Coaching As Activism

andrea

What if your coaching could be a potent, effective and inspiring form of activism?

In asking this question, I am suggesting something to you that might be hard to hear: there’s a good chance that it’s currently not.

Let me make my case: the coaching industry grew out of the personal growth industry and the personal growth industry spawned by such books as Think & Grow Rich by men with deeply questionable ethics like Napoleon Hill.

The personal growth scene has largely been (and just watch The Secret if you don’t believe me) almost entirely led by white men. Seriously. Consider that 28 out of 29 of those featured in The Secret are North American. Consider that 24 our of the 29 are white males. That only 5 of them are female and that only 2 of them are people of colour. This might be a part of their secret.

Think of the most successful authors in the personal growth space. How many (outside of Iyanla Vanzant and Rev. Michael Beckwith) can you name who aren’t white?

Over the past decades, we’ve seen the new age and healing scene grow and be led by primarily by women (who are almost all white). I can testify to this from leading dozens of workshops all over North America and the UK over the past more than a decade.

This uniformity of background, this whiteness, has led to a certain limit in perspective.

There are certain things that people of colour see that white people don’t.

There are certain things people of colour must contend with daily that white people don’t.

There are certain privileges that accrue, and have always accrued, to being white in North America at this time. There are certain disadvantages pulled by the gravitational force of the way it is to darker skin tones.

White people, in North America (and particularly the USA), have benefited the most from the way things are. Are white people screwed by the man too? Yes. But not because they’re white.

But what you see from most of the personal growth scene is largely uncritical of the current system of white supremacy (entangled as it is with capitalism, the prison industrial complex, the military industrial complex etc.) because, for most white people, the system of racism is invisible to us. We never have to contend with it. Most of what I see offered up by my peers is about how to succeed within the current capitalist system but not how to change it.

It’s how to manifest what you want without any encouragement or insistence on considering the impact that this might have on the world (e.g. can everyone have that mansion they put on their vision board? Is this actually sustainable?).

To put it another way, many coaches are waking to the realization that the system isn’t neutral but harmful.

The unspoken but impossible to avoid message of much of the personal growth movement is that the universe is your personal slave.

The other implied message is that you are responsible for everything that’s ever happened to you – period. And so, the Jews manifested the holocaust and indigenous people their own genocide.

There is a deeply entrenched and utterly unexamined worldview of individualism in the personal growth scene. Not only are notions of the village absent, they are seen as weakness. Pull yourself up by your own bootstraps already and stop whining.

However, in the past few years, we’ve begun to see this change.

As White Nationalism has been on the rise and become more obvious to white people, there’s been a waking up of white people in the coaching industry to how bad it is (and has always been for people of colour).

As the gap between rich and poor grows, those who came from middle class to wealthy families in the coaching industry are having to reckon with the class divide as it’s becoming harder to ignore how hard the poor have it.

And this is leading to a very real and very deep realization that simply coaching people for their own inner growth isn’t enough. The world is on fire. Coaching people on how to be more effective might actually make things worse if what they’re being effective at is predicated on the destructive to the world.

Elder and dedicated social change agent Joanna Macey speaks of the Three Pillars of the Great Turning – one of which is about inner work but the other two (creating alternatives and holding back the juggernaut) are equally important. And not only missed but dismissed in most of the coaching scene. All too often, I hear the message that protesting against the war simply creates more war.

Enter Andrea Ranae, the daughter of a coach, who wrote the provocative blog post Why The Personal Growth Industry Is Not Changing the World.

After writing this piece, she got such a response that she created a program from it called Coaching As Activism on how we can make our coaching a genuinely effective force in contending with the very real troubles of our times.

When I heard about this program, I sat up and took notice. This is a perspective that has been desperately needed in this space for a long time.

And so I asked Andrea if I could do a video interview with her. Sadly, I would be on the road and unable to do it live but she graciously consented to being sent questions and doing the strange and lonely work of talking into a camera. Having just finished watching it I am sad I missed the opportunity to connect with her more directly. The kindness emanates and I find myself having to settle, for the moment, with being so glad she’s in the world.

The Five Levels of This Video:

The video is below but I’d like to make the case for watching it on four levels.

Level One: Meet Andrea! You might be interested in checking out her coaching program and this video is a fine way to meet her and learn more about her story. It’s hard to not like this good woman.

Level Two: Be a Better Coach. I think that her approach can help you be a more effective coach. If your mission is to help create a better world, then how will you do that without a deeper wrestling with how things are? How many books have you read about the interlocking and intersecting issues of injustice? Most coaches have read many and most I know are struggling to come to terms with it all. And they’re trying to do that all on their own. But consider how much more you could help change the systems and challenge your clients if you came from this perspective? What if you were not only holding your clients feet to the fires of their personal commitments but also to the larger fires of this cultural moment? What if an edge of your coaching became about asking people to find their right relationship to the travails of their particular time and place? You think you’re seeing resistance in your clients now? Wait until you ask them to consider the ecological and social consequences of a goal. So, yes, you’d see more resistance but you would also see a much deeper and more meaningful transformation. Imagine the skillfulness it might ask of you to contend with patterns that didn’t start in their childhood but thousands of years ago. I suggest that taking on Coaching as Activism will make you a better coach.

Level Three: Learn about Marketing. So much of what I talk about in marketing is present in her work. Andrea shares her bigger why and her point of view. The title of her program is a deeply compelling message. The whole program is a unique niche. There’s a lot to learn here.

Level Four: The Questions. I emailed Andrea a series of questions. Whether or not you sign up for her program (and I hope you’ll consider it) I invite you to take the time to consider how you personally might answer the questions. You might even pause the video as you watch it to come up with your own answers. Doing that would be a fine step towards coaching as activism.

Level Five: Your Resistance. As you watch this video, I invite you to write down all the places you feel resistant to what Andrea is sharing. Be candid with yourself. If you’re feeling brave, put it in the comments below. You can learn more about yourself from this simple exercise than most workshops you’ve ever taken.

Here’s what in the video:

  • the story behind where this program came from
  • how Andrea defines healing, activism, coaching, justice and liberation
  • three tips to use coaching as a form of activism.
  • the central pitfall of trying to use coaching as activism
  • a short poem

For More Info on Coaching as Activism:

andrearanae.com/invitation

Important Note: There is a Self Study which closes Sept 14th and Community Study (everything from Self Study + live weekly calls) which closes Sept 10th. And spaces are limited. She’s getting close to filling her program.

Guest Post: The Background of Your Website That No One Talks About But Everyone Feels

I’ve connected with Tim Gray a few times over the years, and always gotten the loveliest vibe from him. We got into a conversation about websites and it turned out he had some things to say which I thought were important enough that I wanted to share them with you all.

This notion of the unspoken messages dominating the conversation is so important. It’s what underwrites my recent posts Stop Wasting People’s Time: The Incredible Cost of Being Fuzzy and How to Approach Hubs and Potential Clients Cold.

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macbook-2What do you see as the purpose of having a website?

It’s the hub of your online world. All your social media and whatnot connect to it. And it’s the only online place where you can completely control what you say and how it’s presented.

This feels key. Especially in a time where people are getting increasingly frustrated with Facebook and other social media outlets for constantly changing their rules and making it harder to reach people (without paying money to them to boost your posts or pay for ads). We’re just not in control of what Facebook or other tools do but we are in control of our website.

Exactly. So the website’s purpose is to be your representative. When you’re not there in person, it shows people who you are and what you do, and acts as the concierge showing them where your stuff is.

It’s a place for your community to come back to and feel on familiar ground. It’s also a non-scary way for people to see if they’re interested in you before they break cover.

Websites = Safety

I think that’s so important. The notion of safety in marketing is often ignored or overlooked. People often push harder, shout louder and try to generate more hype when they might actually be better served in making it safer to approach them. And I think you’re right. The website plays this function perhaps more than anything else in your business.

What do you see as the top three mistakes people make with their website?

