Are the words that are coming out or your mouth or through your keyboard holding you back from success? Your words have power and your selection of some words may be keeping you from succeeding.
I recently sat in on a Webinar with one of my favorite service providers, which is why it pains me to write this. IT WAS A DISASTER!
5-4-3-2-1 Happy New Year!!!
Woohoo we made it to another year filled with hope, motivation and a laundry list of the things we’d like to change. You’ve bought the new workout apparel, stocked our fridges full of healthy food and bought enough self-improvement books to keep you busy for months. You’re committed to the new you and know you will succeed!
I want you to succeed. I really do. But unfortunately those resolutions are heading for Disappointmentville, USA in about 4-6 weeks.
Last night was the July installment of The SpitFire Circle, a monthly meeting of small business owners who come together to share their experiences and learn from one another while being challenged to get to the root of their blocks to success. Every month the dynamic is slightly different with a shift in industries represented, from makers to photographers to writers to travel consultants, but one thing has remained true for the last six months, people hate selling!
Your words have more power than you could ever imagine. So what happens when you adopt the hustle, struggle and grind mentality that you’re “supposed” to have as an entrepreneur or business owner?
It seems that everyone on Instagram is an Entrepreneur or CEO. What used to be a high risk and scary choice, has now been glamorized into fast money, luxurious lifestyles, and ready-set-go businesses.
A picture is worth a thousand words, but the stories behind the glossy pictures are anything but fancy. I know the true stories of self-doubt, self-sabotage, and business burnout.
Over the years I’ve seen the same 13 challenges and entrepreneurial pitfalls in myself, my clients, and other entrepreneurs.
The Tuesday after Labor Day, my boyfriend left for Barcelona for a week with his mom on their annual vacation. After getting over the initial funk of being left behind, I decided to take advantage of this new found free time.
It had been over a year since I wrote with real substance. I was on my way to finishing two books when it all came crashing down. A personal story I shared with a family member was passed along to other family members and blew up in my face. In retrospect, I was sharing my diary and that wasn't meant for anyone else's consumption. I always loved to write - even term papers in school. I would love to feel the slight resistance of the keys under my finger tips and got giddy watching the screen fill with words. I missed my old friend.
With a relatively open calendar, I decided to embark on a long-term challenge - write every day. What started as a 30-Day Blog Challenge quickly evolved into 100 days. People thought I was crazy or that I would quit. Like most people I lost interest pretty quickly in challenges, but this was different. This was an opportunity to spark my creativity, increase my accountability and share my thoughts and opinions.
I wrote about relationships, business, life hacks, time management and my dog. Whatever I was passionate about at the moment, I wrote it down. My workouts and walks soon became opportunities to brainstorm new topics. My friends and clients inspired advice-based posts. I saw the world and myself in a new way. I became a writer.
I can now say that my writer's block is resolved and I've created two e-books as a result of the blog with more on the way. I am comfortable in front of a keyboard and love writing again!
Here are the Blog Stats By the Numbers:
Total Word Count Over 100 days: 37,999 words (damn it, I just needed one more word for 38,000!)
Average Word Count Per Post: 379 words
Longest Blog: 977 words (http://laurenlemunyan.com/30dayblog/=/10-things-you-should-and-shouldnt-do-when-starting-a-business?rq=should%20and%20shouldn%27t)
Shortest Blog: 169 words (http://laurenlemunyan.com/30dayblog/=/6wzyipmv9tpwbp1ms05hqsq5mt71m3)
My Favorite Blog: http://laurenlemunyan.com/30dayblog/=/6wzyipmv9tpwbp1ms05hqsq5mt71m3
This wasn't all fun and self-realization. I learned some hard lessons along the way.
1) Proofread Before Posting. My mind works faster than my fingers and at times I skip over words and “ings” or “ed.” I'm pretty sure each post had at least two errors in it, which my mom was happy to point out. I've since tried to go back through and fix the glaring errors. When posting every day, time is of the essence and in my opinion it doesn't need to be perfect to be done.
2) I’m human. I make mistakes and if you judge me based on my spelling or grammatical errors, I challenge you to a 100-Day Blog Duel! Do you accept?? In all seriousness, human error is a real thing. I've learned to be more patient and less judgmental when I see errors in other people's work.
