Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Does the Compound Effect work?

You know what it's like.  You find yourself looking at yourself in the mirror, thinking you're too fat/skinny/weak etc. and have the bizarre idea of going to the gym.  Then, when you get there, you find that you can manage say, 5kg weights and stood next to you, adoring themselves in the mirror, are these huge, good-looking muscle-bound guys lifting ten times the weight you are with their nut sack.

"Sod this", you think, as you slowly slip away and out the door, lighting a fag as you get in the car (walking is bad for you, remember?) and sulk all the way home.  Why would I bother spending all of this time and money on something that'll probably never happen?

You may be wondering what the hell I'm talking about, but hear me out.  The above scenario is exactly how I felt about personal development (and still is how I feel about gyms, to an extent).  I understood the concept of the Compound Effect, in that you do little things each day and they work out to big things over an extended period of time.  So why is it that so many people (myself included) find it really difficult to put the Compound Effect into practice?

You wanna read more books, but you don't have time, so you read for 10 minutes per night.  You could easily read 30-50+ books over the course of that year if you did that.  That sounds brilliant!  At the cost of 10 minutes per night, you can read more books in one year than you have in the last 5, or 10.  But you don't do it.  Why?  Why would you not commit 10 minutes of your day to do something that will benefit you?

You wanna get fit, but you hate gyms, so you get yourself some dumbells or an exercise machine of some sort, and say "I'm going to get fit!"  Then a couple of months later, you stare at said exercise equipment as it sits there with a blanket of dust and you wonder why you wasted your money.  10 minutes a day of exercise isn't much, right?  Especially if you can do it at home while no one is looking.  You do it for a couple of days, then you just stop.  Why?

You want to take up a hobby, so you get whatever it is that corresponds with that hobby, and you give 10 minutes each day to enjoy your hobby, get better at it, etc.  You do this for a week, then you stop it.  Why?  Why?  Why?  WHY?  WHY?!

I honestly don't know why I personally do all of these things.  It's the lack of commitment to yourself that is the main key, and it is one of the hardest attitudes to obtain.  To have enough self-respect to say you'll do something, and then work at it every time you said you would.  Last week I wrote a list of small, compounding goals that I could achieve on a daily, weekly and/or monthly basis.  I kept that up for 2 days.  2 freakin' days.  My end date to reflect was a year from the point when I started.  Not two days after I started.  So, when looking back on it and asking yourself if it was worth it, you can easily tell yourself that it isn't.  I've not read a book, I've not felt stronger from the weights and I don't feel I'm a better drawer (hobby), so the compound effect doesn't work, right?  No.  You're an idiot, John.

So, I've written a new list of compounding goals for myself.  They all have the same benefits of the previous goals, but now I have a "time slot" for them.  For example, on a Monday and Tuesday, I look after my daughter while my wife works, so I know what sort of day I'm going to have.  So for lifting weights, I put that in for when my daughter has a nap.  That's fairly easy.  If I'm at work (or working the business), I can prioritise the business, and when I'm done, I can lift weights.  I've even written myself reminders such as "Don't sit down when you get back" and "Go straight upstairs and start lifting", so if I ever get tempted, I can refer to my own instructions and get on with it.  I will be able to tell you the next time I've posted that I've been doing weights for 10 minutes for x amount of days, and it should correspond with today's post (including today).

I've also written two different lists, for the same thing.  One is a 'Why' list, why I want to achieve this goal and what effect it will have on me when I have done.  The other is a 'How' list, where I've written, in bullet points, what I can do to achieve my goal, from the small to the big.  The goal in question?  To quit smoking.  That's been my biggest vice by far.  I used to smoke weed, and I can honestly tell you that I don't miss it.  I drink on a regular basis (a glass of wine/can of beer a night on average) but I can honestly say I could do without it if need be.  I wouldn't withdraw from either of those two, but cigarettes have a very firm hold over me.

