In Monday’s episode of The Courageous Entrepreneur, Dorit Sasson and I discussed her “running away” from life in the United States to a new life in Israel where she had / has duel citizenship.
In other words, she was a typical college student.
She was also looking to escape a mother who had become suffocating.
Although Dorit’s mother loved her and was a talented musician with her own career as a concert pianist, she was “fearful of everything.” That’s naturally suffocating; and Dorit was anxious to get as far away from her and that feeling of suffocation as possible.
Relocating to Israel was certainly a way to escape.
One of the issues that resonated with me and that left me thinking long after the interview was this issue of running away.
I know there are people out there who would tell Dorit that she should have stood up to her mother and said “enough!” Or that she should have just ignored the woman and her fears.
Just like there are people who think I should have stood up to my mother when she began to belittle and verbally abuse me in adult hood.
But WE’RE in the moment. It’s up to us to make the best decision we can IN that moment.
And sometimes, running away is actually the best thing to do.
True it might be avoiding the problem but I think of it as giving ourselves time for self-protection and to allow us time to collect our thoughts so we can address the problem in a healthy way.
Of course we think we’re running away FROM someone or something…something outside of ourselves, and running TOWARDS something else — a person…a place….a thing….even just running towards the unknown when the KNOWN is not what we want.
We believe that the answer is outside of us when in reality it’s INSIDE us.
Dorit had to work through different issues when she was in Israel. Life wasn’t perfect.
It’s never perfect anywhere (at least not until we grow to the point we’re able to see the perfect imperfection in it all).
She had to reflect, and grow, and figure things out for herself. And she needed to do all that without her mother’s interference.
If you missed this episode you can access the full post with show notes here or you can listen or download the recording here.
Reflect on what you may be running from in your life.
What truth are you not facing? Who and what would you and could you become if you faced it and used it as an opportunity to truly grow.
Are you still haunted by a mistake you made? By some perceived failure?
Are you running away from some situation that’s left you guilt ridden?
The answer to our greatest problem is inside ourselves.
Accessing that answer takes reflection…prayer….connecting with God and deepening our faith and trust in Him.
Looking outside of ourselves for answers — from gurus or pundits or so-called experts — but what really needs to happen is to become more in tune with God’s message for us.
I heard pastor Joel Osteen say that we don’t hear God’s message because we’re listening for it with our ears and He’s speaking to us in our hearts.
We also struggle to access the wisdom within because we feel so inadequate…as if we’re not good enough…to know the answer. Others must be smarter than we are.
The answer your looking for and the courage you need is inside you waiting to be accessed through a connection with the Holy Spirit.
In part one of this article, I talked about what self-sabotage is, shared some symptoms, and talked about what it takes to break free from it.
I shared the list of 10 elements to break free from self-sabotage and to begin to set yourself up for the break through you want and deserve.
In this article (which is actually an excerpt from the book I’m writing on being courageous in business), I share details about embracing and implementing the 10 elements.
Become Self-Aware. All change starts here.
Each of us has blind spots – aspects of ourselves and our personality that we don’t see, yet others do.
If you’re frustrated that you haven’t been able to achieve your professional or your personal goals, you have to ask yourself why that is.
The ego often stands in the way and keep us from seeing what others see, especially if we’ve been conditioned not to see it or if the ego senses facing it will be painful. And it can be. At about 24, I had it pointed out to me that I was incredibly negative and never had a nice word to say.
Naturally I thought the person who told me that was full of it and I said that. I found myself realizing she was right and that started me on the path to knowing myself, facing what I didn’t like, and making the changes I knew I needed to make. But it’s a never-ending journey.
Accept Responsibility. Once you become Aware, your next step is to Accept Responsibility for 4 things:
Give up blaming others, the economy, technology, or anything else that you think is standing in the way of achieving your goals and creating the abundant, joyful life you keep saying you want.
No one made you angry. The button was there to get pushed.
No one forced you to spend money you don’t have on a program that’s not right for you. You decided to do it. This can be very painful to do because the ego is trying desperately to protect you. It wants anyone and anything else to be responsible for your emotional pain, your financial problems, your business frustrations, and whatever else has you upset. Believe me, I know really awful stuff can happen in our lives and in the world in general. But as I discovered in my recovery from the lingering effects of abuse and the brain injury I sustained, each of us is in control of how we choose to think and act when things happen. I always say “you have to play the hand you’re dealt.” Will you play to win?
