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When I run my Mastermind Groups, I have five printed tent cards on the conference room table–words or phrases I want participants to avoid saying. The words are in large black type, and I have the international NO sign overlaying them. The words are little, just, try, should and can’t afford.
I bristle when I hear these words because they are minimizers and/or excuses to hide behind. “I want to put my work in a little gallery.” Really? What’s little about it? Will it require less effort on your part to create the pieces, market the show to the public? Why say “little” when referring to this opportunity?
“I’m going to try to make it to your event next week.” Thanks for letting me know. I’ll cross you off the list right now. As Yoda proclaimed, “There is no try.” Rephrase this to, “My intention is to attend your event,” and notice how much more often you show up when you language it that way.
You get the picture.
Today I got called on using the words ‘can’t afford’ myself, and I want to distinguish what I meant in the context I used it to clear up any confusion. When I hear “I can’t afford to ____________(take the course, hire an assistant, update my website, fill in the blank),” what I really hear is, “I’m choosing to use my resources in a different way.” If you track your expenditures diligently, you may realize that your Starbucks purchases add up to an equivalent chunk of change to these bigger desires. You’re just choosing to allocate differently. Should a great deal on the ___________ (car, shoes, fill in the blank-of-your-dreams) come along, you’d pony up very quickly. So watch your language. It can be a cover-up for the harder truth underneath. You have the money, but you’re making other choices in how to use it.
On my recent Soul Proprietor Coaching Program call I talked about a writing consultant I was interest in retaining in the late ’90′s. Many of my speaking colleagues had used this person’s services with greater or lesser outcomes. I met with him (identities have been preserved here), got really excited about the prospect of collaborating on a book and went so far as to get an estimate for services to be rendered. The figure was around $10,000 which I did not have in the bank.
My monthly costs were fixed, and there was not the prospect of an additional $1000 per month to add during the designated time frame. I really wanted to work with this guy because when we’d met for a sample session, he flattered me so much and led me to believe that my writing, with his guidance, might save the world. Who wouldn’t want to take out a loan?!
I consulted my financial advisor. She asked some probing questions, then left the decision to me. I opted out only after I’d spent my first $1000 which yielded a few pages of text. I passed those around to two trusted colleagues for feedback. Both said, “This doesn’t sound like you, Jane.” “It sounds like a textbook, not a person, not your voice.” I licked my $1000 wound, ended the agreement, and went merrily on my way for the next couple of years.
I had been in a writers group and began producing Lessons I’d learned along the way of my first career as an artist. They were getting high marks among my fellow writers, and one of the women in our group had a business of helping authors create book proposals. By that time I had developed an escrow account and could easily pay her deposit upfront. My book, Soul Proprietor, was the happy outcome of that collaboration.
What you have in your business checking and savings accounts is a good indicator of how you might allocate your resources. I did not have that war chest in the late ’90′s when the first opportunity appeared. I did in the early 2000′s when a new opportunity came along.
Often we never find out what becomes of the flatterers in our lives. I accidentally found out that a fellow colleague had sued this practitioner for false promises and now see that he is currently building a business in an unrelated industry.
Watch your language, count your pennies, but don’t say you can’t afford it.
I’m happy to participate in my friend, Lynn Robinson’s blog tour. You can read our interview below. For more, head to Cynthia Sue Larson’s Reality Shifters blog for tomorrow’s post. Last Friday’s post can be found on Elizabeth Cassidy’s blog, My Views from the Edge. And of course all of the information about the tour is available at Lynn A. Robinson’s Gut Truster’s Blog.
Divine Intuition Q&A
Jane: I’m delighted to hear that you’re celebrating the 10th anniversary of your book, “Divine Intuition” with an updated and revised edition.
Lynn: Yes! The original book had become a classic in the field of intuition. It was published around the world in more than a dozen languages. The new book is called, “Divine Intuition: Your Inner Guide to Purpose, Peace and Prosperity” (Jossey-Bass, 2013.) I am so excited to have a chance to add new intuition techniques, inspirational quotes and many more ideas for people who want to learn to use their inner guidance to successfully navigate the many decisions we face in life!
Jane: You’ve had a successful business giving intuitive readings for over 25 yearsI How did you get started?
