Most of us today are knowledge seekers. We are in the pursuit of bettering ourselves. We want to empower ourselves so we can grow, make better decisions and ultimately live a lifestyle we dream off. As people we are constantly in a pattern of learning. New life chapters start everyday and each come with a new invisible heading with a collection of invisible bullet points under it. Unfortunately life isn't like a laid out curriculum, though sometimes I wish that it was, so I can tick it off as read, learnt and apply. Anyway.. the point being is we are knowledge seekers and these days we have many ways in which to collect that knowledge. We can read, watch videos or listen to podcast!! And this is what this podcast/blo is about because if you are a knowledge sharer and want to add value to your business then podcasting could be your way of streaming up to date audio knowledge to your clients and prospects.
What is podcasting and who is using Podcasts?
Podcasting is a great way to share your business message and core values. It is simply a digital audio file which your clients or prospects can download from ITunes, Stitcher, your website or other podcast platforms. On the digital file you have created is your content, you can discuss whatever your business is about, so for example with my own podcast show, The Learning Curve Podcast, I interview Women Entrepreneurs in the Middle East. My digital content is my conversations with these women to showcase what their business is about aswell as sharing their challenges, successes, tips, advise and much more. All aimed at helping more women take the plunge into entrepreneurship.
Today many people create podcasts sharing their expertise, their opinion, their interviews, film and book reviews and all sorts of material. Just check out the Podcast list on ITunes or Stitcher. Choose a subject you are interested in and you will find any number of podcasts from mentorship shows to people travelling the world. Through the advent of this simple and low barrier to entry marketing method many businesses are starting to see the pull of podcast.
Big brands today are starting to create their podcast shows. For Example the Economist now streams in audio. American Airlines - just started. In-fact, here is a list of the 38 best podcast shows this year.
How Can We Use it For Marketing?
Showcase your business and build authority
We all want to be seen as a product authority or an expert in our particular field and often that is difficult to achieve as to show case you need to get in front of your clients and prospects, you have to create workshops, events, meeting spaces to make this happen. All this can cost you a bit in terms of organising the right location, catering, material and then marketing but this is where podcasts could be quite a useful tool. Creating an audio series showcasing products, new information, showcasing customers, discussing the latest information allows your clients and prospects to have an interaction with you without actually having to interact with you just yet. What a great way to build authority. They can listen to what is going on in your business and you get to show off your knowledge, expertise and advise on a particular matter or product. Seems like a great way to do some inbound marketing with a relatively inexpensive medium. Plus the content is evergreen meaning that it has longevity too, so you can keep it up for months, even a few years and it doesn't get old until it really does need updating. You can share your podcasts through your website or via your email marketing or your newsletters. Your customers get to interact with you on their terms without being bothered by annoying cold sales calls.
Build a rapport with your audience.
Podcasts are great relationship builders and a great way to connect with your audience. As a listener you get enjoy a two or three way conversation between the podcast host (usually the business owner/Entrepreneur) and the guest(s) talking about what their business/subject is, how it helps its customers, their success, failure, tip or advise. As the host you get to share a bit more of who you are and what goes on behind the scenes of your business. You allow your audience to get to know you and your style. There is so much to learn from someone's voice when they talk. You can hear the movement of their voice, the low and high tones, the pauses, the passion in their voices. Its just adds a whole new dynamic which isn't always achievable through the written word. If your audience love you then they can subscribe and get the update when you add a new podcast episode.
I've seen an article somewhere that it says it take 7 - 8 connections before a prospect will potentially buy from you so why not take the opportunity of building that rapport with your audience and allow them to connect with you before they make a purchase.
Brand building is an absolute must and with online marketing is even tougher to break through the noise of the competition. But here's where podcasting can be fruitful. Sharing short snippets from your podcast which you can then share on social media gives you an opportunity and your audience a small teaser into what your business is up too. We all watch or listen to short clips so why couldn't this work for you? You can build your brand, build your authority and look like you are progressive. Using technology to up your game. Remember podcasts don't just have to be audio they can be video aswell and with the advent of Live video streaming on Facebook on via live streaming networks this is another great way to build your brand, put you behind your brand and give your product or service more of a voice? Facebook LIVE at the moment is very powerful. Facebook have made it so that your live stream generate lots of traction and interest so you may find when you go live that you get lots of views, likes and comments on your Facebook page than you would if you just put up a post. Try it!
The other great benefit of podcasting is it is relatively inexpensive to get started. You need a microphone, a lap top, download audacity a free audio software and press record. Once that is done you need an audio host so you can save it in cyberspace. You can use your website or a third party tool, like Libsyn, Omny or Soundcloud to save and all these hosts come with additional tools to help you share your podcast, see the background demographics, see which podcasts are the most popular and more. There is a lot of information and with that you can see how your podcast is doing and what your audience likes and engages with.
Accessibility and Flexibility
Its the only medium that allows you to be doing something else while you listen to them. You don't have to be watching TV to listen to them or at your laptop - you can listen to them on the move. They are also on demand - so like how many of us like our TV shows, you can listen to podcasts whenever you want. So how is this right for my business? Well now you don't have to schedule time slots with your audience you can be getting your commentary out there and get marketing it without having to pay for a physical space to create that same conversation or sharing of information you want. Hit record and then share the knowledge you want to get out there and being valuable to your audience.
Overall I think Podcasts are a great addition to your marketing. They beautifully compliment a blog and your articles on your website. In some ways they can bring them together too. Take this recording...this is also a blog piece so you can choose to sit and read or listen. As a business you can use the space to showcase your products, services, current commentary, interviews, discussions even record panel discussions and make them available to those that couldn't attend your events. All this material isn't wasted it's in full view to your audience, helping them to get to know you better and if they want to buy from you. We know today that people buy from people they trust and find authentic - this could be you! Bring podcasting in your marketing. I can help you make that happen! :) i currently offer a podcast series creation for businesses in the UAE. We create a 12 episode podcast season which you can showcase on your website or an audio host platform. Check out our particular offer via our page called Start a podcast.
