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E#205 How to Develop a Magnetic Value Proposition

This episode is about how to develop a magnetic value proposition

A lot of coaches find it hard to really communicate the value of what they do in their marketing and craft a viable value proposition. Today, I want to unpack the ‘brand ladder’ with you – a helpful marketing tool that helps you define what motivates people to buy and craft a compelling value proposition that is guaranteed to attract new clients.

Before you develop any marketing strategies to get out there and start becoming known, liked and trusted to attract clients, you have to know what to say and how to describe the value of what you do. A solid brand ladder will make all the difference. It’s what will rocket fuel your opportunities.

In this episode, I’ll talk about 
* What is a Brand Ladder and Why Do You Need One?
* The Five Step Brand Ladder Process
* Crafting Your Value Proposition

What is a Brand Ladder and Why do You Need One?

In all marketing and advertising, we want to write, speak or engage with emotion and values that are aligned with what the clients want to feel and be, because this is appealing and attractive to them.

If you listened to my last episode, you might have heard me mention that 90% of a buying decision is based in emotion, and only 10% is based in logic.

So, how do you create that emotively based value proposition?

Brand laddering is one exercise to help you uncover the right language to develop your value proposition. This tool helps you to unpack the mental and emotional process your potential client goes through as they are becoming engaged to buy, and it leverages coaching concepts including positive psychology, Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, and unpacking the “why behind the why”.

They start from outlining your service’s most important feature, then it’s benefits, the emotional value to the person, and how those benefits and values might change someone’s life.

The Five-Step Brand Ladder Process

Let’s walk through the five-step brand ladder process, so you can use this to create compelling copy and a rock-solid value proposition that is irresistible to potential clients.

Bottom Rung – Features

Features are the factual statements about your service, about what it can do or what it includes, and why it’s the best choice.

This rung answers the question – “so what is this program, and who is it for?”

If your service is a coaching program, then factual statements might include:

· Weight loss program tailored to women in their 40’s

· 8-week, evidence-based program to help you reduce stress at work

You can hear the points of difference here – firstly both are specific to a problem, the weight loss program is tailored to a specific group, or the 8-week program is evidence-based.

These types of statements speak about the strengths or differences of your service and therefore why it is a better choice.

You will notice that the wording is specific, not general. That way there’s no room for misinterpretation or misunderstanding. This is important for all rungs of the ladder.

Second Rung – Functional Benefits

Next are the functional benefits that these features provide. These are the end results of what the service can accomplish for your client.

This rung answers the question – “so what do I get?” or “what’s in it for me?”

Functional benefits are things that help people to:

– Stay connected – e.g. friends, family, socially

– Save money – e.g. reduce time, add value, track success, reduce costs

– Make you smarter – e.g. build skills, support, information, step-by-step process

– Help you be healthier – e.g. prevent, restore, mental health, lose weight, exercise

– Work better for you – e.g. faster, safer, evidence based

– Help you take action – e.g. awareness, motivation, confidence

– Simplify your life – e.g. efficient, easier, time-saving, streamlined, organised.

For a coaching program, these could be things like:

· Making simple changes to your eating habits to help you achieve a healthy weight

· Learning how to better manage your schedule and leave work on time, so you can switch off more easily and have the energy for friends, family and fitness after work.

Notice once again that the language is specific to the client and what their daily life experience might involve. Market research and conversations with your client can help you get there.

Third Rung – Emotional Benefits

Next are the emotional benefits that these functional benefits provide.

This rung answers the question – “how will this make me feel?”

It’s a bit like peeling off another layer of the why in a first coaching session, asking “so if you were to achieve that vision, how would you feel?”

Emotional benefits are commonly things like:

  • Curiosity for knowledge – e.g. competent, smarter, aware
  • Sense of optimism – e.g. motivated, successful, inspired, special
  • Feeling comfortable – e.g. relaxed, nurtured, compassionate
  • Feeling free – e.g. alive, excited, exhilarated
  • Getting noticed – e.g. playful, popular, sexy
  • Feeling liked or self-assured – e.g. friendly, happy, fulfilled, confident, empowered
  • Staying in control – e.g. respect, safe, trust, reliable
  • Feeling myself/my values – e.g. honest, standards, purpose, family, authentic
  • Feeling revitalised – e.g. active, more energized, youthful, getting the old me back
  • Having a sense of pride – e.g. leadership, overcoming, accomplishment

For a coaching program, these could be things like:

· This program is designed to help you feel more confident, comfortable in your own skin and aligned with your values

· By mastering your work schedule, you’ll feel more in control of your time, gain a sense of achievement and have a more relaxed time with the ones you love.

Notice how we are tapping into the client’s aspirations here. We are not promising that the program does this – we are saying how they might feel if they can get on top of their obstacles.

Working with your niche clients to help them create a vision can help you to work out these ‘feeling words’ more specifically.

Fourth Rung – Transformational Benefits

Next are the transformational benefits that are possible when a client can make lasting change.

This rung answers the question – “how will this change my life?”

This is like peeling off yet another layer of the why in a first coaching session, asking “Why is this vision so meaningful for you?”

For a coaching program, these could be things like:

· I’ll be a better, healthier role model for my kids and know that I am doing the best for my health

· I’ll have better, more meaningful relationships with my family, have more fun in life, and perform better at work.

Notice how we are tapping into the client’s deeper values and motivators here. Reflect on how you feel even just listening to these transformational benefits!

(Sometimes) Fifth Rung – Social Impact

Some brand ladders have another layer – related to social impact of the company or even of the person using the company’s services.

This rung answers the question – “how does this change society?”

In a coaching context, this might only really apply to specific niches, but it could also speak to the values of your business and it’s greater mission in the world.

For example:

· XYZ Coaching is on a mission to put an end to diabetes and other avoidable lifestyle diseases. This is your chance to be part of the change and inspire your friends and family with healthier choices for a healthy weight.

· Burnout is a global problem. For every program purchased, we will donate $10 to Beyond Blue, an organisation that supports and advocates for better mental health.

By now, your potential client will feel on a high and be excited to work with you!

Crafting Your Value Proposition

So, how do you use this information to craft a value proposition?

It’s about pulling together the key elements of the ladder into something that speaks to the value of what you do.

Using the weight loss example:

If you’re a woman in your 40’s who is struggling to lose weight, XYZ coaching will take you through a step-by-step process to make weight loss easier. You’ll finally start to feel more comfortable in your own skin and be the role model you want to be for your family.

Using the stress management example:

If you’re sick of feeling overwhelmed by workplace stress, this evidence-based program will help you to manage your time better and feel more energized so you can switch off more easily and have more quality time with the people and things you love.

Summary

The brand ladder exercise is a great tool to help you unpack a statement that truly conveys the value of what you do – your value proposition – and taps into your prospective client’s emotional drivers.

You can build a brand ladder using the words your clients use in their initial vision sessions, by peeling off the layers of the why.

Assuming that you have the best intentions for your client and will do your best as a coach, this is an authentic way to get excited about what you do and the difference you can make in the world.

It helps you to stand out and be emotionally engaging to the right people.

And if you get this right, you’ll easily have more clients heading your way.

Ready to get clarity on your pathway to success?

Understanding who you are and what you need will allow your business to thrive! If you’re truly ready to break old habits and get out of the rut I encourage you to check out the Habitology membership.

