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I learned something interesting about change when I studied addiction. One heartbreaking thing about addiction is that people can – for example – do the work to decide not to do drugs anymore, actually stop using, detox, stay clean for awhile – And then an old friend calls unexpectedly, and they relapse back into using. Why? […]

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  • paulina (@helloitspaulina) - this is such a great post–thank you for sharing!! <3ReplyCancel

    • Jenika - Thanks for the kind note Paulina! Glad you enjoyed it!ReplyCancel

  • Marko - I absolutely adore your posts. Besides removing destructive building blocks of bad habits our goals also need to be measurable and doable. Most people I know set their goals too high at start and tend to think long-term only. Having a goal “I’ll loose 25kg by July” won’t take you far. But if you decide you’ll start buying sugar-free products, stop buying your favourite Pringles, start getting soda water instead of Coke and stop eating after 7pm and implement these things one per week will get you somewhere. People loose focus on long term goals. With short-term decisions you stay on path and see the goal more clearly with time. Thanks for a great input!ReplyCancel

    • Jenika - Yes! Getting extremely specific about those changes helps so much. There’s a goal technique I might write about in the future – the SMART technique – that basically says a goal has been specific and measurable – you’ve probably heard of that, it’s exactly what you’re saying. “Lose 25 kg” is actually pretty vague when you think about it. “Stop buying Pringles” and “get soda water instead of Coke” is extremely specific and more likely to get done. Thanks for sharing this! And thanks for the kind words. Hope you have a great week.ReplyCancel

  • Clare Woolford - You could have written this for me!! (Not the drink and drugs bit). I have so many Creative Live classes waiting to be watched. I recently joined slimming world and can see how planning for success and shopping to support my weight loss goals has helped me lose 14lbs – now I need to plan my time to watch those photography classes :-)
    Thank you so much.ReplyCancel

    • Jenika - Yes! I sure wish someone had explained to me earlier in life that a change in eating is a change in recipe-hunting and shopping. I used to “eat more vegetables” by trying to make more salads or just taking an extra helping of green beans, and it never worked because I just don’t like bland vegetables, and how many green beans can a person really eat in one sitting. Finding amazing veggie-based recipes took some work, forethought, and failed experiments, but now I can make dinners I actually like and can have basically all I want of because it’s nourishing stuff. Anyway. Best of luck to you as you continue on that journey and plan your time to watch some courses!ReplyCancel

  • Allison - This makes me want to get started on reorganizing my goals right away, to fit this model of motivation. Thank you!ReplyCancel

    • Jenika - Thanks Allison! I hope you find some good ways to support what you want to do!ReplyCancel

  • Amanda Clowe - Hi !
    Have set a couple of really motivational goals this year along the lines you suggest in your blogpost.
    1-lose 2stone to make me healthier and have more vitality to enjoy my life
    2-Get my pet photography business started.

    Yesterday, I got upset at work -main source of my stress-as management of business seem at odds with people’s needs -so came home sad, went out and bought a marzipan chocolate bar( have already lost half a stone and haven’t touched anything bad for 3 weeks!) the work incident has also sapped my creative spirit.
    Following your advice, obvious answer would be to give up working there which would solve issue -but not financially viable to do so. Any ideas in this instance of how I could remove that ‘structure’ around getting upset at work ? Any thoughts greatly received
    AmandaReplyCancel

    • Jenika - Hi Amanda! Thanks for sharing your experiences and I am happy to help generate ideas. Of course, quitting a job isn’t always an option (and who knows – even a new job might be just as stressful!). Here are some ideas for managing stress at work. It’s hard to say what will help without knowing more about the people there, but perhaps one of these will be useful –

