Welcome to The Courageous Entrepreneur Show. This is the show that shares information and inspiration to help you move past fear, self-doubt, and limiting beliefs so you can achieve the success you dream of and deserve.
In this episode you’re going to meet Sheila Stevenson. She’s an expert coach who works with people dealing with emotional issues surrounding trauma.
Sheila is an Associate Certified Coach, an Adler trained coach, and a member of the International Coach Federation.
She’s certified in “Living Systems Approach” to coaching with families and she’s completed Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training.
Sheila is a published author, and an inspiring and informative speaker.
She’s a member of “Opening the Circle”, an emergent project begun in January 2014, in which men and women who are survivors of sexual abuse, their family members, and community service providers meet regularly to develop community, and to create useful and effective tools for support. In January 2013 Sheila founded the “Learning and Support Group for Adult Survivors of Childhood Abuse.” And she’s served on the Board of Directors of Child Pornography Hurts, Inc and Youth Opportunities Unlimited.
In this episode Sheila shares…
Be sure to listen all the way to the end where I’ll share your reflection exercise and action step for this episode.
Sheila’s website – drop her a line and let her know you heard her on the show. She has a limited time offer of 15% off on coaching.
Sheila on social media: Facebook Linkedin Twitter
From Sheila’s Blog: Trauma Can Obscure Your Reality — Don’t Let It
Survivor to Thriver: Manual and workbook for adult survivors of child abuse who want to move on with life
I recently went to a live seminar in California. The event was very powerful and, while I love taking part in webinars, webcasts, and live streams from the comfort of my home, there’s nothing like meeting your virtual connections at a live event.
I had such a great experience at this event that I wanted to share my best tips to maximize your value from the next live event you attend.
1. Choose the right event. There are hundreds if not thousands of training events held each year in the United States alone. And of course they all sound fascinating. I love learning and if I was independently wealthy I’d go to all sorts of workshops. But since time is limited in a way that money isn’t (you can’t get more time but you can always find a way to get more money), you’ve got to choose the best event for you and your business right now. So start by asking yourself how fast will I be able to use the information they’ll be sharing.
2. Manage your schedule well before, during, and after the event. I know lots of Internet gurus don’t advertise too far in advance so you may need to shuffle your schedule to be able to attend a really great event. But as you manage your time, do your best to minimize what’s on your calendar the day before you head out of town and the day after you come back. You need time to prepare and pack, as well as time to reflect on and apply the information shared when you get back. And set the expectations of people back home – whether your friends and family, your staff, and clients. Let them know how easy or hard it will be to reach you and who they can contact instead, along with how they can contact you in an emergency.
3. Stay at the event hotel whenever possible. Boy this makes a big difference in your overall enjoyment of the event. If you’ve ever been to an event with hundreds or even thousands in a hotel you know how nice it is to be able to sneak up to your hotel room on a break. And if you’re attending a multi-day event with early activities and late activities, staying at the event hotel makes it a lot easier to get to the next day’s seminars with less stress and hassle.
4. Get clear on what you want from the event and set that intention. You hear a lot of great information at a live event, especially a multi-day one. It can be overwhelming if you’re not centered and focused on what you most want to get from attending the event. Your intention could range from learning more about a specific topic to be covered to meeting a specific type of person, to anything else that will make you feel the event was valuable.
5. Take good notes. I like to have one notebook dedicated to the event so I can put It in a file where I won’t lose it. You might want to take notes into an online tool like Evernote or One Note. You might want to use my notebook idea. Not every session or every event provides handouts to guide your note taking so you want to make sure you feel good about how you’ll take notes so you can actually refer to them later.
Summarize key takeaways and make note of how’ll you’ll apply the information. I think it’s a good idea to talk through your ideas with a friend or colleague, whether they know what was covered in the event or not. It’s in the explanation that things get processed in our minds and connected in our hearts. Start putting integration / application time into your calendar and don’t expect instantaneous results or a miraculous improvement.
6. Push yourself out of your comfort zone. Look, as much as I love learning, I’m an introvert. Just being around a lot of people can be emotionally draining for me. But pushing beyond our comfort zone and being uncomfortable is an important part of the learning process. Here are a few simple ways you can stretch yourself:
7. Introduce yourself to others. I know that sounds ridiculous but I really have to push myself to do this. I’m a “don’t speak unless spoken to” kind of person so it really is a push to introduce myself to other people.
