Friday Roundup – 01.19.24

Each and every Friday — I outline a few of the articles and/or books that I have read over the last week or two that are worth taking a look at.

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

The 7 Habits have become famous and are integrated into everyday thinking by millions and millions of people. Why? Because they work!

One of the most inspiring and impactful books ever written, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People has captivated readers for nearly three decades. It has transformed the lives of presidents and CEOs, educators and parents—millions of people of all ages and occupations. Now, this 30th anniversary edition of the timeless classic commemorates the wisdom of the 7 Habits with modern additions from Sean Covey.

With Sean Covey’s added takeaways on how the habits can be used in our modern age, the wisdom of the 7 Habits will be refreshed for a new generation of leaders.

They include:

  1. Be Proactive:
  • Take initiative in your life and accept responsibility for your choices.
  • Recognize that you have the power to control your reactions and responses to external stimuli.
  1. Begin with the End in Mind:
  • Define your long-term goals and envision what you want to achieve.
  • Develop a clear sense of your values and principles to guide your actions.
  1. Put First Things First:
  • Prioritize and focus on the most important tasks.
  • Manage your time effectively by distinguishing between urgent and important activities.
  1. Think Win/Win:
  • Strive for mutually beneficial solutions in your interactions with others.
  • Cultivate an attitude of abundance rather than a scarcity mentality.
  1. Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood:
  • Practice empathetic listening to understand others before expressing your own ideas.
  • Improve communication by genuinely trying to see things from others’ perspectives.
  1. Synergize:
  • Value and appreciate the strengths and differences of others.
  • Foster teamwork and collaboration to achieve better outcomes than individual efforts.
  1. Sharpen the Saw:
  • Take care of your physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being.
  • Regularly engage in activities that renew and rejuvenate you, ensuring a sustainable and balanced lifestyle.

This beloved classic presents a principle-centered approach for solving both personal and professional problems. With penetrating insights and practical anecdotes, Stephen R. Covey reveals a step-by-step pathway for living with fairness, integrity, honesty, and human dignity—principles that give us the security to adapt to change and the wisdom and power to take advantage of the opportunities that change creates.

Go here to get a copy of this great book:

Running & Challenge of Pushing at Your Edge

I’m not the world’s greatest runner, but lately I’ve been challenging myself to stay at my edge.

As I was running at my edge the other day, it occurred to me that this is a useful practice in many areas in life. Learning to play at your edge is a challenging practice, but pays off in so many ways.

If you learn to play at your edge, you learn to stop shying away from discomfort. You grow and learn in new ways. And you develop a confidence in yourself that is hard to do when you stay in your comfort zone.

Let’s explore this challenging practice.

How I Stay at My Edge with Running

Let’s use running as a concrete example of this, so you know what we’re talking about.

First, I should say that I don’t do all my running at my edge. I run about three times a week, and typically only one of those runs is at my edge. The other two are at an easy pace.

But that one run a week at my edge typically looks something like this:

  • Warmup: I start out running easy, warming up. Then I walk for a minute. This has me fully ready to run.
  • Easing in: I start running and ease myself into a faster pace.
  • The Pace: I run about as fast as I can run if I were running a 5K race (which is a fast pace for me).
  • The Edge: At some point, I feel like slowing down — this is the edge of my discomfort, and it makes me want to back away. At this point, I try to stay here at the edge and not back off. Note that this is not an all-out sprint, but a sustained strong pace.
  • Staying at the Edge: If I stay at the edge, it usually gets more uncomfortable. If I can stay here, I do. If I have to rest, I do so, but then try to come back to the edge.

I repeat this, staying at the edge as long as I can, then backing off, then going back. If I can stay without resting, I do it, but resting and then going back is often a part of the process.

As you can see, this isn’t about never backing off. It’s about staying at the edge for as long as I’m able. And using rest as a way to get back to the edge.

By the way, this has been a really effective way for me to get stronger at running, though that’s not the only point. The main point is to learn to stay with the discomfort.

Go here to finish reading this post:

5 Habits You Must Adopt to Unlock the Best Version of Yourself

Most people aren’t happy with their current situation.

If you ask them why they haven’t changed it, they’ll give you some elaborate rationalization that sounds reasonable – “I’ve just got a lot going on. When things settle down, I’m gonna focus.”


What they should say is, “I’ve latched on to some limiting beliefs that make me feel better about being mediocre.”

Getting the results you want is about prioritizing the activities and tasks that move you closer to its attainment.

You’ll always make time for what’s most important to you.

If you believe becoming the best version of yourself is important, these are the 5 habits you must adopt to make it happen…

  1. Regular Exercise:
  • Maintaining a workout regime is vital for feeling good about oneself.
  • Looking good leads to feeling good, which positively impacts overall happiness and confidence
  1. Keeping Your Word:
  • Following through with commitments is crucial for building self-trust and confidence.
  • Consistently executing what you say to yourself is essential for unlocking the best version of yourself.
  1. Not Giving a F*ck:
  • Focusing on what truly matters and ignoring things beyond one’s control reduces stress and preserves energy.
  • Prioritizing meaningful goals and not giving excessive importance to external factors is key to personal growth.
  1. Taking Daily Action Toward Goals:
  • Consistency is an underrated trait for success, leading to the compounding effect of daily actions.
  • The power of compounding, as described by Einstein, can significantly impact long-term success.
  1. Finding People Better Than You to Learn From:
  • Aligning oneself with individuals who have achieved what one aspires to accomplish is crucial for gaining new perspectives.
  • Learning from successful people can transform one’s mindset and actions, accelerating personal growth.