Lynn: I haven’t always been able to tap into the power of the inner guidance of intuition. In fact, it took me quite a while to figure out a career for myself. During my 20’s I worked in a number of non-profit organizations. In my early 30’s I worked as the Operations Manager of a software company.
I always wanted to be self-employed. I wanted to be my own boss, make my own hours and have some degree of financial independence. I certainly wanted to make more money than I was making in non-profit organizations. I started asking myself questions. I’m sure they’re similar to the ones that you ask YOUR clients! What is it that I love? What would my ideal work situation look like? What hobbies and interests do I have that I could make a living at? How much money would I like to make? I wrote all this down and came up with this list:
- I like counseling people.
- I like to study metaphysics and consciousness.
- I’m a good listener.
- I like to teach.
- I want to work for myself.
- I like to write.
I toyed with the idea of becoming a psychologist. I sent for some applications and went on a few interviews, but I felt very let down and disappointed. Everything felt heavy, as if there were no flow to it. I believe that intuition often speaks to us through feelings and body sensations. That sense of heaviness indicated to me that becoming a psychologist wasn’t a good decision.
Jane: That was quite a leap from psychologist and psychic! How did that happen?
Lynn: I had always been interested in metaphysics, intuition, spirituality, counseling and human potential. Being a psychic somehow summed up all those interests for me. I saw myself as being an encourager for my clients along with their hopes, dreams and callings. However, I was a little concerned about the negative stereotype of “Madame Eva” gazing into her crystal ball and announcing she saw “bad things in your future…”
I had taken classes on developing intuitive skills and had read many books on the topic of metaphysics. I decided to take a risk and began to give “mini-readings” to friends. Much to my surprise, they were astonished at the accuracy of my information. All of a sudden, my main concern became “How do I develop a psychic reading business?!” I joked that if God posted a “Psychic Reader Wanted” ad in the Boston Globe employment section, I’d apply. Barring that, I wasn’t sure where to begin.
Jane: I understand your business began in an incredibly unconventional way!
Lynn. Yes! I began to visualize a successful business. Every day I spent time imagining myself in a beautiful office, having an appointment book filled with clients and seeing my bank account growing! About a month into this process of manifesting my vision, a friend, who had been sick for a long time, died. As I walked into the room for his funeral service I heard a voice say, “Sit there! Sit there!” “There” was an empty seat next to a woman I didn’t know. I felt compelled to sit next to her.
At the end of the service the woman and I started talking and she asked me what I did for a living. Have you ever had one of those times when your brain doesn’t engage with your mouth? Despite the fact that in my current job I was an Operations Manager, I answered, “I’m a psychic.” I was alarmed. “Why had I answered this way?” “What would she think?!” To my surprise she was quite open and receptive. She then told me that she was a writer for the Boston Globe and would love to have a reading so she could write about it in her column.
The short version of the story is that I gave her a reading and she loved it! She wrote an article about it and I got 500 clients over the next few months. My business was launched!
My hope is that story will help your readers and clients to trust their own intuition in moving forward in what might be an unusual career idea! I believe that the Universe is on our side and wants us to succeed. When we listen to the wisdom of our intuition, we are being guided towards our greatest happiness and best job. Miracle sabound!
Jane: Can you offer us a quick technique from your book?
Lynn: Absolutely! My favorite is for anyone who is experiencing a sense of overwhelm. I suggest that you close your eyes, put your hand over your heart, breathe deeply and simply ask, “What’s my next right step?” Intuitive answers come in the form of images, feelings, physical sensations, quick insight or even a quiet inner voice. Open your eyes and begin to take action on the answer you receive. It’s a great technique for instant calm.
Jane: We’ve known each other a long time, and I’ve admired you and your business since our first encounter. I grow more inspired by you each time we connect. I love this quick technique and will use it myself. In fact, I intend to print it out and tape it to my computer so I can remember that the answers are simply a breath and awareness away. Thank you for this.
Lynn A. Robinson is a leading expert and best-selling author on the topic of intuition. She is also a professional speaker and intuitive consultant who teaches individuals and businesses how to use their untapped intuitive abilities to change their lives and grow their companies. She uses her own highly developed intuition to provide powerful, transformative insights for her clients. She has written seven books on intuition that have been published in more than a dozen languages. Her latest books are Divine Intuition: Your Inner Guide to Purpose, Peace and Prosperity and The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Psychic Intuition, 3rd Edition. Her popular Intuition Newsletter has become a must-read for thousands.
