The following is from my friend Will Newman at AWAI and courtesy of The Golden Thread


The Golden Thread

The Myth of the “Road to Success”

I want to debunk a common myth.

I decided to write to you about this myth the other day when I got an email from Circle of Success member Cecil … an email much like others I’ve gotten from AWAI members.

“I’m really concerned, Will. I hope you can help me. I was really excited when I started out in The Accelerated Program. I still am. I want this new career to work, but I’ve run into a bunch of problems that have stopped me in my tracks. I don’t want to give up. I love what I’m learning. But I’m stuck. Please help!”

The power … and problem … of metaphors

When Cecil says he’s stopped in his tracks, that he’s stuck, he’s using a common metaphor about success. This metaphor envisions the journey to success as being along a road. We even talk about the “road to success.”

This metaphor is all wrong.

We use metaphors in our speech and writing because they help us understand complex situations in simpler terms. We use them because they work. That’s the power of metaphors.

When talking about success, it’s as if we start out in San Francisco on a drive to New York. Straight line. Few changes of direction.

Seems harmless enough.

But there’s a danger here. Metaphors not only give us a simpler view of reality; they also shape reality. Talking about success like a journey along a road leads people to feeling “stuck” like Cecil did.

A blown out tire. A burned out fuel pump. Worn piston rings. These problems stop you in your tracks. They halt forward progress.

Yes, you can get them repaired and start moving forward again, but …

All too often that feeling of being stuck in our quest for success keeps us from starting up again.

A new metaphor for your journey to success …

I wrote Cecil back and told him I no longer think of success this way. I use a different metaphor for this journey.

If you’re traveling from San Francisco to New York by plane, that airplane doesn’t stay on course. Cross winds, updrafts, down drafts, and other unforeseen events push the plane off course.

But the plane keeps moving forward and makes it where it’s going. Why?

The pilot and navigator constantly make mid-course corrections.

So, as simplistic as it sounds, I told Cecil that he is not stuck. He needs to make—and continue to make—mid-course corrections. And, so do you as you travel toward your inevitable, undeniable goal of copywriting success.

Putting meaning into metaphor …

The airplane metaphor works. But only if you take these two steps to keep yourself making those mid-course corrections.

First, find yourself a good “navigator”

You need someone who’ll guide you in your mid-course corrections. AWAI’s forums are the best place to find that navigator. Many of your peers have gone through the same problems you might be having. Or, that crop up later along the way.

Or, you could choose a particularly close friend who wants you to succeed as much as you do.

Regardless of whom you choose for your navigator, find someone who can give you support and guidance all along the way to help you make the mid-course corrections.

Second, keep moving forward … no matter how small the movement

I’ve heard from AWAI members who have faced serious illnesses (their own and family members’), job loss, increased work at their jobs, hurricanes, and any number of daunting events.

One member stands out, though. She faced a number of personal disasters I won’t go into here. She wrote me and apologized for being behind on her Circle of Success program work.

But, she also told me that, while these problems had slowed her down, she wasn’t giving up. She’d put aside 15 minutes a day to study The Accelerated Program and do her COS work.

She wanted to do more. She’d planned to do more. But she was doing as much as she could.

She kept moving forward, slower than she’d hoped at first. But she didn’t stop. She kept her momentum going.

So, this is what I told Cecil. And, this is what I tell you. Don’t allow yourself to be stuck. If “life gets in the way” (boy, how many times have I heard that?), take a mid-course correction around it. Do something—anything—that moves you forward.

Read a book that will help you be a better copywriter. Study an AWAI program, even for 15 minutes a day … or a week, if that’s all you can spare. Write as much as you can—letters, emails, notes to your coworkers—using the skills you’re developing here.

But keep moving forward!

Yours for a successful copywriting career,

Signed

Will Newman

This article appears courtesy of American Writers & Artists Inc.’s (AWAI) The Golden Thread, a free newsletter that delivers original, no-nonsense advice on the best wealth careers, lifestyle careers and work-at-home careers available. For a complimentary subscription, visit http://www.awaionline.com/signup/.

American Writers and Artists, Inc.

Keith is the resident writer and troublemaker at Empowered Pros.
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The Triumph of Hope Over Experience

The Triumph of Hope Over Experience
By Clayton Makepeace

Without it, there would be no second marriages … no cheering crowds behind Hillary, Obama or Jeb on the six o’clock news … and, of course, no Las Vegas.

The fact is, no matter how cynical, negative or worldly wise each of us wants the world to think we are, all of us want to believe. Desperately.

And, the simple fact is, hundreds of billions of dollars are earned each year by marketers who do little else but:

Identify a deep-seated desire that is resident in a particular market niche,
Create a promo that suspends their prospect’s disbelief, and
Step back and allow the prospect’s desire to believe to do the rest.

