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Matt Black Ink, Author at Matt Black Ink
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Author: Matt Black Ink

I settle in and double check that my keyboard still works. *click, click* Is this thing on? Phew, all good. Are the folders I’ve created for Matt Black Ink even on my Desktop anymore? Yep, right where I left them. Will I even remember how to build a new post, source images and share it with my community? Looks like I’ve yet to lose my WordPress touch. After what feels like an eternity, I’m back in the saddle and excited to create new content for clients, my community and maybe most importantly - myself. To attribute my hiatus to “Writer’s Block” would be a weak cop out to the real underlying problem at work here: I simply didn’t believe that I had what it takes. Call that pathetic, call it surprising, maybe it’s a mix of both those things. But I’m sure you’ve been there too. So how did you manage? There’s probably a million different strategies which all depend on the person and the circumstances they face. But I finally realized that the only way to see the forest for the trees is to just do. I recognized that no matter how many books on content marketing and blogs I read, regardless of how many successful writers I spoke with and despite mapping out a diverse and realistic strategy, I wasn’t doing what needed to be done - which was writing. And it was all due to the fact that I didn’t think I was good enough. But here’s why I’m breaking up with self-doubt and urge you to do the same:

Hey, do me a favour and close your Inbox for a sec… Perfect! Next, hold down that ‘Power’ button and turn off your work cell… Awesome, thanks. Now for the love of all things sacred and Holy, please stop sending emails while you’re sitting down for dinner with your family! Sorry for the rant, but you need to know that being a workaholic isn’t cool. It doesn’t make you a better employee or person. It won’t make you a hero in the eyes of your colleagues or, well, anybody really. It isn’t even necessarily a predictor of success! Take it from me – a guy who blurred the lines between his time as an employee and as a son, brother, boyfriend, etc., for over 5 years – until making a career move a few months back: The work is going to be there tomorrow… and the next day… and the day after that. After some time to reflect, let me say this: having a work-life balance is one of the best things you can strive for in the world – and achieving it is entirely in your control. Don’t kid yourself – being addicted to work is a choice. The unfortunate truth is that we prioritize our ever-growing Inboxes and looming deadlines over so many other precious moments too often. The consequences can be life-changing, and in most instances, not for the better. During my time as an office addict, my health suffered, I missed countless family functions, I gained a ton of weight… But it doesn’t have to be this way. And frankly, it shouldn’t be this way. Here are a few unparalleled benefits of disconnecting from the world of work and spending more time with the rest of your life:

Einstein once said: “Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.

If that doesn't sum up the power of creativity, I'm not quite sure what can!

The world is brimming with people who at the root of the word are creators, individuals looking to make their mark on the world using the written/spoken word, music, art, film, technology, dance plus a million and one other mediums to harness and leverage creativity.

Some do so to make a living, others simply seeking an outlet to express themselves.

So what's with humanity's obsession with creativity? Why does being creative have such a firm grasp on our collective psyches and overall human experience?

In my experience, creativity can completely transform a person.

Tapping into creativity can elevate your abilities in the professional world, alleviate stressors in your life with an uncanny healing affect and allow you to tap into your full potential.

If you ask me, you should pursue your creative interests and outlets, whatever they may be.

Here are a few of the benefits you'll experience by making time for creativity:

When things are going your way in business and life, it's easy to feel like you've got all the answers.

But you don't... nobody does. 

Just when you think it's all systems go and your brand is maximizing its potential, a chink in the armour rears its ugly head.

And while you come to terms with reality, in most cases, the actions you take to address areas of vulnerability will make or break your business in the end.

So how do you account for the unexpected and craft a brand strategy that's as bulletproof as possible?

What are some of the warning signs that your planning may not cover your ass the way you thought it did?

The strongest brand strategies typically account for evolving customer tastes and expectations. After all, it's predominantly your customers who shape your strategy, right? Capturing their hearts and minds is what marketing is all about.

The best way to connect with your customers and build a business they come to know and love is to shape your brand strategy around their identity and tendencies.

You've got to be honest with them though: who are you and why should they care? And of course, what's in it for them?

Being honest is only one aspect of the battle though.

$4.2 billion in gambling. 30-second TV ads worth $5 million apiece. Over a billion chicken wings. Super Bowl 50 is nearly upon us…and clearly, nobody does it bigger than the NFL. While residents of the Carolinas and Denver are hyped up for their teams to lock horns in San Fran for football’s ultimate prize, I’m still feeling deflated over the Patriots loss a few weeks back (yes, pun intended). But despite not having a horse in this weekend’s race, there’s a part of me still looking forward to Sunday for a few reasons. Given its status as one of sports and entertainment’s largest social and cultural institutions, there’s a ton of slick production value that goes into promoting the Super Bowl and the teams involved. I’ve always loved getting to know specific players and coaches through the various interviews and featurettes that are published and created in the weeks leading up to the game itself. Super Bowl This year is no different and I’ve got the Carolina Panthers to thank for that. The combination of Cam Newton as MVP-to-Be Quarterback, Thomas Davis as unbreakable Linebacker and Ron Rivera as Head Coach has produced an almost perfect run to Super Bowl 50. An embrace of disparate personalities, a refusal to submit to doubt, a rock-solid culture and a vision – not a dream – have all propelled the Panthers to the biggest game of their lives. And along the way, I think they’ve truly inspired the fan base, their counterparts in the NFL and everyone else paying close enough attention. Here are a few of the lessons in leadership that Cam and company have taught me this season: