Strategy or Mindset – what matters more?

We need both strategy & mindset to be successful in business:

  • Strategy is the outer game of success – what is the best way to accomplish our business goals? How are we going to get from A to B to C? It’s the tactical, practical side of things.
  • Mindset is the inner game of success – what goes on inside our minds and how does that affect our actions? Where do we stop ourselves?

It’s not hard to find good strategy these days. There are endless trainings, books and programs out there that can lay out the path to get from A to B to C. Doesn’t matter if you are wanting to learn how to hire better or create a strong marketing funnel – a quick search online will have many solutions right at your fingertips. Heck, we can even find all the strategy we need for free on YouTube.

Strategy matters, but it’s not the bigger challenge for most of us.

What matters more is what we tell ourselves. Our thoughts, beliefs and fears. Things like:

“I don’t know enough yet”
“Once I have more experience then I’ll be able to….”
“What if it doesn’t work out?”
“I’m scared I’ll mess this up!”
“What will they think of me?”
“Everyone else seems to have it all figure out – why am I struggling?”
“I’ve tried this before and it didn’t work”
“I know what I need to do, but I just can’t seem to get it done…”

I could go on – and I suspect you could add more of your own stuff to this list.

Any one of these things can stop us in our tracks. Stop us from taking action on the strategies we know are effective. Cause us to self-sabotage ourselves every step of the way.

And it’s totally normal to feel this way – to have worries, doubts and fears. I like to say mindset is 83% of the journey (not an official statistic, but certainly reflective of my personal experience as well as that of my clients.)

It can also be our biggest ally, when we are able to get our mindset on track and working with us (instead of against us.)

I’m curious – how important is mindset in your success journey? Hit reply and let me know.

Choose your challenge

Part of the decision when considering what to offer is:

“What kind of challenge do I want to build into my business?”

Do you prefer a CAPACITY challenge or a MARKETING challenge?

When we are a service provider – OBM, VA, agency, etc – we inherently have more of a CAPACITY challenge built into our day-to-day work.

Having to juggle multiple clients. Dealing with tight deadlines and last minute requests. Getting clear on agreements and boundaries. Managing the expectations of clients. And being able to get all the work done (which can be alot!) <– these are all capacity challenges. 

The plus side of offering professional services is that once you are established, you don’t have to be as focused on marketing constantly. You can have long term retainers, and referral relationships that send folks your way. Yes, there is still effort required to find clients (especially in the beginning!) but it’s not your day-to-day focus.

Conversely, when we offer leveraged programs – such as coaching, consulting, packages, training, etc – we are required to be in constant MARKETING mode.

Posting on social media. Creating content. Running launches. Advertising. Networking. Keeping on top of the ever changing world of marketing strategies so that we don’t fall behind. <– these are all marketing challenges

Leveraged offerings are generally much easier to manage from a capacity perspective. We create the structure of the offer and deliver it as is (so much less uncertainty and last minute stuff that pops up!)

To be clear – you will encounter both challenges regardless of what you offer.

  • There will always marketing challenges as a service provider – it’s just not the main challenge.
  • And there will be capacity challenges with leveraged offers – but marketing will be your main day-to-day focus.

So as you consider what you are offering – be sure to ask yourself:

Would I rather have more of a CAPACITY challenge or a MARKETING challenge?

When you know your preference and go into it with eyes wide open, you can prevent a tonne of heartache and frustration down the road.

Fear in disguise (Part 3)

We’ve talked about how fear is normal – expected! – on the path to creating more of what we want in life. And we’ve also talked about strategies to start befriending your fear.

Now I want to dive into the sneakiest aspect of fear, and why it is so easy for fear to stop us.

Fear likes to show up in disguise as something else… so we don’t even see it and recognize it!
(And if we don’t see it then we can’t befriend it… sneaky right?)

Here’s a few ways fear may be showing up in disguise:

“I’m not ready yet / I don’t know enough yet”

If you have put in the work to build your skills AND still don’t feel like you are ready… chances are there is some fear kicking in. Perfectionism. Analysis paralysis. These can all be symptoms of a deeper fear around feeling like you don’t know enough and don’t want to let people down. The ‘not enough’ fear is one I know all to well and even after 20 years in business it will still sneak up and bite me in the butt “You can’t do that Tina! You don’t know enough yet…” Usually coupled with a healthy dose of “who do you think you are?” or “Can’t you just be happy with what you have?”

