How to Connect to your guidance in businessThis is a photo my husband took this summer when we were in Monument Valley. There was something about being in such wide open space that allowed me to let go of anything I was worrying about and just be with the experience. It was the best place to begin the summer of I don’t know.

All that spaciousness ended up allowing me to connect to something really crucial and by the time we got to Santa Fe I had a big epiphany.

When I started my business, I did a lot of in person events. But then it was time to “get to the next level” so I began following the online business model to scale your business by putting my programs online.

For the last couple of years I’d actually been dreading doing my programs. So much so that not one but two of my webinars had such technical difficulties that we had to stop them mid-way and reschedule. There were many other mishaps on all the others that I won’t go into here but let’s just say it never went smoothly.

You would think that the combination of my dreading these events and the constant difficulties regardless of which platform I used (google + hangouts, Go To Webinar, Teleconference)—would have caused me to reassess the idea of giving webinars.

But why take the time to look at what’s lurking below when you can just bulldoze right over it and make it work somehow?

I AM A HUMAN BULLDOZER.

Can we talk about the time I showed up at a summer camp to do my one-woman show without the props, music or slides that were absolutely necessary to telling the story?

I went on anyway and I made it work.

Cause that’s how I roll.

The show must go on.

Back to Summer Vacation

Because I was in such dire need of a break I allowed myself to totally disconnect mentally from my business.

And what do you know, I ended up having an epiphany about my work.

I realized that I not only could I go back to doing live events but I absolutely should because I enjoyed them and they allowed me to bring my whole personality into my business which up until now has been one of the big things that was missing.

That’s right people, you have no idea who I really am. :)

Since one of the main things I do is to help entrepreneurs incorporate all of who they are into their business, you can imagine my shock at this realization.

Well, that’s all going to change thanks to The Summer of I Don’t Know.

Letting myself off the hook for following the online model and deciding to focus my efforts on in-person events in addition to working with one on one clients felt as though I had been holding my breath for three years and finally allowed myself to exhale.

Such sweet relief.

But This Is How It’s Done

I could look at what other successful coaches are doing and see that many of them started out by doing in-person events. When they wanted to scale their business and go to the next level they put their programs online.

And even though I’m going in the opposite direction of everyone else in this space, I’m doing it anyway because it feels right.

I don’t get a knot in my stomach when I think about doing live events the way I do when I think about doing an online group program—I get excited.

I used to be all about following “the model.” which was derived from doing what the “experts” have done to grow their business.

Here’s the problem with that:

  • Just because certain strategies worked for one person doesn’t’ mean they’ll work for someone else. If you’ve got 500 people on your list and you’re trying to use the strategy that someone with 5000 people on their list uses, that’s not going to work. It’s not apples to apples.
  • You’ve got to create the business model that works for you. Because if it doesn’t work for you—it’s not going to work period.
  • When you’re in the business of transformation there is no road map but the good news is there is all manner of help, guidance and assistance available for you on this path. And that guidance is in the form your intuition.

 

When you’re creating stuff that you feel passionate about and you are delivering it in the way that you feel great about you’re in an energy that people respond to.  And you enjoy the process which is key to being able to repeat the process.

There’s nothing wrong with tweaking your offers to better meet the needs of your audience but what you initially create has to be in line with what’s in your heart to give.

Otherwise it just won’t work.

I’ve done what I thought was the right strategy many times and did not have good results.

And when you’re following what everyone else is doing, then what’s the chance of you doing something original and world-changing?

We all want someone to just give us the steps and tell us what to do so we can go on auto pilot and get down to doing our work.

We a road map, a system…we want to be led.

If you let it, your internal guidance WILL lead you.

But you have to be open to hear it.

“Follow the grain in your own wood.” – Howard Thurman

When have you gotten guidance about something in your business? 

Did you follow it or do what you thought you should do? 

What were the results?

Share your experience in the comments, I’d love to hear about it.

Love,

Cathy

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Why taking a break is imperative for succes

It never fails—every time I’m fearful about putting something out there, it ends up getting an enormous response. After a long hiatus from my newsletter, I wanted to let people know where I’d been all summer. I was very reluctant to tell the story but I did. Based on what came into my inbox after the newsletter went out, apparently it’s not just my story, a lot of people’s related to what I wrote.

Thanks to everyone who wrote about how the newsletter impacted them and shared their story of trying to push through.

