Yep. I am going to use a metaphor that makes me cringe, but only because it is too damned apt not to.
Building a new business around your passion and Purpose in this world is comparable to birthing a baby. There. I said it.
Now, I don’t have any babies, mind you, but my lovely sister and brother in law had a new little baby girl (Frankie) this past week, and I am reeling in the excitement of it all.
What has me really going (and going with the metaphor) is that I was obviously around the whole pregnancy, got to be with my sister when she was in labor at home, and then in the hospital after little Frankie arrived. Now I am thinking of them as they head home, with a brand new baby.
So, here is the metaphor I can’t help but play with:
Pregnancy-You are physically, emotionally, psychologically different. Some things are out of your control, but exhilarating. Some things are reallly uncomfortable, and there is certainly some stretching going on, but you know why you’re willing to go through it all. The restless nights. The random cravings. The desperation for a friggin massage.
You’re clear that this is what you want. That this is your dream. And that all you go through is helping you achieve it.
You’re getting the house all ready. You’re creating a calendar and letting people know that you’ll be out of comish for a bit. You’re checking in with all sorts of professionals on the health of your baby and of yourself (because, if you ain’t healthy, your baby won’t be either). Getting things off your to-do list so you’re as prepared as you can possibly be.
Towards the end, you are so damned READY. Ready to get this baby out into the world. Ready for some stability and comfort (yeah, right). Just, ready.
And then, you go into labor.
Labor-Holy shnike. All of a sudden, this moment you’ve been waiting for is NOW. Your baby is ready to be out in the world, and you’ve got a whole different set of concerns. You’ve done everything you can do to prepare, now is the time for instinct to take over (and some lovely midwifery help)!
Now, I don’t want to belittle this part, but this is really just the (major) transition point between the long preparation of pregnancy and the ongoing love and attention of raising said baby.
Raising the baby-There is a different intensity in raising a kid than being pregnant or even in labor. It requires more stamina. A different focus. If I can mix my metaphors, raising the little one is more of a marathon. You’ve got to have a comfortable pace.
So….can you see the links between starting your own business and the whole baby-havin’ process?
Pregnancy=The beginning phase of your business where you are doing as much prep work as possible. Taking care of your personal health, the baby’s health, your physical environment, etc…
Labor=Getting out into the world. I mean, would it be wrong to say labor=marketing on a big level?!!
Raising the baby=The long haul of your business. Adjustments. Conscious attention. But more maintenance than anything else.
While I never understood people who loved being pregnant, I have a new-found connection with them because I now get it.
It’s fun to be working towards something you really, really want. To be preparing for it. To be imagining what it will be like.
And that is why I love working with people who are just starting their business. Just stepping into their dream. Committed to the vision, but need help in getting there. They’re all preggers and I get to be the midwife. Nothing could be a better gift to the world, or to my soul.
So, everyone would love for you to believe that simply believing in yourself and wanting something badly enough will make it manifest. Wah, wah, waaaah.
Hate to burst your bubble, but if you haven’t gotten this memo yet, Listen Up:
Believing and wanting something is a good start, but it ain’t nothing till you actually start taking action.
That’s right. Action, movement, running, walking, crawling, skipping. You’ve got to be doing something more than crossing your fingers for your business to get to the place you want it to be.
So, you’ve got the vision. Score. Now it’s time for the big moves where you step into it. This tends to require getting way-the-hell-out of your comfort zone and doing things you might not normally do…
So, how do you know where to head? What actions to actually put your energy into?
First, you’ve got to get a handle on the business side of things…how to run one, what things to check off the to-do list, how to get clients, etc. That is a long list and an entire course, so I’ll focus on giving you a speedy-short cut. (Much more fun).
Whenever I’m bout ready to take a new action (contact a new potential partner, unexpectedly sign up for a conference two weeks after the last one, invest with an uber-coach) I STOP and do a little check in. No rushing into anything (which is a hard one for me cause I get all sorts of excited.) I ask myself this one question:
You see, those actions that come from Divine Inspiration are the ones most aligned with my heart. Most aligned with the work I am meant to be doing in this world. Most aligned with my Purpose. These are the ones, that if they come to fruition, will bring me the most fulfillment and success in the highest way (you know, the spiritual kind of success, though often they lead to financial rewards because they are TRUE and real.)
Actions you take out of fear are gonna suck you dry. Not to mention, that sludge-ish energy will drag into the action, slow you down and repel other people around you. No fun. No success on spiritual gain. No business moving forward.
Example….When I first started my biz, I was trying to reach out to other coaches who seemed to be doing great and resonated with me on a spiritual plane. The ones that I reached out to because I felt I “had to know them” fell totally flat (I think I may have even repelled a few….embaressing.)
The ones I reached out to because I just “felt” or “knew” that I was meant to know them somehow ended up creating real bonds and affection that have carried me into a greater place in my business.
