Spirituality is a constant, daily practice. No single book or idea can deliver permanent change. Does eating one apple mean that you will never again be hungry? Does one workout ensure that you will always be fit?

How could anything exist in your daily life if you do not make it part of your daily life?

Today, read something new. Listen to a lecture or an audio book by someone who has inspired you in the past. Do it again tomorrow and every day after that. Reserve part of your day to explore and discover. Meditate every day.

The only path toward true and lasting change is daily practice.

Posted by Mark Manney (mark.manney@infobeing.com).

Ethereum: this changes everything

Maybe you haven't noticed, but the world has changed. While most people were busy complaining about Trump, Brexit, the economy, the injustice of it all--complaining that the world is unfair and convinced that it was all going to hell--along comes an entirely different future. News flash: the future is now and it is called Ethereum.

It's like 1994 all over again (you know, that whole Internet thing). Only this time, we're going to get it right. Ethereum is Web 3.0, but much more than that. It is a new economic system in which there is no centralized power. Read that again. What is the opposite of centralized power? Power to the people. In other words: freedom and abundance for people like you and me.

Ethereum is as unstoppable as Bitcoin; however, is designed to power not only cryptocurrency but also any type of application in a decentralized way over what is called a Blockchain (essentially a database that is distributed over thousands of peer-to-peer computers). Data that is stored on a Blockchain is encrypted, so that only a user with the secure key can access it. You can (and should) research this elsewhere, but let's get to the point: it is now possible to build secure applications for the people on an Internet that is beyond the reach of corporations, intelligence agencies or anyone else. Just when they thought they had won, we are once again free.

What might those new applications do? Well, today it is already possible to trade a currency called Ether with a software wallet (much like Bitcoin is stored and traded). Beyond this, Ethereum has what are called Smart Contracts, which enable two parties to come to an agreement on anything (payment terms, shipment and delivery, profit distribution, whatever). Smart Contracts have already been used to establish virtual organizations called DAOs (Distributed Autonomous Organizations) made up of anonymous individuals. Get it? Companies that exist beyond the real world legal system, using a cryptocurrency. Pinch me.

This is very early-stage technology (though it has already been around for a few years). Ethereum is very much real and it isn't going away. This is the new frontier, the wild west. This is an opportunity that comes along maybe twice in a lifetime. If you get behind it, what follows are decades of prosperity. I'm all in. 

 

Posted by Mark Manney (mark.manney@infobeing.com).

Is Sales Prospecting an Art or a Science?

After 20 years running prospecting campaigns, I am going to share a secret: success in prospecting is not a science, it is an art.

Yes, there is a science to prospecting, but the science only matters after you first master the art. Prospecting science involves metrics (i.e. the numbers game), your use of various channels of communication (email, LinkedIn, cold-calling), the number of follow-ups, open rates, response rates, etc. This is the part that most organizations focus on because it feels safe, understandable, and measurable. The art of prospecting, on the other hand, is the way your message connects with your audience (or doesn’t). The art is the way you convey not just a business value proposition but a deeply human idea or emotion. Without attention to the art, prospecting is only an attempt to execute flawlessly on a bad idea. 

A prospecting email is an expression of an idea. You are an artist, you have a medium, and your purpose is to form new business relationships. To master your art is to use a powerful medium to express a powerful emotion or clear idea. Art also reveals the character and personality of its creator. You are not just prospecting; rather, you are attempting to connect with another human being by using art to bring him or her into a relationship that comes alive. Even if you are “only selling software”, your message either has power (i.e. you get responses and meetings) or it falls completely flat (in which case no metric is going to help you).

Do you believe in what you are selling? If not, either do some creative thinking and soul-searching or go sell something else. If you do believe in it, why? To believe in a product or solution means to believe that it has the potential to improve lives. To believe in security software, for example, means to know that it relieves fear or anxiety that an executive might feel if the company is left exposed to threats and attacks. The features and the commercial aspects of the solution only enter the picture later.