So I wanted to talk a little more about The Summer Of I Don’t Know and to share some more details of my experience in the hope that it will help you avoid some of the resistance and tricks that the ego will play on you.

By May, I had already hit that brick wall that I was headed for so taking time off was no longer a luxury, it was a necessity. During Memorial Day weekend, I made the decision to finish up with the clients I was currently working with and not take any new ones so I could take a month off. I made the decision when I did my business plan the prior December that I would be leaving a lot of unscheduled time in the summer anyway, since I barely left my office during the summer of 2013—also known as The Lost Summer.

I figured that a month of not working would be plenty of time to decompress and realign myself.

When I started disconnecting from business the first thing I did was just allow myself to do whatever I wanted to do: sleep, read, watch TV, see friends, go to movies. I wanted to address the burn-out before anything else and let myself unwind.

Here Comes the Resistance

Because I really had no plan, I figured once I felt rested, some clarity would emerge and I’d get back to work.

I kept waiting to feel better about my business…

I noticed a very interesting pattern during this transition. I would meditate and journal and do visualizations which have always been part of my routine but now I could see that it was with an agenda. I was doing all that in the hope that it would lead me to a great idea or get me inspired to GET BACK TO WORK!!!

I wanted to be better because I thought that would help me to create success.

So I was micromanaging my meditation and my energy to think myself into a positive state so that I could tap into some inspiration and move my business forward.

Once again, I’m totally missing the point and I still haven’t disconnected from the thing that’s at the root of the problem:
Fear of not having enough clients/money.

“You can come to God as a lover…or a prostitute.” – David Wilcock

We could say that it’s normal to want to be successful and that everyone has to earn money to live so I should be pursuing clients and business.

This is not what this was about. I’m not denying that the need to earn a living is very real for most of us, but you’ll have to tune in to the next newsletter where I’ll talk about how I put that into perspective. Let’s just say that my demons were not about making enough to survive, it had to do with a definition of enough that was constantly changing. In other words—an insatiable need for more.

So it’s week 4 of the break and while I was grateful for the epiphany, I still didn’t have any clarity on what to do with my business nor was I feeling the least bit inspired.

I told myself I couldn’t possibly take any more time—but because I’ve basically been off the grid and done nothing to market my business I didn’t have any work lined up for July.

So I start thinking about what I “should” do.

“I should really get back to work…but I can’t face it…but what am I going to do this fall? If I don’t start planning something now, I’ll have nothing happening in September. What if I don’t have any clients?”

And a moment of Grace happens and I feel into my gut and I get the sensation of trying to drive a car that doesn’t have any gas in it. I just can’t make myself do it. I simply can’t. I’ve already invested four weeks into the process. There’s no turning back until I get what I came for.

There’s still another month of summer so what the hell. I just have to trust that I’ll make the money up later and won’t end up in financial ruin at the end of all this.

So now I start mediating without an agenda and journaling for hours with no other motivation than to know myself better.

And I trust.

“Fear of emptiness is primal. People get close to emptiness and struggle to fill up the empty space.” – Katherine Kerr

And then I saw the way in. I needed to answer the question:
“What is the burning need to have a big successful business covering up in my life?

Working constantly on my business was a refuge for me away from the things I didn’t want to face .

My unhappiness in some of my close relationships
Feeling deprived by the food program I was following to deal with a health issue
My weight gain since I started my business
My feelings of not having/being enough
The fact that I was unhappy where I was living
The fact that I had given up my social life and all the things I used to do for fun to pursue my business

It just seemed easier to keep working because I brainwashed myself into thinking that once my business was where I wanted it to be I’d feel better about life and somehow magically all these other things would resolve themselves.

A lot of the next four weeks was spent feeling very agitated and angry which made total sense. The thing I was using to distract me from my discomfort was out of the picture so it was just me and my unhappiness.

Not fun.

“All any feeling wants is to be welcomed with tenderness. It wants room to unfold. It wants to relax and tell its story. It wants to dissolve like a thousand writhing snakes that with a flick of kindness become harmless strands of rope.”- Geneen Roth

Once I cleared the space, I was able to focus on what things I wanted to put in that would bring me joy and feed my soul.

What if what you needed was right in front of you but you kept missing it because you were looking for something else? – Geneen Roth

I stopped looking for my business to fulfill my needs and started deliberately bringing more fun into my life.

After making a promise to myself in January 2013 and then talking about it for a year and a half, I finally went back to dance class.

I’m starting an improv class next week.

