your wounds, gifts and nature

A quick thought . . .

The direction of your niche is determined by your wounds.

The form of your niche is determined by your natural gifts. Those things you are most naturally best at, that come without effort are what you should build your niche around.

The tone of your niche is determined by your nature. Who you are at your core. Some people are gypsies and love to travel. Others are farmers. Some people love to play on the surface and not be so serious all the time and others like to dive into the depths. It’s all wonderful.

When you weave these together you get a really authentic niche where the direction, form and tone come together into something really unique and wonderful.

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Want Help? If you’d like some more direct guidance and hand holding on figuring out your niche then go and check out my Niching for Hippies coaching program http://marketingforhippies.com/niching-for-hippies/

six reasons why niching can heal you

cave 300x200 six reasons why niching can heal youI’ve said it a lot of times: your deepest wounds are often the doorway to your truest niche.

The things you’ve struggled with and overcome are places you have not only credibility but also capacity to help others.

If you’re going to be a guide for people, best to pick a terrain you’re familiar with and have successfully traversed.

I’ve recently been thinking that, perhaps the purpose of growing up is to become the adult you needed when you were younger. Many people look back on their life in astonishment and say, ‘I so needed someone like me when I was younger.’

Of course, what this also means is that they’ve become that very person others need. Because the world is full of younger versions of you. It’s full of people who are, right now, struggling like you once were.

This all sounds terribly poetic.

It can actually be terrifying.

But it also be incredibly healing if you’re willing to sit with it.

REASON #1: Acknowledging how far you’ve come. The realization that you’ve grown so much that you’ve become the person who you most needed can really be a powerful moment for people. It can put so much in perspective. It’s bitter sweet. You never got that support, but you can give it to others. There’s no doubt that we all have further to grow. But it’s important to acknowledge our efforts and how far we came.

Is the United States still full of racism? Yes. But it does not honour the work of everyone who vested their life in the civil rights movement to be cynical and not acknowledge the real progress that has happened.

All too often we compare our movies to other people’s hilite reels. We compare our insides to their outsides. We compare ourselves to people who we imagine to be further ahead. We compare ourselves to perfection. No wonder we so often feel like shit. But sit back and notice how much you’ve grown. Give yourself credit for all you’ve overcome and all you’ve learned. You are not who you once were. It can be easy to not realize how very much you’ve grown and learned.

REASON #2: A Clearer Map. When you look back to understand how you made the journey you did, you’ve got to retrace your steps a bit. And, for some reason, there’s something profoundly healing about understanding our past better. As T.S. Elliot put it, ‘We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.’

REASON #3: A Clearer Point of View. Perhaps this is the most powerful. You went through your journey. You were struggling. And you probably tried a lot of things to deal with that. You’ve developed opinions on the best way to do the journey. If you struggled with a disease and overcame it, you have very clear opinions on what approaches were useful to you and which weren’t. And, at the end of the day, people are buying your point of view. The journey is what establishes relevance but it’s the point of view that establishes resonance.

And a clear point of view will do wonders for you too. It has you feel clearer inside. It has you feel like you have more to offer than you’d noticed you did before. It has you feel stronger and more solid in your offers. You’ll be far more attractive to others because ‘the confused mind says no’ – and it feels good to be attractive. You’ll, more to the point, be attractive to people who share your point of view (and that means better and lovelier clients). You feel less like a fraud and more like you know what you’re talking about. Want some examples of point of view in marketing? Read this.  How do you clarify your point of view? Try starting with these questions.

REASON #4: You Help People Like You. There’s something incredibly healing and meaningful about helping people who are where you were. It’s what pulled Victor Frankl through the Nazi death camps. The commitment that this should never happen again to anyone. To realize you are no longer your wounds – you’re the medicine that flows from them. To be able to offer the very thing you most craved having and never got. There’s a way it can almost feel like you’re traveling back in time and giving it to yourself. You get to see the smiles, the relief, the healing that comes from helping others. And that is healing. When we find our niche our deepest wounds have a chance to be transformed into our gift to the world. Our deepest wounds become our artform.