If you do believe in your product and in yourself…well, now you have a clear theme for your art. Find a way to convey your purest intentions sincerely, in a human tone (avoiding marketing-speak), and with character. Do you come across as someone who a CEO would want to form a relationship with? Are you respectful, caring, prepared to serve? Are you able to take a complex idea and make it simple, understandable, and worthy of an executive's time? Seriously, imagine a CEO reading your message (trust me, they do read their emails). Honestly, do you think that your message will be the spark that ignites a valuable, trusting, mutually-beneficial relationship? 

If you are in sales or marketing, then nothing about your job is more important than your message. Your message is your art and a message that delivers results is a masterpiece. Dig deeper into your creative self. Envision your prospect as a human being with human emotions just like yours. Until you are sure that you have created and validated your masterpiece, set aside a few hours per week in silent contemplation. Write different ideas, pay attention to your feelings…your intuition. I have found that, when I have created a masterpiece, I know it even before the message is tested. With enough persistence, you will get there!

Maybe you have tried outbound prospecting or have tried working with lead gen vendors, but did not see the results. If you aren't getting results, that only means you need to focus on the art. You can do it yourself or find help, but by all means don't ignore the art of prospecting. 

IMG_5867

Posted by Mark Manney (mark.manney@infobeing.com).

Selling in the now

Most people dread the idea of making a sales call or presentation. Early in my Sales career, I would sometimes experience so much anxiety going into a sales call that I could barely breathe. Overwhelming fear and insecurity sometimes prevented me from connecting with the prospect.

Over the years, I eventually learned to cover-up the anxiety, but I can’t say that I actually enjoyed the process of selling until more recently. I have discovered that what makes selling enjoyable is exactly what makes life enjoyable. I will be posting more in the coming weeks and months, but for now I wanted to share the first tip: sell with a focus on the present moment.

Present-moment awareness has become something of a cliché, so it is necessary to meditate on this more deeply. Stress is something that is created before the sales call (when you worry about what might go wrong) and after the call (when you beat yourself up for what did go wrong). Instead, ponder this: no problem actually exists in the present moment (which is wonderful because the present moment is all that is real).

A person who exists in the past or the future is a person who is lost in thought. A person lost in thought fails to perceive reality. Rather than perceiving the client, rather than listening, rather than addressing what is actually happening, your monkey-mind ends up trying to figure out what you are going to say next, what the prospect thinks of you, whether they notice your nervousness, and what your boss will say if you lose the deal. In this state, you are lost and you have lost your edge.

Instead, try this during your next sales meeting: when you notice your thoughts shifting to what you are going to say, what might happen, what should have happened, or anything related to the future or the past...simply bring your thoughts right back to the present moment. As you walk or drive to the meeting, notice some detail in the world around you. Enjoy each step as you walk to the elevator. As you shake hands, appreciate the real, actually-existing opportunity you have to form a new relationship. Notice how awake and alive you feel, in this moment. Forget the outcome. Whatever happens, you will deal with it in the present moment. It is only in this state that your performance is optimal. Perhaps even more importantly; no matter the outcome, you will enjoy yourself. When you enjoy yourself, you will preserve energy, you will talk with more clients...I probably don't need to sell you on the idea of enjoying your job. The benefits are clear.

Starting now, shift your focus to the present moment. Customers do not exist in the past or the future. They exist only in the present. Meet them there.

IMG_5867

Posted by Mark Manney (mark.manney@infobeing.com).

We will see

It is easy to write a book that espouses the highest ideals. What's more difficult is to take those ideals and to live in the real world, as it actually is, each moment of each day. 

Sometimes it seems that the famous writers, motivational speakers, and spiritual leaders of this world are coasting through life--cushioned from the struggles, challenges, and hardships the rest of us go through. There they stand, comfortable in front of large crowds of people who are faithful enough--or perhaps desperate enough--to pay good money for their transformative presence. Are these famous spiritual or self-help leaders walking the walk, or are they merely earning a living by telling us what we want to believe and what we wish were true? Would their ideals work in their own lives even if there was no paying audience? It is a good question.

