The Four Things You Need To Do Before Marketing

If you’re struggling with your marketing, it’s likely because of things that have nothing to do with marketing.

If you can’t seem to make the tactics you’re using to promote yourself work, it’s likely not about the tactics.

In order for your marketing to work, there are things that need to be done first. If marketing is the house, then there are foundations. If marketing is the skin, then there is a skeleton.

When people lack those foundational pieces they struggle in their marketing and can’t complete most of the online marketing courses they sign up for.

I asked my friend Rebecca Tracey of TheUncagedLife.com (who has appeared on my blog before) to make a video about this to share with you what she sees as the four biggest things the people need to do before they do any marketing at all. The video is about 14 minutes and it’s well worth your time.

I urge you to check out her program if you’re a coach who is struggling to grow their business. I’ve sent a lot of clients to Rebecca over the years and there’s been nothing but rave reviews. I love this woman dearly and deeply trust her perspective on growing a solid, sustainable business using realistic approaches.

If you’re interested in her program you can learn more at the links below.

Affiliate Link: https://theuncagedlife.com/uncageyourbusiness/ref/127/

Non Affiliate Link: https://theuncagedlife.com/uncageyourbusiness/

Good Hands

43547063 - massage therapist standing by bassage tavle with hands crossed and looking outside the window

Your clients want to know they’re in good hands with you.

I’m thinking about this because I just came back from a mediocre massage.

The style wasn’t one I liked. A bit too abrupt. Not as flowing and as intuitive as I like.

But that wasn’t the big issue.

In fact, there were no big issues.

There was her walking in on me while I was undressing. The bolster being positioned wrong when I lay down and her not noticing. Her cold hands at the start of the massage. When I flipped over she didn’t readjust the bolster. In other massages, it’s been something different: finger nails not trimmed, going way too hard, not checking in on how it’s going, the room being too hot or too cold. There are lot of tiny things that can add up to a massage not being great.

At the end of this massage, I lay there, face up, with an eye pillow over my eyes, relaxing. Rather than saying, “Ok. It’s over. Take your time getting up. I’ll bring you some water.” and leaving, she abruptly pulled the eye pillow off and me out of what little reverie and relaxation had been achieved. “How was it?”

“It was alright.” I said feeling a bit jarred. This was a question I was wishing she would have saved until after I was up and dressed.

“Oh no!” she said. “I’m sorry. What could I have done better?”

And so I shared my experience with her. She seemed to take it in. It’s how we all learn.

She asked me if I wanted a glass of water. I nodded and said, “yes.” And then lay there waiting for five minutes until I realized she wasn’t coming back. I got up and got dressed. She was waiting outside the door for me having misheard me to say that, “No,” I didn’t want a glass of water. Her English was not very good. She was sweet. It happens.

That she asked me so sincerely for feedback saved the whole thing for me. Without that, it would have been a write-off. That’s good to remember. People are so incredibly forgiving when they feel valued and that their issues have really been heard.

None of those things are big. And yet, put together, they add up to the person on the table not being able to relax, always feeling like they need to manage the experience or be on guard a little, not being able to trust the hands they’re in.

Perhaps you’ve had this with a life coach, business coach, contractor, consultant or therapist. You can’t seem to relax because you don’t trust them.

This all matters so profoundly for marketing.

Remember: word of mouth is based on their experience of working with us (or what they hear about the experience from others) so, if the experience is off (due to big things or a dozen smaller things) the word of mouth will wither up and dry or, worse, become a downward spiral instead.

It’s like that.

Remember: people can be petty. People have a hard time saying, ‘No’. People rarely ever give feedback unless asked. They just volunteer. Your clients are not enlightened sages with impeccable communication and boundaries.

This dynamic of people craving to be able to relax and trust in your guidance is true for any business you can think of. People come in full of stress and pain. They want our help. They want to know they are in good hands and that they can relax those muscles that have been clenched too long.

This doesn’t mean you don’t ask things of them. It means they trust what you’re asking of them.

It doesn’t mean you don’t get them to do some work too. It means they trust this work has a chance of paying off.

It means that, when they’re around you, they can just relax and open to your help.

We all crave to find some good hands into which we can collapse sometimes.

Imagine yourself as your own client: are you relaxed or slightly vigilant?

Imagine yourself as your own client: what kinds of hands are you in?

Additional Reading: 

I Don’t Care How Good You Are At What You Do

Gifts vs. Tools

10025966 - stone age axe

Gifts and tools are different things.

Gifts are those things that come to you naturally. Those capacities, inclination, tendencies and abilities you were born with. These are the things you do that feel effortless for you where you lose track of time. We are, in some mysterious way, born with these. They are woven into who we are. Identical twins can be born and yet have such different gifts – one a good listener and the other a good speaker. Same DNA. Born into the same “when” and the same “where” and yet . . . so different. It’s one of life’s most enduring mysteries.

If you are thwarted in the expression of your gifts, you will suffer. If these are identified and fostered and you’re given chances to express them, you will thrive.

Tools are an entirely different beat all together. In the context I’m speaking of, a tool might be a modality you use in your healing practice (e.g. massage, reiki, NLP, yoga therapy, Non-Violent Communication, The Work of Byron Katie, life coaching, etc.)

While I was in Iceland for a session of the Orphan Wisdom School, Stephen Jenkinson was sharing with us his understand of what a “tool” is. The gist of it was that a tool is something basic, small and simple, with few moving parts. It’s something primitive. It’s not complicated. A tool extends the grasp of the hand (e.g. a wooden spoon), augments the strength of the grip (e.g. pliers) but it does so in a way that the hand recognizes itself in the extension – in kind, not degree. A tool makes the hand more able. The work you do with tools is a devotional act. You can see this in the incredible care that people took of their tools in traditional cultures and the veneration they gave them. They treated their tools as sentient, just just alive as they were. A tool is a sacred thing. But not a “thing.” A sacred “one.”

And so the techniques, skills, processes, and modalities we learn are tools and they extend, strengthen, magnify and enhance the grasp of our gifts. They allow the capacity for more detail and nuance in our work.

And so our tools are in a deep relationship with our gifts.

If you are doing work that isn’t built around your natural gifts and you have no tools you’re using, you’re “winging it” at something you’re mediocre at. Your work will only ever be functional. It’ll be okay at best.

If you are doing work that isn’t built around your natural gifts and you have a lot of really good tools you’re using, you’re probably “competent.” But you’ll likely only ever be good at it.

If you are doing work that is built around your natural gifts and you have no tools you’re using, you’re “winging it” at something you’re naturally great at. Your work will be good, but unpredictable. It’ll be inconsistently amazing at best. This is the mad genius, the unpracticed artistic genius, the untutored savant.

If you are doing work that is built around your natural gifts and you have plenty of tools you’re practiced with or in, this is closer to the neighbourhood of mastery or, better yet, a deep devotion to the expression of your gifts in this world, in the most skillful and articulated way possible.

And so, this is the goal: to find the right tools to help you express your gifts and become skillful in using them.

This is how you become trustworthy.

Intake Forms & Earning Trust

Trust

I went to see a therapist the other day.

It was my first time making an appointment with her.

I arrived early to the old house, renovated to be a clinic where my naturopath is also housed, and was offered some tea while I filled out the intake form.

Some of the questions were straight forward but some of them were incredibly personal, asking about addictions and relationship status. Neither of which, to my knowledge, have anything to do with what I was there for. I left them both blank for the most part and gave only partial answers to other questions. They felt immensely assumptive.

Never assume that your clients should trust you. Trust is earned. 

I realized that, aside from the basics, I only wanted one question on the intake form, “What brings you to see me today?”

“Can you pay before the session? I’ll be on my lunch break when you get out.”

“Sure,” I said and then caught my breath at the $180 price tag for the hour. Shit. I had not realized it was going to be that much. Rule #1 of Pricing: never surprise people unless it’s with a discount. Sighing, I paid and followed the receptionist upstairs.

The therapist came out a few minutes later and invited me into her office. She had a good vibe and I liked her right away.

“So, this first session is mostly to go over the intake form, the policies and to answer any questions you have and then to maybe do a bit of work.”

I hate this.

This happened to me a few months ago when, on a friend’s suggestion, I went to see a therapist who spent the entire session talking about the theory of the treatment and the ethics of the whole thing.

In both cases, I sat there thinking, “What the fuck? Why am I paying $180 to have her go over things she could have emailed me in advance?”

“Did you read up the technique we’ll be using?” she asked.

I shook my head. It would have been a good idea. “I wasn’t given anything on it to read.”

“You didn’t take any of the flyers at the front desk?”

I shook my head.

From a marketing and business standpoint, this is such a gap.

When I booked the appointment, the therapist sent me the following email:

I am sending you an email to welcome you and also to pass along some information prior to our first session. If you have had counseling before, this may be familiar. In general, the first appointment is primarily a paperwork, history-taking and get-to-know-you session.
 
However, if there is something that you want to make sure we address specifically in that first session, please let me know either ahead of time via email or at the start of the session so that we can budget enough time.The first session is also an opportunity to clarify your goals for coming for counseling. Sometimes a good way to frame this is to ask yourself how you will know you’re done with counseling? How will you feel? What will your life be like?
 
It is best to approach counseling as a process and to allow sufficient time for you to work through what you need to work through. This time-frame varies from person to person, depending on issue(s), personality, and history. In general, however, you should notice some positive change in the first 3 sessions and more substantive change in 8-10 sessions.
 
My job is to support you in your process, offering expertise and feedback. If you are finding that my approach is not working for you, I welcome your feedback, as a means to learn and grow myself, and to see if I can better address your needs.
 
I look forward to meeting you.
Warm regards,

 

It was a fine email to get and set the context well and, I would have loved it if she had added a link to a 10-15 minute video about the modality and asked that I make sure I watch it before the session. It would have been wonderful if it was a video of herself explaining it. I might have watched the video and decided that due to her vibe or her description of the modality that it wasn’t a fit. I might also have gotten even more excited to see her. And there could have been another video that would go over all of the ethics and other typical things discussed in a first session.

And then, two days before, if she’d sent me a reminder email with those two links asking me to make sure I set aside thirty minutes to go over these before the session but that, if I didn’t have him, it was alright, we’d just go over the content together in the session – then I would have had the choice.

As a client, I deeply resent paying money to sit through something I could do better at home.

She began to go through my intake form which had me wonder why I bothered writing it down in the first place. Couldn’t she have just had it and written it down as we talked?

Stop being cranky I told myself.

“So it says here your last relationship…” and she begins to ask me about whether I’m dating or if that’s something I’m looking for.

I narrow my eyes.

“I am confused by this line of questioning.” I say. I’m not particularly trying to be nice about this.

I’m paying her $180 for this time and she hasn’t even asked me why I’m there. It’s reminding me of the pulse reader from last week. But it’s also different. These are issues that seem to, in no way, relate to why I’m there. They are immensely personal issues to be divulging to someone I’ve just met. Perhaps most therapists assume that they are trustworthy. Maybe they’ve lost touch with how vulnerable these issues are for people and it’s become rote for them.

I don’t know why.

But I sat there resenting her questions wondering, “Who do you think you are to ask me such questions with no context of why you’re asking them or how they relate to why I’m here? And why haven’t you asked me why I’m here?”

Never assume that your clients should trust you. Trust is earned. 

She is thrown off for a second but seems to collect herself quickly, “Oh, it’s just taking your history for what we’re going to be working on.”

“Why don’t we skip to that?” I say.

“Sure.” And, to her credit, we do.

The good Bill Baren suggests starting off your first session with a client with two questions: “Why me? Why now?”

I wish all sessions would start this way.

If she’d asked, “Why me?” I would have said, “Well, I’ve heard good things about the modality you use and my naturopath recommended you as someone who could help me with some things I’ve been struggling with.”

If she’d said, “Why now?” it would have been a doorway into my symptoms and struggles.

She didn’t ask those questions but I took the opening in her conversation to lay it all out for her. She listened well and I immediately relax to not be sitting there and waiting or regretting having shared something so personal.

If there are other issues related to this that come up, I think to myself, I’ll be happy to share them. But I didn’t walk into this room with an agreement to share every secret I have.

Trust is such a precious thing. And it’s earned. Our unwillingness to go slowly, in the beginning, is so much of what kills trust in both a therapist-client relationship or a customer-business relationship. You are rarely done much harm by going slowly.

By the end of the session, I really liked her and she had earned some portion of my trust.

But it lifts up questions for all of us: where in our business or helping processes are we assuming trust? Where are we asking questions we have not yet earned the right to ask? Where could we give more context into the reasons for our asking the questions we ask. Can we trust the process in that the right information will come up at the right time?

Never assume that your clients should trust you. Trust is earned. 