Learn more here:

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E#204 How to Better Explain What You Do So You Can Attract More Paying Clients

This episode is about how to better explain what you do so you can attract more paying clients

A lot of coaches have trouble explaining what they do, what health coaching is and how it works. And that’s why I want to get a bit ranty today. We’ll talk about the #1 reason why you may NOT be getting the leads you want, and how best to explain what you do so that you can confidently speak to people and attract more paying clients.

Advocacy vs Niche Marketing

I want to start this episode by talking about advocacy versus niche marketing. The problem I see is that a lot of coaches are so stuck on telling people what health and wellness coaching is BUT they’re not really communicating the value of health and wellness coaching. Let me explain

In this episode, I’ll talk about 
* Advocacy vs Niche Marketing
* Appealing to Emotions
* Brand Laddering
* How to Attract Paying Clients

For starters, people buy things that they believe will get them a result.

But if you are trying to explain your services in terms of how your profession works, then you’re not really talking about how you help the individual or the results they will get.

For example, imagine a doctor explaining how doctors work. He might say something like:

“Well, patients come to see me when they’re not feeling well. They come in and make an appointment and then we sit down and go through the health history, and I work out what’s going on with them now and I may prescribe medication or treatment that will help them to get better. They might come and see me again in a couple of weeks to make sure everything’s been resolved and that’s how being a doctor works.”

Now, I know that’s a really obvious example, but it illustrates what some coaches are trying to do when they’re explaining Health and Wellness coaching to people.

When you talk about helping clients to set visions and create goals and make lifestyle change, then you’re talking much more about how professionals in our industry work within a session with a client.

For the sake of clarity, let’s call this type of explanation “advocacy”.

The term fits pretty well with the dictionary definition of advocacy, which is “the act of pleading for, supporting, or recommending; active espousal.”

How do you know if you’re going down the road of ‘advocacy’ in your marketing?

Well, your copy would include words that focus more on our profession. The language you use would be broader and perhaps more about you as a coach. If you are using more thinking, factual or logical words to describe what you do. He might be also talking about qualifications and standards, professional affiliations, or the science behind what you do.

Let’s be clear – There is a role for advocacy in your marketing particularly if you are talking to other health professionals for the sake of building relationships to gain referrals. But you are not likely to get clients this way directly, because you were not speaking to them emotively in their language.

This is why I’d like to talk about niche marketing now.

Niche marketing is very different to advocacy. In niche marketing, your language focuses more on person, not the profession. You’re using more feeling words and specifically, the words that your clients used to describe their pain points and desired feeling-based solutions. You’re talking about their unmet needs, their perceived problem, how that plays out in their daily life, their desired solution and your value proposition. As a refresher, a value proposition is defined as a basic statement that communicates the benefit you promise to deliver to your customers post purchase.

This is how the hypothetical doctor might discuss his value proposition to a prospective client.

“I’m a Doctor who specialises in helping people who have just been diagnosed with metabolic syndrome, pre-diabetes or diabetes. I understand that being diagnosed with this might be a shock and leave you feeling overwhelmed. Maybe you are confused about your treatment options, mediation and their side effects, or which areas of your health require attention.

I understand how worrying this can be, especially with your work and family responsibilities at this time of your life. As someone who has treated metabolic conditions for 10 years, I am here to help you to navigate your condition, understand what’s going on in your body and take action to prevent the progression of this condition by taking action to lower your cholesterol, reduce your waist circumference, normalise your liver function and improve your physical and mental health.”

Can you hear the difference in the language? Of course, doctors don’t usually describe their work like that or use emotive language.

But if you had a metabolic condition and you heard those two descriptions, one based in more advocacy language and one about the challenges that someone with metabolic syndrome faces, which one would be more appealing?

Which one of those doctors would you trust more?

Appealing to Emotions

As I mentioned earlier, if you want to explain what you do really clearly and in a way that grabs attention then it’s important that you appeal to their emotions. And to appeal to someone’s emotions, talk with emotional words about things that they are emotionally engaged with.

You want to tell a story, but not just any story – you want to tell the niche client’s personal story.

You want to use descriptive and emotive words, and real examples of what the person might be thinking, living, experiencing and feeling. This portrays your understanding of them as a person and not just as a prospective client. This naturally brings a flavour of empathy, compassion, understanding and relatability to your words and messages.

Imagine how confident you’d feel knowing you had something that engaged people at their very heart and soul!

Brand Laddering

So how do you work out how to describe what you do in a more emotive way?

Brand laddering is one exercise you can do to bring more emotive language into your marketing copy, and to make it more about the person than about your profession. I will talk about that in the next episode, but the premise is that it helps you peel of the why’s behind the service.

It helps you to unpack the mental and emotional process your potential client goes through as they are becoming engaged to buy.

It works just like our very own coaching process of exploring the whys. As coaches, we explore a client’s challenge and desired solution with them by asking several why-type questions to uncover their values, motivators and drivers.

More in the next episode! But first, let’s back up a step and talk about a four step process to help you improve the way you describe your services to potential clients.

How to Better-Attract Paying Clients

If you want to get better at attracting paying clients, you will need to switch out of advocacy marketing and into niche marketing.

Here are four steps to better-explain how you work, and more easily engage paying clients.

1. Conduct LIVE market research interviews with your niche to hear what they are emotional about, and to hear the words they use to describe their problem, desired results and bigger why outcomes.

2. Create a brand ladder that captures the key words from these interviews, moving beyond the ‘features’ of what you do and into the emotional and transformational benefits.

3. Use this to craft a value proposition that clearly explains the tangible emotional benefits that your niche client wants.

4. Ask some of your niche clients for feedback on the value proposition. Why do they like it or why not? What does it mean to them? What would be more appealing, if anything?

Engaging people in your niche for feedback is ALWAYS, 100%, the best way to get your marketing copy, your explanation of what you do, and any descriptions of your services, spot on.

If in doubt – contact a business or marketing coach for support!

Summary

Today we talked about what coaches typically do wrong when describing what they do as a profession, and why it doesn’t work.

We compared the more factual, profession-based ‘advocacy’ approach to marketing, versus the more emotive, client-focused niche marketing approach.

Your ability to attract clients is all about appealing to their emotions. If you want to attract more paying clients, try following my four step process:

1. Conduct market research interviews with your niche

2. Create a brand ladder to draw out the more emotional, why-based words

3. Develop a value proposition using more emotive, client-focused words

4. Practice it on your niche before sharing your insights in your marketing

Ready to get clarity on your pathway to success?

Understanding who you are and what you need will allow your business to thrive! If you’re truly ready to break old habits and get out of the rut I encourage you to check out the Habitology membership.

Learn more here:

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E#202 Should I Show Pricing on My Website?

This episode is about should I show pricing on my website?

This is a question that comes up a lot – should I show pricing on my website, or is it better to not have pricing on my website? This episode covers the pros and cons and helps you make this decision.

Recently in my Passion to Profit course, I had a conversation with my current students on whether to include pricing on your website. We had a great brainstorm on the topic including how individuals felt if they were in the customer’s shoes, and I wanted to share some of the insights here.

What do your clients like?

The really easy way to figure this out is to ask your existing clients or practice clients what their opinion is. A client-centric business always starts with this approach.

