Vision Is The Most Important Sense We Have

Vision Is The Most Important Sense We Have

Vision Is The Most Important Sense We Have: the art school painting

I am not going to pretend that I know art. However I appreciate it and, as a writer, understand the need of expression.

Yesterday I didn’t go to the Eagle Waves networking event, although I was planning to visit, in order to attend The National Art School Graduate Exhibition 2014. The show was presented by Saatchi & Saatchi and is the highly anticipated annual showcase of 90 emerging artists completing the Bachelor of Fine Art degree.

So, we are talking arts students completing their underground arts degree in painting, printing, sculpturing and God knows what. As you can imagine, you must be an art lover in order to ditch a business networking evening for a green hair and blue lips crowd hanging out.

The opening night attracts more than 1,000 visitors; it is a real celebration and the artwork is diverse, thought-provoking and of extremely high calibre. For the first time ever, we will be selling the graduate art online, a fantastic opportunity to purchase emerging art at anytime, anywhere in the world.” For example, here is a piece of art called ‘Anna’ and sold for $300 each portrait. Interested? 

Vision Is The Most Important Sense We Have: the art school exhibition

I rarely try to understand or interpret art because the eyes and the mind of an artist only belong to the artist. Whether it is a painting or a printing or a sculpture in contemporary art motives or a landscape, portrait or abstract, it is really up to our imagination to see what we see. It doesn’t mean it will match the artist’s vision.

The National Art School is located in between Darlinghurst and Kings Cross in Sydney. It is an eerie, dusty and an old building which, I think, represents the state of arts in Australia very well.  I must say I didn’t like their champagne which students seem to enjoy greatly.

The Graduation Show opened most of the arts studios letting people into the students halls, working and living areas. The only student I knew was Alisa Kalinina who I met a few years ago but have not kept in touch unfortunately. Alisa has painted a few selfies, as she calls them, which I am personally fond of. I also enjoyed the work of Sean Wadey and Wendi Toohey which were less abstract than most of the paintings I saw on the day. I thought it was entertaining to see some bananas as well.

I prefer painting to any other type of art. However I am also interested in installations and, so to speak, odd sculptures. Therefore I especially enjoyed the room where I found a ‘Lets play Heart Transplant’ made of a number of different materials. Yes, Hilary Sandeman won my heart last night. Her work took first place in my mind. I love the detail. I enjoy how I can think of hundreds of stories interpreting her work.

The School of Arts - Hilary Sandeman

Vision Is The Most Important Sense We Have: the art school art

Art is not about what it looks like but how it makes you feel. I cannot agree more. However things make us feel certain ways based on what they look like and because we are perceiving it though our eyes and mind. Coincidentally, while I was browsing through the arts students studios, a friend of mine sent me a curious video about vision and how we see the same things incredibly different based on our mindset.

Emily Balcetis, social psychologist, explains how eyes work showing us how different one same thing can be to several people. Vision is the most important sense that we have, she says, explaining why. Emily mentioned a research she conducted which allowed her to make some curious conclusions.

we see things differently


She asked a number of respondents to choose which image represented Barack Obama, The USA President, better. People were going through images one by one without being mentioned to that some of the Obama’s images were lightened up and others were not. Whenever people saw Obama whiter they voted for him, whenever he appeared darker people went for McCain. Check it out.

It was not a racism test, it was an example of how our perception changes depending on what we see. To understand it we need to understand that, accordingly, our focused eyes can only see as much as a size of out thumb on an outstretched arm. Everything around the thumb is blurry. As a result, we have a focused middle and blurred out the rest of the world which our mind finds ways to fill out this gap.

Emily Balcetis-Why some people find exercise harder than others

Perception is a subjective experience hence we see everything through our minds’ eyes. Therefore whether we see a glass half full or half empty it really depends on our mind and either scenario is truth to the perceiver. So, what is it one person is thinking and feeling that it leads them to seeing things in an absolutely different way? Why some of the  The National Art School‘s art seemed to me immature to me whereas other pieces caught my eye and excited my mind?

We see things differently and sometimes it might not line up with the reality; however it doesn’t mean that one of us is wrong and other one is right.” Emily Balcetis.

