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The Bigger Game Hits Home

On October 21, 2013, in Events, News, by Blake Alexander Hammerton

Silhouette Man

 

“There is a desire within each of us, in the deep center of ourselves that we call our heart.
We were born with it, it is never completely satisfied, and it never dies.
We are often unaware of it, but it is always awake.

It is the Human desire for Love. Every person in this Earth yearns to love, to be loved, to know love.
Our true identity, our reason for being is to be found in this desire.

Love is the “why” of life, why we are functioning at all. I am convinced it is the fundamental energy
of the human spirit, the fuel on which we run, the wellspring of our vitality.

And grace, which is the flowing, creative activity, of love itself, is what makes all goodness possible.

Love should come first, it should be the beginning of, and the reason for everything.”
― Gerald G. MayLiving in Love


There is a project coming that has the power to shift us. I am excited to give you a little teaser because I’m not willing to throw too much at you too soon. We have started our Bigger Game here at H.Q. and it’s going to be nothing short of extraordinary. For the time being, pay a compliment to one another, express gratitude in your life, and start living for experience rather than what monetary gain it may bring.

The shift is coming. Stay tuned.

Blake and the new team.

How to Battle The Contender Syndrome

On October 19, 2012, in Coaching, Everyday Life, by Blake Alexander Hammerton

Do you suffer from Contender Syndrome?

Psychology Today had a brilliant article in 2010 on America’s culture of envy, and wanting be, do, and have more. Moreover, it’s about our own judgements that we haven’t accomplished enough – regardless of what incredible feats we have completed. It rings so true with me because I can hear the parts of my mind screaming at me about what I haven’t done, and how I fail to measure up to people around me; but I also hear the voice that’s amazed with the things I have done when I measure them against my ability as a human being to do them. It’s about measuring your life against your internal dream – not against the celebutantes on TV.

“The Contender Syndrome is subtly different from envy. It’s more a sense of not living up to the best you, rather than not living up to the best Albert Einstein. Some scientists say the feeling of not reaching your potential comes from a discrepancy between the ‘actual self’ (who you are), the ‘ideal self’ (who you’d like to be), and the ‘ought self’ (who you think others want you to be). Troubles arise when your actual self doesn’t align with your other visions.”

Anything from parents or teachers telling you things like, “You can do it. You’re better/stronger/smarter than this.” can start the process of either pushing you to achieve, or create the gap between where you are and where you’d like to be. This gap is the big pickle. Some people never learned how to build a bridge from here (actual) to there (ideal). Often this gap can seem too big to bridge, or simply impossible because the talent needed to live that dream aren’t available. Hazel Markus, a Psychologist at Stanford University, disagrees with this.

“A lot of people think you need the talent. People who end up suffering, feeling like they could have been a contender, are those with the idea that talents are pretty much fixed, so they don’t figure out how to get from where they are to where they want to be,” says Markus. “They don’t even really think it’s possible, so they don’t put the work into it.”

How will you know you’ve achieved it? How do you know you haven’t yet? How do you know you’re not in denial about your achievement? A lot of people see the ideal self and hear the ought self, but can’t get a clear view of the actual self. They may actually be very close to their ideal state, but they can’t see the steps they’ve taken, and the successes they’ve had along the way. Their gap is still too big. One great way to bring your progress into light is to name the greatest pleasures in what you have or do, or the person you are. You’ll see that your values are in some of your greatest pleasures. There’s more to life than ‘keeping up with the Jones family’ and it involves celebrating your successes just as much as you celebrate other peoples’.

Take time to reflect on where you are now, and what you’ve done to get here. You may find that your actual self isn’t far from your ideal self at all. Celebrate that! Follow what makes you happy, and do the work to get there and beyond. Often real, focused work is what separates the contenders from the victors. Success is subjective, my friends. One man’s failure is another man’s success. It’s all about what makes you happy.

“If you’re doing something positive in the world, if you’re productive, if you’re a player; then you’re a success.”