      1) Identify some specific, recurring situations that you know stress you out at work. Like, every time Paula the Manager emails, you feel an explosion of irritation. Or every time there’s a staff meeting, people leave feeling angry and your coworkers spend the afternoon complaining. Look for patterns in what happens and how that makes you feel. That way, when one starts happening, you can prepare for it – “They called a staff meeting, and it will probably be frustrating – but instead of just feeling frustrated I will simply watch as it happens without getting emotionally involved. The purpose of this is to create an emotional scaffolding to cling to when everything around you is going badly. Rather than being buffeted by the events around you, seeing patterns and knowing how it will go can help you feel powerful and wise, and detach you from being victimized by others.
      2) See if you can create some allies at work by cultivating a little reciprocity. Identify a few colleagues you could strengthen relationships with, and spend one week doing some nice things. Ask someone about their weekend plans, remember that, and follow up later in the week with “Hope that concert is fun!” Bring cookies to the break room. Get someone’s back in a meeting. It’s not about being the person who extra work gets dumped on or is always cleaning up after others, but when you do something for others it creates a little sense of obligation. In a group scenario, doing a few extra things can really lift moods AND change how people treat you (not saying you don’t already do these things, but mindfully spending a week on it can work wonders).
      3) Identify a sympathetic supervisor, request a meeting, and bring to that meeting a couple specific issues WITH proposed solutions for them. Such as “I’ve noticed that every time X happens, management reacts by doing X. This seems to create an atmosphere of tension in the office. I have an alternative suggestion that might help, but I’m wondering if you can explain why X happens so I’m sure I understand what you’re trying to do. I just want to make sure everyone’s on the same page.” If you make sure you listen first, ask them to explain their perspective, and come prepared with a solution, it will make you seem like a problem-solver rather than a complainer.
      4) If all else fails, take a ‘problem’ person out to lunch, or ask if they’ll join you for lunch in the break room, or whatever is appropriate. It might sound totally bizarre but I swear, breaking bread with someone changes everything. Even if you don’t like them. I’ve seen it happen over and over. Reaching out personally with food makes magic. The point of #3 and #4 here is to try and shift the atmosphere, but working on #1 can help even if you can’t change the external situation.
      5) Even if none of the above works, you can recognize that you have a response of stress –> need comfort –> food. What else could be that third link in the chain? What else can nourish your spirit or bring pleasure? Make a list of things you really enjoy, then set that aside and make a list of things that absolutely light you up. Getting a massage, watching BBC films, brand new books. Find things that bring REAL pleasure to you. If you like hot baths, buy a set of five different bath oils and when you’re stressed, you get to select one and a book to relax into. If you can change the choice from “do I get chocolate or not” to “hmm, which bath oil and which book” then your mind is occupied with a different set of questions.
      Last note – and I know you were just leaving a comment so I don’t want to over analyze it, but I’ve found an awesome benefit from abandoning “good” food and “bad” food as terms to use. I’ve adopted instead “weekday food, weekend food, and special occasion food.” Weekday food is nourishing and healthy, weekend food might be a bit more elaborate and rich, and special occasion food is over-the-top holiday food. When I look at rich sweets I don’t think in terms of “this is bad” anymore, I think “yep, that’s a special occasion food. I’ll have some next _____.” This mental labeling shift has been huge for me. I got the idea from, of all places, the intro to Rick Bayless’s Everyday Mexican cookbook. Just something to consider! Hope one of these ideas helps, and good luck!ReplyCancel

  • mike - Not sure when I arrived at your site but I think what you’re doing is awesome. As a photographer the challenges are terrific, and as a Management Consultant specializing in the Psychology of Influence…you’re Bang ON!!!
    I have recently been asked by one of my Corporate clients to “revive” one of my past experiences (30 years ago) as the “quit smoking” director for the Ottawa Lung Association by setting up a smoking cessation program for their employees.
    Jenika, without sounding too dramatic your timely message today may actually serve to save many lives through the benefit of quitting smoking!!!
    Thank you, and continued success :)ReplyCancel

    • Jenika - Wow Mike! Thanks for leaving me this inspiring and wonderful note! That’s awesome. By the way – If you’re working with psychology and smoking cessation, you may have heard of Motivational Interviewing, and if not you might want to check it out (there’s a book with that title). It’s probably the most useful technique in that area because it helps people use their own reasons for change, especially when they’re ambivalent about change and/or stubborn about sticking with a habit. I wish you all the best as you carry on this important work!!ReplyCancel

  • Cheryl - I can think of several things I need to stop doing and even more to start doing in order to fulfill my goals (and dreams). Thank you for the insight!ReplyCancel

    • Jenika - Love it, Cheryl! I hope that you’re able to create the structures that support your success. Sending best wishes for the journey.ReplyCancel

