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The Common Way We Disconnect From Our Audience

The Common Way We Disconnect From Our Audience

My plea today: can we please stop writing off concepts and practices and beautiful opportunities for growing and changing simply because we’ve decided a word is overused?

“I cringe at the word purpose.”
“I hate when people use the word vulnerable, ugh.”
“I don’t even want to say engagement because it’s so overused.”

Chances are good you don’t hate the word, you hate the fact that it’s been overused as a marketing ploy or tool. I get it, I do… but so many people talk around important conversations and experiences because a word bothers them.

Yes, we’re all talking about purpose and passion and vulnerability and authenticity and engaging on a deeper level. We’re talking about it because it matters. Because it’s important. Will there be someone out there who’s using the word as a ploy to get you to read a thing that isn’t even related, sure. There are many someones doing that very thing right now, it’s just something that happens.

The fastest way to become so “high level” in the work you do that you no longer connect with your audience is to become a semantics snob.

It’s easy to forget that a word and concept as simple and beautiful as vulnerability can be life changing for someone who’s been so lost behind a facade they’ve created that they don’t know who they are anymore.

It’s easy to forget that a word like engagement is a life line to the budding entrepreneurs of the world who want nothing more than to connect with and serve very specific individuals with very specific problems.

It’s easy to forget that a word like purpose can mean the difference between life and death, and finding meaning and joy in a life that’s otherwise bleak. A life that’s dark and dim and lacks any reason for continuing.

Yes, take the time to express these concepts and ideas in a way that feels really aligned for you and your work, but don’t become a snob. Don’t act like because you were writing about vulnerability before it became “mainstream” that it’s just too cliche and overused to continue. Don’t forget that you exist in a world of other entrepreneurs and marketers who say all these things regularly, but that your audience likely doesn’t… they probably still need to hear those words for the first time, and they need to understand the importance of the concept behind them.

Your audience needs you to meet them where they’re at, not talk over them.

We like to get creative with our words, using different terms for our website navigation and our concepts, because they feel so overused to us. We don’t want to put “blog” on our menu, because that’s so boring and everyone has it… but will your audience really know that “showroom” is your portfolio, or that “love letters” is the contact page and not the blog or testimonials?

Don’t overuse industry terms and clever words on your site, content, or when you’re teaching and coaching. Meet your clients where they’re at. If they’ve already been in your sphere for some time, it might be okay to take a more creative, higher level, or industry termed approach. If not, remember what it was like the first time you learned about these seemingly “basic” concepts, and how powerful that experience likely was for you.

Meet them where they’re at, even if all your colleagues huff at the fact that you’re not more “clever” with your words. Remember that this is about serving the people who need you, not impressing the ones doing similar work.

 

Do It for the Ones You Think Aren’t Listening

Do It For The Ones You Think Aren't Listening

 

“You don’t know me…” was the subject line that appeared in my inbox. “But I want you to know that you really helped me.”

“Hey,” his message began. “I’m not sure how I found your blog, but I have to let you know that it may have saved my life.”

“I may not always ‘like’ or comment,” she shared through teary eyes, “but I read every single word you share.”

When I started writing about my grief, sharing more of my truth, and opening as wide as I knew how to open online… I got a bit of response. Sometimes there were a lot of likes and comments. Mostly there was just “some.” And often, it was the same handful of people.

But I kept sharing anyways, because it wasn’t about the likes or comments. It wasn’t about anything other than sharing what was true for me, simply because that’s what I needed to do. Simply because the words asked to be written, and my heart felt compelled to share them. I did it because I had to, because something inside me instinctually knew it was necessary to find healing.

There was no goal, no plan. There wasn’t a strategy or tactic. All I knew was that my heart was broken, my life and business were unraveling faster than I could even comprehend, and many friends were falling away as new ones emerged. I was walking through some of the most painful and challenging tasks, the most difficult and sad conversations. And when things hurt so much I wasn’t sure I could survive them, I wrote. I shared. And those little bursts of honest expression would relieve some of the painful pressure on my heart.

When I really hit rock bottom in the middle of the year… there was nothing left to do but open even wider. Share even more fully. Tell the truth even more transparently. I literally had nothing left to lose by being open and honest. So I was, because I needed to be, and I continue to do so as much as possible.