The National Art School Graduate Exhibition 2014 was filled with incredibly different people. Some of them were students, others teachers, many were family and friends. Most of people looked extremely different from what I am used to and there were a lot of art pieces I didn’t understand or like. However it doesn’t matter. These quirky, geeky people with green hair, blue lips and careless attitude towards life are the creative bunch who sees the world different from entrepreneurs and business minded people. It enriches our being allowing more colors and varieties. It allows lawyers and engineers to look at their work differently finding new approaches. However based on the awful taste of campaign, the absence of air conditioning and incredibly old walls and floors, it seems like we are forgetting how different people are and we must encourage all kinds of minds because collaboration is the answer to all world-wide problems.

Vision is the most important sense that we have. The wider our experiences are the more flexible our vision is and the more answers will be found whether it is understanding art or curing cancer.

I’m Inviting You To Start Your Day With Happiness

Anna Kochetkova: I'm Inviting You To Start Your Day With Happiness

I started my day the way I start it every day whether it is a weekday or a weekend – I spent a good hour (or more) exercising (gym during the week and trail running on the weekends) getting my mood in a beast mode ready to face the day. Exercising is a form of boosting

confidence, prolonging living and of course making me feel happy.

Happiness… (I whispered)

Due to my late lunch time meeting today I decide to browse my e-mails spending a little more time reading this morning rather than writing or working. Inevitably I ended up writing, of course.

I received another occasional email from Tow Ewer today who founded an awesome brand called Leaving Work Behind. Tom was one of the experiences I was hungry to soak in to learn as much as I could about being a freelance writer. Today I received an e-mail from Tom talking about happiness… and so it got me thinking.

True happiness comes from intrinsic motivations: the things that we do without regard for reward or recognition” writes Tom. The things that don’t cost money and don’t require power or fame. This is exactly WHAT I felt yesterday during and after my awesome marketing meeting with one of my new clients talking about things we love. I’ve given away more knowledge and tips during that meeting than you can Google in one day and a marketing agency would charge thousands of Australian dollars to talk about. Trying to figure out ways of improving a small business, working creative approaches out and narrowing down action points make me incredibly happy. Short term, I didn’t make any money. My rent is still due in a month and Christmas is weeks away. How can a meeting with no quick material win be satisfying?

Because I love what I do! Surely, I cannot eat my own love and pay my bills with it; however it makes me feel more satisfied than when I get paid. Don’t get me wrong, getting paid is no doubt a cool confirmation of my good work and pays my bills hence inevitably awesome. However, working with people, strategizing ideas and, of course, completing my promise is more satisfying than anything else.

Tom says “It is believed by most that material growth will lead to greater happiness. But in reality, material growth has very little to do with happiness.” I’ve never been rich but I lived in a reasonably wealthy family. As a younger child and a spoiled daughter, back in my early 20’s I didn’t value money and didn’t appreciate hard work either. Money didn’t make me happy or unhappy. Don’t get me wrong, as Tom mentions, “for most people, having money is a requirement of living happily in our society. The vast majority of us need money to subsist. Our happiness can be affected hugely depending on whether we live above or below the breadline, which correlates directly with the amount of money we have.” Surely, it would have been a cool to can roll a joint in a $100 bill while sitting on a yacht, sipping freshly squeezed mandarins juice…. with a camera crew around (giggling).

Did you know “that multiple studies have demonstrated that the effect of money on happiness dissipates drastically once a person has enough to subsist?” Think!

I agree with Tom that happiness comes from within. It doesn’t come from what you own or how much money you have. Happiness starts from the first step you must take which is creating a new habitat for your healthier outlook on life. This is especially important for your brand building. People can feel when you are miserable or full of life. Your customers will appreciate you being helpful and honest. Thus, no quick wins can assist in your happiness acquisition. Therefore I am truly happy when I share my knowledge with my clients.

WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY? Twitter conversation @TheContentQ is on now! Thank you

Why Should Businesses Start Telling Their Stories?

A few days ago I listened to another webinar by Twitter where Nick Bowditch was telling a story of a storytelling.

As a journalist with two master degrees in this trade, I studied stories for over 6 years. I studied stories in Russian and in English languages and no matter whether I say ‘story’ or ‘история’ (‘story’ or ‘history’ in Russian) my nose goes itchy and blood rushes to my head. I love stories and thankfully I have the nose for them!