  • Mary Lee Dereske - Thank you for adding the bit at the end on applying this technique to business and personal goals. I also appreciate the email you sent with the tidbit about being curious about our envies. These two ideas are helping me to adjust some of my behaviors and routines. And how appropriate that I’m reading this on Ash Wednesday, which has always been a day of reflection for me. Thanks again.ReplyCancel

    • Jenika - Thanks for this note, Mary Lee. I hope you have a beautiful and contemplative Ash Wednesday, that the day fills your well with love and inspiration, and that you find what you need moving forward.ReplyCancel

  • Sarah Shotts - I really want to dedicate time each day for fiction writing. But this seems like the. hardest. thing. ever. I’m not sure why, but I can come up with more excuses and reasons to skip my fiction writing than any other task. I’ve tried making it part of my morning routine, but haven’t had any luck so far. Maybe I should try writing on paper right after breakfast so I’m not tempted to start “working” on my computer.ReplyCancel

    • Jenika - First of all, let’s acknowledge what a COOL goal this is. YAY for you, Sarah. Let me ask you a couple of questions – first, I’m sure that you’re busy and it’s just plain hard to make space for a new thing, but is any part of it that you’re procrastinating because you don’t know how to start, you’re worried that it’ll be awful, or you’re waiting for a better idea to come along? I ask because a good 75% of the time, I put off writing because it seems like such a huge thing and starting seems so tiny, or I’m worried it will be hard and sound boring, and I’m waiting for inspiration. You might consider adopting something like Julia Cameron’s “morning pages” practice (from the book The Artist’s Way – get it from the library and just read the morning pages chapter to start). Basically every morning you have to write three pages freehand, no matter what. It’s transforming. You can write your fiction or about what’s frustrating you or whatever’s happening – but you just have to write three pages. Then you stop. You’re supposed to do it for a certain number of weeks but honestly within a couple of days I’ve usually generated ideas and am excited about whatever I’m doing. So perhaps instead of clearing space out for “writing fiction,” you clear a space for “morning pages” so there’s zero pressure to perform. And with that, you might just find that your whole story comes out.
      I’d also consider your night and morning routine to find any habits that might make you too tired/stressed to write. Do you stay up too late? Can you set out your clothes and breakfast the night before? Can you buy a special favorite kind of tea/food that sits next to your computer/notebook, so you’re motivated to seek out the food but you have to write to get it? (Yep, totally have done that.)
      Last note – you might work fiction reading into your fiction writing goal. Maybe you spend 20 mins reading a short story book and then 20 mins writing. Or maybe you shift your evening schedule to include reading. Stephen King insists you can’t be a good writer without being a prolific reader and I find reading usually gets me excited again.
      Whew! Hope I’m not overloading you with thoughts. I have similar dilemmas, so I’m right there with you. Sending good writing juices from afar!ReplyCancel

  • Chelsea - This is an awesome article!

    I’ve been struggling with blogging content for a rebrand I am working on. (Specializing in elopements and intimate weddings, with a travel blog inspired section for Vancouver Island tied into it all.. got inspired at Canada Photo Convention to do this.. (you were a great speaker) and yes it has taken me almost a year to be brave enough to tackle it…!)

    I do the easier things- edit, plan styled shoots for the months to come, go outside and garden instead… I always procrastinate with blogging and well schedule setting in general
    actually, and so my to-do list just keeps growing. I definitely lack structure in running my business. I spend way too much time on Facebook and checking email, and if my phone is near me, it just lures me in. I have deleted Facebook and mail off of my phone, but if I am relaxing.. it is so temping to add it all back on just to see what I have missed. It’s so hard to train the brain to utilize that time for things that would allow me to learn, or grow my business or make money. Thoughts?!ReplyCancel

