In The Ring

In this corner we have…!!

This is where we bring great minds together and blazing the way as honorary founding members, we have on the one hand, Tim Brownson, Personal Development Guru and Life Coach and on the other, Elmarié Porthouse, freelance writer, author, blogger and a powerhouse of drive and yes, you got it, hard work!

Both of these luminaries have agreed to shower their grace upon us plebs in the form of answering 3 questions in their field each week so we will have 3 rounds. If you have a question please feel free to submit it to this forum. In fact, we more than welcome your input as the purpose of this website is to engage with interactive participants. You can lodge any questions or comments here. Enjoy!

Round 3

boxing glove1. How does ‘reframing’ differ from wishful thinking?
Reframing is looking at a situation and deciding to view it in an empowering and useful way. It doesn’t involve changing events, only the way we view them. Wishful thinking is merely hope.
2. How does ‘visualization’ differ from wishful thinking?
Visualization is an active process which can lead to a structural change in the wiring in the brain. Wishful thinking usually stems from day dreaming and often lacks the structure of visualization and has little effect on the brain long-term.
3. If someone suffers from ‘victim mindset’, what would be the first step for them to assume responsibility for their attitude?
The answer is in the question, the first step is admittance that they are playing the victim role because without that change is unlikely.

1. Do you find yourself having to do lot of research in your work?
The amount of research I have to do, usually depends on the type of writing I’m doing. Fortunately I’m a big reader, so there are certain subjects I am knowledgeable enough about to write straight from the heart. This is my favourite type of writing and I do as much of this as possible. The big research comes when I have ghost writing or other freelance assignments where I have to write about subjects I have no clue about. A while back I had to write about joinery. It has been one of my most difficult assignments to date, as I had no idea what joinery even was. One good thing, you learn a lot when you become a freelance writer.
2. Apart from books you’ve authored, do you ever receive any royalty income or is it strictly fee-for-service?
Until now I have worked on a strict fee-for-service basis. However, I’m currently collaborating on a book where I’ll be receiving a royalty income. The reason for this is that my client has a specific audience who will be receiving his books and the royalty income will soon surpass anything I would have charged him.pen
3. Do you sometimes outsource work?

It does happen that I sometimes have to outsource work. When I don’t have time to take on an assignment but the client insists, then I will make it clear that someone else will be doing the writing. I then receive the raw material back from the actual writer, proofread and edit it and make sure it’s up to the standard my customer is used to. Since many of my clients rely on me for writing articles that will improve their SEO, I need to make sure that this is the case.

Round 2

boxing glove1. Do you have one useful tip to stop us from slipping back into our old patterns of thinking?
If you understand what causes us to slip back it can become easier to understand. The brain loves to repeat patterns of thinking because the neural pathways are well formed and it requires a lot less energy in the form of glucose and oxygen. The conscious mind is very memory hungry so the much more efficient unconscious will happily take any opportunity it has to reduce the demands and slip back into previous thinking patterns . How do you stop that? As with most things there really is no one answer. However, there is one method that is proven to work if you stick with it, and that’s meditation. Many people don’t want to do it and are skeptical, but volumes of research done in recent years proves beyond any reasonable doubt that it works. It also improves health (physical and mental), concentration levels, creativity, lowers depression and can help you live longer.
2. You would get lots of requests for guest posts on other sites, do people ask if they can post on your site and have you let them?
Yes I get 2 or 3 requests each week. I turn down about 9 in 10, but if I get a post that I think my readers will like of course I’ll run it.
3. Do some of your customers get offended when you confront them with the truth as you see it?
In almost 9 years I have only ever had two clients get angry with me and both times I had broken rapport. If you are in a high level of rapport (and good Life Coaches will be with their clients) then you can get away with quite a lot. Having said that it really isn’t my job to impose my truth upon clients. If it’s a matter of facts then fair enough, but if I start seeing my opinions as truth then I’m in trouble.

