I’ve been ill.

I still am.

My cough just doesn’t want to shift at all and I’m rattling more than an old jalopy… I’ve had more than just a cold – stomach problems but, really folks, let’s not go there!

Anyway, today’s the first day that I’ve felt like doing a proper post – it’s been a while. I had a few partially written but I think they’re off their sell-by date now. If you’re lucky and I feel up to it, I may finish them off and post them anyway…

So… what’s being ill got to do with Internet Marketing? Well, quite a bit really.

Having had a chance to lie around feeling sorry for myself, drinking cups of tea, sniffling, coughing and generally having time feeling awful, it kind’ve gives you time to reflect and helps puts things in perspective. If you, like me, have been doing Internet Marketing for a while then you’ll probably have had those times when you think: “WTF am I doing this?“.

It’s a good question.

It’s not an easy one to answer.

A better question to ask is “WTF am I *STILL* doing this?

Do you remember when you first started on the Internet Marketing superhighway? When you first decided to break out of the slow lane and go hell for leather to the destination that seemed to be just over the horizon? Head to the beach, cocktails all round and let’s live the easy life in sunnier climes!

Remember, that first ever seminar, conference or event that made you think “Man, there’s GOLD in them thar hills!“. And how convincing the promises of every Internet Marketing guru, beaming across at you from stage, would make it look easy to do what they did? “No, really, my new [product | training program | affiliate scheme | system] will be *the* one that gives you a really profitable income stream for the rest of your days… (*whispers* until we release our next product of course!)”.

It seemed so simple back then.

I still remember falling into this niche and slowly starting to shape and build the plugins for the WordPress eCommerce & SEO field I’m aiming to create. No-one mentioned how hard I would be working on my business strategy or how much time would be spent learning new things. And, for those newbies out there, no-one mentions what happens if you *are* ill – there’s no-one else to pick up the work so you’re constantly playing catch-up.

Further on down the line, we probably all know someone who’s dropped out of the game. And we probably all know someone who’s lost a whole load on PPC or on thousand of dollars worth of training programs, just to come out with nothing. Guys who’ve worked 14 hour days every day on learning new skills – how to copywrite effectively; how to build sites; how to search engine optimize; how to win the PPC game; how to set up Google Analytics and split test; how to leverage social networking sites for marketing; how to…

STOP.

Let’s rewind a minute and go back to the first time you ever attended an Internet Marketing conference. Now, let me ask you something…

Did you notice the number of junkies in the room? The guys speeding to the desk, forms filled in and credit cards in hand after each speaker had finished?

Stop a minute and check for any tracks in your arms. How many courses and program have you actually bought into? How many of them are you using now?

It’s a sickness. An illness in the mind. Addiction – a state of euphoria enduced by a drug – the buzz of the fix and the need to keep going back for more.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not suggesting that Internet Marketing “gurus” are pushers. Far from it. Not all of them are “shovel sellers”. Most have excellent products and advice that you *should* be listening to. This is about understanding the difference between “just making money” and “building an online business“. You can benefit from those with the wisdom of their experience. They’ve achieved their success. This is about getting *your* mindset right and achieving yours.

As with any addition, it’s so easy to blame someone else for your own problem. The reality is we all know who’s really to blame.

But they made me buy it. But if it wasn’t available, I wouldn’t have bought it. I *need* to have it.

Quit your whining. Stop complaining. Shut the fuck up.

If you’re not on the road to building your online business, then the problem isn’t to do with anyone else. Be honest for a minute and take a good look at yourself, you’ll know the real reason why things aren’t working out right. If anything, *YOU* are the problem.

Sound’s harsh, doesn’t it? But that’s the reality as you gaze at the reflection the rear view mirror of life. In the Tibetan Book of the Dead, a Buddhist holy text, there is a point called the third bardo where a multi-headed, multi-limbed demon – Yamantaka (Lord Of Death) holds the mirror of Karma at you as the last point to achieve enlightenment. Those unable to accept themselves as they truly are will never reach the next stage – they cannot see past the illusion or accept responsibility for their own actions and therefore can never be creators of their own destiny. Or at least, that’s how I interpret it (note: I’m not a Buddhist).

Weird how illness can make you dwell on the fragility of the human condition. Not sure how I came to this point…

So… what’s the solution?

Well, I’m going to do you a favour and let you into a couple of secrets and give you some really excellent advice. Seeing as this is stuff I know to be true but don’t actually do most of it myself – I’m just going to play *Dad* and this is a case of “do as I say and not as I do“. Hahahaha… it’s great being a parent.

Where there is clarity, there is no choice. And where there is choice, there is misery.
Swami, Head (1968) Dir: Bob Rafelson, Starring: The Monkees.