Now, I’m not saying that just because it’s Divinely Inspired it’ll go smooth as silk….but the outcomes when they do go that smooth will be all the greater in both your personal fulfillment and in your business.
So here’s the tip: When you find yourself ready to take some steps, do the Gut Check. When you find yourself in that space of Divine Inspiration, ACT. And do it with a smile, honesty, and integrity.Read more
Social Media. It’s seriously everywhere and everyone seems to be telling me I HAVE to do it. For a girl who only started checking Facebook recently and one who HATES the superficial nature of Twitter, I had been super resistant to joining the frenzy. It feels vacuous. Where is the personal touch? How do you truly connect with somebody on the other side of the screen?
Well, having had a few great things happen that would have been IMPOSSIBLE before social media, I am here to tell you to buck up and get on it because it changes who you work with and who you’re friends with.
Here’s what happened.
So, what do these events tell you about social media being important?
People hire people, right? And, they are more likely to work with ones they trust or know in some way. We like being connected, even if it is just virtually.
Social media becomes an avenue for us to develop relationships with others…some become clients, some become friends and allies. Both of which are crucial to having a business succeed.
It opens up your potential pool of clients and allies to the world (millions of people) rather than just your pool of people you can meet locally. Can you see the power in that?!
Not to mention, how many networking events can you do on your own schedule and in your yoga gear?
So, for those who are still resisting social media, here is the big thing to look at.
What is it you are resisting?
If you are like me, then it is the idea that social media is impersonal. So, make it more personal. I take the time to personally connect with people on Twitter or LinkedIn. I write personalized notes and always try to include a note on something I see we have in common. Not the most effective in terms of time it takes (automate as much as possible), but it makes me feel like each connection is an actual connection, rather than a number in my profile.
If you are resisting the “tech” side of it, then find a class where you can learn the basics while being supported. Ignorance is not bliss in this one.
Is there something else holding you back? Are you worried you’ll get too big? That there might be too much success on the other side that you can’t handle? Grab your coach and work on it.
Your next best client or friend is much closer than you think.Read more
The Harvard Business Review has this fabulous post on branding….Generally, we focus on the things we stand for in our brand. Perhaps it is a desire to stay positive. Perhaps it is also a desire to stay safe. But by creating a brand that also stands against things, you create more edge. You speak right to your tribe.
What I stand against:
What do you stand against? Are you willing to make a brand around that?Read more
We have all been there. Feeling un-inspired, even though you love your work. Feeling exhausted, even though you are sleeping a ton. Feeling just plain done, even though it is only the beginning of a packed week.
Burnout. Ugh. Even just typing the word makes me feel sludgy.
And, you feel like it just comes out of nowhere…but stop right there. Why? Because, to say it came out of nowhere would be a big, fat, honkin’ lie.
Look at your schedule for the last month. Can you point to the times when you stopped working to do something you really love doing? I mean, scheduled it in, “I am going to go to the movies 2:30pm Wednesday.” Probably not.
Did you have a particularly trying week on the personal front? Maybe you had a major blow out with your spouse, which left you unsettled. Maybe you were down for the count with allergies that made your head feel like a balloon. Did you give yourself a break for not being as productive as usual? Or are you still busy flogging yourself…
Well, one of these two reasons is why you are burnt…you’ll have to figure out which.
But no need to freak out, because just as we can fall into the ashes, we can rise again! Trust me. I’ve been there.
So, here is the low down on getting out (and staying out) of burnout:
1) Make a list of all of the things that re-energize you and make you feel vibrant, grounded, and whole. It can be a mixture of things that cost money and things that are free…just be sure that they are ones you feel a little naughty doing in the middle of a work day.
2) Post this list at your desk. Eye level.
If you are already in burnout, look up and throw a dart at one. Heck, throw two darts. And now do those items. No joke. Get up from your desk and walk away. If you have clients, really really ask yourself if you can re-schedule and take a mental health day. If you have no clients, keep in mind that many of the deadlines we make are self imposed. We are our own boss, right? Didn’t you start your own business to have some flexibility and freedom? This is the time that you need to take advantage of it. Cut yourself some slack, and get out of the office.
My list of pick me uppers: Taking a nap; having a glass of wine with lunch (and taking a nap); reading a girly, gossip rag; getting a key lime tart from Stone Oven Bakery and eating the whole thing slowly, with a decaf latte, while watching people go by; looking through every single photo of the hotels featured on jetsetter.com and daydreaming about my next trip; going on a realllllllly long walk; getting a pedicure; seeing a mid day movie….All things I don’t normally do, but that feel totally indulgent and much needed.
A bonus to do while away from the desk-
Now, sometimes we are in burnout, not because we forget to take some time to enjoy life, but because we are avoiding an issue we don’t want to deal with. While away from your desk, and preferably after seeing that matinee or taking that nap, ask yourself, “What is it that I need to change in order to have less stress in my business?”