Additional Reading:

Marketing for Psychotherapists

Slow Marketing

Case Study: Hidden Gems (good thoughts on personalizing intake forms here)

I Don’t Care How Good You Are At What You Do

I recently went to see a holistic health practitioner in town about whom I’d heard good things.

I arrived at his office and was welcomed to sit down.

He opened his laptop and asked me for my email and then for my wrist. “We start with taking your pulse,” he explained.

So he took my pulse for about a minute and then, for the next 45 minutes told me what was going on and what I needed to do about it based on my particular constitution and body type. As he made these suggestions, he typed them into the email he was going to send me.

And I sat there having an incredibly mixed experience. 

On one hand, his words were incredibly accurate to what I was experiencing and I was appreciative to have him taking such great notes on the particulars to send me. It’s the worst to see a practitioner who rattles off all of the things you are supposed to do and then expects you to remember them all.

On the other hand, he never asked me what had brought me to see him that day. Not once.

There was no intake form for me to fill out.

On the table in front of us was some tea. He never offered it to me. I had to ask about it.

And so I sat there, wondering, “Is he actually going to ask me why I came in the first place?” for the entire session feeling increasingly annoyed and confused. 

I don’t care how good you are at what you do.

For 45 minutes, I sat there while he talked at me, asked me focused questions, and then typed out the homework he was giving me. On one hand, the homework and suggestions were specific and generous. There was no sales pitch for a huge program. He wasn’t holding back the good stuff. And, on the other hand, I had to finally speak up towards the end to say, “Just to let you know, I’m on the edge of overwhelm right now.”

He seemed to get it. He made a few more suggestions and then, finally, he paused and said, “Any questions?”

But he seemed to mean, “Do you have any questions about what I told you?”. He still wasn’t asking me why I’d come.

In truth, it might not have changed anything he told me. I can’t know. And it’s his practice, so I am a guest in his practice. I’m not there to tell him how to run his business. And, despite the frustration I felt, I genuinely like the fellow. 

It lifted up for me the importance of empathy in our interactions with our clients. As the old adage goes, “I don’t care how much you know until I know how much you care.”

I don’t care how good you are at what you do.

Empathy before education.

But there’s something else: I’m not sure how much I trusted his advice given how little context he had about me and my life and what had brought me there. There could have been many causes of my pulse reading. Maybe I’d come there just to see if we were a fit. Maybe I’d come to get his take on a particular symptom I was having. From reading my pulse there are so many thing he couldn’t have known (or at least that I couldn’t have known he might know).

If people don’t trust your diagnosis, they won’t trust your prescriptions.

And so, when we first meet with a client, it’s vital that they feel we understand their situation and why they are there. It’s vital that the trust that we are clear about their symptoms and that we are taking them seriously. It vital not only that we understand but that they feel understood – that they know we’re both on the same page.

This can be done in ways as simple as restating what you heard them say and asking them, “Did I get it right? Am I missing anything?”

When they feel clear that we ‘get’ them, they will automatically relax and be open to our guidance. Until that moment, no matter how brilliant and skilled we are, they will be sitting there, tense, waiting and resentful of their assumptions. Our assumption that we ‘get it’ will likely be read as our arrogance. Our job isn’t just to give good advice, it’s to foster an openness to it.

I don’t care how good you are at what you do.

My colleague Bill Baren suggests weaving these two questions into the early part of your session with a client, “Why me? Why now?”

These questions do two things: They let us know their reasons for coming to us but they also remind our client of why they chose us and why this issue matters so much to them.

If that’s not your style, it’s okay. But you might want to tell them that before they come to see you. You might want to make sure they understand that before they show up. If, when I’d asked to book an appointment, I was sent to a webpage letting me know his style, I would have been able to make a choice if that was the style I wanted or to at least be ready for it. If the page had said something like the following, I would have likely still done the session and felt much better about it.

“So, my style is that I don’t do intake forms and I don’t ask you questions before we get started. When we begin, I will ask you for your wrist and take your pulse. After twenty five years of doing this, I’ve found that the less I know the better when it comes to getting a clear pulse reading. Once I’ve taken your pulse, I will start working on an email to send you with my advice. It might sound strange but, after all these years, I can take your pulse, look at your body type and get a very strong sense of where you’re at and what’s needed. If I need to ask clarifying questions I will. There will be some tea ready for you and, being wrapped up in helping you, I will likely forget to offer you some, so please help yourself.”

If your style differs from how everyone else does it (e.g. no intake forms) it’s good to explain it to people. Let them know your reasons why.

I don’t care how good you are at what you do.

I mean, of course I do, but I don’t just care about that.

It’s vital to see our role as not being just to give advice but to make our case for what we’re saying. To lay out the logic. To break down our point of view so it all makes sense.

But, before we can even do that, we need to earn their trust for that advice. And that comes from listening to where they’re at until they feel clear that we understand their situation.

I printed off the suggestions he sent me and they’re incredibly useful. I’ll be diving into them over the coming months. Isn’t it funny how things can be such a mix?

My final thought…

What if, instead of trying to prove how good we were at solving the problem, we first focused on proving how good we were at understanding it?

Sales Letter Case Study: The Coming Home Retreat

Russell Touched Up 1Writing sales letters is hard. 

I wrote a whole blog post on my thoughts on how to do it in a warmer and yet still effective way years ago called Nine Thoughts on Copywriting for Hippies. So, I’ve got opinions but there’s no denying that writing a good sales letter is one of the toughest nuts to crack in any business. A sales letter is the dojo of the marketing world. It’s where you find out exactly how clear you are or not. The best resource I’ve come across on how to write a good sales letter is by Carrie Klassen and it’s called Selling Sweetly

Writing a sales letter is especially hard when you’re writing it around very personal issues such as spirituality. How can selling spirituality not feel gross?

And yet, if you run these kinds of retreats (and it’s where your income comes from) it’s only fair you articulate what it is you’re doing. 

But how?

This was the conundrum of a colleague and dear friend, Russell Scott (the handsome rogue pictured here) who I recently worked with to reword his sales letter. Here’s what he had to say about the process: “I wrote a sales letter based on a copying template I had downloaded from another coach but I just couldn’t get it right. It was awkward. In some sections it was too clinical in some it got far too personal. I was totally stuck in getting it right. I gave what I’d written to Tad and he worked it over. When I read how he had re-written it I literally cried. The whole sales letter had come alive! It was as if Tad had reached into my heart and translated into words all the compassion, care and understanding I have for the people I serve and put it on paper.” 

So, what I’d like to do is walk you through the sales letter with my commentary and show you what I came up with as an alternative that Russell loved so much. I should qualify that this was done in a couple of hours and that there is likely much more that could be done by far better copy writers than I to make this sales letter sing. But I am pretty happy with what came out. 

Coming Home

-an enlightenment intensive –

So, right away, I don’t like the phrase ‘enlightenment intensive’. It sounds like it’s promising enlightenment. Which sounds like hype. 

Ending the search.  Living a deeper life.

Ending the search? That for sure sounds like hype. Like one weekend is going to end a search humanity has been on since time immemorial? Sounds too good to be true – and therefore untrue.

A lot of people secretly wish that they could let go of the pressures of living in the rat race and come home to a deeper peace… the kind that many of the great spiritual teachers of the ages have spoken of.

Meh. This sounds ok. But a bit generic to me. It sounds like a set up for a pitch.

If they could, they’d feel more alive, happy, inspired and fully engaged with others. They’d would feel a sense of harmony with life and be a lot freer to totally be themselves.

Generic promise. I’m already not feeling much of Russell’s wonderful personality.

But right now, you walk, talk, sit, drive, work, buy, eat, sleep and dream in an endless daily cycle. At the end of the week, you stare into the TV wondering “is there more than this perpetual treadmill?” and ask “What am I obviously missing here?” There’s restlessness like something is shifting or fragmenting. You don’t know what it is or what needs to change or even if it’s a good thing. Yet something deep inside is calling your true self to come out and play but you’re trapped in the social way you are supposed to be. You’ve come to the conclusion you don’t know the one that’s been living your life. Sometimes the emptiness is downright painful. You hide it well but it’s deep…slowly eating your soul.

Here’s where I start to pull back even more. It feels like a bit of an assault. A pitch. It’s trying to be empathetic and yet I feel defensive. I feel like I’m being set up. I don’t identify with everything I’m reading. I find myself leaning away. And part of this comes from the fact that he’s speaking directly to me. He’s saying ‘you’. Which is, ironically, how we’re taught to write sales letters. Speak directly to the other person. We’re admonished, wisely I think, to remember that every sales letter we write will be read one person at a time. So, we should be writing it to our ideal clients and no one else. Sales letters aren’t read by ‘the masses’. They’re read by individuals. So, let’s write to them. Fine so far. But it’s a very modern conception of sales and communication with others to imagine that every conversation with someone should be talking directly to them using ‘you’. We forget that, since time immemorial, humans have best communicated with stories. In a story, people can identify with the parts they do, and leave the rest. A story doesn’t get your hackles up. A story doesn’t make you defensive because it’s not about you. But, in a sales letter or video when we start saying, ‘Do you ever struggle with…’ it can trigger people’s shame around those issues and also ignore how vulnerable they might feel about the issue. It forces them to confront something they may not be ready to confront. 

You’ve tried the latest self-help books and videos about affirmations, positive thinking and “the secrets” but they don’t do the trick. They actually make you more confused. The hype hurts. Maybe you’ve explored the “isms” and different philosophies, crystals, chakras, gone to healers, etc.  Maybe you have tried a religious path for awhile. You’ve gotten calmer and more relaxed but the big promised “aha” just hasn’t happened. (you’ve been told it takes a long time). Or maybe the whole guru/student thing gives you a rash so you’ve tried being an independent non-follower for awhile. But you’ve gotten lost and alone.

This might all feel true enough but it also feels like it’s setting me up for the pitch, ‘and this will be the thing to finally solve all of your issues’. 

What you really need to do is give up.

This sounds flip and condescending. He’s already telling me what to do? How the hell does he know? It seems like he’s being clever with his language on an issue that isn’t ‘fun’ for me.

That’s right…give up trying to find the answers on the outside. These are just ideas, thoughts and concepts. They are in the head. They are like a menu. They are not the food. You need to take a 180 degree turn away from books and find a proven technique that will help you experience the truth for yourself. And let go of the ridiculous idea that awakening takes a lifetime. That’s just another belief to trap you.

Intellectually, I get where he’s going but I’m feeling a bit offended by the tone. Like it’s so easy. 

I know what it’s like

That sounds salesy come out of the set up I just went through. A bit too formulaic. 

In my twenties I spent 10 years exploring every religion under the sun and reading so many books I could have started my own library. I sat at the feet of so many gurus and instead of finding peace I got athletes foot. My head I was so much in the clouds I was no earthly good.

Again, that sounds clever. Like something he’s said a lot of times. It’s kind of funny. But the issue we’re talking about doesn’t feel funny to me when I’m the one suffering. 

I just got more confused about myself and life. One day I decided I didn’t really know anything and decided to find the truth for myself.

I’m feeling connected.

It was then I discovered a method of self-inquiry that changed my life.

And now the sales pitch.

I broke through my lonely shell and experienced the magnificence of my true self. Everyday I experience the greatest gift in life… being who I really am!

Every day? Every. Single. Day? He’s enlightened now? This sounds hyped up.

I trained in this method called the Enlightenment Intensive. Since then I changed the name of the retreat to Coming Home and have mastered over 65 retreats over the past 30 years.

Whoa! That’s a lot of retreats! Maybe the man has something to say.

What is Coming Home?

Coming Home is an accelerated process of transformation that takes you to the pinnacle of self-actualization –the direct consciousness of your true Self and Life! 

Pet peeve. Exclamation marks. I hate these in sales letters. Imagine you get three of these that you ever get to use in any sales letter for the rest of your life. Ever. All too often, they trigger hype. Mostly, I  suggest people cut them out entirely.

Second thing, this claim sounds like hype. Big time. This sounds like some flavour of the month spiritual technique.

This illumination is simple, obvious and indisputable, enveloping you with sense of wholeness, completeness, peace and lightness.

Obvious and indisputable? Indisputable? This sounds like he’s not very open to feedback or dispute. And it sounds like a generic, new age pitch.

It’s like coming home after you have been lost for many years… only you come home to yourself. 

I do like the idea of coming home. That sounds lovely.

The East/West Approach

Using a self-inquiry format inspired by Zen-style contemplation on a key question such as; “who am I?” or “what is life? combined with a paired communication structure drawn from relational psychology you silently contemplate your question and then communicate the result of your investigation to a listening partner. You alternate speaking and listening every 5 minutes. Every 40 minutes you work with a different person or go on a silent walk. Meals, snack, exercise and rest are interspersed in the schedule.

I like the specifics. Though there’s an abrupt tone shift from salesy to academic here that’s a bit jarring. But it’s nice to finally get to the nuts and bolts of this. 

