Guest Post: What Your Business Isn’t Telling You – The Eightfold Path of Tracking

by Tim Emerson of KwanYinHealing.com

gI 135471 tim emerson Guest Post: What Your Business Isn’t Telling You – The Eightfold Path of TrackingA few months back, Tad asked me, along with other Niching for Hippies alumni, for feedback on “The Niching Spiral,” and what other suggestions we might have.

I shared that I liked the spiral imagery. 

In my experience at least, a niche isn’t a one time decision, but rather, a process of continually self-discovery and how that relates to your Big Circle (assuming you’ve given up trying to help absolutely everyone as an unworkable fantasy). Part of this journey is uncovering who shows up—for Tad, this was holistic practitioners in his workshops and then, later, permaculture practitioners;  for me, it was recognizing that alternative/socially-conscious entrepreneurs were my primary clients, even though I’m not a business coach (and don’t want to be).  Part of this was trying things to see how they worked—my early “Healing for Healers” program was met with great enthusiasm . . . and little investment.  It’s why we “date” niches instead of asking them to marry us immediately.   Some relationship we repair and heal.  Some we end, moving on.

Along these lines, I suggested Tad include tracking as a niching tool.  Tad is always curious and searchingly pointed about new ideas, and after an interesting conversation, asked me to share.   So here I am, but beyond niching, I’m here to make this key point:


If you aren’t tracking, you don’t know your own business. 

 

And this is true of even the smallest businesses, the ones where of course you know. 

I get that this reads like a bold statement.  Let me share my experience. 

Kwan Yin Healing is a boutique business.   I work with spiritually-conscious people, open to the idea of energy healing, who are struggling with healing needs in a broad context, from physical pain to life path confusion, and who are ready to move forward on a comprehensive map to peace.   For me, that means programs that really delve into working together to successfully resolve problems.  And that means higher end offers with fewer clients than a high-volume/low-cost model.   So in my first few years in business, that added up to a few hundred clients from half a dozen countries.   Not too difficult to keep straight in my head, right?

Still . . . the tax man likes to see numbers, and prefers these numbers based on reality.   So, I sat down to list my clients, what they bought, who was coming back for additional programs, who was referring people, and what everybody spent (including the free sessions I gave away), just to see (since I had to do it to get an accurate income figure anyway).  And, I thought maybe I could see going into the future something helpful in regard to the 80/20 rule.   Just being proactive, I thought. 

What I learned is that I had been clueless.   And I wish I’d known what I learned months earlier.  It really would have helped. 

1) I had no idea who my real clients were.

Turns out, the 80/20 rule was a joke.  Try 95/5.  Yup—95% of my income (vs. my business time) came from just 5% of my clients.   Those 5% were also 100% of my referral sources.    Nearly 100% of my repeat business too. And incidentally, these 5% continually showed up on my free teleseminars, called in when I did radio interviews, participated in surveys and on social media.  

These people are my Tribe.   They like me.  They follow me.  They talk about me to friends.  But all my marketing and outreach efforts were geared to the 95% that was showing me little love.  No wonder building my business was so excruciatingly slow!

I kicked myself.  Then changed course immediately. 

2) I didn’t know what my real work was.

Very early in my business, I went after this idea that “some people get healing, some don’t.”  The standard “maybe they weren’t ready” wasn’t enough for me—it begs the question.  WHY aren’t they ready?  What would they need to get ready?  Why don’t they have it now?

Tracking brought the first answers.  I looked at the many rows of free sessions—and I didn’t mind doing those sessions, and had no high expectations they would lead anywhere.  But I noticed something interesting – these people weren’t getting the results other clients were getting.   I was intrigued by this because other clients were sometimes getting spectacular results from the first session—one client who had been seeing a chiropractor weekly for a year after an auto accident was told that he didn’t know why, but her C1 vertebrae had moved back into place, that her high blood pressure had dropped to normal, and she didn’t need to come anymore.   I noticed, though, that these first session successes were almost all from clients who had signed on for a longer commitment (working through other issues beyond physical symptoms). 

Another client found relief from his tortured back and from the nerve damage in his foot—and went on to deeper work, and had significant realizations about where he was in life and why.  Yet he never followed up and made changes . . . and after a time, the pain returned.   Meanwhile another client, who kept going to the chiropractor for tightness in his back that kept him from practicing martial arts, felt it tightening again on his way home after each visit, until we worked together and brought lasting relief.  

It was following through with each client’s commitment that I discovered the Four Pillars of healing:  Clarity, Connection, Coherence, and Change.  With all four, clients got results.  If one or more was missing, results suffered or vanished.    I never would have seen this (or would have taken much longer to uncover it) had I not been tracking.  These Four Pillars are now the cornerstone of all my work.

3) I got an unquestionable lesson on the quality of my systems.

If you’ve never read Sam Carpenter’s book, “Work the System,” you should. Systems are the difference between struggling and succeeding, between the feast or famine cycle and sustainability.  

Fortunately, evaluating my systems didn’t take long at all—my tracking experience revealed that I clearly didn’t have any.  I only thought I did. 

So how would I track my systems?  First I’d have to decide what I needed to measure, and then, I’d have to set up the systems for achieve those things reliably. 

In short, I realized just what a mess my business model really was.  And how to fix it.

4) I had no idea I was so fiscally irresponsible.

I’ve always held some criticism for those “bean counters” in organizations looking at the bottom line, those perceived as myopic, heartless, soul-less vision-killers.   And now I openly apologize to them, and recommend every organization run out and get some.

The second year, I had promised myself not to let tracking go so long again.  And—once again, found myself doing it the week before my accountant needed the information (see #3 regarding no systems—those systems were clearly going to need some system for accountability). 