Most of us would like to be happier, we desire inner-peace and transformation; but we believe it isn't possible for us--or isn't relevant to us because of the reality of our life circumstances. One may ask, what special skills or talents do I have? How can this type of spiritual wisdom help me find a better job or earn more money? Will an enlightened version of me appeal to my romantic partner, or will I grow old alone in my decaying wisdom? Again, these are valid questions.

While I am espousing a set of spiritual beliefs, I certainly don't earn much money from an audience. I am not writing with the intention of getting rich or famous. I am only writing about how I do live. If these ideas and concepts prove to have any value at all, then they will shine in my real life as I walk my talk.

Who am I? Am I an author? Sort of, but not really. Am I a musician? Sort of , but not really. Am I a sales professional or an entrepreneur? Well, this is how I pay the bills, but does that have anything to do with this? If you end up following my blog or getting in touch with me, then the only thing you will find is a person, just like you, simply trying his best.

I believe in Love. I believe in the power of the now. I believe that it is possible to live entirely outside the ego. I believe that the universe is abundant. I believe that Love is everywhere and that it melts away all resistance. I believe that to be alive is to be giving, and the best way to give is to create. But I also know that I am living in a world in which few other people share these perspectives. Can these truths, can this approach to living actually work in the world we actually live in? We will see what manifests in my now.

In this world, to be normal is to distrust people, to avoid potentially uncomfortable situations, to avoid risk, and perhaps most of all: to fear. Few of us have ever taken big, bold steps outside of what is considered normal. At least I have done that. Most of what I do would be considered crazy and too risky to most people. It isn't that I am trying to prove anything; I am only trying to be me and to live in alignment with what feels right and natural. So far, things seem to be going quite well, but we will see. It isn't that I'm waiting for the future for an answer. The future doesn't exist. Nor does the past. What exists is the constantly present now. That which enters and leaves the now as I live according to this set of spiritual principles? We will see.  

I will not be standing in front of a large crowd telling people what they should do anytime soon. I will simply continue to be honest and to live according to what I believe is right, even if most of it goes directly against what is normal and what all of society believes. 

Posted by Mark Manney (mark.manney@infobeing.com).

How to dream

Most people overestimate what they can accomplish in a year, but underestimate what they can accomplish in a decade. 

-Tony Robbins

I would like to share an amazingly powerful and simple way you can achieve your dreams. Spend an hour or two simply writing an essay about your life 10 years from now. Describe everything about your day, from the moment you wake up until you go to bed. Describe your room, your house, the place where you work. Describe how many children you have. Allow yourself to dream by following just one rule: there are no limits. Write as though there are no financial, geographic, or any other kinds of constraints. Think only about what you want, what makes you excited, what would be fun, what would make you feel good. What would your life look like if you could be completely you?

For this exercise, there are no externally-imposed restrictions or restraints preventing you from everything you truly, madly, deeply want. Write about that. You don't have to show it to anyone (unless your partner is extremely like-minded and open-minded). Just write it, save it, and put it away. Now, go on living your life and see what happens in 10 years.

Debbie Millman talks about this on a recent Tim Ferriss Podcast. I have also experienced this in my life.

Back around 1995, when I was still in college, I had a wild, unrealistic fantasy about my life in the future. I was visiting Slovakia, where my wife was from and where her family lives. I loved spending time in Europe and dreamed of living there. I remember one moment, strolling in the city center of Kosice. I pointed at a beautiful building in the old town and said to my wife, "Someday we could live right here. The Internet will be faster, so we could move here and work at home for American companies. All we need is a fast connection and a US phone number. Nobody would even know where we are located."

Hlavna

Here's the spot in Kosice, Slovakia

This wild dream of living in Slovakia was now vivid. I imagined that, in my spare time, I would read in cafes. I would write books. I would play guitar. Maybe I would even start a band, record music, go on tour. All this would be possible if I could find a way to earn a good living while living in Slovakia. I also needed enough spare time, which I figured would be no problem if I could work from home. Back in the days of dial-up Internet, this dream was laughable. We went for ice cream and did not discuss this further.

10 years later, by 2005, my idea was not so crazy anymore. Broadband and VoIP technology had made it possible to do exactly as I had dreamed. That year, we moved to Kosice and took our American income with us. Remarkably, we lived in the exact building I pointed at in 1995.