The Structure

Within the structure there are agreements of non-interruption, non-judgement and deep listening that help you bypass the subtle influences of “normal” relating that have socialized you to deny what is true for you.

That actually kind of makes sense. I like it. Tell me more.

You connect deeply to yourself and others and let go of layers of false beliefs and experiences that have imprisoned you in years of suffering. There are no religious ideas, dogma or philosophy taught. You learn and practice the technique and I give you guidance. It is not psychotherapy.

I like this. 

In a renewed space of openness, within 3 1/2 days you can spontaneously awaken to the magnificence of your true self!

Bah! Another huge claim that sounds inflated. And an exclamation mark. Grrr. My trust drops. 

Awakening

This phenomenon in the west has been called by Abraham Maslow “Unitive consciousness” or “Self-transcendence”. In eastern traditions it is labelled as awakening, enlightenment, illumination, self-realization, cosmic consciousness or satori. Just as technology has advanced in modern times, so too have spiritual and transformation techniques.

Not sold. Sounds like a vague attempt to rationalize hyped up new age bullshit.

When safe communication structure is added to the eastern method of contemplation, the results are remarkable. Self-realization usually occurs to 30-90% of participants. You no longer have to spend months, years or even a lifetime to awaken. 

It’s promising I’m going to awaken. Blurgh.

Is this just another “You’ll be happy for the rest of your life” thing?

Yes. That’s what it sounds like you’re saying. I’m glad you’re self aware enough to see that.

To be realistic, awakening does not mean that you will no longer have any problems or you will be in a state of bliss or happiness for the rest of your life.

What? You said you had this experience every day. This now seems like the bait and switch. I’m feeling lied to a bit. 

What it does mean is that you will be living the rest of your life more from the inner strength of your real self and less from the insecurity of a social personality. You will be more able face and transform the obstacles of your life into valuable growth experiences and achieve the kind of success in life defined by who you really are, not others. Coming home to your true self is the most precious gift you can ever give to yourself. And because we all want to relate to others who are real, you are the best gift you can give to the world!

Exclamation mark. Vague platitudes. Interest fading fast. 

 “When you know who you truly are there is an abiding alive sense of peace. You could call it joy because that’s what joy is: vibrantly alive peace. It is the joy of knowing yourself as the very life essence before life takes on form. That is the joy of Being, of being who you truly are.”

Eckhart Tolle

Eckhart can not save this sales letter right now. 

After a Coming Home retreat participants commonly report feeling:

  • More authentic
  • Peace, contentment and lightness permeating their body
  • Totally embodied as if they have finally come home to themselves
  • Loving-kindness towards themselves and others
  • Greater self-acceptance
  • Psychologically whole
  • More inner strength and inner resolve
  • Freer to express themselves around others
  • Improved intuitive ability
  • Enhanced and balanced energy levels

That all feels a bit vague. 

Participants also commonly report having greater capacity to:

  • Be open and authentic in relationships
  • Persist and accomplish personal goals
  • Face and overcome problems and difficulties
  • Fully experience love, joy and happiness
  • Understand the deeper truths in traditional philosophy and religion
  • Achieve greater mutual understanding with others 
  • Be assertive and communicate their needs
  • Find meaning, inspiration and insight in daily living
  • Make rapid progress in their personal and spiritual growth

Again, a bit vague to me.

Why can’t I just do this on my own?

Good question!

This question can be answered with another question. If you were able to do this alone how come you are still searching? There is a paradox here: You have to do this by yourself but you don’t do it alone.

I love that phrase. 

There is a great power in coming to together as a group. The energy of the group is more than the sum of everyone’s individual energy.

That energy propels you to make much greater progress than doing this on your own within the ongoing distractions in life. 

That actually makes sense to me. 

But more importantly I’ve been guiding people for over 30 years on this journey to self.

That is indeed credibility building.

I’ve been up every blind alley there is and helped thousands of people in a very short time get through barriers they have struggled with by themselves for years.

Humility is nice. And credibility is building.

Why spend any longer being blocked?

That sounds dismissive of how much I’m suffering.

You’ve got to be kidding…enlightenment in 3 ½ days?

Now I’m so confused with what he means by enlightenment. How is he defining this?

Awakening is the “direct experience of the way you actually are”. You can come to the same awareness that many of the great spiritual teachers have had. After all they were ordinary folks just like you. The difference is that people like Buddha spent many years in meditation deepening and ripening their awakening to total enlightenment.  So once you experience your true self, that’s it. The search is over.

Wait. So you’re just offering me a taste of who I am? I’ve had some ‘peak moments’ before. Is this just another one? What happens when I come down from the mountain top and get lost in the valley again?

Then the next project is to start living from the real you.

Ah. That makes sense.

That will continue to deepen what you have come to know. You will be given instructions on how to do this on the last day of the retreat.

Very curious what advice he’d offer here. 

Who the retreat is for?

  • You are looking back on your life and wondering what it is all about?
  • You are feeling empty and you are asking “who am I really?
  • There’s a sense of meaningless about life.
  • You’ve been on a spiritual path for a long time and never had the big“AHA”
  • You are not interested in following a religion or taking on more beliefs
  • You are able to take 4 days away from your job and family

 Something about the bullet points here feels salesy but enough are specific enough (especially the last two) that these could really help me figure out if it’s a fit. 

Are there any pre-requisites to take the retreat?

If you have not done the retreat before I ask that people set-up a 10-15 minutes orientation interview with me. Together we will explore where you are at in your life and what you want from the retreat. 

I’ll explain the schedule, the guidelines and the self-inquiry technique used. I’ll go over any concerns you have about diet, accommodation and health challenges you may have and then you can decide if the retreat is a fit for you. There are no subtle sales techniques. I only want people on Coming Home who are right for it. It makes for a better retreat for everyone.

I like this. That feels personalized. I like that he says ‘no subtle sales techniques’. Huge building of trust. 

 

– END OF SALES LETTER #1 – 

 

So,that was what Russell sent me. Here’s what I sent him back as a rewrite. He’s made a few changes since.

Coming Home

Ending the search. Living a deeper life.

with 

Russell Scott

If you’re reading this, you already know something: life is hard. 

I wanted to start with the truest thing I knew that might resonate with the place Russell’s people are in.

It’s full of beauty and wonderful things – but it’s also full of heartbreak.

Life feeds us but it can also break us.

So, how do we deal with it?

I wanted to acknowledge the complexity of life and the experience of the person reading it. 

In truth, I don’t completely know. But I can share what I’ve discovered in the hopes it will be useful.

For me, when people admit they don’t know everything, it’s so credibility building. I trust them more. And it’s such an ‘anti-sales’ thing to say. I felt like his first letter simplified things too much. I wanted to complicate it a bit and bring more openness to it. 

It’s not an answer but a paradox I want to invite you to sit with as you read this (we’ll come back to it later): You have to do this by yourself but you don’t do it alone.

This is an old story telling trick of starting a story and then starting another story inside of that story while promising to come back to it. It grabs people in a bit closer. It’s a nice hook. Bring something provocative or compelling up as a tease and promise to get back to it later. 

If you’re reading this, then my guess is that you have been broken a down a little or a lot by life (maybe slowly over years or maybe all at once) to a point where you know you need to dig deeper. But there’s a good chance you feel lost as to how to go about that.

To me the key phrase is here is ‘my guess’. Not making assumptions.

And I’d like to talk about a different path to spiritual growth you may not have tried (or even considered). And to invite you to come to a retreat that’s coming up soon. 

This is the beauty of being direct. The other sales letter didn’t directly say it was about the retreat until the end. Be direct. Tell them that you’ve got something to offer and that you’re going to make your best case for it to help them figure out if it might be a fit for them.

A lot of people I speak with secretly wish they could let go of the pressures of living in the rat race and come home to a deeper peace… the kind that many of the great spiritual teachers of the ages have spoken of. They want to feel more alive, happy, inspired and fully engaged with others. They would feel a sense of harmony with life and be a lot freer to totally be themselves.

But right now, they walk, talk, sit, drive, work, buy, eat, sleep and dream in an endless daily cycle. 

At the end of the week, they may stare into the TV wondering “is there more than this perpetual treadmill?” and ask “What am I obviously missing here?” There’s restlessness like something is shifting or fragmenting. They don’t know what it is or what needs to change or even if it’s a good thing. Something deep inside is calling their true self to come out and play but they feel trapped in the way they are socially supposed to be. 

This is the exact same as the words above, but I changed it from ‘you’ to ‘they’. It’s more a story now. It’s less an accusation or pitch and it’s more of him relating what he’s experienced. 

Some of them tell me that they’ve come to the conclusion that they don’t know the one that’s been living their life. They just have no idea. Sometimes the emptiness is downright painful. Most of them hide it well (some very well and you’d never guess) but it’s deep…slowly eating their soul.

As Stephen Jenkinson said, “It’s in the nature of being human to forget how to be one on occasion.” But what happens when we forget for a long time? And how do we remember. Many of the people I have worked with are in the midst of the forgetting and don’t know how to get on track.

I wanted to seed the idea that we forget and that remembering is important. 

And it’s not for a lack of trying. 

They’ve tried the latest self-help books and videos about affirmations, positive thinking and “the secrets” but they didn’t do the trick. They actually made them more confused. The hype hurts. Some have explored the “isms” and different philosophies, crystals, chakras, gone to healers, etc.  Some have tried a religious path for awhile. For most, it’s helped them become calmer and more relaxed… but the big promised “aha” just hasn’t happened (they’ve been told it takes a long time). 

Again, I switched it from ‘you’ to ‘they’. No need for the reader to get defensive. 

And, for many of them, the whole guru/student thing gives them a rash so they’ve tried being an independent non-follower for awhile. But they’ve gotten lost and the truth is that the solitary approach feels incredibly lonely.

It’s not just that they’re alone. It’s that it feels lonely. It’s vital to remember that we’re talking to human beings. Their problems are not mechanical. They are deeply felt. I’ve written about this extensively in my blog post Empathy in Marketing

I’m guessing that, in some way, you can relate to this.

Again, guessing. Not stating definitely. Just supposing. This lets the reader confirm that it’s true. 

And if you can, this is what I want to say to you: What you really need to do is give up.

That’s right…give up trying to find the answers on the outside. These are just ideas, thoughts and concepts. They are in the head. They are like a menu. They are not the food. You need to take a 180 degree turn away from books and find a proven technique that will help you experience the truth for yourself. And let go of the idea that awakening takes a lifetime. That might just be another belief to become trapped in.

I left  this in because it didn’t feeling quite as abrupt and insensitive with a more sensitive intro. Reading it now, I’d probably still want to rework this. 

I know what it’s like…

In my twenties I spent 10 years exploring every religion under the sun and reading so many books I could have started my own library.

And I learned something very important – that the easiest way to avoid meditation… is to read books about meditation. A wise Hawai’ian Kahuna once said, ‘The shadow side of knowledge isn’t ignorance. It’s theory.’

This felt like another important premise to seed. The difference between theory and experience. He’s offering an experiential retreat. This distinction needs to be crystal clear. 

I sat at the feet of so many gurus and instead of finding peace I got athletes foot. I was so much in my head I was no earthly good. I just got more confused about myself and life. One day, I decided I didn’t really know anything and decided to find the truth for myself. It was then I discovered a method of self-inquiry that changed my life. I broke through my lonely shell and experienced the magnificence of my true self. Everyday I experience the greatest gift in life… being who I really am. I trained in this method (called the Enlightenment Intensive). Since then I changed the name of the retreat to something that felt more true to what my experience of it was: ‘Coming Home’ and have led over 65 retreats over the past 30 years.

Coming Home

What is Coming Home?

Coming Home is a simple but beautiful process that weaves together community and inner contemplation to bring you back to an experience of wholeness, completeness, peace and lightness. It’s like coming home after you have been lost for many years… only you come home to yourself.  

“community and inner contemplation” seemed like a simple way to put it. 

The East/West Approach

Using a self-inquiry format inspired by Zen-style contemplation on a key question such as; “who am I?” or “what is life? combined with a paired communication structure drawn from relational psychology you silently contemplate your question and then communicate the result of your investigation to a listening partner. You alternate speaking and listening every 5 minutes. Every 40 minutes you work with a different person or go on a silent walk. Meals, snack, exercise and rest are interspersed in the schedule.

It sounds so simple. But, I think that’s why it works so well. 

If you know that something you’re saying sound ‘too simple’ acknowledge that immediately. A good sales letter should read like a dialogue where you are making statements and then anticipating their responses and respond to them. A good sales letter is a wonderful experience where you find yourself constantly saying to yourself, ‘Yes. I was wondering that.’

“It’s like I did ten years of meditation in 3 days.”

Beth Clark, Kingston

Testimonials. These add so much credibility to this letter. If you say it, it could be hype. If someone else says it? Much more credible. 