Well, I knew my clients and their situations better now.  What I didn’t realize was how much money I had made.  I stared in amazement, and reran the figures, thinking I must have made a mistake.   Then I wondered—if I made that much, what did I do with it???

Then I ran expenses.  I knew I had spent more than I’d have liked, and had hung on too long with a campaign.   But when I had the figures in front of me, I wished I’d had them months earlier, because I would have pulled the plug 2/3 sooner than I did.   And there were a number of categories that totaled much more than I would have guessed.

Just as the bean counters warned – you can increase your profits just by paying attention to income and expenses.   I wish I had started doing this sooner.

5) I didn’t even know what I knew.

My most successful marketing to date has been teleseminars.  They always have generated new clients, and they’ve generated nearly all of my high end clients.  

I promoted these primarily through Facebook (a third of my email list found me there).  But Facebook keeps changing the rules of the game, and a series of these changes turned a lucrative strategy into a worthless one.  Now what?

Enter tracking.   My teleseminar strategy isn’t necessarily dead—only one part of it.  I have good data on how many people will sign up, how many of those will be on the call, how many of those will convert.  I can go back and add the missing data—how many people did I need to reach to get those sign ups.   Since the rest of this is solid, all that’s missing are new paths to the teleseminar sign-up.    The rest I already know—and know well—from tracking.

6) I didn’t know which were the weak links in my marketing.

Once I finally got the message that tracking was important, I started to pay attention to other things as well.  

A lot of activities and options sound cool, but are they helping the bottom line (See my new-found kinship with the bean counters?  I’m already learning the lingo)?

I have a press release package – do clients find me that way?  Do they click over from social media?  Do they click the links from guest blog posts?  

Not that the bottom line has to rule everything – but now I can make the choice.  Am I investing wisely in paid marketing?   What’s the return?  Are my activities worth the time and trouble (and if I just flat out enjoy them, that counts too)?  To what degree? 

Point is, I don’t have to guess.  I *know* what’s working and what’s not, and can move to deciding what to fix, what to adjust, and what to abandon.

7) I didn’t have any way to know how to make my business sustainable.

Without tracking, I had no way to plan.   That left me with no strategies for getting there.

But once I know here’s the financial goal, here’s how many clients that would take under different options, here’s what I have to do to meet that many clients, here’s how many people I need to engage to meet that many clients, here’s how I’ll need to do that, here’s what those activities would take in terms of planning and time, and suddenly, I have a calendar and business plan. 

Just like that.  And I can track it to see how it’s working.

8) I didn’t realize I was mistaken about my niche—or why. 

Tracking keeps me honest about who I think I help.  Because if I’m going to track this, I need something to track.

Remember my Big Circle?  I help spiritually-conscious people who are nonetheless struggling with life path or health.   They’ve taken the yoga and T’ai Chi classes, they mediate, they attend the right seminars, read the right books, eat the right granola – and yet things are coming together for them.  

Great!  So where do these people hang out?  And to address what particular need?

Hmmm…see the problem?  This is too vague to name—and hence track.  But I *can* start naming sub-sets within that Big Circle.  All of these are possible Little Circles, and potential niches, complete with people looking for that help, places to find them:

  • people who suffer chronic pain, are open to energy healing, and want to find relief 
  • small business owners who want to authentically walk with their divine selves in daily life
  • people making the transition from corporate jobs to more spiritual entrepreneurship
  • people working through emotional challenges—stress, overwhelm, trauma, divorce…
  • people in an awkward time in their lives, not really knowing what they want to do 
  • people looking to deepen their connection to and awareness of their spiritual selves 

Now, what’s trackable here?   Notice some of these are clearer than others.   And to find hubs, clarity will be essential.

The clearest of these is the first one – suffering chronic pain, looking for relief.  It’s simple, it’s straight-forward, it’s something people actually say about themselves and actually seek. 

So let’s test it (Wow!  Now I have an R&D department, all from tracking!).   

Do you (or someone you know) suffer from chronic pain?  How would you describe that pain, on a scale of 1-10, ten being unbearable, 1 being barely noticeable?  See how we’re going to track that progress?

If you’re open to the idea of energy healing, and are ready to find relief without medication, then visit to http://kwanyinhealing.com , drop me a note, and we’ll set up a free phone consult to discuss it.   In this consult, you’ll (1) gain clarity about your health and what’s possible for you, (2) identify key milestones and key obstacles to a pain-free life, and (3) leave the session feeling renewed, inspired, and re-energized.   

I’ll be tracking the results.

Tim Emerson
Kwan Yin Healing

And the Winner of our 2014 Niching Contest is . . .

 

I am so thrilled to announce the winners of the 2014 So You Think You Can Niche? contest!

Backstory: throughout the month of April I invited people to submit 120 character niches (that’s shorter than a tweet!), and if they submitted a niche, then I asked that that they rate at least five other people’s niches from 1-10 and offer feedback to one another. 

 The results were staggering. We had 126 entries, over 1000 facebook “likes” and over 2500 comments – amazing! I am blown away by the quality of content and interaction, it’s been a wonderful success. 

 

And the winner is: Audrey Wong!

 

AuudreyWong 1024x682 And the Winner of our 2014 Niching Contest is . . .

Audrey received an overall rating of 10, and of the four overall 10’s in this contest, she had the most ratings in comments – thus making her our winner and proving that the amount of rated feedback really did matter! Our sincere congratulations to Audrey – she entered an excellent, clear niche for her company Living Lotus. She will take home the first place prize of a 90-minute coaching session with me ($450 value) + she’ll be featured on my blog in the future + a $100 gift certificate at her favourite locally owned restaurant + a free hardbound copy of The Niching Spiral!