3) Doing Something Every Day Can Be A Challenge, But Anything is Possible. Even with workouts and diet, I was never on every day. I actually thought I may have to skip a day or two, but fortunately I could plan out my week to schedule a post or two if I knew I was going to be busy. I love a good contingency plan! This was no exception.
4) Not Everyone Cares That You’re Writing a Blog. Blogs are like opinions and podcasts (I have one of those too!), everyone has them and some are more in your face than others. It’s up to you what you decide to spend your time on. I hope I provided value, if not, then entertainment. On the same note, don't get wrapped up into the visits or reads of your post. I got more excited hearing from the one person who read a post and learned from it than the 200 people who read and said nothing.
5) I Say I Won’t Do This Again, But We All Know It’s a Lie. This was a huge undertaking and I’m pretty tapped out from writing. I’ll take a break and reassess where I want to use my time and energy in the future. (2 Months Later.... I'm back at writing, but not as a daily practice or challenge.)
6) Not Every Post is My Favorite, But They’re Mine. I guess blogging is like having a lot of kids. Some are cuter than others. Some help you. Some are jerks. Some you wish never happened, but they all come from you and for that you love them! (Can you tell I’m not a parent?)
7) I’m Capable of More Than I Think. Yes, I pushed myself and maxed out my energy. This was a challenge to break out of my judgment and restraint around writing. That has certainly been busted into a million pieces. I am a writer. I am a blogger. I am a coach. I am awesome.
I can’t believe this challenge is over. It’s bittersweet, which sounds so cliché. It’s been my weekend writing ritual and my morning posting routine. It’s been my outlet of expression and door to connect with others. It allowed me to take risks and say what was on my mind. It also left me wide open to judgment and criticism. It was a constant reminder to stay on my path, but also served as a distraction to other important aspects like self-care and focusing on core business practices.
It’s been a journey and I’m happy I took the first step. So here’s a giant high-five to me!
Earlier today I designed a graphic for a client representing her dream life in 10 years. She's a public figure and wants to expand her reach into the media world. I immediately thought of designing her a magazine cover. It was awesome (she thought so too!). I sent it over and wondered why I hadn't done it for myself.
Like most inspirational tools I design, they are inspired by my clients. I actually really love developing visual tools to help them see their progress, goals, and ideal images. I've created an Ideal Leader, Ideal Client, Life Map, Value Compass and now 10-Year Dream Board Image.
So I designed myself one for 2018 with my goals. I'm going big, because why the hell not?! I'm big on setting intentions and sharing it with others. So if you're reading this and you want to be a part of me making big moves in 2018, you can get started in 2017!
Here is the image.
Make it on a magazine cover
Known as "Spitting Some Fire" in my "Super Fucking Magical Coaching" and hosting "The SpitFire Podcast"
25+ Paid Speaking Gigs
15 Active Clients Per Month
2 Published Books
The SpitFire Podcast is killing it in downloads and sponsorship
Ongoing referrals for Confidence and Leadership Training for Existing and Emerging CEOs
I live by the motto "If It's Not Fun, Why Do It?!
I am a catalyst of positive change
I help people take care of themselves, so they can take care of business.
Quadruple 2017 Revenue
Before 2018 is here, I'd love to see your goals. Feel free to post them in the comment section or email it to me firstname.lastname@example.org
Are you ready to find the holy grail of question asking to know what you should do? Yes? Are You Sure?
Hehe those were three questions, but not the questions that will change your life.
As a coach, we are trained to have a tool box of tactics and engaging questions to get our clients to think beyond the known and go to the untapped vault of creativity and imagination. We guide people through the self-imposed and externally position stress and judgment to open their eyes to what could be possible.
See if what you were doing was working for you, you wouldn’t be reading this blog and you probably wouldn’t be seeking external expertise (P.S. You’re super smart for doing that. The most awesome, smartest people in the world have coaches). So I’m going to key you into the most awesome grouping of questions to get your future-self-brainpower going.
You sure? Because things aren’t that bad. You know what to expect. You know what’s going to happen and how you need to show up to get a desired outcome. It’s safe there.
What’s that? You don’t want to be the same? You don’t want to keep being small? You’re ready to live large and all out?
Okay! You’re ready!
Here are the questions:
1) What Do You Want?
2) Why Do You Want It?
3) What Would Be Different If You Had It?