  1. Not showing up, or showing up but not giving out the right authentic message.
  2. Not taking account of the perspective of their audience, so they don’t give people what they want and need to engage with the site.
  3. Not putting attention into the practicalities of writing and design – which are what give your visitors whatever impressions they get.

You say that, “a lot of websites don’t pay attention to these ideas. Even sites that are counted successful, by people who ought to know what they’re doing. They miss out on connection with visitors that they could have had”. Could you say more about that?

People come to your site genuinely interested in something they think you might have. But they know to protect their time and processing capacity by not spending too long on wrong turnings, so they’re alert for alarm signals. If it seems like they have to put a lot of work in and not get much back, they’ll be off.

If you want them to stay and build a connection, you have to pay attention to the psychology and the user experience.

But our minds love to take shortcuts. People get caught in their own perspective, start taking things for granted, and bits of serving their audience get lost. We get caught up in doing things and forget to make reality checks.

Sites with a high profile are still run by humans. It’s easy to get enthusiastic about shiny whizzy things and forget the basics.

Look at your website through their eyes. 

What do you see as the most common ‘shiny whizzy things’ on websites?

Things like image sliders that take up most of the first screenful. Autoplaying videos. Festooning a page with ads, and having things popping up while the visitor is trying to read. Or just filling the page with lots of blocks of information. Floating social media sharing bars that cover the article text. It’s the old ‘interruption marketing’ mindset that won’t let go.

So, you visit their site and get frustrated because parts of the experience are bad or you can’t find answers to your questions. And that frustration becomes part of their brand for you.

Don’t let ‘they have a frustrating website’ be what you’re known for. 

That’s so real.

What I’m saying is that everyone has the opportunity to avoid those problems by understanding the foundations. That isn’t even techy stuff: it’s about how you plan your site and set it out so that you serve your users.

You speak about people having a message. What is a message in your mind?

It became one of my big building block terms after clicking together with my long-ago physics education. It was probably in the shower!

In physics there are vectors, which are quantities with direction, like velocity. A message is information with direction. It’s a story with places to go and people to see.

I like that.

You’re not just saying it: you want it to do something. That means just sitting in a corner for reference isn’t enough. You care about it reaching people and having an effect when it does.

We often talk about a message as a person’s unique contribution to the world, grown from their experiences and insights. It bubbles together and makes connections and eventually wants to come out.

It makes me think of seeds and how they are the condensed information of the lifetime of not only the plant they came from but all of the ancestors of that plant. And that information doesn’t just want to lie dormant in the seed and rot but to be planted and grow. It wants to do something very particular.

Yes, that relates to everything from personal story work to the hero’s journey to the idea of what you’re born to do. You can put it in different ways. You know, being a giant so people can stand on your shoulders rather than having to work it all out from scratch.

You can also talk about messages in a smaller way, as signals people pick up and process.

One of the ideas I talk about is foreground and background messages. Foreground messages are the things you think you’re telling people, like: “My yoga classes have these five health benefits.”

Background messages are what they’re picking up about you, usually more quickly and powerfully. Like, ‘Friendly person who takes people as they are’ or ‘Expert who pushes people to technical mastery’. It’s important to take charge of those background messages and recognise that they’re part of what you’re saying to people. You can’t choose not to project anything!

background > foreground

Right. So if you went on a date, the foreground messages you give off might be, “Yes, I’m a very successful business man and I make lots of money. Did I tell you the funny story about that time Barack Obama and I went fishing?” but the sub communications might be, “I’m insecure and desperately needing your approval.” And you’re suggesting that those implicit, unspoken messages might actually have more impact than the ones you’re trying so hard to explicitly lay out.

Yes. That’s the more familiar version of how it works face to face. I think those subconscious detective processes are still working when we read your writing.

You say, “Too often these messages get lost in the background noise and don’t make the difference they could have”. Lost in the background noise of the marketplace? Their own website? Both?

The world, actually. It frustrates me that humanity isn’t further on in making a better world. Why are we still looking at the same problems as twenty years ago?

I’m gradually understanding more about the reasons for that. And one big part of it is that people who have the jigsaw pieces of the good stuff have not been good at communicating and persuading. We haven’t had the skills. In the meantime, the people with the bad old messages have done pretty well by being loud and persistent.

Yes. Instead of us helping green things seem normal, they’ve been better at making normal things seem green.

But you’re right, part of that is the marketplace and part of it is their own website. It’s easy to not be visible even when people are looking in your direction.

Huh. Good point.

It’s about knowing what you want to say, and who you want to show yourself to be, and how to use words and visual design to make that happen. Because then you can connect with your audience and make a difference.

Goodness knows, this can be hard, with obstacles inside yourself and in the practicalities. It’s certainly an ongoing journey for me.  

Earlier you spoke about the importance of showing up “in person on your site”. What is this and why does it matter so much?

This is the whole big piece about the way marketing has changed and is changing. Terms fly around like ‘relationship marketing’ and ‘personal branding’ and ‘story’.

People want to connect with people. I’ll buy my soy milk from the supermarket, but for coaching or training I want to know who I’m dealing with. What sort of person are they? What are their values? Will we get on? Will their style be a good fit?

People want to connect with people. 

This is everything to me. I think people tend to see marketing as being about convincing people to ‘say yes’ but I see it as about getting to the truth of if there’s a good fit. But this asks a lot of us. It asks us to be vulnerable and open ourselves to a lot of rejection.

It certainly means there are different skills involved: maybe not what we used to think marketing was. And it means personal development is part of it.

But you can turn this around too. It means people with different skills come to the forefront: people who have done the personal development and are good at connecting with people and building community can make a big difference. Sometimes those people have significant internal obstacle that they need to work through so they can show up.

It’s become a bit of a cliche, but still true: we’re within a few clicks of lots of people who can offer your product, service or ideas. So we choose based on who we think we like most.

Right. Or trust the most. Respect the most. Feel the most aligned with.

Exactly. When people visit your site, they want to see you there. The most obvious example is to have a good ‘About’ page where they can learn a bit about you. But you also want to show up in the way you write, the way you present it, the things you choose to talk about.

Too often, people hide out. This may be a particular problem in a culture like we’ve got here in Britain, where people are trained to fit in and not make a fuss. And most people have seen examples of marketing that’s shouty and in your face, and they don’t want to be like that.

And you don’t have to be shouty. But it’s also a bit off if people come round to see you and you’re hiding in the cupboard. You can be politely brilliant!

Make yourself visible on your website.

Ha. I like that. I speak about this a lot in my marketing workshops. This dynamic of either collapsing or posturing.

So, what are three simple things that people can do to make their websites better right away?

Well, these are three things to check, because if you’re getting them wrong you’ll be turning people off.

  1. As we’ve just been talking about it, have an ‘About’ page that visitors can find easily. Use it to introduce yourself as a human being. What’s important to you, what do you like to spend time doing, what has been the journey of your life? Just a few paragraphs about key points, with a nice photo.
  1. On your home page, on the first screenful a new visitor sees, can they tell what the site’s about? It sounds silly, but people get it wrong often, and it’s because they don’t put themselves in the visitor’s shoes.
  1. A pleasant reading experience depends on lots of things about layout, colour and how to write for the web. But for a specific part of it, one of my bugbears is that so many sites have text that’s too small to read comfortably. So check yours, ideally on a couple of different devices. Maybe get opinions from people with different eyesight. If necessary, change your design or theme.

I should say, getting your site really good is a learning process. It certainly is for me. I sometimes say it changes at the speed of perspective, as I try different things and later see more clearly what’s good or bad about them.

Can you give three examples of websites you love and say a bit about why you love them so much?

I find this one difficult, because my brain insists on telling me how things could be better. Let me give examples of sites getting particular things right that I’ve looked at recently.

Henneke Duistermaat’s enchantingmarketing.com made a big impression on me the other day for the freebie sign-up on the home page. The more I look at it, the stronger it is.

I quite like heartofbusiness.com by your friends Mark Silver & co. They’ve got the language and the visuals working together, for a feel of hearth and home and simplicity. Though the design has that American magazine feel – probably comforting to a US audience but niggles my European sensibilities!

