When it comes to getting stuff done and creating success there are TWO necessary roles – the expander and the container. Which one are you? And why does it matter?
Back in 2012 I was secretly feeling dissatisfied with my business – and more so with myself for feeling this way!
I had spent years birthing the Certified Online Business Manager training and community. This was a labor of love based on the work I had done personally for clients since 2002. I had written a book and created two powerful programs that were serving clients at the highest level. I had an amazing team of women supporting me – people I consider to be my family. I was making multiple 6-figures and working about 30 hours a week with weekends off.
I had reached a level of success that I had only DREAMED of years before…
And it was no longer fun. It was no longer satisfying.
Truth be told I was bored and I would secretly think about escaping my business. I had the itch to be doing something totally different than what I was doing now. I felt like there was something more for me, even though I had no idea what it was.
And then that little voice inside would pop up and say “Tina, how can you be unhappy when THIS is exactly what you wanted? You have everything you need so why can’t you just enjoy it? Who do you think you are anyhow?”
I squashed those feelings down and kept plugging away in neutral – that space where nothing is wrong but nothing is right either. That space where everything is “fine”.
I put on a happy face and pretended that everything was great but the truth was that I was struggling.
I felt like wanting more – wanting something else – was a betrayal to my clients and to my team. That I was being selfish and greedy. That something was wrong with me because I couldn’t seem to be happy with what I had worked so hard to create.
One day I realized it was actually a betrayal to myself to keep ignoring this desire. The longer I tried to force myself to stay where I was the more I struggled. I had outgrown my purpose and it was time to accept it.
This is the divine edge of dissatisfaction.
Where the success you thought you wanted isn’t doing it for you anymore. It’s not like anything is wrong with where you are at right now – you worked hard to get here and you are proud of that! But there is a dissatisfaction – a small voice deep inside – that knows you are meant for more. It is calling you up, beckoning you forward on your journey.
You may have a sense of what you are being called to next – or you may not – but try as you might you simply can’t ignore it anymore.
What I’ve come to learn on this journey is that the bigger your calling, the more time you will spend on the divine edge of dissatisfaction.
It is the space where leaders live.
You can see the gap between where you are now and where you want to be. You have a vision for what is possible and recognize that there is work to be done to get there. You are driven to contribute at a higher level and to make a difference that matters.
The challenge here is two-fold:
- To really FEEL and own the success you’ve already created – to honor it and allow it to be a stepping stone on your journey vs. the destination. To realize that all the work you’ve done to date – even if you aren’t 100% where you wanted to be – was meant to get you ready for what is to come.
- To honor the call to become the leader you are meant to be – the divine edge of dissatisfaction is an invitation to lead. To lead yourself, lead your business, lead your team and lead your clients. It’s the space where you dare to want more and have the courage to go for it.
My call to lead is to support women who are living the divine edge of dissatisfaction. And I’m daring to step into it, if you care to join me? Post a comment below or message me directly via the Contact info above.
The leader in me sees the leader in you. It’s time.
Originally published April 2013
I was at Andrea Lee’s Midas Camp recently and was reminded of something that I had forgotten:
“Business is an experiment.”
As soon as Andrea said that I felt a visceral weight lift off my shoulders, because I had been doing the exact opposite – trying SO darn hard vs. taking an experimental approach.
So what’s the difference? There are a few keys things:
- Trying is really hard work – it usually comes from a place of needing to prove something to yourself and/or those around you and that is very tiring! Experimenting comes from a place of service and is much lighter and enjoyable. Even the word gives me a sigh of relief.
- Trying is emotionally based – when we are trying to prove something it bring emotions into play, and if something doesn’t work out as planned we can easily end up feeling really sad, upset, defeated and ready to give up. When we are experimenting we “know” that it may not work out, and can release and emotions around it and get back to the drawing board.
- Experimenting leaves room for growth – when we come from this scientific mindset of “I wonder” vs. “I must!” I believe it opens up many more opportunities and options that we would otherwise be able to see. Experimenting opens doors where trying tends to close them.
I came to realize how much I used to experiment in my business and how much i’ve been missing that lately due to my own expectations. Heck, the entire world of being an Online Business Manager didn’t even exist when I wrote that book almost 5 years ago. That whole world was one grand experiment and I loved it every step of the way.