Get Clarity. It seems so simple, doesn’t it? To just declare what you want? I’ll bet we want lots of the same things – more clients, more money, we want to charge more, we want to write more books…create more programs and help more people. But that’s not clear at all.
We must be crystal clear about WHAT we want. It should be 3-D in our minds.
I tell clients that if what you want was a suspect then your description should be so clear that a cop would arrest them.
Often what keeps us from getting clear is we get caught up in trying to figure out the how.
We don’t have to agonize about the HOW. God….the Universe….Universal Intelligence….Source….whatever term you use to describe it (for me, it’s God), will take care of the HOW.
That doesn’t mean you don’t have to take action because a big bag of money is going to show up on your doorstep every morning. What it does mean is God / the Universe has you covered. Our job is to pay attention to the signals we’re sent and say “yes” to the opportunities we’re presented.
There are two big reasons we struggle to be clear about what we want.
The first one is we truly don’t know what we want. We’ve spent so much of our lives as employees fulfilling the company’s goals and mission that we don’t know what WE want. But the bigger issue is we don’t believe we deserve what we want.
That single issue will hold you back more than you know. It’s the heart of self-sabotaging behavior and it’s a false belief. It’s not even OUR belief. It’s something we absorbed from what others – typically in power over us – told us and / or showed us.
I’m here to tell you that you’re a part of the Divine. You are worthy of everything you dream of and hope for.
Get comfortable with discomfort. Every guru, coach, consultant, and probably therapist will tell you that you need to come out of your comfort zone when you’re an entrepreneur.
That’s something we nod our heads about – who doesn’t know you need to be an “out of the box” thinker? We’re all sick and tired of hearing that worn-out phrase, especially when no one really explains it. That famous philosopher, Anonymous, once said that “self-employment is the most intense personal development program you’ll ever be involved with.” I’d add “and the most expensive” to that.
It’s true. You come face to face with crap you didn’t even realize you had or is so old you thought you’d dealt with it ages ago.
Mark Baker a speaker, coach, and trainer in the UK explained on an [episode of my podcast](http://winnieanderson.com/abused)that our disempowering beliefs resurface every time we hit the next level or get ready to make a leap to that next level.
It doesn’t matter that we dealt with our unworthiness way back when. That fear comes back as you try to up-level your game and your business. And when it does we can easily get trapped all over again.
I think this is one of the biggest aha moments I’ve ever had myself. So we’ve got to accept that these thoughts are likely to reappear until we reach a supreme level of enlightenment.
We’re going to face challenges every step of the way as we build our business. It’s up to us to embrace it and move over, under, through, or around it.
Resolve Internal Conflicts. If you’ve heard me talk about how to sell when you hate selling or how to achieve your goals, you’ve likely heard me talk about this before.
I think it’s one of the big issues that we just don’t recognize: That our Needs are in Conflict with our wants.
Each of us has needs – all humans share about 15+ needs.
Some we’re born with – food, clothing, shelter, love – and some we develop over time, like my incredible need for independence.
Let’s say you want more clients (pretty vague I know but we’ll go with it for now). Getting clients may involve having marketing or sales conversations with people and that means putting yourself at risk of rejection.
If you have a Need for love and acceptance and if that Need is stronger than the Need(s) that would be fulfilled by landing a new client, you’re likely not going to make the sale and you could in all likelihood sabotage the meeting and not have the sale go through. Or you may never put yourself in the situation where you can have sales conversations with people because your ego is terrified of the hurt and rejection you feel when you hear “no”.
When you find yourself resisting something it’s likely because you have a Need that’s in direct conflict with the Want that you think you want. You’ve got to cross the “bridge of fear” to go from where you are to access the Want on the other side.
Detach from the Outcome. When we get upset – we’re depressed because a prospect said no or a current client isn’t going to renew…..we burst into tears because our website is infected with malware (ok that was me)…or some troll posts a negative review of a book….the reason we have an emotional reaction is because some emotional sore spot has been hit.
I grew up with a mother who called me stupid from the time I was a toddler. Even now, if I make a mistake it still stings because it raises that specter that I really am stupid.
The key here is to feel the emotion and name it. Then ask yourself “Where did this feeling come from?” Then you can acknowledge the emotion is an old one from an old wound.
I once worked with a client who sold memberships in an association. She told me that she felt that every “no” she got from a prospect was a direct rejection of her and it would depress her for days.
That’s an example of being emotionally invested in the outcome.
