It’s been way too long since you felt clear

It’s been way too long since you felt clear

The greatest gift of being a small business owner is freedom of choice. We get to choose our path, our business model, how we price our services, who we take on as clients, how we spend our time and everything in between. The choice is ours. And that feels pretty awesome for about 87.6 seconds until we realize that with these endless options, comes the agonizing reality that we actually have to choose something and forgo something else. That’s when our greatest gift becomes our greatest obstacle. We start to second-guess our strategies, doubt our capacities, question our decisions and move further and further away from meaningful action. We spend our time gathering more information under the guise of research, closely monitoring our competition in hopes of they’ll leave a bread crumb trail to success, and write out our ‘plan’ for the 145th time in a well-worn notebook. It’s here that we hope that clarity will come – that we’ll have a stroke of insight so strong and so certain that we’ll just know what to do next, and we can finally stop all the messy, muddy, “what the hell am I doing?” conversation, and step into the place where everything will shift. I have watched this unfold hundreds of times. I have listened to clients express their frustration and agony over not being clear enough to know what to do next. I have helped them navigate the pangs of analysis-paralysis that come from too many choices and not enough trust to pick one and get started. And I have been there too. Because nobody is immune (at least not...
You won’t find the time, until you do

You won’t find the time, until you do

Time has been on my mind a lot. As I spoke of in this post, my schedule went through a radical 180 this Fall and I feel like I’m just now settling in. As a client and friend said last week, “I was so happy to turn the page to October.” I couldn’t agree more. As I’ve been navigating my new schedule, I’ve been acutely aware of time – the time I have, the time I don’t have and everything in between. I use the word “bandwidth” a lot. I use the word “capacity” a lot. I look at my planning calendar A LOT! I ask myself where I can fit X in, or whether Y still works, and if I could possibly squeeze in a little Z too (and no, not the sleeping kind of ZZZZ). I ask myself where my time leaks are. I plan out my launches. I strategize. And in my gremlin moments, I sometimes wonder if I can really do it. But here’s the truth of it all. I won’t make time for what matters until I do. Isn’t that really the bottom line? Yes, there are some real truths about my schedule – just like I’m sure there are in yours too. Kids to pick up, client projects to complete, birthdays, weddings, conferences, and more — all things that contribute to the busyness burden of business. And I’m not really interested in saying yes to 500 things just because I want them all yesterday. I want to have a life. I want to take Sundays off from technology. I want to pick my kids...
3 Ways to Turn Down the Tension

3 Ways to Turn Down the Tension

Tension. It’s been on my mind a lot this week. I’ve been feeling it, my clients have been feeling it and my other entrepreneurial friends have been feeling it too. Seems there’s something in the air.    My hunch is that while we all experience tension throughout the year, there are particular points (September, New Years etc) that tend to shine a brighter light on the disconnect between what we want and what our reality actually is.  Tomorrow I’m hosting an in-person business planning workshop here in Calgary called, “Your Next 6 Months.” It was no surprise to me that it sold out quickly. We all want to feel like we’re making meaningful progress on the work that matters, but often we find ourselves engaged in daily, weekly and monthly activities that don’t actually support that.  And that’s where the tension lays.  We feel tension when our reality does not match our desire – when we feel the tug of “If this is what I say is important to me why am I not doing it?”  And that creates dissonance, self-doubt and gives your itty bitty shitty committee the chance to swoop in and have a party in your mind, reminding you of all the ways you aren’t living up to yourself.   A client of mine is working through her own tension right now as she lets go of the woman she was and writes a new story about the woman she’s becoming. To relieve the tension, she’s got to give herself permission to accept, embrace and even cheerlead this new version of herself – one that no longer looks...
You’ve got THIS. Are you using it?

You’ve got THIS. Are you using it?

Last night I had a convo with someone who works in the corporate world. They were remarking (ok, bemoaning) at how many of their fellow employees worked more-than-full days only to then take their laptops home and work each night until midnight. Really? Ugh. What struck me (aside for the sheer insanity of that practice), was that these employees were grinding themselves to the bone for someone else’s vision. It wasn’t cause-related (no babies were being saved here) and it wasn’t their asset. Yet they were working around the clock to slave away for the bottom line of the company. Listen, I have no issue with working hard for a company – I used to do it happily (mostly). But this unsustainable, work-a-holic practice seemed a bit over-the-top to me. In that moment, it really reminded me how blessed we are as entrepreneurs to get to advance OUR mission and work toward a vision that inspires us and our right people. Every single ounce of blood, sweat and tears we pour into our business matters – to us and to our customers and clients. I find that tremendously liberating, don’t you? A recent Forbes article identified 11 Reasons Why 2014 Will be a Breakout Year for Women Entrepreneurs. And I believe, for a myriad of reasons, we’ll continue to see more and more women start their own businesses. What inspires me to no end about that, is the collective global impact we as women in business can make – both economically and socially. When I think about the work my clients are doing in the world, I have no...
It’s not enough just to be great.

It’s not enough just to be great.

Every week I get to coach amazing women. They are coaches, landscape artists, speakers, community builders, dieticians, business efficiency experts, addiction & recovery experts, social media stars and purpose revealers. They are truly brilliant women who have a gift for their craft. And I’m betting that you do too. Your work? That thing you pour your passion into? Ya, you’re a star at that. Changing people’s lives? Done. Providing useful, applicable strategies to make someone’s life or business or health or relationships run more smoothly? You’re a PRO.  Being great at what you do is never the problem. Ever. Despite that dreadful imposter complex that says to you, “Who are you to do this?” I know the truth – you’ve got the talent and the heart to do this work. So let’s take this minute to own that. Because you’ve got it covered. Test passed. Now…this is where things can get a little sticky. Because the other truth is that it isn’t enough just to be great. Greatness alone will not grow your business’ bottom line, reach or impact. Being excellent at your craft grants you entry into the business arena, but it doesn’t get you much past GO.  Yet, many, many entrepreneurs (especially solopreneurs) make the fatal assumption that being amazing at WHAT you do = having an AMAZING business. And then are majorly disappointed when despite their credentials and training and ability – the business is struggling. So what’s the problem? Well, to quote small business expert and author Michael Gerber, “That Fatal Assumption is: if you understand the technical work of a business, you understand a...
Heads up? Or heads down?

Heads up? Or heads down?

I just got off the phone with an incredibly warm, smart and skilled woman. She’s hit a point where she’s ready to make some professional changes, but has absolutely no idea how to navigate her ‘what’s next?’ path. And she said to me, “I’ve been in ‘Heads Down mode’ just doing my work – working hard, and feeling pretty comfortable.” I see this daily with entrepreneurs – from start-ups all the way to seasoned pros. Your days, weeks, months and beyond are filled with heads down activities keeping the revenue coming in and the to-do lists checked. Here are some examples of what’s happening in Heads Down mode: Heads down mode is when the book actually gets written. Heads down mode is when we’re serving our beloved clients and changing lives and delivering impact. Heads down mode is when we’re first getting started and working tirelessly behind-the-scenes to bring our dream to life (think website branding, copy, etc). Heads down mode is when we’re in our creative process – writing, drawing, consulting, serving, designing etc. We are deep IN the work of our craft. For many creative entrepreneurs, this is the happy spot – you get to dive deep into your craft, and do what you do best and often make great progress in the process. It’s also a place of great comfort. Your skills are clear here. Your value is tangible. And it keeps fear at bay because your edges aren’t being stretched. Yet, if you stay in heads down mode too long – you put your business at risk and likely keep it plateaued (ever wonder why...

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