8. Switch seats and tables if it’s a multi-day event. I’m sure there’s some sort of psychological study that could be done on the issue of how committed to and protective of “my seat” people get. As uncomfortable as it is, push yourself to do this if possible and if it feels right in the group. I’ve actually watched grownups – managers — get into an argument at a seminar I was leading at their company when one of them sat in what the other perceived was his seat. It wasn’t pretty. So do it if you feel safe in the group.
If you can’t switch seats, at least sit with people you don’t know so you can expand your network.
9. Don’t eat alone. This can be hard, especially if you’re an introvert like me and you need some down time. But try. Especially if it’s only a one day event. Find a way to eat at least one meal with other attendees. We build relationships with others over food. It really is an important networking and relationship building opportunity. And hey, a whole book was written on this premise.
10. Participate in activities. I’ve been to conferences that have offered tours of the surrounding area, held concerts, scheduled dinners, had parties, and run various networking events. One conference I attended had an ice cream social! If you feel up to it, attend at least one. Part of the benefit of attending an event like this is building your network but you have to actually….you know…NETWORK.
11. Apply for a hot seat if possible. Hot seats are activities where you get a few minutes on stage with the guru running the event. You typically have to fill out an application and yours is chosen if the problem you want to solve is something that others in attendance are likely wrestling with. I applied for and participated in my first hot seat at this recent event. I never felt adequate enough before. When you think about it, the leader running your event likely gets hundreds if not thousands of dollars for their time; so for you to get even a few minutes of focused attention is a great benefit. Take advantage of it.
12. Practice good self care. Rarely are these events monuments to healthy eating and plentiful rest. The ones I go to are typically from about 8am to as late as 6pm. Then there are activities or at least dinner to go to with your fellow participants. Do your best to stay on your typical eating schedule and adhering to your standard diet. Drink lots of water and get adequate rest. If possible, at least get some walking in if you can’t get in your standard workout activity.
13. Stay connected to and active in the group. A Facebook group is sort of minimum of post event support or connectivity for attendees. Some don’t seem to survive but some groups really take off and they become a strong support for post-event. The group can give feedback on application of strategies, share resources, and even provide coaching. A good percentage of my clients come from Facebook groups I participate in and most of those groups are off-shoots of a course I took, several of them were live, in-person events.
14. Take fast, imperfect action. This is one of those things we cognitively KNOW to do but often can struggle with when our perfectionism, fears, and self-doubt can take over. Confidence is unfortunately one of those things that comes about after action is taken. Courage is what’s needed in order to take action. To make this easier, pick one small thing you can do right away that will take a small amount of courage but will produce big confidence. The faster you do it, the more powerful and confident you’ll feel.
I know I learn best by taking part in a live training or information session. Recordings are great but they don’t provide the same depth of experience. If that’s true for you, then be sure to build some revenue into your budget to allow for at least one live event each year to build your skills and your network. Just be sure to choose the right event for you and your business.
We all have times when we want feedback on something we’re working on. Sure, we’re independent entrepreneurs but we all like to know what others think before we go too far down a rabbit hole or discover too late that what we’re working on isn’t going to fly.
This is one of the best things about Facebook and especially Facebook Groups, where contacts share their opinions and where you can get feedback pretty quickly.
I see lots of people asking for help throughout any given day and I’ve noticed some common mistakes made. We’ve all tripped over at least one of these. Which ones keep you from getting and benefiting from great feedback?
Before you ask for feedback or for people’s opinions about something you’re working on get clear about what you’re asking for, why you’re asking, who you’re asking, and what you’ll do with the opinions you get.
Ultimately you’re responsible for the results you get and being courageous means cultivating the ability to ask for and receive feedback, while having the confidence that you know enough and are good enough already to achieve your goals.
It feels like a never-ending process of trying to get noticed, inspire those who notice you to learn more, and then invite them to take the next step to work with you.
All of those things are very challenging for 4 big reasons.
You can’t change that.
But what you can do is embrace 5 actions that will have a big impact on growing your business and attracting more potential clients and opportunities…
So your reflection exercise for today is to think about what you’re doing to get known and be seen along with the emotions that’s bringing up and how you’re managing them.
