“There are risks and costs to action. But they are far less than the long-range risks of comfortable inaction.” ~ John F. Kennedy
A few years ago, I made a decision that has changed my life and given me so many unexpected benefits. I’ve always been fascinated with the positivity and forward-thinking stance of Life Coaching. So, in 2013, I decided to focus and build my coaching practice. I changed my branding, read books and took online courses to get up to speed with this growing field and to feel more confident and competent.
At times, I would feel discouraged and my own inner critic would creep in with statements like: “You were doing just fine, why did you have to go and change things?” Well, that was just fear of the unknown. And no, I wasn’t doing fine, I wasn’t fulfilled anymore. I was just afraid of making the change.
But in 2016 it happened. My coaching business really took off! Constantly I’m reminded that I LOVE owning my own coaching business. With each new connection, I get to fulfill my calling, changing lives and changing the world for the better.
“This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one.” ~ George Bernard Shaw
If you’ve ever thought about becoming a business owner, or starting your own private practice, then the following benefits that I enjoy may be enough to convince you that you don’t need to be afraid to start a business …
- Turn your years of experience into a business asset. Age becomes a plus in your favor, not a minus like it is in the competitive corporate world. Specialize in what you know best.
- Work from home or from anywhere in the world. Technology makes it possible to work with your clients anytime, anywhere.
- Set your own pace. One possible downside of owning your own business is that you can get a little lazy about sticking to your business routine. But if you create a schedule and stick to it, you’ll find you have a lot of extra time to fulfill other important life pursuits.
- Earn the income you want. If you’re willing to hustle, you can design streams of income that fulfill your needs and wants. For example, as a coach, your high-end offering may be one-on-one coaching in person or via Skype. Other streams could be selling your self-published book; hosting fee-based live group coaching, workshops and retreats; setting up do-it-yourself online classes; and presenting paid speaking gigs.
- Live with meaning. You get to define what’s important. Being your own boss allows you to incorporate ways to give back to your community.
- Pick the people you work with. There won’t be anyone undermining you or stealing your thunder. What you create is only limited by the boundaries you build. You don’t have to put up with toxic situations.
- Discover what you’re made of. Your personal growth will be tested in ways that make you a better person. You’ll discover new reserves of resiliency, self-discipline and self-confidence as you make your dreams a reality.
It’s completely normal to doubt or worry about taking the leap into starting your own business. But if you’re convinced this is the right decision for you, you can make it work. If I did it…so can you! Start connecting with people who will support you and learn all you can about running a business. Create a plan and work your way into it.
If you’re not sure what your next step should be, join me and my friend, Nando, at our Women in Leadership Retreat. We’ll help you outline a plan of action that fast tracks you toward the launch of a new business. Or feel free to contact me and schedule an “Unlocking Your Potential” 30-minute complimentary consultation, in-person, by phone or via Skype.
“I believe the risks I take are justified by the sheer love of the life I lead.” ~ Charles Lindbergh
What does the family who goes on the vacation of a lifetime have in common with the company that consistently exceeds its marketing goals? On the surface…nothing. But when you look deeper, in each case you’ll see a leader who knows how to inspire a shared vision. If you want to make a difference, this is an essential skill you’ll want to master. Let’s take a closer look at each story…
Within the family, the mother sees that the kids will soon be leaving for college. She knows that once they’re out of the house, they may get so busy with their own lives they might not have another chance. So she shares her vision of a great family vacation with her husband. He agrees and together they work out how to make it happen. As the family discusses it, they excitedly pitch in their ideas. Because they’re on the same page, working toward the same goal, it’s not a hardship to stick to a budget or schedule. Their shared vision becomes a success.
In the business setting, the marketing department brings a new strategy to the boss, and she thinks it’s a great idea. She takes that visionary thought and lays out a plan to her employees. She details the vision to them and gets them excited to do their individual and collective best. She knows it won’t happen unless all departments are on board with the idea. And because she connects with each one on the level of their specialty, each department excels.
On the other hand, perhaps you’ve experienced the frustration of working with someone who tries to lead but keeps the details to themselves. You don’t know why something is important and you don’t understand the process because you don’t know all the steps. As a result, the “vision” never succeeds, because you couldn’t clearly see your role in it.