And allow whatever asnwer to come. Don’t judge it. Don’t brush it aside. Just observe the response. It might be, “Set up a better system to follow up with clients” or “Set up a strict schedule for being “on” with clients.” There are no “wrong” answers.
The last time I did this, I was met with “Cut back on the number of clients per week in order to have time to take care of the bigger picture items.” Now, my head wanted to go crazy with that one…What business owner wants fewer 1:1 clients? What will my clients think of me if my availability is tighter? Will I ruin my business and end up starving in a ditch?
Once I took a step back (yay breathing), I realized that, “Yes. This was the answer.” I needed more time to work on my coaching programs because the big picture of my business relied on it. So the letters went out, the hours got cut, and my business is growing in the right direction because of it.
Whew. Good. Now you are out of burnout. So much lighter, right? All those deadlines are somehow much less stressful when you get back to your desk. You can see why you do the whole entrepreneur thing.
Now, don’t get all complacent on me just yet. See how good you feel right now? Let’s set you up for success by structuring the play time into your schedule at the outset. Look at your calendar for the next four weeks. Once a week, put in an activity that will remind you just how sweet life can be when you work for yourself. Maybe a midday massage. Maybe a hair cut. Maybe a long bike ride. And, now that it is in the books, honor it. And honor yourself.
Now, go have some fun in your business AND life!!Read more
How does creating a brand actually change your business? How does being yourself actually create a brand?
Basically, Judy had it right. When you are being yourself, the people you work best with, the friends who “get” you the most, the love of your friggin life comes along. This is the person and the persona that you need to be putting into the world…and it is the brand behind your business.
Having that brand makes it so the people that are truly meant to work with you recognize you right away…just from looking at your website. Hearing you talk. Reading your thoughts. They recognize they are the Who that you are talking to.
Many entrepreneurs & visionaries get nervous about presenting the “real” version of themselves. What if it is too narrow? What if nobody likes me? What if I bomb?
Well, if the face and personality of your business is not the “real you,” then who is it? Either it is a really generic version of plain or it is trying to be somebody you are not. Either way, you are attracting clients that you are not truly meant to work with and let’s face it, ones you don’t like working with either.
That is if you are attracting clients at all…many times, people can sniff out fake without being able to put a finger on what feels wrong about you.
The benefit to having your brand down pat, in control, and totally authentic comes in the form of awesome clients excited to work with you. These are clients that leave you feeling better at the end of a session than you felt before it.
Not to mention, it also means more business. Like I said, when you are generic, you don’t actually resonate with anyone. It is much more difficult to get any clients if they simply are not interested in you.
Last weekend, I spent two days trying to get some video recorded for my website and for my new product launch (SetUpASimpleSite.com), which ended up as a total disaster. The first day, I had tons of make up on, had professional lights, an HD camera, and was so damned serious about it all…My husband burst into laughter upon seeing that set of videos because it was SO not me (which did not go over well since I had spent the day agonizing over the damned camera!) Even the second day, I was much more loose, more myself, but it just wasn’t real. Finally, I was playing around with my new computer’s web cam and got the best clips…me speaking gibberish about how messy my office was. Who knew that it would take such work to be yourself?!
But it does. And it isn’t work in the traditional sense. It is work in the way that getting rid of ego can be. It is a challenge in the way that committing to your business 100% is.
Your brand is your business. Your heart is your brand. Therefore, your heart is your business. And it needs to show.Read more
It’s Saturday. I woke up at 4:58am. Not on purpose. But because sometimes my mind has a mind of its own. Sometimes it comes alive with excitement. Or anxiety. Or consciousness when I am trying to be relatively unconscious. And I can try to go back to sleep, but I can’t stop thinking about my business. About my clients. About my people. My tribe. My crew. Whatever you want to call it. And what I can offer them that will help the most. The fastest. The best on finding and owning their power to change the world.
This is what it is like being an entrepreneur. Nobody ever told me. So I might as well tell you, as apparently, this may be what you need to hear.
It is exhausting (I have only slept 5 hours every night for the past week….after having been in a car accident and having a bit of the ole concussion). It is consuming. It takes work. It takes play. It is so exhilarating you can’t sleep. It is so big you can’t breath. There is so much minutiae you cannot stop wanting to Do. It is the most fun thing I have ever done in my life. It is the most challenging thing I have ever done in my life (nobody tells you how much you need to grow once you step onto this path). It is scary. It is real.
It is mine.
It is an adventure.
The reason I believe you need to hear this is two fold…I am dedicated to inspiring you. That is why I bother to blog. I am also dedicated to telling you the truth. The pretty. The ugly. It will get you where you want to go that much faster to know what it looks like.
Possibly because I am sleep deprived this song keeps coming to mind. (In fact…now that I am drinking caffeine, it is looping in my head).
The song is, “This ain’t no place, for the weary kind” (With Jeff Bridges singing. I like Ryan Bingham, but have a thing for the Dude). I cannot help but smile.
This truly ain’t no place, for the weary kind. But there is truly no other place I would rather be.Read more