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Friday, October 05th, 2018 | Author:

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By Michael Bustamante

‘Men go abroad to wonder at the heights of mountains, at the huge waves of the sea, at the long courses of the rivers, at the vast compass of the ocean, at the circular motions of the stars, and they pass by themselves without wondering.’ These are the words of St. Augustine who was neither a life coach nor a scientist and yet, how full of truth his words were.

The whole concept of a personal development plan relies on these words. Men take for granted what they are given by nature and they unconsciously assume that they know very well what they were given. Unfortunately, life is a lot more difficult these days and people soon discover that their only tool to succeed is themselves. They understand that they need an action plan to move on with their life within the context of career, education, and relationships. They need life coaching.

A personal development plan is part of life coaching and the two concepts are often times confused. People somehow imagine that a personal development plan is all it takes to get their life on the right tracks. They also forget that a PDP is not a way to get back on the tracks but it is a way to explore and discover the right tracks you should follow. Some people understand the need of life coaching in implementing a PDP, others don’t.

But why do people need a personal development plan or life coaching as a matter of fact? Well, essentially, they need such a plan because they feel that something is wrong with their life and something is not working properly for them. They do not know the answers to some simple questions:

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— Do you know who you are and what you want most in your life?

— Are you aware of the special gifts which you were personally and uniquely endowed with?

— Can you identify the obstacles which prevent you from achieving your goals?

— Are you aware that there is a difference between you and the higher you?

Most people do not know the answers to these questions. Life coaching has the very role of identifying these answers accurately so that you can use them towards self improvement and personal achievement in all respects of your life. Life is simple when you know what solution to use for each specific problem but the solutions are within yourself and unless you know yourself you will confront life with the wrong solutions, making it more difficult than it already is.

A leadership development plan is a special part of personal development plan. More and more people become leaders and not necessarily because they choose to. Many assume that leadership is just something that you have or you don’t have. The fact is that even if this principle were true, how could you be sure that you don’t have it unless you’ve looked for it?

Life coaching is the only way to find out what you can do and how far you can go in your life. Knowing your limits, your strengths and your weaknesses, will reveal the path you need to take whether it is in your profession, personal life, or education.

About the Author: Helen Ollerenshaw is a

leadership development plan

specialist and member of Stanford Who’s Who

Business Social Network


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Saturday, March 31st, 2018 | Author:

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By Raul Ramirez

A life insurance agent sits across the dining room table from a couple. The couple is middle class with two children ages 2 and 10. After conferring with the couple for 45 minutes the agent has designed a plan to protect the family against death of either the mother or father or both. The agent slides the proposal across the table to the parents. The parents glance at the proposal and see that the plan will cost them $50.00 a month. The couple hesitates then glances at each other.

The agent observes the hesitation. He anticipates an objection and reaches into his pants pocket and pulls out 2 quarters, 2dimes, 3nickels and 4 pennies. He then puts the change on the table and states that The childrens future will be protected in the event that a tragedy takes the life of one of you or both for a little over a dollar a day or a cup of coffee. In sales, the next one that speaks loses. The couple smiles and asks Where do we sign?

This is called Reduce to the Ridiculous and it is a form of framing. In the sales profession this is a very effective way to overcome the monthly objection. Millhouse framed his decision in the very same manner. The salesman reduced to the ridiculous and Millhouse bought. Forty cents a day sounds better than $12.40 a month. The couple in this example was faced with the dilemma of $50.00 a month. The children would still be taken care of financially in the event the parents died but $50.00 a month is a lot of money, that is $600.00 a year or just $1.61 a day. Wait a minute, just $1.61 a day? We can do that! Where do we sign? What does this say about our customer base?

People do not respond the same to prohibitions and allowances (Plouse, 1993). Take for instance the agent and the couple or Millhouse and the salesman, both were faced with a substantial amount of money out of pocket even though the need warranted it. When the agent and salesman turned the concept around to the point of value for only pennies a day, the customers frame was changed and the sale was made. The framed saw that the allowances far outweighed the prohibitions regardless of the fact that everything was the same. This is very powerful in the world of sales. How you make a decision is often determined by how you view your choices or how you frame the questions around it (Anderson, 1999).

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In the Millhouse example the salesman framed the question around the future success of the company being worth one can of soda. This statement is pretty ridiculous to the point that anyone would say yes to that statement. If the salesman framed the question any other way, the possibility of a sale at that moment could have been greatly diminished. For example, if the salesman stated that the future success of the company depended upon the purchase of this product today, there is no value associated with the gain or loss. Millhouse didnt see a can of soda being the reason the company is successful; rather Millhouse can easily validate that the decision could be made tomorrow and thusly rationalize against the purchase. For example, he could rationalize the overall cost versus gain, interest paid, and Is it really a value. People tend to be against risk and will look for reasons to talk themselves out of the situation when given the chance (Anderson, 1999).