I’m getting back to a place of experimenting and having more fun. How about you?
As I ease myself back into work this week I was purposeful to keep myself focused on 3 things – our 3 ‘themes’ for the year (that we chose as a team during our planning retreat back in October)
I’m not a big fan of making resolutions – maybe it’s the rebel in me? – but what I do love to do is choose 3 words to focus on each year. It keeps me focused as the CEO and also provides a focus for the team and business at large. If we are successful in our 3 words we know we are on track
Here’s our 3 words for the year – how about yours? (feel free to share in a comment below)
1. Consistency – We are at the stage in the business where are programs are solid. CEO Business School and the OBM Certification are SOLID programs that rock. We don’t need to be making new stuff – we need to simply continue to expand our reach and serve more people with what we have already created! Consistency is all about taking regular actions – building habits each week that solidify our marketing efforts. That allow us to reach more people and empower them to build the businesses they love. When we aren’t consistent in our actions this doesn’t happen.
2. Say No – being the creative gal that I am (ahem) it is so EASY for me to come up with new ideas. New programs. New opportunities. Part of our focus this year is to say no before we say yes. It’s not to say that we won’t start anything new, but that if we do it won’t be from a place of reactive ‘YEA! Sounds like fun! Let’s do it!’, but rather a place of a purposeful ‘YES, I can see how this fits into and supports the vision of the business’. And I will admit – this one is REALLY TOUGH for me at times… my team may need to slap my wrist. 😉
3. Excellence – put simply, we don’t do half-ass around here. If we can’t give something 100% of our attention, effort and love then we aren’t going to do it. This means that I’ve cut some of the programs that we used to offer – the ones that were ‘hey, why not… let’s do it and see what happens’. It also means that we are getting CRYSTAL clear on who we serve best, and that we refuse to say yes to a client just because they want to give us their money.
So how about you? You might have 1 word or 3 – I would love to hear how you keep yourself focused for the year?
Before you unplug for the holiday season, I have 3 more quick things for you to do… they are fun and simple, I promise!
1. Book your Vacations for next year
If you know me at all you know that I take a stand on taking time away from your business – to relax and recharge. This isn’t just a ‘nice idea when you have time for it’ this is essential for the health of you and your business (just do a quick search on the long term effects of stress and overwhelm – yipes!)
The best way to guarantee you take a vacation? Book it NOW – before the end of this year. If you don’t do it now you may end up not taking time at all (or worse, taking work on your vacation because you didn’t plan for it properly! ugh) You don’t need to know exactly what you are going to do yet, you just need to book it in your calendar. You might plan for a week off once a quarter or a longer vacation in the summer. Or both! It’s up to you… and bonus points if you actually pay a deposit on a trip so it’s guaranteed and you can’t change your mind later. <- I gave this assignment to a client today. 😉
2. Decide what you are going to STOP doing next year
This is the time of year where we plan ahead – where we create a vision for what we want to create next year and map out how we are going to get there. This means adding a bunch of stuff to your to-do list, and if you are already busy this is daunting!
Success comes from knowing what to STOP doing, as much as it comes from knowing what you are going to do next. Is it time to stop doing the tech & admin stuff in your biz, so you can focus more on growth activities? It could be time to stop offering certain revenue streams that are no longer profitable or no longer fit your vision (I encourage my clients to let go of 1 or more things that make up the bottom 10-20% of their revenues.) Maybe you need to let go of old habits or relationships that no longer serve you. Letting go creates space for what is to come.
3. Celebrate the lessons of this year!
What did you learn this year? Maybe you reached your goals, maybe you didn’t. Maybe your year turned out much different than planned, in a good way or not. Yes, we want to acknowledge the hard results of the year (money, # of clients, etc) – those things are important. But do you ever really celebrate WHO you are becoming as a result of the experiences of the past 12 months?
Where have you become stronger? Where did you take action in spite of fear? How did you surprise yourself? What did you learn about others? Being in business is the ultimate personal growth journey – we learn so much about who we are and where we need to grow. So celebrate your lessons! Write them down. Share them with a friend. Soak them in. The fact that you are brave enough to be on this journey at all is a celebration. 🙂
So, did you do it? Pop in your comments below and let me know… I especially want to hear about your vacation plans!