Our 2nd and 3rd place winners are Debra Graff and Ruth Schwartz respectively. Each of these women receive a 10 rating and had the 2nd and 3rd most ratings in comments of all the 10’s. They will each receive a 30-minute coaching session with me + an electronic copy of The Niching Spiral.

DebraGraff 300x180 And the Winner of our 2014 Niching Contest is . . . RuthSchwartz 300x229 And the Winner of our 2014 Niching Contest is . . .

 

 

 

 

 

 

The lovely nichers who placed 4th through 10th each wins $100 off my next Niching Spiral Mentorship program (a discount the winner can use or pass onto others). And they are: 4th: Shannon Lagasse [10]; 5th: Kim McNeil [9.75]; 6th: Sudha Devi [9.5]; 7th: Shay Sampson [9.5]; 8th: Jennifer Seitzer [9.5]; 9th: Deborah Epstein [9.5] and 10th: Wei Houng [9.5].

fourth to tenth 1024x1024 And the Winner of our 2014 Niching Contest is . . .

Best Photo Awards go to: Yahya BakkarAudrey Wong, Kevin GebertDebra Graff, Ruth SchwartzClaudia Richey and Shellie White Light. Each of these people wins $100 off my next Niching Spiral Mentorship program (a discount the winner can use or pass onto others).

Best Photo 1024x1024 And the Winner of our 2014 Niching Contest is . . .

The Best Comments Prize go to the people who gave the best feedback to others, and they each get $300 off my Niching Spiral Mentorship program – because they’re the kind of people I want in it. Thanks for the amazing effort and deeply thoughtful feedback folks, my congratulations go to: Jennifer SteinbachsJoanna FreeLorraine WatsonMonika DenesManal Khalife and Briana Barrett-Squirrel.

And lastly, the Good Comments Award goes to anyone who gave at least five quality pieces of feedback (beyond just a rating number). These good commenters will each get $100 off off the Niching Spiral Mentorship program. I was thrilled to see so much thoughtful feedback offered and gracefully received during the contest. Congrats to: Claudia Richey, Michael Moon, Shannon Lagasse, Jennifer Seitzer, Deborah Epstein, Nicci Tina, Tara Jeanine Gilmaher, Rose De Dan, Kari Pickler-Hughes, Erik Arendonk, Mary Reynolds Thompson, David Jurasek, Aga Wiklo, Barbara Steerman, Lisa Marie Haché-Maguire, Stacye Leanz, Grace Gerry, Chelsea Coghill, Sue Burness, Carolien Oosterhoff and Janet Matthies. 

 

 Below is a list of the final ratings for everyone who entered the contest.

The calculation was made by finding the average score of your ratings and averaging that total with Tad’s rating. Congrats and thanks to all to contestants!

 

First Name Last Name Overall Average Rating
Audrey Wong 10
Debra Graff 10
Ruth Schwartz 10
Shannon Lagasse 10
Kim McNeil 9.75
Sudha Devi 9.5
Shay Sampson 9.5
Jennifer Seitzer (fruit picture) 9.5
Deborah Epstein 9.5
Wei Houng 9.5
Carolien Oosterhoff 9.5
Judie Barta 9.5
Yahya Bakkar 9.5
Claudia Richey 9.25
Szarka Carter 9
Tina Cunningham 9
Susan Kendal 9
Monika Denes 9
Lisa Haché-Maguire 9
Jennifer Seitzer (forest photo) 8.75
Jennifer Summerfeldt 8.5
Olga Minko 8.5
Laura Probert 8.5
Manal Khalife (photo) 8.5
Tanja Gardner 8.5
Amelya Cohn 8.5
Lorraine Watson 8.5
Jenn Scalia 8.5
Rev. Faye Thornton. M.Msc. 8.5
Nancy Reilly 8.5
Lyndon Hannaway 8.5
Bettelou Soosaipillai 8.5
Mzima Scadeng 8.5
Chelsea Coghill 8.5
Ortixia Dilts 8
Claudia Ferretti 8
Emily Gardner 8
Sybil Cope 8
Janet Matthies (“unique 1 on 1″) 8
Jane Binnion 8
Nicci Tina 8
Alisoun Mackenzie 8
Barbara Steeman 8
Erica Sosna 8
Megan Devine 8
Makennah Walker 8
Crystal Wilson 8
Shellie White Light 8
Michael Moon (music) 8
Jennifer Steinbachs 8
Nicole Allard 8
Sonia Dabboussi 7.75
Louise Eistrup 7.5
Christopher Shirley 7.5
Mary Reynolds Thompson 7.5
Tahra Makinson-Sanders 7.5
Krayl Funch 7.5
David Jurasek 7.5
David Jurasek (for men) 7.5
Brenda Scarborough 7.5
Sarah Blick 7.5
Aga Wiklo 7.5
Mark Keane 7.5
Jutta Nedden 7.5
Krystal Williams 7.5
Michael Moon (astrology) 7.5
Kari Penner 7.5
Heather Loewen 7.25
Anne Baker 7
Wendy Curran 7
Janet Matthies (Asian-inspired imagery) 7
Tom Ellis 7
Kari Hughes 7
Aline Verheyen 7
Briana Barrett (Squirrel) 7
Rose De Dan 7
Rebecca Allen 7
Mary Choo 7
Umang Goel 7
Michelle Reynolds 7
Kevin Gebert 7
Carrie-Ann Baron 6.75
Nicole Moore 6.75
Sue Burness 6.5
Bradley Morris 6.5
Manal Khalife (flowers painting) 6.5
Ivana Siska 6.5
Joanna Free 6.5
Lisa Manyon 6.5
Narayani   6.5
Stacye Leanza 6.5
Alya Heeds 6.5
Nana Jokura 6.5
Derik Eselius 6.5
Iona McArdle 6.5
Joy Caffrey 6.5
Erik Arendonk 6
Janet Matthies (girl stretching photo) 6
Shell Mendelson 6
Suzanne Walsh 6
Carol Fenner 6
Fiona Hughes 6
Mary-Carla MacDonald 6
Philip Sarsons 6
Patti Obrist 6
Alix Jean 5.75
Bob Reckhow 5.5
Stephanie Lin 5.5
Lara Narayani Golland 5.5
Rae-ann Wood-Schatz 5.5
Grace Gerry 5.5
Angela Davis 5.5
Ling Wong 5
David Dressler 5
Greg Macdougall 5
Tina Huang 4.5
Madeleine Innocent 4
Janet Matthies (flowers photo) 3.5
Tara Gilmaher 3.5
Silke Neumann 3.5
Frederic Wiedemann 3.5
Layla Tahoun 3.5
Don Ollsin 3.5
D. Scott Brown 3.5
Anaiis Salles 3

