Learning True Humility

Humility

Humility – dictionary definition

True humility comes from a rejection of its opposites (pridefulness and arrogance), along with nurturing of acceptance, listening instead of speaking, and focusing more on another person than on yourself. That meaning was expressed beautifully by the ancient philosopher Confucius, with:

“Humility is the solid foundation of all virtues.”

One of the most popular films of all time is “Groundhog Day,” starring Bill Murray. As the pre-humility Phil Connors, he is the perfect caricature of a self-absorbed personality. This film is a wonderful depiction of the learning of this life lesson about the importance of humility.

As you recall, the plot is basically his journey toward humility and service to others. He is rescued from a perpetual loop when he learns the lesson, and can then get on with his life as a more mature and complete person.

A favorite character interaction in the movie is that between the well-practiced jerk, Phil Connors, and the well-intentioned, but mentally limited, bed-and-breakfast operator who makes an innocent comment about the weather. The TV weatherman, Connors, having probably practiced this before on other victims, launches into a full blown 65-word weather report ending with the snarky question, “Did you want to talk about the weather, or were you just making chit-chat?”

He intentionally embarrasses her just for the personal enjoyment of it. The exchange becomes the perfect definition of his character, or lack thereof, before learning the lesson of humility.

Equipped with his newfound humility, the later Phil Connors is everyone’s friend. He has not only demonstrated to others his appreciation for their presence in his life, but has contributed in many ways to their satisfaction, happiness, and well-being.

Everyone has witnessed someone who they’ve thought could benefit from a healthy dose of humility. The kind of people who always have a verbal come-back after someone remarks on having done something or been somewhere. No opportunity passes without them commenting on their own experiences. Only it usually is not just an, “I did that, too.” Typically, this person has done it bigger and better than you did it.

If you went up in a balloon, they went to a higher altitude. If you have a favorite pastime, they have already done that long ago. They have an, “I did it better,” for every subject you bring up.

They practice this without really realizing how obnoxious it is. In reality, they truly believe they are just being conversational. It all too quickly begins to reflect their own weak self-image. They fail to realize how they have turned the art of simple conversation into a contest–one they feel compelled to “win.” This, of corse, is the complete opposite to humility.

Winning this contest is rather nicely exemplified in an old joke. The story goes that a fellow goes off to college and returns after graduation only to be completely surprised at how much his parents have learned in the four years he has been away. He knows he has learned a lot, but lacks the humility to recognize that his parents may have already known much of what he has just learned.

Life is not about how much you have personally accomplished, as seen in the attitude of an immature Phil Connors. It is about how much you have contributed to the lives of others along the way. Only after you learn humility can you do this to the fullest extent.

Personal growth is a natural byproduct of service to others. As the immature Phil Connors eventually learned, in the face of your inherent drive for achievement and success, the best guardian of your self image, the best vehicle for promoting your own growth, is not a resume full of accomplishments. It is the humility to recognize your own limitations and the contributions that others have made to make your life better. Humility truly is the foundation of all other virtues.

Expressions of Appreciation

Good Job Blue Marker

Good Job Blue Marker

“Feeling grateful or appreciative of someone or something in your life actually attracts more of the things that you appreciate and value into your life.”
– Dr. Christiane Northrup

Have you ever felt under-appreciated? It is unfortunately a common condition in our culture. But, we can do something to combat its ubiquity. Like so many negative influences in our lives, we can turn this around and reverse its influence by doing the exact opposite. Actions may speak louder than words, but some words can have an unforgettable impact. Appreciating the contributions of others and making that appreciation known to them, will not only inspire them, but it will also add remarkable value to your own life.

Expressing appreciation to others is such a simple act that it is frequently overlooked. The opportunity is ignored, or we let it pass on by without saying anything, simply because it might expose our inner self to others. We ignore the potential to connect with someone else in this way because it is easy to do. We take the easy path instead of the better one.

Especially in a job situation, expressed appreciation can make a tremendous difference in job satisfaction and employee productivity. Expressions of gratitude for a job task that was particularly well done shows the recipient that she has made a positive difference. She has contributed something of value to the business. This can have a marked impact on even the least productive employees, as they start to see the importance of their place in the scheme of things.

Some people seem to have a hard time even saying thank you. For them, expressing further appreciation may take a little more effort, but for most of us it is a fairly easy habit to develop. Make no mistake, it really is simply a habit to be kind enough to say thank you, and tell someone why you appreciate their contribution. Good habits like this are fortunately just as easy to develop as the bad ones.

To develop this altruistic habit, simply adjust your thinking to include at least three expressions of gratitude every day. Set this as a goal as you get out of bed. Search your morning for something to be grateful for and someone to thank for it.

I appreciate that you make breakfast for me every day. Thank you for your smile, it inspires me. I love the fact that you are so energetic so early in the day. I wish I didn’t have to go to work so I could spend the whole day with you.