It’s easy for me to say you should be working on your 2016 planning right? You know that – and I’m sure you’ve seen a plethora of articles and promotions telling you the same thing. (Tis the season to be planning… fa la la la la 😉
So why haven’t you got your 2016 planning done yet? Here’s the top 5 reasons I see my clients struggle with planning:
1) IT’S BORING
If you are a creative person you might think ‘bah humbug!’ when it comes to planning. You might yawn or cringe when you think of planning. Or you might even want to run screaming!
Planning is actually a creative activity – it’s the process of tapping into your DESIRES, making a DECISION on what you really want and then creating ways to BRING IT TO LIFE. This is a creative endeavor, and I daresay one of the most powerful ways to channel success in your business.
It doesn’t have to be your favorite thing to do, but it can certainly be a lot more enjoyable when we invite creativity to the table. You can plan with sticky notes, markers & poster board. You can plan with notebooks, spreadsheets and checklists. You can plan with a handful of friends and a glass of wine. There is no right way to plan, so long as you end up with a clear path to your success.
2) ADDICTED TO THE CHAOS
I spent the first 10 years of my business flying by the seat of my pants – and a part of me loved it! I would wake up each morning not knowing what would land in my lap. I would open up my inbox wondering ‘who’ would be there. I would tackle challenges as they arose with pep and vigor because I am a master fire-fighter and put HUGE value on being the one to swoop in and save the day.
And I would spin my wheels, year after year… things were OK but I was stagnant, never really getting ahead. And at a certain point I became tired of constantly chasing success and living in uncertainty.
That is when I started to plan ahead and work towards what I wanted – instead of just waiting to see what would show up for me. I let go of the idea of ‘going with the flow’, picked up the paddle and started heading intentionally towards success. (The first year I started planning was also the year I hit 6-figures in my business – not a coincidence.)
As long as you are addicted to the chaos your plan won’t matter – you will always be at the mercy of the day.
3) DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU WANT
Maybe planning isn’t the issue. Maybe you haven’t tapped into the TRUTH of what you really want to create next year? There is no point trying to create a plan until you are clear on your DESIRES.
What you want is going to change. It’s going to evolve. What I want becomes deeper, more refined each year as I continue to grow.
As a default we tend to just say we want the same things that we wanted last year. But is that really true? Maybe you are avoiding the truth of what you really want. Maybe it will require some big changes. Maybe you are afraid or letting people down or afraid of what they might think.
Creating a solid vision – what you want and why – is the foundation of any plan. It becomes the fuel that will drive you through implementation. The touchstone when you are having one of those ‘I think I’ll ditch this plan and go get a job moments’.
4) RESPONSIBILITY IS SCARY
Let’s be real – you could create the most amazing plan in the world and fall flat on your face. Creating a plan brings the assumption that you are going to be successful, and yet there is no guarantee that you will!
This is scary stuff. What if you pour your heart and soul into your plan and it doesn’t work out? What if your butt is on the line and you fail? This is where business really calls us to step up – to be willing to risk the plan.
If you don’t plan you can’t fail right? And yet the true path to success lies in taking responsibility for ALL of the journey. Not just the good stuff.
Going with the flow is a good way to abdicate your success. It’s a way to say ‘well, it must not be meant to be’ or ‘I guess it’s not my time’. You are completely disempowered when you rely on something outside of yourself to bring success your way. When you wait for permission, to be told it’s OK to go for what you really want.
Planning is the first step in personal responsibility. In claiming our birthright as powerful beings who are serving our purpose and making a difference.
5) DON’T HAVE THE TIME
You can either spend the time upfront planning – or you can spend the time later spinning your wheels, making it up as you go, dropping balls, picking them up again and scrambling your way to success.
There is no such thing as not enough time – time is the great equalizer, we all have the same 24 hours in a day. What you really need to consider here is:
You have a choice as to how you want to run your business.
Do you want to put off planning and stay stuck in ‘make it up as you go with the flow’ mode? Crossing your fingers and hoping that success shows up someday.
Or do you want to be a strong leader who is willing to DECLARE what she wants, is committed to her VISION and is willing to do the HARD WORK upfront to make it happen.