In this episode, I’ll talk about 
* Getting client feedback
* Price Lists on Websites – Benefits and Inclusions
* Why you might not include pricing on your website

You can either send them a direct message, email or even have a conversation with them and just say “hey, I’m winding whether to include pricing on my website. Would this make a difference to you?” Done just ask any clients, ask your favourite clients. After all, you want more of those, so their opinion matters more!

If you don’t have any clients yet, then think about your own buying preferences, after all, your ideal client is probably a lot like you are in terms of their values.

Imagine that you were going to buy a coaching program from somebody, and you were looking on their website to see what their packages were all about. Would it make a difference if there was pricing there, or not?

Price List on Websites – Benefits, and What to Include

What are some of the upsides of including pricing on your website?

Well for starters, it might seem like you are more authentic, and have nothing to hide. It might seem like you’re very upfront and honest.

Most people assess value based on typical outcomes or results, but pricing is often part of the decision, especially if the person doesn’t know you very well or doesn’t have enough proof or trust that you can help them actually succeed and get results.

If you are going to include pricing on your website, you’d need to make a few things clear. These include things like:

1. What is included in the price (features written as benefits)

2. What are the different package and pricing options? (not too many)

3. What are the payment options?

Let’s unpack these a bit.

What’s included in the price

When we are talking about what is included, it’s tempting to think about features, like workbooks, coaching sessions, etc. And while these are all valuable things, there are ways to describe them that communicate the value clearly.

I call these ‘features written as benefits’. This is where you list a feature and explain why it’s important.

Here are two examples:

1. 8 x 1:1 coaching sessions to give you the support, self-awareness and accountability you need to work out what to do, problem-solve, celebrate wins and become consistent

2. A 20-page workbook to help you develop an action plan, stay motivated and see results

Doesn’t that sound way more exciting than just saying ‘8 coaching sessions and a 20-page workbook’?

I would use this as full descriptive text that goes into detail of what the program includes.

In keeping with consumer protection law, please make sure you are not promising a result that you can’t deliver. Rather, talk about how the feature is intended to help them.

Packaging and pricing options

In terms of pricing options, if you decide to show pricing on your website, make it really clear as to what’s included in each option so the person can see how they’re different.

It’s helpful to include a diagram showing three options and listing what’s included in each.

You can also outline what the market retail price for each option is, and what you are selling it for (e.g. valued at $900, price is $600). This highlights the value of what you are offering without discounting (stay away from that!)

People normally choose the middle of three options, and this is typically your core or main program.

Payment options

In terms of payment options, if you are going to put pricing on your website, it’s important that people know how you will charge them and whether there are options.

For example, is it one payment up front, or three easy payments, or something else?

Sometimes people are interested but don’t have the money upfront, so would potentially buy if they knew there was a payment plan available.

You don’t have to offer a payment plan! And if you do, make sure you have clear terms and conditions, and make it easy for them. This is a whole other podcast, for sure!

Why You Might Not List Pricing on Websites, and What to Include

There may be circumstances where you don’t want to put pricing on your website, and that’s totally ok.

Firstly, a person who sees pricing listed on your website might decide then and there, based on price that they don’t want to work with you – before you have any chance to talk to them about their needs and wants.

That means you potentially lose a customer. Of course, if they are price driven, they might not be the customer you want to work with!

Another consideration is that your program options might be fairly customised and it could be too difficult to communicate easily on a website or landing page.

For example, you might have two or three options for a package that really require an understanding of the person in order for them to make the right choice, so a conversation is necessary first.

Similarly, there might be pre-requisites for a client to complete before they work with you. For example, with my weight loss program DownsizeMe, I required all clients to have a health clearance from their GP before signing up, and that might dictate whether they would buy the program at all, and/or which option is best. I also had this program available via licensees in other states who might have charged different prices, so I didn’t list the price on the website.

If you don’t list pricing on your website, then what should you include?

There aren’t any hard and fast rules, but there are a few things I think are essential to still get enquiries for your services.

Firstly, lots of recent, positive testimonials or ratings are a good starting point. This tells the reader that a lot of people have succeeded as a result of your program, and what they liked about the program. It gets them hopeful and excited, and shifts them into the mindset of ‘value buying’ rather than ‘price buying’.

Secondly, you might like to explain why you don’t list pricing. For example, saying that there are pre-requisites, or options that can be highly customised, or other reasons, would be important to allay any fears of ‘hard sales’ in your website visitor.

Thirdly, you still need to communicate the benefits, value and comparison of your program options, indicating where any tailoring might occur. At least people can see what they’re getting for their money, and you are shifting them into that value-buying mindset.

Fourth, the way you position the enquiry is important. I provide a booking link to a 30-minute good fit call or give them the option to send a contact me message. In my reply, I tell them it’s a chance to see if they’re suitable and if we have the right chemistry – if not, I will be honest and refer them to someone else, rather than set them up for failure. This feels really authentic to me and has been accepted by everyone who has followed this pathway. And there are several I’ve said no to!

Fifth, it can be helpful to put a short video of you on your website (or at least some bullet list points) explaining why you developed this program and who it’s for, and not for. This helps people see that you’re not just desperate for anyone and that you truly are seeking a good fit and to work with the right person – that way, they are more likely to succeed and you’ll both be happy.

Finally, if you want to, you can provide an indicative price range or a statement like ‘programs start from $ (amount)’ so the reader at least has a ballpark guide. This can be effective for getting them over the line.

Summary

It was interesting to have a discussion with my Passion to Profit students on whether to include pricing on your website or not.

We discussed:

· The benefits of including pricing on your website

· The reasons why you might not show pricing on your website, and

· Things to include in either case to position your services and options appropriately.

If you need help with pricing, reach out to me via my contact page for a good fit call.

For enquiries about my Passion to Profit course, click here.

Ready to get clarity on your pathway to success?

Understanding who you are and what you need will allow your business to thrive! If you’re truly ready to break old habits and get out of the rut I encourage you to check out the Habitology membership.

Learn more here:

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E#197 Business Pivoting – Do I Need New Branding and Social Media Pages?

This episode is about business pivoting – do I need new branding and social media pages?

Recently I was asked whether pivoting your niche requires you to set up all new social medial profiles and pages, separate from your existing ones. Let’s talk through this today and summarise a few key points.

No matter who you are, when you start your business, it will take a long time before you truly, deeply understand your niche. Even if you have your own lived experience with your niche’s main problem, your experience of it will be different from theirs.

And as you know, being on a journey yourself means that more and more layers of the onion (as we call it in coaching) are peeled away revealing the true meaning and beliefs behind our habits, thoughts and actions.

In this episode, I’ll talk about 
* What is your brand?
* How to evolve your brand – Option 1 – the Tweak
* How to evolve your brand – Option 2 – the Happy Ending

And invariably, as you peel off those layers and learn more about yourself and your niche, you will likely become more specific about who your niche is. You may even pivot your niche because you finally understand who your best clients are or because you may have outgrown the niche clients that you started with, or realised that some aren’t as committed as others and you want to work with people who are totally all in.

What does this mean for your business?

In short – it probably means you need to rebrand.

What is your brand?

You’ve probably heard the word branding being used in a marketing sense. Your brand includes the images, personality, position, values and traits that your business is known for. Your brand is designed to attract the right type of customers to your business.

When you start your business you have an immature brand, because you have somewhat limited knowledge of your niche and ideal client.

Your brand matures and evolves as you get to know your ideal client.