Lisa Barber’s site at rootsandwings.biz is great for the graphics (by Lisa McLoughlin – I know both of them from t’internet) and the way she talks to the reader. It creates a really cohesive vibe of specialist marketing knowledge delivered in a sensitive and understanding way for small helping businesses.

Those are great examples. I’d add Carrie Klassen of www.PinkElephantCommunications.com for her very clear visual aesthetic and clear voice in how she writes. It’s charming and kind. I also love Michael Margolis’ site http://www.getstoried.com/ because it’s so clean and clear. You know exactly what it’s about when you arrive. And Rebecca Tracey has done an incredible thing with her site http://www.theuncagedlife.com/. At the very top of the site she invites you to choose from one of four boxes to immediately direct you to whatever services are most likely to be of use to you.

Those are good too. I noticed Get Storied had a redesign recently, and the vibe made a huge shift from home-grown to professional, bordering on corporate.

Uncaged’s filtering visitors to different content is well done. People will arrive with different questions in mind. But also, the whole front page is a strong audience filter: smart-talking, occasionally sweary, zappy visuals. Most people will know whether they’re drawn in or put off. (That “no pants” thing is different over here, you know…)

Pink Elephant is almost the opposite, with a more traditional and ‘quieter’ design, but covering similar topics.

When you’re browsing the web and sites or pages make you feel a certain way, it’s worth thinking about why that is. It’s not magic. You can learn to get better at it, a step at a time.

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Tim Gray 8728 2x3in web 200Tim Gray is a writer, finer world advocate and geek living in Nottingham, UK.

He helps people who are working on their corner of a better world to connect with their audience through their writing and how they present it in channels like websites, documents and ebooks.

You can find Tim at wordsthatchangetheworld.com.

There’s a short free guide about writing for the web to turn visitors into readers.

If you’d like to follow up the issues in this interview, take a look at Tim’s e-course ‘Website Foundations for Stories in Action’.

 

 

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Guest Post: The Resume Is Dead, The Bio Is King

storyThis article was originally published on The99Percent.com and went viral with 6,000+ retweets/shares. It has been republished on LifeHacker and across the web.

Written by: Michael Margolis      Illustration: Oscar Ramos Orozco

If you’re a designer, entrepreneur, or creative — you probably haven’t been asked for your resume in a long time. Instead, people Google you — and quickly assess your talents based on your website, portfolio, and social media profiles.

Do they resonate with what you’re sharing? Do they identify with your story? Are you even giving them a story to wrap their head around?

Gone are the days of “Just the facts, Ma’am.” Instead we’re all trying to suss each other out in the relationship economy. Do I share something in common with you? How do we relate to each other? Are you relevant to my work?

That’s why the resume is on the out, and the bio is on the rise.

People work with people they can relate to and identify with. Trust comes from personal disclosure. And that kind of sharing is hard to convey in a resume. Your bio needs to tell the bigger story. Especially, when you’re in business for yourself, or in the business of relationships. It’s your bio that’s read first.

To help you with this, your bio should address the following five questions:

  1. Who am I?
  2. How can I help you?
  3. How did I get here (i.e. know what I know)?
  4. Why can you trust me?
  5. What do we share in common?

Your bio is the linchpin for expanding your thought leadership and recognition, especially online. It frames the conversation and sets the tone. It’s your job to reveal a bit about yourself and how you see the world. Do this well, and people will eagerly want to engage with you further.

Here’s the challenge: who taught you how to write your bio?

Admittedly, most of us never got a lesson in this essential task. You’re not alone. Even the most skilled communicators get tongue-tied and twisted when trying to represent themselves in writing. We fear the two extremes: obnoxious self-importance or boring earnestness.

It gets further complicated when you’re in the midst of a career or business reinvention. You have to reconcile the different twists and turns of your past into a coherent professional storyline.

The personal branding industry has only muddied the waters. It’s easy to feel turned off by the heavy-handed acts of self-promotion that the various gurus out there say you’re supposed to do. We’ve been told to carefully construct a persona that will differentiate and trademark our skills into a unique value proposition.

That’s mostly a bunch of buzzword bingo bullshit.

Instead, share more of what you really care about.

And then write your bio in service to your reader, not just ego validation.

Imagine that: A compelling reason to tell your story beyond bragging to the world that you’re “kind of a big deal.” Embrace the holy-grail of storytelling: tell a story that people can identify with as their own – and the need to persuade, convince, or sell them on anything disappears.

With all this in mind, here’s a few key pointers for reinventing your bio as a story:

1. Share a Point of View.

You’re a creative. Having something to say is the ultimate proof. What’s missing from the larger conversation? Speak to that. Don’t be afraid to tell the bigger story. We want to know how you see the world. Show us that you have a unique perspective or fresh vantage point on the things that matter most.

2. Create a Backstory.

Explain the origin for how you came to see the world in this way. Maybe it was something that happened to you as a kid or early in your career. Consider your superhero origins. How did you come into these powers? What set you off on this quest or journey? What’s the riddle or mystery you are still trying to solve? When you tell the story of who you were meant to be, it becomes an undeniable story. Natural authority is speaking from the place of what you know and have lived.

3. Incorporate External Validators.

Think frugally here. To paraphrase the artist De La Vega, we spend too much time trying to convince others, instead of believing in ourselves. Nonetheless, if you’re doing something new, different, or innovative — you have to anchor it into the familiar. Help people see that your novel ideas are connected to things they recognize and trust. That might be your notable clients, press, publications, or things you’ve created. Just enough to show people your story is for real.

4. Invite people into relationship.

Now that you’ve established you’ve got something to share, remind people you’re not so different from them. Vulnerability is the new black. Share some guilty pleasures. Describe what you like to geek out on. Reveal a couple things you obsess about as hobbies or interests. This will make you more approachable and relatable. You’re human, too. Help people find the invisible lines of connection.

To revamp your bio, start with these simple storytelling principles and questions above.

In the process, you’ll discover a greater potential to shift how you see yourself and how the world sees you. Your story sets the boundaries for everything else that follows.

If you’re having trouble being heard, recognized, or understood, it’s probably an issue related to your story and identity.

SAMPLE COPY ADDED to promote webinar:

The good news? I want to help you tell your story.

Join my friend Michael for his new FREE webinar called, RE-STORY YOURSELF: How to Attract Your Future with a Better Bio.

This webinar will teach you simple storytelling shortcuts to creating a standout yet authentic bio that attracts more of what you want. Discover the right tone, structure, and how to craft an interesting point of view. You’ll learn how to use story to position your work, attract opportunities, and get paid for being the real you.

Click here to sign up for my FREE webinar now!

It’s never too late to reinvent your story.

Story on!

 

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

HugeSmile-smThis 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-300x200About 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 Michael Margolis

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/ 

Attracting More Customers with Your Story

schuylerSchuyler Kaye (pictured here) was a participant of my January, 2013 Niching for Hippies course. During and after the course, I heard him speak about his work in helping people uncover their story and using that in marketing. Then I heard he was leading a course on it so I thought I’d help him spread the word but also do an interview with him about it.

In my experience, story is everything in marketing. It’s both the means and the ends. Understanding our story and the journey we’ve been through helps us figure out so much about our business, our niche and what we have to offer. Sharing our story helps potential clients really feel into whether or not it’s a fit for them.

You can find out more about his free webinar, Attracting More Customers with Your Story, when you click here

It’s tailored specifically for small business owners whose online efforts aren’t attracting new or the “right” customer. If you have trouble answering your customers when they ask “why you?” If you’d like to get more warm leads from your online presence and if you wish your website could filter the “right” customers from the ones who aren’t . . . this will be worth your time.

He’s also leading a full seven-week course which starts May 14th, 2013 and you can check out here. There are only 16 spaces available. It’s really worth reading his sales letter just for some education on a great sales letter.

This isn’t an affiliate deal. I don’t make any money from spreading the word on it.

Why story? More and more people are talking about the importance of storytelling in marketing – what’s your take on why this matters?

