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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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?
Did you know that women business owners earn approximately 45% less than our self-employed male counterparts?
I get agitated reading the analysis of women-owned businesses* because our earnings are a highly distorted reflection of our true value.
How can it be possible that…
- 82% of women have annual sales of less than $50,000 per year
- only 11% exceed $100,000 in yearly revenue
- and just 1.7% break $1,000,000?
Another thing that irks me is the recommendation to support the women-owned businesses that are just shy of the million dollar mark. The SMALLEST percent of business owners.
But what about the women who are making less than $100,000? Or <$50,000? Or <$25,000?
Yes, what about YOU?
I’m not here to judge what you want out of your business. Or project what you should want to earn. If you’re happy with less than $50,000, that’s okay. Maybe you’ve got other resources. That’s cool. Really.
But the women who seek me out all have bigger financial goals than that.
And it’s possible you might too… but can’t figure out why it’s not happening.
It’s one of the reasons I host a free webinar about ‘The Real Reason You’re Not Earning A Reliable Income — and How To Get Off The Money Roller Coaster’.
I’ve got a session coming up soon. And we even do a live Q&A so you can ask any questions you’ve got on the topic.
There’s no charge to participate. And maybe I will have cooled down by then. (Unlikely 😉 )
* Source: The State Of Women-Owned Businesses Report (United States) has been commissioned by American Express OPEN for the past six years.
I’ve been through countless sales slumps over my past 14 years in business.
And let me tell you, holding a dance card that’s filled with “NO, NO, NO” can be one of the most demoralizing experiences a business owner can face.
Dealing with these slumps is isolating, embarrassing and a real ego-buster. But as sure as the sun sets every day, it’s bound to happen.
Three of my most memorable (and painful) dips were…
1. My first year in business
Even though I’d gone out on top from a successful sales career in Corporate America, I could not close a deal to save my life in my new business.
With loads of advice from legions of colleagues, I finally eked out two paying clients somewhere between months 10-12 which kept me in the game.
As a result of earning less than 10% of my prior year corporate income, I had to rearrange a lot of financial obligations in order to stay afloat. Talk about a major reality check.
2. Following my first live event in NYC
I had just moved to New York and was so excited because the event was sold out 2 weeks in advance. Even people without tickets showed up on event day with the hope of getting a coveted seat. The room was electric. I was living the dream!
Yet it turned out to be a quite possibly the worst day of my life.
Despite the popularity of the event and 88 people in the room, only one person bought the program I offered.
In hindsight, I know it’s because I was out of alignment with the offer I made.
But worse yet, I felt maligned. Rejected. Like a big fat loser.
The shrapnel from that single event sent me to the sofa for months afterward. Those were quite possibly the worst months of my life.
I went from the highest high to having lost all confidence in myself and questioning everything.
What am I doing with my life? When am I ever going to figure out my business? How can I afford to stay in NYC if nobody will buy from me? What’s wrooooooong with me? I’m no good!
3. During a major losing streak
I had a period where I had a bunch of sales conversations, but nobody, and I mean nobody, was buying.
I felt so defeated. I’m the sales coach. How could I be screwing up so many opportunities?
I stepped back for awhile before half-heartedly trying to do more outreach. But that wasn’t doing the trick. My prospects could sense that I didn’t believe in myself — so why should they believe in me?
I felt like I was “wasting” good prospects so I plain old stopped trying. Just hoping I’d get out of my slump ASAP.
Like inaction would do me any good. Riiiiiight.
Those slumps destroyed any shred of confidence I had left. And when I did have a sales conversation, my prospects were saying NO because they sensed something was off.
It’s crucial to move through the slump as quickly as humanly possible!
The quickest way to get out of it is to follow these 2 pieces of advice:
DO NOT “compare and despair.”
Resist the urge to look around and obsess over how successful everyone else appears. And then shame yourself for not being right up there with them.
It did no good to sit around wondering why I couldn’t be more successful, skinny and gorgeous like Ali Brown. Especially if I did it while eating a sleeve or two of Oreos while I stewed. That only made me angry.
Get off of Facebook if it makes you feel crappy. Unsubscribe from the “shiny happy people” emails if they depress you. It’s okay to seclude yourself from that stuff for awhile. It’s only temporary.
DO take immediate steps to restore your confidence.
The secret of every successful entrepreneur is knowing how to get out of a sales slump as quickly as possible by getting the YESES rolling in again. Because YESES and money solve a lot of problems. 🙂
For 3 go-to secrets that have lifted me out of innumerable slumps over the years, go ahead and help yourself to 3 Secrets That Boost Confidence & Inspire Your Prospects To Readily Say YES! by clicking on the image below:
Slumps are bound to happen. And looking back, those dips are a right of passage. BUT… that doesn’t mean you can’t find the quickest way through, around or across any slumps and bumps you hit along the way!