My inspiring colleague did just that as an end of year exercise. Here are her (slightly edited) results–
2013: My Best Year Yet
- · Get to bed by 10PM
- · Relax – stress doesn’t solve anything
- · Remember my job is to feel good
New Paradigm: I know what I want, and am comfortable asking for it
Major focus:To be sure my voice is heard.
Top 10 goals
1. 8 hours of sleep per night
2. Participate in at least 2 significant athletic events
3. Create and implement a new business plan
4. See/call/email one friend/family member per week
5. Some creative activity every month
6. Set aside 5% of income for home improvement
7. Clean unfinished part of basement
8. Promote additional services to existing clients
9. Practice gratitude
10. Attend and interact with inspirational guide
I complimented her on making it look so simple and straightforward. I know that this kind of simplicity and clarity represents a lot of behind-the-scenes activity. Here was her response:
I laughed every time I read in the book that all you have to do is sit down for 3 hours and knock it out. I had to keep going back to it repeatedly over the course of a couple weeks.
But I think the fact that I did this last year is a big part of why the phone has been ringing off the hook this year!
…there is a season.
Today’s post will not be about the business related epiphany I had earlier this week. Rather, I’d like to take a moment to be quiet and acknowledge the unbearable tragedy that happened yesterday. At 11:30am I was on a call with a client who happens to live in Newtown, actually Sandy Hook, CT. She said she’d just heard that there was something terrible happening at the neighborhood school a short distance from her house. Something about gunfire, possibly a death.
Neither of us had any idea of the horrific scope of the incident, nor would we have had any more words to say then if we had. If there is such a word, it was un-contemplatable, the extent of the sad, devastating behavior of one individual and the titanic loss of families, a community and our country.
Sometimes being in silence and staying in the grief of the moment are the only actions called for. That’s the season I’m in right now. Please join me here for a moment if you’re there too.
Now that I’ve completely closed down the art part of my business, I can say with full confidence that it was an enormous success–always profitable, highly publicized, nationally recognized with tons of customers. The truth is, while I was in it, I NEVER referred to myself as a success.
Other people held me up as a successful entrepreneur, but I didn’t feel it in my bones. Now, looking back, I absolutely do.
This gives me tremendous compassion and understanding for where my clients are today, especially those whose art or craft (writing, photography, design, etc.) are their products. I read once that Burt Bacharach felt like an impostor. That gave me a sense of normalcy–if an Oscar-winning, best-selling composer and lyricist could feel that way, it must not be that unusual.
In Ten Rules for Being Human, by Cherie Carter-Scott, rule six says: “There” is no better a place than “here.” When your “there” has become “here,” you will simply obtain another “there” that will again look better than “here.”
I now understand where my “here” and “there” are and what keeps me moving from one to the other. I acknowledge it as my process and go step by step or even skip ahead, depending on the situation.
How would you like to jump ahead 5 years and experience what it’s really like to be “there”? On December 3rd you get to Come As You’ll Be, a party where the guests are asked to dress, speak and think five years out. As a result I’ve seen many women in attendance get “there” ahead of schedule.
If you can’t make it, I’d still love to hear where you’d like to be in 5 years. The simple act of putting it in writing can be incredibly powerful….
My new address will be:
400 W. 63rd Street
NY, NY 10069
Everything else remains the same. More soon!
In preparing for my talk, Create Your Own Future, tomorrow to the Arts & Culture Collaborative at the Timexpo Museum in Waterbury, I’ve been sorting through some very old files. I came across a set of note cards that I had written in 1990, by hand, in ink. The one above outlined six goals to be achieved over the next few years.
I didn’t really believe at the time they would be possible. They were only dreams. But, my favorite definition of a goal is “a wish with a deadline.” And the number one tool for accomplishing goals is to put them in writing.
I did accomplish all of them. Looking back, I wonder what I thought was so hard. Of course, looking forward to what I’d still like to achieve, I can bring up the same feeling of anxiety and delight. Writing down something you’d like to have in your life, and having no way of conceiving how it might come into reality, is what goal setting is all about.