Oh wow, this is a loaded question. I could tell you a lot of things like… how human brains are hard wired to quickly understand and remember stories. 

Or I could even mention how stories tap into the emotional side of the brain, which essentially determines whether someone wants to buy or not.

But the truth is that marketing is generally… boring. It’s boring because, in most cases, it talks above, around, or through the audience rather than to the audience. Are you offering a solution without witnessing the problem? Are you speaking in terms your customer can relate to?

From the time of villagers sitting around the fire, stories are what have led people to move toward their vision.  Stories work because they are NOT boring… to the right people. 

When you use stories in your marketing you allow your customers to experience the need you’re trying to solve in a way that is easily understood and memorable. It is also safe because it creates enough distance between your reader and their problem that they are able to see it from an objective point of view. 

(Easily understood + memorable) * safety = a warm lead 

Why is telling our own story helpful for marketing? Can you give three real life mini examples of clients or people you know who had stories relevant to their work?

I’ll be blunt… chances are you’re not the only one offering a solution to the problem. And with a computer and Wi-Fi access, your customer can probably find a number of those other solutions. So what’s going to separate you from them?

The answer is You. 

Telling your own story accomplishes three things when talking to your audience. 

  1. Communicates the purpose or the “why” you do what you do. 
  2. Establishes credibility that is not dependent on being first or better than your competition.
  3. Builds trust that you can help them solve their problem.

Tad, I think your story is a great example to start with (I’ll paraphrase):

You started out as a hippie that loved marketing. The journey of becoming a better marketer created a struggle between the love you wanted to share in your heart and the inauthentic or contrived approaches traditional marketers were teaching.

This led you to find ways of marketing that felt good to your heart and included working with the people you loved most in the world… other hippies. Now you help hippies all over market their products and services in a way that feels true to their roots.

Here is a recent client story:

My client’s mom was a very successful doctor, and it was always expected that she become a doctor too. The trouble was that she didn’t want to be a traditional doctor and so the internal struggle of balancing her own and others’ expectations began.

She spent years learning everything from psychology to hypnotherapy to help her deal with this inner struggle until she found her solution. Now she is a “doctor” who solves problems of a different kind by helping others who want to find joy but struggle with expectations.

A part of my own story:

I spent a great deal of my life achieving approval by modifying my image to gain acceptance from those around me. Those skills were invaluable in marketing my first business right up until the point when they weren’t. That’s when the struggle of surviving and changing with the whims of my customers and competitors became overwhelming. 

With my experience with storytelling in business, spiritual practices, and a willingness to look inward for my answers, I found a heart-centered branding solution that worked for me… and now I work with other small business owners to help them through that same transformation process.

You went through my Niching for Hippies program where we did a lot of exploring around this notion that your deepest wound is often a doorway to your truest niche. What’s your personal take on this? Is there anything you’d add or amend to that notion?

Definitely. I spend time exploring wounds in my course on “Attracting customers with your story” for a very similar reason.  

Who would you trust to help you with a problem? Someone who is certified to help you …or someone who has lived the problem and found a solution?

Your story of how you struggled with and solved the problem that you now help others with is the perfect way to share that experience with your customers in a way they can understand, remember and relate to.

If I were going to add anything to this concept it would be that it is also helpful to look at your early accomplishments. They can be windows to your niche since many times they are what reinforce your beliefs and expectations. 

What’s the connection between our story and our niche? 

You are sharing your story to help your customers determine that you can provide the right solution for them. 

In that way they work together. As you understand your niche, you are able to share the stories from your life that better serve your customers. Just as when you explore your story, you will find it can help you self-select your niche.

It seems like finding your story is also a sort of integrity and safety mechanism. Like, if you haven’t achieved a particular result, maybe you shouldn’t be teaching others about how to do it? Would you agree?

Yes I do agree, but more so for you than your customer. Let me explain with a story.

I remember being excited with all the possibilities that were in front of me. I had just left the company I worked for and was going to venture out to make a difference in the world. The trouble was… I didn’t know what difference I wanted to make.

A buddy of mine had an idea to create a web service that helped restaurants schedule their employees. It seemed like a great idea, and so I decided to join him in bringing the product to market. I found that marketing a service I didn’t use to an audience I wasn’t part of wasn’t the best business for me… 

My story never had a restaurant in it… the closest I got to working for a restaurant was helping them remove the food they put on my plate… by eating it. The trouble wasn’t that our solution didn’t work… it worked great. The issue was that I was out of integrity to my purpose, which left me unmotivated and wanting more.

I enjoyed working with my buddy… but I was still searching for the difference I wanted to make.

For me, finding my story actually created clarity around what I feel is my purpose. I guess I would call it less of a safety mechanism and more of a compass to guide me through the wilderness.

I’d also caution people with the word “result”. When I hear “result” it can sound like a destination, but in many cases it is really just part of the journey.

Do you have to have everything figured out in order to be able to help people? I don’t think so… you just have to be further along the path than they are.

You speak about five steps to your process. Can you walk us through them in case study of a client you’ve worked with?

Absolutely, I’ll use the same client above and share snippets of her story to add clarity. She helps adults living in NYC, who believe that life should be fun, but struggle with perfectionism, anxiety, frustration and stress.

1. Natural Authority: Your ability to do what you do comes from many aspects of your life beyond your business. Knowing those aspects is the first step to shift from comparison to story.

With a doctor and an engineer for parents, it wasn’t hard to see how she became a problem solver who wanted to help people.  The expectation for her to become a traditional doctor landed her in an internal struggle between her parents’ expectations and what her heart desired.

Notice how this sets the stage showing how she was groomed to help those struggling with perfectionism. Next she shares her journey to finding a solution…

2. Point of View: Knowing how to apply your natural authority to help your customers solve their problems will complete the shift. It will build trust with your customers. They will know that you understand what they’re going through and there is a solution.

She moved to Israel to study Psychology where she became aware that her issue was created in her mind; yet knowing it wasn’t enough to solve it.

Frustrated in her first attempt she tried yoga, meditation, energy healing, nutrition, all the body sciences, and about the body-mind connection at one of Tel-Aviv’s holistic colleges; yet doing wasn’t enough to solve it either.

She then spent the next 11 years learning everything from life coaching to Neuro-Linguistic Programming but it wasn’t until she became a board certified hypnotherapist and Past Life Regression practitioner that it all came together.

Finally, after years of pursuing freedom from the pressures to become something she wasn’t, she had found a solution that worked fully… it was a combination of knowing, doing, and working with the subconscious mind. 

Observe her point of view coming together… This part of the story shows her audience that she’s been through this before and come out the other side. It also tells about how she sees the solution coming together… “The combination of knowing, doing, and working with the subconscious mind.”

3. Reputation: Most people don’t want to be the first to cross a possibly rickety bridge. Sharing your external credibility in the right way can help build confidence that your bridge is safe. 

In her story you can see supporting external credibility in the schools she’s gone to, the years she’s been working, the certifications she has, etc. They show her customers that other people are verifying her ability to help them with this problem. 

4. Icebreakers: You can encourage your customers to begin a relationship with you by sharing some personal icebreakers. 

She works with the Brooklyn Animal Shelter to help heal cats so that they’re ready for adoption. She loves photography and walking barefoot when the sun’s out.

By sharing some personal details she has created an opportunity for people to know who she is and not only what she does… This reminds her customers that she is human too, not a business just trying to sell them something.

5. Audience: It’s your story, but it’s about your audience. Recognize how to get their attention, and remember what they need from you. It will make the difference between having them read your story — or not.

Note that these excerpts from her story are told because they answer questions that her customers might have… like: “Why should I pick you?” and “How do I know your solution works for me?”

Pick me because I’ve been through this before and have found a solution. I have certifications and experience that support and validate my story and life experiences that have prepared me to solve this problem.

What are the surprising benefits that people might not expect when they really begin to explore their own story?

I think my client above may have said it best:

“This course exceeded my expectations. I thought I would end up with a story on my “about me” page, and ended up with a whole new clarity about my purpose and the clients I wanted to work with.” 