Take Vegas, for instance. We all know it’s the world’s greatest fleecing machine. We know that there are no games of chance there – that the odds are heavily weighted in favor of the casinos.

And yet, even those of us who never expect to beat the house happily fork over thousands for travel, lodging and food – and then blissfully lose thousands more at the tables, knowing from experience that we’re being played for suckers.

Now I ask you: Is this anything a sentient, self-respecting, intelligent creature would do?

No. And that’s the whole point.

We are NOT sentient, self-respecting intelligent creatures. We only tell ourselves that we are. The truth is, we are driven by emotion. We only use our thinking brain to rationalize those emotional decisions after they’re made.

Think that’s an overstatement?

Don’t tell me; tell one of my former crackerjack copywriters. A while back, she found a medical study you should consider …

Seems some people who suffer minimal brain damage retain their cognitive ability – their ability to reason – but lose their ability to feel any emotion. And, when a major medical institution studied these poor souls, they found something fascinating …

When deprived of their ability to feel emotion, these still-intelligent, rational, thinking people were incapable of making ANY decision. They couldn’t even decide which shirt to wear … what to order in a restaurant … or how to manage their money!

I’m thrilled we found that study. Because it proves beyond the shadow of a doubt something I’ve been talking and writing about for years:

If we made our spending decisions on the basis of logic, nobody would buy a new car – suffering the massive depreciation that slams you when you drive it off the lot. Heck: We wouldn’t buy any kind of car – new OR used – for that matter. We’d all be riding the Metro. Or the bus. Or a bicycle.

The same is true about designer clothing … makeup … expensive watches … high-calorie food with low nutritional value.

And, who in his right mind would spend more than a few hundred bucks a month on a place to live – especially after seeing what happened the last time housing prices collapsed?

Frankly, I’d be hard-pressed to think of much that we spend money on that makes any logical sense at all. We buy all that stuff simply because we want to believe.

We want to believe – so desperately – that these things will make us feel more confident … more successful … more secure … more fulfilled … happier … that we spend our entire lives mindlessly pursuing them.

Just get up early tomorrow morning and turn on CNBC – or just about any cable channel that runs infomercials at night – and you’ll see what I mean.

Put on your thinking cap, now …

If I told you there’s a non-prescription pill – made entirely of vitamins and minerals – that will grow hair on a cue ball … would you believe me?

Preposterous – right? After all: If vitamins and minerals reversed male pattern baldness, only anorexics and bulimics would lose their hair.

How about “the size of a certain part of a man’s body”? Would you believe that a few vitamins and minerals will magically transform a water spout into a fire hose?

Wouldn’t obese guys be the most “blessed” of all?

What? You don’t believe this stuff? You know what? Nobody does!

But you know what else? There’s an infomercial on TV that’s generating millions and millions in sales for an all-natural hair-regrowth product and another that’s making some scam artist rich selling vitamins that supposedly make your thingy bigger.

Why would anyone with an IQ larger than his shoe size buy such an obviously stupid product?

Because we desperately want to believe. We want to believe so much that a few simple testimonials and/or a floozy batting her false eyelashes at us causes us to suspend all disbelief and crack open our wallets.

You don’t have to prove your case beyond the shadow of a doubt. But you do have to give your prospect an excuse he can give his spouse for spending the money. A reason why – although he’s surely a sentient, intelligent person, it was logical to suspend his disbelief – just this once.

Hope this helps – I’m going to spend some time brushing up on my basic blackjack strategy now …

This article appears courtesy of American Writers & Artists Inc.’s (AWAI) The Golden Thread, a free newsletter that delivers original, no-nonsense advice on the best wealth careers, lifestyle careers and work-at-home careers available. For a complimentary subscription, visit http://www.awaionline.com/signup/.

American Writers and Artists, Inc.

Keith is the resident writer and troublemaker at Empowered Pros.
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Clayton Makepeace on the Astonishing Power of Fear

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Clayton Makepeace on the Astonishing Power of Fear

Readers,

Here’s another great article from Clayton Makepeace courtesy of The Golden Thread from American Writers and Artists, Inc. While it is specifically written for copywriters, many of you you are writing your own ad copy for business and this is a great article to help you write better copy. If you’re not writing copy, it’s still a great article to move your business forward. K&I


Clayton Makepeace on the Astonishing
Power of Fear
By Clayton Makepeace

Have you ever been tempted to squeeze an irresistibly cute bottom? Tell the judge where he can stick that speeding ticket? Claim a tax deduction you don’t really deserve? Drink and drive?

So why didn’t you?

What’s that you say? You don’t do those things because you’re a moral person?