The Structure

Within the structure there are agreements of non-interruption, non-judgement and deep listening that help you bypass the subtle influences of “normal” relating that have socialized you to deny what is true for you. You connect deeply to yourself and others and let go of layers of false beliefs and experiences that have imprisoned you in years of suffering. There are no religious ideas, dogma or philosophy to be learned. You learn and practice the technique and I give you guidance (if you need it). It is not psychotherapy. In a renewed space of openness, within 3 1/2 days many people (more than you might think just reading this) spontaneously awaken to the magnificence of their true self. Or that’s how I’d describe it. 

“Or that’s how I’d describe it.” Again. Taking the pressure out of it. Just sharing his experience rather than saying, ‘this is the truth’. More like, ‘this is how I see it’. 

What I see when I work with people is their eyes widening, broad smiles, tears of joy and their bodies melting as the thousand stresses caused by the expectations of who they think they need to be evaporate from their bodies. 

This is using the senses. When you’re describing the result you offer, paint me a picture. Help me see it. Help me hear it, taste it, touch it, feel it. Use all five senses. 

“Words are so inadequate when I try to describe the immense gratitude I feel. I am now moving through my life with new eyes, new ears, and a new voice; and feeling so much more peaceful, alive, and present in this world. Thank you for holding the retreat space in such a patient, gentle, loving, and compassionate way.” Sekoiaa Lake, Peterborough, On

To be honest, I’m not sure I understand it still. But maybe that’s the point. Some things aren’t meant to be understood. Some things can only be experienced and lose everything in the translation. 

Russell is a humble fellow. And I wanted that to come through. Admit that you don’t understand everything. Admit your limits. Admit your faults. And watch people lean in and trust you more. 

Again, ‘The shadow side of knowledge isn’t ignorance. It’s theory.’

If you have a core message that is central to your offer, bring it back again and again – make it a familiar refrain you return to. This message of knowledge vs. theory is vital to his workshops. If people don’t buy that idea, they won’t buy his retreat. 

I think what most of us need isn’t more theory. What we need is a dedicated space where we can be supported in doing the one thing we need most – go within. As the old saying goes, ‘if you don’t go within, you go without.’ And it’s the one thing we don’t actually do enough of. We think about it. We read about it. We talk about it. But when we sit down to do it, we get bored, lost or lose steam. We have to do it ourselves but, in reality, it’s hard to do it alone.

This is where I hit people a bit harder. More directly. I’m driving the point home and framing the foundational assumption and premise upon which this retreat is built. In Russell’s first letter, this premise is implicit. But sometimes you need to make these things explicit. Often times, we don’t even realize what the premises are; we don’t understand the point of view upon which our work is based. But a clear point of view is one of the key elements of people figuring out if we’re a fit for them or not. 

In my experience, we all have this internal compass, this part of us that knows the truth (and even more so, is the truth). And what’s causing so much of our suffering in our lives is the inconsistency between the will of our soul and the will of our personality. We need to bring the former out. As it says in the Gospel of Matthew, ‘That which you bring forth will save you. That which you do not bring forth will destroy you.’ And for many people, that experience of destruction is all too real. 

Awakening

But here’s my best take at explaining it: This phenomenon of ‘coming home’ in the west has been called, by Abraham Maslow, “Unitive consciousness” or “Self-transcendence”. In eastern traditions it is labelled as awakening, enlightenment, illumination, self-realization, cosmic consciousness or satori. Just as technology has advanced in modern times, so too have spiritual and transformation techniques. When safe communication structure is added to the eastern method of contemplation, the results are remarkable. That moment of ‘coming home’ usually occurs to 30-90% of participants. Many of them are caught off guard and amazed at no longer having to spend months, years or even a lifetime to have that moment of ‘awakening’.

Here I make sure to frame it as a ‘moment’ of awakening so it doesn’t seem like a bait and switch later. 

Eckhart Tolle says this about awakening; “When you know who you truly are there is an abiding alive sense of peace. You could call it joy because that’s what joy is: vibrantly alive peace. It is the joy of knowing yourself as the very life essence before life takes on form. That is the joy of Being, of being who you truly are.”

Is this just another “You’ll be happy for the rest of your life” thing?

To be realistic, awakening does not mean that you will no longer have any problems or you will be in a state of bliss or happiness for the rest of your life. What it does mean is that you will be living the rest of your life more from the inner strength of your real self and less from the insecurity of a social personality. You will be more able face and transform the obstacles of your life into valuable growth experiences and achieve the kind of success in life defined by who you really are, not others. 

For me it’s this: Coming home to my true self (the real experience of it in my body not the theory of it) is the most precious gift I have ever given to myself. And because we all want to relate to others who are real, you are the best gift you can give to the world. 

After a Coming Home retreat participants commonly report feeling:

  • More authentic
  • Peace, contentment and lightness permeating their body
  • Totally embodied as if they have finally come home to themselves
  • Loving-kindness towards themselves and others
  • Greater self-acceptance
  • Psychologically whole
  • More inner strength and inner resolve
  • Freer to express themselves around others
  • Improved intuitive ability
  • Enhanced and balanced energy levels

“Within one year of the retreat I left my business and took a chance on a new career…money is not important, nor is status. What is important is the feeling that I am now doing what I was originally meant to do with my life!” Mel Steiner -Toronto

Participants also commonly report having greater capacity to:

  • Be open and authentic in relationships
  • Persist and accomplish personal goals
  • Face and overcome problems and difficulties
  • Fully experience love, joy and happiness
  • Understand the deeper truths in traditional philosophy and religion
  • Achieve greater mutual understanding with others 
  • Be assertive and communicate their needs
  • Find meaning, inspiration and insight in daily living
  • Make rapid progress in their personal and spiritual growth

“I discovered a bond linking myself with others, that we are all beings trapped within our minds trying to communicate our fears and need for love. I am becoming more loving, more real, more open, truthful and trustworthy” Doug Tyler -Toronto

Why can’t I just do this on my own?

This question can be answered with another question. If you were able to do this alone how come you are still searching? 

And we’re back to the paradox: You have to do this by yourself but you don’t do it alone. 

Aaaaannd we’ve brought it back. Remember that piece I teased earlier?

There is a great power in coming to together as a group. The energy of the group is more than the sum of everyone’s individual energy. That energy propels you to make much greater progress than doing this on your own within the ongoing distractions in life. 

But more importantly I’ve been guiding people for over 30 years on this journey to self. I’ve been up every blind alley there is and helped thousands of people in a very short time get through barriers they have struggled with by themselves for years. 

You’ve got to be kidding…enlightenment in 3 ½ days?

I would define awakening is the “direct experience of the way you actually are”. This is my belief (as well as the experience of myself and many others): You can come to the same awareness that many of the great spiritual teachers have had. After all they were ordinary folks just like you. The difference is that people like Buddha spent many years in meditation deepening and ripening their awakening to total enlightenment.  

So once you experience your true self, that’s it. The search is over. Then the next project is to start living from the real you. That will continue to deepen what you have come to know. You will be given instructions on how to do this on the last day of the retreat.

But the first step is to find it. And, for most of us, that’s been a very hard first step. After all, many of us have spent a lifetime losing ourselves and being misled.

Step One: come home. This doesn’t need to take as long as many think.

Step Two: live in that home. This is a lifetime practice. This is where your life becomes a work of art, an ongoing practice of deepening and expressing who we are in the world.

Again, I didn’t want it to get lost that there were two steps here. 

As the old African proverb goes: “The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it.”

Is there any support for me after the retreat when I meet the challenges of my life?

It’s quite common after any spiritual or personal development program for the retreat “high” to fade, after a few days or weeks. People are in a more open space and see life more clearly They can have difficulty bringing their new breakthroughs into their lives where their family, friends and work are still the same. All too often people are sent home after other retreats with little guidance and support. 

This is not the case with Coming Home.

The main self inquiry practice in the retreat ends usually on a Sunday evening. In the next half day you are re-introduced to your normal way of relating to others. You are made aware of the challenges you may face and given strategies to deal with them. You then “graduate” into the Enlifenment Program that is designed to help you live in a deeper connection to your true self. (as in step 2 above).

This program includes a guided meditation CD, two follow-up mentorship from me calls a month apart, a six week program of self-inquiry exercises paired with a fellow participant and 2 one or two day re-connection seminars through-out the next year. I am also available for one-to-one sessions (at an addition cost) for anyone that needs this. 

You can choose to become part of a non-dogmatic community of true spiritual friends who have shared deeply in your profound transformation journey. Once again, you have to do this by yourself but now you don’t have to do this alone.

Who the retreat is for?

  • You are looking back on your life and wondering what it is all about?
  • You are feeling empty and you are asking “who am I really?”
  • There’s a sense of meaningless about life.
  • You’ve been on a spiritual path for a long time and never had the big“AHA”
  • You are a seeker and not interested in following a religion or taking on more beliefs
  • You are able to take 4 days away from your job and family
  • You resonate with what you’ve read here so far and feel open to exploring the process for yourself. 
  • You resonate with the idea that, deep down, we know (or are) the truth. We just often need support in finding it.

Are there any pre-requisites to take the retreat?

If you have not done the retreat before I ask that people set-up a 10-15 minutes orientation interview with me. Together we will explore where you are at in your life and what you want from the retreat.

I’ll explain the schedule, the guidelines and the self-inquiry technique used. I’ll go over any concerns you have about diet, accommodation and health challenges you may have and then you can decide if the retreat is a fit for you. There are no subtle sales techniques. I only want people on Coming Home who are right for it. It makes for a better retreat for everyone.  

 

– END OF SALES LETTER #2 – 

 

So, that’s it. That’s my quick ‘redo’ of a sales letter to make it less salesy and more reflective of the wonderful man Russell Scott is. He’s one of the kindest, most unassuming, gentle and clear fellows I’ve ever met. You’d be hard pressed to find better as a mentor and support in your inner growth. You can learn more about him and his wonderful work (which I have directly experienced and can attest to) here: www.truesourceseminars.com 

Interview: Life Coaching is Not a Business with Rebecca and Ellen

Screen-shot-2013-07-04-at-9.14.13-AMMy colleague and dear friend Rebecca Tracey of The Uncaged Life (and her colleague Ellen Ercolini) have come out with a new program for Life Coaches that I wanted to share with you. Rebecca has been featured on my blog a number of times.

They have a really interesting take on helping coaches get more clients that I’ve never heard before (e.g. “We believe that “coaching” in and of itself isn’t a business.” and the idea of picking your expertise before choosing your niche).

If you’re a life coach (or holistic practitioner) I invite you to give this a read. 

Why did you choose Coaches to work with? What types of challenges do Coaches tend to have?

Ellen: We picked coaches because we both come from coaching backgrounds and we’ve watched our peers struggle, which totally sucks.  Coaches have a very strong drive to help the world – they really, really care about it.  They really want to make people’s lives  happier and positively impact the world.  Who doesn’t want to help those folks accomplish their dreams faster? It’s such a gratifying circle of positive impact.

What they don’t have, by and large, is strong marketing and entrepreneurial skills.   SO many coaches graduate coaching school (ourselves included!) thinking “I can change the world! I can do anything!” And, without the biz skills to back that up, it’s not true. Which leads to really talented people getting depressed and sad about their perceived lack of coaching skills, when in reality it’s the marketing and business skills  they are missing.  

We figured it out pretty early on in our business development, so now we’re on a mission to short circuit that learning curve for other coaches.

Becca: Ditto what Ellen said. And I’d add that coaches tend to be really timid with their marketing. They often have this view that doing good shouldn’t make them a lot of money. That they don’t need money. Which is totally ridiculous. There’s nothing noble about being broke. And there’s nothing “bad” about wanting to make not just a good living, but a damn good living. Money doesn’t buy happiness, but it does buy some freedom to travel, volunteer, give back, and provide for your family. Those things feel pretty noble to me! 

What’s the system you offer to help coaches solve those problems?

Becca: We believe that “coaching” in and of itself isn’t a business. Coaching is a skill that you use in your business to help bring your clients some kind of result. So in a sense, we’re helping coaches actually figure out what their business is – where their expertise lies.

Once they get clear on their expertise (which includes their niche), we teach them to talk about coaching in a way that gets them clients. Coaches have the habit of using really jargon-y words, so we teach them how to talk about what they so that people perk up and listen (and then ask for their card!). We like to make it EASY for coaches to get referrals, so we teach them how to get known as an expert in their field. Then we  teach them how to use their expertise to create packages that their clients are begging for. No more having to go hunt down your clients. And this all may sound intimidating, but it’s actually really simple, and anyone can do it.

Ellen: YES!  We both use this method in our businesses and have seen huge growth.  When you start speaking clearly about the problems you solve in a way that your clients resonate with, people actually start remembering what you do.  

What’s the number one mistake you see coaches make when they are first starting businesses?