I found that to be my experience as well. The process aligned my business with my heart… my purpose. That brought so much clarity to who my customer is, what I have to offer them, and created more compassion and understanding for what my customers are going through. 

Here’s some info on Schuyler’s upcoming courses.

Attracting More Customers with Your Story

Tailored specifically for small business owners whose online efforts aren’t attracting new or the “right” customers.

  1. Have trouble answering your customers when they ask “why you?”
  2. Would you like to get more warm leads from your online presence?
  3. Do you wish your website could filter the “right” customers from the ones who aren’t?

If you feel a resounding “yes” to these questions, then here are two opportunities starting at free that you’ll want to check out:

No-Cost Webinar see the details here:

http://www.t4execs.com/attracting-more-customers-with-your-story/no-cost-webinar

Full seven-week course see the details here:

http://www.t4execs.com/attracting-more-customers-with-your-story

A Bit About Schuyler: Hi, I’m Schuyler Kaye. I help small business owners who want to make a difference and need to attract more customers through their online presence. I’ve been in the business of branding since I decided being a short, fat, nerdy high schooler wasn’t the way to start college. My experiences during my graduate work at Stanford University in conjunction with marketing my first business led to my heart-centered branding program. I love to travel, dance, play guitar, and eat more green chile than is generally advisable. For more info on my work: www.t4execs.com

Kelly on Wounds

Kelly_1_resized

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.

*  

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

Niche Case Study: Career vs. Calling

Lorraine was a part of my six week Niching for Hippies program and, by the end of it, we’d all basically decided to elect her class president for her incredible marketing insights and technological brilliance in helping us with online things and facebook.

Lorraine is a life coach.

So what.

Not to be harsh but lots of people are life coaches. Why should I care?

Life coaching is the boat that gets me from Island A to Island B. All I care about is if it can help me on my particular journey.

Trying to sell ‘life coaching’ when hundreds of others are doing the same is hard work. What’s much easier is helping people see how what you do can help them along their way.

So, Lorraine dug in and thought about who she most wanted to help with her work. And when she reflected on her own struggles the answer became all to clear – she wanted to help corporate women who wanted ‘out’ of the corporate world.

 

Name: Lorraine Watson
Website: http://www.followyourlight.com

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

The niche I focused on during the NFH course was corporate career women between 35-45 who set the bar high, give their best in everything they do, and are motivated by the intrinsic rewards of a job well done and helping others succeed.

What looks like a great life by most standards, she’s frickin’ tired of struggling with this inner nagging there’s more to life without a clue what that life looks like. She knows in her soul she can make a real difference in the world. She’s explored so many options, but nothing connects as “this is it!”

She feels lost, passionless and far beyond fed up with going in circles trying to figure out what to do. With so many unknowns she’s not ready to leave what actually is a pretty good job to start a business. The steady income is paying the bills, making one less pressure to worry about while she figures things out.

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

These women are looking for a deeper sense of meaning and spirituality.

They find a renewed sense of purpose and direction by discovering what their “more to life” looks like. Working together we bring to light the unique expression of who she is so she can finally relax and start being her true self. Her true self becomes the guiding compass in figuring out what gifts she is here to contribute and the difference she is meant to make. She can stop with all the do-do. Life clicks. She feels more alive than ever knowing she is on track with what she was meant to do.

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

The most difficult part of defining the niche was finding the words to take the concept from my head into words others would understand and connect with emotionally. Moving beyond the jargon and generalities was helpful in getting to those connections. I’ve known I wanted to work with people going through this transition period in their life. Working through the niching process helped me to gain deeper clarity and become more specific about what their journeys would look like and who I could be most helpful for.

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

This is my story, at least 98% because I did quit my job.

I spent several years ignoring the signs I was being called to something more until finallyI hit 1995 – what I call my “Lost Year”.  A job well done and solving problems wasn’t enough anymore to drown out the inner nagging.  I was getting physically sick.  I might have been close to depression by today’s standards.  I felt so lost without knowing where to turn.  I tried everything and nothing clicked.  I figured if I kept doing something I would stumble across what I was meant to do.  When I look back at my life I was the poster child for living a lost life.  I gave up my dream of becoming a doctor when I was in grade 11.  From that point on I seemed to follow the best of the worst of what was available.  What turned everything around was taking my Reiki Level I course in May 1996.  I remember thinking to myself an hour hadn’t even passed in the class and I finally knew energy was my home.  I came out of the spirituality closet.  I allowed myself to be intuitive again after years spent in techie-land and sciences.  I renewed my sense of curiosity and exploration to discover what could have been different for me to shorten my time spent lost.   I know in order to follow your call to purpose doesn’t mean you have to turn woo-woo.  I wish I had me back then.

I wish I had me back then.

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

I haven’t shared this widely at this point. Those who have been through this point where career feels pitted against calling know what an emotional and lonely time it can be.

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

This is the element I working through with right now. A key element of this niche is they find themselves at a transition point at their life. They don’t see what’s ahead, yet they know what’s behind isn’t working either. They’re frustrated, scared, alone and really don’t know where to turn. This tends to be a time of isolation and withdrawal because your friends and family don’t understand and you don’t know people who’ve been through this before. How do you find what you don’t know you’re looking for?

My main thought has been to use the internet both as a way to be found and offer coaching, workshops, courses, etc. I live in a rural community so basing my services or means of connection on physical location isn’t necessarily the best approach. I would also like to reach a more global than local audience so leveraging technology also seems to be a great fit.

What did you learn about niching along the way?

The two biggies I would say are clarity and decision. When you truly embrace the niching you can’t help but go through a process of deepening clarity. And that means you have to make decisions. Decisions about who you are, what you desire, who you want to work with, where you can help and where you can’t, etc. Not making all these decisions are what holds us back in the first place. The deeper your clarity the more power your decisions will carry. Some might even call those decisions commitments.

The other thing I would say about niching is if you don’t get frustrated, throw a tantrum, run away, scream, lose some hair, wake up in the middle of the night thinking about it, and think you don’t really need a niche – you’re likely going through the motions rather than taking advantage of where the process can take you.

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

The next step is to work on my website in order to connect with people and communicate more of my ideas about making your way through this life transition or transformation. In addition to coaching, I have two other projects in mind. The first is a 30 or 60 day “Being Challenge” to help people discover the unique expression of who they are and begin to recognize its common threads woven throughout their lives. The second project is to host a couple of Clarity Circles inspired by your Hot Box events. If there proves to be an interest, my intent is to hold these on a regular basis as both individual events as well as part of the coaching process.

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

1) I’m more convinced than ever that group growth work, and learning in general, reaps exponential results far beyond what one person can accomplish on their own. The places you can go by swimming alone versus paddling with others in an outrigger canoe / dragon boat are incomparable. Community can have its challenges but they are beyond worth the effort.

2) Defining your niche takes time and a lot of what look like spinning your wheels, including starting over. Getting to the heart of your niche and the heart of your work isn’t a “1-2-3 spit out an answer” process. Undertaking this work is more like setting off on an adventure with a very rough sketch as a map. Our responsibility is to fill in the details as we make our way through previously uncharted, or ignored, territory.

3) Any niche is not better than the “right” niche. The misalignment shows through from lack of a heart connection or lack of authenticity. At that point you just have a job, and one you likely don’t want to keep. Sometimes the most aligned niches are the scariest but oh how they make perfect sense.

Anything else you’d like to say?