REASON #5: It’s Liberating. When people finally find their niche in the world (or even one to explore) so much energy becomes freed up. You’re no longer trying to get everyone in the world to like you (we tend to spend a lot of energy on that). We get to engage our whole selves into something and that brings about an incredible sense of wholeness, integration and healing. I’d say those three words all mean the same thing anyway.

REASON #6: You See The Bigger Picture. So many people, when they look back over their lives, find it incredibly healing to see how their lives have mysteriously and perfectly prepared them for the work they are now doing (or feel called to do).

“We come unbidden into this life, and if we are lucky we find a purpose beyond starvation, misery, and early death which, lest we forget, is the common lot. I grew up and I found my purpose and it was t become a physician. My intent wasn’t to save the world as much as to heal myself. Few doctors will admit this, certainly no young ones, but subconsciously, in entering the profession, we must believe that ministering to others will heal our woundedness.And it can. But it can also deepen the wound . . . You live it forward, but understand it backward.”- Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese

 

IAskedArch six reasons why niching can heal you

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Want Help? If you’d like some more direct guidance and hand holding on figuring out your niche then go and check out my Niching for Hippies coaching program http://marketingforhippies.com/niching-for-hippies/

why niching can freak us out so much

vintage bird nest illustration postcard p239633182030665626baanr 400 300x300 why niching can freak us out so muchI’ve long noticed how much stuff niching seems to bring up for people. They freeze, they resist, they ignore, they freak out. 

On the surface, it would seem like an over reaction.

But is it really?

The word niche comes from the old French verb ‘nicher’: to make a nest.

Our niche in the world is our home, our place in the world.

And surely that’s a significant question.

So, while many coaches can’t understand why their clients are so worked up about figuring out a simple target market, their clients are melting down because they can’t seem to find their place in the world. It’s a bigger issue than it seems. Or at least has the potential to be if you take it seriously.

But it gets worse . . . because the direction of our niche is often determined by our wounds.

The things we’ve struggled hard to overcome are often the very things we’re best qualified to help others with.

And so, in setting the direction of our niche out in the world we are asked to look back inside . . . deep, deep, deep at our sorest spots. They places we were hurt the deepest. And as one of my clients in the six week Niching for Hippies coaching program pointed out, “Seems the fears are aroused when the wounds our picked at. the scabs may have formed but taking your course and the work involved made me see they had not healed over completely. Your article suggests that paying attention to this new rawness or exposure can not only help us connect to ourselves in new ways, but to those we hope to serve.”

It’s hard to admit we don’t know our place in the world.

It’s hard to look at our wounds.

It’s hard to admit those wounds may not be totally healed.

That’s why niching can be a struggle I think.

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Want Help? If you’d like some more direct guidance and hand holding on figuring out your niche then go and check out my Niching for Hippies coaching program http://marketingforhippies.com/niching-for-hippies/

don’t ignore your niching fears

fear 225x300 dont ignore your niching fearsAs I discovered during my Niching for Hippies six week coaching program, people have a lot of fears around niching. And then coaches encourage them to push through those because ‘niching is so important’.

But I’ve been learning that those fears are actually important to listen to. Sometimes the very thing that seems like it’s in the way of your progress is the way to progress. If you feel stuck in your niching efforts, don’t just push through it. Don’t discount it. Consider how your experience of resistance to the niching process could also be connected to the challenges your clients face.

One client told me they felt so stuck in their niching and I invited them to consider how that particular feeling of stuck might relate to how their clients felt about their own problems. Eyes widened, ‘Oh.’

In the example below, my client (in an actual chat transcript) realizes that her fear of being seen as a fraud might actually be connected to her clients’ burn out. That her fear of being a fraud might be her flavour of how she goes about burning out: ‘I don’t want to be seen as a fraud, so I will over compensate by working so hard to prove myself . . . and then burn out.’

It doesn’t mean this will be true of all her clients.

But it does mean that she now has a much more personal connection to and understanding of burn out and how it can happen. There’s more compassion and understanding. There’s more empathy. She’ll be able to see their situation much more clearly because she sees herself more clearly. The thing which seemed like the wall, became a doorway.

