Human Flourishing

12 habits that cause human flourishing

Sometimes we forget that in order to get exceptional results, it requires exceptional input. Following Jesus should by no means be a call to inaction but an invitation into excellence.

Here are 12 habits and things that will set you apart from 99.99% of society and cause you to flourish.

1. Go to bed earlier

I appreciate that everyone is wired differently. But often going to bed late is a sign of delaying the next day. Sleep is probably the most underestimated superpower we have access to.

2. Get up earlier

Starting the day strong (and not too late) is a great way to build momentum. I find that accomplishing things early in the day cause the whole day to go well.

3. Turn your phone off from time to time

It’s amazing how freeing it is to live life without being permanently attached to our devices. Of course we want to fulfil our commitments and stay connected to the people we care about, but every now and then it’s incredibly healthy to unplug.

4. Read your bible

Your body and your mind are subject to your spirit. Your external world will be the fruit of your internal word. Strengthening your spirit is where everything begins and is done by digesting the word of God (aka the Bible).

5. Have a hobby

Ever wonder why the best ideas come in the shower? It’s because whilst you’re away from work, your subconscious mind has space to chew things over. Hobbies create this space for us. Plus it’s just fun. Life is too short not to enjoy it.

6. Practice gratitude

Choosing to keep an open heart and a grateful perspective will shape the life you live. Good and bad will find its way to us but your attitude will determine how you handle them both.

7. Prefer others

Human beings have a natural tendency to turn inwards. But all sense of fulfilment and purpose is always found in serving others. Make this a staple and you’ll find a great sense of meaning.

8. Learn to say no

Highly successful people understand that saying yes to everything is always saying no to something else. If I take every business opportunity then eventually I will be saying no to spending time with my family. It’s ok to pick and choose. Be kind, be firm but have good boundaries.

9. Clock when you make excuses

Becoming self-aware enough to notice your flaws and idiosyncrasies is not about beating yourself up but calling yourself to a higher level. Pay attention to what you excuse and be deliberate about changing your internal narrative.

10. Take time to reflect regularly

Reflection is an important regular practice that allows you to pay attention to what’s going on inside of you. Left unchecked, emotional drama can burst upon us when we least expect us. It’s natural to get a few knocks and bumps in life. So create space to process these things well instead of just hurrying to the next thing.

11. Ask the right questions

Not everything in life is black and white. And there aren’t always answers for everything. Curiosity is an essential trait for success and a posture of question asking will always leave you with options.

12. Do the things you've been avoiding

Often we are held back by tiny little decisions or weaknesses. If you can hold yourself accountable and deal with these small issues then you’ll feel so much better. Imagine how good you’ll feel when you finally get that thing done. It’s never as a big as we make it out to be in our minds.

The Sticky Social Content Formula

A comprehensive online course for church leaders & teams exploring how to leverage social media to help fulfil their mission. This is all about learning how to reach more people and see more impact in the digital space. Get your digital copy today.

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Why Churches Need A Brand

Why churches need a brand

Branding is all about making sure that people can easily remember who you are and connect with what you do.

It’s not just about logos, colours, fonts etc (although these are important ingredients). And it’s not just about looking cool.

But wait, does the church really need branding?

Perhaps the biggest criticism of the idea of branding in the church space is that it is showy or fake.

But branding isn’t about dressing yourself up to be something that you’re not but presenting and profiling who you really are.

Whether you're loving it or not, everyone knows McDonalds brand

Think about the famous golden arches from McDonalds. Even the very mention is conjuring up a very specific image complete with products, flavours and experiences (whether good or bad).

Branding brings clarity about who you are as a church

Whether you like McDonalds as a restaurant doesn’t matter. Because when who you are and what you do is clear, people can make a choice about whether they want to engage.

That’s the power of a brand.

We all know it's not about us anyways

Let’s be honest, as churches, we don’t really need to build a name for ourselves. Because we exist for the one name that is Jesus.

But we are the physical and tangible expression of Jesus on the earth today. So shouldn’t we want people to remember who we are and what we do?

Your next steps

You may be interested in learning more about branding in my three-part online course, The Sticky Social Content Formula. Because your content will always struggle to have impact until you understand who you are and who you’re trying to reach.

The Sticky Social Content Formula

A comprehensive online course for church leaders & teams exploring how to leverage social media to help fulfil their mission. This is all about learning how to reach more people and see more impact in the digital space. Get your digital copy today.

Discover more

Mitch Hammond - C3 SYD

3: Mitch Hammond on Finding Your Voice in the Digital Space & Getting Over Yourself

Stepping up and into the online world is fairly awkward for most of us - even those we consider to be digitally proficient. And yet tremendous opportunity lies outside of our comfort zone as we occupy the space God is calling us into. Mitch Hammond (part of the ministry team at C3 SYD in Australia) shares his journey of finding his voice and owning his niche. Expect some rich insights for church leaders around how to navigate the tensions today's digital world brings.