1. Do you have a way to keep you motivated to write?
I go through phases where the motivation will come by itself and just always seems to be there. The hardest thing is when I have a lot of (especially creative) writing I need to get done and there just seems to be no motivation or inspiration. Fortunately we live beside a beautiful lake and it often helps just sitting there, meditating, and the inspiration will come. But there are times when I need to get out of myself a bit. Then I find it helpful to read a lot or even watch an inspirational movie, something like A Beautiful Mind. A movie I really want to go and see, is The Book Thief. I think it will be one of those to keep you inspired for a long time. If all else fails, I pack my laptop and my sunblock and go write somewhere far from the house, where I can watch people and be inspired by ‘their’ stories I contrive in my mind. Unfortunately there is no magic formula for motivation. Sometimes writing is hard work just like any other job and one has to buckle down and get it done. During these times checking my bank balance helps! As long as I’m writing, the inspiration will come eventually.
2. How do you know who your audience is?
The audience I’m writing for more often than not depends on the subject matter. Especially when I’m writing commissioned pieces, I can usually gauge the audience from the subject matter. References to happenings in the 1940’s won’t do while I’m writing landing pages for a mobile DJ, will it? When it comes to writing for my own platforms, I always keep an eye on traffic, comments and interaction on social media. This gives me a good idea who is reading what I have written. Now I have to confess that I don’t often keep the audience in mind while writing. Unless it’s formally commissioned writing where my client has specific requirements, I have a casual writing style. Most of the time I write as if I’m talking to a friend. Because of this, I really feel like my readers are my friends.pen
3. When you are commissioned to write an article, is there sometimes a conflict between pleasing the customer or pleasing the audience or even pleasing yourself for that matter?
As a freelance writer, I’m constantly struggling with putting aside my own style. Especially when I’m ghost writing (pieces not to be published under my own name) I have to adopt the ‘personality’ of the person who commissioned the project. This can be some of the most difficult writing because not only do I have to be creative as far as the information is concerned but I have to become like an actor playing a role. It helps when I work with a client for a while and on more than one piece because you get to know each other better and this makes taking on the chameleon role a lot easier.

Round 1

boxing glove1. Tim, thank you so much for agreeing to support us with your wisdom. It’s only fair, as the opening question, to ask you if you have a message for us for 2014!
Yeh, be happy! That’s the only reason we are all here, to be happy. So within reason and presuming it doesn’t cause harm to you or anybody else do what makes you happy.
2. Your specialty is getting people unstuck, is there a common denominator present with your clients?
Other than feeling stuck not at all. Everybody is different and faces their own individual hurdles to overcome. The main reason coaching works so well is that it focuses on the individual and doesn’t adopt a cookie cutter approach.
3. Is low self-esteem the main obstacle in moving forwards in personal development?
It can be, but by no means always. It can be apathy, a lack of knowledge, a lack of support, a lack of belief, a fear of the unknown etc. There are probably as many reasons as there are people on the planet!

1. Elmarié, thank you so much for agreeing to support us with your expertise. It’s only fair, as the opening question, to ask you if you have a message for us for 2014!
 In 2014 I want to live a life of generosity. I believe that if every person would be more generous with their time and effort towards others, the world could really be a  happier, more peaceful place.
2. As a writer, do you start ‘off the cuff’ or do you scaffold first?
 I’m a true off the cuff writer. I will have an idea and mull it over in my head for days or sometimes weeks. Once I sit down in front of my laptop, the article is ‘written’ in my head and if just flows onto the screen.pen
3. What can we do to contact our own Passion?
Have a good, long talk to yourself. This may sound crazy but I actually took time every day for a few weeks to look myself in the eye (yes, I really stood in front of my mirror and talked to myself) and ask what it was that made me happy. Although it felt silly in the beginning, it didn’t take me long to rediscover the passionate girl I used to be before I got buried under mountains of negative things that happened in my life. By being brutally honest with yourself in this way you will be able to get back to what used to excite you 20, 30, 40 years ago.