Those people weren’t rejecting her; they rejected membership in the association.
It was a business decision to them.
The greatest emotional freedom came for me when I realized this fact: That people make their decisions based on the information given to them and the emotional desire to have the transformation offered.
If people said no to working with me, they said no to working with me. That in no way meant I was less than a person. It wasn’t a reflection on me personally and it didn’t mean my husband or God would no longer love me.
See, that’s the problem. We’re truly looking for love in all the wrong places.
What we call “mistakes” or even “rejection” we must start to see as data and data only.
Because then we can begin to figure out how to get a result that’s closer to what we want.
If people aren’t opening your email, it doesn’t mean they hate you or that you can’t write. It could mean that your subject line didn’t grab them (well writing headlines is a skill you can learn), or your email might have landed in their spam folders (you can learn what triggers email to get in spam folders).
Allowing things to emotionally upset you gives your power away.
You’re still lovable. You’re still a good person. No matter what happens with your business.
Embrace Your Uniqueness. Teenagers are famous for this internal conflict of wanting to stand out yet wanting to fit in. As we age, we struggle with the same issue. And as corporate employees we know that there was a limit to how unique we could be.
While we wanted to stand out and be recognized so we’d get promoted (or just to keep our job!), we didn’t want to stand out too much or be seen as someone who was an egotistical jerk.
After a decade or more in corporate life we may become sogood at what we do that we don’t even see our skills as unique. There are lots of ways to position yourself – which involves claiming and embracing what makes you different. The point is to be unique in a way that matters to your audience and to amplify that.
And trust me…you ARE unique.
Be the Leader. Merriam-Webster.com defines “leader” as “a person who has commanding authority or influence”
With all the marketing noise out there, how is someone who hates selling (and who isn’t crazy about marketing either) going to stand out?
You’ve got to position yourself as the clear authority– someone who “has commanding authority or influence” to the audience you’re trying to reach and constituents you’re meant to serve.
This may create some serious discomfort as your Want – to serve and positively impact people with your work and message while earning a handsome income – comes into direct conflict with your Need for approval, for love, for acceptance.
Remember, you’ve got to cross over the bridge of fear to get to the other side. Doing things that help you stand out as a leader – writing a book, speaking, hosting a podcast, creating content in a variety of modalities that educates your audience and elevates you as the clear leader in their eyes.
The key to standing out, and the easiest way to do it, is to be the true, authentic you who stays on message and lets your audience know you have the solution to the problem they have as you inspire and invite them to take the next step in the journey.
That can be easier said than done when we’ve got secret fears and doubts.
Take Action. I once had a contract with a large government agency that shall remain nameless. They made me insane. I couldn’t get them to make a decision about anything. We would have executive committee meetings every week and every meeting we’d talk about the same things we talked about the week before.
But at some point I had to admit that I did the same things with my own business.
I’d think about a problem. I’d create plans. I’d get other people’s opinions. I’d change my plans. I’d second-guess myself to death.
Then I’d be frustrated because I didn’t have enough clients, or hadn’t finished that next book, or hadn’t launched the course. I had to admit I was afraid people would hate my message. I didn’t believe I was unique enough or that I could make a difference.
I was terrified of rejection; but since I wasn’t taking action I wasn’t giving anyone anything to reject or accept!
I discovered, that for me, the key is to take small actions on a regular basis to maintain that forward movement momentum and to build confidence with small successes.
Darren Hardy, publisher of Success Magazine and author of The Compound Effect calls ours a “microwave **society” because we want and expect quick results when it really takes much longer to produce what we want. And often that’s because we weren’t clear to begin with or we’ve got our Needs and Wants twisted up.
Have Faith. Like most words in the glorious English language, faith has several definitions. My favorite definitions from Merriam-Webster.com are “firm belief in something for which there is no proof” and “complete trust”.
One of the things I had to admit was, that although I SAID I was a person of faith, I really didn’t have “complete trust” in God (or the Universe, Spirit, Source, etc) or in myself for that matter. I had to acknowledge that I had deeply rooted issues of self-loathing (no mere “low self-esteem” for me).
That self-loathing combined with the conflicts between my Needs and Wants was keeping me paralyzed, unable to move forward with courage, clarity, and consistency.
To truly move forward and make the big impact we believe we’re meant to make, we have to rein in our ego and belief that we know best – that sheer determination and hard work will achieve our goal — and strengthen our ability to tune into the messages we’re being sent by the Divine and become willing to act when sent the answer.