#92 [PODCAST & BLOG] My 5 Correlations between My Weight Loss and my Entrepreneurship journey. With Nicholla henderson Hall - Creator and Host of the Learning Curve Podcast (Dubai, United Arab Emirates)
Have you ever thought about the correlation between a weight loss journey and entrepreneurship? I've recently connected the two. If you spotted the correlation yourself, then awesome and I'd love to hear how you see them syncing up. So summer 2016 for me is about 2 key objectives, a) starting my business, and b) weight loss and getting my fitness back. To achieve both I've been spending the first part of the early morning on the treadmill where for one hour I walk and run to achieve around 9000 steps. My aim is to average around 12000 daily steps. This morning effort really boosts that number to achieve my daily step count. It also helps with the 2nd objective of starting my business by helping me get clear, having a healthy mindset and achieve my daily 'to do' list about what I need to get done. Apart from this morning exercise boost, the majority of my day is very sedentary. I spend a chunk of time in front of the computer or in meetings, a car or just relaxing. Its pretty hot outside so going out really isn't advisable so getting my exercise done first thing is crucial. I'm not a afternoon gym person nor an evening person so the mornings gets it done.
So during these sessions I've been listening to a podcast called 'Tips of the Scale'. It's a great podcast and community about people sharing their weight loss journeys. I have found all these stories inspirational and really help boost my own weight loss journey. Me and weight loss have always been at odds but I know I'm healthy and fit. I don't have an issue running a 10km run and so I do pride myself on that achievement. This coming winter I plan to get some more runs under me. I'm even contemplating doing the 42km Dubai marathon as opposed to the usual 10km - which I've been doing for 6 years. Still not sure. The distance does bother me!!!
I was listening to a particular podcast with a lady called Elizabeth Benton and she spoke about how alot about how weigh loss and motivation is a mindset thing. I heard her loud and clear. There are times on the treadmill where I just want to stop and give up but I try super hard to not listen to that inner voice and tell myself that this is awesome and my body needs this fitness.
But as I listened and ran I thought about my other key objective and that was starting my social media business. I realised as Sam (the host) and Elizabeth chatted that there were similarities between a weight loss journey and entrepreneurship. I'd never made the connection before. But here it was. So I wanted to share with you these connections and so when you are next at the gym or know someone on a weight loss journey you can totally relate to them. Only the topic is different.
Entrepreneurship is an all immersing experience
The other day I interviewed a very smart and astute business woman called Saana Azzam - she is the founder of MENA Speakers and she said, 'Entrepreneurship is an all immersing experience'. I couldn't agree more with her statement. The whole subject of passion for your idea, creating it and making it happen just totally takes over your life. You eat, sleep and breath the subject and are constantly fired up by the energy that this passion it creates. You spend your time talking, sharing, building, thriving and trailblazing all in the name of your idea so you can see it become the vision you had in your head. Weight loss is very much the same. It is an all immersing experience. With weight loss its an all or nothing experience. You have to exercise, pay attention to your food, educate yourself, stay informed, read and just embrace it, in its totality otherwise you will not break old habits or achieve the goals you so want to see and feel.
With both weight loss and entrepreneurship there is a heavy sense of isolation despite in both cases you will have the support of family and friends around you. When you are building your business you spend a lot of time in front of the computer reading, building and strategizing. A lot of this time can be on your own or quite lonely. Unlike in a large corporate office you have teams or individuals that are involved in the same projects or tasks as you. The same with the weight loss journey. It can, a lot of the time be done in isolation. You go the gym but folk rarely speak or interact, you go to dinner and you are having internal conversations with yourself about the menu. What looks good, what's off the menu for you, how can you compromise so you can still enjoy yourself but have something yummy! You do these conversations in isolation too. Well I do!! Ultimately you have to make the effort yourself, you have to take responsibility even with community and friends around. That is what isolation can be.
Endless Courses and Diets
Elizabeth spoke about the number of different diets she had done during her life to lose weight. All promised weight loss and all promised a new level of confidence. She would lose the weight and then as soon as the diet was done she would see the weight return. An endless cycle of torcher for her mentally as well as physically. Entrepreneurship is very much the same. How many of you have bought the, 'I went from $0 to a six figure dollar sum in 4 months - and my life change forever' courses? Who has done it? I have. Eventually you learn schemes and quick fixes NEVER solve the problem long term nor do they deal wit the fundamental space in your head which makes all of this effort happen.
The Emotional Journey
Weight loss and entrepreneurship are both emotional journeys. You've seen that classic iceberg picture where it dissects the iceberg so you can see the tip and what goes on under water and that truly is a mental and emotional journey. There are great days, awful days, give up days, I'm done days and the best days.... oh the cycle goes up and down like the stock market. Its the same with your weight loss journey... those days when you've worked out all week, you've kept to your plan and then you get on the scales and nothing has changed or you've even put on a pound. Those days are the worst. Then there are days when you eat a burger and you are having an 'off' day and you lose weight!!! what is that all about!!! Anyway the key thing is, is that that too is an emotional journey. For both entrepreneurs and those on their weight loss journey they all have to constantly stay aware of their thoughts so they don't impact your feelings and land up creating a negative day or experience. I find this correlations the most fascinating!
