepreneur do? Have a healthy level of fear. Simple enough, below are a few suggestions.
Reach out to peers in business or your fellow High Stakes Mastermind Group These individuals have either been in a situation of fear or are feeling fearful. Either way, a supportive and understanding peer advisor or colleague can talk you through possible scenarios and brainstorm situations. Sometimes the hardest part of entrepreneurship is being responsible for all of the decisions. Talking with a like minded individual can be powerful support.
Recognize the fear that you have and acknowledge the worst that could happen. Use this fear and understanding to propel yourself forward and push the business in a positive direction. By looking for all the potential issues in the company, you can fix these issues and greatly reduce the fear involved. Consider including steps to mitigate issues and fear in your High Stakes Mastermind Group goal plan.
Power through. Sometimes fear can lead to paralysis by analysis. When there is such a fear of failure (or success for that matter), it can be easy to analyze over and over again. Instead of getting into this loop of analysis, preventing any actual work, make a decision and move forward. It is likely that most decisions can be modified and reversed if necessary.
Fear is a double edged sword. It can propel entrepreneurs to greatness, or it can prevent them from getting any work done. How do you handle fear?
A few years ago, I started to feel stuck. I didn’t just wake up one morning and feel stuck, but rather it snuck up on me slowly. Since it felt like more of a professional “stuckness”, I started frantically applying for jobs, looking for classes, and haphazardly trying to change my professional world. I wasted a lot of money, and ended up feeling a little burnt out before I found my right direction.
I learned some valuable lessons on feeling stuck and how to handle “stuckness”. Here are the suggestions I would give to myself in the future.
Assess the current situation:
For me at least, feeling stuck drives from not being challenged. Instead of making a drastic movement to get out of “stuckness”, take a minute and review the situation. Talk about it with a friend, co-worker, or fellow High Stakes Mastermind Group member. Is there a new role or challenge that I can be taking? Can I find a new niche within what I am doing that will give me the challenge? Sometimes, it just takes a little thinking outside the box to find a new opportunity to get unstuck.
Complete some outside of work training:
While I would like to think I get my entire professional fulfillment from work, this isn’t true. In the future, I would look for classes to take to broaden my career knowledge or personal interests. There are opportunities through Skillshare.com (including those taught by High Stakes Mastermind Group leader, Stephanie Angelo), Coursera.com, local community college classes, and even webinars online. Not only could I have continued to develop myself professionally, but I may have found personal fulfillment in the training.
Research, Research, Research:
I sound like my music instructor from my childhood (practice, practice, practice), but I can’t stress more the importance of research. If you decide to change roles or the way you structure your business, read about the benefits and implications. Make sure it is a good fit, before jumping.
One of the best things for me when I feel stuck is to step away from the situation. I don’t mean to completely avoid it, but instead I try to stop focusing on it. Stepping away for a short break provides me with clarity, and allows me to think clearly. Instead of feeling like I must fix the problem, I am able to make sure I know what I need. Again, speaking with a friend, co-worker, or your fellow High Stakes Mastermind participant may provide you with a new perspective.
Make a plan of action:
Instead of acting in panic mode, slowly and carefully make a plan of action. I don’t know of any situations that have been well handled in a reactionary state. Draft up a goal plan (like we do in our High Stakes Mastermind Group) and make logical steps to complete those goals. Either have your High Stakes Mastermind Group hold you accountable or a friend or co-worker can keep you accountable to your new action plan.
Give yourself grace:
If in the end, if you take what you believe to be a well considered leap, and it doesn’t work out, give yourself grace. Everyone makes mistakes, I firmly believe it is better to try something new (and later find out it was not right) than to live in constant fear of not making the right choice. I would rather learn my decision did not completely meet my needs than to live in a state of “if only”.
How do you handle “stuckness”? Do you have any additional suggestions on how to make professional or personal changes?
Adrianna Huff is a member of High Stakes Mastermind Groups
During a High Stakes Mastermind meeting a few weeks ago, we got onto the topic of social media engagement, and especially Facebook. The Facebook platform has 1.4 billion daily active users, and with this tremendous reach, it can be highly useful for entrepreneurs and business owners. During this discussion, there were many questions that came up about Facebook, and I took it as my mission to jot down those questions and get some answers to you. Thus, we have “Your Facebook Questions Answered- Part 1”. Any follow up questions, I will answer in a part 2.
Before I jump into the actual questions and answers, Facebook has training for anyone interested called Facebook Blueprint. There are 90 different webinars, and I have not had a chance to see all of them, but they have a vast amount of information about how to work in Facebook as a business owner. The link to Facebook Blueprint is here.
Let’s jump into the questions:
Tell me more about the Facebook algorithm. How does it work?