What I mean by that is that you start using their language in your marketing, using more images that look like them, sharing personal anecdotes that resonate with them, and connecting more deeply. Maybe your customer journey has evolved.

As a result, you set up your website and social media accounts to appeal to those people.

So if you pivot your niche or evolve it substantially, what do you do with all those social media pages?

Do you create new pages and run them in parallel?

Do you move to a different social media platform?

Do you close everything down and relaunch?

How to evolve your brand – two options

Right up front I’ll be clear that I’m not an expert in this – but I have heard the same stories from some true experts.

And here’s the general agreement on how to do it.

Option 1 – Tweaks and specificity

Let’s start with option 1 – you’re going to be more specific or make some upgrades but essentially work with a similar type of client.

Start telling your people that things will be changing around here.

Let them know you still love your followers but they’ll notice you sprucing things up and maybe talking a bit differently or more specifically than you have in the past. Or let them know that you are having a complete change and revamping everything!

If you’re doing a similar version of what you currently do, then let them know that you’re still the same amazing business owner, and you’re still there to serve them as you are right now.

It’s great to email your list and send a personal message about the exciting new change, and create a similar version or a live or reel saying the same thing on social media. Repeat the messages over about a 4 week period so everyone hears about it.

Share your new vision and mission and be excited about it to generate momentum and get your audience Re engaged with you.

It’s important to also know that if your audience don’t feel connected to the new way of doing things, that’s ok, you won’t be offended if they unsubscribe or unfollow. After all, we all outgrow things in our lives, and that’s ok.

After the four weeks, you can start introducing your new branding, messaging and images and weaving it into your posts and communications.

Or, you can make it fun and create anticipation by counting down to a relaunch, and make an event out of it!

Option 2 – The Happy Ending

What if you’re totally pivoting to something completely different and no longer want to work with the old niche, or you’re discontinuing some services?

This is option 2, and it means you’ll need to break up with them, in a way, to draw a line in the sand and be very clear that you are making a complete change.

Still make the announcement and share your new vision, share stories about the good and bad times, and all the success, but draw a line in the sand.

Let them know whether there is a cutoff date at which old programs finish or a date at which you’ll wrap up with certain clients, or you might decide to continue working with some of your original clients simply because you love them.

Whatever you choose, make a clear decision and be transparent and consistent about it.

Don’t create false hope or set weak boundaries. Be honest and upfront about your plans. People will respect your honesty.

Someone who has done a full pivot really well is Denise Duffield Thomas. She ran lucky bitch boot camp for many years and then let everyone know she was closing it down and pivoting into a money mindset course. She closed down her old website and social pages and started fresh – and that makes sense if you are doing a complete and total rebrand into a different area.

Denise had a last hurrah celebration and a big goodbye, and everyone still loved her. Some people left, and some stuck with her, but everyone respected her efforts over the years and her honesty.

Summary

Today we talked about how to pivot your business in a way that is seamless and considerate of your audience – whether that pivot is minor or major.

There are a series of steps to take to make it work properly – but no matter what you do, consultation with the audience is an important part of pivoting without upsetting or losing your audience.

Ready to get clarity on your pathway to success?

Understanding who you are and what you need will allow your business to thrive! If you’re truly ready to break old habits and get out of the rut I encourage you to check out the Habitology membership.

Learn more here:

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E#190 Fear Vs Faith-Based Business

This episode is about fear vs faith-based business

Today I want to talk to you about running your business from a position of fear versus a position of faith. This is such an important conversation to have. If you’re operating from a place of fear, it can really hurt your business. But if you can switch that and operate from a position of faith that you’ll succeed, of optimism, and hope, then it’s a totally different ball game.

If you’re a new coach, if you have just graduated with your qualification, and you are getting ready to start your coaching business or practice, it’s a really exciting time. You have so much opportunity ahead of you!

You have so much enthusiasm about making a difference in the world!

But for a lot people starting out as a coach in business, there is this challenge around self-confidence self-worth and self-value.

In this episode, I’ll talk about 
* What a fear-based business looks like
* HFlipping the Switch
* What a faith-based business looks like

Impostor syndrome is incredibly common.

And that’s why today I want to talk about the impact of starting your coaching business from a position of fear, verses starting your coaching business from a position of faith.

I want to give you some practical tips and tools to help you come from a better place, so that you can build your coaching business easily more quickly and to be more successful.

What a Fear-Based Business Looks Like

I want to start here so that you can see the impact of having this fear-based mindset on both your ability as a coach, and on your business.

From a business perspective, a fear-based approach reduces your ability to make money, attract clients, and get ahead.

A fear-based mentality is a little bit like a circular reference. It might start with impostor syndrome – who am I to coach? I’ve never run a business before – how will I ever succeed?

You might be comparing yourself to others who have spent 10 years of blood, sweat and tears to build their business.

And as a result, you feel like you won’t get things right, or you’ll fail or you won’t be able to find enough clients, or you won’t be good enough.

That puts you into this repeating cycle of not taking action and worrying about the action that you do take – giving your brain the proof it needs that you’re not good enough.

There is a confounding factor in this cycle that I want to alert you to.

Here is a pro tip – If you start working with practice or paid clients who are ready, willing and able to change – even desperate to change – chances are they will love coaching with you and get great results.

A lot of coaches starting out with this fear-based mentality want to find anyone with a pulse!!

But, if the client is not ready, willing and able, they’ll probably be resistant, disinterested, unfocused and uncommitted.

The kicker is that YOU will feel like the failure, but it’s actually probably not you!

See how this fear-based ‘I need any clients I can get!’ mentality is hurting your self-value and self-efficacy – and your business?

The fear-based approach sets you up to start looking for – and finding – evidence of failure. In other words, if focus on your fear of failing, then all you will see is the evidence that this is true.

How does this kind of mindset affect your ability to start marketing your business?

What happens to your ability to proactively go out to meet new people, talk about what you do with confidence, or become a specialist in a particular niche area if your head is full of this negative stuff?

I know that when I started my own coaching business, even though I had been incredibly successful in other businesses, I had that same mindset.

I kept asking myself questions like, where will I find clients, and what if they don’t get very good results, and what if I can’t make a living out of this, and what if I’m no good at this, how would I ever know?

What happened is that I started to get more and more agitated and wound up about not succeeding, and I started to doubt myself, and feel threatened and judged by everybody around me who knew what I was trying to do.

I felt disheartened. For the most part what was going on for me was that I didn’t have a specific enough niche, so people didn’t understand my messaging, and I wasn’t going to the right places therefore to find the people who I wanted to work with.

If this sounds like you, then stick with me because now I’m going to talk about flipping the switch and having a more faith in yourself, and having a more positive attitude to your business so that you can start attracting clients more easily and becoming a better coach more quickly, and make more money.

Flipping the Switch

A turning point for me was doing some research to find out that there was a need and I want in my community. Identifying a need isn’t enough. After all, lots of people need help, but not many are

ready, willing, and able to seek and pay for help. So I had to find those people who were motivated to change and were willing to pay to get my help.

As soon as I did this, everything changed. And it’s a story I have seen time and time again with other coaches who have been successful.

As soon as they committed to one thing that they knew people were willing to pay for, everything changed.

If you do that, you create an upward spiral of thinking and acting positively – and this is how that can play out for you.