Moving to marketing only increased the demand in stories because consumers absolutely love them and businesses not entirely sure how can they tell theirs. I am an absolute believer that to be incredibly successful in whatever you do you need to tell a story! 

Why stories are so compelling and also inevitable? Andrew Stanton, the Toy Story and other amazing animation projects filmmaker, says that, as human beings, we are drawn to the absence of information and addicted to filling in the gaps. This is why we love stories and we only need a teaser to start hungrily finishing stories ourselves. Many businesses have realised the potential unrolling their stories.

Business stories, movie productions, books writing or a fairy tale creation, all of them have the structure that resonates with us which makes us want to consume more. Nancy Frates and her family have raised a projected $160 million for ALS research in 2014. They kicked off the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge to honor 29-year-old Pete Frates. Nancy’s story is capturing and it definitely resonates with many of us. Take some time & have a watch:

Nancy Frates: Meet the mom who started the Ice Bucket Challenge


Nancy’s heartbraking and inspiring story has yet the same structure a Toy Story has: introduction, culmination and the amazing conclusion with a little bit of this and that in between.

People are always telling stories; why don’t they do it at work?” asks Fisher. “It’s because they have been taught that at work you use logic and slides and statistics; this seems more professional. Telling stories seems too emotional and possibly manipulative. So people stick to facts and numbers. But the truth is that real emotions always work better, because that is the way to reach hearts and minds, and also people get to see the real you. It’s authentic.

Nowadays, we are using Social Media to tell our story. Nowadays, many of us know that telling a story is no less professional than drawing a pie chart. Small businesses, in my opinion, are benefiting greatly from this evolution technology and the changing attitude towards storytelling.

Businesses, NFPs and governments can now come out on the social stage in front of billion of people and tell their story. Getting the audience’s attention, of course, would involve some work. However once the attention is grabbed you are in for a treat. Therefore, I believe that businesses should start telling their story again and again before they earn the attention. “Always and forever our job is to tell our story no matter what we do” says Gary Vaynerchuk. Accordingly, only a story can make a change and earn real money. Therefore, we simply cannot afford ignoring stories. “Stories are the voice of ordinary people” says Jay O’Callahan. This is exactly the voice businesses would want to obtain. Talking to ordinary people using their own voice is the win everyone after. How do you do it? You tell a story!

Once upon a time: Why Should Businesses Start Telling Their Stories?  by Anna Kochetkova

How To Ensure Free Publicity For Your Business?

Anna Kochetkova: how to ensure free publicity for your business?

I absolutely love passionate people. I love talking to them, working with them and spending time with them. Passionate people do not care how late in a day it is, cold outside or hungry they are – they simply cannot get enough of what they are passionate about.

Today I had an awesome marketing meeting with George from Exclusive Window Tinting who is exceptionally passionate about his trade. You could tell it straight away – his eyes were lit up like a mad man and he could talk about his work forever. Well, we didn’t have forever; however we did spent about 2 hours of strategy brainstorming and planning.

Today George met me, an exceptionally passionate marketer and a writer. You could tell it straight away – my eyes were lit like a mad woman and I could talk about my work forever. Although George and I didn’t have forever, we spent good 2 hours narrowing down our plan to a few main action points.

While discussing some awesome ideas, I’ve made a few mental notes I want to share with you today.

How to ensure free publicity for your small business?

1. Get published! 

A few years ago I used to work as an SEO specialist in a small marketing agency where I learnt the trade. It was extremely exciting at the beginning. However, later on down the track the agency I worked for was found to be cheating, which I must admit many agencies were doing, and I couldn’t continue my career there. I never really got back to practicing SEO full time partially because I discovered the power of social media and publicity or in other words, really, natural links… which is, surprise-surprise, an SEO tactic.

A few years ago I started writing again, I started writing all the time contributing my work to a number of online communities I felt I had a special connection with. Once I was also contacted by a Sydney Morning Herald journalist for a comment. This is when I really started to value the power of publicity and the power of being mentioned by the right people.