    • Jenika - Thanks for the note, Chelsea! Sounds like a great adventure you’re embarking on! It sounds to me like the issue here isn’t actually time management, it sounds like the issue is that you’re taking on a slew of stuff that doesn’t inspire you in order to do the 10% of it that does inspire you. And that wading through the mud of the non-inspiring stuff is bogging you down and driving you to distraction. Just a hunch here, but here are my thoughts:
      1) I’d bet money that some of the stuff you’re procrastinating is stuff that you could hire someone to do. I resisted hiring people forrreeeverrrr because “I can do it myself” and “it would cost too much.” But even though I can, doesn’t mean I should, and it costs less than you think. I can’t tell you what a difference it has made. Someone else can wrangle web stuff, someone else can answer non-critical emails, someone else can title and keyword images. Really. And you don’t have to pay a ton, and a lot of it wouldn’t take that long anyway. Hire a VA for a trial of 5 hours and see how much they can get done for you. You can train someone to set up a blog post and all you have to do is come in and write. You absolutely cannot work all the time or do all the things and do them all well – and seeing stuff get done is really motivating to do the parts you actually like.
      2) Okay getting back to the subject at hand – I feel you on the facebook checking and such, but have you ever gone on vacation where you didn’t check your phone all day, and maybe you had 20 notifications when you logged in at 11pm but you were kind of just “huh, okay, meh” about it because you had been out having FUN all day? When you’re engaged in good things, missing out on FB doesn’t even cross your mind. When you’re kinda bored, dreading what you’re doing, or wanting a distraction, that’s when FB suddenly becomes fascinating and “I have to see who just liked that photo from 2013!” So I would spend time reconnecting with why you want to do this rebrand – go out for at least three hours today and leave your phone at home, take in inspiration from a museum or frosty forest or whatever is near you, find new styling ideas. You’ll probably find that you don’t miss your phone at all. Then come back and make a list of things that need to be done, circle anything that YOU don’t personally need to oversee, and see if you can pay someone $X/hr to handle that. The combination of inspiration + handing off the boring-est bits will probably get you moving because you’ll be working on what you are excited to work on.
      3) I think the two tips above will give you a structure to combat overwhelm/burnout, which it sounds to me like is the biggest issue, but if for some reason those don’t work I’d suggest doing something similar to the example in the post: Rope off 2 hours, 2 nights a week, and start working through your list. You get to pick what you do with the other three nights and weekend nights. But those four hours a week is phone-free work time. At the beginning of the week, write down what single task from your list that you’re going to accomplish in that 2 hour chunk, so when you sit down there’s no question what you’re going to do. And take a 10min break in the middle of that chunk.

      You can examine this on your own, and look at your energy levels, the times of day you tend to use FB (check out Rescue Time to see if there are patterns) – but again, just going from a hunch here, it sounds like your support system could really use an external person or two to handle things so you can focus your brain space on what you’re good at. And once you do that, the FB usage will probably taper off on its own.ReplyCancel

  • Claire - Have you got a webcam on me or something!!! I just opened your post sitting here with my e-cig, contemplating having a vodka, looking online instead of finishing some client work because I’m tired after working all day. Aaargh! This is me down to a tee, it’s so good you’re making us take a good look at ourselves. It always makes me laugh at how you cut right to the point and show up all the little habits and mechanisms we put in place to avoid doing things we should be doing. Good ideas which are easy to apply too.

    I rather think your next post topic is going to apply to me too…..and I’m terrified! :o)ReplyCancel

    • Jenika - Hey Claire! Thanks for opening up and sending me this note. I just want you to feel rested, happy, and your life in sync with your real priorities. 😀 Take care of yourself, lady, no one can work all the time (this is a hard thing I’m constantly reminding myself of). Best of luck as you figure out how to build in more rest.ReplyCancel

Kicking off a new series of posts today, called Get What You Want This Year.  Because it’s about time, isn’t it? “Only rich people actually travel,” she said. “Oh really?  Why’s that?”  I asked. “Because it’s expensive.” “Huh.  If you could go anywhere, where would you want to go?” “France.” “Okay, just for fun, let’s figure […]

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  • Dawn - This made me smile:

    “We’ve all met five-year-olds who just keep asking questions. They do this because they know if they do, something interesting will happen. (Like, maybe they’ll hear something unexpected. Or maybe Dad will explode.)”

    Gosh, you are spot on with this post, as usual. We do limit ourselves and I think a lot of it is rooted in fear. Whether we admit that to ourselves or not is another story. And sometimes I think we actually fear being successful. Because maybe a limiting belief is that if we are successful, we will be too busy to do what we want, spend time with family, etc.