I started attending lectures and workshops that have nothing to do with business.

And we are moving from where we’ve lived and not really liked to a new place in a different community.

I started making a more deliberate effort to see friends.

I never could have made these changes if I stayed on the hamster wheel.

Once I addressed what wasn’t working and started to give myself the time off and fun I had been craving, a new vision for my business organically started to emerge and because it was coming from a place of want-to instead of have-to, I saw the areas where I wasn’t really showing up as myself in my business and got clarity on a brand new business model that’s so much more aligned with who I am.

I had a most incredible guide book for dealing with all of the feelings that I’d been repressing but was finally ready to look at. I cannot recommend The Four Principles by Katherine Kerr enough.

This book helped me to stay on the path and not run back to trying to make something happen in my business.

It’s about removing the emotional blocks that exist for you through feeling your feelings.

“The trick is to really care about something or someone and still hold it lightly—to be fully committed and relaxed at the same time. It’s important to remember that these two things are not in conflict—Relaxation actually serves the Commitment. If you’ve lost your sense of play, make it your job now to recover it.”- from The Four Principles by Katherine Kerr

So that was my summer.

You?

I’m curious,  how  was the Summer of 2014  for you?

Leave a comment below :)

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The Summer of I Don’t Know

by Cathy on September 4, 2014

What to do when you lose inspiration for your businessJust as many of you are in the midst of vacation, I’m finally returning from an almost 8 week hiatus from my business.

I’ve taken this time off to disconnect, get some distance and take a long hard look at where I am and where I see myself going with my business.  

I wanted to step away from the shoulds and the have-tos so I could hear what my soul was clamoring for.

And so began the summer of 2014 which I will forever refer to as
“The Summer of I Don’t Know.”

I don’t know why I’m not excited about my business anymore
I don’t know why I dread getting up in the morning
I don’t know why I feel stuck and unable to move forward
I don’t know why I can’t get myself to act on the opportunities that come my way
I don’t know why this isn’t what I thought it would be

I thought taking this time would be a such a great experience.

But being in the space of “I don’t know” has been mostly excruciating. It was so hard not to fill up the empty space with meaningless busy work or errands.

We’re surrounded by messages like: Go for it! Just Do It! Make it happen, Take it to the next level.

Striving is this country’s national pastime.

And the concepts of contemplation, stillness, reflection…are often looked upon as wasting time or navel gazing.

I had a hard time keeping my commitment to stop working on my business so that I could see what it and I really needed. I kept thinking I should just get back to work. 

“It’s better to do nothing than to keep taking actions that are antithetical to your true commitments.” – Katherine Kerr

The first big realization that came once I stepped away from my work was that my entire  sense of self-worth was based on the success of my business and that if I wasn’t making some kind of significant contribution to the world, my life meant nothing.

Serious and Sad.

The thing is, I knew that I’d felt that way for a long time but up until this summer, I didn’t think there was anything wrong with that.  

I thought it meant I was determined.

I thought it meant I was serious and dedicated.  

I thought it meant I was being in service.

And the even deeper truth that emerged was that I staked everything on my business as if the success of that would bring me everything I desired in life.  

I found myself once again looking for love in all the wrong places.

In my pursuit of growing my business, I noticed that I had neglected everything else (including having fun) in my life that was not related in some way to my work.

Talk about a joyless existence.

You could say I was having a very fun-free life. 

And I will tell you that not having fun will seriously impact your creativity.  It became impossible for me to write.

My drive had driven me right over the edge.

“I keep desperately thrashing my paddles to get my boat to shore when the truth is there’s a current that’s willing to carry me exactly where I need to go if I allow it.”

So the summer became about finding the current.

Here are a couple of the things I learned during “The Summer of I Don’t Know”:

1.  The more you chase something the more it eludes you.

I had to connect back into the original vision of my business and what I was in service to because I had veered off.  I realized that my business had become more about chasing success than it was about doing work I loved.

This is a tough balancing act.  I want to be successful, I want to reach more people with my work–that’s my desired outcome.  But my goal is to help coaches and holistics to get their work out into the world.

Pursuing the outcome (having a bigger more impactful business) instead of the goal (helping coaches and holistics to get their work out in the world) created an energetic imbalance in my business.

This summer I realized that as long as I’m focused on doing the work that lights me up and making a difference in people’s businesses the opportunities to grow my business will naturally emerge from doing that work and being in alignment.