Sometimes our work feels like a thankless job.

That’s not a complaint, it’s simply a fact.

Especially when you’re trying to meet people in the darkest corners of their hardest chapters. When you talk about suicide and depression, grief and loss, and letting everything around you burn to the ground. These aren’t the most conversational of topics. They’re not the kinds of things people go “oh, me, me, me! I have something to say about this too!”

As a person who’s never been good at receiving praise or thanks without a bit of discomfort and my inner, bashful child coming out, I’ve always been okay with this. Sure, it’s nice to know that people care and are listening. That your words and work are having the impact you desire. I’m human, and I have an ego I wrestle with too. But for the most part, I’m okay with the silence. It doesn’t deter me.

Really what I’m trying to say in this post is this:
People are listening, especially when it seems like they’re not.

Just recently on a call with one of my very best friends, we were talking about her word for the year. A beautiful word that stood for showing up, for courage, and for not dimming her light any longer. How she wants to shine regardless of those who try to tell her she’s wrong or bad or needs to be different. And we talked about how hard and scary that is… because taking a stand for what you believe to be true can feel challenging and confrontational. It can feel vulnerable in the most terrifying way.

And she began to ask some of the age old questions. Questions like, “who am I to do this?” And, “who really cares?”

So I shared a truth with her.

For most of the year, I shared because I had to, not because I cared if I was right or if anyone was listening. Not for the likes or comments, and certainly not for any other reason than I felt something that needed to be expressed on a broader scale.

But as I began to complete a major healing cycle and really come back into my life and work in a way I wasn’t able to for the last year… ego returned with me, and ego began to wonder why less people liked this over that, and started trying to filter me so that I could “be better” at this online sharing thing.

Thankfully, I received all the guidance and clarity I needed over the course of just a few weeks. Out of nowhere, people I knew and total strangers started reaching out to thank me. Friends I assumed didn’t care or notice thanked me for my transparency over the last year, for telling the truth about what I went through. For being “real” in spaces where most hide behind carefully curated facades. Strangers and followers and subscribers reached out to thank me for specific posts that impacted their lives in the most profound ways. Posts from far earlier in the year. Family, mentors, and acquaintances who I didn’t realize where listening shared with me that they read every single word I write, and thanked me for putting into words what they couldn’t for themselves.

I was floored. Humbled. In tears.

And then I remembered all the books or videos or blog posts that had a deep impact on my life or a profound shaking of my soul. Messages where people just showed up and told the truth, letting me know I wasn’t alone and that things were going to be okay… maybe not right now, but eventually, simply because I could see they were surviving, or had survived, what I was walking through. Yet, I never once reached out to tell them just how powerful an effect their truth had on my life.

All of this, again, to say:
People are listening, especially when it seems like they’re not.

If we want to truly show up and shine with all our bright, beautiful light… If we want to surrender in service of something greater than we may ever understand… If we want to take a stand for something or a group of someones that we deeply believe in… We have to remember this. No matter how big or small our platform or following or reach. No matter how many likes or comments or shares we’re getting. No matter the recognition or awards.

We remember the ones who are listening, who aren’t ready to step into the light and say, “I’m here too.” The ones who may not feed into any metrics that business and marketing strategies have deemed important, but who read every single word. Watch every single video. Who are there and real and struggling. Who need you to keep doing what you’re doing. To keep showing up and shining that light. To keep telling the truth with all the transparency you know.

Don’t filter for the critics, internal or external. Don’t dim your light for those that don’t agree or disapprove. Don’t alter your focus or change course from what rings true in your soul for those that praise and comment and fluff your ego. Don’t forget why you started showing up in the first place in exchange or fame or awards.

Do it for the ones you think aren’t listening.

The ones who are hurting and alone. The ones who desperately need you to stay real and true and purpose driven. The ones who don’t need or want you to be polished and pretty, they just want you to be honest.

Do it for them.

Create More Time in the Day and Accomplish Amazing Things

Create More Time in the Day and Accomplish Amazing Things

 

In 2015, I did a webinar on setting big and exciting goals. One of the biggest culprits that keeps us from achieving what we want is… wasted time.