    I applaud you for teaching us how to push past that so we can live a life that is more free and more fun. :)ReplyCancel

    • Jenika - That’s an interesting point you make too, Dawn. Fear of success. That we will be too busy, too “in the public eye,” that we will have fans but also detractors…there are lots of reasons to want to ‘stay small.’ An idea worth exploring, for sure. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, I always find them insightful.ReplyCancel

      • Kim - This is SO weird/true/interesting/infuriating. I used to think “Afraid of success? Who on Earth would be afraid of that?!?” But now. . . . . I am!
        I totally blew my Valentine’s booking goal because I was already so busy this month (I’m still in 9-5 land, as well as running my business)I thought I’d never be able to handle even more bookings. I did all kinds of marketing and advertising, but I still didn’t meet my goal and I KNOW it’s because deep down, I was afraid that if I booked too many sessions I would get behind and I wouldn’t be able to deliver on my promises.
        It’s so disappointing to get to that point in your business where you are actually AFRAID to book more clients because if you start getting steady work (the very thing you’ve prayed for for years now), you might screw it up. Very frustrating.ReplyCancel

    • Michelle - Dawn – I like your comment!! Sometimes we are also afraid of becoming successful because then we still might fail (or not be able to continue with our ideas, content, momentum…) and the higher you climb the harder you fall? Jenika – can you write a post regarding the psychology in that ?ReplyCancel

  • Katharine - Wow. SPOT ON. I am so tired of making excuses for not being where I want to be. And both of these areas are where my limiting beliefs come from. Thank you for writing this and I’m looking forward to the series.ReplyCancel

    • Jenika - Hope you got some info to make some changes! Thanks for writing, and hope you enjoy the next article too.ReplyCancel

  • Allison - Welp, you’re still speaking my language. 😉

    Thanks for an awesome kick in the pants!ReplyCancel

    • Jenika - I love hearing from you, Allison! So glad you enjoyed…ReplyCancel

  • Melissa - It’s like you were coming after ME on this one! So on point! And kinda good to know I’m obviously not the only one struggling with my “limiting beliefs”! Thank you for this one!ReplyCancel

    • Jenika - Ha ha – definitely coming after you! 😀 You’re welcome, and thanks for reading.ReplyCancel

  • Lindsey - What great post! I do think you are right about everything, sometimes we just aren’t ready to be successful or un-stuck!ReplyCancel

  • Nicole - SPOT ON Jenika! I’ve been delving deeper and deeper into the world of positive intentions and mindset and the power in our own heads in nothing short of phenomenal. I’m so looking forward to this series! :)ReplyCancel

  • Belinda - “…maybe dad will explode…” HA! I’ve been that kid.

    Time to tap back into that. Thanks for the reminders, I needed this one today =)ReplyCancel

  • Karen - Wow, thanks. My limiting beliefs have kept me frozen in “pretty advanced amateur who takes people’s pictures for money” land, rather than moving solidly into “professional photographer” land. I’m going to start challenging those beliefs. Starting with the belief that I’m not good enough, and people won’t pay me money to do what I do. Hello, silly, they already do!!! I can talk myself out of anything that pushes me out of my comfort zone. :)ReplyCancel

  • kerrie monti - This was a great read! And it’s so true. I am constantly finding thoughts on why I can’t do something and staying there. Not moving anymore around that thought of “no”, “not”, “can’t” or any other negative thing. I’m really going to change my thinking to asking why, then doing the math and driving forward.ReplyCancel

  • msn - Holy cow. Nailed it to the wall, Jenika. Always appreciate your incredible insights. Girl, you are so in my head. *Thank you.*ReplyCancel

  • Nicole - Crap. Now this just makes sense. It’s like you were writing this specifically for me! Thanks!ReplyCancel

  • Nancy - Hmmmmm! Disturbing to think that you have been sitting behind me listening to me run through the reasons I can’t / won’t do something; in particular, print or share my images. I concur with Dawn, that fear, in particular fear of failure or rejection is at the heart of our self-imposed limits. But, more, the willingness to just accept and be with the discomfort as you approach and push through the limits is particularly challenging. I’m constantly trying to remind myself that discomfort doesn’t necessarily equate with harm. So, feel the fear …ReplyCancel

  • Mike - This is a fantastic article! I think most creative types really have an issue with creating limiting beliefs, especially when it comes to marketing and sales. I look forward to the next one.ReplyCancel