SEO ‘publicity’ or so called back-linking which is a process of submitting your website URL to a bunch of often unrelated websites and directories which is according to Google is a no-no. Why? Simply because it is spammy, annoying and it confuses users. How would you feel if you discovered a cosmetic surgery business mentioned on a local plumbers website?

Here is my tip for you today: if you are a small business owner and looking for a quick fix, I cannot help you (giggling) and honestly, no one can. If you are a small business owner and ready to work for your good name, I a happy to share a few tips and tricks. No matter which industry you are in, you can find an online and offline community interested in what you do. What you need is free publicity coming from expert sources and PR professionals. There is a website called Source Bottle which does exactly that – it brings writers and businesses together almost cross promoting one another. Here how it works.

free publicity

Speaking the SEO language, this website allows you to meet the people who will place your business URL on their websites or other valuable websites in the exchange for a high quality content. To become a source you can sign up for the Source Bottle updates choosing your business’ industry or place a free advertisement expressing your interest in becoming a source.

Two things to remember here: you will need to impress your journalist and make it worthwhile for them to deal with you. Therefore whether you are responding to one of the updates or composing an ad, be specific, be relevant and be passionate!

2. Relationships matter! 

Whether you are familiar with SEO or not, I will tell you now that Google doesn’t rank your keywords for being on social media. Google and Facebook are pretty much rivals, not friends. Therefore Google doesn’t even index your Facebook (or Twitter or Pinterest etc) updates. However relationships matter and social media is all about it! Anna Kochetkova: relationships matter

LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter are awesome tools if you are looking for a channel to pump your content through, want to connect with journalists (to get published) or want to display your products and/or services. I wouldn’t lie to you, social media is a hard work and not an overnight fix but it is extremely worth it if you are ready to work for it. I’ve now partnered up with two extremely talented agencies and can sit down with you and talk social media when ever you are ready to dive into this world.

Social media allows you to connect with people, gain their trust and approach for mutually beneficial favors or business. Therefore if you are looking to get published online (aka share your business URL) start exploring social media channels as soon as possible. It might take you some time to understand how it all works so do not get frustrated, just keep moving forward.

3. Blog! Blog! Blog! 

And finally, your blog! Create a blog’s page on your website and share high quality content as regular as you can. Now, what do I mean by high quality content and how regular is regular enough?

High quality content is grammatically correct, unique (not copied from anywhere else), not keywords overloaded with and useful piece of information which made you feel like ‘Damn I wish I’ve written this’.

Regularity is relatively subjective and will depend on your industry; however daily updates is your ideal goal. Even if you can only produce 300 -400 words of content on daily basis including call to action, your keywords, good image and useful information you will be doing much better than many of your competitors.

My hot tip: by the way, if you are not sure what to blog about and do not have a professional writer, like myself, do mot despair. To help you with your blogs ideas I want to share something awesome: Buzzsumo. You type in your keywords, hit Go and watch magic unfold. The tool will scan the Internet and, based on social media shares, will show you all the most popular articles, blog post etc currently existing on the topic you’ve chosen. I’ve tried ‘window tinting’ inspired by my meeting with George. See the results I got:

Buzzsumo content analyser

Window tinting buzzsumo resulst

Now, when you know what you want to blog about, make it a strategic habit. I like to plan ahead therefore whenever I am writing for my clients I plan out daily, weekly or monthly blog posts including the topics, keywords and the time frame of course. Your own blogging is no exception. If you decide on, for example, 10 topics you’d like to work off this months aiming to produce say seven articles you now have seven more chances to improve your SEO and become a thought leader in your industry. How will this get you free publicity? To start with, your blog’s pages will start ranking in Google and you will get more exposure. Secondly, if your content is useful, people will start reaching out to you, sharing your work and wanting to deal with you.

Here are a few blogging ideas to start with:

  • how-to blog posts/articles,
  • myths busting,
  • top 5 or top 10 or top 20 or top 100,
  • behind the scene,
  • tips and tricks
  • recommendation or referral
  • etc

As I am sure you can tell, I can talk marketing forever sharing my knowledge, skills and experience. If you’d like to share your tips or have more questions, feel free to email me or catch on Twitter @TheContentQ


“Keep Your Eyes on The Prize” says Sam Armytage

“…setting goals, loving your body, keeping fit & eating healthy, having an open mind, being organised, living with flair, rising above negativity, being a woman of substance, the importance of family and being the leading lady in the movie of your life.” Just a few things Sam Armytage, an well-known Australian journalist and television news presenter, teaches young women through her being.