In the last year, I’ve been learning how to really hyper focus. I’ve always been pretty focused, and I’ve always been big on choosing 2 – 3 priorities at any given time, but I’ve still spent a great deal of my life and time completely scattered. Because I’m also hyper aware of the fact that life is really, really short, I’m not big on wasting a lot of time, especially when there’s SO MUCH I want to do!

I’ve gotten months worth of work done in a matter of days, had more down time to unwind and relax than I’ve had in a long time, and am really making progress on some projects and goals that are super important to me. All from a few simple steps that I’m going to share with you today!

How to Create More Hours in the Day

1) Get really clear on how you spend your time.

For at least one week, track your time and get really honest with yourself about how you’re spending it. You may find you spent far more time watching TV, surfing the web mindlessly, or simply debating about whether or not to go to the gym than you realize. This is all precious, wasted time. The sooner you have a real look at where your time is going, the sooner you can start to spend more time on the things that matter. Don’t guesstimate on the areas you know you waste your time, actually track it.

2) Get a handle on your time.

Part two of understanding how you spend your time right now is clearly defining how you want to be spending it. Sit down and write down everything you want and need to be doing… workouts, client time, meetings, morning routine, self care timeouts, errands, bill paying, meal prep or planning, etc. Where do you absolutely need to spend your time? And more importantly, how do you want to be spending it? What projects or goals do you want to be working towards? Get honest about what activities need to be eliminated or reduced, such as TV, social media, mindless web surfing, or anything else that isn’t really adding value to your life in a way that feels really amazing.

3) Use time blocks to manage your week.

Time blocks have been HUGE for me, and I haven’t even mastered them 100%. The first thing I did was block off all the time I needed to spend on certain things like writing (blog posts, Awesome Life Tips™,  work on branding for my business, etc.), paying bills, running errands, working out, and checking email/Facebook, etc. Then, I started dropping time blocks on my calendar for projects… I blocked all the time I need to be following up with coaching clients and working on website designs. And finally, looking at how my weeks were broken down, I got honest about where I could block some time for other projects or fun things I really want to be doing.

4) Know that this will create more freedom.

This may not be true for everyone, but as a person who values freedom above all else, taking the time to schedule my time actually feels way more freeing to me than leaving things open ended. Partly because I don’t spend so much time bouncing between tasks, wondering what I should be working on, or assuming things will all get done with enough time for me to do what I want. Having time blocks has helped me stay hyper focused on the task at hand… and knowing that there’s a set end time makes it like a “beat the clock” game for me.

Do you know how you’re spending your time? Do you feel like you’re making progress towards what you really desire in your life? If not, work through the steps above and share with me how you’ll start making changes to your time this week!

I’m Not Trying to Build a Successful Business

I’m Not Trying to Build a Successful Business

Wait… what?

I know how that sounds. I remember thinking the same thing as I scribbled furiously in my journal after a call with my amazing coach.

We ended our session with me rambling on about what I’m feeling called to create with my work, how I’m being asked to develop things that meet people where they’re at — in the dark depths of life’s hard pockets — rather than talk over them or spiritually washing over the real, raw truths.

Every single time I start to explain where my work is going and how I’m shifting everything in my life and work, I get a little clearer. When I started feeling the nudge to take my feet off the wall and align with my truth in a way that I never have, I really wasn’t sure what I was doing. I had a sense, but I couldn’t weave together the right words and adjectives to have it lay out a clear path to start walking, let alone make sense to anyone else.

“I’m not trying to build a successful business,” I scribbled on the page. “I’m laying my life down in service of the work I’m here to do and the people I’m here to help.”

Oooooh, yes. That. A thousand times that.

I’m beginning to believe the difference between being another successful business owner and being a true leader in our industries around the things we’re most passionate about comes down to the exact thought that surfaced on the page in that moment. When we stop trying to control the outcome and other people and every aspect of our life and work.

When we stop focusing on the numbers and trying to bend and fold into something that someone else decided is “how we become successful.” When we stop defining success by the numbers and money and fame.

We become the leaders we aspire to be when we recognize that it’s about laying our lives down in service of the work we’re called to do.

I’ve always been purpose driven. Absolutely devoted to my calling. I’ve said time and time again that I exist in this life in service of very specific work. I care about people and making a difference… but I’m guilty of spending too much time focusing on building a successful business. Of worrying what others think and trying to reach a type of “success” just for the sake of reaching it because it’s what we all collectively decided matters.