Ellen: They try to help everyone.  Here’s the deal – when people hear ‘I  work with everyone!’ it gets interpreted as ‘no one’.  I see new coaches all the time saying they help people live a ‘more fulfilled life’ – when I ask who specifically they work with they say ‘oh everyone!’ – when I ask how many clients they have it gets really quiet.  

Another huge roadblock for new coaches like Becca mentioned, is talking with too much coaching jargon.  Coaches understand what ‘shifting perspectives to align with values’ means, but it’s because we’ve all gone through classes!  New coaches need to be vigilant about explaining what they do in language that their ideal clients use.  So I guess that’s two mistakes, but they go hand in hand.

Becca: Trying to work with everyone. Gahhh, it drives me nuts! Not only does it not help with their marketing, but I can guarantee that they also don’t WANT to work with everyone. We’re allowed to be selfish in our businesses for the sake of our clients. What I mean is that by only working with clients who totally light you up, you’ll do WAY better coaching, you clients will get more out of it, and work will always feel good for you.

New coaches also tend to have these open ended packages (typically 2-4 sessions a month, for minimum 3 months, on an ongoing, seemingly never-ending basis. No one wants to buy a never-ending service! I don’t know who started with that model, but those don’t sell. New coaches are often reluctant to break away from the way it’s typically done, but we show them a way to structure their packages that makes WAY more sense, and that gets them more clients.

What’s your view on coaches choosing a niche? How should they go about that?

Becca: We believe in expertise first, niche second. Most people go about it backwards – they want to come up with a niche first, before they are even really clear on what they want to do.

So for example, instead of saying “I help single moms”, they might say “I’m an expert organizer and I help people with really busy lives to fit all the millions of things they need to do into their days without getting totally overwhelmed”. That leaves them lots of room to work with different kinds of people (if they don’t want to choose just one niche), but also positions them as the expert in something, so they get known faster for what they do. So YES – choose a niche, but make sure it’s grounded in your expertise.

Ellen: Exactly! Because as we know, businesses evolve.  Developing your business around your expertise makes it simple to apply it to different groups (niches) – and if you want to transition niches, it’s a simple pivot, not an re-brand.  It’s also much more of a natural extension of who the business owner is as a whole person, so it makes the marketing and sales aspect a lot smoother.  

How will this help Coaches in terms of Marketing?

Ellen: Using this system coaches become super clear about where and how to market themselves, and they’ve got the words to make people hear them.   It enables the coaches to speak clearly about the problems they solve, and articulate the results they offer.  Which is totally what people want!  They want you to swoop in and solve their problems!  Which our coaches do now.  Many of the coaches that have gone through Coaching Business Jumpstart have landed new clients the next day because they finally knew how to talk to potential clients.  How’s that for short-cutting the learning curve?

Becca: Most coaches don’t even know what the term “marketing” really means (I certainly didn’t when I got started!). But marketing is really all grounded in being specific about what you do – so in that sense, everything we teach them will help with their marketing! Especially because we help coaches get confident in what they are doing. Too many coaches don’t see their true value, they tend to leave out all their past experiences and just see themselves as new coaches. But we teach them to integrate ALL parts of who they are into their business, so that they feel totally confident in what they do and how they offer it to people, and confidence is KEY in marketing yourself. If you don’t believe in what you do, how can you expect anyone else to?

Where can people find you ladies and learn more about the Coaching Business Jumpstart?

You can get in on the program and find out more about our individual coaching businesses at www.coachingbusinessjumpstart.com. We currently have a self-study version for sale, and will be running the live event again on September 14.


If you’re a coach struggling to make your business work, Becca + Ellen have your answer with Coaching Business Jumpstart. This program is your ticket to making the business side of coaching feel fun and easy. You will learn exactly where you need to start, lay out a plan for moving forward, and leave with the skills and knowledge to make your dream coaching business a reality. You’re great at what you do. You KNOW you can help people. Now if only you knew who those people were, where to find them, and how to get them to hire you! Coaching Business Jumpstart teaches you how.

Kelly on Wounds

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I’d been hearing about Kelly Tobey for years.

He’s a leading figure in the Calgary personal growth scene. And then recently, while preparing for my Niching for Hippies course I saw that he was leading a workshop called ‘Shifting From Wounds to Assets”. And it reminded me of the blog post I’d written about wounds as niche. People struggle for years with their niche and often discover that their best niche is a younger version of them.

What followed was an extended interview happening over the space of months via facebook messages. I hope you enjoy it.

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Tad: You’re leading a workshop called, “shifting from wounds to assets” what’s it all about?

Kelly: In my journey of working with people for over 20 years one thing has shown itself over and over. From reading some of your writings Tad it seems that you have come across similar patterns. 

The workshop gives people a chance to look at their past wounds with the purpose of getting conscious about what assets have developed from their experiences. Then looking at how they are actually using those assets now and how they can utilize them more in the future if they choose to. 

I have found that many people just view the points of trauma or difficulties in their lives as things they have to get past and do their best to forget about. Instead this approach is one of uncovering any value that was gained and using it, rather than burying the experience entirely.  

In the process of recovering from the places where we have been traumatized or wounded we develop inner strengths and gain wisdom. On a personal level these strengths become assets in our ability to take on life’s challenges that we are faced with. Not only do we now know that we can recover from hurts but we also have tools that can be used to help us move forward with more ease. 

On a relational level we can now offer support, feedback and encouragement to others that are going through similar challenges. Our opportunity to be in service in such a way feeds the soul. It gives a purposefulness to the hard times we have gone through. In studies done on how to create more happiness in our lives, one of the keys to happiness is to be in meaningful service to others. As well it builds a sense of self-value and esteem.  

Tad: What’s the story of this workshop? And what’s your personal connection to this material?

Kelly: I will give you an example from my own life that might bring grounding and clarity to the concepts I am referring to. 

In my family system I had a mother that was overly critical. How that wounded me was that I had very low esteem as I felt no matter how well I did it was never good enough. This led to two major dysfunctional behaviours in me. The first was to go into “people pleasing” always looking for ways to make other people happy in hopes that they would then like me and the criticism would stop. 

The major draw back with that approach to life was that it took me further and further away from my core self. I was not focused on what actions (or non-actions) were true for me at my essence. Instead I was focused on looking for what others wanted. As a result much of the time I was betraying what was true to me. So even when I was getting approval from others for doing what they wanted, my esteem was still being damaged because I was betraying myself. 

This inappropriate sacrifice for others was building an internal anger. Which I tried to bury because nice guy people pleasers were not allowed anger. Eventually this led to the second major dysfunctional behaviour. Tired of sacrificing myself and tired of still getting mother’s criticism no matter how hard I tried to be perfect for her, I flipped over into rebellion.

I attempted to bury my underlying desire to be loved by my mother by pretending that I did not care if she loved me and approved of me or not. And in an attempt to prove it I went into fierce rebellion. Doing anything that I knew would horrify my mother and threaten her good standing with her religious friends.

Again, like with my people pleasing behaviour, there was no discernment about what actions (or non-actions) would be congruent with my essence. My rebellion took me further and further into self-destruction eventually landing me in solitary confinement in prison. 

Eventually, dissatisfied with the results from both of the dysfunctional behaviours I went on a journey of seeking a different path. Gradually I learned new ways of being that were based in being true to the essence of who I am and living a purposeful life that reflects that to the best of my ability. To explain all the steps in that would take a book or two so I will just jump to the results. 

Healing from my own wounds and the resulting dysfunctions called on lots of inner strength and fortitude. I gained a lot of wisdom along the way. I learned tools that I have been able to apply in facing other personal challenges. 

I ended up working in Group Homes with “delinquent” youngsters that had been in trouble with the law or that their parents did not know how to handle. I now had assets to share with these youngsters because of coming out the other side from similar wounds. And I had a depth of compassion and understanding that “book learned” social workers in the Group Home system could only touch on. Plus I was a living example for them, that it is possible to change out of the rebellious behaviours and have a more satisfying life. So I had great results with the youngsters I was working with.

That is an example from one of the many traumas I experienced. 

Although each trauma was different, the layout of working through them was the same, examine how I was wounded, do the recovery work, look at the gifts that evolved, and then utilize those gifts in my life.

So that is my personal connection to this material and why I like to empower others with exploring their own process through these steps. 

Tad:  What is the connection you see between wounds and assets?

Kelly: I think in some ways I have already answered that question. To recap > if we do the work to heal from our wounds it calls up our inner gifts and strengths. Along the journey we pick up wisdom. So the wounds have the potential to lead us into developing assets. 

On the other hand if we just attempt to bury or ignore our wounds, not only do we not develop the potential assets but we are dooming ourselves to living out dysfunctional coping strategies that are driven by the subconscious mind because of the unwillingness to bring it all to conscious awareness for healing. 

For example if I did not have the courage to face the buried pain of being raised with criticism and receiving corporal punishment if I made a mistake, then I would still be running self-destructive people pleasing and/or rebellious behaviours.  

Tad:  Do you see a connection between our wounds and our work in the world?

Kelly: Certainly the assets we gain by working through our wounds can give us great tools to apply in our working lives. 

Here is an example that came out of a recent workshop. I wont use names as I want to respect privacy. 

When he went back to examine some of the old wounding, one of the men in the workshop remembered that he was not allowed to draw and create art because of his parents’ religious beliefs and their belief that art had no value. This set him up to suppress one of his great inner gifts. Eventually an uncle “smuggled” drawing materials to him and encouraged him to draw. So he began to draw again in secrecy late at night with a flashlight under his blankets. 

Through time he did enough work on breaking free of the wounding that as an adult he has been able to use the gained assets to make a living as an artist. Yet it is not in the field of art that he has the highest passion for. 

He was still carrying some of the old wounding when it came to expressing his talents in the field fine arts. Although highly talented in this area, for sometime he has been concerned that if he were to do his fine arts full time that he would then be depending on it for money. He was then concerned that it would cut into the spiritual flow and connection he has with the fine arts.

In the workshop he saw that as a result of the wounding, as a child he had learned that his full passion for art and the spiritual connection to it had to be kept secret (under the blankets). So far he had recovered enough to go into a branch of art that he could make a living at but the possibility of going fully into his fine arts raised subconscious fears planted by the initial wounding. 

How it played out was that so much time was spent on the art he was doing for income that his fine art kept being put aside. Then when he would finally start to spend time with his fine art, he was so hungry for the experience that he would lose sense of time and other commitments. He just loved his spiritually connected experience so much that nothing else would matter. Then when he would finally come out of the fine art experience he would face complaints from the people in his life that had been ignored. His ex-wife had even framed his fine arts as being his “mistress”. His wounded child self was taking the complaints as the same old message > that art was bad. 

So in his workshop exploration he became clearer that of course the fine art was not bad and did not need to get him “in trouble”. He was just unconsciously setting up a replaying of that scenario from his past wounding. The replaying was reinforcing the old message that embracing his fine art fully would lead to punishment. 

With this new found awareness, if he wanted he could use some time management. Portion feeding time for his ongoing desire for the fine arts. By not putting it off for extended periods he would not end up so starved for the experience that he would forget about his other time commitments. 

As a result of these awarenesses he has already started to unravel some of the limitations from the old wounding. Soon after the workshop he was fulfilling a contract to paint a fine art mural on an inside wall of a public building. And told me he was having a blissful experience doing it!! 

Another step towards opening to his fine art becoming more and more visible to the public rather than “hidden under a blanket”. And knowing that receiving acknowledgement and money does not have to take away from the sacred experience > that belief was just an old tape from the past. 

To address your question “Do you see a connection between our wounds and our work in the world?” I would suggest that some of the most deeply satisfying vocations can come from applying the assets we have gained out of the process of healing our wounds. That process can be seen as a training ground for developing our gifts. We are always going to deliver our best work when offering something that parallels our own personal experience. Sure we can bring value into the work place as a result of formal education yet by itself it pales in comparison.

So for example lets look at someone that went through the trauma of car crash and physically damaged their body. Then they were able to heal themselves through an array of nutrients and physical exercises. For them to transmute that experience into a job such as setting up a clinic that specializes in vehicle crash recovery could be very fulfilling. They could share their wisdom from the grounding of their own experience.  Who to relate better to the clients than someone who has travelled a similar path. Someone who can relate closely with empathy and understanding. Someone who can be encouraging through the difficult times and be a living example of the results.  

Tad:  What is the outline of the steps you think people need to go through in order to transform their wounds into gifts?

Kelly: I wont attempt to cover all the possible steps involved as there are a great variety and many of them are dependent on what the wounding was. 

I will touch on some. One is to not bury the wound. If it stays in the subconscious it will not heal. Like a physical cut, you may cover it with a bandage for a while but eventually you need to open the wound to air for it to complete it’s healing. 

Another is to seek help. We may be able to heal some wounds on our own but it is so much quicker when we reach out for help. 

