Category Archives: Brain Storming

Handling “Stuckness”

Photo by Rob Potter

By Adrianna Huff

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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Step away:
    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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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

 

 

 

Your Facebook Questions Answered- Part 1

Photo by William Iven

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:

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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?

 

Written by guest writer Adrianna Huff in collaboration with High Stakes Mastermind Groups

Taking the Silo out of Solo

Photo by Jeremy Olson

What does it mean to take the “silo out of solo”?

You’ll often hear me say that in High Stakes Mastermind Groups we take the “silo out of solo”. But what exactly does that mean? Here’s the thing: it is lonely at the top.

What that means is that when you’re at the top of an organization, whether you have lots of employees or just a few, maybe you’re a solopreneur with no one around but your office cat, you’ll frequently find that you don’t really have anybody that you can talk to. Especially when it’s within your own company. You’re solo – going at it alone. You’re not going to tell your employees your insecurities, that you have doubts, that you’re debating about signing a new contract, or about a choice that you might make with marketing, or a new product, or any number of things that happen in the day-to-day.

There are hundreds of choices that business owners have to make. And there’s an uncomfortable feeling of having to keep up appearances. Typically that of confidence. How can a team leader, or company leader, show their employees and coworkers that they have occasional doubts and insecurities? We are all human, and we all have these emotions from time to time. But there’s a really difficult stigma, when you’re at the top of an organization, to show these vulnerabilities. But here you are; solo, and in a silo.

Tales from a Bad Experience

In High Stakes Mastermind Groups we welcome those vulnerabilities at the times they occur. I had my own personal experience years ago when I was a member of my very first mastermind group. A friend of mine had invited me to be in this group and it was led by one of the members, which in and of itself is the first mistake because I strongly believe that all mastermind group should be led by an outside facilitator that isn’t a part to the actual mastermind itself. But getting back to the story there was a day when I was under tremendous stress and I was feeling extremely emotional as a result of it. During the meeting I vented. I cried and I was emotional. I felt that of all people, these were the ones that would have my back.
Or so I thought. Imagine my shock when three days after that meeting I got a call from the so-called “leader”, who told me that she and the other members had decided that they didn’t want me in the group anymore. I was shocked and deeply, deeply, hurt. The only person who really didn’t support that choice was the same person who had invited me to the group in the first place.

Going Forward

That experience taught me that in my own mastermind groups I will never let that happen to a member. I’ve told all members when they begin a group that I never allow anyone to be abusive to anybody else, but should the day occur where somebody is having particular trouble, and they need the rest of us to support them, we would be there for them. No questions asked. And we’ve had to be there for our members from time to time. But truthfully it doesn’t happen very often. Our meetings are business based. We conduct business and we hold one another accountable to meeting our business goals. We are a group of strong achievers. But even a strong achiever feels like they’re in a silo from time to time. And that is my why to take the “silo out of solo”. You can even hear a little clip where I reference that during a radio interview: https://www.dropbox.com/s/0gq8tyogjtbte1y/Take%20the%20Silo%20out%20of%20the%20Solo.mp3?dl=0

If you ever find yourself feeling like you would be stronger if you were part of a tribe, and that your business would benefit by having like-minded achievement-oriented individuals around you, who would accept you warts and all, give us a call: 480.646.2400 We’d love to hear from you.

You Can’t Have Epiphanies in a Pigeonhole

You Can’t Have Epiphanies in a Pigeonhole
Photo by Rafael Rodrigues Machado

Comfort can be limiting

The other night at a party, my friend Bob and I got into a discussion about reading books.  How we read them. He’s a diehard Kindle user and I like reading books.  The real ones, with front and back covers and pages in between. Bob was adamant that his way was better.  He likes highlighting passages and making notes.  OK.  Fine. I have a Kindle too. But no matter how insistent Bob got, it wasn’t going to change the fact that I rather read a real book.

Bob was trying to pigeonhole me into always reading my books on a Kindle, Nook or iPad because that’s the way he likes to read, even when I kept telling him I’d rather just read a real book.  I love holding real books!

