You inspire me every single day. You are the reason I love what I do. It’s a beautiful cycle of life – and love!

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Do you ever catch yourself in your same old self-defeating patterns?

I know I sure don’t!!

Not because I don’t have them. It’s because I walk around with a blind eye to my self-sabotaging behaviors — until I get in a room with friends and colleagues who are able to see my bulls*t.

Our Lessons from BDR, April 2016

And that’s why I always love when I’m in a room with smart business owners.

As I was preparing for my upcoming Business Design Retreat, I found a note I had written after the very first BDR I hosted almost a year ago. It was a list of 3 (plus) things that were the biggest mindset lessons that popped up during that powerful day together.

It was a good reminder that building a business isn’t just about your business model and marketing and sales. So much is about mindset. And I’d like to share my takeaways with you from that particular day…

#1 You choose.

I was at TED headquarters in NYC last week and met a late 20-ish guy who told me he sold drugs for 4 years “because he had no choice.” When I was curious why he didn’t have any other options, he said he “wasn’t going to take a job at Target for $20,000 per year.”

Let’s be clear, I don’t care if he sells drugs or dish detergent.

But I DO strongly care that he didn’t think he had a choice. Because he did. It’s not that he couldn’t get a job. He CHOSE to sell drugs instead.

His choice.

And you get to make your choices too. Don’t let anyone tell you any different.

DON’T tell yourself, “I can’t.”
DO tell yourself, “I choose to” or “choose not to.”

#2 You decide.

Kerry knew she wanted to grow her business and found my mentoring program which she knew was right for her. She considered asking her husband and mom (yes, her mom!) for their permission to make the investment.

After tangling internally with the decision for awhile, she said, “F*ck it. I’m a grown woman” and went ahead and enrolled without asking them.

Within 30 days, she had increased her sales by 2.65 times – which more than paid back her investment. And ultimately doubled her revenues for the year.

DON’T ask for permission from others.
DO make your own decisions.
DO the work.
DO celebrate your results!

#3 You rule.

2012 Fear Poster Child Carolyn Herfurth

Meet the 2012 poster child for succumbing to Fear. >>>>>>>>>>>

After a severely disappointing and financially devastating period in my business, I froze.

I became so afraid of making another mistake. Afraid of making the wrong financial decision. Afraid of rejection. I was so afraid that I quit trying new things. Stopped taking risks. And was a living, breathing contradiction machine.

Until one day my coach asked me, “how long are you going to continue to let fear drive your decisions?”

It had become such a part of my fabric that I didn’t even realize the Real Carolyn Herfurth had shrunk into a tiny little shell of her former, ballsy self. All because I let Fear take the reins after making a few mistakes.

That was enough to wake me up — and I made fear my bitch.

(This is the part where I’m supposed tell you about how I’ve made millions and brag up my fancy Maserati convertible and second home in Hawaii. That’s not my jam.)

I became verrrrrry good at distinguishing between my fear (#false) and my instincts (#truth.) I found my groove and love that I now get to help others find theirs too.

I’ll admit Fear creeps in from time to time. But for the most part, I rule my decisions now. 🙂

DON’T let fear rule your potential for a rich and happy life.
DO make fear your bitch.

Oh, and there was a fourth scribble on my note that says, “Don’t wait to be great.”

Yeaaaahhhh… DO great now.

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You walk into a room that inspires you to want to move in. 

The room is spacious. High ceilings. Big windows. Cool art everywhere. Guitars hanging on the walls. Beat up leather chairs. A big, well-worn dining table. Persian rugs. Cool lamps. Yummy candles. 

Old albums play on the turntable: Lionel Richie, David Bowie, Van Morrison, Fleetwood Mac… and hundreds more albums at your fingertips. DJC (yes, that’s me!) is spinning for your listening pleasure.

You there yet?


You slouch into one of the leather chairs. Or curl up on the oversized sofa and throw a big ass fuzzy blanket over yourself.


You feel calm. Safe. Yet filled with anticipation and unspoken expectations. 

You’re handed a colorful journal with Arthur O’Shaughnessy’s quote, “We are the music makers. We are the dreamers of dreams.”  

And given a hardcover book — “Ever Wonder”— filled with thought provoking questions you typically read, yet never take the time to answer. 

And of course, you’re excited to get one of those clicky 4-color pens you loved in 5th grade. Because, why not?

You have one hour to write about ANY question you want from the book.

OMG! WTF do you do? So many choices!

You choose. And you write. Of course.

This is the scenario a handful of my clients walked into last Friday at the retreat I hosted for them in NYC.

After their hour of writing, each woman took time to share the question she chose and how she answered it. The question she selected was as revealing as what she wrote about it.

And as if that wasn’t enough, we layered on the twist of what WE saw in each of her chosen questions and revelations. 

Because I’m always on the lookout for mindset minefields that keep us stuck,

I noticed 3 main behaviors that were interfering with their full potential to grow…


We have expectations of ourselves and those around us. Our families. Our friends. Our prospects. Our clients. 

Our expectations are a story we put on ourselves and others. Especially unfair since they so often go unspoken. 

We try to live up to them. And want those around us to do the same. Even though they don’t even know our rules.

Then our disappointments pop up when expectations aren’t met. And we wonder, “WTF?! How could he/she do that to me?” We feel completely blindsided.