Have to Find Like Minded People
Finding people like yourself really is crucial to your growth and your confidence. I find that when I speak to non like minded people they can often question my intent or direction and then land up causing me confusion and mental misdirection in my head. That really does annoy me particularly for both my journeys through weight loss and entrepreneurship. I have to remind myself that I'm dealing with their fears and reckless attitudes, not mine! When I was younger found myself to be more easily persuaded by someone else's ideas and thoughts. Today I still have that a little bit but i do make sure I remain in a questioning state as best I can. Its a muscle I have to keep training I suppose. Its the same with both entrepreneurship and weight loss - find people that relate. Find people that you can connect with and 'get' where you are coming from. Its so easy to be sucked into negative non-like minded people who might think they are coming from a place of caring and sharing but for you its all wrong and it you don't nip it in the bud you could fall pray to negative thinking and falling from your objectives and mission. Find your Tribe.
So, what do you think? I'm sure you can see the correlations yourself and probably a lot more like I mentioned earlier. Both journeys are filled with hurdles, bumps, detours all sorts of moments and you just have to forgive yourself when the negative stuff comes around and just push through. Both are long term goals that require consistency, energy, positivity and mental strength. I'm working on both and its without a doubt tough They are both heavily intertwined and not separate objectives for me - they both feed from the same source and if I can keep the power up hopefully by the end of year I would have lost the stone I'm hoping to lose, ran a number of 10km or further distances that i wanted and my business is pushing through to it s 6 month anniversary. Its a social media service for women in business, business if you are interested.
Thanks for listening or reading, which ever way you consumer your knowledge. Do let me know where else you see a correlation in your own journeys. It might not be weight loss and business start up but that's ok. I'm looking for patterns. Have an awesome day.
The Holy Month of Ramadan started last Monday and for the 1.6 billion Muslims around the world it is the month of fasting and prayer. For those that don't know what Ramadan is, its a time each year when all Muslims fast from dawn until dusk and they must refrain from eating, drinking, smoking and drinking alcohol. Its a month of spiritual reflection, a time to look upon ones own activities and question them and reconnect with your faith and cleanse your soul. I'm not Muslim but as I've lived in the UAE all my life, its very much part of my yearly calendar and I find the month very important to my own character and soul.
So I wanted to share with you why Ramadan is a great month for Entrepreneurs even if you are not Muslim and how you can make effective use of the time.
Time to reflect and renew our energy levels
So each year when Ramadan comes round I see it as a time to reflect on my own life and take a moment to reassess my own energy levels. I have fasted in the past to embrace the Holy month but most of the time I see the month as a time to detox my health, rebuild my exercise regime and meditate some more. Feeling physically better does wonders for my own mindset so when Ramadan comes around I do indulge all of these activities and I really recommend the same for you.
So how can Ramadan help Entrepreneurs - well really for similar reasons. Take the time to reflect on your business, get clear about what is working and what isn't, detox your own business by cleaning your office space, your computer laptop (I know I always have tonnes of files sitting on my desktop screen that really need to be properly filed), reorganise your leads, your budget, get clear on your business's future needs. In Ramadan its a time for Muslims to reconnect with their faith and their core values. You can do the same aswell. Get clear about your core business values again. Sometimes during the year I know these values can get blurry particularly if you are super busy and starting to spread thin. Ramadan is also great time to learn, articulate and understand a lot of the key knowledge you have learnt over the passed few months and get that material ready to use in your business, with colleagues, co-workers or even family.
So just taking the month to detox your business, reset your business intentions and knowing your path will really revive your energy levels and get you ready to take on the world again.
Opportunity to slow the pace down.
How many of you are doing long days? Possible more than you've ever done when you compare it to your previous career you may have had. A lot of the long hours is because we love what we do and time has little meaning when you get to spend the day doing what you love. However, there are times when we need to slow down or even take a break. Its not healthy to be constantly in active mode. We do get tired and grubby when all our engines have been depleted, well I know I do anyway.
So with Ramadan, lies the opportunity to slow the pace down. Take your foot off the gas and don't rush. Yes we need to get a lot done with leads to funnel and sales to close but with an opportunity to reflect and reassess your energy levels why not take the time to slow things down a bit. Slowing things down destresses us too. Feeling more relaxed and less stressed does wonders for our productivity and helping us get clear about what we want to achieve. Ramadan is also about reconnecting with your family and friends so use the time to reconnect with family and friends and people you've been wanting to connect with for a while but haven't. I did this recently. I set up a meeting with an old colleague in Dubai who I hadn't seen in 18 months and it was awesome. We shared, chatted and brainstormed and more than likely will do some collaborations soon too. Awesome!
Opportunity to look at working 'on' the business
How many of you work 'in' your business as opposed to work 'on' your business? Its interesting to get clear on this as it can help you map where you are going and how your business is going to get you there. My husband suffers a bit from this issue. He's a strategy and detail man but sometimes he can gets so caught up in the detail that I need to tell him to come to the surface again because we need to work on the strategy. He recognises his blindness quickly and realigns himself with our strategy objectives. Its all very easily done and can sneak up on you subconsciously. I think a lot of us do it so Ramadan is an awesome time to reconnect with your 'Why' of the business. Your 'values' of the business. Where you are now and where you are going. We can plan as best we can but we all know that a lot of the time its guess work but knowing your why, your values or your potential direction is more about being clear and having clarity so use the holy month of Ramadan to take a step back from your business and look at the bigger picture. You never know what you could be missing. Detail can be organised later by your team or by yourself but in complete awareness that you are in 'the detail'
Fasting is possible and so others things are possible.
The BIG objective of Ramadan is fasting. Its the 5th pillar of Islam and one of the toughest to do. This particular holy month of Ramadan, Muslims in the middle East are looking at Fasting for over 15 hours and this is tough particularly when its 45 degrees outside and thirst really is the big factor with those heat levels. I watched video on Facebook yesterday where Muslims in Finland are fasting over 20 hours a day! Watch it becuase its just amazing. The fasting is to help you understand what its like not to have food or water and that there are people of this world that don't know where there next meal is coming from.