Answer those questions and make it happen. It’s that easy! If it’s not doable, you most likely have some blocks to success called GAILs (Gremlins, Assumptions, Interpretations, and Limiting Beliefs). These guys are within all of us and with the proper coping strategies and tactics to leverage them, you too can have the life you dreamed of!
My Boss is Being a Jerk. What Do I Do to Not Lose My Shit?
That was the text message I received from a client minutes ago. Her boss is notorious for pushing her buttons and triggering a stress reaction. This is what I said to her.
Step 1: Walk away calmly
Step 2: Get some water and take slow sips
Step 3: Get outside and walk while taking deep breaths
Step 4: Imaging him as a cartoon
It seemed to do the trick, so now I’m passing it along.
It’s Sunday morning and DC just got its first snow of the season. This should be the perfect time to write some pithy and epic, but it’s not. Instead, I’m looking at a monster of a “To Do” list that has been growing by the minute.
My mom came into town on Thursday morning and I should’ve been able to unplug and turn off the nagging projects and errands I needed to run, but I didn’t. I didn’t even write down what I needed to do – resulting in the swirling of anxiety, worry and frustration that I wouldn’t have enough time to get everything done.
With the approaching end of the 100-Day Blog Challenge, I couldn’t give up with less than a week to go, that would be insane. Or would it be brilliant?
That thought alone gave me permission to walk away if I wanted to. I don’t want to by the way. That idea gave me pause and opened up another door to examine other commitments, projects and obligations that I thought I had to do.
As a result of the reflection, I decided to shift my energy from a group coaching program to a targeted one-on-one program to get people inspired and organized to start a business. I also decided to scrap another group program I had scheduled for January.
I realized I needed to minimize my obligations and priorities what was important.
What’s important to me is:
1) Rest – My sleep pattern has sucked. My self-imposed pressure has created a shit show in my head when it’s time to decompress and recharge.
2) Keeping My Word – I mean what I say and I say what I mean. I offer when I can and have the available time and resources.
3) Being Present – When I’m with friends and clients, I’m there. No phone, computer or internal story distractions.
4) Creating – Whether it’s art, writing, podcasting or putting an outfit together, I love when the mojo flows.
In writing this blog, I’ve lessened the pressure a bit (it still hangs out a bit) and have the energy to create and design my next moves.
I was just turned on to The ProFinder Program on LinkedIn. As a coach always on the lookout for awesome clients to work with, this seemed like an amazing opportunity. Another coach mentioned it as great way to get leads.
Here’s how it works...
- LinkedIn members will make a request for services they need. Once we find a request that matches your expertise, we'll send you an email.
- If you're interested in their request, respond to the member with a short proposal. They'll also get access to your full LinkedIn profile.
- If your offer fits the member's needs, they'll reach out and start a conversation.
LinkedIn is not like Upwork where they take a percentage of your revenue. The financial dealings and arrangements are up to you. Unlike other consultants, coaches request payment and a signed agreement before holding a session. His reduces the risk on both sides and makes the expectations crystal clear.
The sign up process was relatively painless. I signed up as a Pro with a skill set in Executive Coaching. Then a contact at LinkedIn reviewed my profile to make sure I did what I said I did.
I received a response within 24 hours that I needed to shift the order of my skills to reflect the ProFinder designation. I responded within 2 hours after the changes had been made and I was approved shortly after.
Feel fare to check it out at https://www.linkedin.com/profinder/pros
I’m excited to see what happens!
The last six months have been awesome. Amazing clients I’ve never met before are finding me. I’m creating solid and consistent content. My business is growing.
You would think I would be floating with excitement. But I didn't.
Immediately following a talk I gave about confidence, I felt the floor slowly drop out from under me. At the end of the talk, I offered a group coaching program that I had custom built for the group. It was sassy and bold with all of the buzz words I thought this target audience would love. I had some interest and commitments that they would sign up later that day. But no one did.
I was tired and drained, which left the door wide open for my Gremlin to come in with his "words of wisdom".
“How long can you keep this up?”
“You really think people want to work with someone like you?”
“You should just go back to your 9-5.”
“If you’re not making this much money, you should just give up.”
I listened and absorbed the messages I knew weren’t true. I must be a failure. Even after a brand-new client signed up and paid for a 3-month package, I couldn’t shake the feeling. The next day another new client signed on for three months. I felt happy for a moment, but the thoughts lingered.