But seriously, why should anyone listen to me? Why should I speak? Well, for a start, I’m fortunate enough to have bought into some really excellent programs – only 3 (and had the good sense to stop there). That’s not to say I’ve not been tempted to join other ones. There’s a lot of good courses out there, the problem is knowing which ones. It’s true, having too many golden paved roads on the journey to success in Internet Marketing only ends up blinding us. It’s no wonder that people end up lost on their journeys…

StomperNet has given me some excellent foundations to build upon in terms of technical skills as well as access to some top quality teachers. Stephen Pierce has some amazing insights to business building. And similarly, Rich Schefren has helped me to focus and get clear on what I want to achieve. With all three, it’s a bit like having SatNav installed… the problem is, I’m still driving a clapped out old jaloppy and in need of some assistance from the breakdown services.

Anyway – the courses I mentioned wasn’t the the advice. For the hard of thinking, my point was: just get rid of the stuff you don’t need. Clear it out. If you take the time to plan out your journey, lighten the load and then just go for it. In no time, you’ll be speeding along again and heading to where you want to be.

When you’re ill, your body does just that. Coughing up phlegm and expelling substances, to put it mildly, is your body’s way of getting back to being healthy. A sick body know’s what it means to be healthy and vice versa. Illness is a clearing out exercise – a means of re-establishing order and balance. But you have to understand each part to become whole.

While the physical body has the capacity to expel the unwanted, the main problem is that we don’t have an in-built clear-out for the mind. If you buy into the notion of the mind-body relationship, then there is a direct connection between thoughts, or chemical occurences in the brain, and it’s manifestation in the physical body and then from the physical body to the outside world. Illness is, at times, made manifest in the real world through the body and connects with everything around us.

I’ll give you an example. I used to suffer from really bad migraines. They used to cripple me and, at times, I could be suffering in a darkened room for more than half a day with a head that would pounding at every heartbeat and have feeling of a sharp stabbing pain just behind my right eye. Any migraine sufferer will tell you how devastating this can be. And, in the past, I used to grab a handful of pills – as recommended by the adverts you see on TV – and pray that the pain would stop. The truth was, each time I reached for the pills, I knew it the pain would subside for a while but I always lived in fear that an attack could come on at any time. As a consequence, my wife and children would have to tiptoe around the flat so as not to disturb me.

But one day, I gave up on the pills. I took action and decided to find the root cause of my problem. I made notes of things I ate to find anything that would trigger an attack. Red wine seems to be a factor, so you’ll excuse me if I decline a glass should we ever meet for a drink! Not only that, but during this period I noted that they key factor was actually stress. I’m willing to wager that most migraine sufferers have the same root cause.

The most interesting thing was that after a while, I managed to *control* my migraines to the point that I managed to get rid of them, without the use of any drugs, purely by understanding in advance when they were about to come on. I also found 1 point on my back, just under my shoulder blade, where a hard lump – about the size of a pea – would appear. My top tip for migraine sufferers – get someone to check your back and have them to gradually massage the lumps out in small circular motions. It’s almost like the stress causes the subconscious mind to manifests itself in the body by creating something to block the blood flow to the brain. Massaging the lumps out helps to remove the physical blockages… but it won’t remove the mental ones.

When you think about it logically, it makes sense that the subconscious would do this. Why? Because stress is an overload to the system. The subconscious has no other means of alerting the conscious mind that there is a problem and the only means of getting the system to reset is by stopping it completely. And trust me – having a migraine is a complete bodily shutdown. You can do *nothing* until the pain has worn away. I’m no doctor, or advertising executive or owner of a big pharmaceutical company but one thing I do know is that I’ve not had a migraine since I’ve come to understand the process of what makes me ill in the head and also changed what I do to stop them from happening…

So, now you’re probably thinking… man, we sure are a long way from Internet Marketing! But are we, really? There was actually a reason why I provided that particular metaphor. And it’s actually to do with *your business*. In the same way, if there is a problem that you do not spot early enough, boy are you in trouble. On one level, if you learn the process of how to make your business “well”, then you will do just fine. That basically translates to – learn to split test, optimize and convert properly. Test, Operate, Test, Exit (aka T.O.T.E) and you should do just fine and get better over time.

Also, on another level, as an Internet Marketer, if you’re taking too much on board, your mind *will* overload and as a manifestation in the real world, your body will be affected and in turn, so will your business. For example, *not* being focused and juggling too many things at one time means that you’re going to be frustrated by a lot of things. This frustration comes out into the real world by the words (anger, sadness, fear and guilt) and actions you use with everyone around you – your partner, spouse, kids, friends, colleagues… I’ve known people make themselves ill by taking on too much. I’ve seen their illness affect the people around them too.

And here’s the thing. If you look at all the so-called “Internet Marketing Gurus” out there, then take some time to observe their actions. Their emotions and thinking are focused on 1 thing at a time – and each time, its about achieving success in little steps. Tiny victories. And that’s the main difference – the reason why some people will never make it and end up burning a whole load of cash on their journey there while others don’t.