Six Social Media Lessons From Our 2014 Niching Contest

Screen Shot 100 300x211 Six Social Media Lessons From Our 2014 Niching ContestThroughout the month of April we ran a contest called So You Think You Can Niche? 2014 inviting people to submit 120 character (yes, that’s 120 characters, not words!) niches in a meme format, laid over a photo of themselves – extra points for non-selfies. Because … too many selfies! 
 
Participation in the contest far exceeded our expectations with 126 entries (we thought 75 would be awesome!), over 1000 “likes” and more than 2600 comments – what?! And, though I made the blunder of not noticing how many “likes” my facebook page had before the contest, I am pretty sure the contest added 200 people there too.
 
We’re almost done the exhaustive job of tabulating results from this spectacularly successful adventure, but before we do our last review, confirm all the numbers and announce the winners, we thought we’d share some of the things we’ve learned from this process.
 
There is much that I learned from the contest about niching but I wanted to share some of what we learned about the technical side of things.
 
1) Facebook Pages are a terrible promotional platform but an excellent conversational platform.
 
For me, this was the biggest lesson.
 
For all of the reasons laid out in the following video, facebook pages are a terrible marketing platform. You are much better off building your email list, using youtube, twitter, instagram, pinterest or other forms of social media that your people follow. Facebook shows everything you post to a fraction of your followers and only shows it to more if people actually interact with it. And, if you want to make sure everyone sees it? You need to pay them. It’s a brutal set up. So, while I recommend having a facebook page so people can find you easily online, I don’t recommend them as a core marketing strategy in the same way I would with other forms of social media. 
 
Having said that, facebook pages provide an excellent forum for people to have conversations about things. Why? Well, for this contest in particular there are a few reasons that standout.
  1. Most people are already on facebook so that eliminates the barrier to entry of having to sign into a new forum and remember their username and password. 
  2. People know how facebook works. It’s not a whole new interface to learn. This is a big deal. If you try to get people to use a new system and they have to think about it at all, most people will just drop off. 
  3. You can tag people on facebook to draw their attention to things. In this case, when I gave people feedback on their niche, I could tag them most of the time to let them know I’d done that.
  4. Facebook has photo albums built in and you can comment on photos. This is so huge. Last year, when I ran this contest for the first time, I just used my blog and invited people to post their niche statement in 120 characters in the comments below. And then you could comment on people’s niches right there. It worked but it kind of broke wordpress. Over 1000 comments later it was incredibly hard to find what you’d posted or that person you’d been meaning to comment on. I knew that, this year, I wanted to make the contest image based so it would be easy to organize the submissions into a single album (making them easy to find and link to) and easy to comment on.
Facebook is designed for conversations in a way that would be impossible to replicate at this point and the whole goal of this contest was for people to not only post something for my evaluation but to encourage everyone to comment on each other’s work and learn from each other in that way.
 
This means that the average submission got at least 16 comments on it. 16 pieces of honest and useful feedback from their peers. 
 
And, if your goal (and I think it should be) is to become a hub then the goal must shift from simply talking at people to engaging in a conversation with them. But if you really, really want to be a hub, then you need to think about ways to make it easier for them to talk with each other. This contest did that. Creating a facebook group on a relevant topic, or for your group program does this. 
 
Facebook pages suck for marketing but they’re brilliant for creating a space for conversations.
 
2) Contests can work to engage conversation. This contest is a glowing example of some great community engagement between people who work and offer a wide range of services and products, offering genuine, useful critiques and engaging in useful, respectful, productive conversation. 
 
Contests have a lifespan. There’s a day they will end. There are prizes. These thing encourage people to actually go and get involved in commenting. A note: make sure you offer prizes for not only the best submissions but the best and most comments. If the goal is to encourage conversation, then you need to reward that too.
 
Of course, you can simply do the kinds of contests where the person with the most ‘likes’ on their photo wins, but I’d invite you to consider the potential power of not just making it a popularity contest but, also, a learning experience. 
 
3) Images/memes work well. This is, in many ways, no surprise. While words matter and a well crafted niche will enlighten a reader as to what you do or offer, a great image helps to grab attention. Adding your niche over a colourful, happy, striking, appropriate (etc) photo can really help with face and business recognition.
 
And you no longer have to be a Photoshop professional. There are many apps that allow you to pop some text over a a photo, as you can see in the variety of niches submitted. Here are just a few (of the many out there) that allow you to add frames of different shapes and dimensions, to overlay text, to use photo effects, to edit images and to collage more than one image together: DipticBeFunky and Frametastic.
 