Peace, Love, and a million successes to you all,

Blake

 


Reference: “I Coulda Been a Contender” by Abby Ellin. Psychology Today. August, 2010

Video: Commitment & Choice

On September 13, 2012, in Coaching, by Blake Alexander Hammerton

 

Please share your thoughts. What are you saying yes to these days? What would you like to say yes to?

If you like this video, please share it!

Thanks! Stay brilliant!

Blake

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30-30 Challenge: An Update That Matters

On February 27, 2012, in Events, News, by Blake Alexander Hammerton

Nourish What Matters Web Store Screenshot

It’s been quite a crazy week! I’ve been sending out newsletters a few times a week since this started, and last week I threw out a challenge that came back to me like a wrecking ball. I invited all of you to revisit an old idea you had – maybe one you threw on the “back burner” quite some time ago. I didn’t challenge you to bring it to fruition that day, but I opened the door Monday, and challenged you to take some steps to see if it could hold water on Friday.

I received a lot of responses, filling my inbox throughout the day, and I cannot express how amazing it is to hear some of your ideas! Some of them felt so strong – like they have been burning the midnight oil inside you for years, and the passion and excitement of bringing it out was incredible to witness!

Monday I thought about the charity/foundation I wanted to start “eventually” – eventually is code for a magical time called “someday.” I opened my intention up for suggestion, and asked for a hint – what some of us call quantum flirts or signs. Well, I got it. There was so much going on in my world that day, that I almost felt like we had missed the reasons why we were living. Then a Trevor Project commercial came on. I immediately heard the voice in my head screaming at me.

We need to Nourish What Matters most in life.

That was it. I knew this was what had been burning inside me. So I did what any other completely neurotic nerd with a good idea does: I got on the computer, registered a domain name, built a quick website, created logos, a mini mission statement, and designed merchandise to get started.

Nourish What Matters

Many of you received the newsletter this morning regarding it, but I’m going to throw in some details here as well. Nourish What Matters is an ideal, a foundation – nay, a movement in the making. It’s about recognizing the value and preciousness of life, and the community and connectedness of humans. We’re all different, but we’re all here for the same thing: to experience whatever greatness we can while we can.

Nourish What Matters is about acknowledging that ideal in everyone, and giving them a place to call home. We will raise monies for various events and charities until we have our own charity to tout. We want to support the Trevor Project, Sing for Hope, and organizations that promote the human spirit and innovation.

You can join the movement, and get the donations started by clicking the image above, or this link, and purchasing a t-shirt or hoodie. You know you want to. They’re wicked-awesome, and so are you… isn’t that a perfect match? I vote yes.

Follow @NourishTheLove on twitter, and stay tuned for more updates and developments on the Nourish What Matters website.

Please purchase a piece of merch, and spread the word!

Together we can do this!

Peace, Love, and a million successes to you all!

Blake

P.S. What charities do you want us to donate to?  What causes speak most to you?  Let us know in the comments below!

Musicians: Get Out of Your Own Way

On January 13, 2012, in Coaching, Events, by Blake Alexander Hammerton

Get Your Voice Heard in 2012

 

ONLY A FEW SEATS REMAIN

TIRED OF JAMMING IN THE GARAGE? GET INTO THE REAL MUSIC SCENE.

The Continuing Education department at Harper College in Palatine has a music program designed to give you all the tools, resources, and know-how to take your talent to the next level, and I’m honored to be a part of it. The first in a four-class curriculum is a coaching course I lead – one that’s totally focused on getting you clear on what you want, and what it’s gonna take to make it happen. Let’s not waste anymore time and get down to the details, shall we?

We designed this program for those that want to create something with their music. Do you have a passion for the music industry, but not sure how to get your music heard? Do you get discouraged and/or quit trying before you even get started? Are you tired of the balancing act it is to create music, promote it, get exposure and recognition, and still find time to sleep at night? I know what that’s like.

STOP SPINNING YOUR WHEELS. 