My second pro-tip for this episode is to create a little roadmap of how to beat the imposter and get started. Here’s how.

First of all, find some practice clients to work with who REALLY want to change and are ready to do so.

Then, invite interest to be part of a pilot program, which is a safe, confidential environment for you to be imperfect, for them not to expect the world, and to get their honest feedback without too many expectations upfront.

Be vulnerable and let them know it is a test for both of you, and that their opinion and feedback will really help you to help others in exactly the right way.

If you get that combination right – the right people and a test environment – then invariably those first pilot clients will stick with your program and finish it, and then, they will more likely to succeed.

And THEN, they will refer others to you!

Imagine how you would feel having coached a handful of people who really wanted to change, and then were able to succeed and feel and look amazing?

What would your mind be telling you in that situation?

Would it be telling you that you were a failure or that you weren’t any good or that your results weren’t worth the money or anything like that?

Of course not. And that’s the whole point.

Once you start working with the right people and getting some initial results and focusing on them rather than your fears and inadequacies – a totally different region of your brain lights up.

It’s the region associated with positive emotions, optimism, and hope.

What a Faith-based Business Looks Like

For me when I started my coaching business, as soon as I got those clients that were successful initially, I started wondering where can I find more of those people, and how can I share those wonderful results, and how can I help those people to continue to succeed?

The initial results that my first successful clients got totally shifted the language in my head. And instead of focusing on me and my supposed shortcomings, I started to focus on the possibilities of change in my business.

And pretty soon, most of my language was very different.

Instead of asking why can’t I? I started asking how can I?

I had the confidence that what I was doing was working. And I started to look for more opportunities. Everything just unfolded as it was meant to because I was moving forward in my mind.

I was believing in what was possible based on some initial results. And I was totally focused on pursuing opportunities knowing that I had something of value to offer, rather than being frightened of speaking to anybody in case I couldn’t figure out the words to describe what I was doing or in case I couldn’t prove my results.

This is such an important episode. It takes courage and a bit of confidence to take those first steps into your profession, once you get those couple of important wins on the board it gives you the confidence to gain momentum to keep going and getting traction and continue taking action in the right direction.

Your brain will switch from how will I ever do it, into where do I go next?

Of course you will probably need support to face and work on your fears, and probably your own personal and/or business coach.

But please know this – as Henry Ford said – If you think you can, or you think you can’t, you’re probably right.

Summary

Today I covered the difference between a fear-based versus a faith-based coaching business.

One involves getting bogged down in everything you can’t possibly do or succeed in, and keeps you stuck there. And unless things change, you’ll probably fail in your business and as a coach.

But, if you commit to a more faith-based approach, where you develop faith in your method and in your ability to succeed, and you put your clients first and find the right people, it will flick the switch in your brain and reveal a positive path of traction, momentum and success.

Today, I walked you through a simple plan to develop a faith-based coaching business.

What are you waiting for? Go out and get started.

Ready to get clarity on your pathway to success?

Understanding who you are and what you need will allow your business to thrive! If you’re truly ready to break old habits and get out of the rut I encourage you to check out the Habitology membership.

Learn more here:

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E#188 3 Reasons Why Knowing Your Niche is Valuable

This episode is about 3 reasons why knowing your niche is valuable

Why does having a niche and knowing your niche matter in business? Simply, because it allows you to quickly build trust, and rapport and be seen as a specialist or expert, and therefore attract clients more easily. Today, I’ll outline three reasons why knowing your niche is valuable, with some examples, and how you can get to this level yourself.

While marking assessments in my Passion to Profit course, it became clear that some students knew their niche really well. I’d like to showcase the value of knowing your niche by sharing some of the insights presented by students.

In this episode, I’ll talk about 
* Speaking Their Language In Your Marketing
* Matchmaking Relevant Program Content
* Referrals, Referrals, Referrals

Reason 1 – You Can Speak Their Language in Your Marketing

When you understand what your niche is going through each day, you can easily demonstrate that and tell their story in your marketing.

When asked about the type of content they would create for the niche, one student really understood that her audience (busy professionals) were very capable people but often felt alone. They are the type of women that have role models and like learning from other successful women, and they like reputable, fact-based information sources.

Her ideas for content included expert interviews with or by other women, fact-based news and statistics, and some self-assessment tests.

These content ideas are perfectly matched to a professional, capable niche and will likely create better engagement.

Her niche are readers who trust published information written in more formal language, and who expect more professional standard of information.

To that end, she has self-published a book, has developed a newsletter and will be creating a series of videos that match what they need and want.

This coach has also identified that her busy professional audience wants to wind down and get ready for a fun and inspiring weekend, so she plans to create content on Thursdays for posting on Friday – just in time to end the week on a positive note.

What happens when you know your niche so intimately?

You know what they want, can anticipate when and how they want to receive it, and what they need and want to hear.

This builds trust and rapport, and makes you the logical choice as the right person to work with.

When you get to the stage of a ‘good fit’ call, they have often already decided you’re the one they want to work with, because you ‘get’ them and speak the same language.

Reason 2 – You can Matchmake Relevant Program Content to Your Niche

With a niche of busy, stressed professionals, this same student decided that the flavour of her content should be short and to the point (time efficient and easy to read).

In her marketing and her programs, she’s developing shorter forms and surveys using via electronic links to complete and submit online with the press of a button, rather than lengthy documents to fill in.

Her niche tends to feel negative or frustrated, so she will focus on positive statements and reframes to help boost their spirits and bring a bit of spark to their day, and a supportive group that helps them to feel connected and engaged.

Reason 3 – Referrals, Referrals, Referrals

What comes to mind when you think of a specialist?

When I hear that word, I think expertise, a higher price, someone who knows exactly what I’m going through and what I need, and someone who is equipped to help me with every little thing.

Niching down and being more specific allows you to be good at something specific – to become a specialist.

When you run a coaching program that is tailored to a certain type of person, using the content, words and imagery that they more personally relate to, they will more likely commit, persist and succeed with your program.

Of course, this assumes that you have screened and prequalified them first as someone who is ready, willing and able to change!

There is a saying that goes, you are the average of the 5 people closest to you.

What does that mean, in the context of THIS conversation?

It means that your successful clients have at least five friends who are just like them.

In other words, they know at least five people who are also in your niche.

If they have had the experience of personal, specialist experience from someone who ‘gets’ them and even better, has been on the journey or worked with lots of people like them, they will tell ALL their friends, which means referrals, referrals and more referrals.

In my previous weight loss coaching business, I would invite my finishing participants to let their friends and colleagues know about my coming information sessions, and to invite them to attend.

That alone ensured that my next information sessions were fully booked, and resulted in 95% conversion rates on the night.

Summary

Niching down is important not just for client attraction and engagement, but also for client success and results and even better, referral to more people like them (who are your ideal client).

Ready to get clarity on your pathway to success?

Understanding who you are and what you need will allow your business to thrive! If you’re truly ready to break old habits and get out of the rut I encourage you to check out the Habitology membership.

Learn more here:

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E#187 How Exercise Improves Mental Health with Zac Jefcoate

This episode is about how exercise improves mental health with Zac Jefcoate

Today, I interview exercise physiologist and health and wellness coach, Zac Jeffcoate to discuss the links between exercise and mental health, the cost of prevention versus injury management, and how the powerful combination of individualised exercise and coaching can empower improvements, save money and improve quality of life at the individual and workforce level.