And your action step is to make a list of all of the potential actions you could take to attract potential clients. Then identify what you’re not willing to do and what you are willing to do. Once you’ve got a handle on what you’re not willing to do you’ve got to ask yourself if you’re willing to accept that your movement may take more time than you want it to.
Look at your calendar and plan to do at least one thing to attract potential clients every day. You want to eventually aim for doing at least 5 things every day that will make you more visible and raise your Know-Like-Trust Quotient with those you’d like to connect with — whether they’re potential clients, potential referral partners, or potential collaboration partners.
Sure you got some things done; did some good work; but are you sure you’re going to end things on a high note or will it be something off-key?
It’s easy to allow ourselves to get distracted by the holiday season ahead and use the excuse that “nothing much gets done at this time of year” to just limp to the finish line.
You might have used a variation of that excuse at different times of the year…spring…summer….the World Series….football…this list is really endless when it comes to excuse-making opportunities.
Whether your business is off-track or you’ve had a successful year, my guess is there’s still something that needs to be done that would wrap this year up powerfully and set you up for a great start to the new one just ahead.
Set a timer for 3 minutes and then write or type everything you can think of. Don’t judge. Don’t edit. Don’t even correct your spelling. Just do a massive brain dump.
Make sure you don’t wuss out and pick things that just keep you feeling busy but really wouldn’t make much of an impact. For example, “Learning how to use Twitter” is not going to help you and your business make a big leap unless you’re a giant retailer with a big list and you haven’t started using Twitter yet.
3. Cut down to the single most important thing – it’s likely the thing you’ve been procrastinating about most – and it should be something that only you can do. And yes, I realize this is when you start getting nervous and looking for reasons to not take action. You’ll tell yourself, “I have to…” or “I don’t know how to…”and think up something that will distract you from the big thing.
This is the voice of the gremlin I call “Mini-Me”.
This little creature believes that making progress is scary and wants to keep you right where you are.
Your objective at this point is to recognize Mini-Me’s antics and then start making small movements forward. This will help her / him realize you’re in control and are going to be ok.
Funny how resistance rears its head as you start making more and more progress.
One of the biggest reasons we struggle to achieve our goals is that we don’t have a crystal clear picture of exactly what we want.
“More” isn’t crystal clear. A penny is more. A sucky client is more.
If it’s easier to think about what you don’t want then focus on that first. The point is that you should be able to give such a clear description of what you want that an artist could draw a picture of it.
Your brain needs to know what it’s working towards and what it’s supposed to focus on.
Without that sort of clarity it’s left jumping from idea to idea because it’s wondering “Is this it?!”, “Is this it?”
Help your brain focus by giving it extremely clear direction.
Remember Mini-Me? Well as we begin to move closer to our goal Mini-Me suddenly starts realizing what’s going on and s/he’ll raise a big stink. It’s easy to revert back to your old behavior of getting distracted, creating drama, over-scheduling yourself, or whatever other unhelpful behaviors you normally start embracing.
The key to making lasting change and to really achieving your goals is to keep moving.
Whether you call it persistence, stick-to-it-iveness, determination, or something else, the critical element of achievement is in maintaining momentum, recognizing resistance, and remaining aware so you can course correct to get refocused on the goal.
By doing those things, you continue to take action and ultimately achieve your goal.
So stop reading this and get going.
Remember, it takes clarity and consistent action to achieve your goals, finish the year strong, and set yourself up for success; so start with being as clear as possible.
I think they’re dead wrong when they’re talking to service professionals – coaches, consultants, healers, and licensed professionals – like us.
You started your practice because you…
There’s some internal knowing that this is the work you were meant to do. Service professionals are led by the service they want to deliver.
That’s what drives you — making a difference…serving others…through the skills you have.
So when the gurus start preaching that your first step is to focus on an Ideal Client or target market you struggle to figure out who that is or should be for you.
This can leave you feeling like you’re stupid because you can’t figure out something that they say is basic.
But they’ve got it backwards. At least when it comes to service professionals like coaches, consultants, or healers.
Before we can possibly know our Ideal Client, we need to be clear on our Big Idea.
Legendary advertising executive David Ogilvy is credited with coining the phrase, “Big Idea”. And his effectiveness with using it was a good part of what made him legendary.
Having a Big Idea means you’ve got a unique approach to a problem. It’s your unique solution built on your unique slant on a specific problem.
