Let’s Journal?

 

journal1As part of my attempt to continue improving on different areas of my life, I decided to start journaling.

I had started journaling back in July while I was in Brazil for World Youth Day but it quickly faded away and I stopped. More

Às Vezes O Bom É O Inimigo Do Melhor

 

Uma pequena revolução de vez em quando e’ uma ótima coisa. – Thomas Jefferson

Estou vendo, a distancia, as manifestações no Brasil. Tendo morado muitos anos fora, da minha varanda estrangeira eu sempre tive uma vista interessante da cultura brasileira, talvez às vezes um pouco mais lúcida do que quando eu morava lá.  Como se diz por aqui, às vezes a gente não consegue ver a floresta por causa das árvores na nossa frente. More

No Excuses.

 

runningChances are if you made new years resolutions at the end of 2012 you have already forgotten about them.

I can speak for myself: every year I’d make lofty resolutions but by Valentine’s Day I was usually back to my old ways.

That’s why this year I decided to do something different.

Instead of resolutions, I set goals, wrote them down, and told people about them.

Goals are very different than resolutions.

Here’s what I mean:

  • To start eating healthier is a resolution.  A goal is to eat 8 servings of vegetables a day, 5 days a week, for 5 weeks in a row.
  • To lose some weight is a resolution.  A goal is to lose 15 pounds by May 28th.
  • To start exercising is a resolution.  A goal is to be able to run 5 kilometers within 10 weeks.

A good goal is very well defined.  A good goal allows you to look back and clearly say “I did it.”  A good goal lets you easily imagine what completing it looks like.

And when you write them down and tell people about them, it becomes real.

I’ll tell you how real.

Just a few months ago I couldn’t run for more than 5 minutes.  A combination of laziness, asthma, and fear had kept me on the couch for years.

Me, running my first 5K. No, I haven't purchased the photo yet :)

Me, running my first 5K. No, I haven’t purchased the photo yet :)

Last year I set a goal to run a 5K, which I completed in May during the Toronto Marathon.  It felt fantastic.  I had never been a runner and to cross that finish line brought me such a sense of accomplishment that I actually cried.

For 2013, I set 9 very specific goals for myself. One of them is to run a half-marathon before the end of the year.

I wrote it down and shared it with my family, my friends, and my mastermind groups.

It turns out preparing for a half-marathon is hard work, and now I need to really get busy training. I’ve been consistently running a little bit every day for the last few weeks, which feels really good.

But what really inspired me to write this blog post is this: Today I went running even though it was -8C (17F) and snowing.

Because I set a goal, wrote it down, and told people, I dressed up in layers, gloves, wool socks, and ran in freezing temperatures during a snowfall.  I had so many reasons not to run today, but because of how I set my goals this year I found it in me to engage in this insanity.

What I didn’t expect was how great it felt.  As I was running and snow was accumulated on my clothes, I had this feeling of empowerment that I was managing my life and that I was intentionally working towards something good.

The more I think about goal-setting and read about the lives of people who accomplished great things, the more I realize that these great things happen to those who are purposely working towards goals.

If you haven’t done so, I challenge you to write a handful of goals for yourself to accomplish before the end of this year.  Make sure these goals are:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Relevant
  • Time-bound

These criteria spell “SMART.”  It’s easy to remember.

If you set a goal, make sure you write it down and let people know.  If you’d like, let the world know by using the comment box below this post.

Swing Dancing and São Paulo?

 

The video below brings me flashbacks of my childhood, sweet memories of landmarks of my existence in a way I never thought possible.

On this 459th “birthday” of the city of Sao Paulo, it beautifully shows the city that all us Paulistanos love and, I guarantee at one time or another, have loved to hate.

These are monuments I climbed as a child, buses, subway trains I rode countless times, and beautiful buildings. These are buildings I now wished I had taken the time to get to know better but was too busy looking down or – at times – too preoccupied with staying safe as I walked the cobblestone streets of downtown São Paulo as a teenager.

walkingMy story is not unlike the broken story of many immigrants; it’s a story of an existence severed by expatriation which makes one leave behind memories, things, people. It’s a plot in which the drastic decision to move to a new culture abruptly ends a story line and starts another. It’s a plot in which the protagonist is often left wondering who he really is. There was an old story. Now there’s a new story. Though the new story is often equally as rich, the chasm is always there.