The can of soda a day is not a loss compared to the future success of the company.

Framing in the business world can be a powerful ally to the salesman. Salesman are trained not to go into a sales pitch right away but rather feel out the prospect, gather information and find the hot spots. An experienced salesman knows his prospects as well as the product if not more. An experience salesman builds a relationship with the prospect. An experienced salesman asks the right questions. An experienced salesman frames the closing statement to the point that the prospect would be a fool not to buy.

A good listener as well as inquisitor can learn more about a person in one conversation than they think. The more the person knows the more power that person has to be an influence upon the decisions we make. In these cases knowledge is power. Successful businesses with products to sell have uncovered so much information about the people and markets to which their products are being sold to. Without this knowledge, the marketing departments would never know how to cleverly make that closing statement, or put that person there in that commercial or use those colors within the product they are marketing to sell. This is all a form of decision framing by influencing the way the customer sees the product, convinces themselves to purchase the product and rationalize that the purchase was a good decision. Framing a decision in part is controlled by the normalcy, habits and attributes of the decision maker (Plouse, 1993).

Morally, people must take the decisions they make into careful consideration and accountability. One can have a great influence over another when it is done right. We are all guilty in one way or another of framing, from the toy companies to convincing your boss you need a raise. The world is bought and sold face to face or across the airwaves using frames. Conflict and peace and the reasons for either one are thrust upon us by using frames. The key is to take time in making a decision.

Usually a decision can be made on a product or situation with a little bit of time in between. Will the decision be different? There is an extreme possibility that it will. If one was framed and took time to think about it, more than likely the decision will be different. Millhouse didnt take time to analyze the total cost of the product on the extended payment plan and the difference that would make on the actual bottom line and whether it was worth it then. We are all guilty of framing and being framed. We all have a responsibility to take a few steps back and think about and realize the decisions we make. The fact of the matter is we would probably be surprised about how differently our lives might actually be.


Decision Making Traps We All Fall Into Kare Anderson Canadian Womens Business Network 1999. retrieved 18 November 2005.

Plouse, Scott (1) (1993) The Psychology of Judgment and Decision Making New Aster: McGraw-Hill


About the Author: Raul Ramirez is a licensed agent in the state of Florida. He owns and operates Gulf Breeze Insurance Inc. an independent insurance agency. Please feel free to use this article on your site or email so as you include name of author and website.


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Wednesday, October 04th, 2017 | Author:

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By Jerry Bader

Change is inevitable; as an economy matures, ages, and ultimately evolves into something new, adjustments must be made to our business development, marketing and branding. Failure to adapt to new realities results in potentially unwanted dramatic consequences.

We are all aware of how modern economies have grown from agricultural, to industrial, and on to the information-based, but where do we stand now? Is the information economy dead and if so what’s replaced it?

We need look no further than Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs to see parallels between personal and economic growth in a sophisticated modern economy. The agrarian economy satisfied the first level of Maslow’s hierarchy by fulfilling basic physical needs like food, while the industrial age provided the goods necessary to satisfy a variety of concerns ranging from safety to social acceptance and status; the information economy provided answers to our cognitive needs, the desire for knowledge, but things have changed. The Web has disrupted business as usual: the effects on the music, film, television, newspaper, book publishing, and software industries, just to mention a few, has been not just dramatic, but traumatic. The adage, ‘adapt or die,’ has never been truer for business. So where are we now on the personal and economic pyramid?

Be All You Can Be

At the top of this pyramid is ‘self-actualization’ the desire to make the most of our existence and as the US Army’s slogan states to ‘Be All You Can Be.’ This is the central defining issue of the new economic reality, the Experience Economy.

Authors B. Joseph Pine and James H. Gilmore state the issue of what business needs to focus on in this new economic era: “While commodities are fungible, goods are tangible, services are intangible, experiences are memorable and transformations are effectual. All other economic offerings have no lasting consequence beyond their consumption.” – ‘The Experience Economy: Work is Theatre & Every Business a Stage.’

Experiences are memorable and transformations effectual, this should be your new marketing mantra, your marching orders to fulfill what the market demands: to be all you can be.

Experiences Are Memorable, Transformations Effectual

What then does this mean: experiences are memorable and transformations effectual. In order to effect change: to turn website audiences into customers, marketers must deliver something more than commodities that are replaceable for a price, goods that are made irrelevant by technology, and services that are mere conveniences. The businesses that will succeed in this new experience economy are the businesses that will provide an experience and not just goods and services.

We are surrounded by examples of the experience economy both online and off. The growth of coffee giant, Starbucks, was not a result of great coffee but of the experience it provided to patrons, while online, iTunes satisfied the ignored needs of music buyers and Amazon did the same for book lovers. The Macintosh is finally gaining market share because the experience consumers have had with iPods has been so satisfying that they are now ready to bring that same satisfying experience to their desktops. The key to business survival is not a new feature or even a lower price, but rather an experience that satisfies the soul.