The cracking open of this year, the shift at my core and in my work, all of this is because I’m being asked to step up in a bigger way.

It’s like the Universe showed up and said, “alright girl, are you willing to do what it takes to make the difference you were put here to make? Are you read to play the game for real?” And I’m learning that saying yes is one of the hardest and most challenging things we’ll ever do in this life.

It’s easier to stay focused on building a successful business.

It’s hard as hell to say yes to the call to become a true leader, to really lay down your life in service, take your feet off the wall, and allow something bigger than you to use you up in the name of service.

We like the word service. It makes us feel all warm and fuzzy on the inside. It makes us sound like we really care about people. And usually, like me, we do. But the more deeply you step into your work, the more you begin to see how hollow that word tends to be in our society. In the business building, online marketing, coaching worlds. Empty. Void of true meaning. Lacking actual energetic commitment in a way that truly serves.

To me, laying my life down in service of the work I’m here to do is bigger than I may ever understand. It’s about offering myself, my life, and my work up to the Universe, God, or the divine and saying, “use me up and spit me out, put me to work on your behalf to help others open and grow however they most need to.”

Use me up and spit me out.
Put me to work on your behalf.
Move through me for something bigger.
No matter what that means for me and my life.

It’s about surrender and devotion.

Knowing that I may be asked to let go of people and things I’m not ready to lose. That I may be challenged in ways which break my heart all over again. In ways that ask me to stretch and bend and tear through all that blocks me from being truthful and completely, utterly open. To let my business fail in ways it may need to so that I can serve more people. Really, truly serve them. To let go of the pieces my ego clings to, the popularity and big paydays. The nice car or perfect apartment.

I may lose followers and subscribers and even clients with this simple post. And it’s about to get way more real up in here beyond this. That’s okay. It’s perfect actually… because I’m not worrying about the numbers. I’m worrying about the work and being aligned as fully as is humanly possible. In offering myself and my life and work up in service of others.

And I think sometimes that means things need to get a little messy and unsteady first. That some things need to fall apart and burn to the ground to make space for what’s next. And I’m willing, wholeheartedly committed, to walk through whatever’s asked of me next.

How about you? Are you trying to build a successful business, or are you truly surrendering in service of the work and the people you’re here to help? I absolutely believe we can have both… but I know, without a shadow of a doubt that one has to happen before the two can stand side by side in our life story.

How to Take a Different Approach in Positioning and Building a Five Star Lifestyle Business

In this episode I talk with one of my absolute favorite humans, Skip Lackey, creator of Meditation Prescription, My Chief Wellness Officer, and Praxis Leadership Academy, as well as the co-founder of Five Star By Design. Skip has been involved in the personal growth, leadership, and wellness industries for over 35 years and over 25 years working in the entertainment industry in every way imaginable! His personal mission is “to enhance the lives of others by introducing consciousness tools at work and at home to anyone and everyone interested.” It’s a big mission and he lives by the idea of, “if not him, then who? If not now, then when?”

Skip and I talk in depth about MeditationPrescription.com, a site built around using meditation as a tool to heal from many different ailments or health issues. While there are tons of meditation albums and sites out there, Skip has taken it to another level by using guided imagery and approaching the medical community from a research-based perspective. We also talk about his new venture, Five Star By Design, and how to use appreciation as a way to hold onto your clients for the long haul, as well as how it helps you grow a lifestyle business where you’re only working a handful of hours each week. One of Skip’s greatest strengths is curiosity, and we talk about how that’s helped him grow in ways that most people would choose to give up. It’s a fantastic episode, every single minute of it, so I invite you to dive in now!

Be sure to subscribe to this podcast on iTunes!