On Sunday, I took my daughter up to Derby for my Grandpa's 93rd birthday.  The day before I wrote a list of what I should do for that day, and ways to keep me busy so I didn't smoke.  I ended up having a cigarette (well, half) before I went, and I had 2 while I was there before leaving.  I had 2 when I got back, too.  So in total I had about 5 cigarettes for that day.  That's not bad compared to a 20 a-day habit, but I wasn't happy with it.  I knew that limiting myself to 3,4,5 etc. cigarettes a day would work in the short-term, but it wouldn't be long until I was back up to 10-15 a day.  So, yesterday (Monday) I decided I wouldn't have a cigarette.  I was a bit grumpy in the morning, but that was partly due to not enough sleep, but otherwise, I didn't suffer nearly as much as I have in previous attempts.  Now I admit, I had one when my wife returned from work, but if she didn't have any on her, I genuinely wouldn't have wanted one.  Today, I got up, I had breakfast, gave Lillie her breakfast - the usual routine - and then I craved.  But it was different.  I didn't feel I needed to have a cigarette or I would eat the cat.  It was more like a small twinge.  It lasted 10-15 minutes or so, then it just went.  That was the only one I had for that morning.  I had a bigger one about an hour ago, but again that only lasted about 20 minutes (it was after food, a big trigger) and then it was gone.  I'm using Champix, prescribed from my Doctor, to help with stopping to smoke.  It stops your brain from receiving the hit of nicotine, basically.

What changed between this attempt and previous ones?  My why and how changed.  Sod will power.  That crap didn't work for anyone.  I'm sure the Champix have played their part, but because I've written down not just why I want to do this, but what I can do to combat the cravings, I have a big ally on my side.  During withdrawal, you do not think straight in the slightest.  Concentration goes out the window, because all you can think about is inhaling that thick, beautiful, creamy smoke and then exhale all of the loveliness out, as your problems and stresses float away.  Where was I?  Oh yeah, withdrawal sucks.  But, by using techniques based on Personal Development, I have personally found this go around much easier.  One of the great things about goal setting is that you look forward to the end result(s), and I really look forward to being able to say "I've not smoked for a week, and I never will again".  

This was sort've a ramble, because I've not posted in a while, it is a bit disjointed, but nevermind!  Thanks for reading.

Monday, 15 October 2012


I did write about the week before last, but it was rubbish.  I had planned to re-write it, but I guess I forgot.

Anyway, moving on.  This past week was bad.  Really bad.

I had been incredibly close to earning my 10% with Kleeneze.  It would've been my first time, too.  Unfortunately, through a lack of experience and confusion with deliveries, I spent 3+ hours waiting around for the delivery guy, when I could've/should've left a note.  Well, live and learn.

What I did learn is that for the next period, I will easily be able to achieve 10%!

This coming Tuesday I'm visiting the stop smoking nurse.  Between now and then, I'm going to be really conscious of when I crave, and when I smoke and essentially try to cut down now.  This should give me a head start for when I try to stop for good.  I've tried many times before, even spending £100 on a one-day Allan Carr Easy Way course, but nothing has worked.  The difference between then and now?  Personal development.

My Upline gave me Darren Hardy's Design Your Best Year Ever book.  It's designed so that you write in your goals, why you want to achieve them and how you can achieve them, which will help greatly not just with my business goals, but personal ones too, such as quitting smoking.

It's the one biggest vice I've ever had.  I could quite easily give up alcohol, and weed has never been an issue (not smoked in 2 1/2 years, and not noticed either).  It'll be interesting to see the difference with this try-around compared to previous attempts.

Provided the weather holds and madam isn't too upset, I'll be doing a mini-drop of catalogues today, just to further increase my points and therefore my income.  WOO!

...Spongebob is great.

Last night, I was working and just before I clocked out and went to bed (sleep-ins at work tend to suck), I planned what I would do today.  For some reason, I really enjoy planning stuff, doing lists and such, so it's not a new concept to me.  So instead of writing key things, I wrote everything.  What time I'd get up, what time I'd get dressed, what time I'd get back home, eat breakfast etc.  And it helped, really helped.  Sure, I would've done those things anyway, but I was able to do them efficiently, and it helped to control my cravings too, by keeping me busy!