So fasting is done and is possible I think if you can discipline yourself to follow your faith and push your way through the hunger and deprivation then I say, 'think of what you can do when you have been nourished!?' I have learnt that a lot of what we do is often down to our mindset and if we all had the strength of mindset to be disciplined, have some self awareness of our thoughts then we can see ourselves through our goals or objectives successfully.
So there you have it. My four reasons of why Ramadan is an awesome time for Entrepreneurs and how you can embrace the month even if you are not Muslim. How else have you embraced the tradition of Ramadan? Would you fast from dawn till dusk? Do let me know as I'd love to know your thoughts on this. Have an awesome day.
On the 18th April 2016 I put up an episode called 'My 3 take aways on reslience from my interviews with Women Entrepreneurs in the Middle East. As you can see from the image below, these are the results of that download and as I write this blog we are over 2200 downloads!! Clearly this is something that listeners are resonating with. Maybe its the current economic climate or change is heavily in the air this month but this episode has become my top episode and each day there are still downloads being counted. So I thought, so why not do another podcast on another 4. I did have many 'take aways' but I only covered the top 3 - so here are 4 more.
I kind of feel guilty about not putting this up there in my top 3 so when I decided to write another resilience post I thought, 'gratitude' is important to have. When things are tough, I do have a tendency to wallow a bit and hang in that space wondering why is this all happening. Which as we all know, achieves very little! You are literally circling in the same space and going no where. So I've recently turned to gratitude as a way to move my mindset from 'ugh' to 'hoorray'. Its hard, I must say but writing down what we are grateful for really does move the mind and helps you get back on the positive side. It doesn't happen instantly so I totally understand why people give up practising gratitude as the results are a few weeks away but it can help. All my guests I have interviewed were always in a place of gratitude. They were thankful for the podcast coverage, thankful for helping them clarify their own journey through my questions and thankful for being part of a unique opportunity. My podcast is unique in the region and I'm delighted I was able to share their story. When someone says 'thank you' it really does feel really good and I really do think that if we sit back and be thankful for what we have, what we have done and for the people around us, it really helps our resilience. I'm learning to practice more gratitude simply by being aware of my negative thoughts and when I hear them in my head, I whip up something I am grateful for. Try it!! I've read countless articles that say write down 5 things you are grateful for each day. Try it!
Books, Individuals & Goals!
One of the topics I'm always asking my guests is where do you go when you are feeling down, what keeps them motivated and I have seen a pattern through all these women. They all seems to have 3 key places they head too or focus on when things are not going right and that is 'Books, Individuals and Goals'. I discovered that when things were tough, these ladies went back to the drawing board and reconnected with their goals. They would then then talk to friends, family, mentors or coaches. Those individuals that 'got' them and understood what they were all about and why this journey was so important to them. Then they would widen their learning by reading books. Reading up on the areas they needed to work on and broaden. Areas that they immediately could fix with a particular problem they had so they could move forward. When I summed this up in my head, I was thinking, that is pretty simple and why didn't I think of that!!! I guess its because I'm thinking its more complicated than that!! So reconnect with you goals, speak to someone and read a book. It doesn't have to be in that order. Just what you instinctively go to first. Now for me, my instinct is to read. I try and solve the problem myself. I guess its an independence things! But for you, that could be talking to individuals or just going back to the drawing board and taking a look at your goals. Oh and FYI, if reading isn't your thing, how about a TEDx episode or a podcast. We all learn in different ways, so use the best method that works for you. :) All these ladies I have interviewed, you could also listen too as a tool to connect with and understand yourself too.
Don't Be Shy, Talk & Share!
These ladies have all learnt how to Talk and Share. They don't bottle up there concerns. If they have problems or goals that are not being met they talk, they share. They reach out to people and ask for help. All of these ladies have gotten passed the negatives of entrepreneurship, ljke chaos, confusion & their vulnerabilities and began to talk and share about there shortcomings or their weaknesses and to make change so they can move forward. Talking about your vulnerabilities or mess ups can be difficult for most but these ladies have learnt to be self aware and know how being shy just doesn't cut it any more if they want to succeed. They need to be heard, they need to share and they need to find the people that will help them. But what does talking and sharing do? Well it helps you clarify your thoughts and thinking, it helps sort through your feelings and makes things less scary, it can give the issue some prospective. Another opinion can help turn the issue around and make it seem less intimidating. These ladies have learnt how to talk and share and this has only made them stronger and more resilient. The more they talk the more confidence they have developed in themselves and their ideas. So next time you are stuck on something, reach out and talk. Help yourself get clear on an idea, or a problem so you can move forward and achieve your goals. Sharing is caring right???
They are always at the beginning!!
I always ask my guests where they think they are on their own learning curve journey. I ask them to imagine a curve line with peaks and trough and ask them where they sit on that curve and they always said we are at the beginning of an upward curve. I always try to say, 'I guessI you are at the top of your curve based on our conversation given how much they have done and achieve' but no..... they always say they are at the beginning. Everything they do, they are at the beginning of. Its fascinating to think that all these women are at the beginning, but I totally get it. It's their mindset. It's their emotional setting. Its their positive and happiness card they are sharing. At this point on the curve, you are raring to go and you are in a positive growth space. I guess its positive psychology to get through the tough times ahead. With that mindset they can face challenges and obstacles, they can be in control of what is to come and then make the choices that suit them and where they are going. None of these ladies EVER said they were coming down a learning curve or were sitting in a trough of a learning curve. Its just so negative and if you are there, then everything is affected. You can't make good decisions, you can't be productive and you land up hanging out at your own pity party!! Who wants to be invited to that??? No one! Overall it is hard to be strong if you are sick and tired so I guess the lesson on resilience here is always have the mindset of being on the upward swing of the learning curve. If you are there, you are ready for the peak and be ready for the slow slide down the curve.