I am finding, more and more, that this is very often the case.

When a fear comes up you can dismiss it and say that fear is bad. Or . . . you can really listen to it and hear the wisdom it has for you. Your fears and resistances might surprise you. They’re often some part of us that is wanting to be acknowledged for their gifts. They might be trying to tell you it’s not the right niche. Or that your approach isn’t quite right. Or that there’s something you’re not seeing.

Instead of trying to ‘get over it’ try really sitting with it. Get still and quiet. Pour yourself a cup of tea. Bust out your journal.

Get curious.

Here’s our conversation . . .

 

Client: Ok, I have a quick niche question
 
me: yay! thank you so much!
 
Client: if you have a sec
 
me: sure

Client: ok, so I’ve been working on my website free resource, I think it’s really awesome and it actually really naturally rolled to a place where offering a free intro session felt good and valuable (yay!) anyway, I know generally who the market is and the result, but I haven’t crystallized it into a clear statement yet, I’m working on that now
 
me: cool

Client: So my niche is burned out entrepreneurs – but I love working with experts – you know authors, speakers, etc burned out experts
 
me: right
 
Client: but I think I’m having the “it’s too specific” fear
 
me: sure!
 
Client: but I love them…
 
me: tell me more about the fear?
 
Client: there won’t be enough.. which I know is irrational because I’ve been working with a bunch already

me: is there anything underneath that? or anything else coming up around that? these things are good to pay attention to

Client: yeah I think part of me is scared, I finally found something that I love and I want it to work… and for some reason get specific leads the brain to think I’d cutting people out . . . just typing this stuff to you is helping:D
 
me: and what would it mean to you to be cutting people out?

Client: it’s really weird, because I know that the original thought was I wouldn’t get clients because there probably isn’t enough people who are experts that are burned out… but then when you asked me the question, the first thing that popped into my head was I’d get to work with exactly the people I wanted to – the people that excite me most. and since I’m not financially dependent on my business, that’s really the only way I want it

me: got it. so . . . what else might stop you from really focusing on these people?
 
Client: my fear of being seen as a fraud...like by getting specific, those people are all somehow connected to each other and if one person thinks I’m a fraud they all will. that’s a simplistic way of thinking about it, but the essence of the emotion is that

me: that’s so real and honest. i totally get that. so that if you narrow in and focus on this community it’s like a much faster track to implosion. like if you don’t do anything or just help friends in general ways then no worries

Client: yeah
 
me: but if you really focus on something then shit – it acccelerates you being exposed
 
Client: right it’s the exposure thing…I’ve been really trying to focus on what I need to feel safe
 
me: so then it’s inevitable that you’ll be shpwn as a fake and everyone will be talking about you. i totally get it!being exposed as a fraud does not feel safe

Client: right…
 
me: i imagine that might be one of the least safe things that you could feel in your life

Client: although I’m not sure why I feel like a fraud.. because the work I’ve done has completely changed my life and now it’s working on others who were feeling burned out and lost hope for their businessand most of all I figured it out on my own and I’ve tested it.. that’s the least fraud-like behaviour ever

me: i invite you to keep sitting with it. you might look at where else in your life you’ve felt like a fraud. or when you first felt that.
 
Client: yeah ok
 
me: but also – i’m curious if you can see any connection between the FEAR of being seen as a fraud and burning out

Client: oh GREAT question
 
me: like does the fear of being seen as a fraud cause you to overwork which then causes burn out?
 
Client: totally... I think I’ve made this connection before… at least the over-compensating and burn.. not the fraud part

me: i think that this fear isn’t in the way to you finding your niche – i think it might actually be a doorway into going much deeper into this niche and finding our perfect authentic relationship to it
 
Client: you are so right… when I read that my whole body relaxed..

me: that is a good sign

Client: that was awesome 

You can learn more about my perspective on niching in my Niching 101 for Hippies ebook.

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Want Help? If you’d like some more direct guidance and hand holding on figuring out your niche then go and check out my Niching for Hippies coaching program http://marketingforhippies.com/niching-for-hippies/