MW: I’m pretty interested to start by hearing a bit about what you’re really passionate about.

In this episode, I’ll talk about 
* The links between exercise and mental health
* Why changes are difficult, and how to overcome resistance
*  How individualised coaching and exercise programs can improve health and save money
* The importance of simple steps

ZJ: Well, firstly, that question gets asked a lot, and the way I answer that is, the passion for me is providing exercise and movement. Initially in my career as an exercise physiologist, we can impact people’s lives really positively. And as I progressed in my career, I found that it’s not so much what exercise does, but it’s more the fact of what exercise, obviously, how it improves the quality of life, and how people actually fit that into their day to essentially get to an outcome.

So my passion is actually educating people on the benefits of exercise my solution and what I kind of not sell them what solution is that exercise is a modality that fits into their lifestyle.

And it’s really important that we look at how diet, sleep, exercise, relaxation, and meditation fit into a physical mental model. My passion is really the profession, I’ll be honest with you. It is exercise physiology. And beyond that, it’s obviously providing education to anyone who wants to hear.

MW: Wow. And it sounds like you have quite a broad experience. We were talking just before we started this conversation about all of the things that you’ve done. Can you give us a quick recap of your world tour of Australia?

ZJ: Yeah, well, just I mean, I’ve, I’ve got a bit of ADHD probably. So I do a lot of different things.

Initially, when I graduated in 2008, I was offered a job in mining. Unfortunately, I turned up and I tried a uniform on and the guy said, Sorry, Zac, there’s no work here. We’ve lost the contract that’s mining.

It was a humbling experience. My rejection was the redirection to go on a journey, and I set up two AP clinics in medical centres. They’re a great company so did that for about five years. At that time, I was an ABC radio host, and had a skit on ABC.

I then worked in Surf Lifesaving as a performance coach and as a Cert IV lecturer in fitness. Then, after five years, I went into the Northern Territory in Tennant Creek, and I worked over there for about three months with a company called Body Fit. We provided access to exercise physiology in remote and rural indigenous communities. That was a great eye-opener.

And then after that, I went to Melbourne for a number of years and work down with Angelo and the team in Melbourne, in rehab, and then I had come back to Perth, to take on the role in rehab services.

MW: Wow, you’ve seen a lot of the country and by the sound of things, a lot of different sorts of people in different contexts regarding exercise.

ZJ: Yeah. And it’s the same message. And I guess the challenge is what you know, the message that you’re trying to portray, it’s about linking that to your target audience, or linking that in terms of value. So how does someone who’s recovering from kidney disease take your message, as opposed to someone who’s just been guys diagnosed with anxiety and depression?

So how do you as an AP, or as a health professional, essentially get buy-in or trust with the client? And that’s a hard skill, to be honest with you.

MW: I guess that’s where the coaching approach comes in for you.

ZJ: Definitely. Yeah. And the coaching principles. More importantly, that the client-centred approach is you really have to understand that putting yourself in the other person’s shoes, essentially, the empathetic approach. Second to that, what is it about what you’re offering do they think they need?

I mean, I’ll be honest with you, a lifestyle change is hard. And this is why it’s about the clients we have the range on the spectrum in terms of their levels of health. And it’s really important that when you coach them through each week or each session, they understand that your guiding principle of coaching is really important because of how you do your initial assessment, how you do your follow-ups, and then essentially how you educate them all comes down to that kind of format and modality that needs to really be targeted to them.

MW: I can hear that it’s very personalized, even down to the level of each individual client. That’s what you’re saying?

ZJ: Yeah, a tailored approach. So we don’t do cookie-cutter assessments. You can have two of the same people come in with the exact same diagnosis or a similar history and you need to treat them differently. The approach of, well, for example, the One-Stop approach doesn’t work, especially in coaching and health and wellness, the individuality.

So it’s really important that you understand, this is essentially going through the need to understand the biomedical markers of the person, you could ask them the physiology, and you have to understand the drive and direction in their psychology behind their motivation and their habits. You have to break this down, because what your intervention and what you’re trying to provide a solution won’t necessarily hit the mark if you can address those factors.

MW: It sounds like you have to be across a lot of stuff, generally. And then as well, on top of that the individual needs of the person or being able to identify those and be client-centred at the same time.

ZJ: Yeah, it’s difficult. And I’ve been doing it for 14 years, and I probably am still learning a lot, it probably took me at least a number of years to actually understand how to relate, also understand how to say what, when, and also how to formulate a plan to best suit my client. And this is life experience, number one. Number two, it’s understanding your trade, knowing what you can offer and also really having a thirst or a passion to continue to keep learning.

MW: It’s so important. Absolutely. I wonder if we could talk a bit about mental health because really, in this spotlight at the moment, there’s obviously a link between exercise and mental health. But I’m not sure that a lot of people really understand that link very well. So could you talk to us a little bit about that?

ZJ: Well, I mean, the link, over let’s put it this way, it’s definitely gotten a lot better in terms of the awareness, I think we have to be mindful with exercise and mental health, that there’s a component that they actually go hand in hand. But remember physical health, mental health, what comes first.

I think the main thing is understanding that from a, I guess from a medical model, so for example, in the GP, it’s about providing the lifestyle change. And then from a health coaching, and from a wellness perspective, you’re not just focusing on one part.

So the link between exercise and mental health is actually quite been studied a lot in the last probably three to four years, the rates of depression, anxiety, in particular, schizophrenia, and bipolar.

Also, there’s a lot of evidence in relation to exercise and how it modulates the brain improves, obviously, the feel-good hormone reduces cortisol, which essentially over time, what it does, it gives it a more locus of control, or competence to the client, about what they can and can’t do.

I’ll talk to you from a purely physiological point of view from the way the body responds. It improves oxygen. That’s the first point of Go.

So as we improve oxygen, when hemoglobin, obviously, blood flows for the body, that increases natural feel-good hormones, you need to do that in certain way over time to get a benefit. And the first thing I look at with mental health is called dose-response.

For example, you go walking for 10 minutes, get enough response for your body and change. It’s no different than medication now, where you’ve been diagnosed with depression, and you have 25 milligrams of sertraline or Zoloft. Does that do anything for the body? So it’s this it’s no different.

The second thing is looking at what is it about physical health that when you’re faced with a mental health condition or concern, why does that always go on the back burner? What is it about exercise and movement and eating? Well, so why does that always go to the bottom? And this is the crux of understanding that we need to break the relationship down so people can see the value.

Liking what you read so far? Listen to the whole interview by clicking the links above.

Ready to get clarity on your pathway to success?

Understanding who you are and what you need will allow your business to thrive! If you’re truly ready to break old habits and get out of the rut I encourage you to check out the Habitology membership.

Learn more here:

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E#185 How to Write a Magnetic ‘About Me’ Story

This episode is about how to write a magnetic ‘About Me’ story

Do you want to attract more clients to your business – and the RIGHT kind of clients?

As part of my Passion to Profit course, I ask my students to write an About Me story as a critical part of their marketing. In this episode, I’ll explain how to write it in a way that attracts the right kinds of clients more easily, and with fewer objections.

What An About Me Story Is – and Why It Matters

Statistics show that your About Me story is one of the most-read pieces of content on your website.

So, what is an about me story?