This is one of the challenges faced when setting goals and creating plans. Our corporate brain tells us to plan the last detail; but, to quote the late Wayne Dyer, “your job isn’t to ask ‘How”; it’s to say ‘YES!’
Self-sabotage is a deep issue that can become pervasive, especially when driven by the conflict between your Needs and Wants.
The root of the issue is love. We must love ourselves first. We must believe that no matter what happens to our business, we’re loved. Business success does not define us, nor lead to us deserving to be loved.
We ARE loved and at our core we ARE love.
We already have the elements we need to let the success that’s inside of us, grow to full flower.
If you’re ready to have the break through you deserve and break free from self-doubt and self-sabotage to achieve the goals you have, then head over to learn more about the Action Takers Group and check out the next enrollment opportunity.
As much as you say you want to achieve success, if you’re frightened of that success – believe you aren’t good enough to solve your clients’ problems…that you won’t be able to manage the increased money you’ll earn….that others in your life will feel badly when you earn more than they do, or any other potential downside you believe could result from the success you dream of – then I’m going to bet you engage in thoughts and behaviors that, at a minimum are disempowering but are more likely self-defeating.
Gurus talk about the need to get out of your comfort zone. What they don’t tell you is that you have to pack up and MOVE out of that comfort zone and completely move into the Discomfort Zone.
The challenge we face as solopreneurs is to become comfortable with discomfort.
Growing a business is all about discomfort. You push yourself to do, be, and have more and you have to do things you’ve never done before and focus on things you may have only briefly considered in your past life as a corporate professional.
It doesn’t make it any easier that you feel your financial life is on the line each time you have a conversation with a potential client or referral partner.
You may have led a department, a division, or even an entire organization and had responsibility for millions of dollars of the company’s money. You worked as a professional inside a larger organization for decades; so once you left, you lost a big part of your identity.
I know when you first went out on your own you dreamed of spending the next phase of your professional life doing what you love – that thing you do. Only later did it really sink in that you’ve got to actually inspire someone to give you money so you CAN do the thing you do.
And you discovered you hate that part.
So with a million and one things that need to be done, it can be easy to convince yourself that you need to buy this hot tool….take the guru’s course….go to the big event….learn how to create a website…because the person selling it says those things will attract clients to you and make it easier for them to say yes to you.
Without you’re having to actually put yourself in a sales conversation – which could lead to painful rejection.
But it’s time to admit what you’re really doing: You’re sabotaging yourself.
Are you chronically late for important appointments? Believe you always say the wrong thing in meetings with prospects? Chronically undercharge? Do you constantly tweak your course, video, or other project and never get around to launching it? Continuously buy course after course, program after program but don’t take action to implement the information?
That’s what self-sabotage looks like.
According to PsycologyToday.com self-sabotage is behavior that “creates problems and interferes with long-standing goals.”
I describe it as thinking and acting in ways that subconsciously and continuously reinforce negative beliefs about yourself.
To understand what’s going on, tune into what you’re doing, saying, and thinking – who you’re being – and how that may negatively impact your path to achieve your goals and create the successful, abundant business and life you dream of.
Developing self-awareness can be challenging because the ego works hard to protect you. It rationalizes your thoughts, beliefs, and actions to make them seem and sound completely reasonable.
It works to protect the wounds you have to ensure you won’t hurt yourself by exposing yourself to what it sees as risky situations.
This is why small actions can be more healing than massive actions to break down the ego’s resistance and get it to stand down from its high-alert vigilance.
The problem is the ego makes those rationalizations from a place of fear and self-protection rather than from a place of abundance and opportunity.
We subconsciously engage in thoughts and actions that derail us and keep us from getting the very thing we say we want so badly: a bigger brand…to be seen as a leader in our industry segment…to have more clients….more impact…more revenue.
Self-sabotage is, at its essence, a defense mechanism. It’s the ego’s effort to protect us. So I think of it as an attempt to avoid pain.
So you don’t take the action you know you “should” take to get your business to the level of success you want. Whether that’s putting yourself “out there” more through the use of social media or video…or whether it’s creating a high-end offering….or finally writing that book or launching the podcast…or forming JV relationships.
And self-sabotage isn’t something that just those in feast or famine mode deal with.
I’ve known executives earning hundreds of thousands of dollars a year – one who was earning more than a million – who did something incredibly stupid that got them fired instantly.