Develop the habit. It’s easy. American philosopher and psychologist William James said, “The deepest craving of human nature is the need to be appreciated.” Fulfilling that craving is not a difficult task, but to develop the habit of doing so may take an adjustment of attitude. We need to stop thinking of gratitude as an incidental byproduct of life and start thinking of it as a worldview. It will condition our responses to be more in line with the importance of this deep craving that all of us share.

All too easy to forget, these expressions of gratitude are very simple ways to get the most out of life by making others, as well as ourselves, feel better about our daily routines.

How Introverts Thrive in Quiet

Portrait of beautiful 35 year old woman

Portrait of beautiful 35 year old woman

When we picture successful people, we tend to lean toward the extroverts — those who speak up more, get noticed more, and interact with others more than their introverted peers. But introverts have much to offer beneath their quieter demeanor, and they are more than wallflowers. They are not necessarily even shy.

Extroverts thrive on interaction with other people, which gives them the energy they need, and they tend to be restless when alone. Introverts, on the other hand, recharge through seclusion and tend not to be lonely when alone. An introvert may look forward to a quiet evening at home with the same zeal as an extrovert who anticipates an evening out with friends. The extrovert is geared toward activity, the introvert toward contemplation. They are both vital parts of the same world.

You may not realize that some of your close friends and family members are introverts. It doesn’t always show.

“I dream big and have audacious goals, and I see no contradiction between this and my quiet nature,” Susan Cain, author of “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking,” writes on her website.

Cain, a former attorney and negotiations consultant, dropped out of corporate life to live a quieter life as a writer at home with her family. She describes the seven years of writing her best-selling book as “total bliss.”

“Quiet” was published in January, 2012. The following month, Cain left her blissful world momentarily to do a TED Talk, “The Power of Introverts.” To prepare, she joined Toastmasters, worked with TED’s speaking coach, and spent six days with an acting coach. Three months later, she wrote that she had become an “impossibly oxymoronic creature: the Public Introvert.”

That introvert aced her talk, which reached one million views faster than any other TED talk and now is ranked as the 12th-most viewed TED Talk of all time. It’s the favorite of Microsoft founder and multi-billionaire Bill Gates, himself an introvert who says one of the advantages of introversion is the ability to spend long periods of time thinking about a problem or concept.

Cain tells “Quiet” readers that Western society is dominated by what she calls the “Extrovert Ideal.”

“Introversion — along with its cousins – sensitivity, seriousness, and shyness — is now a second-class personality trait, somewhere between a disappointment and a pathology,” she writes. Extroversion, she notes, “is an enormously appealing personality style, but we’ve turned it into an oppressive standard to which most of us feel we must conform.”

Society really isn’t designed for the introvert. Children are encouraged to speak up, to get over “shyness,” to play well with others. Introverted teens may be considered antisocial or withdrawn. Adults in the workplace are often advised to be assertive, to join committees, to take leadership roles at work and in the community — in other words, to be productive members of society, or as Cain says, the Extrovert Ideal.

“But we make a grave mistake to embrace the Extrovert Ideal so unthinkingly,” Cain writes. “Some of our great ideas, art, and inventions — from the theory of evolution to Van Gogh’s sunflowers to the personal computer — came from quiet and cerebral people who knew how to tune in to their inner worlds and the treasures to be found there.”

In the quiet, introverts are in their element, momentarily removed from the world of the extrovert. They create art, solve business problems, and come up with great ideas. Businesses are wise to celebrate the introvert along with the extrovert. They are two sides to the same coin.

Backlinks: An Online Handshake

E-commerce Business Deal

E-commerce Business Deal

When you speak with SEO professionals, you may hear them talk about the importance of backlinks. Backlinks are when another site links to your site. These links are important because not only do they help drive traffic to your website, but they are a sign to Google that your site provides information that people appreciate and view as worth linking to.

In the beginning of 2015, there was controversy following one of the Google ‘hangouts.’ John Mueller, of Google, seemed to indicate that webmasters should not focus on building backlinks. This took the marketing world by storm, as many people dedicate time and energy to developing a high quality backlink profile.

Careful analysis of the problem, however, demonstrates that this might not have been what Mueller meant. At other Google hangouts in the past, he gave advice about how to appropriately go about building successful and useful backlink profiles. It is now largely agreed by many marketing professionals that Mueller was speaking about avoiding using illicit tactics to build backlinks, such as engaging in, ‘I link to you, you link to me’ backlink schemes.

To understand how backlinks should ideally be developed, it can be useful to look at how business is conducted in person.

The Role of a Handshake

Place yourself in a corporate meeting between two important executives. They are sitting at a long table in a professionally furnished conference room. They sit at opposite sides, each with a team of assistants taking notes of the meeting and making sure that the bosses are always equipped with a glass of ice water.