Well, while your application for sainthood is being processed, consider the rest of us – imperfect folks who are sorely tempted to do all of those things and still don’t – simply because we fear the consequences.

In a word, “jail.” Read the rest of this entry

Keith is the resident writer and troublemaker at Empowered Pros.
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A Technique for Producing Ideas—Review

A Technique for Producing Ideas—Review           

James Webb Young was a legendary advertising executive whose career began early in the 20th century. He was the author of three books,

James W. Young Master Copywriter

James W. Young Master Copywriter

Diary of an Ad Man, How to Become an Advertising Man (both out of print), and A Technique for Producing Ideas.

His last book is considered one of the greats for helping business owners develop creative ideas. In fact, the book was chosen by copywriting legend Bob Bly as a recent featured book at the American Writers and Artists Great Books Club.

In this short, easily read book, Mr. Young gives the reader a 5-step formula to train the mind to develop creative thought. Simply put, his five steps are:

  1. Gather raw materials.
  2. Work out those materials in your mind.
  3. The incubating stage.
  4. The actual birth of the idea.
  5. The final shaping and development of the idea to usefulness.

Read the rest of this entry

Keith is the resident writer and troublemaker at Empowered Pros.
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Empowered Pros Guest Post

Today I’d like to share a great post from Clayton Makepeace a 42-year veteran of copywriting. A shout out to AWAI’s Golden Thread Newsletter for allowing us to republish this great article.

Are These Three Marketing Sea Changes Killing Your Response?

By Clayton Makepeace

  • Why your marketing model is failing you …
  • Why your sales copy is losing its effectiveness …
  • Why everything you think you know about attracting new customers and selling to existing customers is quickly becoming obsolete …
  • And, what you must do NOW to create explosive response in the mail and on the Web …

I’m so old, I’ll betcha my tie has gone in and out of style at least five times.

Not that I pay much attention to such things, mind you.

Read the rest of this entry

Keith is the resident writer and troublemaker at Empowered Pros.
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Copywriting Jobs in the 21st Century

Copywriting Jobs in the 21st Century

In the last couple posts I talked about the American Copywriters and Artists, Inc. 2014 Bootcamp and Job Fair—FastTrack to Woman typing on a modern keyboard. White background.Copywriting Success.

But what is copywriting and why would several hundred people pay nearly $2000 a person to attend?

According to Dictionary.com, copywriting, a noun, derives from copywriter, and is the use of words to promote a person, business, opinion, or idea.

Wikipedia.com says copywriting is writing copy for the purpose of advertising or marketing. The copy is meant to persuade someone to buy a product, or influence their beliefs.

Reading these definitions makes if fairly easy to see that copywriting is designed in one way or another to influence…to persuade.

Some of the greatest copywriters of the past, Hopkins, Ogilvy, and others would probable have agreed with Judith Charles definition in Robert (Bob) Bly’s book, The Copywriter’s Handbook: “A copywriter is a salesperson behind a typewriter.”—or Read the rest of this entry

Keith is the resident writer and troublemaker at Empowered Pros.
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AWAI Bootcamp Day Two

AWAI Bootcamp Day Two

AWAI Bootcamp Day Two

AWAI Bootcamp Day Two

Thursday and day two of AWAI’s Bootcamp started early with breakfast at 7:00 AM followed by a break-out session on Financial copywriting at 7:05. So, I grabbed a cup of coffee and was able to get a seat before the room became SRO (standing-room-only).

The host and presenters, Charlotte Crockett, Chris Allsop, and Guillermo “G” Rubio, discussed some of the fine points of writing copy for financial markets and surprisingly, having a business or financial background wasn’t necessary to break into this market. What WAS necessary was a desire to learn…go figure!

While focusing initially on writing controls for financial newsletters, stock offerings, and alternative investment analysis, I was surprised to find financial copywriting also includes areas such as credit cards, insurance, and other financial vehicles.

Read the rest of this entry

Keith is the resident writer and troublemaker at Empowered Pros.
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A Pilgrimage to AWAI Bootcamp 2014

A Pilgrimage to AWAI Bootcamp 2014.

American Writers and Artists, Inc.

American Writers and Artists, Inc.

This year marks my first year at an American Writers and Artists, Inc. (AWAI) Bootcamp. I’ve wanted to go for some time and this year I was able to clear my calendar and make the pilgrimage to Delray Beach, Florida for AWAI’s four day, intensive, program entitled “FastTrack to Copywriting Success”.

Upon my arrival at West Palm Beach International Airport yesterday I met other pilgrims headed to Delray Beach for the conference. Pat, a retired psychologist who’s interested in writing for alternative health businesses and Donna, who’s already started her E-newsletter and graphic design business—thanks to recent downsizing by her former employer.

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Keith is the resident writer and troublemaker at Empowered Pros.
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