You may know a sales person who seems to fall apart as she gets close to achieving her quota.
Or maybe you have a friend who makes really bad decisions with money every time he gets a big bonus or big check from a client.
Understanding where it comes from and why we do it is the easy part. Recognizing the payoff our ego thinks it gets from continuing to engage in self-sabotaging behavior is harder.
Stopping it is the real challenge.
I want you to know it’s not impossible. It takes commitment and consistent actions along with the support of a core group of people – or even just one person – who truly understands and encourages you.
It is definitely possible to let go of those beliefs and to begin to take the steps needed to live to your potential, share your great gifts with the world, and receive the full abundance you dream of and deserve.
Ending self-sabotage takes facing long-held beliefs that are actually not yours to begin with. They’re beliefs that you absorbed from the environments you’ve been in, starting with your family of origin and moving right through your life as an adult in the many roles you play and groups you’re involved in.
It requires accepting ourselves and adopting our own beliefs.
Most of all, we have to love ourselves.
And it is a process, believe me. It requires making conscious choices on a continuous basis as we re-condition our mind and establish new patterns of thinking and acting.
There are 10 elements to break free from self-sabotage and to becoming a courageous entrepreneur:
I explain them in the next post.
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Or maybe you’re frustrated because it’s taking you so long to see a difference in your business.
What a coincidence. It happens to me too.
And I think it’s an awful feeling. It distracts us and makes us feel like we’re spinning our wheels.
So let me take you through the steps I use now to help me zero-in on what I should be working on when I’m feeling like I’m drowning in work.
Step 1: Identify what deadlines you have. And if you don’t have any deadlines pick some because that’s likely part of the problem. When nothing has weight over anything else it sets you up to be paralyzed.
Most of us – especially former corporate or organizational employees – do better when we have deadlines because our whole professional life was built around deadlines.
Let the deadlines drive your priorities initially; but once you get the initial deadlines met be sure to reflect on whether you’re really doing things that are moving you and your business forward or are you caught doing what Tony Robbins says people do – letting the urgent get in the way of the important.
Step 2: Rank your projects. What will have the biggest impact on your business right now? If you have cash flow problems then you need to follow the money and get it flowing again. If you’ve got a few long term clients then you might want to focus on building a list of interested prospects who you can nurture and build a relationship with so if you have a long term client leave you’ll have people who may be ready to move forward to work with you.
What does your audience – think existing clients first — want most? I’m making changes to my book writing course based on what participants told me they’d like to see added.
If you’re unsure what you should be focusing on, examine your Profit Path (the flow of prospects who discover you, connect with you, get nurtured by you and make a decision to buy from you, and then who become fans). Look for areas where there are gaps and focus on that area.
When you’re in this place you become vulnerable to every bright shiny object that comes your way and promises you more clients, more revenue. It’s more likely that a better use of your time or money would be working on your processes, or working with someone to get clear about your next step. When you’re feeling compelled to buy something, stop and give yourself some time to reflect on whether this is the right move for you.
Step 3: Build relationships with current and past clients. This is critical. When I would do marketing funnel or sales process consulting, the client would always be focused on getting new clients. But the reality is that new client engagements will be projects that have the lowest percentage of profitability.
Profit really lies in retaining clients and in generating referrals from satisfied clients. So when prioritizing work be sure to include time for client relationship building.
According to Emmett C and Mark A. Murphy,“a commitment to customer experience results in up to 25% higher customer retention” which is obviously going to impact sales and revenue. So some of your time has to be spent building relationships with your existing client base and improving their outcomes. You want to have a significant level of clients become raving fans.
Step 4: Manage your calendar and start saying “no”. This is particularly critical when you’re feeling confused, frustrated, or overwhelmed. Building a business is an exercise in juggling. Time is the most important resource we have and it’s non-renewable. Once today is gone, it’s over. We know that. So while being open to new opportunities is important, it’s critical that we ruthlessly protect our calendar and that we manage our time well. That means blocking our time in our schedule to create and distribute content, work on new offerings, follow up with people we’ve met and cultivating relationships with them, including developing referral relationships.
Remember the story of the professor who brings in an empty jar, some rocks, sand, and a cup of coffee to his class? The only way to get everything in the jar is to put the big rocks in first, then the smaller pebbles, then the sand, and finally the coffee.
This story varies based on who tells it but the big lesson is that in order to achieve your biggest goals you need to focus on them first – so block out your calendar and schedule around your “big rocks”.