The two hash out their ideas. They want to see if their information aligns and if they believe they can work with each other. No executive wants to run the risk of doing business with someone who would ruin their reputation. Before any deals are struck, they want to make sure that this is a professional with whom they want to have their name publicly associated with.

After a long conversation, they both stand up.

“Well, I suppose we are in agreement,” says one.

“Yes. I will have my team get started on the contract right away,” says the other.

They reach out and they shake hands– and now everyone in the room knows that they will be willing to vouch for the other.

The Role of the Backlink

The handshake is a backlink. When one site links to another, they are publicly vouching for the content on that page. They have reviewed the information and found it to be in line with what they believe about the topic at hand. They trust that when they send their page visitors to that website, the users will be able to obtain useful information that will help them answer their questions.

Backlinks should not be something that you ever have to trick the other website into doing. It is not supposed to be the end goal of SEO. Instead, backlinks should be viewed as a part of a larger SEO strategy that involves creating high quality content that people are interested in reading and find helpful.

That does not mean you cannot ask for backlinks. If you find a website that aligns with your intended audience and you think your content would be helpful, there is nothing wrong with asking for a link, but it should always be done upfront and honestly.

You can build backlinks by writing guest posts or thought-leadership pieces for other websites. You should also be sharing your content on social media to increase exposure and build more backlinks.

Google, and its algorithm, want to keep an eye out for backlinks that come from low quality sites or always seem to come from the same types of sites. They want to make sure that the backlinks are diversified and gained honestly. If a poor site links to you and you do not want the backlink counting against you, then you can always disavow it to let Google know that you want no part of that link.

When it comes to building backlinks, remember to always build them honestly and with the end user in mind. Just like a handshake in business, it should be viewed as a public vouching for the other site. When you view it in that context, it will be easier to understand the role of backlinks in the online web community.

Trade Shows Are One Opportunity You Just Can’t Afford to Pass Up

Like any business, you probably use a wide range of marketing materials in an attempt to spread your message far and wide. Even though you rely heavily on the print techniques that have worked so well in the past, you’ve probably also branched out into the wonderful world of social media and digital marketing. But one marketing opportunity remains largely untapped by many businesses. That opportunity is the trade show, which brings with it a wide range of opportunities you can’t ignore.

There Are Few Better Ways to Engage Than at a Trade Show

One challenge of any marketing campaign is grabbing the attention of your target audience. In a lot of cases, those who receive your mailers or who see your posts on social media aren’t necessarily looking for your particular product or service at that time, which means you not only have to grab hold of their attention in a meaningful way, but you also need to do whatever it takes to maintain their attention until they are ready to buy.

high angle view of a group of business executives at an exhibition

high angle view of a group of business executives at an exhibition

You don’t have to struggle to grab their attention — they’ve shown they’re already willing to give it to you just by walking through the door. As a result, trade shows are excellent opportunities to create lasting impressions.

Trade Shows Are Amazingly Effective at Generating Leads

If you want a clear-cut example of just how big an opportunity your next trade show is, look no further than the number of attendees. The Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, for example, brings in over 150,000 people on an annual basis. Even niche shows like the San Diego Comic Book Convention, which is a bit of a mecca for all things entertainment and pop culture, draws over 100,000 people (and growing) annually.

This represents a massive opportunity for generating leads you literally won’t find anywhere else. Every single person who walks through the door is a potential lead just waiting to do business with somebody like you.

Everyone Has an Equal Voice at a Trade Show

Perhaps the most important benefit of trade shows, however, is one of equality. A company with $1,000,000 to spend on marketing materials and a company with only $1,000 to spend are essentially on completely equal ground. If you can make a solid presentation and have your booth staffed with helpful materials and the right employees, you’ll attract visitors who will stop and hear what you have to say.

From the lasting impressions they tend create to the face-to-face encounters you just won’t find anywhere else, trade shows are truly an excellent opportunity to reach new customers. There are few better venues for finding like-minded individuals who are already interested in your particular industry. If you play your cards right, practice brand consistency, and put your best foot forward, you’ll discover trade shows are an investment that can pay dividends for a lifetime.

Marketing Lessons From Movie Trailers

Popcorn

Popcorn

If you want to see a clear-cut example of the power of marketing in action, look no further than the trailers released into cinemas each weekend for the latest Hollywood blockbusters. Nowadays, many feature films cost hundreds of millions of dollars to make, so a trailer needs to fire on every last cylinder in order to help that film succeed. Because of the high stakes involved, there’s actually quite a bit we can learn from successful movie trailers in planning our own marketing campaigns.

Consistency is Key When it Comes to Your Brand

There’s perhaps no more perfect example of the power of consistency in branding today than Marvel Studios. The company’s films include such successful titles as The Avengers: Age of Ultron, Thor: The Dark World, and Iron Man 3. Marvel keeps churning out hit after hit, and the studio has learned how to leverage the power of its brand in a pretty interesting way.