In my business mastermind groups we won’t pigeonhole you into doing your business the way we want you to.   We help you brainstorm and process your ideas.  We are a sounding board, supporting you in getting your goals accomplished in the best way that’s comfortable for you.  I have a signature system in the way that I work with my clients. Having said that just because it’s a system, doesn’t mean that it’s rigid. It means that it’s a process that works and is successful.

“Pigeonholing” is often a concern when it comes to work, like getting stuck in a niche or considered limited in your capabilities as Cheryl Dahle wrote in her article for Fast Company: https://www.fastcompany.com/52849/escape-your-pigeonhole

The Joy of Epiphany Moments

But I look at it as being limited in your business mastermind choices and worse yet, how the mastermind itself functions. Having said that, I’m not criticizing; just pointing out that there are many different forms and styles of mastermind groups, even once your narrow it down to business masterminds.  You owe it to yourself to investigate before choosing.

One mastermind group I know, sits around a board-room table, like a family does at a dining room table and they just start talking about a topic. It might be marketing, it might be how to do your website; it could be any number of things. They sit and discuss it, and that works for them. That’s the way that group operates.

Another group I know of has a facilitator who sets a curriculum and the groups follows that from A-Z over a six month period.  When the curriculum is complete the groups disbands and another starts.

Our High Stakes Mastermind Groups are based on you being able to process through a single page goal plan that we have helped you developed; so it’s very clear and time honored based on SMART goals.  “SMART” goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Results-oriented and Time-bound.

In the course of discussing what is going on in your business, we have an amazing way of processing thoughts and clarifying opportunities our groups result in “ah-ha!” moments. Epiphanies. Sometimes to the point of bringing on tears – happy tears.

We thrive on our ability to be achievement and accountability based sounding boards for our members. I tell each one that their goal plan is a “living document’ because it must flex with changes and updates in their business growth.  That wouldn’t be possible if we clung to the status quo. In fact you could say we’re about taking you out of your pigeonhole.

 

 

Masterminding Can Be Like Parenting Someone Else’s Child

Parenting – if you can do that, you can mastermind.

Some of you may know that I have my fourth exchange student living with us right now. I’ve decided that there are some interesting similarities between parenting somebody else’s child living with you and masterminding.  Now, that may seem like a really weird correlation but read on…

We’ve had four exchange students and so I know that one of the tough things about being the parent of an exchange student is that real life sets in after the “getting to know each other phase” and it’s difficult to parent someone else’s child. As a parent sometimes there are “discipline” types of things that occur. Maybe they’re not emptying the dishwasher when you’ve asked them to, or they’re not getting their homework done and teachers are emailing, or things of that nature.  There are also a lot of great things, just like with your own children, like when they participate in school sports you go and cheer them on.  Or you attend their school play.  You want to support them, and be parents to them, as if they were your own child. Yet there’s this little part that’s detached because this kid doesn’t really belong to you and it’s also temporary.  At some point you hug goodbye at an airport and return home to their empty room.

That’s where I see an interesting connection to Mastermind groups.  When you’re involved in a mastermind group you want to talk about what’s going on in your organization and get feedback from the other members, and sometimes you have to remind yourself that these members don’t really have buy-in to your company, except that they care about your success the same way that you care about their success in their own companies.

Like parenting someone else’s child their success is your own success.  If your fellow Mastermind group members do well in their businesses; they grow their businesses and achieve their goals, then when they succeed you also succeed.  Because you had a connection and involvement in what happened to their business because you were there to give advice, brainstorm, and support them.  In our High Stakes Mastermind Groups, we call it taking the “Silo out of Solo”.

Being in a mastermind group is a responsibility you sign on to – to be a support mechanism for others. And the payoff is really huge.  Just like when you see your own kid walk across that stage and carry away their diploma, there’s a great deal of pride in seeing the success of your fellow Mastermind group members. And the cool thing is they feel pride when you succeed too. And another special feeling, love.

So yeah, Masterminding is a little bit like parenting someone else’s kid.