Good plans, bad plans, and what to do instead of planning

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Pretty. But helpful? Hmmmmm. | Photo by S O C I A L . C U T on Unsplash

One fateful December several years ago, my friend Linds and I came across the life-changing magic we needed.

It was not tidying up.

It was a planner.

The perfect planner, in which we would — with the perfect stickers, highlighters, pens, and washi — make the perfect plans. The perfect plans, we knew, would carry us on a wave of neon-colored energy to becoming the perfect people we knew we could be.

Moms who actually put away the clean laundry and never got fast food for dinner at 6:47pm on a Tuesday.

Accomplished women who were professional and articulate and…

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Photo by Mike Palmowski on Unsplash

Without hating yourself or making people run away

An elevator pitch is a short (30 seconds or less) explanation of your business, product, or service.

Typically, it’s used by start-ups seeking investors.

The premise is that when you happen to catch the elevator with some VC who could fund your entire start-up, you need to have a snappy, memorable way to introduce your amazing idea before the elevator stops. Quick! And, of course, without fumbling, spitting, sounding desperate, or being vague.

No pressure.

You can use the concept of an elevator pitch in lots of other situations, too.

  • Freelancers can present their services to potential clients quickly and clearly.
  • Business owners can explain what they offer to potential customers.
  • Individuals can have a quick, predetermined…

An easy process to use when it’s your turn to write a blog post

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Can you be this happy writing a company blog post? Yes, yes you can. | Photo by Soundtrap on Unsplash

You saw it coming.

You wanted to hide.

But you can’t get around it.

It’s your turn to contribute to the company blog: you need to share your expertise, share a story, come up with something that doesn’t sound inane.

And it’s probably due tomorrow, isn’t it?

A process to make writing blog posts easy

Writing a single blog post is easier when you follow a process. It may seem simple: what’s the big deal? Just write a blog post, already. But a process will ensure that you do your best work. Most professional writers follow a process.

It can be intimidating to write a blog post when…

We’re always running into the unknown, we just don’t like to admit it.

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Photo by Mikaleh Offerman on Unsplash

My favorite photo from our wedding is right after we were pronounced married and were exiting the scene of the ceremony.

The scene of the ceremony was my parents’ backyard.

Newly planted azaleas edging a gently sloped yard. A quiet field as a backdrop. Trees green and heavy with the late summer air. Our friends and family sat on white folding chairs. We stood underneath towering pines and did all the ceremony things.

Joe and I turned and looked at the guests. Everyone was smiling. It was done and said and our life was ours and we could begin it…

I am strong enough to handle it. That’s a story I tell myself.

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Photo by Blake Wheeler on Unsplash

For 15 years, I was a worship leader in the evangelical Christian church.

I followed in my Mom’s footsteps.

She played piano and sang, and we were always in small churches, so she became the default worship leader. She loved it.

I learned piano, too. I was singing solo Easter specials from the time I was 10 or so. Then I learned guitar, as a teen, and started writing songs.

Then I got older and she got cancer. I went from helping Mom lead music to being the worship leader, myself.

I spent hours every week choosing songs, learning songs…

Valid expertise can create opportunities for you, and help others

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Photo by Rita Morais on Unsplash

“Being taken seriously as a content provider means delivering consistently strong content with genuinely helpful insights and tips. SMEs are key to this effort.”

Shannon Emmerson, Forge & Spark Media

There are two important steps to consider:

  1. How to become a subject matter expert, and
  2. How to be recognized as a subject matter expert.

How to become a subject matter expert

A subject matter expert is someone who has developed in-depth knowledge in a particular/specialized area. However, there’s no universal requirement on what it takes to become a subject matter expert.

I can tell you what I look for…

This isn’t going to be easy, but you can do it

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Photo by Ava Sol on Unsplash

Love yourself.

Accept yourself.

Everybody says you should. Every positive-thought guru has a set of affirmations for you. Every self-help books says it starts here. But how the hell do you do it?

Look at Who You Have Been

Start by looking at the versions of self you’ve been before.

All these versions of your past self have combined, transformed, and brought you to this point.

To love who you are now — this version, Self: Present Model — to appreciate fully all you are and are not, all you have chosen, all you have to give, requires you to accept and appreciate the versions of…

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Photo by Miles Burke on Unsplash

Did you know that 83% of founders plan to blog or otherwise engage personally in content for their precious-baby startup? And did you know that only 0.2% of them ever do so for a consistent or effective length of time?

Also, did you know that I made up that statistic?

But I bet it’s close to accurate.

Why startup founders need to blog

Here’s a short list of why regularly blogging as a startup founder is a really good idea:

  1. You can establish your own personal reputation as the consistent, insightful, creative, disruptive or whatever-kind-of-adjective-you-like ‘thought leader’ you want to be.
  2. You will be forced to…

It isn’t your social media personality

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Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

Here’s the deal: people are weird about money. (People are weird about food, too, but that’s another writing advice post for another day.)

When your company is in the finance space, which is start-up talk for “We work with money, somehow,” then brand reliability and trustworthiness is very, very important.

Brand reliability and trustworthiness is, of course, important for any business.

Finance brands have to overcome suspicion

But for a business in finance — especially in finance tech, where your most personal interaction with your customers might be the chatbot on your website — you need to give customers every reason to trust you. They’re looking…

And the world is not on fire

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Photo by Barthelemy de Mazenod on Unsplash

Everything is trash is part of a book title I saw today, which is not surprising, because at least once a day there is a headline with something similar.

Some line telling me how everything is trash, how everything is terrible, how everything is awful, how everyone is awful, how the world is a dumpster fire and America is a particularly smelly part of the dumpster fire and there’s nothing anyone can do and no matter how hard we try we probably can’t change it but we’re so noble we’re going to keep trying.

Perhaps there is something to see…

Annie Mueller

Life is an experiment | 👉 Expert-based content: | ☠️ Sweary personal newsletter:

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