This program is designed to answer the hard questions, and get you on the right track to creating success with your talent. As your coach, I’m going to challenge your belief pattern like it’s my job – because it is my job. The course is titled Get Out of Your Own Way, and that’s exactly what I’m going to teach you how to do. You’ll be empowered, challenged, pushed, pulled, and set into motion. It’s been said that we’re out biggest critic, and I’m going to teach you how to change those reviews.

Look, the music business can be tough and frustrating to navigate, which makes it crucial for you to clearly define what you want to achieve and set goals to help you get there. Even more critical is understanding the why behind what you want. This class is designed to help you create your Musician Mission (how your music will impact the world), identify potential obstacles, release negative self-judgment, and create action plans for your success. You will learn how to get out of your own way so opportunities can come to you.

We’ll have a lot of fun exploring your vision, and you’ll get answers to burning questions like:

• What does Justin Beiber have that I don’t? I mean, honestly… (it’s not his hair, by the way)
• I don’t want to be the next Lady Gaga, is there still place for me in the industry?
• I’ll be a success when I get a record deal, right?
• How much does recording a studio album really cost?
• How do I get thousands of people to hear my music and promote FOR me?

We had an amazing introductory panel night on Wednesday, and enrollments are coming into the program, but time is running out! I know this course, and the Marketing & Money, Social Media & Promotions, and Recording courses that follow mine in the program are incredibly valuable. What you’re going to get in the 6 weeks with me is worth over $400 in coaching. If you wanted this opportunity with me privately, that’s exactly what it would cost you. Register for the Harper course, and save yourself $250 instantly.

What do you have to lose? Evening classes begin Thursday the 19th.

Let’s make this the year you make it happen.

Register Today!

 

Interview: Get Courageous in 2012

On October 10, 2011, in Coaching, News, by Blake Alexander Hammerton

Interview with Kate “Courageous” Swoboda from Blake Hammerton on Vimeo.

What a treat it was to speak with Kate Swoboda in a Skype interview last week!  Kate is the founder and lead coach at Your Courageous Life coaching, and the mastermind behind the Coaching Blueprint – a tool and class to help coaches get their businesses running by helping them get back in touch with what makes them love coaching so much.

If you’ve read anything on her site, you know Kate is a no-nonsense kind of person. She doesn’t sugar coat the issues we are all dealing with – as coaches and as people. She calls out the gremlins we all wrestle with from time to time, and loves playing in that space of uncertainty – that space that many people call fear.

In this interview we talk about what we want for 2012 and beyond, what keeps her inspired to keep inspiring others, and what we, as coaches and human beings, can gain from embracing our fears and discovering what’s within them.  It’s a brilliant 20 minutes, if I do say so myself.

I do have to apologize, however. The audio on my microphone just wasn’t playing nicely the day we did this interview, so I have some echo going on. She sounds like she’s in a room (like a regular person). I sound like I’m in a barrel (like someone about to roll over Niagara Falls for publicity). I give you all my word that I will make quite sure to sound better next time.

What do you want to learn from embracing your fear?

What do you want, as we enter the ending months of 2011, for 2012?

Leave your comments for us!

 

Yes, There is such a thing as Bad Publicity.

On June 10, 2011, in Coaching, Everyday Life, by Blake Alexander Hammerton

Angry Woman via Jason Ippolito (flickr)

“If you want to end your suffering, stop being the publicist for your problems.
If you treat it like front page news, it will behave like it.”

Contrary to popular belief, there really is something called bad publicity. Moreover, it’s affecting you more than you’re even aware. We spend more time communicating our opinions, beliefs, issues, passions, and shortcomings to other people than we realize. Every day we are our own publicists. Consider how connected we all are nowadays – social media has us plugged in at every moment. When was your last status update on Facebook? How about your last tweet? When was the last time you read through feeds on either site?  It wasn’t more than an hour, was it?