Resilience truly is the must have strength for entrepreneurs.
Through both my blog posts on this subject I can say that resilience can be found in many places you just need to be self aware, observe and keep moving forward. There will always be set backs, you just need to have your 'resilience list' of tasks you can do when it all goes wrong and you are not sure where to turn. All the women entrepreneurs I have interviewed have instinctively been resilient, even if they know it or not. I've learnt a lot from all of them. A sort of unexpected learning because when I started this journey to explore the women entrepreneurs of the Middle East, my intent was to discover what they did and how they did it not how they were being resilient but deep down I guess that was something I was needing too and is the beating heart of all their stories.
In closing, all these women have put their passion to work, their perseverance in gear and focused on the success and long term goals of their businesses. Some days are harder than others but they push, drive and trail blaze through the entrepreneurial journey and learning curve they have taken on. These women are amazing and I admire their efforts, action and their personalities. Thank you for sharing your journeys Ladies.
I invite you to consider where you get your resilience from and if you have a story to share, then please do connect. The more I talk about this subject the more I'm intrigued by it. The Power of the human spirit to carry on in adversity is amazing!
Failure and mistakes are not a bad thing!! That is the resounding message I'm getting from the ladies I have interviewed. They wouldn't be doing what they were doing if they listened to the negative self talk or were self conscious about what they said or did. When they fail or make a mistake, they just stand up, dust themselves off and travel on to the next 'to do' item from their business plan.
I think that is very powerful feedback and one that I'm slowly coming to terms with myself. At school you are taught to not make mistakes but when you fail your exams or tests, we are taught mistakes and failing are reflections of you not paying attention or studying hard enough. Think of the times you got a big fat red 'F' - on your paper. Its totally demoralising - What do we do with that feedback? We start the negative self talk....'we are not good enough, we are useless, I'll never go to University, my parents will be so disappointed' and there begins the cycle of negativity. From a young age we start this negative self chatter and so we hide away from new things, new ideas because we clearly failed at something similar! I remember my dad saying he was awful at maths. But was he awful or did he have a bad teacher or the class was too big or he was too shy to speak up?? Who knows. But those circumstances meant him blaming himself for not being good at maths. OK. So we do need to be accountable but 50 years ago there wasn't learning support. You were just expected to get on with it but it still leaves you stained with negative messages ringing in our ears. I heard Robert Kiyosaki say recently, 'rubbishing failure and mistakes in school is so anti learning'. And I couldn't agree more.
I've been plagued by my own failure and mistake demons. You know the things you have said or done in the office and you think the whole office is still talking about it months later..... when they are not!!! Or my own negative self talk that I'm not good enough or feeling nervous or inadequate because of my fears of failure or mistakes. Its seriously painful and so overwhelming. It can suck you in and hold you tight for minutes, hours or even days. I'm sure you can all feel your own negative feelings when you think about your mistakes and failings.
But come on... lets changed that tune!! Science and cognitive psychology has shown us that what we say to ourselves impacts our emotions. To 'get' this yourself, the best time to understand this is the morning, when you wake up. If you start thinking negatively in the morning your tummy might start to get butterflies or you feel your stress levels rising and your just irritated ....and you have just woken up. I've been that person and I hate getting butterflies in the morning!! I hate that wobblying feeling in my tummy that just hangs there. In my head I'm stressing about the day ahead, meetings, projects, deadlines...and I've only been awake 30 minutes!!!! So instead now I get up in the morning and I exercise - and watch a ted talk - that works for me. It totally raises my energy levels, changes my mindset to a 'can do' attitude and gets rid of those butterflies. I've become more aware of my thoughts and work heavily on being resilient constantly. So how did I get there? Well this is where I tell you what I learnt from the many interviews I've done with Women Entrepreneurs in the Middle East and how I think you can accomplish whatever you want if you put your mind in the right frame and use your failures to your advantage.
Head to your Treasure Box of Passion & Strengths.
Through all my interviews with my women entrepreneurs in the Middle East, I've learnt that they have recognised their strengths and their weaknesses. They have sat down and really clarified their values, their vision, who they are and what strengths they have that they can use. Their primary strengths is the passion they have for a subject, industry or idea. They've taken that passionate energy and just ran with it. When they hit a hurdle they return to their treasure box of strengths, take up more of their passion and reasons for the businesses. Knowing the why to their quest and multiplying that by their strengths, they rekindle that fire and push forward. Mistakes and failing for them is learning. They place it where it should be *in the learning section* and carry on. They will turn to this process over and over again. I know I have. Creating a podcast around women entrepreneurs in the middle east is new, different and very niche. I'm passionate about these conversations I have and want to share how the women of the Middle East are trail blazing and bringing economic growth to their countries but also 'Making a Difference with Lots of Valuable Experiences (MAD LOVE)*. I use my strengths of relationship building, listening and constructing comfortable conversations to really help me connect with these ladies and help share their story. Remember to tap back into your passion and strengths - I'm sure you will give your confidence a nice needed boost.
Collaborate and Partner Up
I always ask my ladies in the interview how important has collaboration and partnerships been to the success of their business and 99% of the time, they respond with a YES! Every business can't grow in isolation just like people can't grow in isolation. You would never learn anything. So when things aren't great and you've hit a wall think about how you could reach out to a complimenting business or a mentor group or even your mum and dad just to help get you some perspective. In that perspective lies your resilience. When you reach out, get clear about what it is that you need to move forward, how you would like them to help you and how you can help them. Give yourself workable and flexible targets and just ask. Use your strengths and your values to work out a new plan. See if your values and their values align and start a new collaboration or partnership. It doesn't have to be monetary it can be as simple as a barter deal or cross promoting one another. These actions will have you heading down your success route once again. We've all scene that image of success as a windy road and it totally is. So don't hit that wall and feel failure looming, see it as an opportunity to learn, talk to people and take action. Be resilient.