I judged 100% of my scores on the words entirely though I couldn’t help but notice the power of the right image and the right design to help bring the words to life. 
 
But don’t just think of memes for contests. More and more businesses are getting on this whole notion of creating memes for their business as a whole. Simply a great quote followed by the name and website. If they’re good, they get shared far and wide and can act as a path to your website. 
 
Speaking of which – this also means that headshots matter. Getting a professionally done headshot is, in my mind, a must. You can trade services for it, but get it done. And this photo must capture, somehow, as much of your platform as possible. If your business is about inner peace – can the photo capture that in you? If you have a rebellious, spunky vibe – then your photo can capture that. If you work with herbs, the photo can be of you at a table with some plants and tincture making material etc. 
  
4) An integrated social media approach works best. This contest lived in an album on my facebook page. But if I’d relied only on that page to promote it I would have had maybe five entries instead of 126. This is crucial. I think the future of social media is not necessarily about any new ‘facebook killer’ social media site but, rather, the integration of them all in your marketing approach.
 
In this case, I wrote a blog post describing the contest. I emailed me list of about 10,000 people with the link to the submission form. The photos were then put up by my assistant Susan. Once enough were up, we’d email the list again with an update on the contest and some of the best examples from the contest to inspire people. Every time we emailed the list, we got more submissions.
 
My email list was how people heard of the contest, facebook was just the place the conversations happened.
 
A huge blunder I see people making these days is trying to build up their social media following and ignoring their email list. Your email list is, and will, for the forseeable future be, the workhorse of your marketing. You are not in control of changes that get made to facebook or twitter. And they make changes all of the time. Not always for the better. Facebook events are wonderful but not everyone is going to see them. Your emails are the most likely to be seen. 
 
Having said that, an integrated approach works best. To promote this contest we:
  • created a blog post for it that notified people subscribed to my blog
  • emailed our list
  • tweeted about it
  • told my colleagues about it
  • created a hashtag for it and gave people prewritten tweets and facebook messages to share that directed folks back to the album or the blog post  
5) The point is to learn, not to win. In a few cases, it seemed like some people had asked their friends to come and give them a 10. Which wasn’t the point of the contest. The point was to get honest feedback on how strong their niche was. 
 
6) Being kind matters. A simple but import idea. When offering constructive criticism it genuinely helps the receiver to stay open and consider what’s on offer without feeling attacked. There were numerous great examples of this in the comments on the niches. And this matters. If you’re hosting a conversation and it gets unpleasant, people will leave and not come back. That’s not good for your business. It’s bad news for becoming a hub. It’s why clubs have bouncers and a zero tolerance policy on harassment or violence. You want to make sure your home is a safe home for people to be in. If it is, they’ll come back again and again and again.
 
Stay tuned for the results, we are working as fast as we can. An invitation to resubmit your niche will arrive soon as well, allowing people who are interested to apply their feedback, distilling and clarifying their niches even further.
 
Warmest,
Tad and the Marketing for Hippies team

Has your niche changed? Tell us the story

Question: Has your niche changed since you began your business?

Most entrepreneurs I know are convinced that the word entrepreneur might just be a French word for failure. They’ve tried so many things that haven’t worked. In my experience, this is normal. 

Most of my colleagues (who are now very successful) went through a number of niches before they landed on their current one.

SF Logo Colour Has your niche changed? Tell us the storyMy mother Laura and her husband Sherwood run a tree farm near Edmonton, Alberta. Of course, it your name is Sherwood and you run a tree farm – you basically have to name it Sherwood’s Forests. When they first began their business, they felt pretty clear about who two of their target markets were – garden centers and landscapers.

Easy!

Niching problem solved.

But, it wasn’t so easy as that.

It turned out garden centers had their own suppliers already and wanted trees for less money than made sense to them to sell and weren’t as concerned about quality as they were. And landscapers had their own trusted suppliers too and needed bigger trees because, when someone hires a landscaper, they want an instant landscape. They don’t want little, healthy trees that will eventually grow big and strong. They want larger trees (that will likely die).

But then, they began to be approached by reclamation companies who told them, ‘your trees are the perfect size for us!’. They had to spend a few years spiraling around their niche before it was clear. 

When I first began my career, I thought my niche would be helping green retail stores and restaurants. But it ended up being almost entirely service providers. 

I could give you this exact same story for countless entrepreneurs who began their business imagining that Audience A would be their people, only to find out it was really Audience Q.  In the beginning, we’re only making educated guesses about what our best niche will be. If your niche has switched a number of times – it’s normal. 

If your niche has changed, can you fill in the blanks below and tell us about it? I’d love to include it in my new ebook I’m working on called The Niching Spiral. By posting it below you’re giving me permission to share it in my ebook. Please include your website if you like. 

“When I began, I thought my niche would be _________ because _______ but it turns out it’s _________ because __________.”

Guest Post: How a Failed Trip to Iceland Created One of the Coolest Things in the World

HugeSmile sm Guest Post: How a Failed Trip to Iceland Created One of the Coolest Things in the WorldThis is a different kind of blog post, written by a colleague of mine, Seth Braun, from Fairfield, Iowa.

I like it because it speaks to the unintended consequences of trying an experiment.

I’m currently in the middle of running my Niching for Hippies program. The core of that program is the idea of ‘niche projects‘. Before committing yourself to a niche and getting married to it – go on a date first. Before you plant a garden, try a potted tomato plant. Start small.

My colleague Alex Baisley was the first one who really opened my eyes to the power and importance of experiments in life. He pointed out how even beginning the process of following your big dreams wasn’t a luxury. It was a doorway. That by even starting the process you discover new things. 