In any case, progress won’t happen by chance. Inspiring leaders acknowledge and welcome the strengths of each person and create an environment were talents can flourish. They give a clear objective so people know what to do. They give a clear reason why it’s important, so everyone remains motivated to get it done. It’s not enough for the leader to have a vision. An effective leader inspires others by knowing how to share the vision so that it takes on life in the hearts of all those involved. They can see themselves in the picture!
First-class leaders learn to look far into the future, not merely seeing the end of a current project. Instead they see how each project impacts their organization years down the road. In the above example, the mother saw her family slipping away, so she took action to bring them back together. The far-sighted boss saw how one marketing campaign would boost morale and generate customer loyalty. Because they took into account the hopes and wishes of others, those involved became very supportive.
Effective leaders see that it’s important to make time to look ahead and not get consumed with day-to-day busyness. They also don’t feel that they have to be the visionary. But they know that it’s their job to get everyone involved and keep them working at the top of their game.
It’s not always easy to communicate your vision in a way that draws others into it so that they adopt it for their own vision. However, it’s easier if you incorporate metaphors, word pictures, and stories that people relate to. Don’t be afraid to express the depth of your emotional involvement and excitement, because it’s that passion that will fire up others.
It may seem counter-intuitive, but the best way to inspire others for a future project is to connect with them mindfully in the present. If you’d like to learn to inspire others and make more meaning connections in your life, please check out the Women in Leadership Retreat I’m leading with my close friend Nando Raynolds on May 20 and 21. It’s going to be life-changing!
“Once the realization is accepted that even between the closest human beings infinite distances continue, a wonderful living side by side can grow, if they succeed in loving the distance between them which makes it possible for each to see the other whole against the sky.” ~ Rainer Maria Rilke
Have you ever tried to talk with a person who was stone-faced, showing no facial reaction at all to what you were saying? It didn’t take long before you began faltering for words, losing your train of thought and finding it hard to carry on, did it? Why is that? Because when there’s no emotional attunement, no empathy, we don’t feel connected, understood or valued. We need to feel like people are getting what we’re saying.
Emotional attunement takes more than looking at someone or hearing their words. It means using all of our senses to understand what they’re feeling so much that we feel it too. It takes being able to sense, interpret and respond to someone so that she/he doesn’t feel alone any longer. Our eyes become moist with tears when they hurt or beam with happiness to mirror their joy. We lean in and touch their arm with a gesture of compassion. We reflect back to them their emotions with words such as, “That must have been so frustrating!”
We learn to regulate and manage our emotions at an early age from our mothers. She reacted to our emotional state and responded in a way that cared for our needs and soothed us, making us feel secure. A mother gives her child this wonderful gift – the ability to decipher feelings and learn to self-regulate them. If, however, feelings are ignored or put down, the person will carry an inability to interpret and express emotion into their adulthood. The good news is that even if this gift was lacking from your life, you can still learn how to experience emotional attunement in your relationships today.
At times, everyone struggles with emotional attunement. We get caught up in our own drama or daily pressures distract us from really connecting emotionally with others, whether you’re an intimate couple, friends or business associates. If the situation makes you feel blamed, you may fall back to a defensive mode, which makes it impossible to see what the other person is feeling. It’s easy to settle for a transactional kind of relationship, solving problems and sharing responsibilities, without sharing your emotional self and listening for each other’s emotional needs.
The magic and power of emotional attunement is that it doesn’t require a lot from you. It simply takes listening with your ears, mind and heart. You don’t have to “fix” anything or offer advice. This is a huge aha moment for many men especially. You can do so much by doing nothing but tuning in!
Here are some reminders for fine-tuning your emotional attunement:
- Be fully immersed and attuned to what your friend is experiencing.
- Remain emotionally open to her friend’s feeling even if it makes you uncomfortable.
- Use subtle bodily reactions to make powerful connections – shed tears, touch her arm, nod, tilt your head in sync with the tilt of your friend’s head.
- Reinforce your being present by saying a few words that convey that, “I’m here for you” or “Yes, I understand”.