My brain is starting to dissolve, so I'll end it here.  If you made it this far, you're probably as confused as I am.  Laters, tata's!

Monday, 8 October 2012

Week Two

The first week was pretty successful, in my mind at least.  I had fairly decent orders and was pleased with my activity, but there were some things I could have done better, which I didn't really notice until this past week.

(again, I will assume you know what I'm talking about)

Stragglers.  The poison that slowly eats away at your mental faculties.  The evil that picks at your sanity.  The best antidote, weapon and shield against these b*****ds is persistence.  You've gotta get them.  I didn't.  Well, that's not true, because I did.  But I wasn't persistent.  I went back two to three times to get them, but I didn't always knock.  And that was the key.  It didn't even cross my mind that knocking on the doors and physically asking for your catalogues would really make that much of a difference.  I still had over 300 catalogues back, that's enough surely?  300 isn't bad, but when you did have 450+, that's quite a blow to your stock.  Fortunately, I quickly learnt from this obvious miscalculation and got back a boat load of cats (as well as some tasty orders) by knocking on the doors and being persistent and committed to getting those back.  It killed me months ago when I first started, and I won't let that happen again.

Otherwise, I was pleased with my activity.  Wednesday was very much like last week.  I started 2 hours after I intended like last week, but I didn't oversleep this time.  We had a visit from the health visitor, as well as my cat needing to go to the vets.  That being said, I freakin' killed it (the day, not the cat).  I was surprised at just how quickly I was putting my cats out and picking them up.  Despite having started 2 hours late, I finished an hour and a half earlier than I anticipated.  So I spent the rest of the time making sure I had the cats turned, and making sure I was absolutely prepared for Thursday, which is typically my busiest day.

Thursday was even better than Wednesday in terms of how quickly I was doing everything.  I had to go to a completely new area, which of course meant writing the street/house names/numbers down, but again that didn't seem to slow me down.  Maybe my standards when I wrote my initial plan were low?  Probably were.  I guess I can use whatever time I have left to organise, read and learn about what I plan to do next year (more on that in a later post).

Friday was the best day for me.  I felt bloody brilliant.  I started the day by going for those stragglers around my village, then I helped a friend out by taking her to the surgery to see her mid-wife (due in 6 weeks).  Next, I hit 3 more villages by picking up stragglers, and I had a crap load of cats at my disposal.  Much more than I did last week, which means my stragglers this week are less than last week, compared to mistakes of the past, where it would be reversed.  I actually stayed up 'til 2am Friday night, without realising I had done, working the business, making sure everything was planned out for this week.  As a result of that, I can comfortably focus on my daughter today and tomorrow (other than a few pre-arranged deliveries to do) and not have any (or at least minimal) anxiety about this coming Wednesday.

Saturday morning, I made sure that all my slips informing my customers when I'd be delivering where out, as well as go to the bank.  Not particularly exciting, I know, but it was there that I realised that I was about to be very pissed off.  I don't know who or what I was pissed off with, probably fate:

(taken from Wikipedia)

"Allan Pease, riginally a musician, he became a life insurance salesman, and then started a career as a speaker and trainer in sales, and subsequently in body language and communication skills.
He first became known for his best-selling book Body Language in 1981, and has also written a number of books on communication and sex differences in human behavior. many jointly written with his wife, Barbara Pease"

That was who I was supposed to see yesterday.  As you can probably guess, I didn't.  Unfortunately Lillie had physio, as well as my wife and I seeing a geneticist (exciting stuff).  The most annoying thing about these two appointments was that I didn't feel I needed to be there.  We are not going to be shown anything until this coming Thursday as it relates to Lillie's exercises/physio and the geneticist just wanted to "have a chat".  Bugger all was done!  Suffice to say, I was annoyed, but I will just have to do more research myself, which is fine. 