It all started to shift after sitting in silence and really listening to the message. The messages were right, but I was hearing it wrong.
“How long can you keep this up?” = Take a rest, Lauren. You’re working really hard and deserve to take care of you.
“You really think people want to work with someone like you?” = Everyone is not for you and you are not for everyone. Look at these awesome new clients. This is where you should focus your energy.
“You should just go back to your 9-5.” = Maybe you should look at working more with existing corporations. I’m sure they would love to hear from you.
“If you’re not making this much money, you should just give up.” = Look at how far you’ve come in less than two years. You’ve done this all by yourself. You attract in abundance when you take care of yourself, so you should probably rest.
This is why it's super important to get out of your head. Whatever is swirling around, write it down and then come back to it when you're ready to assign it another value that works for you.
Last night I went to an industry event for association professionals. While I’m not in the trenches like I used to be, I still like to keep in touch with old friends and meet new contacts.
It was a lively crowd – I mean who doesn’t get excited over guacamole and free margaritas! People were not shy and I immediately started chatting with a group around a high table. As my gaze shifted around the table, I couldn’t help but pick up on the energy of a few people. Their shoulders were slumped, their smiles were forced and they avoided eye contact as much as they could.
I had seen this look before from friends “in transition.” The association world is harsh. All it takes is one budget decision, one Board member, one relationship in the C-Suite to determine your fate in unemployment. These people around the room were on the receiving end of these decisions.
They did what experts tell them to do – “Get out and network! Your connections will land you your next opportunity.” So they put their suits on and get dressed up to put themselves in the place they least want to be – around people who are getting paid to do what they used to.
Their baggage of abandonment and rejection is palpable. They try to smile through it and engage people in conversation, but you feel the sadness all around. What they want and need most is an opportunity, but the façade and baggage cover-up repels it. Employers want to feel excited and inspired when they meet candidates. As much as they want to help someone out, employment is not a charity case and more often than not the people who need the jobs most are getting passed up.
Say you’re in that position, what do you do?
1) Take care of yourself – whether it’s meditation, writing, working out, dancing in the street. Make yourself happy first even if it’s for five minutes at a time.
2) Face your baggage – the resentment isn’t going away and it’s definitely not good for your complexion. Sit down with your anger and resentment and write it down. Then get another piece of paper and convert those statements into lessons or gifts. If you can’t do this, you’re not ready to go to another organization. It’s time to recycle the trash memories into a recycled story of empowerment.
3) Mix it up – if you’re tired of going to the same industry events, try different social groups. There are tons of meet up groups for a gazillion industries. You never know who you’ll meet just by being curious.
4) Focus on the progression – if you’re only in your fear and self-doubt, you can’t see the opportunities flooding around you. If nothing’s happening, create content. Dig into what you’re known for. If you don’t consider yourself and expert, read up more or take some classes.
5) Whatever you do, fail forward – we’ve only got one life to live and jobs come and go, but you are the only you and that’s pretty awesome!
This will help you to determine your next and necessary steps depending on your involvement in the business.
You plan and plan, but find it more enjoyable to dream about what your business could be. You’re not quite sure what you need to know, but you definitely don’t like sticking your neck out without more information and a plan.
Potential Risk: None
Financial Investment: None
Potential Reward: None
You dabble on the weekends and when you get requests from friends. You’re not wanting to put more than a couple of hours in a month. It provides some play money, but you’re not ready to leave your job and take the plunge.
Potential Risk: Low
Financial Investment: Low – Depending on Project. If you’re into tech, this can get costly.
Potential Reward: Low – Spending Money
Every ounce of free time outside of your 9-5, you’re working on your business idea. You’re putting in 10-40 hours a week on this and love what you’re doing. It’s only a matter of time before you take it to the next level and do it full time.
Potential Risk: Mid-Level, Depending on Industry and Project
Financial Investment: More than Hobbyist, but Not as High as the All-In Entrepreneur. You may invest your revenue back in your business
Potential Reward: Mid-Level, Could Provide Financial Security and Additional Lifestyle Options
You have taken the courageous step into self-employment and walked away from your corporate security blanket. You are ready to give this everything you’ve got to make it successful. This is your dream and you know you can build an amazing company.