That is who I was. This is who I am.
That is where I lived. This is home now.
That is how I used to speak. This is my language now.
The list goes on.

An important aspect of my life in the second part of my story involved a silly little thing called swing dancing. Swing dancing is as American as apple pie, and as I started to create roots here in North America, it was one of the first bonds I created with the new people in my new story line  Swing dancing helped mark the new milestones of my new life as an immigrant. In my new life I had an accent, I looked different; in my new life I danced. And boy did I dance.

This is why this video touches me in a special way.

In a quasi out-of-body experience, I see my broken story as whole. For about 3 minutes it’s like my story has been stitched together and the chasm never was.

It makes me wish I had never left and grateful that I did, all at once.

Thank you Blubell, RecheioDigital, and Hopaholics for creating this video. You will hear from many how great it is, but I guarantee you it will not touch anybody as deeply as it has me.

Here’s why your company should have a podcast

Here’s why your company should have a podcast

 

If you know me personally, you are probably sick of the word “podcast.”  I’m an avid consumer and since August of 2011, also a producer of podcasts. I listen to podcasts on my commute to work, when I work out, when I’m doing the dishes, and when I can’t fall asleep at night.  On Thursday mornings I produce and record my own show.  Obviously I’m really passionate about this type of media.

There are many reasons why, and I’ll tell you today why I think your company should start thinking about starting your own podcast.

Podcasts are a great way for you to create content

If you have been around the world of marketing in the last few years and not lived under a rock, you have heard of the word “content.”  Content is king, they say.  Create content, they say.  The problem is, creating content takes work.  Sometimes it could be painful.

While most people mean blogging when they say we should create content, writing engaging and compelling posts might not be everyone’s cup of tea.

Podcasting gives you a great alternative or complement to your blogging efforts.  In my case, keeping up a weekly blog posting schedule was a chore.  Podcasting, however, is a blast.

If you or your company is struggling with creating written content, consider podcasting as an alternative.

Podcasting is a fantastic way to engage an audience today (your target market)

I don’t know about you, but I find it harder and harder to concentrate while reading stuff on the internet.  I think it might be a combination of information overload, the millions of blogs that are available out there, and just overall being distracted.

An article published by the BBC suggests that online browsing can leave us with the attention span of only 9 seconds. The scary part is that this article is from 2002, before the distractions posed by social media even existed.  This was also before we had little smartphones in our pockets constantly buzzing and beeping for our attention.

A simple blog usually requires that the reader be in front of a computer/tablet/smartphone, when all these distractions are there to take your reader away from your content.

So, if you were having a hard time producing written content on a regular basis, now you need to create epic, compelling, can’t-live-without, better-than-facebook-and-lolcatz written content that blows your readers minds.  Weekly.  Perhaps 2 or 3 times a week.

 

Enter podcasts.

Podcasts are usually consumed when people are driving, working out, or performing some activity when they can’t read.  Now, consider that the average commute time around the world is typically 30 minutes or more, and that the average workout can last between 40 minutes to an hour.

This is a great opportunity to have your audience’s undivided attention (except for dealing with traffic and sweaty brows) for a good half-hour.  When people can’t focus for more than 9 seconds on written content, I’m sure you can understand why this is a golden opportunity.

Besides the chance to have people’s attention, podcasts let people hear your voice, and this makes it a lot easier to create relationships with your audience.  When someone listens to your voice, to the passionate way with which you talk about a topic, your humanity comes across to your audience.  This makes it easier for them to relate to you, and a lot harder for them to turn you off.

Also, there are WAY less podcasts out there than there are blogs.  That is why I was able to get away with calling my show THE Construction Industry Podcast.  The name wasn’t even taken.

A good podcast will create solid relationships between you, your company, and your audience, all the while having their full attention on what it is you are saying.  Bingo.

What are your thoughts on podcasting?

How to choose a topic for your podcast?

How to choose a topic for your podcast?

 

Recording the Construction Industry Podcast. Credit: Daubian Oliveira

If you believe that starting a podcast might be a good move for you and/or your company, you’re in good company. Many companies and entrepreneurs are taking advantage of the fact that a good podcast can create loyal audiences and a successful platform for your brand and business.

Many people want to start a show but don’t know where to start.