So expressing a Big Idea means communicating…
When you’re trying to grow a business, have bills to pay, and empty cupboards to fill it can make you feel a bit panicky to focus on what you think of as a small segment of the population.
You’re likely nervous about turning people down or saying you only with a specific type of person or that you only solve a specific type of problem.
You can also feel really uncomfortable (to put it mildly) about putting yourself out there.
But talking about your Big Idea…talking about the problem that needs to be solved and why people struggle to solve it…is a lot easier. It put’s the attention on the problem, not on you.
And when you deeply understand the problem you solve and the outcome you provide, better than anyone else, then you can start to see who has that problem and who wants the outcome you offer.
When you’re clear about your Big Idea and stay on message talking about issues that relate to it then you’re going to attract people who have that problem you solve and who want the solution you provide in the way you provide it.
You become the go-to person for your particular audience.
The most important element that forms the foundation of your Big Idea is your Point of View (POV).
Your POV is the set of beliefs you have about the work you do and the problem you solve. It’s your approach and philosophy about solving the problem.
It informs everything you do and guides the way you do it.
Here’s a quick example.
On a video call, my friends who are livestreaming experts they told me I needed to check out a new livestream service that’s all the rage.
But a friend of mine in an English speaking country outside of the US posted on Facebook a negative experience he had with this company.
My friend’s assessment was the livestreaming company’s rep had no idea how to talk to a professional and acted like a child.
What my friend described certainly sounded like very poor service. Since he was dealing with a manager of this new company, it sounds like they either don’t know how to hire good people or they’re developing a culture with a chip on its shoulder — one that doesn’t value clients.
So my reaction when my friends suggested I have this company on the show was very strong.
I don’t want to help bad companies get attention and attract business when they obviously don’t put the effort into hiring and / or training top notch people. Or they care so little about their staff that they create an environment that causes these people to then act out.
Can you hear my values in there? The importance I place on staffing, training, and organizational development?
That forms the foundation of my POV about service, culture, and staffing.
Your beliefs, values, and philosophy become very obvious when something tests them.
So when you hear some guru go on about how the first thing you need to do is identify a target market… and you struggle to identify one…it’s easy to feel like you’re stupid. But you’re not.
They just assume you’re clear on your Big Idea. That you’re clear on your core message, the problem you solve, and the outcome you deliver.
But it’s very likely that you’re not.
That’s not because you’re stupid. It’s because you’ve been focusing too hard on getting clients.
But you can’t get as many clients — or Ideal Clients — until you’re clear on your core message.
You do need a clear audience to communicate with, and the more you know about them the easier it is to attract them.
But you can’t attract them if you don’t understand their problem and your solution and why your solution is right for them.
You’ll struggle to attract them if you don’t have a Big Idea and if you don’t have a clear message delivered consistently across different platforms.
So if you’ve been sweating to figure out an ideal client, or avatar, or brand persona, or whatever is the buzz phrase of the moment, I’m giving you permission to stop worrying about that right now.
Instead, focus on gaining crystal clarity on your Big Idea.
Focus on being clear about the problem you solve, the solution you provide, the POV you have, and packaging all that into your Big Idea so people understand you and what you’re all about.
Then get your message out powerfully — in a way that reaches and resonates with your ideal client so she takes the next step to learn more about you and the solution you provide.
Then as you see who is naturally attracted to you, you can decide how to adjust your message in order to attract more of those people who you truly want to work with and less of those who aren’t a perfect fit.
Your Ideal Client or Avatar will make itself known to you because that’s who resonates with your message.
This has been a very sad week in the United States and it seems like the epicenter of sadness is Orlando, Florida.
You may have found yourself struggling to focus on the work you needed to get done or maybe wondering if your work even matters considering the heartbreaking events that went on this week.
Because this won’t be the only sad week we face while growing our businesses I thought I’d share some tips you might find useful. And believe me, I’m talking to myself here as much as I’m sharing this with you.
The biggest thing you can do is to go on. To continue to market your offerings, plan your next event, send out invoices. Evil wins when we become frozen in fear and sadness. Refuse to give in to fear. Period.
Continuing to work doesn’t mean you’re not a kind, generous human being. It means you’re an indomitable entrepreneur for whom work can be a solace as well as a tribute to the spirti of those lost.