Facebook posted on its newsroom platform in January of 2018, that in 2018 the Facebook algorithm would be focusing more on bringing its users closer together. Instead of just curating the news feed based on user reactions to content, now meaningful posts and comments from family and friends will be ranked higher on individual users news feeds. For example, a user will see in his or her news feed more of the posts that are likely to have or have significant discussion.
In addition, according to a video from Adam Mosseri, Head of News Feed for Facebook, the ranking algorithm focuses on inventory (available Facebook content), signals (age of posting, who posted, your internet connection, etc.), predictions (comment or share likelihood), and relevancy (how interested a user will be). Relevancy, and the age of the content is then used to create a user’s personalized news feed.
So in effect, if content does not have as much engagement, it may fall off a user’s news feed. Users can always choose “See First in News Feed Preferences” to receive all of a page or group’s content, so this will always appear on the news feed.
How do personal and professional or business Facebook pages work together? What linking is required?
To create a professional business Facebook page, you need to have a personal page. Based on the new Facebook algorithm, posting on both your personal and professional page, and even sharing your professional post from your personal page, would be a reasonable way to increase your reach and create engagement with the content. If your personal page creates discussion about your professional page’s post, this could make its way higher onto the news feed of your Facebook friends and make it more of a highly engaged and shared posting.
How do you find and analyze your Facebook demographic information?
A Facebook help article, “How do I see data about the people who like my Page”, explains Facebook Insights and how to use that information to look the demographic and like information on your Facebook page. Facebook Insights is a special feature for non-personal Facebook pages that allows you to export data that contains the following: engagement with your page, page performance metrics, and what posts receive the most Facebook engagement.
How frequently should I post per day?
It depends, which I know is not a great answer, but it does. Depending on what article you read or your goal, it could be anywhere from 1-3 times per day. I would suggest testing different posting strategies to determine optimal engagement for your page. For example, test with one post for a while and see what the engagement looks like. Then test with adding a second post, and see if or how engagement changes.
The most important thing to remember is that creating quality content and driving strong engagement will be the best ways to showcase your posts in the news feed.
When are the best times to post on social media platforms like Facebook?
According to an article on Sprout Social, “Best Times to Post on Social Media- 2018 Industry Research”, the best times to post on Facebook are Wednesday at 12 and 2 PM and Thursday at 1 and 2 PM. Thursday is the optimal weekday to post on Facebook. Saturday tends to be a low engagement day on Facebook, since users tend to be out and about enjoying their weekends.
Although, I would add, that just like how frequently to post on Facebook, it would be advisable to test how your posts best reach your intended audience. Your Facebook users and audience may be different from the industry standard.
How do Facebook likes really translate to engagement?
With the latest algorithm, the back and forth of discussion is one of the greatest ways to increase engagement and notice for your work on Facebook. Clicking on content, viewing, and watching content won’t get you the reactions you need. Commenting, sharing, and having a discussion will drive the most engagement. Likes fall somewhere in between. They can be used as a way to gauge if the user finds the content useful, but unless the user comments or engages, that may be the end of the interaction.
Some possible ways to increase engagement, outside of just “likes”, are to create a poll for your audience or include questions on your posts are a great way to encourage comments and interaction from your audience.
Should I be posting videos on Facebook?
Yes, you should definitely be posting videos into Facebook, and live videos are better than pre-recorded videos. Based on Facebook research, “live videos on average get six times as many interactions as regular videos”. Videos are what drive Facebook interaction, and to work with the latest algorithm, videos are going to be one of the best ways to get your content noticed.
Additionally, posting videos directly in Facebook, instead of posting an external link, for example, may aid you in getting your posts seen by more users in the news feed.
Facebook is a constantly evolving social media platform, so it’s always a good idea to continue to check into the Facebook Newsroom for updates. With that in mind, how do you use Facebook? What other Facebook questions do you have?
Now that I am a Mom, I find that if I get lucky, I can get four hours total of productive work during the day. Unfortunately, this time is not in one four-hour chunk, but about four one-hour chunks. With my new time constraint, I have found myself devouring information on how to be my most productive self.
Based on my research and firsthand experience, these are my best productivity hacks.
1. Develop a Structure: Without creating some structure to my day, I end up mindlessly reading articles and not actually getting anything done. For some, this structure could look like meetings on Mondays, designing on Tuesdays, and so forth. If you develop a structure, and time block yourself for specific activities that you only do during those times, you will likely be more productive and efficient. Some individuals even go so far as to only respond to emails pertinent to their daily structure on the assigned days, but I’m not that strict.