“I can’t find clients / There are no good clients out there”

This is one I hear ALOT – especially from newer business owners or those who are transitioning to something new. Here’s the thing – if others are successful doing what you want to do, then it means there are good clients out there. Allow me to say this with all the love in my heart… it’s not that there aren’t clients out there for you, it’s that your fear is stopping you from finding them. Fear of failure – that you might put yourself out there and fall flat on your face (which we all do btw.) Fear of success – that you may create something amazing and outshine those around you (which can be a biggie!)

“I’m confused / I don’t think I want this after all”

This right here is a doozy and one that keeps SO many folks stuck. You decide you want something, you work towards it, get your first client/project/opp then decide “Nah, this isn’t what I want.” So you find something else, work towards it, get your first client and feel the same way again so you keep on looking… wondering when you will ever find ‘the thing’ so you can finally be successful. Confusion is just fears way to talk yourself out of your own success… usually right when you are on the verge of a breakthrough! If you find yourself in a confusion loop ask yourself “Is it that I don’t know what I want? Or is it that I know what I want but am afraid that I can’t have it? That I’m not ready, not good enough, won’t succeed, etc….”

I’m curious if any of these resonate with you? I daresay I’ve lived them all at some point on my journey (and still do.)

If you look back at this list you will see that these are all REASONABLE explanations. On the surface, they seem to make sense and are logical… which is why they are so sneaky! When fear shows up as a reasonable explanation we can so easily talk ourselves out of taking the steps we want to take, because we have a good excuse not too.

Make a list of all the reasons why you haven’t yet achieved what you want, and look for the fear underneath. You might be surprised at what you find.

Befriending your fear (say what?)

Oh the amount of time I’ve spent over the years trying to run away from fear. Thinking that it was ‘wrong’ and that if I was going to be successful I needed to first get rid of my fear.

I would do all kinds of things to avoid my fear – stuff it down, distract myself, pretend it wasn’t there – only to find that it kept coming back. Sometimes larger and more consuming than before.

So I would dig in and try more ‘fear busting strategies’. Meditation. Positive thinking. Affirmations. The good ole ‘suck it up princess and do it anyway’ approach.

Some of these strategies would work for a while… until I wore out from all the pushing and found my old friend fear still there beside me. It felt like running on a treadmill trying to get across town – spending so much energy and ultimately ending up in the same place.

There was a moment a few years back when something struck me about fear.

What if fear wasn’t here to stop me, but was instead here to shine a light on future possibilities. 

Hmmm… I had to sit with that for a moment.

And as I sat with it something became clear – fear only showed up when I was looking to make a shift of some kind.

When I was looking to go from ‘where I am now’ to ‘where I want to go next.’

Fear doesn’t show up when things are easy. Comfortable. When we feel 100% confident and in charge of life.

Oh no – fear only shows up when we want more from life. When we want to make a change.

And in my experience, the more fear that shows up… the closer we are to our truth. Our purpose.

Put simply – we can look at fear as the enemy or we can look at fear as a friend.

If we look at fear as the enemy we will keep fighting it. We will try to find a way to ‘push through it’, avoid it or keep on thinking positive thoughts pretending it’s not there.

If we befriend fear then a couple of really cool things start to happen.

We recognize that fear is normal and positive. It’s a natural part of the growth process and not something we need to resist. “Hello fear… I see you. I know I’m looking at some changes and I recognize that you being here is a sign that I’m on the right track.”

We can honor that fear is here to protect us. Why does fear show up when things are changing? Because it wants to keep us safe. It wants to keep us where we are now because it’s known. Making a change forces us to step into the unknown and fear doesn’t like that. “What if this doesn’t work out? What if I try and I fail? May as well just stay here with what I know… even if I don’t enjoy it.”

When we look at fear differently we can get to know it better, so that we can work ‘with’ our fear instead of always trying to fight it.

I have a few journaling questions I like to ask my fear when it shows up that I’ll share in my next post.