I think about myself. I wanted to learn Scottish Gaelic. So I took five minutes to look for audio courses I could buy. I found one (which ended up being useless) but, in the process of that, I also came across the Celtic Studies program at St. FX University in Nova Scotia. Three years later, I was a student there. The next year I was a student at Sabhal Mor Ostaig, the Gaelic college on the Isle of Skye. Four years later, I co-starred in Canada’s second ever Gaelic language film. Two years later, I hosted the first ever Cape Breton Jam – a gathering for young leaders in the Cape Breton Gaelic community. 

All from just taking five minutes to try to find some Gaelic learning programs. 

If you’ve got an idea, just start exploring it. Don’t wait to be 100% ready. Just begin.

In Edmonton, we’re in the middle of our municipal election. And I can see how, over the course of the campaign, candidates are getting better. You’re never ready for a campaign. The campaign makes you ready. 

Much of the time, the ideas you start with won’t be the ones you end with. But maybe the point of our inspirations isn’t about achieving them but about inspiring us to move to find something else that we’re unable to imagine when we begin. 

In fact, for the linguistically curious, the verb ‘commit’, in Latin, means, ‘to begin’. All too often, people let the perfect be the good. I see it in niching all the time – needing to have everything figured out before even beginning to move on things. Just move. Try things. Start small. They probably won’t work out (the way you think they will). But try anyway.

There’s a power in just starting things and seeing where they take us.

And now, a beautiful story about the importance of this . . . 

by Seth Braun

A long dim hallway from a store front suggesting breakfast. 

The passage opens to the clink of spoons and the clank of mugs. He can barley see; the smell of strong coffee, fresh pastries – lights fade – chatting diners – speaking Icelandic – in total darkness?

Is this some strange dream?

The Icelandic Diner in the Dark wasn’t some strange dream; But a dream come true and discovery of destiny. But often our dreams require that we take the hero’s journey. That great mythic plunge into the adventure, mystery and the great unknown. Like Frodo stepping out of BagEnd, or Luke Skywalker naively stepping forward to seek Obi Wan. These great journeys mould and shape our psyche. But they are filled with terrible light and darkness. Often, the fear of the unknown we carry with us prevents us from taking the journey. 

 You don’t have to be afraid to follow your dreams into the unknown… even into darkness, if you bring these with you: Vision, Action, Confidence, Courage. 

Let me weave a tale for you…

It started when my friend Brian Rochileau, or Rosh, came to me as a client. 

“Seth – I have a crazy dream –  house concerts – intimate music venues – in Iceland. I’ve already done them in the states, in Norway and Ireland… I think this is a first… I’m going to book the tour – produce the album and go buy the ticket.” It was more than a dream. Rosh had a vision! A vision he could see. A vision he could write. A vision he could speak. – “… just one thing, I need$10,000!”

I said, “Cool!, let’s do it.”  

Spreadsheets. Pitches. Timelines. Strategies. Mindset….we laid the foundation and he hit the ground running… in ACTION… Rosh secured investment, got online and created a tour out of nothing, then recorded the album. 

He was on his way to Iceland with consistent, persistent Action in his back pocket to keep the momentum going. 

…But not without haters. You know what I am talking about… those voices from people around you, in your head… 

You can’t do it…

You’ve never done it before…

Your too flaky… 

You never follow through…

You are going to lose money…

The thoughts that dim the light of your enthusiasm. 

Fortunately, Rosh brought confidence. CONFIDENCE – from the latin words  con and  fidelus – with and faithful – he was faithful to his dream. He bolstered his faith by speaking words, speaking truth, and words and the truth became his experience… Confidence… I can do this. Confidence… I am learning what I need to learn… Confidence… I believe in myself. I believe in my dreams… I can… I am… I believe.

Hitchhiking the rugged, volcanic landscape, Rosh’s confidence came through in two great shows. 

Waiting for a ride to show number three, the northern solstice sun shone bright and long. Everything about the first four days was perfect… (except that fermented fish they offered him at the traditional festival, another story). 

An old Toyota scooped him up at the agreed upon time and rolled to the next venue. A gothic church. Rosh doesn’t speak Icelandic. His chauffer speaks no English. Arriving at the venue, the driver unlocks the heavy doors, hops in the Range Rover and speeds off. 

30 minutes before show time. Rosh nervously sets up. 

15 minutes before. No host. 

10 minutes. 5 minutes. No audience. 

1 minute. No one. 

And it happens.  

The low. 

The fall. 

The ouch. 

All those voices came rushing into Rosh’s brain, hovering there, vultures blotting out the light of the sun, flapping their wings, skwawking, “we told you, you can’t do it, it’s not going to work, you are going to lose money, you are going to fail, you don’t have what it takes…”

It happens to all of us. Dissapointment. Frustration. We make mistakes. Our hearts break. 

But this time, Rosh packed courage. He took it out of his bag with a big sheet of paper, captured the vultures, put them on paper and poured his heart out. 

I am afraid. 

I am angry. 

I want this to work.

 How can create magical experiences?

 How can I have sold out crowds? 

How can I connect more deeply, Heart to Heart?

Courage! – from the old French, cour, to take heart. He breathed deep and felt the emotions and poured them into a question… HOW? And then poured the energy into a show, tears streaming down his face, songs echoing into the cavernous sanctuary. His only audience was the waxing moon, passing through the stained glass windows. 

He packed his guitar and bags, fell asleep on a pew, spent and hungry, saints watching over his slumber. 

A storm passed over that night. A new day dawned… the pre-collapse economy of Iceland was flowing and record sales were strong and the next weeks were all hot springs, cozy living rooms with fireplaces, glasses of wine with the happiest and friendliest people on earth. 