Anyway!  This week wasn't as dramatic as last week (probably a good thing), but I feel I am starting to ride the waves of my own momentum.  Hopefully I can keep this up going forward and looking at bigger and better things next year.  I'll leave you with this quote by the legendary Jim Rohn.  I instantly thought of my mistakes in the past with stragglers when he said this:

"Failure is not a single, cataclysmic event. You don't fail overnight. Instead, failure is a few errors in judgement, repeated every day."

If you made it this far, thanks for reading!

Saturday, 29 September 2012

The First Three Days

Well, the first three days went.. okay.  After looking back on it all and seeing what I did, I can see a few things that tripped me up.  I'm not going to dwell on those things too much simply because it's perfectly natural, and even expected, to not do everything perfectly.  I will list some things I did or didn't do correctly (in my opinion) in a semi-competent fashion.  If it's of help, awesome!

Day 1
I started at 10am!
   I say started, I actually woke up at 10am.  Stupidly I forgot to set an alarm to get up 3 hours prior to when I actually did.  I wasn't angry, or annoyed for long, because I was excited about what I was going to be doing.  Also, because I only had 165 catalogues to drop (the remaining 330 were on their way that day) in the morning, which took 2 hours.  So by midday, I was done, and I was waiting for my remaining cats to arrive so I could sort them out, and ship them off!  By 10 past 12, I was getting fidgety.  By half past, I was checking it was indeed today they were scheduled to be here.  4 o'clock the delivery man came with my catalogues.  I was slightly disappointed, because I wanted as many of them to be out as possible.  But I figured it would only take me a couple of hours to do it if I powered through them all.  A couple of hours was actually 5 hours, and by 9pm they were nicely packed and ready to go.  I wasn't going to dwell on this, as I figured there was a good chance this would happen, so I started to plan Thursday.

Day 2
I started at 10am again?!
   How did this happen?  I set my alarm this time, and still those 3 hours were slept away.  This time I was annoyed with myself, because I had a hell of a lot more to do today than compared to yesterday.  But, I shook all of that off and bolted out there to drop those cats.  I had hit my village on Wednesday and was going to tackle the adjacent one (and bigger one) today.  It took about 5 hours in total, although it would have taken 4 but I stupidly went to Starbucks for lunch (next time, a sandwich and a flask!) which ate an hour due to travel and incompetent customer service (wrong coffee, wrong cake, and I'm sure I underpaid).  So, I was done by 3pm.  Not bad.  Now, it was time to pick up my cats from yesterday.  This shouldn't take long, it's only 3pm, I have a fair bit of time.  I figured, at max it would take 2 hours to pick up, and 2 hours to drop.  7pm finish was my target.  But, it didn't quite work out that way.  As I was picking up, I was turning the cats in the car as I was going, thinking this would be a doddle.  2 hours of picking up turned into 4 hours, and by the time it reached 7pm, I could barely see my wet book, let alone house numbers.  Again, I was fairly annoyed at myself, but almost thankful, too.  I underestimated just how long it would take to do this.  Confused at how picking up 165 catalogues could take so long, I called my sponsor, Josh and asked how long it takes him to do that amount on average.  When I told him how long it took me, he asked if I had turned them in the car.  Of course, I said yes, and he suggested bringing them home to turn them.  Some people I'm sure can turn them on the go and be done quicker that way, but I need more space than that, it seems.  Then again, I'm kind've glad it happened then, because I am beginning to know how I work best more, which will help me in the future.  I got back that evening and started to count my first drop of 165.  I got £180 in orders.  That lifted my spirits and gave me confidence like nothing else.  My village has historically been good to me in terms of orders in the past, but it's always a nice surprise to see a good turn around considering the number of cats.

Day 3
I got up on time!
   Fridays are typically the easiest in terms of workload, as I am collecting on these days.  I ran around collecting the catalogues, thinking this is gonna be a nice easy Friday where I don't have to worry about dropping anything.  But I did have to worry about dropping something... my wet book.  Once I had picked everything up from Thursday's drop, I went to do the stragglers from Wednesday's... but I couldn't find the wet book.  I searched the car, my pockets and my house but couldn't find it anywhere.  I was panicking like hell.  Fortunately, it was only 165 cats, and I had memorised a lot of the houses that I had been to, and ones that I hadn't.  Then, as luck would have it, as I was picking up a few strays from Wednesday's, a lady had put the wet book with her catalogues.  Boo-ya!  I thanked her in person, and was able to finish the rest of my pick up.  When I got back and sorted through them all, I got another £180.  That's not entirely surprising, as the village I dropped on Thursday is very hit-and-miss in terms of orders.