Someone who is willing to say ‘alright world, here’s what I’m going for and I may fall flat on my face but I am going for it anyways!’ Bring it on baby…
Which do you choose?
** Want some help with your plan? Check out our Planning Made Simple process – jump in and start planning for success TODAY **
“Creating Something New is NOT an Act of Courage”
I about fell out of my seat when I heard this – part of a presentation that Sean Croxton gave at a recent event I attended.
It doesn’t take courage to create something new. Another new program. A new offering. A new idea.
That’s the fun part! Dare I say the easy part.
What takes courage is to stay the course. To commit yourself to long-term success (not constantly chasing the dream of a quantum leap).
To nurture what you’ve already created from concept through to fruition – give it a chance to ‘grow up’ before leaving it on the sidelines.
It takes courage to say NO to those new ideas when they are calling – when you know it would be SOOO much fun to just dive in! (It’s hard to resist the siren’s call of creativity, I get it…)
Being ‘creative’ can be an excuse if we aren’t careful – it can become the reason why we never build a foundation under our business. Why we are constantly chasing new ideas, creating chaos and proud of it.
I am a creative gal at heart – I LOVE creating new programs and trainings. And I’m also at a stage in my business (and life) where I crave longevity. Sustainability. Something that can have a long term impact for my clients, my team and my family.
I’ve seen where my creativity has served the business – and where it has become the distraction that takes us off course. I’ve also felt how exhausting creativity can be when it rules the roost.
It’s not a matter of stifling my creativity – it’s a part of who I am – so I aim to channel it through what already exists. Finding ways to be creatively committed in our growth. Creatively building our foundation. Creatively leading my business and team.
I will freely admit that it’s scary. I can whip up something new tomorrow if I like – that’s easy – but can I stay the course? Can I stay committed when the going gets tough? When new ideas are knocking at my door? (with wine and chocolate in hand… they know how to tempt me!
This is what courage looks like for me right now in my business. How about you?
After 16 years of working from home I’m officially in my new office this week. There is something to be said for seeing live people every day (haha) Plus after working strictly with a virtual team since day one I’m hiring my first local employee as well (she starts on Monday.) Don’t worry, my current team isn’t going anywhere… they can’t get away from me that easy. 😉
Office with a view – of the mall across the street, that could be dangerous!
We had the first call with our new CEO Business School group this past Tuesday and there was a running theme in the conversation:
“Tina, this program is my last shot – if I can’t figure this out soon then I’m shutting it down.”
Not to be alarmist about it, but let’s be real… this is going on for a lot of people right now.
The women I talk to are burnt out. Tired. Overwhelmed.
They are making money but it goes right back out the door again.
And they are overcommitting themselves to make that money – working WAY harder than they expected.
What they pay themselves is not enough to feel worth it. (if they are paying themselves at all.)
They have invested in other programs and coaching but still haven’t found a solution (and are feeling discouraged.)
Their husbands are upset with them because their business is a drain on the family (energetically and financially.)
They aren’t spending as much time with their kids as they would like.
Put simply, something needs to change and it needs to happen now.
First step? Decide that you are willing to do whatever it takes.
This isn’t about working more or doing things that go against who you are (strangely enough it usually means working less and being more aligned with who you really are).
What it does mean is that you commit to finding the solution. You stop wishing or waiting for someone to come and fix it for you. You decide that your life is worth as much as your business and it’s no longer OK to let your business run the show.
The solutions are actually quite simple:
- Decide what you REALLY want (let go of the should, could, woulds)
- Find the business model that suits you best (time to leverage!)
- Look at the money to ensure the right pricing & profit
- Create a plan for the next 90 days
- Get the right team & structure in place (so you don’t have to do it all alone)
- Embrace your role as CEO and let go of the rest
Does it happen overnight? Hell no… change takes time, but when you can see the light at the end of the tunnel then it suddenly doesn’t feel so heavy anymore.
What I know to be true is this. You can change your business. It might not be easy but it is doable and can certainly be worth it.
Post your comments or questions here on the blog
My friend Angelique shared this Forbes quote at her recent Inside Edge conference.