Rosh rolled into Reykjavík , the Icelandic capital on a sweet Sunday morning, hungry for a hearty breakfast – no fermented fish. Little did he know that he was stumbling into his destiny. 

He made that stroll into the darkening corridor, with the smell of cinnamon rolls and French roast. Walked into that pitch-black café and bumped into a chair. Then he was pulled, almost tripping to his right. 

Finding a seat… “What is this place…Who is pulling me?”

The Blind Waiter responded; “It’s a blind café, what can I start you off with…”

In those moments… on the journey of living his dreams, in Iceland, senses sharpened, immersed in the flavor and sounds, eating a rich breakfast in a Blind Cafe, a light goes in the darkness –  A NEW VISION – the answer to the question… How can I connect, heart – to – heart. 

Don’t be afraid to follow your dreams. 

You have something that only you can give. 

No one else has it. If you don’t share it with us, we’ll never get it!

Because Rosh took Vision, Action, Confidence and Courage on the volcanic journey into the darkness of the unknown, the World has the beauty of the Blind Café, music and dining in the dark, on tour in, Aspen , Austin, Boulder, Burlington VT, Cincinnati, Denver, Portland, Seattle… touching thousands of people, donating thousands more to service groups for the blind. 

“The Blind Cafe seeks to support and create a deeper understanding of community, that inspires people to think differently and examine at how they relate with themselves and others. We help people develop a deeper sense of appreciation and compassion for people unlike themselves. We teach people how to listen to live music and to themselves again…. without the distraction of cell phones, social etiquette and visual conditioning. We partner with blindness organizations to provide community awareness and entertainment for the community. We provide a unique opportunity for the blind and sighted parts of our community to come together in discussion.” 

Rosh took an outrageous idea and brought it to the world in over 25 live events across the U.S. 

What outrageous dream have your stumbled into? 

What vision has alighted upon your mind?

Is there a journey stirring your heart?

Don’t be afraid to follow your dreams, even into darkness of discouragement and defeat…but take these with you:

1. Confidence, – I am, I can I believe. 

2. Courage – to face the fear and turn it into fuel, 

3. Vision – see it, write it, speak it and

4.  Consistent, Persistent ACTION

And if you find yourself in a totally dark place, that may be just the time that the lights go on for your destiny.  

Don’t be afraid to follow your dreams!

 

WorkandFamily Balance sm 300x200 Guest Post: How a Failed Trip to Iceland Created One of the Coolest Things in the WorldAbout the Author: Seth Braun provides speaking, coaching, training and consulting services in support of individuals who want to develop their full personal and professional potential. He is also a devoted father and husband, an avid gardener, a musician, and a chocoholic. http://sethbraun.com/

 

 

 

 

 

 

Niching for Hippies – Interview with Sarah Juliusson (24 min)

Screen Shot 2013 10 14 at 9.02.02 PM Niching for Hippies   Interview with Sarah Juliusson (24 min)Sarah Juliusson runs My Birth Business where she helps midwives and doulas with their business and marketing.

I was really excited to chat with her about this whole business of figuring out your niche in the lead up to my Niching for Hippies program.

Below is the audio for the interview and, below that, is the summary of what she had to say.

 

 

 

What do you think is missing in the conversation about niching? What do you see that you think others are not seeing that could help people find their niche?

Niching is a tricky area to explore as on the surface it can seem quite simple. I consistently see examples of niching gone wrong, usually by creating a surface niche, choosing a single characteristic that defines your niche and your care. Initially this may seem like a niche – for example “I am a birth doula serving pregnant women in Seattle.” So here our niche to the beginners eye can seem quite specific: pregnant women in Seattle seeking birth doula care. In fact, this is a broad stroke that doesn’t come close to defining her true niche – using single characteristics such as geography and pregnancy may seem to paint a clear niche, but in fact these are only foundational characteristics for a true niche. Without further definition, this niche will not serve her practice.

When I actually talk with this imaginary doula, however, I may learn that she has a particular interest in supporting families planning a home birth with midwives. As well, her ideal clients will be interested in taking advantage of her complementary skill of aromatherapy. She herself is in her 40s, and has a special draw to supporting women over 35 who are pregnant for the first time. She finds that clients of this nature have a real hunger for quality information and research about birth and loves helping them get connected through her large library of resources. I could go on, but you get the picture, yes? It is easy to paint the niche with characteristics that may seem specific but in fact are only broad strokes that just barely begin to capture her niche and unique selling proposition.

What’s most important in niching? What’s a distraction?

IMPORTANT: Years ago I built a website for one of my childbirth education businesses. As I worked on the site vibe, the phrase that kept coming back to me was that I wanted the site to feel like a really comfortable couch. I wanted my ideal clients to find the site and instantly feel so at home that they would want to have a seat, drink some tea, and take their time learning more. When i think about niching, that comfy couch is really what we’re going for. If I have infused my marketing vibe, language & imagery with key elements that speak to my niche, then when they arrive on my site they will instantly feel at home. Without that virtual couch provided by a clear niche, those ideal clients will arrive at your site or pick up your card and have no particular reason to want to stick around and learn some more.

DISTRACTION: When defining their niche i see many clients hit almost a wall of fear – concerned that by defining a niche for their practice they will be shutting out potential clients. When your income is dependent on each and every client that hires you it is easy to get caught up in saying yes even when it isn’t a great fit. By tailoring online and print marketing materials to a niche, many holistic professionals worry that they are closing off too many options and it keeps them from defining their niche in an effective way. Instead, I find that a well developed niche opens doors.

Can you list three of your favourite examples of successful, niche businesses?