In this episode, I’ll talk about 
* What an About Me Story Is – and Why it Matters
* Four Things Your About Me Story Must Cover
* How Your About Me Story Attracts the Right Clients
* Four Steps to a Magnetic About Me Story

It’s the story that describes your journey from tragedy to triumph, to arrive at where you are today.

It is an emotive story that captures four important things:

  1. Who you are as a person (your personality)
  2. How do you relate to your niche (your story)
  3. Your values
  4. The position and value of your business

In his 2015 book called Dotcom Secrets, founder of Clickfunnels Russell Brunson describes this as an Attractive Character Avatar – a public persona that people immediately relate to and connect with.

Why does the about me story matter?

Well, because first impressions count, and your About Me page is often the first thing people look for on your website. A well-written story builds connection, rapport and trust with the reader.

Four Things Your About Me Story Must Cover

Remember that people buy you, not your service. There are four things that your About Me story must cover in order to build trust and rapport in the reader. It must show the reader:

1. What they have in common with you – in terms of age, stage of life, problem, values, journey and personality

2. How deeply you understand their day-to-day struggles with the problem

3. That you are a role model for success, giving them hope and a sense of what is possible and achievable for them

4. That you have more than just professional expertise, but personal lived experience with an issue – and how best to overcome it.

Think about how much trust that generates!

How Your About Me Story Attracts the Right Clients

Think about any more generic About Me story that you’ve read on a website or one that is full of qualifications.

How did you feel when you read it?

A dry, boring, linear account of your academic history can cause readers to skim at best, and switch off at worst.

Yes, qualifications matter, but it’s personal engagement that actually sells.

By telling a heartfelt, emotive story of tragedy to triumph, the reader will see themselves in your words.

They’ll know that you ‘get’ how they are feeling.

They’ll get to know you a bit more personally, and to understand your personality, values and approach.

By the end of your relatable story, the reader should be clear about how aligned they are with you, and whether you are the right person to help them or not.

In other words, a well-written story can either attract or repel the reader – so you end up with enquiries from people who are pre-sold that you might be a good personality fit for them – and very few mismatches or tyre kickers!

How To Write a Magnetic About Me Story

Start by doing some exercises to prepare to write your story.

If you haven’t had a journey yourself, you might have had experience with many clients in a niche, or friends and family around you with a certain problem.

Your About Me story can convey your story OR your experience with others.

You might like to think about and write some notes about:

  1. Your best and most likeable personal traits
  2. A clear journey that matches the niche you work with (your story, or someone else’s)
  3. Your strengths and values
  4. What matters to you most or your vision
  5. Your struggles (or your client/friend’s struggle) to get there
  6. What the turning point was (for you or your client/friend)
  7. How it felt to make the decision, and what the decision was
  8. The success and how it felt

Once you have done this, you probably have all the elements to write a great story about a journey that you or others have had.

It needs to be real, emotive and compelling.

Here are some tips for getting it right.

1. Start with a defining event

You can draw the reader in with a specific event that triggered a chain reaction.

For example:

“The year I turned 35, I was living my best life. I was travelling extensively for work, partying hard, and playing golf and tennis. Then I married my best friend and we knew we wanted to have kids right away. It would be the icing on the cake of a perfect life.

But after 6 months of trying, we were unable to get pregnant, and it was then that I was diagnosed with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS).

Suddenly my world collapsed, and we were faced with some hard decisions about what to do. We were facing expensive treatment, a hormonal rollercoaster, and no guarantee of success.”

Notice in that example, I outlined how good life was, and how this one specific event was so big that it stopped the person in their tracks.

It covered specific events in a timeline and described all the emotions that were felt along the way. Remember, this could be your story or the story of a client that came to you for help and succeeded (written in the third person).

This part helps the reader connect with you as a person on a similar journey, or who has helped people like them. It is where resonance and trust start.

Are you someone that they could relate to and work with?

2. Define the emotional turmoil

Next, you want to talk about the pain of this – the cost of the struggle. This highlights the personal reasons why getting help and seeking a solution are so important. In doing this, you get to share your values and motivators, which might be the same as your client.

For example:

“We were told by the specialist that if I went ahead with treatment, life would change dramatically. I would need time off work and our income would drop.

I would have to deal with uncomfortable side effects of the treatment. It would make me more emotional, and it would change my body.

My husband and I talked about the consequences. He would have to be the main income earner, and on top of that I would be relying on him for more emotional support.

We would have to decide whether we really wanted kids badly enough to go through with these massive changes and this uncertainty.”

Notice in this example, I am talking about that initial stage of diagnosis and talking about things that the reader with this problem might be going through. The reader who relates to this would be thinking – YES – this person gets it!

This part helps the reader connect with their version of the problem, and to weigh up how big of a problem something is for them right now.

Is the reader going through this too, and are they ready to make a decision?

3. Describing the turning point

Whenever there is a problem that someone is facing, they weigh up the pros and cons of change before deciding what to do, as we heard in that last point.

Humans are driven to avoid pain, so when there are more benefits to change than not, it creates the motivation to act and seek help.

Describing the decision-making and action in detail – what you realised, what was decided, how it felt and what the next steps were – helps your reader to make their own decision, and get some ideas on what getting started might look like.

It also gives them ‘permission’ to ask for help. After all, if a competent role model like you sought help – then the reader might be able to do it too!

On the other hand, what happens if you were to write about how you did it all yourself? It might be off-putting for the reader. They might feel that it’s too hard, or they’re not good enough to do it themselves!

If you manage to weave in the importance and value of getting support, it could help the reader to find the courage to reach out to you. This is important from a marketing perspective (not so much the resonance of the story itself).

For example:

“Being undecided was an excruciating place to be. We needed to make a decision one way or the other, and we both felt so much pressure to choose the right option – but we had no idea what it was! We had so many unanswered questions.

How would we pay for the expensive treatment?

Were we up for this, financially and emotionally?

Could our marriage handle it?

Or could we face a life without kids?

What would that look like?

As our next specialist appointment drew nearer, we decided to go for it. But it would be hard on our own, and between specialist visits. I would need to make sure I was doing everything possible to make my body healthy and better equipped to handle potential pregnancy.

My specialist recommended a health coach who specialised in optimising health for women trying to fall pregnant.

She was amazing – not just in helping me be consistent with positive habits like eating well and exercising safely, but also with the emotional support I needed. She helped me to set boundaries at work so I could finish earlier, get more rest, and also accept that I needed to slow down!

I have achieved so much in so many areas of my life, but without the support of my coach and the community she offered, I would have truly struggled with so many things.

Notice in this example, I am talking about the fear and questions, the process for getting support, and how the support benefitted the person.

This part helps the reader to understand that help is available, and how it helps them get through this situation. It helps to generate hope and optimism, relief and other positive emotions.

4. Amplifying the outcome

Change is hard, and it is often a struggle. It requires focus, dedication and persistence, and to set time aside.

A person will only go through that if there is a reward at the end – and if it’s the reward they want.

Your ability to articulate that clearly, at the end of your About Me story, is essential for helping someone feel ready, willing and able to change – and that you are the right person to help them.

If your reasons and benefits are the same as theirs, they will likely reach out to you for help.

For example:

“Fast forward two years, and we have an amazing little girl who is healthy and happy. We managed to fall pregnant on the second round of treatment, and my coach was invaluable for helping me keep my physical and mental health in check.