 

13517567_10157079097685644_2646678989481800588_oSkip Lackey has been involved in the personal growth, leadership, and wellness industries for over 35 years. As a Business, Leadership, Life, and Success Coach, he has personally worked with over 10,000+ clients, taught over 1000 workshops and done over 1000 personal appearances over his career. He has also been on stage in front of over 1,000,000+ people over his career in the entertainment industry. His personal mission is to – “To enhance the lives of others by introducing consciousness tools at work and at home to anyone and everyone interested.” It’s a big mission and he lives by the idea of – “if not him, then who? If not now, then when?”Skip is a serial entrepreneur having launched a number of businesses over the last 34 years. His recent ventures includeMeditation Prescription, My Chief Wellness OfficerPraxis Leadership Academy, and Five Star By Design. The majority of his time is spent business coaching small to medium sized companies and organizations on what is possible when the culture of the company is in alignment with the mission, vision and values of the existing leadership team. He wants to help others thrive in this ever-changing economy and business landscape by fundamentally getting managers and business owners to engage on a personal level to motivate and coach team members as they become conscious, engagement oriented leaders.

Modalities: Neuro-Liguistics Programing, Senior Visionary Leadership Coach, Business Coaching, Presentation-Live and TV Coach, Neuro-Associative Conditioning, Meditation Teacher/Creator, Stress Reduction, Senior Accredited Journey Practitioner, Hypnosis, Nutrition, Strategic Planning, Conscious Communication, Holotropic Breathwork, Nutrition and more. Lackey combines his vast personal growth knowledge along with his heart and compassion to bring these skills into your business and work life to be the perfect addition to your team as your Chief Wellness Officer and Leadership/Success Coach.

You’re Doing It Right If You Wish You Hadn’t

 

photo-1434030216411-0b793f4b4173I have to walk away from my computer a lot. If you email me in response to this post, you might not hear from me for a week, though I will usually always reply. Sometimes I’m in straight “output” mode on social media and I don’t actually read or look at anything anyone posts or says in reply to me.

I do this because I have to.

Clients often express that they want to be more open and truthful in their work or relationships. They want to share like I do. They want to put it all out there, but they’re afraid. They want to know how they can be less afraid like me.

And I laugh, because I’m still so very afraid.
Which is why I have to walk away from my computer.
And why I won’t open responses to emails for up to a week.

There are many times I send out a post on Facebook and I immediately wish I hadn’t. I wish I hadn’t shared that truth. I wish I hadn’t spoken the words that tumbled out from deep inside my soul. I wish people weren’t paying attention. I wish I could just disappear. I wish my work didn’t require such transparency.

I’m learning that I’m doing it right if I wish I hadn’t.

The blog posts that keep me up all night, tossing and turning and wondering if I should hit cancel and write something different or rephrase that one part that will make someone mad. The ones that, when I sleep past 6am, have me wake up with a drop in my stomach and an, “oh gawd, that email went out.” The ones where I will see your responses come in, and I will just mark them as read, making a note to return to them later in the week.

I realize that my posts aren’t that crazy and wild. They’re not provocative and I’m not spilling secrets or insider information or anything special.

I’m simply sharing me.
My truth in the moment.
How I feel in my heart.
Whatever needs to be said.

One of the first things I tell my clients after I laugh and share with them how terrified I am, LIKEALLTHETIME, is that you have to lean into it.

This truth telling thing isn’t easy, though it’s simple. I’ll say it again: “just show up and tell the truth” is not as easy as just showing up and telling the truth. It’s hard and it’s scary and we’re not usually in the practice of doing it, especially on a grand scale. So you have to lean into it. You have to push your edges a little bit further each time you open your mouth or put words on the page.

There’s an art to truth telling.

It’s not about pretty words or positioning or sandwiching the hard pieces between fluffy niceties. It’s about grace.

Oftentimes when we first crack open and begin to speak our truths, when we commit to greater transparency and vulnerability in all the we do, it’s a little messy. Sloppy even. As my mentor described it perfectly, it’s like an over-inflated balloon… when we remove our hands the thing goes flying around all over the place spewing spit and air on anything that it comes across.

Not pretty.

Besides the messes we can make, it’s also about self care, because truth telling is hard. It’s hard to put yourself out there, and vulnerability hangovers are a real thing that can knock you on your ass harder than all the tequila shots in the world. Vulnerability hangovers can break you, and sometimes they’re near impossible to come back from, which slows us down.

So instead of flying around like an over-inflated balloon that’s just found it’s freedom, you lean in. You ask yourself what would push your edges, just a little bit further? What would stretch you, just a little bit further? What would make you uncomfortable, just a little bit more than before?