Another key point that eluded me for years is that traumas are going to have an emotional component. For years I attempted to heal wounds in myself and in clients with mind alone. Assuming that we could think ourselves into full recovery. I couldn’t understand why dysfunctional patterns would persist even when we knew mentally that the patterns were not serving. Why did we not just stop the behaviour if we knew better? Finally I came to grips with the fact that traumas have an impact on our emotional body. And that emotions are involved in our behaviours behind the scenes. 

Example: If I wanted to create an intimate partnership but kept running behaviours that pushed people away. With my mind I could analyze the behaviours and see what ones do not work for creating partnership. I could tell myself that I am not going to keep running those behaviours. Yet I may find that try as I might, I could only temporarily stop the behaviours before they came back or they were replaced with other behaviours that pushed potential intimates away. 

If I were to look deeper I may call up memories of past relational traumas. Perhaps I had a break up that involved being betrayed. If I were to acknowledge the underlying emotions I would see that I was deeply hurt by the experience. But perhaps I was raised to not acknowledge feelings of grief. Maybe I got the message of keep a stiff upper lip and move on. So I never went into the feelings of grief, gave them full airtime, or allowed them to be expressed and healed. 

As a result, in the present even though I would consciously want an intimate relationship my subconscious would be doing its best to protect me from getting into another situation where I might fall in love but then be betrayed again and have to feel grief. So my subconscious would make sure that I kept acting out behaviours that would push a potential partner away. Because I had been trained to regard grief as something that needed to be suppressed and feared, I could not risk another event that might activate more grief to add to the grief I was already suppressing.

So without doing the required emotional work I would stay stuck in the effects of the wound.    

Tad:  Can you share three stories of people you’ve worked with and how their wounds were turned into gifts? and what was the impact of that?

Kelly: Hee hee, I guess I got ahead of you as I have given you a couple of examples while responding to earlier questions. But yes I can give you more examples. 

Of course one of the people I have worked with is myself so I will give another example from my own life that fits nicely into what I was just sharing about the importance of emotional work. 

Before I go into explaining the trauma I will give you some background. I had spent my life disengaged from my emotional body. I had trained myself in what I now refer to as spiritual bypassing. That was the art of telling myself that I did not need to feel grief over my losses because in spirit we are all one so nothing is ever lost anyway. At the time I did not realize it was just another tool for suppressing emotion.  

My partner Dianne, a friend of ours Verna and myself were out for a day of rock climbing. We made it to the top feeling the elation of completing a brand new route. We unroped from each other and sorted out our gear preparing to walk along the top of the cliff to a place were we could do the 300-foot rappel back to the base of the cliff. Verna walked in front, followed by myself and Dianne brought up the rear. At one point I heard from behind Dianne say “oh shit”. I turned around to see what she was expressing about. My brain could not compute at first because when I turned she was no where to be seen. Then with shock I realized what had happened. She had stumbled and fallen over the edge of the cliff. The cliff at that point was overhung so we could not see the part of the cliff directly below us. We called out but heard no replies from Dianne. 

We set up a repel station so we could drop over the cliff on our remaining rope and to find her. Dianne had the other rope over her shoulder when she fell. We were hoping that it might have caught on something. Because of the distance Verna and I had to continue to reset new repels as we continued our descent. With each passing one the dread loomed larger as it meant Dianne had fallen a greater and greater distance. 

It was dark by the time we finally reached the cliff base. We started walking a grid back and forth. Eventually we came across her lifeless body. As we sat beside Dianne under the starry sky I broke open emotionally. These feelings were much too big for me to suppress. 

So obviously that experience was a trauma point. As it turned out I reached out for support and found it in the form of a facilitator that was intimately familiar with the emotional body. He led me to see the importance of needing to heal the emotional body as one of the key components to a fuller recovery from trauma. Up until that point my work with people had only been based in psychology, spirituality and body care. I could facilitate some results but without recognizing it I was missing a key component to part of what we are as humans > our emotional bodies.  

So now that I saw the importance I veraciously studied the art of working with the emotions. In her death Dianne had given me one of the most important gifts of my life. Not only had she facilitated the opening of my emotional life, transforming me into a much more fulfilled human being, but she had instigated me into developing the integration of emotional intelligence into my healing practise. This grew the effectiveness of my working with people exponentially. Her death rippled out through my transformed worked to touch the heart and soul of many, many people since. I will be forever grateful to her. 

Here is another example, this time from a person that I have worked with. Her trauma came in the form of being scapegoated in her family. Not being seen or heard in the way she would have hoped. The isolation only grew when her parents separated. 

In the process of healing her own history she was drawn to doing rebirthing work with me. This led to further study of childhood traumas and to research into a variety of parenting techniques and birthing processes. She used these more organically natural techniques in birthing her own son. 

The healing of her trauma of being poorly parented has led her to learn many skills and now she works as a Dula in service to other families in the process of giving birth to their children. She approaches it with a huge heart full of loving care. 

Tad since you first invited me to do this interview with you, I have explored a bit of the work that you do. So I know that you too see the value of people doing work that flows out of their personal life experiences. You point out how much more connected one can be to their client when fulfilling a need that is based in a personal experience. 

I want to thank you for encouraging people in this manner as I feel it will bring both them and their customers more satisfaction. 

I realize that most of your clients are coming to you for help with their businesses, yet I want to add here that for anyone that has not yet figured out a way to turn your gifts into your vocation, I would still encourage you to find places where you can give them. Perhaps it is with friends, perhaps by volunteering on the side. But know that if you find a way to give from the gifts you have gained through personal experiences and that are connected to the essence of who you are, your life is going to be filled with even more fulfillment. 

Tad: When you speak about becoming a people pleaser and ‘nice guy’ it strikes me that you must have learned a great deal about building rapport with people, setting a relaxed vibe, diffusing conflict in that process. And I imagine those same skills that were a part of unhealthy patterns for you, now used consciously are part of what make you such a wonderful facilitator. Would you say that’s true?

Kelly: Yes I would agree to the truth of that and not just in myself. What I have come to see in working with people is that any trauma or wound that we are met with leads to us coming up with a coping strategy. Somewhat simplified, our copying strategy will have two sides to it. 

One is that it will be rooted in an inner strength and/or gift that will be creatively used to attempt to deal with the wounding and protect us from similar wounding. So using the example of the “people pleaser”, it has all the traits that you referred to such as rapport building, bringing calmness to situations, diffusing conflict, as well as ability to read people and intuit what they want or need.

The second part is that when the “gift” goes sideways it turns into a dysfunction. And it is quite likely that we will have some of these dysfunctions blended in to our behaviours because typically we are reacting to a trauma unconsciously as apposed to us consciously deciding how to cope. Because it is unconscious reaction we can have “sideways” behaviours mixed in without even knowing it. 

So for instance as a people pleaser, I had the gift of actually knowing how to please people and be in service to them BUT one of the ways it went sideways was that if any situation had elements of the original wounding, I would be acting out of a fear reaction rather than a conscious response. 

So for example one of the dysfunctions is to sacrifice what would be true to me in an attempt to make someone else happy (in unconscious hopes that if I was able to please them they would not wound me). But in the self-betrayal I would actually end up wounding myself. Because when I am not being true to my own integrity I am not in alignment with inner peace and harmony. 

This comes back to the importance of addressing and working through our wounds. In the process of healing the wounds we become conscious of what our unconscious coping mechanisms were. Now with the clarity of conscious awareness we can pick and choose between which behaviours are appropriate and which ones are not serving us.   

Tad: And it also seems like you really help people who struggle as you struggled to feel ‘enough’. That seems like a clear example of a direct connection between your wound and your ‘wand’ as they say.

Kelly: Hee hee I had never heard the term “your wound and your wand”, it has a nice ring to it. 

Yes, again I agree with your observation. Because I choose to work through the wounding of my self-worth and self-esteem, as I continue to learn how to heal the damage in myself, I continue to learn tools that have the possibilities of serving others as well. And all this gets amplified in a workshop setting because of the strength of intention. Participant’s intention to strengthen their acknowledgment of self-worth and my intention to share what I have learned along the path.  

Tad: And, related to that, do you feel like the gifts come from the compensating mechanisms or from the healing from them specifically?

Kelly: I suspect that the gifts are inherent in us, and that dealing with life’s challenges calls them to the forefront. As you have likely seen, different people can face almost identical challenges, yet the internal strengths they call on to face the challenge might be quite different. 

Perhaps in some cases the gifts would lay dormant until we are faced with a challenge that requires them to surface. As hard as it is to experience traumas, it might be that if we have the support and willingness to work through them, that they accelerate us coming into our wholeness. 

Tad: I’m wondering if you feel like the path of healing and connecting with our inner nature IS the gift we get from our wounds (and so the gift is always inherently about the discipline and dedication to healing in some way?) or if it’s the compensating mechanisms and defences we’ve created that we are now able to consciously redirect that is where the gifts come from in it – so that we look at how we dealt with our wounds (poorly) and find ways that those same poor behaviours can be ultimately used for good? I’m curious what your take on that is.

Kelly: Hmmm, looks like I jumped ahead with my previous response as I think your question was already answered. It seems to me that the gifts are inherent in us and can be developed whether we have trauma to stimulate them or not, yet it is only a theory, I am not 100% sure on that.  

Tad: I know for myself, I have had the wound of not feeling ‘cool’ for a lot of my life. And that had me try ‘too hard’ to be cool and come across as ‘try hard’ to people. And that felt painful. Which had me feel uncool. And made me try even harder. And part of being uncool was learning how to map rooms to see who the cool people were. Unconsciously, that was a disingenuous pattern. But now, as I work to build connections with key hubs around sustainability and local food and good things in Edmonton – those same skills of mapping out key players is actually a beautiful gift to the community. 

Kelly: Yes Tad, great example of what we are talking about. 

Tad: When you speak of the tragedy of your friend falling to her death – it strikes me that you found a beautiful meaning in it that honoured her life and its loss. Is this a core part of your work? Helping people find a meaning in it?

Kelly: I do not know if that can be considered the core of my work but yes it is safe to say that it is a core part. I think that it is great to find deeper levels of meaning when they are available to us. It can settle the hungry mind and in some situations reformulate the emotional impact of events. 

Yet there is also a lot to be said for standing in the middle of the mystery of life. I have noticed in myself and in some others that it is easy to get “addicted” to having answers, even to the point of being in discomfort or disarray if no answers are forth coming. I find that sometimes it serves me to invite in answers if they will serve the highest good, yet in the meantime to let go of the demand for answers and just bask in a space wonderment. The unfolding of the unpredictability of life can bring lots of “juice” to our experience. I notice that the more I trust myself to be able to deal with any of life’s challenges, the more relaxed I am with the unfolding. 

On the other hand if I don’t feel safe with life, then my search for meaning is fear based, full of angst, and with an underpinning of wanting to know in hopes that the knowledge will allow me to control things. Fear tells me that if I can control everything I can be safe. 

Trust tells me that I can call on inner and outer resources that will carry me through anything that arises, making it safe to flow through as the mystery reveals itself moment by moment.  

Tad: I’ve heard it said that our ideal niche is often a younger version of ourselves – does that feel true for you? Like, I felt uncool when I was a young man, but now, older and wiser, I might have a lot to offer to a young man who feels uncool. A woman who struggled with body issues as a teen might be the perfect person, once she’s grown and healed enough, to help other young women on the same journey. I did a lot of pushy sales stuff, and now I help people who are struggling with how to be authentic in sales and marketing. There’s this idea that much of the purpose of growing up is to become the adult whose support we were most needing when we were growing up. That, when we’re lost in our direction in life, we can often look back in time at who we used to be and where we used to be and offer help to those people.

Kelly: Thanks, now I am clearer on the point you were asking about. Yes, I am in agreement with that principal, in fact it ties into a healing process that often gets used in my work. I have notice that for our elder, present self to just have the knowledge of how we needed to be treated in our past times of crisis, is just part of the process of cleaning up the “damage”. Without further steps, the younger parts of ourselves can stay in a traumatized state even once our adult self knows better. So it can be useful for a person to go into a meditative state and call up the memory of the trauma point, including all the emotions that were activated. Once accessed they can use creative imagination to picture their wiser adult self travelling back through time and stepping in as an advocate for the younger self. 

So for example I have done this myself by using memory to go back to a time when my mother was beating me using corporal punishment. I saw that as a child I was traumatized by the pain. That I was confused that someone that supposedly loved me was using physical violence because of a mistake she assumed I made. I saw that in my young mind I was making up the story that I did not have any rights over my own sovereign space, my own body. I was being taught that if someone was angry at me, that they had the right to physically attack me, criticize me and shame me. And I saw that as a result my child self was feeling a mixture of helplessness, sadness and anger about what was happening. 