I look forward to sharing what I know with my audience tomorrow.
BTW, the last goal was to contribute increasing sums to my alma mater, Mount Holyoke College, which I have.
MORE Magazine (April 2012) featured an inspiring article about Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s recent visit with Aung San Suu Kyi, Burma’s best-known opposition leader and a Nobel peace laureate. To read about the meeting of these two powerful women was exhilarating and informative.
What happened behind the scenes the night before contained the tidbit I wanted to pass on. How often must we reign in our own personal habits and desires for the greater good?
She ordered tea, much to the disappointment of the the traveling-press regulars, who prefer it when Clinton knocks back a few drinks with them., as she is known to do.
Sorry, guys, I can’t. I’d love to, but I can’t,” she says when wine is offered. She’s already losing her voice and needs some tea with honey. It’s a big day tomorrow. She has a president to size up, a heroine rebel to embrace, a country to help save. And a few million women to fight for. She’ll pass on the Chardonnay.
It would ruin any mystery surrounding the birthday gift I’m giving her tonight. But my experience at Lululemon yesterday bears sharing with my audience of business owners and other interested consumers.
I selected a cool, reversible jacket as my gift to Barbara, brought it to the checkout counter and asked that it be wrapped as a gift. “We don’t have gift boxes. We’re a sustainable store,” I was told with just the slightest edge of superiority.
“Could you put a little tissue around it?” I asked, hoping for a touch of festivity in the unwrapping experience.
“No, we don’t believe in adding waste to the environment,” the salesgirl said. Actually, she didn’t say that exactly, but that was my interpretation of her repeating the ‘sustainable’ mantra in slightly different language.
Another jolt I got at that counter was the guestbook sign-in. Hoping to get the inside scoop on what towns other shoppers were visiting from, I was surprised to see that the pages consisted solely of names and email addresses. Clearly, paper, envelopes and stamps were not going to be used by this company.
I admire and support the philosophy and commitment of Lululemon, but have to confess to suffering a bit of culture shock, this being my first time interfacing with the reality of it.
I do plan to tie a (recyclable) ribbon around the cool, environmentally correct bag they did give me for transporting said gift to its recipient. I hope Barbara likes it. They did print out an extra gift receipt, just in case.
Continuing Terrie’s list from my post last week, here are the final 10 ways to promote yourself in business:
11. Send a follow-up note to people you meet and would like to stay in touch with. [As a sidebar to this, I blogged about Doug Friedman's (of Melissa and Doug) inspiring talk at the Westport Library last week and received an email from him thanking me for my post. He is forever endeared to me for even noticing!]
12. Get to know support staff of the person or company you may want to do business with. If you develop these relationships, when you call, there will be a better chance of being put through.
13. Know your profession. Stay abreast of all the latest trends and developments in your field and your geographic area. Read everything you can get your hands on and know who is doing what, where, when and how. Learn to skim.
14. Pass articles along with a note if you come across one that may be of interest to a colleague. Maybe your associates don’t have the time to read the number of publication you do. You’ll provide a valuable service that they will undoubtedly appreciate. [This is more true than ever with the Internet, a greater variety of media inundating us, and the ease of forwarding valuable information.]
15. Keep a supply of greeting cards for all occasions. Pay attention to special occasions of colleagues and prospective business contacts and stay in touch.
16. Write…write…write. Send letters [emails, now] to people you want to do business with. Many valuable relationships have developed this way.
17. Go through your Rolodex [online database] periodically and send a hello note to those people you want to remember you.
18. Let people know that you are available to speak or to otherwise participate in panel discussions, seminars, clubs, religious organizations, civic groups, charitable organizations, service groups and community centers.
19. Selectively donate your services to nonprofit organizations that may be in need of your expertise.
20. Remember what Mom used to tell you: say Thank You. It’s amazing how few people invest the time to express gratitude for a favor or job well done. Remember that people don’t have to do anything for you It’s all about developing a winning style and cultivating relationships that can be instrumental in opening doors you never dreamed could open for you. Work hard to achieve your goals. There will be disappointments and defeats along with the highs and the joyous victories, but if you apply the “little things,” you’ll be amazed at how many “big things” may result.