And then you walk away when you have to. Because having pieces of your heart and soul and truth hanging out in the open air for the world to see and judge, it’s not easy. And just because it’s not easy and you wish you hadn’t, that doesn’t mean you should stop… so you take the space when you need it.

All I know is the word needs more truth telling.

People who are willing to be completely honest about their experiences, in the moment and after, so we stop feeling so alone in all that we’re going through.

Your real life friends and online acquaintances, businesses, celebrities big and small, and even the people you spend your everyday with, so many of them are hiding out behind perfectly procured facades. Sharing only what supports the vision they want others to hold about them and their life.

That doesn’t serve anyone, especially not them.

It just creates separation where there should be oneness and understanding. It creates distance where there should be connection. It creates blocks where love should flow freely. It creates isolation where there should be support.

We’re experiencing a loneliness epidemic in the world when we are more connected than ever… because so few people are willing to tell the truth. And far too many people land somewhere in the middle, in the land of self-professed vulnerability, hiding behind half truths and polished fragments that don’t tell the whole story… when all we really need is for one another to just show up and tell the truth, even when it’s hard. Especially when you wish you hadn’t.

So if you’re willing, just show up and lean in a little bit more today, okay?

Why the Numbers Don’t Matter

Why the Numbers Don’t Matter

Lately I’ve stopped caring as much.

About the follows and likes and retweets or shares. I’ve stopped watching the numbers, though if I’m honest I’ll tell you I rarely looked at them to begin with. As I take my feet off the wall and free fall into what’s next, I’ve stopped worrying about the things that don’t matter. And numbers for the sake of numbers tops that list.

There’s a call inside me to open further than I’ve ever opened before. To peel back the flimsy layers that remain between what’s inside of me and the world. To tell my stories… the hard ones, the raw ones, the heartbreaking ones. The ones that show how human and broken and tired I am at times. The ones that taught me what it means to have trust and faith, when everything seems to be crashing down around you. The ones most people sugar coat and share in just the right lighting, so as to manage perceptions and judgments.

There’s a call inside me to open.
Without filters or a hard candy shell.
Without attempting to manage perceptions.
Without worrying about how well it’s being received.

“That’s a hard balance to strike,” he wrote me late one Tuesday night. Always my sounding board and the one who listens to whatever I need to say with love and wisdom. “Showing your vulnerability, knowing you want it to be seen, but being okay with it not being seen, and having the material be of service.”

“I want to focus more on the creating and sharing and less on the reach and numbers and whatever,” I responded. “Like, I just want my life and work to be out there and of service to whoever needs to see it.”

There were times I cared about the numbers. The size of my mailing list and Facebook following. The number of click throughs and how many people were landing on different pages of my website. If you ask most marketers about these things, they’ll tell you that they matter. Like, really really matter. Conversions and open rates. Split testing and bounce rates. Opt-ins and page hits.

I understand these things. I can intelligibly speak about them. I can tell you whether a 40% open rate is good or bad and what it means if your bounce rate is 78%. I can tell you how to split test and how to read the results so you know how to best convert people landing on the page. I know what colors make people click, what images work, where the images should be on the page, and how much your font size plays a factor in sign ups.

But I don’t care as much these days.
Because these days it’s about the work.

The creating. The sharing. The serving.

And while the only way to have a successful business is to have a healthy balance between caring about the numbers and caring about the work, I’m swaying hard to the left (we’re talking sides of my body here, people). To my heart space. To the part of me that’s married to my purpose. To the work.

“I want my life to read like a map for anyone who ever wanted to become someone new.” Hannah Brencher

When I stumbled across this quote I exhaled a deep, “this, yes.”

I want my life to read like a map. I want my life and work to be a guide for anyone who ever wanted to live a life and build their work around the things they’re most passionate about. The things that matter most to them. For anyone who ever had to claw their way out the darkness, fight to find their footing when everything shifted around them, and want to have their voice heard in the midst of the clutter and chaos that surrounds them.

I want my life — my work — to read like a map.

And because of this pull to open, to lay it all out there for the world to see, I’ve stopped caring as much about the numbers. Because the numbers shouldn’t guide the work to the degree that we tend to allow. The numbers shouldn’t tell me what I should and shouldn’t share. The numbers don’t account for the fact that there are things inside of me that have to come out and exist in the world for me to stay sane and happy and healthy. For me to not be eaten alive from the inside out. The numbers don’t show that I’m leaning in with trust and faith and am committed to what’s being asked of me, whether it brings me fame and fortune or not.