While still holding that image, it was overlaid with my present imagination. That imagination was of my adult self dropping into the scene, taking my younger self into my arms away from my mother, telling her she could no longer physically abuse this child, telling my younger self that I was going to be here and now stand up for Kelly, making openhearted boundaries whenever needed so no one gets to abuse us again. 

From this place of safety I visualized my child and adult self sending loving energy to the essence of my mother while at the same time saying no to her inappropriate behaviours. 

As I am doing this I am holding the consciousness of my adult self and child self at the same time and allowing them to both express through my present self. So here I am with all this going on internally while in present time I am weeping the tears of my child self. The tears he never got to cry while he was being violated, as well as his tears of relief that someone had finally seen him and cared enough to step in with the love and care that he had needed. 

So one might ask, what was the point of doing all that. Well the point is that prior to doing that kind of inner work, in my everyday life, if I ran into situations that had elements of what happened when I was a child, I would unconsciously go into that childhood assumption that I had to put up with aggression from other people. It wasn’t as extreme as me being physically hit, but it did manifest as me collapsing and not standing up for myself. Especially in the face of women that reminded me of my mother 

So I was stunted in a child state when facing situations that triggered associations to the past events. Because all this was playing out subconsciously below my awareness, all that I was seeing in my adult life was that I could be manipulated by people that showed aggression. That I lacked boundaries and would collapse into a passive state. Or if I were pushed too far I would flip to the other pole and become aggressive (unconsciously fuelled by the unresolved anger I had at my mother). 

So in present time, logically my adult self had the intellectual knowledge that I had the right to my sovereign space. My adult knew that no one had the right to be abusive towards me, BUT when triggered I unconsciously regressed to the unhealed child state. In a sense the adult was nowhere to be found when the child state took over. 

Once I did the healing work to go back in to the trauma and unify the connection between the child and adult Kelly > now my child self is not left disconnected internally. So if something arises presently that has elements of the past, even if the child is activated, he is not left alone, the adult steps in with him as an advocate and puts the needed boundaries in place.  

So this would be one of my personal examples that is an illustration of how we can become an advocate for our own internal child self. And then there is the option to extend that out to others as you were mentioning Tad.

So in my workshops a big thrust is in supporting people to learn how to empower themselves to make openhearted boundaries. Passing on what I have learned (or a better description would be – what I have embodied) and helping people find ways to embody that for themselves so they have more than just the head knowledge of physiological and spiritual ideals about self care.

Tad: If someone were to say to you, ‘My wounds are NOT a blessing!’ I’m curious how you might respond, or want to respond if they were open.

Kelly: I liked how you framed that Tad “or want to respond if they were open”. It shows me your sensitivity to care when addressing someone’s wounds. Discussion of wounds can initiate protectiveness, so unless there is a sincere openness, any attempt at communication can break down rapidly. 

If there is an opening then I would likely share my thoughts about the paradox of wounding. Receiving wounding is not a blessing. Receiving a wounding can be a blessing. Both ring true to me so I would not want to polarize to one statement or the other. Rather I would hold space for both of them. 

If I am stuck with just “it is not a blessing” then I am likely to stay stuck in a disempowered victim place around it. If I am stuck in “it is a blessing” then I may be prone to use positivity to suppress the grief that needs to be felt through. And to avoid looking squarely at the damage facilitated by the wounding. If I am not willing to fully look at the damage and emotional feel what that brings up, then I will be left with blind spots that will keep me stuck and unable to move forward into an empowered space. It is through the close observation and emotional work that I can sort out how to heal the wound and come back into an empowered place. That process is going to call forward my gifts, which in turn reveals the other side of the paradox > “my wounds are a blessing”. 

Hmmm, that feels like it may be a natural place to close on Tad, unless you have further questions, which I would be willing to answer.

Thanks again for your stimulating questions. 

May each of you that reads this be blessed on your journey. 

Kelly Tobey is an IntegrativeTransformational Processing Facilitator with StarTree Integration Adventures (founded 1991)

Kelly provides, Private Sessions, Workshops, Leadership Trainings, Retreats, across Canada  And in Calgary ongoing weekly drop-in seminars called Expanding Heartfelt Living evenings. For information contact Kelly Tobey at Phone: (403) 217-5533 Fax: (403) 217-0053 Website: www.kellytobey.com Facebook: Kelly Tobey YouTube: KellyTobey1

Lev Natan Talks Sacred Business – How to Walk Your Unique Spiritual Path and Pay Your Bills On Time

Lev_Headshot_Feb2013My colleague Lev Natan is one of the most ‘real deal’ conscious entrepreneur coaches you could meet. He has a deep history in community and spiritual work and it’s been wonderful to see his work blossom. He’s got a new project coming up that I am excited to share with you all and so I thought I’d sit down with him for a bit of an extended interview about it.

His program is called: The Sacred Business Intensive – How to Walk Your Unique Spiritual Path and Pay Your Bills On Time: 5 Free Webinars to Integrate Your Relationship with Money, Life Purpose, and Meaningful Work – From March 27th thru April 4th.  

You’ve spoken about how you have noticed that conscious entrepreneurs often feel “overwhelmed, hopeless, unappreciated, hurt, and as if no one sees who [they] truly are or what [they] are here to give.” What’s underneath that? Why do you think they feel that way? Is this them playing victim or something else? Why do we get stuck here?

To understand why we get stuck, we need to see clearly how life really is, and, for a moment, let go of how we would like it be.  What are the values that mainstream western culture supports and respects?  Economic and career success, material wealth, social status, and the power to control resources.  

The dominant culture is not organized around values of appreciating each individual’s talents and gifts.  We have the Gross National Product, while Bhutan, for example, has the Gross National Happiness Index.  It doesn’t foster healthy community relationships that empower us to feel safe being ourselves (as opposed to wearing social masks).  

Our culture has stripped away the sense that we have what we need and can enjoy a simple sense of contentment.  Contentment grows out of a strong connection to self, resilient family and community ties, and an engaged relationship with spirituality (our sense of meaning and purpose).  Instead, our culture stimulates our sense of neediness (which is what drives our economy), and tells us we will be satiated by unhealthy foods, material goods, money, and the image of success.  This life pattern conditions us towards dependency and addition.

The truth is, we are needy.  But, at the root of our neediness is a longing for authentic relationship – relationship with self, community, nature, and spirit.

The root word for culture is the same as cultivate, so our culture is the soil in which we grow, and the soil is quite depleted of nourishment.  We can go back 10,000 years to see the overall pattern of human civilization as being engaged in power struggles for control of resources.  Generation after generation of this life experience engenders our psychological, emotional and neurological systems with a pattern of dependency.  

So, on a cultural level, we have been conditioned to feel the feelings that I’ve mentioned – “overwhelmed, hopeless, unappreciated, hurt, and as if no one sees who [they] truly are or what [they] are here to give.”

A lot of coaches, healers, and teachers talk about “transforming limiting beliefs,” but an essential element that is usually left out is the awareness that our beliefs are like roots of a tree – they go deep into the soil of our being. 

We get stuck because our bodies “remember” these traumas, and are expressed as subconscious beliefs, which show up when we want to express ourselves in our businesses.  To access the self-respect, love, joy, and empowerment necessary to stand up as leaders in our businesses, we need to transform our conditioned value and belief systems by going on a journey to heal our ancestral wounds.  

I went through a years-long process of healing the fear of being persecuted for my spiritual beliefs because my ancestors were persecuted – villages destroyed, families torn apart.  I had memories of being burned at the stake that I had to heal.

These kinds of traumas are passed down through our ancestral memories and our bodies.  I didn’t think that I was literally in danger of physical harm, but it showed up as fear of being rejected or people not taking me seriously in my business if I really spoke my truth.  So, I needed to heal the roots of those beliefs in order to stand powerfully in my entrepreneurial purpose and mission.

You speak about how, “we don’t just want to “be successful,” we want to sing our own unique song.” Can you spell out the difference you see between the two? And why do you think more of the people we work with haven’t found this yet? Is it fear? Is it them trying to fit into a box? What prevents us from finding that song?

Have you ever heard of Chiron?  He was a figure in Greek mythology who exemplifies the archetype of the wounded healer.  

The path towards true service requires you to go on your own healing journey.  And, on this path of healing, there aren’t any shortcuts, you have to confront the wounds and do the work.  

This is is not something that we’re used to in our culture.  We’re used to shortcuts and getting the results that we think we want as quickly and effortlessly as possible.  The problem with this, as our current economic and environmental crisis demonstrates, is that taking shortcuts actually brings us further away from what would truly nourish us.

So, “being successful” is about looking the part – getting the clients, making the money, being the respected expert in your field.  From here, people who are feeling needy for those things are attracted to the image of power and success that you have built.

Singing our song is about freedom.  Freedom can not be faked.   Freedom is a qualitative expression of spiritual growth and development.  Freedom requires self-awareness, trust, faith, courage, compassion, intelligence, and an open-hearted love that is willing to give itself fully for what it believes.  It takes practice to develop these qualities – that’s why we call it spiritual practice.

Martin Luther King Jr. was free.  Gandhi was free.  Malcolm X was free.  And, Nelson Mandela was free, even though he spent 27 years in prison.  They found freedom through their connection to their life purpose, mission, and relationship with self, other, and spirituality.

You don’t need to be a political or social change leader in order to have the courage to be free.  Start with your own healing journey.  Start by being honest with yourself.  

The most powerful act of courage is to give yourself permission to articulate what you really want, what would really make you come alive and feel joyful, as opposed to the image of what “being successful” tells you what you want.  Movement towards your authentic vision gives you many opportunities to heal and move closer to freedom.

The main thing that can prevents you from singing your song is that you create a culturally acceptable version of your vision – basically a compromise – and then pretend to be excited about it.  External results of “success” can give us a rush for a few years, but its like a sugar rush, it isn’t a solid foundation on which to build a life or business. 

You speak about:

“why am I here on this planet at this time?  What am I here to do and be?  Who am I, underneath my social conditioning in a culture that has a habit of only looking at the surface of things.  And, who am I an in an era that is coming to an end, and in a new one that is emerging as we speak?  What is my role?  What is my responsibility?  How can I  imagine a vision for myself that feels free and joyful when there is so much suffering going on around me?”

Why do these questions matter to a conscious entrepreneur? What do you see as the connection between the kind of deep personal growth you’re talking about and right livelihood? I can imagine a lot of people might say, ‘That’s nice and important, but I have to pay the bills. I don’t have time for this.’

Going back to where I left off in the last question, its about integrity.  I’m not only talking about being aligned with your truth.  I’m talking about structural integrity.   

When you build a house without pouring the concrete foundation its just not going to last.  You could look at these questions as the foundation for a solid business and life.

These questions are the roots of a powerful vision, and therefore, a solid foundation for a conscious business.  When you ask yourself “why am I here at this time?” it cuts to the core of your sense of purpose.  Your connection to purpose gives you access to a quality of inner resources that are otherwise completely unavailable.

To make it simple, these questions can be distilled into one simple question: what motivates you to get up in the morning?  

Your motivation dictates the manner in which you engage your goals.  If you are motivated by the socially approved of treasures – wealth, status, power – than you may just get that.  But, these treasures do not guarantee fulfillment, joy, healthy relationships, and experience a sense of deep meaning in the work that you do.  In fact, the statistics show the exact opposite.  America, the richest country in the world, is also the most depressed.  Americans consume more anti-depressants than any other people in the world.

If you are motivated by a desire to grow into a person who embodies the attributes taught about by world spiritual traditions, then joy, meaning, fulfillment are assured to you.  Why?  Because you are focused on cultivating internal qualities, which you do have control over, as opposed to external results, which you, ultimately, don’t have control over.

Results in business are essential.  But, your perspective and motivation changes your relationship which getting results, which is at the core of what I am talking about.

By integrating your deepest sense of meaning and purpose into your business, you begin to emphasize action that genuinely cultivates your mission, as opposed to looking for the best way to get recognized, find clients, and just “get yourself out there.”  

Its an issue of focus and perspective that may seem subtle, but over the course of the development of a business, and your life as a whole, that foundation builds a whole different house, so to speak.

A major (often valid) criticism of people engaged in a spiritual, healing or holistic business is that they’re flakey. Lofty visions, big concepts etc. but little application and little ability to ‘pay the bills on time.’ What do you think that’s about and what do these people most need? What’s missing for them here? When you work with them how do you help with that? 

Its true.  People engaged in spiritual, healing or holistic businesses do have lofty visions.  I would also add people in the creative arts, like film-making, writing, musicians, and visual artists.  I should know, I’m one of them.

Most of the time, your greatest gift is also your greatest weakness, and this is definitely the case here.  All human beings have the same basic structure – 2 arms, 2 legs, 2 eyes, a nose, mouth, etc. – and that hasn’t changed for thousands of years.  But, your individual nature is very unique.  The nature of people who create, heal, and connect naturally to a sense of spirituality is that we literally have one foot in two worlds.  Now, taken at face value, in this materialistic culture, it can be a setback to be “in the world, but not of it.”  But, in other cultural systems, this is highly revered and respected human quality.  One of the meanings for the word “shaman”is literally “the one who dreams it into being” – “it” meaning their vision.  