Follow Mitch Hammond on Instagram @mitchhammond and Sats Solanki aka the Digital Rabbi @satssolanki.


Everything you need to know about ring lights

So what is a ring light?

The clue is in the name. It’s literally a ring of light that lights your face better on camera.

Customise your ring light

You can usually adjust the colours from warm (yellow-ish) to cold (blue-ish) as well as the brightness. This can help fit your local context as well as present you in your best light (pun definitely intended).

For example, at my desk I have a window that provides a lot of light to the right side of my face. I use my ring light on a blue-ish setting to make content creation more even.

Do you need a ring light?

If you’re someone who is creating content regularly (e.g. a church leader or creative) then a ring light can be super helpful.

You don’t need to be a beauty influencer (although I did feel like an absolute diva purchasing one).

Why buy a ring light?

Lighting goes a long way in getting high-quality visuals because it means the camera doesn’t have to work as hard.

Upgrading your camera gear can cost a lot of dollar but great lighting is much more inexpensive and make a huge difference.

In other words, you will often get better results with a cheap camera + great lighting than vice versa.

Film at night with your ring light

If you live in the UK like me then right now (in November), it’s getting pretty dark pretty early. If you don’t have the luxury of natural light or you want to film in the evening then a ring light can help a lot.

Which ring light is best?

There are plenty to choose from but I bought the Neewer 10inch table top on Amazon for just £33 and am pretty happy with the results. There were some much more expensive options but I’m not sure what else you could want to include for an extra £100+.

Happy content creation – I hope you’ve found this article helpful.

The Sticky Social Content Formula

A comprehensive online course for church leaders & teams exploring how to leverage social media to help fulfil their mission. This is all about learning how to reach more people and see more impact in the digital space. Get your digital copy today.

Discover more

2: Why Church Leaders Need to Choose a Niche (Even if They're Trying to Reach Everyone)


It's not hard to want to reach everyone when you're a church because ultimately that's what Jesus told us to do. However we should also be honest about the reality that we can't reach everyone on our own. Every church is called to reach a different group of people - it's a team game.

Focus is about less not more and by choosing a niche and target audience to reach on social media, you'll find that creating content comes much easier for you and your team.

Head to https://digitalrabbi.co to get a free 60-second honest assessment on your Instagram profile & strategy.

Follow Sats Solanki on Instagram at https://instagram.com/satssolanki


1: How to Reach More People on Instagram & Stop Just Being a Content Machine


It's easy to get tired churning out content on Instagram. Particularly if it doesn't feel like it's reaching anyone. If you want to reach more people, you have to talk to more people. If it sounds simple, it's because it is.

Today we're talking super practical about how to reach more people with a proper engagement strategy. If you don't spend any time deliberately creating and nurturing conversations on Instagram then it's no wonder that you're not reaching the people you'd like to.

Head to https://digitalrabbi.co to get a free 60-second honest assessment on your Instagram profile & strategy.


How to leave meaningful comments on Instagram

To maximise the opportunity of social media in reaching more people, we have to learn to move from simply producing content to having conversations.

If you want to reach more people, you need to be talking to more people. If it sounds obvious, it’s because it is.

But this is where so many of us get it wrong. Instead of engaging in conversations online in a similar way to how we do in person, we can often lose that personal touch and start to behave in ways that are a bit spammy.

So how do we have great conversations on Instagram that produce genuine connection and expand our audience? The simplest to start is in the comments section. A proper engagement strategy on Instagram will dedicate time to leaving meaningful and valuable comments.

Define your target audience

Who are you trying to reach? Because it makes sense to spend time interacting with those sort of people.

For example in my sphere, I spend time interacting with churches, creatives and thought leaders. Instagram is an endless game and you simply don’t have enough energy or resource to spend it with everyone.

Get ruthless and actually define your target audience. Note that for churches, your digital audience may well be very different to your Sunday gathering. And that’s ok. It reflects the reality that social media is much better suited towards digital evangelism as opposed to digital discipleship.

Focus on similar communities

If you’re a church but you’re leaving comments on a nightclub then you might be barking up the wrong tree. Not because those particular people don’t need Jesus but simply because it’s not a similar profile.

You can easily leave a few thumbs up or other meaningless emojis on any image but will that really help you create a conversation?

The biggest mistake churches make is to truly believe that everybody is in their target audience. Whilst it’s a nice and inclusive thought, the reality is very different. If you focus on everyone, you will reach no one. By watering down your emphasis, you actually become less palatable full stop.

Make a tangible list

Rather than just a general sense of who you want to interact with, make an actual list of 5-10 accounts that you’re going to start interacting with. They don’t necessarily need to be your target audience but have a shared community that you would like to introduce yourself to.