- Keep this as your goal – make your friend feel less alone.
Emotional attunement can be learned, but it’s learned experientially. It takes time, but you can learn to sharing your emotions and to trusting your own judgment in reading other people. When you surround yourself with people who practice emotional attunement you can speed up your own progress. If closer emotional connectedness is what you’re looking for, check out the Women in Leadership Retreat I’m leading with my colleague Nando Raynolds on May 20 and 21. This can be your Big Goal that we work on together.
“Excellence is doing ordinary things extraordinarily well.” John W. Gardner
Isn’t it amazing to watch people completely transform themselves? One moment they’re a shy person and the next moment they’re confidently leading others. It’s as spectacular as seeing a beautiful butterfly emerge from a cocoon. How do they grow professionally, seemingly overnight?
The truth is this kind of transformation doesn’t happen overnight, does it? We aren’t born professionals – it takes time and concerted effort. However, there are strategies that you can use to grow professionally that will fast track your transformation as a confident leader in your field. Take a look at five of my favorites below:
1) Take advantage of targeted education.
New practitioners, therapists, and coaches often struggle with maintaining focus, because there’s so much to learn when you’re starting your own business. It’s normal to get sidetracked. In order to grow professionally, you’ll want to fight that tendency and keep your goal foremost in mind.
Focus allows you to pick the most appropriate education for your current situation. Education is easily accessible via local or online courses, books and audios, podcasts, and joining specialized online communities, so take full advantage of these, but please do so purposefully. When you master one thing, move on to the next.
For example, over the years I’ve studied both traditional and non traditional methodologies. I started with western psychology and added specializations such as Hakomi, Sensorimotor Psychotherapy, Self-Relations and Ericksonian Hypnotherapy. But what really accelerated my transition from therapist to Somatic Coaching is the deep study of The Feldenkrais Method® and Neuro-Liguistic Programming.
Just as a caveat: searching for a “perfect” program may become an excuse for not taking action. You may find that working with a personal coach helps you focus on the most effective path toward your goal.
2) Ask for specific feedback.
It boosts the ego when someone says they like what you’ve done. But without specific feedback on what’s working and what’s not, you won’t be able to grow professionally.
It takes time and effort to establish a reputation of excellence and it starts with the right attitude. For example, professionals aren’t defensive when they receive criticism, because they know that, somewhere there’s a nugget of truth they can use. Then they willingly invest in themselves to become the best version of themselves possible.
3) Network for progressive advancement.
Whom you associate with directly affects how you grow professionally. You may not view yourself on the same level as well-known people like Stephen Gilligan, Byron Katie, Robert and Diane Masters, or Richard Strozzi-Heckler, but you might be pleasantly surprised at how approachable influential people can be when you sincerely reach out to them. Social platforms let us show interest in what they do and how they do it. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. (For example, please feel free to post your questions or comments about leadership, professionalism and personal growth on my Facebook page. I’m happy to chat with you.)
4) Go the extra mile.
Even if others are happy with a so-so result, hold yourself to a higher standard of excellence. Since an “okay” experience is quickly forgotten, push yourself to perform something truly memorable. Think creatively about how you can make it easier, more enjoyable, or more valuable for your clients.
5) Before saying “Yes” or “No”, mindfully consider your options.
Some choices can be scary and that can make you say “No” reflexively. On the other hand, out of embarrassment or pride, you may be tempted to say “Yes” before fully knowing the scope of what’s required. Slow down and ask yourself why you’re reacting as you are. Then ask clarifying questions to ensure you fully understand the project at hand. By being willing to try new things, you demonstrate self-confidence, which inspires others to have confidence and trust in you as well.
Many years ago, one of my most influential mentors said to me: “When you are asked to do something, Say YES and then figure out how to do it!” This bold approach can bypass all the fear and anxiety of trying something new. It’s not for the faint of heart, though!
Which of these strategies are you ready to try? If you want to grow professionally it’s essential to have a plan. So, what do you really want to accomplish and how will you do it? Why not schedule an “Unlocking Your Potential” 30-minute complimentary consultation with me so we can explore your options? I’m happy to meet in-person, by phone or via Skype.