Defeating the lizard brain

“You will never have a greater or lesser dominion than that over yourself…the height of a man’s success is gauged by his self-mastery; the depth of his failure by his self-abandonment. …And this law is the expression of eternal justice. He who cannot establish dominion over himself will have no dominion over others.” Leonardo da Vinci

“Are you completely crazy?” I’m standing at a farewell morning tea. A tradition repeated thousands of times every day in Australia for staff who are leaving employment (and hopefully going on to another job). The morning tea was delightful, with a range of quiches, pastries and fruit. There was actually no tea involved but those colleagues who had planned ahead had got themselves a cafe latte from the ground floor cafe.

Yes, this was my farewell morning tea - my last supper with my current employer. I felt a mixture of guilt and disappointment. Guilt for feeling like I had wasted the time of my manager and the company for hiring me 15 months ago and disappointment that I had not achieved what I set out to achieve when I first started. I felt like my star was no longer burning so bright in the eyes of my colleagues and figured it was time to leave.

When I was contacted by a Malaysian oil company wanting me to complete a 1-month project in my specialist area, I knew it would be high risk to accept it - I had dealt with Malaysia companies before and often things didn’t work out as planned - but I still literally jumped at the chance and accepted it, signed the agreement then promptly resigned to my manager the same day. Sure enough, within 2 weeks the Malaysian company advised that they were rescheduling the start date, but by that time with only 2 weeks of employment left, I was ½ way out the door of my company and I was feeling no pain. Besides, the Malaysian company had been a short term thing and a catalyst for me leaving - my intention for some time was to launch an offshoring company in The Philippines - I’d already come up with the name, Asia Offshoring - so I figured I was all set.

Seth Godin coined the term, the ‘lizard brain,’ and describes it as that part of the brain that is about survival, safety, and the part that hates risk and change. At that farewell morning tea on my last day of work, it cried out to me to follow the safe path and not leave. It begged me to reconsider and even tried negotiation - maybe if I just stayed 1 more month… As I gave a short farewell speech, I could also see a faint glint of fear in my colleagues’ eyes - I believe there was some genuine concern for me and my future. Perhaps lizard brains sympathise with each other…

I learnt a lot from the process. To be totally honesty with yourself takes enormous strength - it had been my intention for some time to start the Philippines company, but to act on that honesty took more than strength - it took herculean courage, that is, to do something even if it means death! Hats off to those who have that displayed that sort of courage in business before.

I also learnt that nothing hurts more than regret - it had been all consuming when my father passed away and I wasn't about to let that happen again.

Most importantly, I learnt that the lizard brain is all powerful. It’s no wonder that so few people strike out and follow their dreams - In addition to being socialised to follow a stable predictable trajectory…to get a good education, get a good job, get married, have children, the lizard brain kicks in as soon as you start flirting with making change in your life. I learnt that you can’t defeat the lizard brain, but you can be true to yourself and move forward without the lizard brain’s consent. I believe doing so has given me an increased inner strength which has helped me considerably in my entrepreneurial life.

If your website is more than 1-year-old, you’re missing an extremely powerful tool in your marketing arsenal.  Read on and I’ll explain why.

How effective is your current business website?  Assess it using our website self-audit tool. Details below.

Had a really interesting chat with a former Hewlett Packard colleague of mine last week. He needs a website built for his new business and we were stepping through some examples of websites that he likes.  What was interesting was that he gets it...that websites are a powerful tool for attracting customers, then engaging them, then getting them to purchase the product/service.

My former colleague shared 2 examples with me of websites that are at either end of the effective websites spectrum.



What you’ll notice when you open both is the differences across a number of parameters.  
Here’s some of the key components that make a 2016 marketing effective website so powerful.
Websites are powerful marketing and selling tools
Websites, like fashion, change frequently. That website of yours from 2014 is now out of date. Contemporary 2016 websites have been designed around selling psychology and engagement.  The format these websites are based on is a tried, tested and proven formula. Utilising this formula is a way to increase engagement and sales. If you’re not updating your website, you’re losing ground to your competitors.
Bold colour and minimalism.
Modern websites feel spacious.  Each page uses lots of open space, which, when paired with bright, flat, bold coloured shapes and images, create visually engaging moments.  The engagement happens from when the website opens and banner is a high definition stock pic. The minimalism that applies to the pages also applies to the number of pages, hence the move by some businesses to have minimal pages and, in some cases, a single page.
It should be clear from the moment of opening the website what the business is offering.  The website should have a tagline that succinctly tells what the business is.
Content continues to be king.  Adding value to people’s lives and helping them solve issues will develop loyalty, confidence and trust.  You have included a blog on your website that is regularly updated.
Giving before receiving
Offering viewers value from the moment they open the website is important and effective.  Another former HP colleague of mine is very effective at this - he offers a 30 min no obligation personal branding consultation and gets high conversion based on this. A website offering free stuff with no expectations adds to brand loyalty, confidence and trust.
Free – budget – moderate - high end
2016 websites will typically offer a range of options for the product or service. The base level is typically free – product can be tried but it may have only basic functions or limited time only offer, but gives users confidence and trust in the product/service. Fee paying options are then offered with a budget option then some additional levels which offer more functionality.
Mobile devices
Websites are no longer viewed mainly on PCs.  In fact, in some countries, more than 50% of online purchasing is now done on smart phones and tablets.  If your websites is not ‘responsive’ and unable to effectively reformat for these devices, or if your online purchase buttons don’t work, it’s possible that 50% of your viewers (and potential sales) are lost.
Constant updating
Because of the way websites are radically evolving, websites are no longer the ‘make and forget’ part of the business.   They are now dynamic core components of a business’s marketing program that need to be regularly refreshed and completely updated at least annually.  If your website is more than 1-year-old, it should be rebuilt in the 2016 format. By not doing so, your cluttered 2014 website with the side bar might be one of the factors contributing to that stagnating sales growth.
The kicker for getting a new website build has always been cost, but that’s no longer the case. The highest quality websites with all the bells and whistles (including ecommerce), can now be created at super low cost. For example, my company are currently offering $150 stunning WordPress marketing-effective 1 page websites (!web-development/zoxdi), Our competitors charge similar prices.  Stop paying $10,000 for a website – there is absolutely no need.  Utilise low cost website services and put the remaining funds into your online marketing budget, or hire another social media specialist (offshored) to support your digital marketing program. (!virtual-staff/ya439).
Getting a new website is no longer about providing viewers with a shopping list of products and services.   Utilising the latest web designs to create engaging websites means that you’re also utilizing marketing-effective websites based on recognised selling psychology.  If you’re not creating the websites of the ‘now, you’re negatively impacting your marketing strategy. 
How effective is your current website?  
Take a moment to see how your website aligns to 2106 marketing-effective websites. Try our website self-audit tool at!web-development/zoxdi
Andrew Styles is a highly regarded regional expert in utilising Asia for offshoring management He is also founder of Asia Offshoring Inc, an Australian owned business increasing profitability through the provision of digital and virtual services to Australian businesses. For more details, see 

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