They keep growing their knowledge bank and learning
I interviewed May Khizam yesterday and she said a really cool then.... she said, ' Entrepreneurship looks so glossy on the outside but its not' and she is so so right. *here come some negative self talk* - its a life of hardship, its brings difficulties, chaos, questioning yourself and your business, money worries and fear. There I have said it! Now lets move on! To be an entrepreneur you need to be resilient. Be able to turn all those fears into actionable positives but we need to put ourselves in mindset of wanting to be a learning person. Tricia Evans and Cherine Kurdi both called themselves 'Learning Junkies' and I loved that. They make time to learn, they make time to read and listen to what the latest developments are in their industries aswell as complimenting industries. They've also become really good listeners. Listening for the message that will help them marry that information with their business so they can move forward. They are open to ideas and all this new information empowers them and improves their confidence. So when they do have a set back, they can fall back on their knowledge bank, their goals and recognise their achievements and push forward. They are resilient.
Through out all my interviews I think the key to all of these ladies efforts has been resilience. There are peaks and troughs in their journeys which create challenges and excitement. I think the trick is to recognise when things are going great and make sure you recognise those moments and be thankful for them. Show some gratitude. When things are not going great, turn to your resilience. Even create a resilience list so you have a go to list of activities you can turn too when your brain is not engaging and you are feeling demoralised. The online dictionary I used to define the word failure has two definitions, a) 'lack of success' or b) 'the neglect or omission of expected or required action'. hmm.... it should say 'failure is a blip in your learning and you haven't looked at your resilience yet. Go to resilience'.
*I credit that brilliant Acronym MAD LOVE to my awesome friend and awesome author Jules Miles Lewis. She's written a book on Moving Mountains. All About helping you move forward, discovering your inner mountain and finding your path foward emotionally, spiritually, mentally and physically... in business and in life
How many podcasts do you listen too? I bet the number is either none, some or loads!!! Its really fascinating when you talk to people about podcasting and they are either totally into them or haven't got a clue!! Often the cluelessness is based around the 'Why would I listen to them?' or 'Where do I get them?' or quite plainly 'what is a podcast'. Living here in the UAE I have to say the latter of those questions is the most common, but then weird things happen like, I get the opportunity to be part of The National newspaper on podcasting. That was awesome by the way! :) So it really is a 'learning curve' when it comes to podcasting!
So if you are one that sits of the fence as a listener or as someone that could see the medium as a tool then here are my 4 superpowers of podcasts that 'hopefully' will help you jump off the fence to downloading a couple to listen to some or start your own. Really there are thousands of podcasts. I am part of 4 communities on Facebook where there are podcasters producing shows and episodes and nearly everyday we see a new show launching around another niche area. From health & wellness to fly fishing, there are literally thousands of podcasts out there! Check out ITunes or Stitcher and Im sure you will find something you like.
They Can Educate - Don't stop Learning!
A recent guest of mine Rana El Chemailly said to me 'if you stop learning you will fail'. She's right! Just because we have finished school and got that degree doesn't mean we need to stop learning. To move forward and be successful at whatever we do, we need to be learning all the time.
But the big issue to learning is time! We are all so busy with our lives with work, kids and trying to have fun ourselves, when do we schedule in learn? I've recently starting asking this question on my podcast because it was something I was struggling with too. How are these ladies still continuing to grow and learn and still run a business? Good question right? The answer was simple. They all made time to learn. Some were up early and studied and some added it as a 'to do' item into their schedule. I'm still bartering time and learning I have to say but one tool I know I can do is learn and be on the go! I have the school runs, I have traffic jams, I have walk training and I have trips to Dubai. All these trips equal time and that is when I can learn. I can download my favourite podcasts and get myself plugged in and while I either exercise or just 'get through the journey' I can listen, learn and question. This is what a podcast can do, it can educate you. There are soooo many great podcasts out there from educators, consultants, facilitators or councillors who are keen to share their knowledge and insight to help you with your journey. You can do the same. Show off your insight and knowledge. Create that thought leader persona that is inside you and help build your business and drive your career.
They Can Entertain - Find a podcast that fits your mood!
We all need to be swept out of our daily life and just be entertained. Much like Friends of the 1990's or 'How I met your mother' in the 2000's - its nice just to be entertained. Take us away from our daily chores or work and just sit back and let the story unravel in-front of us. Podcast can do that too! I don't know about you but when I get on a plane I want to zone out, be undisturbed for the duration of the flight. Much like a good book or a movie, listening to a podcast is just another form of engagement and you can binge listen much like you would with a TV series or a good book. But the cool thing is you can physically be doing something while you indulge in your favourite episode. So you can de-clutter your closet, clean out the car, paint a picture or weed the garden all while you are being entertained. Things we would all rather NOT to but have to do from time to time. So use the time productively and be entertained at the same time.
They Can Inform - Give yourself An Edge
Being informed has many advantages. Being informed helps you build informed opinions, helps you get off the fence and help influence a line of thought at work, at home or on a cause you are passionate about. Being informed helps you learn about other cultures outside of your own. Being informed sparks engaging discussions, positive debate and helps grows awareness about issues around you. Being informed helps you travel, it supplies you with useful and insightful knowledge to help you get from A to B. Being informed gives you an advantage. Just this week a friend of mine did an interview and she had to make a presentation based on the case study presented to her for the interview. She used some right up to date knowledge she had learnt via a podcast making part of her presentation bang up to date. She came across as knowledgeable, informed and forward thinking! Great eh! So this could be you too. As a podcaster you can share your views, opinions or be a content curator and really give your audience the information they need to support their career or business. As a podcast listener, the work is done for you. You get information in structured setting, you are able to articulate it and go away and do further work around it. You are informed.
They Can Inspire - Give yourself a daily dose of goodness
You have probably heard these expression. 'You are who you surround yourself with. Well here is another, 'You are what you listen too'. I've read alot recently from thought leaders that say 'weed out the negative people' or 'hang around with smarter people' or 'be the person you want to become' and I do believe there is a lot of merit to this. The power of the mind to cling to negativity is magnetic. Its so much easier to be negative than it is too be positive so we need to really work at keeping a positive mindset so why not be inspired.
Listening to Podcasts really can inspire you. From exercising to commuting or working you can be inspired at any time. They are some GREAT people out there just driving positive change and energy. They are fiercely fighting the negative, weeding out the sh&t and helping you be better you, or better at your job or be a better member of the community. Yes I know its easy to go down the negative path but when so many great people are just offering you up daily doses of inspiration, why fall for the dark stuff! Get yourself on ITunes or Stitcher and type in your keyword and be inspired.
So where do I start?
I am very much a person who has a wide interest in many things. I am a people explorer and a subject geek. Podcasts give me quick access to themes, ideas, stories, people and topics which can be absorbed in 30 minutes. I am a slow reader and I don't have much time these days to sit an enjoy a movie or many documentaries. Podcasts offer up these superpowers and I love to listen to stuff that will give me that edge, keep me informed or use as a reference when I need it. And the best part of all is I get to update my knowledge bank without spending a penny because Podcasts are free knowledge. I don't by magazine anymore, I just head over to ITunes or Stitcher or use one of the podcast directory apps and research keywords or topics. Then I download. If I don't like it, there is a delete button! There is no clutter, no mess and if I want to refer back to something, I can just upload that episode again and find what I need.
I really recommend you give it a go! I know its new and will definitely feel weird to start with but you will find a library of topics that you love and be on your way to the super powers of podcasts.
ps. I have no idea what you like and rally thre are thousands of podcast but here are a few links to some good articles on podcasts. You may like.
pODCAST #67 - everyday I go home feeling happy I have changed the life of a young person in algeria' says Leen Abdel Jaber Al Ashhab, Founder & Executive Director of Injaz El Djazair. (Algeria)
The Learning Curve Podcast - THE Podcast for Women Entrepreneurs in the Middle East.
Yes.. Everyday Leen goes home feeling happy she is making a difference in a young persons life. She's the founder of the Algerian connection for Injaz Al Arab, is a non-profit organization that drives youth education and training in workforce readiness, financial literacy and entrepreneurship across the Arab World.
Leen has been with the organisation since 2000 but it was her move to Algeria in 2010 that took all her skills and training to the next level when she decided she wanted to start Injaz in Algeria. Read More & Listen
PODCAST #66 - 'Learning Will Always Take You To The Next Level' Says Rana El Chemaitelly. Founder Of The Little Engineer. (Beirut, Lebanon)
How many of you would like to see your kid or nieces or nephews or even your friends kids step away from the ipads or computer games and engage in activities like robot building, science, technology, engineering, mathematics and renewable Energy. Interested? I know I was. I like IPads but they offer no physical interaction, my daughter just sits and stares at it and it offers limited sensory interaction because you can' smell or touch what you are working on or viewing. these thoughts are very much similar to Rana, the Founder of The Little Engineer.
Read More & Listen
Happy New Year everyone. For the Learning Curve Podcast it was definitely a year of peaks and troughs. Starting a podcast and getting it out there wasn't difficult it, was the promotion and sharing and getting it out there that I found the toughest. But thankfully we ended the year on a lovely peak which I hope now is the base camp for new heights for the show.
My December 2015 goal was to hit 5000 downloads and we made 5400 downloads. That I feel is a fantastic achievement. #Morethanexcited
The other interesting fact was the geographical reach of the show. The US still was and I think will remain the Bigger download location but my show is extending into France, Singapore and Slovakia! #bringonnewcountries
Twitter has definitely been my key social tool in helping extend the reach of the show. I always post boosted my episodes on Facebook but Twitter for my podcast just seemed to be a more powerful tool. My Twitter Master, Keith Keller will be super pleased to have this testimonial as he's an advocate for Twitter.
The next area I need to work on is more engagement and conversation. I see there is lots of likes, shares, retweets etc but not enough conversation. That I need to work on and is on my 'to do' list for 2016 along with a few other things too. :)
So this January's target I'm going to reach for 7000. My husband says that I should be more conservative. But you all this New Year positive energy going around, I just feel I need to push the boat out.
Wish me luck... :)
The First Women Entrepreneur Podcast in the Middle East.
Over the last year I have spoken to 42 different women on the Learning Curve Podcast. From all walks of life across the Middle East. Each time they have shared their entrepreneurial story, their challenges, their successes, how they organize their day, how they see social media, where they seem themselves on their own learning curve and so much more. It’s been an amazing journey and I feel privileged that these ladies have opened up to me so that more women out their can take their own entrepreneurial journey. Their stories were all so different, so varied, so personal too yet there was a common pattern and this I feel came down to these 5 common traits.
I watched a video recently of Jada Pinkett Smith's answer to her daughter asking, "How hard is it being a wife and mother?" – And the message was pretty clear but there was one part that resonated with me. You have to take responsibility for your own happiness. It’s a crucial milestone and its key lies in recognizing your own attitude towards events and people. It’s all easy and clear in theory but in reality its pretty hard. We have to be personally responsible for our happiness not rely on someone else to make us happy. The big power house in the seeking of happiness is the influence our thoughts. How many of us can feel a negative thought pop up and it kicks your gut into butterfly central? Your brain then start to generate more negative thoughts and before you know it, you are angry, upset, and hostile even. All because we haven’t been able to control how our brain’s thought process. Negative thoughts are an evolutionary thing. They are there to protect us. The fight or flight approach. Negative thoughts curb our risk and keep us from harm.