Does one ever really stop niching? Everyday is a good day to hub someone! :-)

 

What I Might Do If I Were Her:

hone in: when I read this first, the words “career feels pitted against calling” jumped out at me. Career vs. Calling. That could be a great basis for a URL – www.careervscalling.com or www.careersbirthingcallings.com or something. I felt like in those few words she really got to the heart of it. It could be the basis of a great tagline too: helping women move from a dead career into a passionate calling. Or something.

her story is so powerful: the other thing that really grabbed me is how powerful her own story is here. My colleague Michael Margolis makes a compelling case that stories are the heart of marketing. And my colleague Nancy Juetten has written a brilliant ebook – Bye Bye Boring Bio all about the power our bios have in our business. Your story of the things you’ve overcome gives you a tremendous amount of credibility. Much more than your list of educational credentials. I’d want to see her really develop and articulate her story. She’s off to a great start and I imagine this story will be at the heart of why certain women would want to work with her.

new url for this niche: again, this niche seems to be different than www.followyourlight.com. It doesn’t fit 100%. I would want to change the URL to something that really ‘named’ what she was up to.

what’s her system to get these women out?: I want to know more about her point of view. I want to know more about her system. What’s her map to get them from Island A to Island B? What does she consider to be the three key elements? What’s step #1, #2, #3 etc? Think of the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, The Four Agreements etc. Very clear maps. Very clear structures. Having a clear journey you help people on builds relevance. Having a clear map builds credibility.

blog: I would love to see Lorraine have a blog where she could share the case studies of women who’ve made it out of the box. I’d love for her to share her learnings, TED talks that are relevant, other videos that are inspiring on the topic, cartoons, charts, graphs, guest posts, linked to relevant articles. In her case I think of the movie Lemonade or the One Week Job Project.

SEO optimization, Facebook Ads etc.: I don’t know much about the online marketing side of things but I know enough to know that her site, being so niched, could do with a heavy doze of though and strategy on Search Engine Optimization. And she might benefit from google adwords and facebook ads which can be targeted to exactly the kind of woman she wants to work with.

Guest post on other key blogs: If I were working with her, I’d have her create a hubs database for all the potential hubs for her and identify all the existing blogs that have a tonne of traffic (e.g. Escape from Cubicle Nation).

Differentiate: Once, she had that database, I’d want her to look at other things like Escape from Cubicle Nation and ask herself, ‘how am I different than this? What’s my unique voice I want to bring to this?’ And who would miss me if I went out of business and why?

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

Are you ready for the spotlight? An interview with PR genius Nancy Juetten

A lot of people want to get discovered.

They dream of speaking on big stages to tens of thousands of people. They dream of being on Oprah. They dream of having a best selling book.

My frank opinion is that 99% of these people are not ready for that kind of spotlight.

To be even more frank, most people are barely ready for their aquaintances to discover what they do.

To be as frank as I can be, most people, instead of bemoaning their obscurity, should be profoundly and truly grateful for it because they are not ready for the next level yet. They are not ready for the kind of web traffic, attention and the glare of the spotlight yet. If they were to be discovered it could be a minor disaster. Like meeting the person of your dreams a few years too soon. Like getting on a really importance stage without a speech prepared. Going on Oprah with no website set up yet.

I’ve seen a lot of these squandered opportunities in my day.

But if you feel called to step up to the next level of being discovered – it’s hard for me to think of anyone better for the job than Nancy Juetten. Nancy is sweet but no nonsense PR whiz. She will always give it to you straight how ready you are. She’s got a new program coming out soon and so I thought I’d interview her on the topic and ask her a bunch of questions I’ve been meaning to ask for a while. 

Her answers don’t disappoint but were incredibly specific and to the point. This is some straight marketing ‘real talk’.

If you’re introverted by nature but still feel called to take the next step in getting out there give this a read. You’ll find encouragement, direction, candor and some immediately actionable things you can do to be ready for when opportunity comes knocking.

And make sure to check out her free call on September 18th if her answers resonate with you. Just click here for more info.

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Tad:  You help people get more high visibility gigs. You help people get discovered. How do you do this?

Nancy: When my clients discover the beautiful intersection between who they are here to serve and what makes them the best available talent to bring about the relief or the benefit, something magical happens.   It’s like there is wind infused beneath their wings.  Their confidence grows.  Their message resonates with more of the right people.   Opportunities come knocking, and they have the confidence to seek out more of the perfect opportunities to serve their lead generation efforts.

Tad:  Why do you think so many people with a lot to offer languish in obscurity?

Nancy:   Oh Tad, I could write a sonnet about the languishing in obscurity bonnet!  Part of the challenge for a great many people is that they struggle with what some may refer to as shameless self-promotion.  They feel too humble to call attention to their gifts and talents.  Some are simply allergic to this effort entirely and would rather hire out the task to someone else.  

The trouble with this is that far too few folks have the budget or the resources to do this in a big way, so their messages may not get heard.   What I often say is that no one cares more about your success than you do.  How much of your success are you truly willing to delegate to someone else, especially when the message matters so much?   Ever since the Great Recession, I have been advocating for self-employed business professionals to learn these essential skills so they need never have to be beholden to expensive publicists or copywriters ever again.  I still believe that in my bones, now more than ever.

Tad: What are the big blunders people make that keep them from being discovered?

Nancy

  • Not being clear about the specific “wow” or benefit they provide.
  • Hiding under a bushel basket and hoping the right people will find them.
  • Not being ready when opportunity knocks.   There is a whole lot of hoping, wishing and praying going on that the right client or person of influence will call tomorrow or one day soon.  But if he or she actually did call, would you have clarity around the specific ways you can serve that person?  Are your programs and packages ready to share at a moment’s notice?   Do you have a signature talk that you are ready to share by teleseminar, webinar, or live when the next coveted invitation comes your way?   There are a great many people who are “winging it” and not flying very high as a result.   Being ready to welcome opportunity is a huge piece toward being in great position to say YES and step through the doors to opportunity gracefully.

Tad:   Imagine you’re a high profile hub, and I’m approaching you to give me a spot on your stage or to get an article written in your magazine.  What are you looking for in me to know if you want to support me or not? What do these mega hubs look for?

Nancy:   This is a very good question.  

Let’s say you want your expertise showcased via an influential podcast that reaches 50,000 people who are precisely the right people who can benefit from your expertise or guidance.  

My first recommendation would be to listen to prior podcasts to find out the approach the host takes with the interviews.  Have enough interest in the program to pay attention to it so you can frame your own expertise to be a perfect fit for that audience.  

When you make your approach to the person who makes those decisions (you can likely find his or her name noted on the “contact us” section of the website), you can say that you have listened to several of their most recent podcasts and know they love to empower their listeners to achieve a specific result.   And, you also have a specific area of expertise that can guide them along that journey in a refreshing way that will turn their heads and cause them to think differently about a particular issue or concern they are facing in their businesses.   

As a direct result of listening to you, they will learn three essential tips and techniques to do exactly that.   Over the last decade, you have finely honed these skills in service to an audience very much like theirs and earned rave reviews.  In fact, your most recent (ebook, program, or best-seller) just (won an award, sold out for the 10th time, or some other important, measurable accomplishment) to prove that point.  

And, since this (emerging trend, upcoming election, or other timely and relevant situation) is top of mind right now, you were thinking that this topic might be of service to the audience, now more than ever.

Tad, getting your expertise showcased in the media that matter for your message is really about presenting your expertise in such a way that it is timely, newsworthy, relevant, interesting, and worth talking about.  

Think first how you can serve the audience, and tailor your comments and approach to be a perfect fit. 

It’s really all about service to the audience.  And it’s also important to be clear about what you want the listeners to DO as a direct result of hearing your message.   This is among the biggest mistakes folks make when they are interviewed that can be addressed with some thoughtful advance planning.

Tad:   I often tell clients that when you play it small there’s not much heat on you, but when you enter the big time, all of a sudden there’s so much more scrutiny.  What changes as you get more discovered? What do people look at? Look for?

Nancy:   When you step onto a bigger stage and get known for what you do, you welcome an entirely new set of opportunities and challenges.    On the one hand, folks who are wishing for this level of notoriety are thinking that these are precisely the kinds of challenges they want, and they want them YESTERDAY.    As for me, I am gaining some experience with this in my own life and business.   I have absolutely gotten known in a much bigger way these last two years in particular.   And, because I describe myself as an introvert, I would not be telling the truth if I told you every day is wine and roses for me.  

