Ben Hardy, Inc. columnist, best-selling author and No.1 writer on Medium.com, was a recent guest on EO 360°, a podcast by Entrepreneurs' Organization (EO). We asked Dave Kustin, EO South Florida member and co-founder of Content Bacon, to review the episode and provide his biggest takeaways. Here's what he shared:
As the leader of a company that generates custom content, I'm intrigued by author and blogger extraordinaire Ben Hardy, who went from being virtually unknown just three years ago, to becoming a viral blogger on Medium.com with 20,000 new subscribers per month. I tuned in to a recent EO 360° podcast to hear Ben's enlightening conversation with host Dave Will.
I loved Ben's take on the importance of a person's work environment. So many of us fail to realize the impact our surroundings have on productivity, happiness and motivation. He expresses that when your environment conflicts with goals, it's always a losing proposition. In Western culture, people often ignore how environment shapes thoughts and behaviors. It's easy to become attached to an office or a particular device, so maybe we need to step back and examine what our work life could look like if we made strategic shifts to our environment.
Ben also analyzes his process for writing compelling content that resonates with an audience--something at which he's proven quite adept considering the unbridled popularity of his posts. He breaks it down into three parts.
- Be clear and intentional in your communication. That idea hit home. I understand how important it is to know exactly what message you want to convey before you start crafting it--because if you don't know what you want to express, readers definitely won't get the intended message.
- Be emotionally invested in what you're writing about. Readers can smell insincerity from a mile away, but when you're enthusiastically creating content about something you love, you'll rarely go wrong. It's the emotion that attracts interest and spurs action. Harness that.
- Develop expertise. People will keep coming back to you as a valued source if you put in the time and research necessary to become a subject matter expert. We all seek authenticity and want to learn from those who display an in-depth knowledge of the topic at hand.
My Aha! moment came when Ben discussed productivity. Many of us envision maximum productivity as sitting at a desk with a large mug of coffee, hammering out work for eight hours a day, and never taking a break to breathe or reflect. But Ben makes a valid point: That's akin to how productivity was defined during the Industrial Revolution when physical labor was the norm. Now we're "mental laborers," trying to draw unique connections between concepts and conjure original ways of thinking.
Rest, recovery and exploration are necessary for mental productivity. It's not just about pounding out work; you have to take the time to let your mind wander and think creatively. Thomas Edison was known to work intensely and think very deeply about his ideas, then take a nap to let his subconscious mind solve problems for him. Pro tip: Your subconscious mind can't get to work when you're sitting at your desk staring at a computer all day.
In contrast to my "Aha!" moment, I experienced a "Nuh-uh!" moment when Ben said that websites are unnecessary and amount to a piece of wallpaper that people stumble upon to learn about you. While I agree with his position on the effectiveness of a good landing page in directing visitors to take a specific action, I'd argue that having a website in 2018 is an absolute must for building credibility and establishing a brand presence.
The most actionable concept for me was Ben's advice to examine daily routines and analyze how they impact outcomes. Are you in an environment that supports your vision and dreams? Is it aligned with your goals? If not, it's time to shake things up. Thrive in an environment that you control, instead of existing in an environment that controls you--because if nothing changes, nothing will change.
My five top podcast takeaways:
- Landing pages are incredibly efficient lead-generation tools when used properly. By giving visitors only a single call to action per landing page, results increase significantly.
- Mindfulness, self-care, environment and spirituality are all vital elements for building success. Take advantage of them all.
- Be authentic; don't filter thoughts. Instead, speak your mind--especially when writing. Write what you think, then go back and polish it later if necessary.
- Emotional investment is critical. When you love what you do, performance and productivity soar.
- Write down or verbalize goals on a daily basis. Being present and mindful of what you want to accomplish is crucial. This simple action can make a huge difference in improving your mindset and helping you get from here to there.