Birth Swell – http://birthswell.com/ – Jeanette & hilary have brought their unique skills & perspective in social media and communications and identified a major gap in the birth industry. Their niche market is a blend of practicing birth professionals and birth advocates who want to learn the theory and the practical how to’s for using new media and social media tools to build a business, change policy, and spread their birth (and breastfeeding and maternal/infant health) genius.

The Nesting Place – http://thenestingplace.ca – While Amanda Spakowski and the Nesting Place team of doulas & childbirth educators are providing similar core services as many other birth professionals in their region, the Nesting Place website does a great job of conveying their focus on parents who are seeking a guide, someone to help them feel less fear, and more confidence and connection, while supporting their birth choices without judgment. Their unique selling proposition stands out within the birth community, representing a model of care that goes far above and beyond standard prenatal class & doula care offerings in the area.

I have a new client right now who is going through an interesting discernment process regarding her niche. While she currently offers group prenatal classes at two great hub locations, she is increasingly feeling that the population at these locations is not a good match for her practice. As well, she is feeling a strong pull to focus her practice on the needs of families who are seeking a private prenatal class, wanting to cultivate a relationship-based practice that allows for more in-depth support than a group class would offer. It’s exciting watching her go through this transformation. It’s a great example of how when we are aligned with our niche, we enhance our own personal journey as a practitioner.

How do people know if they have a good niche? What’s the most important criteria to know if you have a solid niche?

It is very important to me that clients have a solid niche defined for themselves as a foundation before doing any website creation (or revision) or creating marketing materials.

Characteristics I look for include:

How specific is it? Could we create a persona based on this niche description? Personality, relationship, home decor, education level, income, etc… I like clients to create a pinterest board representing their ideal client to get a better sense of who she is.

Is the niche an excellent match for the nature of your care – both the services provided & your practice style and philosophy. Are you excited about working with her? Are you clear on what you have to offer her and why it is a great fit for her needs?

Understanding the relationship between the niche and the community – where is she likely to hang out? What other complementary services is she likely to be using?

Perhaps most importantly, you should feel excited about serving your niche!

What’s the simplest, most direct and most effective approach to finding your niche?

First you have to Believe in your Niche, and know that your Niche wants to find You.

I think the absolute foundation of finding your niche is believing that clients want to find you. Think about the massage therapists you’ve seen in your life – most of us have had a handful of mediocre massages before we find the therapist whose hands & spirit match what our body is craving. We walk in the door each time hoping that this will turn into a long term massage therapy relationship. Years ago my husband did an advanced business mentorship program and one of the lessons learned as he developed interview skills was that the person conducting the interview actually Wants you to be good. People are out there who need and want your help. Not just the service you provide, or the training & skills that you have cultivated, but the whole package of what you offer because of who you are.

The 2nd step is to Understand your Niche.

For me, this means creating an in depth portrayal of your ideal client. Making her so real that that you could meet her at a party and recognize her instantly. Let yourself understand her needs, desires, cravings, what she is seeking and what she will resonate with.

The final step is to Serve your Niche.

This means crafting our practice to truly match our niche. It’s not just about tailoring marketing materials to your niche. It’s also about taking a close look at your services, packages, and pricing to align with your niche. From a marketing perspective we are cultivating as many clues as possible to help our ideal clients find their way to the services they need. And finally, it means getting clear on what it means to serve your Niche – this means taking care as you grow your business to be sure you are adding services & products aligned with your niche, and sometimes saying no to clients who simply aren’t a good fit.

Niching for Hippies – Interview with Michael Margolis

 Niching for Hippies   Interview with Michael MargolisMichael Margolis is my marketing bro. We’ve never met in person but from moment one of connecting with each other we were instant pals. Michael understands the power of story in marketing better than most people I know. And, in the lead up to my Niching for Hippies program, it occurred to me that Michael might have some insights into how story and niche marketing intersect. 

And boy did he ever. 

You can watch the video of the conversation below and read the summary of his thoughts below that.

 

 

What do you think is missing in the conversation about niching? What do you see that you think others are not seeing that could help people find their niche?

Stop trying to be anything but yourself. Storytelling is not about selling shit, its about giving a shit. Same goes with niching. You can’t dominate or own your marketplace but you can own your story. Be the story of who you were born to be. That’s natural authority.

What’s most important in niching? What’s a distraction?

“Believe in yourself, and stop trying to convince other.” – De La Vega

Trying to be something or somebody you’re not.

Can you list three of your favourite examples of successful, niche businesses?

You
The Lhassi-man at Marin Farmers Market

How do people know if they have a good niche? What’s the most important criteria to know if you have a solid niche?

when they start having fun, their work becomes a labor of love, and they are saying NO more often and more easily.

You feel seen, heard, and recognized. You’re able to say NO on a regularly basis to those prospects and inquiries that don’t fit your niche/focus

What’s the simplest, most direct and most effective approach to finding your niche?

Find the narrative throughline/arc of your life that explains why you do what you (what’s the riddle you’re trying to solve)

For more info or to sign up for the Niching for Hippies program, just go here: http://nichingforhippies.com/ 

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

Screen shot 2013 07 04 at 9.14.13 AM 300x215 Interview: Life Coaching is Not a Business with Rebecca and EllenMy 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

Kelly 1 resized 200x300 Kelly on Wounds

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

a few niching realizations

Had the best call last week in my Niching for Hippies program.
 
A few realizations: 

  • the qualities you most want your clients to have are the qualities you need to be bringing to the table yourself
  • the qualities you most want your clients to have are your responsibility: how can you make it easier and safer for those to show up when they work with you? Can you create programs to help them develop those qualities? Can you partner with someone whose passion it is to help people develop those qualities?
  • the qualities we love the most in our very favourite clients are often the qualities we are already bringing to the table and that our ideal clients love in us