The one question to ask yourself when you want to take (for real) time off this summer

If you take time off and still have to work… is it really a vacation?

I daresay it’s not!

And yet I get it… as business owners this is easier said than done. We have clients who rely on us. Stuff to be done. The business needs to keep on running even when we want to step away for a few days, a week or more. (We might even be just a *little* bit addicted to our work, but hey… that’s a convo for another time.)

So does this mean we never get to take time off? Heck no!

What it means is that we need to be PURPOSEFUL and PLAN for how we are going to take time off… unplugged, no checking in with clients or team kind of time.

It all starts with asking yourself one question:

“If I was to take this week off [INSERT DATE HERE], what could fall apart while I’m away?”

What is on my to-do list for the week? What are my ongoing tasks that need to be completed?
What could happen with clients? With team? With projects?
What could stall? Or fall apart?

Take a few minutes and make a list… go ahead, I’ll wait here for you.

Now let’s look at your list and run it through the following filters…

  • Which of these things could I get done ahead of time?
  • Which of these things could wait until I’m back?
  • Which of these things could I ask someone else to take care of for me?

Mark each item on your list accordingly, and then it’s time to make some decisions.

  • For those things that could be done ahead of time, set aside some extra time to do so (I get that this isn’t 100% ideal as it means working more before you take time off, but that can still be worth it to enjoy some for real unplugged time)
  • For those things that could wait until you are back, go ahead and reschedule them (we often think things *need* to be done when in fact it could be OK to postpone them for a week or so)
  • For those things that other folks can take care of in your absence, this is where we need to create solid, documented processes so that others can do the work while we are away (and that we work together to train and empower them to feel confident to take care of things during this time.)

This is exactly what we are doing in my business right now. Each of us on the team has chosen a week off this summer, and then each person is responsible to ask themselves this question and plan/prep accordingly (with a focus on updating/documenting our processes so that as a team we can take care of each others work.)

Whether it’s a stay-cation or a ‘travel again now that the world is opening up’ style vacation – my wish for you is to be able to fully unplug, rest and enjoy some time just for YOU. (Because we all need it!)

I’m curious – what are your plans for taking time off this summer? Pop a comment below and let me know…

The Management Trap

Yes, it’s important to hire. Yes, it’s important to delegate. Yes, team makes all things possible.

BUT there is something that many business owners aren’t prepared for when they start hiring.

The management trap.

Let’s first dig in and define what management is.

  • Management is about planning – taking a goal and turning it into an actionable plan
  • Management is about people – ensuring the right folks are on the team to execute on the plan
  • Management is about process – finding the best way to get the work done
  • Management is about progress – seeing the plan through to completion and getting stuff done!

It’s the role of a manager to make sure the right things get done, in the right way, at the right time and by the right people.

In the earlier days of our business journey – before we hire – the management part is pretty easy because we only have to manage is ourselves!

But as we grow, and with each new hire… we have people to manage. They need communication around what is going on in the business. They need clarity around their role and what they are doing. They need support to ensure they have all they need to do their best work. They need accountability to get things done right and on time.

We also have to manage projects. We need to create systems and structure. We need strategic planning to keep everything on track.

Put simply… The bigger the business becomes, the more there is to manage.

The question is – who is doing the managing?

There is a ‘rude awakening’ moment with many of the early to mid 6-figure coaches, trainers and agency owners that I work with.

They hire, thinking that will free up their time and they will be able to FINALLY focus on the things they really want to do in their business. Only to find that instead their days are now filled with things like:

  • Checking in with the team to make sure stuff is getting done
  • Thinking constantly about what is coming up
  • Wondering if they have the right folks on the team or not?
  • Answering team questions
  • Trying to figure out the best way to get things done
  • Dealing with the ‘odds and ends’ that come up in the day to day running of the business

This is the management trap.

It’s a rude awakening for many CEOs because a) they didn’t realize how much work management actually is and b) they aren’t very good at it! They find it tiring, frustrating and draining. It’s taking up so much of their time that they can’t actually focus on growing their business and doing what they do best.

If you don’t purposely hire someone to help here – like a Certified OBM – then management will fall on YOUR shoulders. Which may not be the best thing for you, your team or your business.