In our men dominated world, we are, indeed, desperate to reach out for more female role models. Although maybe not the most loved Sunrise Host, Samantha is, in fact, a stunning and successful woman, amazing professional and a bubbly girl.

Keep your eyes on the prize

Today I’d like to share a few life lessons Sam passed on to the world.

When you’re setting goals for yourself, don’t hold back, be ambitious.” Something many women are often afraid of. Ambition women are often perceived as bossy, bitchy or plain rude. This is something to work on for sure!

Rising above it is the healthiest thing to do, it’s also the most stylish.” Life is full of amazing moments but also mean people, difficulties and negativity. Rising above isn’t always as easy as it sounds; however something to make your habit for sure. There will always be someone who will think that you are not good enough or not thin enough or not experienced enough or not smart enough… Being a “bigger person” and remain focused and positive is a skill which can surely be learnt. I say, never stop mastering it!

Be happy for others when good things happen in their lives. There a so many jealous people out there. Be the one who is not.” Just be happy, generally! Be happy for yourself, be happy for your friends and for your enemies. Do not let jealousy, anger or negativity poison your soul.

Do something nice for someone and don’t expect anything in return.” I am a believer in the greatness always coming back to you. However you must not do good for the sake of receiving it.

Don’t take criticism personally. Think of it as commentary.” Learn from feedback but don’t let it bring you down. Remember, you are how you feel!

If you’re not in a good place, if you’re unhappy or feeling blue, be kind to yourself and stay away from the grog for a few days.” Our modern world is overloaded with technology, information and instant messaging whether it is your phone, TV or work. We get stressed, tired and worn out very quickly. Alcohol seems to be a great way to unwind. Australian afternoon Sunday beer sessions are culturally encouraged but, trust me, you don’t want it and don’t need it. Life is too busy and too short, alcohol often brings out the worse in us.

There are a lot of quotes and saying that I keep in mind in the situation of coming across negative people. One of them is ‘be kind to unkind people — they need it the most.’ I really believe this. Negative, nasty behavior usually come from a negative place within.

Never stop taking changes.” Believe it or not but, as humans, we never stop developing. Therefore there would never be a day or a moment when you can know for sure you’ve completed the learning and growing and became a bulletproof adult this very moment. Change will always attempt to test you, allowing you to evolve and continue growing. Accepting it, instead of fighting, will make your life easier and happier.

What lessons have you picked up along the way and kind enough to share? Who is your role model? Join the conversation on Twitter @TheContentQ 

Why Would You Hate Facebook?

So I bumped into Cody Hurst today who represents Facebook haters. Cody suggests a few fairly strong reasons to dislike Facebook for which; however, also made me question his personality.

Oh, these Facebook haters…

My partner is one of them and I’ve been listening to his reasoning for over four years now. “Why do you need to display your life all the time, Anna?” or “If I want to see my friends I will call them, Anna” or “I don’t want to have my pictures on Facebook for everyone to see” etc etc etc… This is my significant other condemning me for being too much of a Facebook butterfly. Fair enough!

Cody Hurst is a videos enthusiast who hates Facebook. He even made a video to share his feelings. Gladly, he explained why he dislikes Facebook and doesn’t have an account with it.

Cody: Reasons Why I Don't Use Facebook

I found his video confession curious and decided to share it with you… questioning his reasons a little more.

Cody thinks people look puzzled every time he tells them that he doesn’t have Facebook. I am not sure what kind of people Cody is hanging out with but I know a good number of people who are not using Facebook or almost not using it and a few who don’t even understanding what it is. Not being familiar with social media is not news to me and won’t puzzle my face for sure.

1. Cody doesn’t like Facebook’s privacy policy because it is too big and it is hard to find and understand so he burns it down in the video. Cody doesn’t have Facebook – no wonder he cannot find the policy!