  • As your influence grows, people have higher expectations of you.  
  • They may make harsh judgments without adequate insight or information.
  • When you show up at big events, people recognize you before you recognize them.   If you pride yourself on remembering names, faces, and details, this can be a bit uncomfortable.
  • If you attend a lot of live events and get photographed a lot, your wardrobe gets worn out pretty fast.   I have a favorite blue silk dress.  And I hesitate to wear it because I fear that folks are going to wonder why I don’t wear something else.   I realize this may sound ridiculous, but it does cross my mind.
  • More joint venture invitations come your way than you can possibly engage in.   Learning to say YES to the right opportunities and NO to those that aren’t a fit is something that takes some practice, trial and error, and experience.
  • You absolutely have to remember to take care not to inhale your own fumes.  You have to remain humble and keep moving forward in service to your clients and your mission and never get complacent about your brand or reputation. How you do anything is how you do everything.

Tad:  One of the things I love about your work is that you have such a focus on helping people not only get discovered but get ready to be discovered. It seems like so many people blow big opportunities because they’re so ill prepared. Where do you see that most want to be experts, and yet they aren’t prepared when they need to be?

Nancy:   I know a great many people who want to be professional speakers.   And, yet, when I visit their websites, I can’t find their speaker sheets, speaker videos, or raving testimonials from audience members or meeting planners to make it an easy YES decision for the right person to engage.   This a among the most common mistakes I notice.

Another is that experts want media attention, but they don’t make it easy for the media to find out their qualifications.   Truly, if you want to do a lot of media interviews, you should make it easy for reporters, bloggers, and other people of influence to do their homework about you. 

That means offering a variety of bios of varying length in the “about me” or “media section” of your website or blog.  For media interviews, I recommend writing these in the “third person” so any host, reporter, or broadcast journalist can read the words as presented without having to transform your “first person” story into one that can be easily read as an introduction.  

What is the back story about your journey to success?   Make it easy to find so you can have confidence that the story will be correct in the re-telling – no matter who shares it.

Tad:  A big focus for you is guiding people to create winning bios. I think your workbook Bye Bye Boring Bio is one of the best marketing workbooks I’ve ever seen. Why does this matter so much? Help draw the connection for us between your ‘about me’ page on your website and your level of success? Why is this so important?

Nancy:   When folks land on your home page, they are looking for a solution to a problem them have.  Hopefully, they are serious enough about the problem at hand that they are willing to invest into a solution to benefit from the relief.   If someone perfect lands on your site and likes what they read enough to lean in and want to know more, chances are they are going to want to know about the person whose name is on the door. 

If they land on your “about me” page and can’t find enough juice to make them get to that ‘know-like-trust’ place fast, they may not be inclined to send you an email, pick up the phone, or ask for a meeting.  

The story you tell about yourself should relate to the important work you do in service to a specific audience of people who benefit mightily as a direct result of your skills, gifts, and expertise.   If you waste the space on your “about me” page by sharing irrelevant information or “blah-blah-blah” boring information that doesn’t engage the reader in the least bit, you are wasting precious real estate that could otherwise be applied toward guiding website visitors to become buyers, fans, followers, and referral sources.   

Always ask yourself this important question:  What do you want your website or blog visitors TO DO as a direct result of visiting your site?

  • Do you want them to call you for a consultation?  If so, offer your phone number on the home page.
  • Do you want them to opt in to enjoy a free gift that will enhance their lives or businesses and give you the opportunity to stay in touch over time and extend relevant offers as it makes sense?  If so, offer a compelling free gift in exchange for an email opt in.
  • Do you want people to hire you on the spot as a speaker, consultant, or service provider?   If so, say so.  

So often, I notice that many website owners forget to ask this question and offer way too many choices that really don’t serve the objective that matters most.  Often it is because they never asked that initial and most important question.

Tad:  If the average ‘expert’ was put on Oprah’s show tomorrow – my sense is that most of them would totally squander that experience because they weren’t ready. Could you lay out, being real, what you think would happen to an average client before they worked with someone like you in that situation and what might happen after?

Nancy: Someone truly serious about being invited to the Oprah show tomorrow would:

  • Have a fabulous outfit that fits like a glove set aside in her closet.   There is no waiting to lose that final ten pounds.  The clothes fits perfectly and look fabulous right now.  And, jewel tones are preferred by Oprah’s producers, so take that to heart as you plan what to wear.
  • The website is set up to handle traffic of consequence without shutting down.
  • The “about us” page of the site showcases fabulous headshots of professional quality, images of the product or book, and bios of varying length.
  • The expert has ten compelling questions that she loves to be asked and to answer to guide any producer to create a fabulous program in service to the Oprah show audience.
  • Have practiced her talking points on video to identify any message stumbling blocks and transform them into messaging brilliance.
  • “Not go promo” during the interview.    Be generous, be real, be you.
  • Have watched herself on video to see if she has any nervous habits that show up as visual distractions.   Not long ago, Kirsty Ally was on the Ellen DeGeneres Show.  She was sitting on her hands.  Ellen asked her why.  She said, “My friends and family have told me I play with my hair during interviews, and it is very distracting to them.”   So, she sat on her hands during this interview, and Ellen was having some fun with her to get her to release her hands during the conversation.    She had some fun with this, but not everyone is comfortable in this kind of interview scenario.
  • Remember that as soon as she steps foot into the studio, she is ON.  Be on time, be gracious, be articulate.  Don’t swear.  Don’t speak without purpose.  Remember how you want to be known, and make sure every word and move you make reinforces that.

There are plenty of other suggestions, but this is a good start.

Tad:  You say, ‘it’s your story, tell it well’. Why does this matter? What is the role and importance of our stories in marketing?

Nancy: If you don’t tell your story well, it won’t land and position you to make the impact or difference you are here to make.   A confused mind never buys, recommends, or takes action.

If you fail to make a case for why you are the perfect athlete to deliver the impact, you may not earn the engagement to make your difference or the income that is associated with it.  

If your ideal clients cannot come to a place of “know-like-trust” so they can whip out their wallets and engage, you are forever stuck at the front door.

In the work you do with guiding clients to declare their niches, you know that out of our deepest wounds calls forth our greatest gifts to share.  Jeffrey Van Dyk was first to share this with me, and I’ve never forgotten those words.  

Believing this to be truth for just about everyone, when you share the origins of the gifts you are here to share, you let your clients know this journey is not just one that you travel for food, clothing, and shelter.  It’s a journey you have been traveling all your life.  It’s an important journey with profound rewards and results to offer.   That is beautiful, magnetic, and powerful.

Tad:   You are sharing a Bye-Bye Boring Bio – Hello Opportunity free call on September 18th at 3 p.m. PST.  If folks want to tune in, can you make it easy for them?

Nancy:  Absolutely.  Here is the link to enjoy this call.  www.authenticvisibility.com/tadrecommends And if folks want to gain immediate access to the first chapter of Bye-Bye Boring Bio as my gift, they can.  Just visit www.authenticvisibility.com/freegift

Nancy “Broadcast Your Brilliance” Juetten is a storyteller, workshop leader, and Bye-Bye Boring Bio PLUS! author who shows mission-driven experts how to get seen, heard, celebrated, and COMPEN$ATED for their expert status. Nancy created Bye-Bye Boring Bio PLUS! to guide service professionals, speakers, authors, coaches, and those serious about earning expert status to get ready, get known, and get paid. Leading the Broadcast Your Brilliance Webinar Series and working one-on-one with clients in her Get Known to Get Paid™ Private Mentoring Program are among the most popular ways clients engage to welcome these benefits.  An award-winning copywriter with 12 years of success running her own profitable six-figure business, Nancy has been interviewed in connection with her storytelling and publicity expertise by CNN Radio, National Public Radio, the ABC Radio Network and by engaging and talented radio talk show hosts and information gurus from across America and the world. Nancy’s essential advice is this: “It’s your story. Tell it well.”   To learn about the upcoming Broadcast Your Brilliance Webinar Series and say bey-bye to YOUR boring bio as soon as possible, visit www.authenticvisibility.com/tadrecommends today.

Nancy “Broadcast Your Brilliance” Juetten, 425-641-5214, www.AuthenticVisibility.com

Publicity Expert Nancy Juetten is Your Get Known to Get Paid™ Mentorand a Contributing Author to the NEW National Speakers Association Book for Sale at Amazon – Speak More! Marketing Strategies to Get More Speaking Business.