  • Cattie - Very thought provoking. I have so many things I want to happen this year that I don’t even know which one to begin with (Move to a different part of the country? End relationships that are no longer working? Launch a new line of prints?). I’m going to read this again at home and really think about what needs to come first. Thanks for an awesome blog!ReplyCancel

    • Theresa - I think social anxiety would be rooted in/ be a limiting belief. And then there’s always feeling like I need to see one more video about posing or read one more thing about lighting before I can do anything. Would love to figure out the rootsReplyCancel

  • Rick - Already I can see that my fear of success (how will I handle all those clients) is what’s keeping me from going forward. Now I can start asking the questions to drill down to what the core limiting belief is. Thanks for the insight. I am currently doing the steps in the Irresistible Website course and finding it to be very enlightening.ReplyCancel

  • Christina @ Martha, Martha - Oh my gosh! This is just what I was writing about yesterday, though I believe you said it more scientifically! Always excellent!ReplyCancel

  • Maria Sheehan - Jenika, this is so speaking my language. At the beginning of January I decided I was going to plan the year and my goals and have a sensational year. I write my goals out every morning. I’m trying to work on myself and change my limiting beliefs using auto suggestion, it’s extremely hard! but it’s working! This article is so great and I’m so excited for the series. I hope everyone takes your advice seriously because it could really change their lives for the better!ReplyCancel

  • Marlene - Thanks for breaking down the seemingly impossible to bite-sized, manageable chunks! I’m curious by nature and often ask a lot of questions. Apparently, I haven’t been asking the right ones when it comes to limiting beliefs. I look forward to your next post! (I hope you tackle procrastination somewhere along the way – that’s another toughie that holds me back.)ReplyCancel

  • Jenni - Can you please come be my cheerleader every day – I truly hear everything you said above, but definitely struggle with changing! <3ReplyCancel

  • Claire - Gosh! Such a good post and totally relevant for me as I’m in the process of taking a good long hard look at myself and my career. Your post really made clear so many of the fears and things I do to limit myself, which is madness! Why do we want to limit ourselves! So looking forward to your year of kick up the backside posts, they help me so much to take stock, think about things and understand better. When I read your posts I always feel like I’ve been picked up, brushed down and then pushed gently back out into the world to try again.ReplyCancel

  • Michelle - What a FANTASTIC article (once again)!!!ReplyCancel

  • amy - What a truly fantastic post. I’ve shared this on my Facebook business page And Then She Was Mighty because its so on point.

    thank you!!!ReplyCancel

  • Kelli - Such a great post and fantastic reminder to be curious. A word that keeps popping up for me at the moment so I need to allow myself to be more curious. Love the tips on where my limiting beliefs might be lurking. Thanks again xReplyCancel

  • Martina - Jenika, You are really so on-point! I love reading your blog – it’s always encouraging and I always learn something new. Thank you for this super helpful nugget of advice!! AWESOME!ReplyCancel

  • Antonio Espino - My goals for the year, just like my New Year’s resolutions – go out the window on the second/third week of January. You have made some good points in this article. I guess, I will have to retrieve that piece of paper with all my goals written on it, and continue to pursue my goals and dreams!
    Thanks.ReplyCancel

  • Tatiana Rodriguez - Jenika, how timely! Ive been thinking a lot lately about my limiting beliefs and am so glad after 4.5 years you are still blogging bc your content is so rich. You always make so much sense to me… Not in the “yes yes I know” way but in the “yes yes excellent point and well said” way. ?

    “You might find your brain inventing new limiting beliefs when an old one gets challenged.” – that part made laugh out loud.

    THANK YOU!ReplyCancel

Know what the best words are, sometimes? None at all. Last week, we talked about how to take a paragraph from your site and slim it down.  That was largely about removing non-contributing words and replacing them with livelier ones. But sometimes I see a wall of words on a business website and think – they […]

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  • Carol - Great article, as usual, Jenika.

    Just wanted to add that many photographers actually install their clients’ prints, thus providing the perfect opportunity to photograph their images onsite.ReplyCancel

    • Jenika - Yes! Absolutely true – you could make it a standard part of delivery (just asking permission beforehand) :-)ReplyCancel

  • Dawn - Gosh, Jenika, you always make me think! I don’t know why this never occurred to me that an image is so much more powerful than words.