Avoid short and spammy comments

There is no shortcut to creating comments of value. It actually takes time and we would be foolish to think that we can skip this. So actually watch/read/think about the content you’ve just seen and then add your perspective.

Write a whole sentence or even a paragraph and you’ll instantly jump to the attention of those who scroll.

Be genuine, positive and personal

Say thank you for sharing. Tag the account in question (it may notify them which is an added advantage). Use first names where you can as well as emojis.

If you’re a church or a business then you need to decide your approach in how you personalise things. You can sign off as a volunteer name or you can simply be the brand itself. Just be consistent.

Write something that you loved about the content. Or a question that you have about it. Make it clean, simple and just genuine interaction. Enjoy the process of talking to people.

Focus on being helpful above all

Don’t copy and paste comments all over different accounts. You need to personalise your approach. One of the ways you can do this is by actually responding to other people who comment as well as the account holder.

If you take the time to answer questions others may have, you’ll find them trickling through to follow you.

Allocate time for commenting

After reading above, you may be realising that commenting on Instagram is actually proper work. It requires energy, time, effort, thought and heart to succeed. So instead of checking Instagram every 20 minutes, why don’t you allocate a proper session (30-60 minutes) where you are active in conversation and community. Use the power of batching to help supersize your productivity in this area.

We all know a fake spammy comment when we see one. So don’t be a robot – bring your humanity to the equation and watch and see as people will interact with you and become part of your community too.

The Sticky Social Content Formula

A comprehensive online course for church leaders & teams exploring how to leverage social media to help fulfil their mission. This is all about learning how to reach more people and see more impact in the digital space. Get your digital copy today.

Discover more

A quick guide to batching

Batching is all about supersizing your productivity through the power of psychology. This might sound grand but it’s really just about understanding how we best work and attempting to create rhythms and disciplines to match.

Short term rewards and the pressures of life condition us into living in a reactionary fashion (think bosses who want immediate results and response) but being deliberate and creating discipline will actually give us the results we (and everyone else) want in the long run.

It requires a certain amount of deliberate effort to put batching into place but is a very important key to create repeatable results.

Productivity is all about self-awareness

Productive people aren’t necessarily more focused or clever than unproductive people. They’re just more aware of their weaknesses.

Our default approach to work is to think of it like a marathon across the day. We keep on chipping away and eventually we (think we will) get everything done.

But in actuality, our focus dips and wanes throughout the day. Some parts of the day, we are absolutely smashing it out and others we are not. As a result, we find that what we accomplish by the end of the day is inevitably less than we expected.

Willpower is not the way

All of us have this sense of optimistic forgetfulness with the working day. “This day will be different”, we tell ourselves as we start with that fresh coffee-infused enthusiasm. It’s not that we don’t want to succeed but that our approach is wrong. It’s simply impossible to motor through the whole day with the same level of energy.

So why do we keep trying the same old approach to work?

What if instead of relying on our own brilliance to show up each hour, we design a system (in our peak focus) that makes being brilliant easier?

So what is batching anyways?

Batching is based around this very idea that every time you shift a mental gear, it costs you in focus. Interruptions such as notifications or emails can cost you dearly too and so often we aren’t even aware of it.

Each of us have a fixed amount of mental energy for focus throughout the day and we want to apply that in the best way possible.

Batching & social media

For example, let’s say for simplicity that it takes one hour to create a social media post. Creating a post every day would take 7 hours but creating seven posts in one sitting would (probably) take more like 3-4 hours.

Note that this approach is less conducive to the communication-filled, interruption-prone days that we are used to working with colleagues who demand an instant response. But it does create better results in the end.

The advantages of batching

Instead of thinking day-to-day, we find that batching helps us think more long-term such as month-to-month. It may not seem like a big change but it has huge implications on our productivity and ability to focus in the future.

The advantages of batching are not just psychological though but also practical. For example, if you are a content creator – being in different modes of work actually requires you to be in different places or with different working set ups.

E.g. when I’m editing a video I want to use my additional monitor. And when I’m filming, I need to be in the studio or have my lighting set up. All of this set up time is wasted when we perform tasks in isolation instead of batching.

Batching in real life

Here are some ways you can use batching to supersize your productivity:

– Recording (not editing) multiple reels (or preaches) in one go
– Spending time on your Instagram engagement strategy (instead of checking Instagram every 20 minutes, why not just set aside an hour to go deep into it each day?)
– Managing email
– Paying bills and other admin
– Meetings. I set aside specific blocks of time for coaching calls and consultation to create space in the rest of the week for deep thinking and creative work.

Your next steps to begin batching

Now it’s over to you. What is occupying your time, energy and attention right now? Perhaps an intense batching sesh will set things right and open up some space.

The Sticky Social Content Formula

A comprehensive online course for church leaders & teams exploring how to leverage social media to help fulfil their mission. This is all about learning how to reach more people and see more impact in the digital space. Get your digital copy today.