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Experiences Satisfy The Soul

Traditional business thinking has lagged far behind the sophisticated psychological desires of the experience-economy consumer. Business schools have produced a cadre of bean counters and statistical idiot savants whose grasp of this new experience-driven economic reality has been outpaced by Web-savvy mavericks bent on delivering the essential emotional need of consumers to gain some measure of satisfaction in a hectic, demanding, frustrating world.

The Web is not without its own version of mindless number crunchers, selling the search engine optimization snake oil of Web-traffic nirvana. These new age carpetbaggers play on the conventional wisdom and comfort food of spreadsheet statistics. Like Texas Hold’em poker, you can play the math or you can play the man, and it’s the latter that generally walks away the winner.

The Six-Step Web-Branding Blueprint

The Goal: Transformation Through Self-Actualization

The end result of our efforts is to transform website visitors into customers but in order to do that we must take a step back. The experience economy demands a new way of thinking about your audience and exactly what it is you’re selling. Every marketing decision you make from now on should relate back to one simple priority: what element of self-actualization do you deliver? Find that element and build your marketing campaign around it. Forget price, quality and service; they are all discounted in the minds of a highly cynical marketplace bugged more than enlightened by heavy-handed old-school marketing presentations and methodologies.

Step one: understand your marketing goal is to transform your audience from unsatisfied cynical viewers into satisfied contented clients.

The Prerequisite: Expectation

Successful marketing is about creating a set of realistic, believable expectations that can be fulfilled by the offering. Almost daily we are bombarded by over-hyped, silly direct marketing Web-advertising that is structured to take advantage of consumers’ weaknesses, their desire to improve, to be the best they can be, and to gain some measure of satisfaction and relevance in their lives. Creating false expectations may lead to a onetime sale but not a long-term client.

Step two: create appropriate, believable expectations that you can actually fulfill.

The Product: Audience

One way of wrapping your head around this new approach is to think of your audience as if they were your product; you are transforming them from unsatisfied browsers to satisfied evangelists – that’s your job. You just don’t want to make a sale you want to make coverts, an army of satisfied consumers telling everyone they know how great you are. Getting people onto your emailing list is not good enough; turn them into believers and proselytizers.

Step three: the product of your marketing is your audience, turn your website audience into true believers spreading the gospel of your ability to satisfy.

The Methodology: Experience

Experiences are passed-on and reinforced by the strength of the story you tell. The Springwise newsletter has a perfect example of the strength of having a unique and interesting story. Emil and Magnus Gerbola of Denmark import Italian wine and sell it to wine bars, restaurants, corporate clients and consumers. But the experience of buying a bottle of Gerbola Vin is different from your usual trip to the liquor store. These two brothers, the sons of an itinerant Italian circus clown have set up shop in an underground candle-lit bunker built in 1942. What could be better than sitting with your friends enjoying a bottle of imported wine and entertaining them with the story of the circus clown’s wine merchant sons operating out of a World War II bunker.

Step four: enhance your offering with a differentiating story forming the basis of the unique satisfying experience you offer.

The Stage: The Web

Believe it or not there are still businesses that can’t quite grasp the necessity of using the Web as their marketing centerpiece. And then there are those that just don’t recognize that the Web is a multimedia platform, and not just a reservoir of digital brochures and catalogs.

The Web has multiplied the Paradox of Choice, the principle that the more choices you have, the harder it is to make a decision. As a consequence, websites must deliver well-crafted differentiating marketing messages using experience-generating multimedia Web-techniques.

Step five: the Web is no longer just a dumping ground of random information; it is a highly sophisticated stage for creating experiences through the delivery of entertaining, informative, compelling, and memorable stories.

The Vehicle: Video

There is just no better way to cut through the remoteness and isolation of the Web than video. And when we talk of video we are not talking about slide shows of still photos and bulleted points. Just because it moves doesn’t mean it’s effective. The way to tell your story and deliver your message is with a real person that can express emotion, emphasis, charm, personality and impact.

Step six: Deliver your marketing message, your unique differentiating story, your identity and brand through the clever and sophisticated employment of memorable Web-video.

A Final Thought

If you run a business you’re busy and that leads to a satisficing tendency to over-simplify, to reduce things down to an elevator pitch, to create meaningless mission statements and lists of bulleted points delivered by a boring PowerPoint slide show; unfortunately clients are complicated and business is complex, but Pine and Gilmore say it clearly in the title of their book, ‘The Experience Economy: Work is Theatre & Every Business a Stage’ or if you prefer just remember what old Will Shakespeare had to say, “All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players.” If you want to be a ‘player,’ you have to learn how to effectively communicate with your audience through the power and impact of experience marketing.

About the Author: Jerry Bader is Senior Partner at MRPwebmedia, a website design firm that specializes in Web-audio and Web-video. Visit,, and Contact at or telephone (905) 764-1246.


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