“A big problem when it comes to women business owners is that many don’t think of themselves as a CEO. Instead they think of themselves as a sort of chief multi-tasker and the person who should be doing everything in the business. While that may at times work on the home front, in a business that is not the best way to go. A CEO of a growing company has to be able to step back and make plans and engage other people in doing the work…
Women who start out as seeing themselves as the boss are likely to get to the $1 million revenue mark quicker.”
I’d like to think this isn’t true, but ouch… I could feel it, and judging by the audible ‘groan’ of everyone else in the room I suspect I wasn’t alone.
I am a chief multi-tasker (CMT) at heart. I did everything for the first 10 years of my business, and I had to learn how to undo this as I continued to grow.
Some of my biggest lessons along the way…
How to not feel guilty when I ask someone to do something that I know I could do myself (even when I am paying them & they are happy to do it!)
How to say no when I feel like I should say yes (the people pleaser in me never wants to feel like i’m letting someone down)
How to allow myself to WANT more than ‘good enough’ (who the heck do I think I am to want more, GASP!)
How to embrace the title of CEO/entrepreneur and stop referring to myself as ‘just self-employed’ (it’s not a little side-gig, this is our livelihood! Treat it as such.)
How to acknowledge that I have a ‘real’ company that makes ‘real’ money and makes a difference in the world (this business supports my family and what we do matters, period.)
How to receive support from others, in particular my amazing team (who are as committed as I am to our vision… yes, this is possible for you too)
How to KNOW that I have value beyond the ‘doing’… I am valuable simply for being me, showing up, forging ahead and keeping the faith. (That alone is worth millions, and yet we don’t always see it)
This can be a tough shift for women – I know because I work with them everyday via our CEO Business School programs.
I see women get stuck in the doing. The pressure to ‘hold it all together’.
To be the one that is always going to save the day, swoop in at the last minute to get it done. The one that does it best. That does it right.
This is exhausting, and may never get you to where you really want to be.
I know, I tried.
What if success was really about WHO you are and not as much about WHAT you do?
What difference would that make in your business? In your life?
What would you do differently starting tomorrow?
I’d like to know. I’d like to hold the space for this to become your reality. Share via the link below.
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There has been a pattern in many of these conversations around the idea that:
“I know I want to change but there is a lot at stake here… and I can’t afford to mess it up!”
We don’t talk about this as the ‘downside’ of success – being stuck in what we’ve created.
I remember the early start-up days of my business – everything was fresh & new. Yes I wanted to succeed, but because I hadn’t created anything yet I didn’t have much to lose (outside of my time, energy and small financial investments to date).
Now that I’m successful, the landscape has changed – there is a lot more to lose.
I am the sole provider for my family (when I started my business I was still married and had his second income as backup)
I have a team that relies on me for (a sometimes substantial) part of their monthly income.
I have clients who I have committed to for 6 – 12 months at a time.
It costs $30K/month to meet the basic expenses of my business (including paying my own salary, of course!)
(btw A couple of years ago I read the book “Profit First” that showed me how to pay for all my expenses and still walk away with profit in my business. Honestly, it changed my business and personal life. You can get 5 chapters of the Profit First book – FREE – here.)
Put simply, any decision I make now in my business impacts everyone – not just me.
The stakes are high – and I can’t afford to mess it up.
The weight of this gets to me at times… and yet I wouldn’t change a thing.
I remember when I got married in 2001 I thought that I had it made. My husband had his own business at the time and I had (subconsciously) planned to ride his coat tails of success… so I wouldn’t have to create my own.
It didn’t work out that way, and over the years I found myself being called (or I should say being pulled kicking and screaming) towards my own success. Slowly but surely my business became the main source of income for our household.
It was this success that allowed me to have the CHOICE to leave an unhappy marriage in 2013. Truth be told I would still likely be suffering silently if I didn’t know I could make it on my own… I wouldn’t have had the courage to leave. (Truth be known, fear haunts me. A few years back, I asked one of my mentors how to get rid of doubt (fear, worries etc.). Check this post out to learn more.)
Yes, there are times I wish it was just me again like the early days. When I wish I had the option to rely on someone else’s income and ‘let it slide’ for a month or two.
Then I give my head a shake and realize that this is what it means to be fearless. To be a powerful woman. To have a choice. To make an impact.
This is what it’s all about. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
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