Discover more

Creativity requires courage

Every time I create space to rest and relax, ideas flow without even trying. In fact sometimes even when I don’t, ideas seem to come out of nowhere.

The power of the shower

Much to the apparent chagrin of my wife each morning, this seems to be why I spend so much time in the shower. Simply standing around, doing nothing in particular seems to be particularly conducive to a flow of wondrous ideas and creativity to start the day.

I’m not so sure this is part of my unique brilliance so much as it is part of the wonder of humanity.

Human beings create

People have ideas. It’s what they do. Our natural state is to be infused with the wonders of imagination, dreams and visions. We create because creativity is infused in our very being (reflecting the image of God).

The problem isn’t a lack of creativity but a lack of courage. Because by definition, every great and original idea has to be thoroughly tested with exposure to the world in order to see the light of day. And when we share our creativity, we are baring a piece of our soul.

Even if someone else has done it already, there is still a great emotional cost for us to dare to put ourselves out there. Because why would it work for us?

Courage is a rare commodity

Everyone has the power to create. But not everyone has courage. Courage is the willingness to face failure and even humiliation because of a great prize.

We all nod knowingly when ideas work of course. But contrary to our deepest fears, most people forget our failures pretty quickly, if not instantly. But then again, who really cares what other people think anyways?

Even more fascinating is that because of its rarity, even a little bit of courage causes you to cut through the noise and rise above the crowd.

Love motivates us to be courageous

If we hide ourselves because of fear or shame, was it because we genuinely cared about others or honoured what we had been given to share the world or was it simply because we lacked courage?

What ideas are you sitting on that need a little injection of courage?

The Sticky Social Content Formula

A comprehensive online course for church leaders & teams exploring how to leverage social media to help fulfil their mission. This is all about learning how to reach more people and see more impact in the digital space. Get your digital copy today.

Discover more

How to have a healthier relationship with your phone

Let’s be honest, many of us are addicted to our devices. The compulsion to check the notification. The rinse and repeat cycle of app checking. Just one more hilarious short form piece of video content.

You’re not alone – this stuff is designed to be addictive and it takes strong discipline to survive in the 21st century (without becoming a hermit).

But the easiest way to create discipline is simply to change the design of your environment.

So how do we have a healthier relationship with our phones?

1. Leave it in a drawer at the end of the work day

Out of sight, out of mind goes the saying. And it really is true in this case. We can break the cycle of checking by literally removing the temptation to do so. When checking your phone requires you to get up, climb some stairs, open a door, travel across a room and open a drawer, we find that laziness can actually work for us instead of against us.

2. Turn off all of your phone notifications (apart from calls)

Notifications are annoying and generally don’t serve us. Every time you break your focus to check your phone, you are conditioning yourself to be distracted and grow your inability to do deep work. Besides, who is in charge anyways? You or your phone?

When you turn off notifications, you notice something very strange – that which once was urgent is suddenly not urgent at all. And you now have space to focus on the important.

There are some jobs where this is not possible. E.g. being on call as a doctor. But for most knowledge workers, the need to be permanently available is a myth. Have the necessary conversations with colleagues and leadership.

3. Don't use your phone as an alarm clock (just buy one)

Using your phone as an alarm clock makes it very easy to start the day on social media instead of exercise, prayer or all the other things you’d actually like to e doing. You actually don’t need to use your phone as an alarm clock – just spend £10 and get one. (Alternatively once you have kids, you don’t need alarm clocks anyways).

4. Put it across the room (or in a different room) when you sleep)

Sleeping next to your phone is such a bad idea. Ever wonder why you check your phone first thing in the morning and last thing at night? Yeah that’s why.

Blue light (from your phone) is bad for sleep. And I find that thinking short-term first thing in the day sets me up for a shallow day.

5. Turn it off for 24 hours every week

If the idea of turning off your phone for 24 hours each week freaks you out then I have some good and bad news for you.

The bad news is that you have an addiction. The good news is that now you know about it.

One way to switch gears is to reverse the psychology. Instead of thinking about when you don’t get to use your phone, think about allowing yourself to have it for six days per week.

I use this technique during the day to have intense bursts of time on social media. Better to schedule 2 hours to be on Instagram than to let it creep into all day.

6. Take a book everywhere you go instead

The problem with phone addiction is not just the interaction with your device but also what it causes you to miss out on. This is what we call opportunity cost. What if we took all of that additional unnecessary time and invested it into reading (or whatever else you’d like to!)

I’ve found that taking a book with me greatly helps in those moments are waiting between appointments or moments.

The Sticky Social Content Formula

A comprehensive online course for church leaders & teams exploring how to leverage social media to help fulfil their mission. This is all about learning how to reach more people and see more impact in the digital space. Get your digital copy today.

Discover more