Overall I was, and am, pretty happy with the result.  This is because if I can hit that same amount next week per day (as opposed to per week), I would be well above my initial expectations (£400 a week was what I was expecting).  I made some mistakes which certainly skewed my results and, although I've not yet had a chance to count how many cats I got back, I know I have a few stragglers left out there.

Moving forward and thinking of next week, I feel I can vastly improve my productivity by learning from my mistakes (another massive personal advantage of this blog is that I have these mistakes documented for future reference!) and improving on them.  And on a personal note, when I revealed to my wife about the amount I got in terms of orders, her ears definitely pricked.  This could be the sign of her starting to realise that it's not all talk.  My actions will speak for themselves!

I have no idea if any of that made sense, but if you made it this far, thanks for reading!

Monday, 24 September 2012

So, I was thinking...

Maybe it's because my mind is blurry from the man-cold I've had the last few days, or maybe it's the dizzying high from the first cigarette of the morning, but I had an idea that I could/should write about my experience with network marketing and personal development.

There are many, many amazing experts in this field, my personal favourite being Jim Rohn.  I don't know if I can offer anything new, but if anyone (particularly 'newbies') can find this helpful, then fantastic.  I don't have a specific plan for these, other than to write my thoughts and experiences as I develop my own business with Kleeneze and how that has helped my financial and personal lives respectively.  

I've read personal development books for the past 6 months, most recently 'Twelve Pillar's, given to me by my Upline, Marie Corner.  Your Upline is above your sponsor (more on that in a bit), who is like your manager, except you will actually like them, and they won't bust your balls every day.  They have all of the benefits as a guide, holding you by the hand and being an encyclopedia for any and all questions you may or not have.  Your sponsor is someone who got you into the business and shows you the ropes of how to set up and maintain your newfound business. 

I actually started Kleeneze in February 2012.  One of my best friends, Josh Fowler (@joshmfowler) came, from Hertfordshire up to Shropshire (where I moved to in 2009 with my now wife) for two reasons.  The first was to meet my daughter (born in December 2011), and the second was to talk about what he's been doing with himself.  He, like many others, had gone from job to job, searching for something that was 'just right'.  Generally, people look for two things when it comes to jobs:  something you enjoy doing, and something that pays 'enough'.  He showed me a folder full of information about the business and showed me some testimonials from people who had gone from mediocre to extraordinary through network marketing.  "Bollocks" was my first immediate thought.  These are clearly either incredibly lucky people, or people who have been paid to big up this company.  Naturally I was very cynical about the whole thing, but I listened to him anyway.

Now, at the time I was a full-time support worker for adults with learning difficulties.  I liked the job, it was very interesting and morally rewarding.  However, since my daughter came to be, I started to evaluate my current position.  Is my wage going to be enough to support my wife and daughter?  Will we be okay if something went wrong?  Will I be able to afford a mortgage?  Will I have time to spend with my daughter?  As a support worker you do very long shifts (6 hours being a half shift, 12 hours being a standard and 15-48 hours can be spent at work at any one time) for not very much money.  Now, if anyone reading this is thinking about becoming a support worker, then do it.  It's an experience you will never forget and you will find it incredibly valuable.  It has helped set me up as a parent by developing my patience and understanding, as you are working with people.  It has helped me in a more specific way as my daughter has Down's Syndrome. 

So I bought into this idea as a chance to no longer work under anyone, but rather take control of my situation.  I thought it was great and begun to get very excited, however I made a few mistakes very quickly.