That’s exactly my point. We’re sharing our lives – the good and the bad – with the world all the time, and sometimes it gets the best of us. Have you ever told a story enough times that it makes you feel worse, not better?

I remember working in sales a few years ago, and after busting my ass and working all my tricks, the promotion train came around. I was absolutely sure the new position was mine. I was so sure that I didn’t even entertain the notion that it might not be my turn. When the announcement was made that another representative had been promoted instead of me, I lost my mind. I couldn’t believe that all my hard work was not enough for them. I posted that “I’m the victim of this stupid company and their stupid people and their stupid policies” story on my front page.

This was a poor move.  I vented to friends and family, coworkers in other departments – even people at the grocery store. I felt like absolute crap. As the publicist for my life, I was running page after page of bad news, and it was doing me no good.  My articles were all about how difficult and unfair my life was. And as a direct result, I was treated that way… and my life became difficult and unfair.

Fast forward to 2008.  I had just started my life anew. I was opening my first company, embarking on new relationships with friends and new loves. Life was exciting. My front page read, “AWESOME” across the top. The stories I told reflected the great experiences I had, and those I wished for more of. When unfortunate setbacks came (as the always do), I didn’t put out a personal press release to the world.  Instead, I vented to a select few in my circle, and moved forward.

Why is this important?

I consciously chose what I publicized about myself and my life, and it allowed me to keep my energy on the up-and-up. When energy and confidence are up, life is easy, fruitful, and exciting.  Much better than difficult and unfair, no?

Another example is the “water-cooler-complaint break.”  If you’re always complaining about something to your friends or co-workers, you are publicizing negativity.  We all know someone like that, right? Case in point: Debbie Downer – she’s always negative and finds a way to turn a parade into a prison exercise. She’s got problems, right?

So what’s the lesson here, Blake?

 

If you want to change the world according to you, change the world you put in your news.
How do you like that – it even rhymes!

 

I know this can feel harder than it sounds. It’s easier to follow the media and crowds, and just complain like everyone else. I know that. But this isn’t about easy. It’s about better. We all believe life would be better if we didn’t have all these (insert your problems here), right?  Now it’s about declaring that we’re no longer going to give those problems strength. We’re taking the wind from their sales, and we’re going to stop promoting them. Let’s see how influential they are when they’ve got no more publicity!

I know this is a big step, but I know you can do it. For good measure, though, I invite you to vent it one last time here in the comments below, and let it go.

What are you willing to let go – to no longer publicize?

The Power of Words

On April 14, 2011, in Coaching, Everyday Life, by Blake Alexander Hammerton

 


This video is a brilliant example of the power of words and communication.  We are only human, creatures of habit, and products of our environment – often our affinity for believing we know best or we know the truth about something prevents us from taking action. When you want something, do you simply ask curiously, or are you asking with a judgement that you won’t receive it?  When something is confusing, do you ask for clarification, or do you seek validation that your opinion is correct?

Here’s an example:

Pete: “I think I’m ready to quit my job and run off to be a rodeo clown.”
Kelly: “Don’t you think that’s a stupid idea? Aren’t you worried about your bills? What will people think?”

vs.

Pete: “I think I’m ready to quit my job and run off to be a rodeo clown.”
Marie: “Wow! Pete, that’s quite an idea! How did you come to this decision? Do you have a plan already?”

Clearly, Marie feels a little friendlier than Kelly, right? Kelly believes that Pete is making a stupid decision, and because she knows best, her questions will feel like statements, i.e. “that’s a stupid idea, you need to worry about your bills, and what people think.” Can you notice the difference in responses between Marie and Kelly.  Which do you find your responses resemble most often?

I know we’ve all been in a situation where someone may say something and we immediately react with judgmental questions. Instead of asking why to that person, we ask why on Earth would you want to do something like that?. The tone and judgment are much louder than the words.

So Blake, what’s the moral of the story here?

There are stories all around you. Which stories are you actually hearing?  How are you responding? The words you use can make a big difference in how you’re received. I invite you to find examples in the world around you, and change the words. Notice any difference in emotion. Did you feel any different when the words in the video above changed? Would you have given your change?