In the years that followed, my life became exactly as I had imagined. I wrote books. I started a band. I recorded albums. I traveled Europe. I don't remember striving toward any of this. I did not exactly plan it, and I certainly did not force it through any kind of will-power. It was enough only to imagine it vividly and then go on with life.

Here's how it works: when you have a clear vision that excites you, then you make little decisions every day which are compatible with the vision. If you fall in love with a dream, then you avoid making life decisions which may prevent you from living the dream. Slowly, these small decisions start to reveal a realistic path. What was once distant and impossible begins to look sane and likely. It isn't so much about taking a leap; rather, taking tiny steps each day. A decade is a long time. You don't have to strain yourself. Just paint a picture of your future and go on living. But be careful what you wish for, though, because it probably will happen! 

No matter where you are in life or how old you are, just start writing. Today, I wrote about my life again, 10 years from now. Thank you Tim Ferriss and Debbie Millman for the encouragement.

Posted by Mark Manney (mark.manney@infobeing.com).

Crowdfunding campaign to create Loving Social Media

Our most fundamental human need is to form human connections that are deep, meaningful, and loving. Yet today, there is no easy, systematic way to meet new people who are exactly right for you.

Institutions keep us separate from each other to make us feel dependent and powerless. The system is designed to keep us in fake relationships with institutions, while deep down we crave real relationships with other human beings.

The purpose of my life is to help you form meaningful, valuable connections with people who compliment and support your needs, wants, and desires. I once believed that the barrier between people was mostly technical, so I designed a new type of social media platform that connects people according to matching wants. Users enter structured sentences describing what they want, and they are matched with other users whose wants are compatible. 

What I learned is that the problem isn't only technical. The larger problem is that people are afraid to connect. People are afraid to trust, afraid to accept others, afraid to meet new people, and most of all people are afraid to Love. Society is in a state of constant panic -- paralyzed by fear and detached from what is real. The good news is that this hopeless state is not inevitable. It isn't even real. Everything can change in an instant. The power to escape this darkness and to connect with Love and truth is inside each one of us.

The disastrous state of the world is entirely related to our unshakable faith in the ego. All pain, illness, and suffering is of the ego. While most people believe that the ego has some value, the ego is a lie that offers nothing. The opposite of ego is Love. I have found that it is quite easy to escape the ego and to live entirely within Love's energy.

We must stop believing we can create change by battling corrupt, self-serving institutions designed to exploit us. All the power we need to change everything immediately is outside of that realm--it is alive within us. The first step is personal transformation, which happens as easily as reading a book: Belove: How to End Pain by Escaping Your Ego

Transformation fails when you try it alone, in isolation. But when we create a global community of Loving people who have escaped the ego, that is when true change is possible. That is the purpose of this crowdfunding campaign--to build a community based on the principles of Love.

Taking part in this movement is effortless, fun, and beautiful. People who have escaped the ego do not attack. They are no longer jealous, judgmental, greedy, or angry. People who are aligned with Love are giving, accepting, forgiving, and open to connecting with others in freedom and oneness. Facebook is all about pride and image, which is of the ego. Our social media site is based on Love. Those are the people you want to meet.

The site is already up and running and this community has already begun. If you are open to connecting with a community of Loving people, you can join www.belovetribe.com (though I would highly recommend you read the book first).  The site is still basic from a technical & design standpoint, but it is a place where Love can flow. The current version does not make use of the algorithm that matches users based on Wants, but it is a start.

The purpose of this fundraiser is to turn this philosophy into a living, global community. This has nothing to do with me, personally. I have no desire to build a following. This is about a higher, spiritual, universal truth and it is about a recognition that it is entirely possible to change the world immediately by connecting with each other in Love.

Any funds raised will be used to hire developers, to promote the movement, and to grow Belovetribe.com. While your financial contribution is extremely valuable and helpful, the most significant contribution you can make is to effortlessly offer your truest, most Loving self. I offer to you my book, in Love, and I am inviting you into a beautiful, Loving future. 

Posted by Mark Manney (mark.manney@infobeing.com).