Because it’s not about the numbers and conversions.
It’s not about my bank account and making gobs of money.
It’s not about becoming internet famous.

It’s about the work.

The words. The service. The map.

So while I do believe the balance has to be there to attain certain types and levels of success, I also think we all need to enter a period of not caring about the stats from time to time. Focusing solely on what needs to be birthed from within, the body of work and legacy we want to leave behind. Let whatever needs to flow through come, and not try to mold it to what is already working for other people.

If there’s anything I’ve believed about business building with every cell of my being, it’s that there’s a business model, marketing plan, and audience for every beautiful idea, dream, and vision. And the sooner we can turn inward and immerse ourselves in the work, the sooner we’ll find exactly what it is we’re here to contribute.

Then, and only then, should the numbers be considered.

Am I reaching the people I want to reach? Is this an effective platform to get my words in front of the eyes that so desperately need to read them? Am I getting the support or funding necessary to sustain what I’ve built? How can I support myself or my business or my team and still maintain the integrity of my work?

But first, focus on the work.

 

Unique Marketing in Your Industry and Turning Experiments into Offerings

In this episode I talk with Matt Giovanisci, creator of Swim University and the rap genius behind the Hashtag Hustle music video! Matt is a former pool and spa care nerd who created the site to help owners around the world, going against the grain in his own industry. Matt also runs Roasty Coffee and Money Lab, where he turns experiments into actual offerings for fun.

Matt and I talk about how he taught himself to code his very first website and worked to build something profitable in an industry that was primarily “boring” with mostly brick and mortar stores. He poured everything he had into making it happen, including selling his car and moving in with his younger brother to reduce expenses. He talks about his biggest blocks and what it took to overcome those hurdles, as well as his biggest insights into breaking out of the box in your own industry. And to add a fun twist, we talk about why he decided to create his first rap video on pool care! 🙂

Be sure to subscribe to this podcast on iTunes!

 

13925556_10209933531115739_8233767049802841543_oMatt Giovanisci is an entertaining entrepreneur, website wizard, podcast producer, music maker, video veteran, and alliteration addict. He builds brands with his bare hands. A website designer and developer skilled in HTML, PHP, CSS, and JavaScript. Matt likes using Photoshop, Illustrator, Coda, Premier, After Affects, Logic, and Reason to produce websites. (Logic and Reason are programs — that was not a joke). He’s released over 6 full-length music albums in 5 years, including rock, hip-hop, and dance.

When Your Work No Longer Resonates

When Your Work No Longer Resonates

Recently I’ve been toying with the idea of pulling down years of content from my website. Which is hard, because I know that content has helped thousands of people over all the years it’s sat on my blog. I know this because many sweet souls write in to tell me exactly how a blog post or video training has helped them in their life or relationships. And yet I want to pull it all down, simply because that older work no longer resonates anymore… for me.

There’s a funny thing that happens as we move forward in our lives and work: we change, we shift, we grow.

Go figure.

Life happens. Loss happens. Love comes along and wakes us up. Things force us into transformation. We’re asked to take a path we never planned to walk. We learn new things. We lose pieces of ourselves that never quite fit. We let go of hands that weren’t meant to hold ours for as long as they did.

We change… and suddenly, we begin to cringe when someone excitedly shares that they read X or watched Y. We feel imposter syndrome in a new and challenging way, because we’re staring at work and words and ways of being that were honest and true in the moment, but no longer fit.

It’s a little weird, I’m not going to lie.

All I know is that as I evolve, I see that my work is more and more about integration between the light and dark. It’s about bringing two sides of me that are real and true and completely opposite into one space with a powerful new message.

This new work is all about meeting people where they’re at, deep in the muck of whatever life threw their way, and creating the space and safety for them to emerge as the person they’re here to be, doing work that lights their soul on fire. It’s about raw truth and transparency, and that my life is no longer just for me. It’s about service in way that scares me more than anything ever has.

It’s new.
It’s some of the old.
It’s different.
It’s some of the same.