    Follow up question, though. Some think that we need the words for SEO. Do you agree with that? How do you balance both?

    Thanks so much for your insight!

    DawnReplyCancel

    • Jenika - It’s a good question you ask, and balance is a good word, since there are so many factors that play into SEO I think it’s not good strategy to overly focus on any one. My answer has a couple layers. First, I’m not an SEO expert, but every time I’ve looked into the length issue, the only consensus seems to be that you should not fill a site with fluff to hit a perceived word count (the magic number estimate ranges from 300-1800 words anyway, and no one I know would suggest that you have 1000+ words on your home page). Nearly everyone says to optimize user experience. Most photographers end up with a lot of words on their site anyway, more than the average user will read, so this tip is to help get rid of the words you don’t need so that the words you DO use are read and appreciated. Cutting a single paragraph of 100 words on a site where there are already a few thousand seems unlikely to dramatically affect SEO but can dramatically affect reader experience. And since reader experience determines a lot of other aspects of SEO, I don’t really see this as an SEO tradeoff personally. At the very least, if you have 100 words that you don’t need, it’s STILL better to cut them and replace them with a more powerful 100 words, if you really do need/want them for SEO. So you can still cut the paragraph describing all your products and write instead about how a past client feels about having them in their home. The latter will sell more anyway.ReplyCancel

  • Vicki - Brilliant! Thanks for sharing.ReplyCancel

    • Jenika - Hope you can use it for something good, Vicki!ReplyCancel

  • Allison - I love the idea of using BF sales to incentivize the client help with photos. That’s brilliant, and got my wheels turning.

    Also, “I volunteer as tribute.” ???ReplyCancel

    • Jenika - It’s a convenient season to do if you really need someone to buy something, I think…just a thought. Hope it helps someone!ReplyCancel

  • Allison - The question marks are actually laughing emoticons. Talk about miscommunication.ReplyCancel

I had a mean biology professor once. Okay, fine.  He wasn’t mean, he just made life terrifically inconvenient.  He assigned an 18-page paper.  Then, once we’d finished, he demanded that we turn in the same paper in only 12 pages. As in, cut the length by a third.  Still delivering the same paper. WHAT. So […]

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  • Mike - Like!

    (After pages and pages of verbal diarrhea [an idiom my Microbiology teacher loved to use to make the point of what not to hand in], I whittled it down, and this is really all I wanted and needed to say) :)ReplyCancel

    • Jenika - Bravo on the brevity!! :-) Haha.

      Verbal diarrhea is one of the grossest yet most apt phrases for this phenomenon…ReplyCancel

  • Charlotte Reeves - THIS! “Words, like air, are not a scarce resource. Attention is the scarce resource. Cut words to increase attention.” That is pure gold! Great article Jenika, inspirational!ReplyCancel

    • Jenika - Oh Charlotte, your comments always make me happy. But most importantly, I’m glad the article was useful. Thanks!!!ReplyCancel

  • Terri - That was a fun exercise!ReplyCancel

  • Dave - When I got my first job after college, I did a write up for my boss and he gave me a blood red paper and a valuable guideline. “Treat it like you’ll give yourself a dollar for every word you can take out”

    Brevity is a good thing.ReplyCancel

    • Jenika - Excellent, vivid way to express the point! Thank you for sharing that!!!ReplyCancel

  • Gail - The best advice you ever gave me was to keep things as brief as they need to be. I’m still surprised how many words I can pack into almost anything. Thanks for the reminder. You are pure gold!ReplyCancel

    • Jenika - Thank you Gail! I’m a fan of yours. 😀ReplyCancel

  • Cheryl - I rarely comment online. I’m more an observer and absorber of information, but you’re posts are so interesting and well written that I had to comment. Excellent work and I look forward to reading your next one!ReplyCancel

    • Jenika - Well thank you, Cheryl! I appreciate you leaving me this note. Happy you find the posts helpful.ReplyCancel

  • Angela McConnell - I definitely needed this so thank you! I have spent the morning editing down all of my overly verbose information :)ReplyCancel

  • Luis Almeida - Cool article. :)ReplyCancel