Stay on top of administrative tasks. With all due respect to Mike Michalowicz author of Profit First, you don’t get to pay yourself first, you need to pay the government first. So admin tasks might be a gigantic drag but they’re important and part of running a business like a business. Send invoices on time, keep your receipts and expenses organized, keep your projects organized and your email inbox cleaned out and organized. And if this isn’t in your “wheel house” as my friend Lisa Roberts would say, then you’ve got to create systems to help you stay on top of things and you need to hire someone to help you.
Once you get over the overwhelm then you want to do your best to stay focused on the RIGHT priorities.
Keep your vision and mission in focus. This might feel trite but it’s important for you to know where you’re going. I have mine written in a notebook with my big goals and I read them every day. It only takes a few minutes and keeps me focused on them. I also write affirmations in the same notebook and this helps me emotionally connect with my vision, mission, and goals.
Are you giving too much time away? I added up the time I was giving away to friends and colleagues and it averaged 8 hours a week. A whole day!! I decided I can’t keep doing that so I had my friends join a Facebook group for a new offering I’m creating. This helped me stay connected to them, share ideas, and it helps me capture their successes that relate to my advice so I can use those as case studies and testimonials.
Understand how long it takes you to get work done and stop over-booking yourself.
This was a huge issue for me. I had to really remind myself how long it takes to create a course or how long it takes me to write anything. Then I had to allow enough time in each week to get all that done.
Stop telling yourself you work best under pressure. You work best under pressure because you’ve conditioned yourself to constantly work under pressure. This is unhealthy and causes unneeded stress.
You’re in charge of your schedule so if your schedule is overwhelming then be the leader you are and start controlling it.
Keep focused. When you’re working, work. Log out of everything else except the tools you need to do the work. Keep a notepad by your side and when you feel an impulse to go off task, write down the thought that came into your head so you don’t lose the thought.
Take small steps but keep moving.
Schedule everything.I Just like “what gets measured gets improved’, “what gets scheduled gets done”.
I had to create an elaborate weekly calendar tool and a daily time management tool to manage my schedule and maximize my time.
Being a solopreneur and managing a growing business is hectic to say the least and it requires applying your best management and leadership strategies while staying focused on what’s really important to you, your clients, and your business.
If you’re ready to commit to achieving your goals, check out the Entrepreneur Achievers Club. It will help you zero in on your core priorities and stay focused so you’re getting more done with less stress.
Luke 10:1-17 (NKJV) shares how Jesus appointed 70 disciples to go on ahead of him in pairs to the towns and places he wanted to go. I think this reading has several illustrations for us as business people and marketers.
The fact that he “sent them on ahead of him” is sort of like getting messages out to build awareness of you and to prepare the audience for the offering you’ll be launching.
Rather than just springing an offering on people, it’s more effective to begin to share content — blog posts, videos, podcast episodes, and social media posts — on the subject of your offer.
You have to prepare people even if the offer is something for free. You have to get them ready to want to learn more.
Jesus used His disciples . In addition to the content sharing strategies I mentioned, you could work with referral partners or even hire people to represent you.
Big brands pay bloggers and spokespeople to talk about their offerings. So there are lots of ways to get your message out that range from low tech to high tech; low touch to high touch; and self-directed to other-directed.
In this section of Luke, Jesus gave the 70 disciples instructions to go to one house and stay there. They weren’t to move from house to house and they were to eat or drink whatever was put in front of them. Meaning, don’t worry about whether it fits the dietary laws and restrictions.
I think this relates to business in several ways.
First of all, I think it relates to staying on message. Don’t bounce from message to message. Eating and drinking whatever is in front of them means be accommodating and respectful.
Remember, Jesus stressed that whatever went into the body goes into the stomach and would be eliminated. But whatever is spoken comes from the heart. So I think that relates to creating a message that’s consistent with your brand essence and to stay true to yourself.
Then Jesus goes on to tell them that if they’re not welcome they’re to shake the dust from their feet and leave.
I can see this relating to taking your message (and your skills) to others who will gladly receive it and not worry about those who don’t. Like “preaching to the choir”.
Yes, we should consider tweaking our message so it resonates with those we’re trying to reach, but the core message resonates with those who are ready to hear it and ready to receive it.
So “go on your way”. Share your core message from a place of service and love but also be true to yourself and your business while staying in alignment with your faith and values.
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.