2. Cody reckons Facebook de-values what friends are. He mentions friends, co-workers and people he doesn’t like but wants to stalk who are being categorise by Facebook as friends. Cody thinks that Facebook’s classification strips the real meaning of what friends are. Does it mean that people all of a sudden lost their understanding of friendship? I am not sure; however, personally, I separate my Friends from my Facebook Friends. They are called ‘Facebook Friends’ for that particular reason. Cody’s friends include himself, his dog and his wife.

3. Another thing Cody has an issue with is the constant gossiping going on Facebook. In the video, his wife is sharing some Facebook stories which are depicted as ‘blah blah blah’ and Cody continues saying ‘I don’t care’. I am not sure about you but it makes me feel that the only use of Facebook that Cody managed to make was gossip following. Regardless, gossip made a lot of well-known magazines and newspapers because gossiping is what people love with or without Facebook.

4. Cody also doesn’t like the constant judgement and comparison on Facebook. He confesses that Facebook makes him feel fat, lazy and a looser, basically. Again, not sure about you but to me it feels like Cody misused the tool spending a lot of time stalking people he doesn’t like who made him feel fat. Cody says “I would feel horrible after getting on Facebook, I would compare myself to others, wishing I was doing what they were doing“. Well, Cody could actually do it all if he wanted. However I don’t recommend this comparison game, it doesn’t make us feel good. However, if so, why not to change the way you use Facebook and get some value out of it? Just a thought!

To be honest, this is my favorite part of the video. It is really funny so I recommend you go and watch it.

5. Cody also doesn’t like the constant game requests on Facebook. He keeps his board games in the closet and reckons it would have been creepy if they asked to be played with. I agree here, it would have been creepy for sure! I only had a few game requests in my Facebook history and the more I ignore them the less I get them sent to me, I’ve noticed. Regardless, I don’t play games so I paying attention to the requests.

facebook haters club

It is an interesting video, no doubt. It definitely made me think again whether I am using my social media excessively, whether it makes me feel bad or fat. When you are bored or don’t have many interests to pursue, Facebook can become an unhealthy obsession. The rest of us treat social media channels with respect and strategies or puzzled face when unsure of what to do with them. However we also remember that Facebook, like any other social media medium, is a business. Therefore if I decide to work with it I am doing it for the sake of some mutually obtainable values.

I would love to know what you think. Am I wrong? Shall I re-consider my usage? Do you think Facebook makes you feel fat?  Are there any other reasons why you don’t like Facebook or any other social media channel?

Cody suggests a few other curious reasons listed on the Facebook Haters website. Yep, there is such! Join us on Twitter @TheContentQ to discuss it further!

Display Your Pride! And Here How to…

Do you love what you do? Do you do it every day? Are you happy with our results? SHARE IT!!! 

Just like ladies love to show off their shoes, professionals must be eager to show off their work!

Anna Kochetkova: Display your pride! And here how to...

Be proud of what you do and display it whether it is your Personal Training business, Construction Consultancy, Gardening, Legal or Marketing Agency!

If you are a writer or / and blogger or even a marketer, like myself, you are probably especially proud of some of your pieces. Keep your gallery updated and submit your work to a few online directories or portfolios. Today I would like to share my work I am proud of.

To increase your visibility in the noisy digital world of ours, I recommend you submitting your work to a few other online galleries apart from you website, LinkedIn profile and social media. Here are a few places to call home:

1. Create landing pages or just one, for example, for an article you have most shares of or with the best call to action or even a winning award piece.

2. One of the spaces I prefer is which I find a very clean place to be at. I like the layout, how easy it is to use and, of course, the Google results I get when I search my name. If you already have your portfolio there feel free to connect!

Anna Kochetkova: Display your pride!

3. If you are not only a writer / blogger / journalist but also your own photographer, there are so many amazing places to showcast your stories at. For example, I am thinking of exploring so if you’ve already worked with it, feel free to share your feedback.

4. If you are not just a blogger but a web designer as well, I absolutely because I am a visual person and this is just stunning. Check it out! You can also use this platform to showcast your photography, painting skills, game illustration and all sorts of art related work you’ve ever done. Moreover, it can directly help you to be get hired or to hire a creative.

5. For more conservative writers out there, could be a really cool idea. It is a more resume-like platform still allowing some creativity.