This is a beautiful life, my friends. Sometimes it just takes the right words to express it.

What words do you use to describe your beautiful life?

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How to Get Ahead with a Powerful Personal Brand

On February 16, 2011, in Coaching, Everyday Life, by Blake Alexander Hammerton


Today’s post actually comes from Primer Magazine’s site. It speaks so clearly about the power of a personal brand, that I just had to put it here.  Jeannette Paladino, Writer-in-Chief of Write Speak Sell offers up some pretty potent insight into what makes your personal brand work for you.

In today’s new economy, people are forced to hone their skills and talents to be of greater value – at the very least, perceived value. This essentially makes everyone a salesperson. Whether you like it or not, what your personal brand conveys is directly tied to what you’re experiencing.  Are you a leader? Are you a follower? Do you want to change your place in the world? The power of personal branding is in how it immediately answers, “who am I” for yourself, and the people you’d like to impact.  Read on!


“Your personal brand influences what your boss and clients perceive as your value — are you in charge of the message you’re sending?”

By Jeannette Paladino, Writer-in-Chief, Write Speak Sell

Personal branding is essential, whether you are just starting out in your first job, or moving up a rung on the career ladder.  It’s something you need to work on so when you ask yourself the question, “Who am I?” you’ll know the answer and be able to communicate it clearly and concisely.

Some people confuse their personal brand with their “elevator speech.”  The term elevator speech trivializes an important process that will help you understand exactly what makes you stand out from the crowd.

Your brand influences how important internal and external audiences, including your boss, your customers and prospects perceive you and what they think you have to offer them.  Another way of understanding branding is that it’s the words you would want people to use in describing you.

Branding is what sets you apart from your competition.  Let’s look at the brands of some famous companies and people.

  • FedEx, for example, is positioned as the company that you can rely on to deliver your package by 10:30 tomorrow morning.  Absolutely, positively.
  • Google is the leader in search, and continues to be.  The advent of new competition has hardly made a dent in its market share.

People, like companies, have recognizable brands, too.  What is your impression of the singer Britney Spears?  Is it different from the way you perceive Mother Teresa?  How about Sarah Palin?  Her brand positioning is fuzzy right now.  People don’t know quite what to make of her.  It doesn’t help that some former members of John McCain’s campaign staff are trashing her.

What is personal branding?

A commonly accepted definition –

How you and the services you provide are perceived in the minds of the people in your company, your clients and prospects.

Most people will already have a fixed idea in their minds about you.  Individuals are often identified with pre-fixes:  i.e.: Harvard MBA, Nobel Prize winner, Playmate-of-the-month, 350-hitter, salesman of the year, etc.  If your particular target audience has no preconceived ideas, then you have the opportunity to develop your personal brand as you would want it.

Always remember that your brand must promise a benefit to your targets.

Some pointers about branding:

  • Your personal brand must be simple and easily understood.
  • Two or three of your key attributes should distinguish you from your competition.
  • Your targets must be able to grasp your brand quickly and translate it into “What’s in it for me?”.

As you define your brand, think of the attributes that set you apart from your fellow employees or with representatives of other companies who may be calling on your customers.  Take some time to give serious thought to your strengths.  Write them down.

Do a web search of articles and mentions of your competitors to read if anything is being written about them.  Are certain words used repeatedly?  Look up their names on LinkedIn and study the words they use to describe themselves in their profiles.

Now – and you knew this was coming – do a search on yourself.  Go through the same exercise and see what people are writing or saying about you.  What are you saying or writing about you in social media and in personal meetings?

What are the ingredients of a personal brand? <– Click!


Jeannette Paladino helps companies and individuals to develop their brands and the key messages they want to communicate to their target audiences. She brings a company’s values, strengths and messages to life with effective business writing that is clear, concise and compelling. She is the Writer-in-Chief of Write Speak Sell.

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