Whether you love the spotlight or are just finding the courage to step out and shine, you will Get Known to Get Paid for your expert status by telling a story all your own. If you are serious about taking big steps forward to Get Ready, Get Known, and Get Paid with Nancy’s expert guidance, check out the Get Known to Get Paid PRIVATE Mentoring Program and apply for your place today.

 

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

 

guest post: seven lessons from my marketing vision quest

I first met Brad in Victoria. If there was ever someone who fit the hippy stereotype it was Brad. All smiles, enthusiasm peace and love.

But as I got to know him I became increasingly impressed with his business savvy. I like people who can walk in between worlds – be positive but grounded and practical too. I recently asked him to share what he’d learned from his journey around marketing. I thought you might like to see it.

He shares some interesting thoughts around the connections between our niche and our past experiences and the importance of doing our own inner work.

 

My Marketing Vision Quest

– Brad Morris

What I’ve learned about Marketing through my Journey of Living and Sharing my Purpose with the world…

Life is TRULY a Vision Quest. It doesn’t matter if you’re living in the forest, surrounded by the elements or you’re caught up in the chaos of our busy modern cities.

As an entrepreneur for years I have also learned that sharing yourself, your gifts, your passions, purpose, products and services with the world is a Vision Quest too.

Every single day and choice you make as an entrepreneur will test your integrity, Trust and alignment with your Highest Calling. The journey of reaching your market is not in how many people you can tell how great you are, but in becoming the embodiment of Love, Truth, Freedom and Creative Expression that you are and sharing that possibility for others to experience.

Your clients are so intuitive and if you are not walking your talk, grounding yourself in Truth and striving to be your fullest, most authentic self, they will feel that and go somewhere else … it’s just the times of Change we’re living in right now.

At the moment I am gearing up to launch a 40 DAY VISION QUEST product that I have been working on for the most part of the last three years. I started test launches this February and have since guided 106 ‘Light Workers or Aspiring World-Changers’ through this Quest to get grounded, clear, inspired and activated so they can share their gifts with the world. As I have been preparing for the big launch that will introduce this product to hundreds of thousands of new, potential clients and journeyers I have learned alot about marketing and messaging.

Below are some of the lessons I have learned through my creative process of sharing myself with the world…

My Top Seven Lessons on Marketing as a Conscious Entrepreneur…

1) Your Niche lies in your Past… When asked who my Niche was in a marketing workshop of Tad Hargrave’s, I thought my niche was every person in the world who wants to meditate. Not only was I too vague, I was also totally WRONG.

Since that day, I have had epiphany after epiphany which has taken me from selling a ‘meditation program’ to sharing an actual Vision Quest experience that supports people on their path to giving their gifts to serve the world.

It wasn’t until I looked into my own past and mapped out my personal journey of getting to where I am now that I realized my Niche is ME.

If you look at your past, your hardships, challenges and the tools you learned along the way that helped you to get to where you are now, you can pin point qualities about yourself that are also in the people you want to market to. For me, I had an awakening experience and realized I had this big purpose to share.

At the time, I didn’t know what it was or how to do that and so my last 7 years of Vision Questing has been gaining the tools and daily practices so I can do what I came to Earth to do. After months of exploration, I can now say who my Niche is in one sentence. My Niche is people who are waking up and want grounding & clarity so they can discover their greatest gifts and share them with the world. If you want to know who you’re talking to, dig up your past.

2) You need to tell your ‘Hero/Heroine’s Journey’ in a way that tells your customers’ Hero/Heroine’s Journey… Throughout ALL time, in all Mythology, we have always learned best through stories. You may not put any value on your hardships and personal story, but it’s YOUR story that will reach the heart strings of your Niche Market.

What have you been through to discover your gifts that you’re now sharing with the world? And how can you communicate your Hero/Heroine’s Journey of healing, awakening and stepping into who you are or what you’re offering now so that you ALSO tell their journey that they’re on right now?

A teacher is only someone who is one or two steps ahead of their students.

Maybe you self-cured a disease, healed your depression, figured out a way to love life, learned how to grow your own food or whatever …. Your story is what makes you Unique and your offerings authentic.

You are a hero and they can be too.

3) Be Unique, Be you… Don’t try to be anybody else but yourself. It is your authenticity, realness and ‘YOUness’ that will draw in the people who want what you’re offering.

4) Your product and service is an extension of YOU… Everything you put out into the world is a reflection of your whole self, conscious and unconscious. Just like you are expanding, growing and evolving as you journey through life, so will your offerings to the world. Give your product the space and freedom to grow, transform and blossom into its fullest gift to the world.

Today it may look like a healing practice, tomorrow a workshop series and years down the road it will have this completely different form. Don’t put pressure on yourself to know it all now or get it perfect … just share who you are and what you know right now, with the space for that to change.

5) The Quadruple WIN is the Key to your Success… If you want to succeed financially, Spiritually and honorably then you need to create a quadruple win scenario.

Meaning, your clients have to win big when they choose you over all the other people out there doing something similar. Your partners or allies who promote you & support your work need to be recognized and appreciated. It could be as small as a thank you card (hand written), throwing a party for them OR creating affiliate links so they make money by sharing your gifts.

The Earth also needs to win. It is imperative that we take care of our Divine Mother Earth in the best way we can, so whatever you’re sharing ask yourself, ‘how can I make this a HUGE WIN for the Earth too?’

When I launch my 40 DAY JOURNEY I am going to be giving a big chunk of the profits to help preserve the Rainforests of North and South America, as well as support the indigenous Tribes who are threatened by corporate development in their Sacred Lands. What’s your offering to the Earth now, not later?

Last but certainly not least, YOU need to win. If you are burning yourself out trying to make things happen, then are you winning? If you are just giving your energy or work away out of desperation just to share it, are you winning? Always honor yourself, your heart and your gifts with so much love, compassion and gentleness.

When you do this, your clients will reflect those qualities and honor you too. Above and beyond receiving love and approval from our clients and the outer world, we need to embrace and give it to ourselves first.

6) Face to Face is always better than Facebook to Facebook… Get out from behind your computer and go out and meet the world. People need to experience your vibes and talk to you in person. This is where Trust is built and connections made. Your computer is a tool, don’t abuse it.

7) Do the work on yourself, so that every cell in your Being believes… Would you do what you’re doing if you weren’t being paid? Do you Truly believe in yourself and what you’re offering? Do you authentically believe that your product or service is worth the money you’re asking for?

Chances are, if you got totally real with yourself you may not say yes to all of the above questions … In times of challenge over the years, where I lived in the uncertainty of not being able to pay the bills or eat food this was my BIGGEST BATTLE.

What I learned is that when people aren’t paying money for what you’re offering, chances are it’s because a subconscious belief that you’re not good enough or your products not good enough is blocking them from being able to.

Your job as a Conscious Entrepreneur is to balance your outer work with your inner work. Sometimes it’s a matter of needing to do more marketing but most of the time it’s about believing FULLY IN YOURSELF, pushing yourself beyond your edge, breaking old paradigms, patterns or beliefs and embracing what you’re offering.

I have had so many miracles happen over the years that after I do a clearing or healing on myself during those times of ‘feeling stuck,’ I’d all of a sudden have opportunities appear, new clients show up and referrals made that bring in more business. Do the work. It’s so much more fun and easy when you do…

So there you have it folks. Those are some of the most valuable lessons I have been learning on my journey of sharing my gifts, tools and services with the World. If you have a comment or ANYTHING that you’re inspired to share that I might have missed, please share it down below. I hope this has provided some inspiration, clarity and forward momentum with whatever you’re offering because we need more good hearts doing good work in the world.

And if you want to activate your greatest gifts through my 40 DAY VISION QUEST, you can do so at it’s introductory special price until August 22nd … It would be an honor to supporting this next chapter of your Life & your Purpose.

Start your Vision Quest on Monday, click here.

 

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