So we either lash out — or limp along like wounded puppies. Instead of changing our communication. Or better yet — our stories. 

2. Contradictions

I want this. Am I sure I want this? Wait, I want that more. I’ve got to be crazy to think I’ll EVER get any of this!

Let’s say you really want to take Fridays off to go to the beach. But you think it’s OUTLANDISH to do that because you should be working. 

The belief that it’s outlandish creates the contradiction — and will override your ability to take off Fridays to hit the beach until you change your belief.

Because if you have contradicting thoughts, how does the Universe know what to deliver?

HINT: You’ll get whatever is backed up by your strongest belief. 

3. Limitations

I want to play big and be crazy successful. But OMG – other people are so much bigger than me. I can’t measure up to them. I’m nuts to consider that I’m even close to their level. They make so much more money than me. I don’t belong here. When will everyone realize I’m a fraud?

It drives me a little batty when I find myself and other women minimizing their power, strength and brilliance. Men don’t do it! Why do we?!?!

We must STOP with that nonsense — and START making declarations. 

Yes, that’s right. 

Declare what success looks like to you. 

Declare what you want. 

Declare what “big” and “successful” look like to you. 

Declare what you want that lies beyond where you think you are. 

Declare and communicate your expectations.

And do it.

YOU get to make up the rules.

Declaring these things in advance will minimize disappointment and exponentially increase your happiness. 

To build a sustainable business, you must eliminate your mindset minefields.

I highly encourage you to brush up on other common blocks so you can be on the lookout. Don’t let ’em sneak up on you! Click to access the “5 Mindset Mistakes Women Entrepreneurs Make and How To Avoid Them.” 

Because the filters you use to view, translate, assume, perceive, expect, presuppose, imagine, presume… (shall I go on?) are ALL within your control.

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As we head into a new year, I want to share this message that has gotten me through exciting new starts – and down-on-my-knees rough patches.

Each and everyone of us is gifted with the ability to create the life we want. In fact, one of my favorite quotes is from Gary Lew who captures it beautifully,

I love knowing that I… You… We… have the power to be rewarded with the lives we want through our decisions and actions.

What I hadn’t really considered until last week, was something Liz Gilbert shares in her much ballyhooed “Big Magic” as I walked down Broadway listening to this magnificent book (yes, one of my clients turned me onto to Audible so I now listen while I walk ? .) 

I literally stopped in my tracks because of something she said,

“Argue for your limitations and you get to keep them.”

What did she just say?

Stop. Rewind.

Argue for your limitations and you get to keep them.


One more time. Stop. Rewind.

Argue for your limitations and you get to keep them.

But… But… But…!

I go after what I want, but it’s been awhile since I thought about the fact that what I do NOT get is also what I ask for.

And then, duh, I remembered my personal email signature — which really argues for both positive and negative actions.

You’re exactly where you want to be. Do you really want to stay there?

Meaning… we get what we want. Limitations and all.

Damn it. How am I going to get rid of these extra 10 pounds?

The ten pounds that stay on because…

I’m almost 50.

I’m a woman. 

I spend most of the day sitting. 

At least I’m not 25 pounds overweight.

I’m tall so nobody really notices except for me unless I’m in a swimsuit.

I don’t enjoy cooking. 

I don’t have time to shop for groceries.

I’m like all New Yorkers who eat out (or take out) all the time, anyway.

Even though the deli guy at my bodega doesn’t know my name, he might miss making turkey sandwiches for me.

I can’t have a sandwich without those yummy jalapeño Kettle chips.

I can’t have a sandwich and jalapeño Kettle chips without a Black & White cookie.

There’s really no other city in the world that knows how to make a Black & White cookie so I’d better take advantage of the fact that I have this VIP access to them.

At least I’m not 30 pounds overweight.

My foot hurts.

My elbow hurts.

My shoulder hurts.

I can’t go back to kickboxing until my “hurts” are better.

I can’t seem to find a good physical therapist in this city of 8 million people (and probably hundreds of PTs.)

It’s the holidays.

Mmmmm… those cookies are good.

At least I’m not 35 pounds overweight.

Did I mention I’m almost 50?


I feel so competent at positively shaping my world that I’d never really thought about how I argue for my limitations — until Liz slapped me upside the head with that comment.


It made me think about the limitations I hear from business owners:

I work so hard for so little money.

I don’t have enough prospects. 

I hate selling.

My clients owe me money.

My clients don’t pay me enough.

I can’t afford it.

I don’t see how I could ever earn more money. I’ll never break X income ceiling.

I already have so much debt, I can’t afford to add more.

How would I ever pay for it?

I don’t make enough money to afford it.

I can’t invest that much in myself.

I need to check with my husband.

I need to check with my Mom.

I need to check with my accountant.

I need to check with my spirits.

I’ve already made so many mistakes.

I’ve hired coaches before and they were pretty good, but I didn’t get a return on my investment.

I don’t know where to find potential clients.

My prices are too low.

My prospects say they can’t afford me.

My husband wants me to get a job.

I don’t want to get a job.

I’d like a Venti Quad, please.

I’ll follow up with that potential client when I get back from our Disney trip.

It’s my world. I get to choose.


It’s your world. You get to choose.

Going forward, can we make a pact to be more mindful of when we notice ourselves arguing for our limitations?

Okay, good.

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