The final thoughts emphasize that prioritizing what truly matters is essential for personal development. To turn things around, the article suggests adopting these habits: defining a workout regime, keeping promises, focusing on meaningful goals, taking consistent daily actions, and learning from successful individuals. By adopting these habits, positive life changes can occur more rapidly.

Go here to finish reading:

Striking The Right Balance Between Business Branding Vs. Personal Branding

Businesses come and go. But your personal name, that’s another matter altogether. In the social business world, your name can be leveraged as your personal identifier across myriad social media sites as well as your monetized business brand. 

In creating a new business or online presence, one of the toughest decisions you may make is whether to establish your social business brand by your personal name or a fictitious “DBA” identity, such as a catchy word, phrase, or slogan.

It’s hardly a trivial decision, especially considering your online identity eventually will sprout hundreds if not thousands of backlinks which will need to be well-tended if you decide to do a digital makeover at a later date.

Confused on what to do? Join the club. Do you drop whatever you are doing right now, rush over to GoDaddy, and immediately reserve your-personal-name-dot-whatever, or stake your branding claim on a hot potential digital DBA?

Luckily others have already been down this path. They can offer a variety of business perspectives and advice on the question of building a business brand based on a personal name vs. a domain that can grow and expand into a free-standing business that extends beyond the individual and might someday deliver a lucrative buyout offer that tracks with a business plan exit strategy.

From Startup to Digital Enterprise: DBA Scales

The biggest advantage to going DBA or brand versus your name is that the blog/brand/company can evolve into something much bigger and more valuable than one person’s perspective.

It can grow into a company, media outlet, etc., that can be monetized, bought, sold and so on. Mashable has grown into a powerful media outlet. It wouldn’t have done that if it were just its founder’s personal name, as an example.

The Business Persona and the Person

If you work for another business, you’ll have to consider the delicate balance of marketing your personal brand alongside your business.

I started out with a blog name that combined the industry and my own name (SEO and Smarty). I’ve certainly thought about the potential for a more topic-focused name over the last few years, but ultimately this started out as something for me, to explore my interests and help me learn, and I’ve been thoroughly happy with the way that it has worked out.

What if your business fails? The hard facts are that, depending on the study, 50-60 percent of new businesses close in the first year; upwards of 80-90 percent go under within five years. You can dispense with a DBA given a few forms and some signatures. Not so easily done if your brand is your personal name and now a business liability.

From personal experience, it has always been important for my marketing strategy blog to be tied directly to my personal brand. I’ve launched several startups over the last 20 years and my work through the blog has really helped to build my personal brand through thought leadership and has resulted in continued trust with my community. As a result, every business I’ve developed has become a trusted resource, based on my personal brand and reputation.

People Buy from People

The social web offers a unique opportunity to humanize your brand and create a personal connection to customers. How do you create engagement and attachment to a logo? Be human.

Perhaps a morphed version of your personal name and a DBA is the digital sweet spot. If you’re still not sure which way to go, personal vs. DBA for your social business objectives, pay heed to this action list:

1. Lock Your Personal Name Now

Even if you never plan to use your personal name, it’s still prudent to reserve your domain just in case. Locking your personal name everywhere is also important for privacy and online identity. Read any of Hari Ravichandran’s books to get a better understanding of privacy issues these days. He has gone a long way in protecting his personal brand, so he knows what is talking about.

With an open or public profile, your personal information becomes easily accessible to anyone, potentially leading to identity theft, stalking, or misuse of your data. By locking your profile, you regain control over who can see your posts and interact with you, ensuring that only trusted individuals have access to your personal information. 

This precautionary measure helps maintain a safe and secure online presence while allowing you to enjoy social media without compromising your privacy.

2. Consider the SEO Implications

If your goal is to grow your personal brand name, register your domain name as well. Search rankings are enhanced if your real name matches your domain name. On a personal branding level, you have a greater ability to influence what people see when they search for your name. My personal site has long been neglected, and yet it still ranks for my name on top of my more actively maintained columns on more powerful domains. That’s the power of domains:

Additionally, a personal name domain is great for authors in pursuit of book deals and speaking gigs, even though it may not scale to an enterprise-level application. Who are we hiring?Your decision will rely on your plans for your future venture. It is a good idea to find a business name that has something in common with your personal brand. Namify is a great tool for that type of decision-making, and it has very cheap domains, so it is not going to be a huge investment.

Consider the Future

If you brand your business venture in your personal name, clients may expect to always work with you, not members of your team. 

Part of your job will be to continually sell trust in your associates. Bait-and-switch doesn’t work; you will have to show up at the table. This will reflect on your customer relationship-building strategy in a big way. When you try scaling it, using technology like AI chatbots or IVR, you will inevitably face an issue of your customers willing to talk to you personally because that’s exactly how they discovered your company. It will be exhausting down the road.

It’s All About the Balance

Over the course of a career, you may transition from a consultancy based on your personal brand to a full-time corporate job and then back to a solo business. You never know when an opportunity may completely change your career course. It’s important to create a plan for your personal marketing and make sure you’re in sync with your business or employer.

The consensus on personal name vs. DBA probably errs on the side if you can never have enough domains in your basket of brands. 

If you rely on your real name, you may never be able to sell your flagship site, but you will be able to leverage your personal identity to project the all-important “human” side to every new business venture you launch under your personal umbrella.

On the other hand, if you start with both (your personal brand and a matching business entity) and have the energy to develop both alongside each other, you may end up with a stronger presence and more visibility. That’s the route I once took and I have no regrets!

Go here to finish reading:

Hope you enjoy these articles and books. Have a great rest of your Friday an amazing weekend!