Of course I cannot leave you hanging there with my opinion only. I’ve researched what other people say. I recommend you to go through 5 Best Portfolio Sites for Writers to find the perfect home for your articles.

Do you have to go with them all? Of course, no! However, submitting your portfolio to a few will also serve you a good purpose of improvedsearch engine optimisation whenever someone decides to Google your name. If you cannot afford updating too many portfolios than go with one or two and look after them really well. I am now looking into more platforms to work with hence always opened for your advice. HAPPY SHOWCASTING!

Is It All About The Journey, Not The Destination?

Anna Kochetkova:  The Motivating-Uncertainty Effect study

Sunday afternoon is a perfect time to chilex, sit back and browse ideas & topics circulating online. While doing so I bumped into a curious The Motivating-Uncertainty Effect study which made a lot of sense to me. At the same time, it mad me wonder how we, as a human kind, regard reward.

I am a great believer in passion. I believe that following our dreams attract all therewards imaginable if we are really passionate about something. All the highly successful entrepreneurs I’ve encountered in my life have been incredibly passionate about their work. At the same time, money driven and fame obsessed people have no achieved much unless money and fame were their passion.

The study mentioned earlier found that people were more likely to put time,money, and effort into a goal that had an uncertain reward compared to one that had a reward that was set in stone. It doesn’t mean passionate and talented professionals should’t get paid or should always live with uncertainty. Bills will come through whether we are rewarded or not.

The research resonated with me so much I decided to share it with my readers to see what everyone think. The study suggests that leaving the reward to the imagination can give the people excitement about the process of pursuing it, rather than focusing on the goal itself.

Of course, pursuing a goal with no inch of certainty in mind will probably backfire – everyone needs something to look forward to and work towards. But perhaps this study points to the fact that focusing on the journey rather than the destination is the best way to stay on track and motivated. The feeling is the goal, and the goal is the feeling. WHAT DO YOU THINK?

Feel free to join the conversation on Twitter @TheContentQ using #uncertainreward

How to Manage Our Super Busy Lives?

I am sure if someone had an exact and bullet proof answer to this question, they would have been placed in the Guinness Book of Records and chosen to be our world President if it was possible.

Anna Kochetkova: life management

We are all incredibly busy all day every day from the moment we wake up till … the moment we wake up as many of us are guilty of working while falling asleep in bed.

Some of us are too busy to rest, others too busy to see friends, many people cannot afford time off to travel and others don’t take enough lunch breaks. And the reason being is that we are too busy to step away from our work. Sometimes I wonder how do we all manage to remain sane!

So, how do you manage your busy life?

Over the course of my marketing career I’ve been fortunate enough to work for myself as well as other people. I’ve been lucky enough to work with different industries and different areas of marketing. No matter what I’ve been involved with I always been surrounded by a bunch of super busy people. However they all managed to live their lives fully, fitting work, fun and rock n roll in.

I’ve borrowed a few techniques from a few successful business people, applying them in my every day personal and professional lives. I am hoping these would help you too.

1. As much as it might sound super nerdy, carry a notepad and your schedulewith you and record all your thoughts, conversations and activities for a week. It helps you to be conscious of your day, your time and your tasks. It is similar to measuring and writing down your calories as it allows you to see what you’ve eaten already and what you can have more of.

2. Mind maps are not for everyone, however can be truly helpful if you are, like myself, a very creative person hungry for more structure in your life. My mind maps resemble lists but just look much prettier. I draw circles placing big titles inside them identifying the nature of each task. The brunches growing out of my titles represent tasks associated with the big deeds. Moreover, I highlight tasks and titles in certain colors giving them more or less urgency. Under my brunches you can often find lists which are smaller sub-tasks when my jobs get super complicating or multi-leveled.

3. Assigning time pushing things around is an important skill this is why I like calendars and to-do lists. As much as I’d love to, I cannot fit 1058473 tasks a day so I commit to a few a day working the rest of my activities around my calendar.

4. Spend time planning and strategising; and of course always allocate time to do it. Planning is your productive time. Remember, failing to plan is planning to fail. The secret to mastering your busy life is to systematically focus on importance and suppress urgency.