For Marvel, it all begins with the Marvel Studios logo. Every single trailer for every single Marvel film begins with the Marvel Studios branding. Even the title cards on these previews don’t say “From the Director of X” or “From the Producer of Y.” Instead, they say, “From the Studio That Brought You The Avengers.” What Marvel’s doing is making their own brand synonymous with the type of quality entertainment people are coming in droves to see. They’re making Marvel Studios a more powerful brand than the characters in the films, the stars of the films, and even the filmmakers themselves. Pretty soon, it won’t matter which movie features which character. As long as it says Marvel Studios on the front, people are going to go.

In many ways, your brand is the most powerful marketing tool you have — even more powerful than the products or services you provide. If you can turn your brand into one that people can’t help but pay attention to through marketing consistency, your bottom line will benefit.

Leave Them Wanting More

Another important marketing lesson you can learn from movie previews is the idea of “always leave them wanting more.” A movie trailer should never show all of the best parts of the film. Yes, it should show some of them, but not all. The best trailers leave audiences excited for a film and confident they’ll find a whole lot more waiting for them when they go to see it.

Your marketing materials should be the same way. People should get a general idea of the benefits your products or services provide and a desire to experience those benefits firsthand. Your marketing can never recreate the feeling of joy customers get when they start using your products, but it can get them excited about giving those products a try.

Marketing lessons can be found in the unlikeliest of places — even at the cinema on a weekend excursion with your friends or loved ones. Sure, you’ll probably never make a Hollywood feature film and don’t have hundreds of millions of dollars at stake, but you can still learn a lot just by paying attention to the way movie studios attempt to sell you on the next big blockbuster coming soon to a theater near you.

10 Ways to Create the Wrong Brochure

To be successful, a brochure needs to be produced with a precise objective and a target reader in mind. It’s best to create the least elaborate brochure likely to achieve its objectives.

Deciding on Your Purpose
Brochures fall into two broad categories — those that introduce a new product or service to a likely customer and those that turn an already interested customer into a buyer.

Using Color
Full color is more costly but is justified if the product or service you are offering needs color to show its features. For example, a wallpaper brochure or a brochure of knitwear would not work effectively in anything other than full color. Another reason for using full color may be to compete head-on with a rival’s color brochure.

wallpaper
Using two or even three colors is a cheaper alternative to full color and can be quite effective, especially if part of the brochure is printed in a screened color that lightens the tone and gives the effect of another color.

A limited use of color can look more sophisticated than bold colors. You might also consider using full color in only part of a brochure, or you might try using colored paper — although that is quite tricky to do well.

10 Ways to Create the Wrong Brochure

  1. Being concerned with the looks, but forgetting the sales objective.
  2. Giving the printer poor artwork, but expecting excellent results.
  3. Forgetting to emphasize the unique selling proposition of your business.
  4. Omitting (or hiding) prices if they are critical to the reader’s decision-making.
  5. Printing too many brochures with details that date too quickly.
  6. Giving insufficient thought to how the brochure should best be distributed.
  7. Using text on the brochure that is too small to read easily.
  8. Including poor-quality or inappropriate illustrations.
  9. Allowing a fussy or complex design to distract from the key selling message.
  10. Forgetting to monitor the response (as with any other type of advertising).

Tips for Unleashing the Amazing Sales and Marketing Power of Business Cards

Business cards may be small, but their impact is huge. A business card plays an important part in making a lasting impression upon those you do business with.

When choosing a business card, don’t be cheap. (If you’re on a limited budget, try to save elsewhere.) Experienced sales reps know how important it is to make a good impression on their prospects. They buy nice clothes, drive nice cars and wine and dine prospects and clients – only to give them a 5¢ business card?!? Why not consider a 10¢, 15¢, or 20¢ business card that would really wow a customer and add to the overall good impression?

1. Feature your company name prominently, with your name and title smaller. Using your company logo is important, because it will help people associate your name with the product you are selling.

2. Don’t take up too much space listing all the ways you can be contacted. It’s best to list your phone, fax, and email address. Personal cell phone numbers should be given to the client verbally, when necessary unless it is the primary way to reach you.

3. Full-color printing can add a dramatic impact to the look of your business card. If your budget doesn’t support full color, there are a lot of creative possibilities using two colors of ink combined with a third color of paper.

4. Don’t overlook the backside of your business card. It is a great place to add more sales and marketing information, your mission statement, a map and location, or photos of your products.

5. It’s worth the time! Business cards are one of the most important tools for business today. The time and effort you spend creating and printing excellent business cards will pay future dividends.

Printex Printing and Graphics Inc is here to help with all your printing, graphics and marketing needs! Let our experienced team make you and your business shine! Your image is our business!