In my opinion, if you are considering starting a podcast, one of the first things you need to ask yourself is:

What in the world will I talk about?

To try and answer this question, I will walk you through my thought process as I decided to launch my award-winning Construction Industry Podcast back in August of 2011.

The first thing to consider is to have a podcast on a topic in which you have some knowledge. In other words, why not start a podcast talking about something you know deeply about?

That approach works for a wide variety of circumstances – perhaps even in most cases.  For example, my friend Dustin Harzler has a great podcast in which he shares his knowledge on the blogging platform WordPress.  He has thousands of attentive listeners who want to learn more about WordPress.  Another example is my other friend Cliff Ravenscraft, who is an authority when it comes to podcasting.  Cliff has a ridiculously popular podcast about podcasting.

In my case, this approach didn’t really work.

In my company, in my 9-5 job, I am responsible for the design and installation of monitoring systems for construction projects.  We are experts in construction cameras, time-lapse video creation, and all the equipment that goes along with it.

The problem is, if I had created a show around that topic, the only people interested in learning more about that would be my competitors.  I would not be reaching my target market with a show about construction cameras.  Dustin and Cliff, on the other hand, want to reach people who are interested in WordPress and podcasting, so talking about their expertise works really well for them.

So my thought was: whose eyes did I want on my brand?  What is my target market interested in?

The answer to that question almost automatically tells you what kind of show you should produce.

Remontech (my company) serves the construction owner, the entity that is sponsoring the project.  Our clients are usually in the construction sector, but not are not necessarily construction professionals.  They are project managers, directors, business people who are dealing with construction and trying to learn more about the industry.  Sometimes these individuals may feel a little inadequate, because the are constantly dealing with contractors, architects, subcontractors, who have their own jargon.  It’s easy to feel like an outsider sometimes.

So I decided to create a show for them.  In the Construction Industry Podcast, I interview experts in the construction sector and cover topics which are construction-related.  But as I do that, I keep it accessible for those who are trying to learn more about the construction sector.

In short, you have two approaches when starting a podcast for your business:

  1. If your knowledge is what your target market is interested in, have a show about that.  You will be able to shine as an expert and create confidence in your audience that you are the man/woman for the job.
  2. If it is NOT your knowledge that will reach your target market, think about what it is they are interested in and provide that content to them.

Do you have a podcast?  What is it about and how did you come up with the idea?  I’d love to know.

I’m speaking at New Media Expo 2013!

I’m speaking at New Media Expo 2013!

 

I’m absolutely thrilled to let you know that I’ll be a speaker at the upcoming New Media Expo (NMX) conference in Las Vegas.

NMX is the largest, most prestigious conference and trade show for the blogging, podcasting, and WebTV industry.  Attendees from around to world will flock to Las Vegas this January to learn, share, and network with the best that the new media world has to offer.

Because of my success with the Construction Industry Podcast, I will be sharing my experience and tips on how to be a podcaster in a podcast-less niche.  The title of my session is

“The benefits of being the first to podcast within your niche.”

Click here for my bio at the NMX website.

Speaking at NMX is a great privilege and I cannot wait to share my perspective and what has worked for me as a podcaster.

If you are in Las Vegas or coming to the conference, let me know!

 

Footage from the drive to Labrador City

Footage from the drive to Labrador City

 

For many reasons, my last trip to visit my client in Labrador City had to be by car.

It is a very long drive (around 2,200km each way).

A large part of it, mostly between Baie Comeau, Quebec, and Labrador City, Newfoundland is on a dirt road.  You basically get on this road in Baie Comeau and drive north for a whole day.

The enldess road to Labrador City from Baie-Comeau, Quebec.

Around the mid-point, there is a little rest stop where you can get gas and a snack. I stopped there literally seconds after getting my windshield smashed by a rock that flew from the back of a truck.  There I met Alan and a group of bikers who were taking a similar trip, but by motorcycle.  Crazy, I know.

The cool thing is that Alan had a camera attached to his helmet, so I had to talk to him.  He told me he was on a round trip to Massachusetts, and I asked if he would be posting that video somewhere.  He said yes and we exchanged business cards.  I didn’t think I’d hear from him again, but to my surprise, Alan sent me an email with a link a few weeks later.

Here’s the link to the video that Alan’s camera captured.  If you’ve ever driven on that road, you’ll enjoy it!