And suddenly the words of the sweet little soul that started this business over four years ago feel empty and invalidating, despite being written and shared with a deep love and understanding. They feel incomplete and hollow, despite being filled with all the truths she knew about life and love and loss in the moment the words tumbled out. They feel rigid and overly polished, despite flowing freely and with a lot of openness at the time they came to be.

The words and the lessons feel foreign and void, because there’s so much more I’ve learned. So much more I want to say about all the things I’ve already said. There are new perspectives and ways of approaching topics. Ways of communicating that meet people where they’re at. Deep in the muck.

Case in point: I love my Awesome Life Tips.

I read them myself every morning (because they are divinely inspired and are as much for me as they are for you) and still hold a big vision for their role. But recently as I had a conversation about how my work and I are evolving, I pointed to my book and admitted with truth and hesitancy, “I love my tips, and they are real and true and needed… but in the depths of my grief this past winter, they would have done nothing for me.

The blogs that sit on my site in archives of years past would have done nothing for me. The videos that release when you subscribe would have done nothing for me. All I would have heard were words. Pretty, shiny, happy words that had no ability to tap in and touch my broken heart. To resonate inside the parts that hurt in order to help me find my footing and begin to heal.

Does that mean I don’t think they’re good and valuable? Not at all. I poured all I had to give into everything I’ve created… they’ve helped many people from around the world start making big shifts and changes in their lives, in the places they’re the most unhappy. But I evolved. I shifted. I grew. And my work and how I want to show up evolved and shifted and grew with me.

Life gave me an advanced skills class with a grief that took the wind straight from my body and rocked the ground beneath my feet. As soon as I felt like I’d “mastered” what I knew and how I taught it, life kicked me into the next level and forced me to grow even more. That growth has changed who I am, and if you’ve followed me for long, you know it’s changed how I write and work.

And that’s okay.
It’s perfect.
It’s as it should be.

It’s something I couldn’t see for many months, because the blur of my grief and the uncertainty of the new terrain was disorienting. We talk about outgrowing people and things… but there’s something to be said about outgrowing yourself.

Your work. Your ways of being and showing up. Shedding the old and make space for the new. Because if ever I find myself the same as I was six months or a year prior, I will know I’ve gotten too comfortable. I’ll know I’ve chosen safety and security and certainty over growth. I never want to stop choosing growth.

Growth is hard. It hurts like hell and sometimes it feels like you might not survive it. Sometimes it fees like you might actually die before you see the other side. It’s scary, yes… but it’s the point. It’s the only way to build a life and business and relationships that bring you joy at your core. It’s the only way to become who you’re here to be, to leave the mark you’re here to leave.

And while I haven’t made the decision to pull anything down just yet… my point is that it’s okay to outgrow yourself. It’s okay to look back at who you were with love, acknowledging the truth of what that person had to share and how they showed up, and have it not resonate even a little bit.

It’s okay.
It’s perfect.
It’s as it should be.

Creating a New and Unique Experiential Business

In this episode I’m talking with Rosh, the creator of The Blind Cafe, a Colorado-based, fiscally sponsored organization. Since 2010, The Blind Cafe has been delivering unique and inspiring events nationwide, all held in complete darkness and facilitated by legally blind keynote speakers and facilitators.

Rosh has created a truly unique business and experience, and we talk about what his inspiration was, how he created something new without having anything to model, and what hurdles he’s encountered along the way. Over the years, Rosh has taken The Blind Cafe to many locations around the country, moving to new cities and networking his way to sold out shows. He has since begun offering social change events and experiences for corporations and schools. Learn more about his model and his number one piece of advice for creating a business with no maps and nothing to model. Be sure to subscribe to this podcast on iTunes!

 

blindcafepic3Rosh is the creator of The Blind Cafe, a Colorado-based, fiscally sponsored organization operating under the non-profit 501(c)3 of The Boulder County Arts Alliance. Since 2010, The Blind Cafe has been delivering unique and inspiring positive social change events nationwide, all held in complete darkness & facilitated by legally blind keynote speakers and facilitators. Donations and contributions raised from our events and fiscal sponsorship donations, support the continuation of the innovative and experimental social change programs The Blind Cafe brings to the world! Learn more at www.TheBlindCafe.com!