5. Make it a habit to check e-mails later in the morning rather than first thing when you wake up. Modern technology is amazing and, as a marketer, I know it like no one. Checking e-mails before even having your breakfast creates this unnecessary urgency you don’t want to start your day with. My favorite real time example is Gina Lednyak’s morning routine which forces her to only review her e-mails late in the morning: “The morning is spent on client strategy and team brainstorming. I try not to check email until 10am so I get some solid work in. I always find that my best strategy time is before 1pm so the more I can fit in the morning, the better”. Ignore or turn your notifications off as well for the time being when it is really important to focus on your current work (if not related to social media).

6. Every time you need to make a few phone calls, try to only go with one type phoning people till everyone is contacted. Get all the media calls done and move on to your clients etc. Jumping from one type of conversation to another can sometimes disrupt your thoughts and affect your outcomes.

7. And of course, if you are dealing with the Urgent or planning to get a big bulk of work done in a small period of time, feel free to be creative and put a do not disturb sign.

Anna Kochetkova: do not disturb

Please share your life management tricks and tips below and on Twitter @TheContentQ

Stop Reading This Post – Go and Build Your Brand NOW Part 2

As we discussed in our Part 1 blog post about what brand is, personal branding, much like social media, is about making a full-time commitment to the journey of defining yourself as a leader and how this will shape the manner in which you will serve others. Once popped you cannot afford to stop!

Personal branding is a truly fascinating topic because as Amanda Rose, Australia’s only Strategic Connector, Brand Strategist, Speaker, Board Member, Founder & CEO of The Business Woman Media, says brand is ‘Who you are. What you say and do. What you believe. What people say about you when you are not in the room.’

I really felt like digging a little deeper into this and finding out more about professional and personal branding and whether they are the same thing.

Anna: Do you distinguish between your personal brand and your professional brand or are they interconnected?

Amanda: Your personal brand is your brand. You can put a professional touch ontop for the corporate world and business world but you are your brand 24/7

Anna: Is personal brand a new trend?

Amanda: It is a buzzword but not many people know what it means.

Anna: Is personal brand important in creating your dream career or it is only working for self-employed professionals?

Amanda: It is the foundation of who you become and how.

Anna: Is leadership required when building your personal brand?

Amanda: No but a personal brand is required to become a good leader.

Anna: Is personal brand simply a self-promotional campaign or a lifestyle?

Amanda: It is a part of it. Your brand needs to be promoted. You need to tell people who you are.

Anna Kochetkova: how to build a brand


 So I decided to find out How-To promote yourself. Here are 5 take away-s from my research. How to build your brand? 

1. Be who you are at work every day. Once you have worked out who you really are and therefore what your personal brand should be, the next step is how you bring your full and authentic self to work everyday in a way you can flourish. You cannot be something for a bit and than decide you no longer want it. This would probably mean that you haven’t found your personal brand yet. Once identified, live it!

2. Behave the way your preach. I cannot stress this strongly enough. What you are known for is as much about how you do what you do, as it is about what you actually do. So think about things like being kind, being respectful, showing up on time, listening to others and not being a gossip. Behaviors matter. So focus on mastering yours.

3. Audit your digital presence. Google yourself and make sure nothing embarrassing or unprofessional hits your search. Think what you wouldn’t want to see when dealing with a business and make sure you are spotless.

4. Be respectful. Every tweet you send, every status update you make, every picture you share, contributes to your personal brand. It is an amalgamation of multiple daily actions. Once you understand how you wish your brand to be perceived, you can start to be much more strategic about your personal brand.

5. Associations mater. It is important who you are hanging out with whether it is Greenpeace or local church. Chose your friends and connections wisely Remember, ‘tell me who your friend is and I will tell you who you are’.

Don’t forget to also find your voice and stick with it. Consistency is crucial in building your brand and establishing your look.

The power to build an extraordinary personal brand rests within ourselves. Each of us is responsible for driving our own outcomes. ‘In business, both online and offline, every day is a dogfight‘ says JD Gershbein, CEO of Owlish Communications and a speaker and consultant on LinkedIn best practices. Therefore I will stop it here and let you go and build your amazing brand! Please share it with me and join the conversation on Twitter @TheContentQ