From my prospective - all my guests found a way to be happy. They were passionate about what they did, constantly rebuilding their vision and adding more layers to their business. This constant cultivation of their passion meant their negative thoughts were probably there but they kept them at bay because they really loved what they did. Through my interviews I could see a constant positive mindset, a can-do attitude and taking responsibilities for their own lives and happiness.
The Middle East has in the news this year been a wave of disruption, discontent and deterioration with very little to see if it is going to be better. But I believe happiness starts with one person first and then it radiates. All these women, given the unhappiness that exists around us, continue to thrive and grow even in the face of adversity. Jody Ballard recently told me that ‘Women set the mood in the house… ‘, well if these women on the learning curve podcast are anything to go by then these women are setting the mood for the future and that is let’s find our passion, be happy and take action.
2. Get Out of your Comfort Zone
The comfort zone can really be a scary place. Yes it can. When you are in your comfort zone, you get soooo comfortable that you don’t want to move anymore, do anything different, you can’t see anything different or if anything is wrong. You keep everything the same and repeating what you are doing. Your own learning curve could be pretty flat in your comfort zone. Risk is minimal and you think everything is wonderful. But really it’s a scary, complacent place. How are you EVER supposed to grow and move forward if you are lounging around in your comfy chair? How are you ever supposed to grow if you do the same things over and over again? Are you in your comfort zone? Like Goldilocks, have you found that comfy chair and you are not moving from it??? Please move NOW. Please reflect on yourself for a moment and see how comfy you are and if it’s off the charts, please stand up and get ‘uncomfortable’!!! All my guests have gotten uncomfortable, and look how well it has served them. That shift has made each of them achieve amazing products and services, help them take their passion and their business to another level and serve the customers better. We can’t move on our learning curves until we seek the uncomfortable and make that the new norm.
3. Ask For Help
One of my own terrible traits, is the inability I don’t ask for help. It’s a life skill that we should all learn and one that we shouldn’t be ashamed to share. How many businesses do you know that have been successes because of one person and no one else helped. Hmm…. I’m struggling to think of one. Yes key trends in all my interviews was the importance of team work, collaboration or partnerships. Or my new favourite word, ‘Collapetition’. I learnt this word this year and I love it. When I was at business school, we were taught to understand the competition, learn its strategies so we could beat them, but we were never taught we could ‘work’ with them. The idea of working with your competition to benefit you both I think is a great idea and this year one of my goals is to be more open to asking for help and more collaborative.
All my guests have sought help. They all recognized that in order to be successful at what they do, they can’t do it alone and they have asked for help. Plus the fact we don’t all have the skills needed to make something amazing happen. Synergy is another great word I like to use and I have been able to make that happen when I have connected people I think would be a great fit for one another on a number of occasions. Asking for help will help you climb your learning curve one step at a step.
Don’ Listen to the Naysayers
When I first started podcasting, views were very black and white. You either were a podcast listener and loved podcasts or people were not into them because they really didn’t get them. And sometimes it was weird saying, ‘I’m a podcaster’ and then wait for the ‘oh I love podcasts’ or the complete opposite, ‘what’s a podcast?’. Personally I love the medium, I’m not a great reader and though I do love visual, you can listen to a podcast in your car, on the bus, when you are exercising, or at work even. Believe me I had my moments when I wanted to stop the show but I always found when I got to that point something would happen that would encourage me to continue the show. The show really has had its own learning curve, and it’s been one rollercoaster.
This brings me back to my guests. All of them at some point heard the negative comments but they have refused to listen. Refusing to let ‘you can’t’ be the heartbeat of their project. Their own self-determination which which was packed with motivation, good defiance and a ‘can do’ attitude pulled them through. We all create our own businesses to make money but sometimes passion does out ride money. I know we can always make money but we can’t always just create passion about a product or service that has to be grown with the right amount of love and care.
Failure is just a dip on the learning curve. All curves have an upswing. Where are you on your Learning Curve?
This is actually my bio line on my twitter profile and I really like it. Each time I read it, it makes me step back and see where I am on my own learning curve. I hope it has the same effect on other tweeters looking at my profile. I’ve also starting asking my guests as a way for them to take a look at themselves and allow them that moment to step back too. The answers have always been progressive, flowing and moving. They are not stagnant, which is a positive thing. But overall none are scared of the word ‘failure’. In fact most of them have faced failure in some way and have created a bridge to cross over it and take the lessons learnt. The one lesson I learnt this year from these ladies, is seeing failure as a ‘positive upset’ and one that you can grow from. Its feels like one of those things we anticipate to happen and then once we have done the mistake we are fine again. We got over that hurdle and now we are moving forward again. So like my twitter line, failure is just a dip. It’s how we react to it that makes all the difference.
So that concludes my 5 common traits from my guests this year. Next year’s guest line up is already exciting and I can’t wait to get Year 2 of the learning curve Podcast off the ground and growing again. This year I am hoping to collaborate with some great women building entrepreneur groups and find more amazing women to share on the show. I’m personally very thankful to all the ladies that shared their stories on my show, you were all amazing and I loved connecting with each and every one of you. This month of December has been my most successful download count ever, with over 5000 downloads from across the world. I remember in January 2015 my download was just 300. The show is definitely on an upswing. Onwards and upwards we go.
I wish all the podcast's listeners and readers a Happy & Prosperous 2016.
ABout the blog
Share interviews with Arab and Expat women entrepreneurs, sharing their entrepreneurial journey with their top business advise. We blog about knowledge, articles, FAQ on social media and share tools and resources to help us get going in our niche.