Potential Risk: High
Financial Investment: High
Potential Reward: High
Which Kind of Business Owner Are You? ______________________________________________
Which Kind of Business Owner Do You Want to Be? ______________________________________________
I officially have nine more blog posts for the 100-Day Blog Challenge. I’ve heard a mixture of responses from you’re inspirational to you’re insane. I’m sure I’m one or both of those things at any given time. Some days are easy where content flows out. Other days I wonder if I’ll make the deadline for the next day.
When I initially set out on this challenge, it was following a lull in my business. I wanted to create content to create engagement. I didn’t really have a plan, but I knew I wanted to challenge my beliefs around writer’s block and creativity. I didn’t put any rules around the type of content, word count or even the time I needed to post by to count.
What has resulted is a daily post at or before 9am that’s around 500 words. I write about topics in business tips, stress relief, relationships, time management, and of course adventures with the one and only Rico Suave.
I’m proud of myself for sticking to my commitment and pushing myself through the block. Once the 100th post goes live, I will be taking an extended break from blog posting, which basically means a couple of days.
My goal is to go back through the posts and sort them by category to create sections for people to dive deeper into content and potentially create an e-book or two.
I’m open to suggestions and seeing where things go.
This is one of the few times I haven’t had expectations related to a project. There’s no money attached to it. No celebratory parade when I cross the finish line. I don’t know how I feel about it yet. Part of me thinks I’ll be happy to have it over, but I think I’ll miss it.
Let’s see how the last 9 days go.
Everything sucks. My job sucks. Billy is a jerk. My dog hates me. I feel fat. Nobody likes me. Everybody hates me. Guess I’ll go eat worms.
Why do all the bad things happen to me? Fix it diary!
Does your journal or notebook sound anything like that? Mine used to a couple years ago. I would dump all of my fear and worry onto those lines and hope that things would get better. Each day, I would open the pages and write another version of the same tune – life happening to me. I thought the venting and expression would help solve my problems, but the patterns persisted.
I needed a change, but didn’t know what to do.
Then I heard about gratitude journals – capturing the things I’m thankful for. Awesome. I can do this. I did it for a couple of months, but it still felt passive.
Then after a conversation, or two, or twenty with my boyfriend about being bummed out about a client not renewing or deals not clicking, he reminded me to focus on the awesome shit.
The light bulb went off. I needed a book solely focused on capturing my AWESOME SHIT. So I made myself one and custom made ones for my new clients with their names written in. The clients I started attracting became focused on making awesome shit happening and now they had a place to write about it.
I still journal and process the stories I need to work out, but I tend to throw those sheets away so it doesn’t linger.
I love my Awesome Shit List Journal and I love the look on the faces of people who receive them. If you’d like one for the holidays for yourself or a gift, you can pick them up here: www.laurenlemunyan.com/asljournals
I recently spoke to a group of mid-level professionals who were seeking guidance on progressing in their career. Like most of us, they feel frustrated by the lack of upward mobility and even more confused about what to do.
Below is a five-step strategy to understand where you are, where you want to go and how to get there.
Step 1: Your Why
Think about the title you want to have. What do you want and why do you want to get there? If you were promoted, what would be different in your life (positive and negative)? How would you feel? What else would be impacted?
Step 2: Research
Using similar job descriptions, observing and asking people in similar positions, research the training, skills, experience, and attributes needed to do the job. If it’s not clear, ask. Look around at other companies and industries with similar job descriptions.
Step 3: Self-Audit
Now that you’ve looked into what’s needed, you can assess where you are what you need to do in order to get there. It is critical that you are honest with yourself. I recommend scoring yourself on a scale of 1 – 10 for each area. Anything below an 8, will need further action. I would also recommend asking for feedback from a trusted source about your strengths and areas of improvement. This is not fun and can be critical, but if this is really something you want, it’s worth the work and temporary discomfort.
Step 4: Resources
With your areas of improvement in the forefront, you can now look at the resources you need in order to improve. Is it more time in a role? Additional training? Public speaking experience? Team building and management? At this stage you can match up what you need to improve and how to do it. Create a manageable strategy to accomplish your goals. I recommend doses of daily focus (an hour or less) to stay on track. Create a plan before diving in to prevent over-scheduling overload.
Step 5: Allies
A support network is imperative to keep you on track on your path. Whether it’s a mentor, supervisor, a coach, friends or family, these people will be there to give you honest feedback and advice to take the best step towards your goal.