2. Write Everything Down: When I am my most productive self, I am a list making machine. I have my to-do list, my call list, and my idea list. If I have everything written down on my list, I don’t have to expend brain power time trying to remember what I need to do. In addition, when I accomplish a task, I get to have the feeling of immense success by crossing it off the list. Finally, when I find myself with a spare few minutes, for example if I arrive early to a meeting, or a call ends early, I can knock out a small task and get a little more done.
3. Work When I am Most Productive: I am a morning person, and my best ideas occur when I am somewhat refreshed after a night of sleep. Thus, in my daily structure, you will see me writing in the morning and administrative tasks when I am the most tired. By working with my body’s natural productivity inclinations, I don’t waste valuable time working on mindless tasks when I am most alert.
4. Make a “Landing Zone”: Having all of my important paperwork in one specific landing zone makes it much easier to crank through the work. As soon as it comes to me (mail, email, carrier pigeon), I open it, assess it, and put it in the landing zone as needed. When I have the pre-assigned chunk of time to work on this task, I no longer have to look for it, or remember to do it. The work is staring me right in the face. Again, by taking out the brain power of remembering the task, I can be more productive.
5. Unsubscribe or Unfollow: My email inbox can be a time suck for me. Between the emails I need to read and respond to as well as all of the emails I have subscribed to throughout the years, it is easy to lose large chunks of time to the less important emails. Periodically, I set aside a 15-20 minute chunk of time to actually unsubscribe or unfollow these emails. Without the constant barrage of unnecessary content, I can stay more focused when my email is staring back at me. And if I decide the need to get certain subscription based emails again, I can always re-follow.
6. Set a deadline: In Tim Ferriss’ book, “The Four Hour Work Week”, Ferriss explains that working more efficiently for a few hours can vastly increase productivity. This may seem like a no-brainer idea, but forcing shorter deadlines forces you to actually work more efficiently. If I give myself two weeks, I am likely to start working on the task in 2 weeks, if I give myself 2 days, I am more likely to complete it right away.
What are your great productivity hacks? How do you keep yourself accountable and motivated?
I remember when I first heard the word “Mastermind” from my talent manager at work. I thought she was referring to the Mastermind Board Game from the 1970s where players move around different colored pegs. She in fact, wasn’t talking about this game, but actually referring to a group she belonged to where they discussed their goals over a group phone call. Once she explained what a Mastermind group actually was, I was hooked on the idea.
A Mastermind Group is not a new concept
A Mastermind Group is not a new concept, it has been around since Napoleon Hill wrote “Think and Grow Rich” in the 1930s. In theory, a Mastermind Group’s ideal purpose is to get individuals to discuss and encourage one another’s ideas to meet a goal or overall purpose.
As I started my search for a Mastermind Group, I found that there are many varieties. There are groups you can find on Meetup.com, Facebook groups, groups that resemble coaching calls, and groups that are limited in size to a smaller amount of participants (between 5-10 individuals).
I chose to join a smaller group (the upper limit is 6 participants) where I could work with the same members over a period of time and have continual feedback, support, and accountability. In addition, our moderator is not a group participant; instead our moderator facilitates the meeting to ensure we stay on time and don’t get side tracked.
At each meeting, before launching right into business, we all have a few minutes to chat and build our relationships. If I were just speaking to a group of strangers, I would not be prepared to voice my thoughts or explain how I am meeting my goals. Since the participants have all become my business friends, I open up about myself personally and professionally and what I am accomplishing.
In the last 11 months as a participant in a High Stakes Mastermind Group, my goals have changed drastically. Both in my personal and professional life, I have had significant changes (job changes, re-locations, and family additions). Throughout all of these drastic life shifts, there has been one constant: the High Stakes Mastermind Group. As I have adjusted my life and entrepreneurial goals, the group has been there to listen, provide encouragement (and suggestions), and give me an avenue to continue feeling like I am making a difference both in my entrepreneurial journey and someone else’s.
For me the High Stakes Mastermind Group has been more than writing a goal plan, updating the plan, and staying accountable to my goals. (Throughout the last 11 months these have still remained the pillars of purpose in the High Stakes Mastermind Group). For me, the High Stakes Mastermind Group has been a rock during challenging life changes. When I meet with the group, I still feel like I have a purpose (and a brain). Instead of just being a “Mom”, I am still an entrepreneur who is working towards goals.
In the end, the intention of a High Stakes Mastermind Group is to typically have entrepreneurial members use each other as resources for success in their business endeavors. And while this continues to be a large part of the purpose of the High Stakes Mastermind Group for me, it is also a community. It is a community of entrepreneurs who care about each other and work together to meet goals, even if these goals are constantly in flux.
What have been your experiences with a High Stakes Mastermind Group? How has it benefited you, personally or professionally?