So, the first mistake that most people make is to hide their natural gift, which is their most precious asset in a business.  They need to honor themselves and their gift.  

From here there is a “reality check” that probably needs to happen.  You need to get real with what it is that you’re ignoring – in terms of practical business and professional skills.  Go out and get the training you need.  I had to do that, and through our work together, my clients learn to engage practically with the vision that they care most about.  I’m talking about skills like presenting yourself respectfully, clear communication, time management, time lines, goal setting and follow through – in general, being a professional and taking yourself seriously.

So, the second mistake is that intuitive/creative professionals think that their intuition and visionary nature will carry them through life without having to do any heavy lifting.  

But, once you move through those two issues, you have the ability to channel the power of your creativity into a clear structure or form that strikes a nerve with people, and is much more powerful, attractive, and magnetic than “successful” business-owners who have perfected the skill of looking the part, but don’t have the root and life force flowing through their copy, programs and services.

CLIENT STORY:

I’ll give you an example to demonstrate these two points. Dean Adams, who will be speaking with me in the 5th Webinar in the Sacred Business Intensive, was a free-lance news film-maker/journalist in Thailand, struggling to catch the next story, when I met him.  He was behind on his bills and stress was mounting in his relationship with his wife.  

Where to start in such a challenging situation?  We began with the inspiring vision that makes Dean come alive.  For many years Dean has felt a yearning to use story-telling through film as a vehicle for inspiration, empowerment, healing, and growing the new, life-affirming culture.  This is what we tapped into.  

My intention was to get Dean to feel how important that vision was  in his life.  It was a struggle.  

When you can’t see a pathway to your vision, your tendency is to stop looking, because it hurts too much.

But, Dean and I built a relationship rooted in trust, safety, and acceptance where it was not only ok to feel the pain, but I actually supported him to do so.  As we created more space for the pain to be felt, there was more space for other emotions as well – excitement, inspiration, and the desire to make his vision a reality. 

But, we didn’t float off into “vision-land” and “get high.”   Instead, we used the vision as a container within which to engage the practical realities of his life.  His sense of empowerment awakened.  He went out and got a job teaching film-making at a school.  No, that wasn’t the ultimate goal, but that was the necessary stepping-stone, in that moment.  And, now that his ultimate vision was strong, he was able to give himself fully to the practical task at hand.

From here, he continued to look for new work opportunities, and through skillful networking (a crucial business skill), was offered a job as Deputy Editor in Chief for Documentaries at Qatar TV, a news television station, where he is currently earning a healthy income while building the professional skills and relationships that are making his vision for his own film-production company truly realistic.  He is currently in the process of putting together a team of staff and investors to support his film-production company called 10 Hope Films.

You can get more info here.  

mqdefaultLev Natan helps entrepreneurs & creative professionals weave their unique spiritual path into meaningful work through Life Purpose / Business Coaching & Sound Healing.  He is the founder of The Medicine Tree Center, and is committed to a path of practical spirituality that is rooted in purposeful work, meaningful relationships, and vibrant, joyful health.

Lev’s work is rooted in the principles and practical wisdom of ancient mystical and shamanic traditions.  A musician his whole life, Lev awakened to the healing power of sound through spiritual and musical traditions from cultures around the world, including the Chasidic Tradition of Judaism, Indigenous Healing Traditions of Brazil and Peru, Tuvan Throat Singing, and Native American spiritual traditions.  

Lev is Certified as an Empowerment Life Coach, and has been serving clients since 2008.  He has a background in addiction treatment counseling and rites of passage work. He graduated from Boston University Cum Laude with a degree in Human Ecology, is Certified as Agent of Conscious Evolution through Barbara Marx Hubbard’s training with the Shift Network, apprenticed with Native American Shaman and Elder, Hawksbrother, for six years, has been studying Tai Chi & Qi Gong for 8 years, and is currently enrolled in the Sound and Music Institute’s Practitioner Certification Training.

If you’d like more info or to sign up for Lev’s free offer, just click here.

niche case study: migraine sufferers

Heidi Wilson was a part of my last Niching for Hippies program.

She’s a cranio sacral therapist (among other things). That’s the boat (watch the video in this blog and that’ll make more sense). From her standpoint, craniosacral work is what she does. From the client’s standpoint though, craniosacral is just how she does what she does. From there standpoint, what she does is to help them get a particular result that they’re craving.

But which result?

That’s the million dollar question.

The challenge is more complex when you realize that most holistic modalities can help so many people with so many issues – that’s why they’re ‘holistic’ in the first place. But most people aren’t interested in being more holistically well. They’re too busy dealing with whatever pressing problems they’re facing.

And they’re sure not interested in prevention.

To state it another way: the modality you use (how you do what you do) is irrelevant to people. They don’t care. What is relevant to them are the problems they struggle with and the results they crave. Period.

So, your job in marketing is to translate that for them – to build the bridge – to help them see how your technique can help them get what they want.

But, of course, we can’t be experts in everything.

So, Heidi decided to narrow in on a very specific niche: migraine headaches.

 

Name: Heidi Wilson – Tucson, Arizona, U.S.A.
Website: http://www.Heidiwilsonfluidhealing.com

What is the niche you’ve come up with? Who is it? What are the problems they struggle with?

My niche is people who suffer from chronic migraine headaches who are open to natural solutions. They struggle with the pattern of recurring physical pain of migraine headaches and the accompanying disruption and dysfunction it causes in their lives. They don’t want to be dependent on drugs.

What’s the result you are helping them to achieve?

I help them live without this chronic pain through their committing to receiving regular craniosacral sessions for a period of at least six months.

How was the process of coming to this niche for you? Was it hard? Easy? A struggle? Something you’d already been working on?

Before the start of this course, I had thought about wanting to somehow bring in more people with migraines to my practice, since I knew that I could help them, but I hadn’t really thought about the concept of a “niche” before. It was cool to go through the process of reflecting on my own healing journey through Tad’s questions/homework. It helped me understand with more clarity that healing my wounds about shame and confusion around natural desires and sensuous expression, brought me to doing healing work. And that being passionate about teaching people to be at home in their bodies and recognizing the incredible healing resources available through this relationship with their bodies, is a natural progression on my path. The process wasn’t exactly easy- I went through some shadow work in answering the homework questions- that brought to light my strengths and values.

Why this niche? What’s the story here? What can you say about your personal connection to this niche? Were you once in a similar boat? What made you think you had something to offer here?

In the reflections for the homework for this class, there was a part that asked what we are good at, who have we helped? People with migraine headaches came up easily as an answer. I love seeing people through to the other side of this pain. I don’t get migraines myself, but my youngest daughter used to. There was a year in high school when she was under a lot of stress while going to a school that wasn’t a fit for her. Changing schools and getting bodywork from me helped her through. Witnessing the suffering she went through and wanting so much for her suffering to end helps me have compassion for people with this pattern.
Getting clear that this is a niche that I can name and claim is exciting to me.

What’s the response been to this so far from the people you’ve shared it with?

The response from people who I have told about this niche has been nothing but positive! Everyone seems to know someone who suffers from migraines and supports me in pursuing this project.

How are you planning to reach this crowd? Any sense of the best hubs right now?

I am in the process of creating a website specifically for people who suffer from migraines. I will purchase some google ads to get traffic coming to my site. I’ll soon create a Facebook page for this aspect of my business.

I have reached out to a friend who is a Naturopathic doctor who will take my cards and with whom I plan on doing some projects around migraine relief. I will also go to other Naturopathic doctors’ offices with cards and fliers/brochures about my offerings.

I’m contemplating creating some you tube videos about my practice of “Floating the Brain”, a meditative practice that I teach my craniosacral students that I believe will help people with migraines. This one is a bit edgy for me, but I want to go for it when I am ready!

What did you learn about niching along the way?

I have been in private practice for 19 years and never taken a marketing course- never really gave it much thought. My practice has really built itself on word of mouth. The concept of niche marketing was new to me so I learned one very basic concept that others may have already heard of or understood- that narrowing my focus can actually increase my effectiveness in reaching the people that I can help.

What are your next steps in exploring this niche? Any project ideas?

I plan on pursuing the project that I came up with in the six week course. That is- a free workshop/event co-created with my naturopathic friend. She will offer information on migraines’ causes and triggers and offer dietary recommendations and herbs. I will offer meditative exercises and practices I call “Floating the Brain” to feel your cranial rhythm and encourage a relaxation response to stress. Of course then I would let people know about my craniosacral work and why I believe they could benefit from my services if they were ready to commit to at least a few months of working together.

What would you say were the top three lessons you learned about niching from going through the six week Niching for Hippies program?

1. To have an idea and go for it!

2. So many cool ideas about creating and connecting with hubs through niching projects!

3. That I can keep growing my self and my work as I get more and more clear about who I am and who I love to be with!

Anything else you’d like to say?

Just that Tad, you are a great living example of someone working a successful niche! The titles- Niching for Hippies- and Marketing for Hippies- got me when I read it in an email -don’t remember how I got the original email… Just caught my attention and curiosity – struck a chord of relatedness… Then when I started to read the material, it continued to take me in with the down to earth honest approach to a topic that I didn’t normally relate to- marketing. Thanks for being real and so generous with your knowledge! And cool too of course!

Here’s what I might do if I were her:

Become an expert in migraines not just craniosacral. If she’s going to create a website on migraines, I want to see it full of links, tips, videos, blog posts, interviews etc. on migraines. You need to be masterful at your craft. True. You must be excellent at your technique or modality. But you must also become an expert in their problem. Stated another way – you need to be an expert in helping them get the results they crave. Fortunately, this isn’t difficult. Most migraine sufferers will have never even read a single book on the topic.

That’s a guess but I’d wager a generous sum that it’s true. All she needs to do is to read a few books on migraines and she’ll be well ahead of the curve. The key in the holistic world is to get outside of your own modality. Forget about it for a while and just learn about the issue at hand.

Seek other perspectives.

I imagine that herbalists, NLP practitioners, Chinese Medicine practitioners, essential oil purveyors, yoga teachers, hypnotherapists, meditation teachers, nutritionists etc. all have something to say and offer here that would be complimentary and not at all competitive. If her clients can see her as an expert not only in craniosacral (which they only peripherally care about to the extent they believe it can help them) but also in treating migraines she will be able to command much higher fees (should she want to), be much choosier in her clients, and will have so much more openness, trust and cooperation from her clients.

And she’ll want to make much of this context setting knowledge available for free on her site.

She’ll have street cred.

Develop a very clear point of view on treating migraines. The focus on migraines make her work instantly relevant to a lot of people. But the true credibility will come from them understanding her point of view – how she sees the situation. They want to know her ‘take’ on it. Her perspective, philosophy . . . her map on how to get them from Island A to Island B. Let’s imagine she chooses to do a series of blog posts on the topic. Here are some titles her potential clients might find very interesting.

“The Six Hidden Causes of Migraines”

“The Three Biggest Unfortunate Side Effects About Migraine Pain Relief Drugs The Drug Companies Would Rather You Don’t Know”

“Three Simple Home Remedies to Take the Edge Off Your Migraines”

“Five Foods That Will Make Your Migraines Worse”

“What’s Happening in Your Brain When You Have a Migraine”

These are just off the cuff but she could come up with more by answering these questions.

So much of marketing ends up being education. But not just education about the boat (e.g. “let me tell you how great Osteopathy is”) but education about the map (e.g. “See, here’s where the tides will whip you right into the rocks, here’s where the pirates are, here’s where the sea monsters are but this path here is smooth sailing. See that?”).  The more that people understand, resonate with and trust your map the more ideal clients you’ll get.

Identifying Hubs for Migraine Sufferers. The core of marketing, as I know it, is about identifying hubs. Asking yourself, ‘Where do migraine sufferers (who don’t want to rely on drugs) already spend their time, money and attention?’ The answer to that question will give you everything you need to start marketing to them effectively. In fact, we mentioned some great ones above – herbalists, NLP practitioners, Chinese Medicine practitioners, essential oil purveyors, yoga teachers, hypnotherapists, meditation teachers, nutritionists etc.

Here’s another bonus tip: for marketing to local clients staff at health food stores in the supplement section. I guarantee they have people coming in all the time looking for natural treatments to migraines. If all the staff know her and love her – you can be that they’ll be happy to refer business over to her of these clients.

Advice #4: Think global. Niching narrowly to a problem like migraines means you can now grow your business more broadly than where you live. Heidi could, over time, create videos, ebooks, audio programs etc. that she could sell on her new website – http://ihelpmigraines.com/ and make some money while she sleeps.

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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/