Mistake #1
I didn't discuss it much with my wife.  I should've spoken to Dot more about what I had planned to do, what it meant and where it can take us in the future.  By the time I did explain all of this, I had already ordered my first boxes of catalogues (I will be assuming that readers will know the basics of network marketing from this point).  This lead to understandable tension between us and you should definitely try to avoid this as much as possible.  

Mistake #2
I didn't think of the bigger picture.  
  Naturally, you will hit obstacles in your life, and the same is to be said when you start network marketing.  Try to work out in advance what things may interfere with your new business, such as work and family.  I, being naive thought I could fill in all the time that I wasn't working with my new business.  On paper, that's great, because it would've meant that I would still be able to pay the bills as well as improve and progress as rapidly as possible.  However, I inadvertently sacrificed time with my family for this.  I spent the majority of my time out of the house and away from the most important people in my life.  Finding that balance is key, and you may find, like me, that you work this one out as you go.  Planning is a must.

Mistake #3
   Darren Hardy has an audio book called 'Making the Shift', which you must get.  He speaks about the shift between being in a job and under the corporate bosom to being your own boss and shaping your own destiny and how hard this can be.  It's easy to set yourself up and aim, aim, aim but never fire.  It's the easiest thing in the world to say "I'm gonna do this, and then this and this and I'll feel great doing it" but it's another thing when that day comes along and you're nice and warm in your bed or you just want to stay in your pajamas all day and play World of Warcraft.  Again, this is something you will go through yourself and something you will learn to control as you go along.  Just make sure that you actually DO stuff, because talking alone doesn't cut it.  I tried.

There are probably loads more mistakes I made, but they are the three I will stick with for now.  And besides, that was then, I'm sure I've changed since.  And I have.  I'm thankful for the set back, because I ended up stopping Kleeneze and network marketing for a few months, until I could free up some more time. I could've stayed the way I was, but I doubt I would have a happy marriage, which would've affected my business anyway.  Instead, I decided to go part-time with support work to focus on my business.  I saved up and as of this coming Wednesday, my new business venture will begin.  Is it scary?  Hell yeah!  I'm crapping myself with the thought of being solely responsible for my income.  If I don't get out of bed and do the work, and do it right, I might not get enough money to pay the rent, or worse, buy cigarettes!  Now, this isn't intending to scare you away from this because, if it does, you probably aren't in the right mind-set anyway.  That is the main key in this.  I hope I'm making sense.

The people around you are the most important in your life.  Whether they, or you, know it they shape who you are day in and day out.  And these exact people will be the first ones who will tell you not to go into this.  "It's a pyramid scheme", "It's a scam", "It's too risky" are three examples of what I heard from those closest to me.  Sound familiar?  The two worst things about these things were 1)  I am crap at arguing verbally.  Put me behind a computer screen and I'll take to the hills, but face-to-face I'm crap.  So I didn't have the knowledge or the where with all to tell them otherwise.  2)  These are the people I expected to be in board with me and see it how I see it.  But they didn't.

That can be really difficult to get your head around.  Most of the time, their intentions will be pure, in that they are genuinely concerned that you are falling into a trap, but ask yourself why exactly they are doing this?  Are they just trying to protect you, or are they protecting themselves?  Do they see your bold and exciting change in direction as a threat?  Do they feel that they will have to follow suit and take control of their own lives?  Don't ask them these things, unless you want a domestic, but it's worth thinking about.  Now I'm not going to try to convince anyone to join network marketing or Kleeneze or anything, because that's entirely your choice.  

Now, I'm sure if/when you are/were shown this network marketing thing, there is a chance you may not feel any emotional connection with it.  Well, I didn't.  I didn't see what was cool about delivering catalogues to people.  Chances are you don't see it as cool, either and it isn't if you look at it from that warped perspective.  It's not about being a delivery boy.  It's about working when you want to work, how you want to work and where you want to work.  And that's just scratching the surface.  I'll be talking about the other amazing benefits from this as I personally progress.

I've probably not made much sense, so I apologise if you're left scratching your heads.  Hopefully this'll make sense as we move forward.  If you made it this far, thanks for reading!