Of course I still sometimes want to make things happen or create from my head but I bring myself back and connect to my higher guidance to see what steps I’m supposed to take next as opposed to trying to strategize.

2. The key to sanity in business is to have profound trust in the process

When you’re building your business, it’s important that you’re building from a place of strength.  What this means is that you’re doing the thing your soul is meant to do–not the thing you think people will pay for.  I’ve had many, many business owners work with me who have gotten caught in this trap.  Their fear of not being able to make a living drowns out the real dream they have for making a difference with their work.

I realized that I was also caught in this.  I know the work I’m doing is what I’m meant to do but I ended up in a business model that wasn’t serving my soul or expressing who I am at my core.  And when I understood that, and let go of the need to do what I thought would work, it freed me up to create the model that plays to my strengths and passion.  it shifted things immediately and I watched the stuck evaporate.  

We can talk about how important it is to create products and services your audience needs and wants to buy, but that has to happen in relationship to the work that lights you up.  You have to trust yourself and your knowing to allow what wants to emerge to show itself.  You can’t create in a vacuum and expect to have success and fulfillment.

3.  The things you do to nourish yourself are even more important than the actions you take on behalf of your business.

What I’m going to say is nothing new–the solutions to problems, the big ideas, the epiphanies don’t come from the left side of your brain–they don’t reside in your intellect.  They’re in the spaces between the breath. That epiphany that could change everything will show itself when you’re out for a walk in nature, when you’re meditating, taking a bath, or when you’re doing something other than trying to “figure out the answer.”  

It’s all so counter-intuitive but letting go of the issue and creating space by doing something else–something that feeds you–allows you to connect to your higher guidance and that’s the place you want to make your decisions from.

4.  There is no direct relationship between hours worked and goals achieved

We’re taught to think that the harder we work the farther we’ll get but that linear model doesn’t really apply unless you’re working on an assembly line in a factory. When you’re selling an invisible service, letting go of a limiting thought or shifting your perspective can allow you move forward exponentially.  

Look at it this way, if you’re following the hours for output model then you’re climbing a mountain. Every step gets you closer to the top and you can’t skip steps.  If you’re following the energy model, then you’re riding a wave.  Get the right one and you’re carried quickly and smoothly to your destination.

So which would you rather do in your business–climb the mountain or ride the wave?

That’s just some of what I learned these last weeks.  I also have missed you all terribly and I am so happy to be back.  Refreshed and ready to launch some new and exciting events that I’ll be telling you about soon.

Wishing you the space to expand and step back so that you can bring all of who you are into your business. 

Here’s to all of us hearing the inklings of our soul’s mission-

Love,

Cathy

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BRANDING YOUR BUSINESS

Why Trusting Yourself IS a Business Strategy…

We are all at our core deeply creative beings.  Cooking a meal, arranging a closet, taking photos, all of these are engaging our creativity.  Some of us live operate from logic (left-brain) and some of us live from our creative side (right brain), but regardless of what hemisphere your dominant one, we all have the ability to access our creativity and intuition

Most of the people I work with are operating from the  right side of the brain. They are coaches, healers and holistic practitioners whose main tool in their work is their intuition.  They access their deep knowing on a daily basis.  They trust their instincts and listen to their body signals.  

And yet, when we start working on their business together, they disconnect from those gifts and use their mind.  Instead of tapping into their intuition, they rack their brains to figure out what they should create, what to call their business, and what to name their programs instead of tuning into their heart and trusting what’s there to reveal itself.

At this point I’ve taken enough people through the process of translating the work they do into a powerful marketing message that truly expresses the work they were born to do that I can say without hesitation that the answer is always within.  The problem is the person doesn’t trust what they’re hearing or they’re trying to think through it and aren’t able to get out of their head to let what wants to come out, come out.

When you ignore the calling in your heart in favor of trying to “figure out” what you should do in your business, you’re missing out on having your work be fueled by your enthusiasm and passion.

And passion and enthusiasm are not only contagious, people want to be around them.

YOU CAN TRUST YOURSELF AND WHAT’S CALLING YOU.

You can follow the bread-crumb trail of desire.

As a matter of fact you should follow it.

When you tune into creating what delights you in your business, you’re aligning with a very powerful energy.  And that energy attracts people.