It’s a mindset thing. And it’s not just a tip for business – it’s a tip for your life.

Here’s another tip I’m going to share with you – this time, related to helping you clear out some of the problems that you *think* you have.

Firstly, let me outline “the anatomy of a problem” (What The HOW? Zain, you must be really ill or trippin’ dude!).

Regular readers may have picked up that I refer to the NLP World website quite a bit. There’s a reason for this. Firstly, I’m actually an NLP Master Practitioner. Secondly, the director of the company is now a good friend and has been a great mentor to me. Finally, I get a cut off any products sold on the site – so go there now and buy something (I’d recommend the 6 Step Sales Strategy as that will help your Internet Marketing efforts and show you how to counter common objections that users will raise!).

Tangent. Back on track… During my training, just over a year ago now, a very simple concept was shown to me: this was the “anatomy of a problem”. Now, stop for a moment and consider – have you ever thought about what a problem really is? If you don’t know, then how can you get out of it? The truth is, you can’t.

So… what is a problem? I’ll show you.

I want you to think of a problem you currently have. Imagine that your right in that problem. You feel trapped, right? It’s a bit like there’s no way out. You’re right in it but there doesn’t seem to be any solutions.

The reason for this is that a *problem* has a boundary. That’s what makes you feel trapped. Outside of the problem is the solution. Seem’s kind’ve obvious really now that I’ve explained it… but go with me on this a minute.

The only person who can’t see the solution is you.

But there is a solution. What happens here is that because you’re inside, you can’t see the solutions. You might get to the edge of the problem but it’s extremely difficult to break out. Here’s the real kicker – the more you focus in on the problem, the more you can’t get out!

And here’s where some people might get confused: the truth is, the problem and the solution are part of the same thing. They exist hand in hand – without one, the other cannot exist. Just like darkness and light. Ying and Yang – the Tai Chi.

And here’s the headspinner: when you think about it, you already have the solution to your problem – you just can’t see it because you’re inside of the problem instead of experiencing the problem and the solution holistically. If you can understand this concept, then you’re already part of the way there. Introducing the solution to the problem blows it out completely. What specifically was the problem again? You’ll find there wasn’t one…
Just realising that there are solutions makes the difference between quitting and keeping on moving forward.

So how do you get out?

Firstly: Stop whatever you’re doing within the problem. A wise man called Albert Einstein once said “We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them“. If you have a problem with something your working on, just stop. Doing more of the same isn’t going to get you any further. In fact, it’ll probably just make you more frustrated as you bounce off the walls of the problem.

The next thing you have to do is to *go outside of the problem*. There are a variety of ways you can do this: a very simple way is just to ask someone else what they’d do – getting alternatives to the way you’d try to tackle the situation often helps to reveal the best solution.

Another way is to just talk out the problem – ever notice how sometimes when you talk to someone else and go through what you *wanted* to do, the problem magically disappears?

Yet another way is to think of an analogous situation – something very similar and apply a solution to the other problem. Finding a similar solution often helps to find the solution to the original problem. This is called “chunking up” and then using lateral thinking.

Or one of the simplest things you could do is to just leave what you’re doing and come back to it later on when you’ve had a rest. Personally, I go out for a cigarette break. I pity you non-smoking fools, chained to your desks… :P

In extreme circumstances, there may be a real mental block caused by a significant emotional event in the past… but I’m not going to get into that now as I’d have to charge you to help clear that one out… ;)

Addiction is really just a manifestation in the mind. It’s possible to get out of – if you want to. I know because I’m addicted to nicotine. Well, it’s actually nothing to do with the nicotine really. There are other habits that come from smoking which re-enforce what some people (doctors etc.) label as “nicotine addiction”. In my view, it’s smoking is nothing to do with nicotine at all – do don’t waste your time on those patches.

It’s all in your mind.

I know this because there was a period when I quit. No patches, no pills – nothing. Cold turkey and I didn’t miss it at all. No cravings like the advertisers perpetually want to make you believe that there is after quitting. It’s a myth and one people live up to so they can use it as a crutch to support their decision to go back to smoke. The reality is, it’s nothing like that. When you make up your mind to do something (and *really* mean it), then there’s nothing that you can’t do. Quitting any addiction is about having the right mindset.

So now you’re probably wondering what this whole post has been about? A bizarre rambling journey through illness, problems, clearing out and strange road metaphors… where are we now?

Get your mindset right. Be focused. Do one thing at a time.

And if you’ve read to the end here, you’ll probably might not have noticed that this post isn’t really anything to do with you – even if it has made you think about things in a slightly different way. This is really a post for me, written to myself as a reminder of where I should be, where I’m going to and what I should be doing…

Remember, just clear out all the stuff you don’t need. Get focused and keep going.

There’s no “failure” only “feedback”… but that’s another NLP mindset trick. I’m not going to get into that right now… after all, I’m still ill, y’know!?!