I happened to be going through one of my old journals and I found a questionnaire from one of the first coaching programs I was in–  The first question was:  

“Give a brief description of what you do and how you do it:”  

My answer on January 6th 2011 was this:

I am a passion alchemist.  I help people get clarity on “their right work” and build a sustainable business doing what they love.  Most of my focus is on helping holistic practitioners clarify what is special and unique about their service and translating that into compelling marketing messages, services, and products that pull in those people.”

In the ensuing years, I played around with a lot of different marketing messages–and when I say a lot, trust me there were dozens. I also broadened my focus and helped clients with strategy and social media.  But eventually ended up coming back to my original focus.

Here’s my elevator speech today:

I am a business alchemist.  I help coaches, healers and holistic practitioners to translate the work they do into marketing that attracts their ideal clients and products and services their audience will love.

Crazy that I had to take a circuitous route to come back to what was there all along.

“Coming up with a niche, branding and positioning for your business is about listening to your own voice, having the courage to do things your way and not following the herd.” – Me 

In the early stages of formulating your branding, trying to figure out what people want or what will sell is the recipe for getting stuck. I’ve seen this over and over again.

Keep in mind, I’m not talking about strategy here, because that’s an entirely different conversation, I’m just talking about getting clarity on who you want to help, what you want to help with and what words you use to describe that.

You have to offer what YOU want to offer the way you want to offer it to the group you feel called to work with.

How else would you be in alignment with your work?

THE MORE YOU CAN BE YOU–THE MORE POWERFUL YOU ARE

Think about it: when you can just be who you are it allows you to be in the flow of life.  There’s an ease that comes with that.

When I first started blogging, I wrote about what I thought my audience wanted to hear.  Unfortunately, it wasn’t what I wanted to say so blogging became a very tedious task that took way longer than it needed to.

Sometimes I dedicated an entire week to one blog post.  Not only did I dread the process, but it slowed down everything in my business.  And on top of that I rarely got anyone responding to it.

Gee, what a surprise.

But whenever I wrote a post that I felt was just too raw to go out or had a hard time hitting send, I was flooded with great feedback.

The people who have stepped out and dared to truly be themselves are considered innovators and have very loyal followings.

And you have it in you to do the same.

The big secret to getting your business totally stand out from everyone else’s is to be yourself–completely and unapologetically.

This is the exact topic I’ll be addressing in my upcoming FREE webinar: No Competition: How To Leverage Your Special Gift To Create A Business That Stands Out In The Crowd.

I’ll also be talking about branding, positioning, and niche–what the differences are, and why each of them are crucial to differentiating your business from all the others out there.

I’ll be devoting some of the call to Q&A so I hope you can join us live.
If not, there will be a recording.

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Quit Doing This, It’s Killing Your Business

February 28, 2014

I had a big shift in my business at the end of 2013 and because of it, I’ve had an influx of clients, and opportunities in the last three months without having to put in a lot of effort. OK, I actually put in no effort. No kidding. So what WAS the shift? In my […]

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How Come You’re Still Doing Your Own Marketing?

February 27, 2014

In the last couple of months I’ve come into contact with a few people who, when they heard that I’m a marketing coach responded with:  “Oh, I don’t want someone to teach me how to market my business, I want to find someone to do the marketing for me and then I just do my […]

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Why You Need To Give Up The Fight

January 24, 2014

The other day one of my clients e-mailed me this: I’ve been feeling bad about my business lately. I feel like there’s so much to know and no matter how much I learn, there’s always more. Everywhere I look there’s someone who is doing it bigger, better, and faster than I am. OK, so there […]

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When Clarity Eludes You

January 13, 2014

I heard something very interesting the other day. “Clarity is an emotional state, not a mental state.” I have to be honest–I am in the business of connecting people to their clarity and I never actually thought about clarity as an emotional state.  But as soon as heard that sentence I thought, “of course, what […]

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The Most Important Thing to Be Thankful For

November 27, 2013

Happy almost Thanksgiving. I know everyone is focused on gratitude, in addition to the food of course  but I’d like to throw something out there for you to think about.. Being grateful for what you have in your life is wonderful, but it bypasses someone very important–you. Don’t miss this opportunity to acknowledge your own […]

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Tips For Staying Sane When You Launch A Program

November 1, 2013

I’m just getting back into the swing of things after a glorious week at Kripalu (that’s the view from my room) where I had the opportunity to be part of Ken Nelson and Lesli Lang’s week-long Facilitating Transformational Workshops program. The workshop was conducted around learning to meet three basic challenges for leaders: receiving full […]

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