 

I went on to study Health and Wellness Coaching, because I wanted to help women like me who were taking that leap of faith, to do so with their best foot forward.

And even though I’m a qualified coach now with a Professional Certificate of Health and Wellness Coaching, I still check in with my coach every 2 – 3 months. I am healthier than I’ve ever been, thanks to her ongoing support.

Right now, she is that objective, non-judgemental person who helps me to navigate the challenges and the joys of raising a baby while running my business. She helps me make better decisions and to be consistent with the habits that keep me healthy and happy.

I have been working with my own clients for 12 months now and am so excited to be doing this important work.

I am so excited and relieved that things worked out. Finally, we get the family we wanted, and we are even talking about baby number 2! For us, making this decision was the best thing we’ve ever done.

If you are reading this story and going through this right now – please take your time to think about all the angles of your decision.

And if you have taken that deep breath and decided to go for it – please know that there are people who can support you and help you through it, regardless of the outcome.”

This part fast forwards to the joy and reinforces the benefits and importance of getting help. It speaks to what’s possible, helps them to connect with the desired outcome, whether you are the right person, and once again, to work out if they are ready, willing and able to do the work.

Summary

Today we discussed what an About Me story is, why it matters, and four things it must cover.

If you get it right, you will build trust and attract the right clients to your business, and they will be ‘pre-sold’ that you are the right person to help them.

There are four parts of a magnetic About Me story:

1. A defining event

2. Defining the emotional turmoil

3. Describing the turning point

4. Amplifying the outcome If you need help to write an About Me story, book a good fit call to see if I can help you. My books are closed to personal clients until July 2022, but I have space in my June Passion to Profit program if you need help to build the foundations of your business. Click the link to learn more about the program.

Ready to get clarity on your pathway to success?

Understanding who you are and what you need will allow your business to thrive! If you’re truly ready to break old habits and get out of the rut I encourage you to check out the Habitology membership.

Learn more here:

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E#182 Three Ways to Find New Customers Even If You’re Just Starting Out

This episode is about three ways to find new customers even if you’re just starting out

Have you been watching other coaches online and wondering how they’re attracting all these clients, while you’ve just got crickets?

Today, I’d like to share three super easy ways to find new customers even if you’re just starting out in business. Your core coaching skills are a key ingredient!

When you’re starting out in business, it feels like you have all these things to do and yet you don’t have any clients. It’s a strange kind of limbo. You’re probably posting all sorts of things in an effort to stand out, yet nobody’s liking, commenting or watching

In this episode, I’ll talk about 
* The Evolution of a Niche
* Leading With Your Why
* Why Listening is Critical
* Niche Content Marketing – Getting It Right

What do you do?

If you’re like most people, you think you need to do another course or learn how to do social media marketing. But like most things, the problem is waaaay upstream of these things.

Let me explain.

Meredith Hill said, “When you speak to everyone, you speak to no one.”

What this means is that if you are speaking broadly and generally, using generic content that covers a lot of topics or problems, then it’s hard for the audience to understand who you are and who you help. People might glance at your content and scroll right past it because it doesn’t speak to them.

Consider the analogy of fishing. Your broad, general content is much like someone standing on the beach with a hook and a pilchard, hoping to catch a fish, but catching nothing.

Next to you, there’s a person who is smashing it online. They’re like the fisher who knows what they can catch at that particular beach, and they have the right hook and bait to catch that fish. If they’re catching tailor, it’s probably a gang hook with a pilchard. But if they’re trying to catch a mulloway, fresh or even live bait like yellowtail is better.

Hopefully, you’re getting the picture – the more you know about who you want as a customer or client, the easier it is to be visible and connect with them in your marketing.

This is what ‘finding your niche’ is all about, where your niche is a problem that exists, that certain types of people are desperate to solve, and will pay money to get help with.

Just like the fisherperson using a specific rig and bait to catch a certain fish, knowing your niche means you can go online and speak about specific topics to attract specific types of people who have specific problems – and in doing this, you stand out like a beacon to them, making it easy to be seen, trusted and purchased from.

So, how do you get started?

The Evolution of a Niche

If you’re in the process of career change, have just completed a training course in a totally new area and you’re starting a business, with no prior experience – please take a moment to acknowledge that that’s a pretty steep learning curve!

And just like you can’t go out beach fishing for the first time and expect to know everything about tides, weather, gutters, rigs, and which bait to use, please know that you can’t expect to know or perfect your niche and connect with them easily when you’re first starting out!

Your niche WILL evolve over time. The way to even start defining your niche is by actively speaking to people, using your coaching skills in daily life, and working with practice or paid clients.

Your clients are your teachers. You can start to notice common trends in the conversation, which people you have the best rapport with and how they describe their problems.

This is the evolution of a niche.

As you get more and more experience in using your coaching skills, you will get more and more clarity about your niche.

In my experience, there are three levels of niche clarity:

1. You are totally clear on your niche.

This is usually because you have been engaging in your own or other groups about this problem, have a lot of experience with clients who have a specific problem, or have been on your own journey as part of a group.

2. You have some level of clarity on your niche.

This is usually based on a passion you have or experience with a specific problem area that is meaningful to you. In either case, you can do market research to further your understanding of your niche person and problem, and work out what they want your help with, so you can find the common ground.

3. You have a great idea but have no clue on who would need or want it.

If you’re really stuck wondering how to attract customers, you’ll need to get started with something. Beyond working with practice clients there are three ways you can start to work out your niche and attract new clients online, beyond just doing practice coaching.

1. Start with your why

When posting online – any kind of post – focus on your why, values and passion area.

One thing’s for sure – when you get ranty and fired up about something, some injustice or area of need, that sense of conviction will be appealing and attractive to the right people. It’s the values and beliefs that we have in common with others, that create attraction between us.

In other words, people form relationships because of shared values. When you lead with your why you put your values on display. This gives people an insight into who you are, and they can work out if you are someone they would like to know more about.

By zooming in on your why, you can find some things to talk about and start to create ideas on specific topics of interest.

The key word here is specific. Having a why of ‘wanting to help people’ is pretty vague. Be more specific at least about an area of health and wellbeing, like weight loss, or exercise, or mental health.

Assuming you are on a social media platform where people can search for content topics easily, you can experiment with why-driven posts to see which ones get the most engagement.

2. Start listening and reflecting

Once you have identified a few topics, do a little live and online research to gain opinions and insights, and to see how engaged other people are with those topics.

For example, if you’re getting ranty about impostor syndrome, or weight gain after 40, or anxiety in menopause, what are other people saying and thinking about those things?

Take your coaching skills out into the world and ask people for their opinions. Notice how fired up they are too – or not. See the problem from their point of view.

How big of an issue is that thing for them? Why or why not?

What is their magic wand solution?

What possibilities might open up, if they could solve that problem?

As you do this work, notice the physical shifts you experience. Notice which topics or particular conversations excite you, grab you by the heart, or make you irritated.

And most importantly, notice how your sense of clarity and confidence develops as you talk to people about what matters to them.

3. Explore niche content marketing

The third way is to explore what’s in the news and social commentary about niche content that’s already out there. This is a slower, longer-term game compared with live conversations.

Think about whether online research is an initial project to help you understand your niche, or whether you will continue building information and content over time as part of your marketing. If you have skills and strengths in research, detail and writing, then this might be a good strategy.

Here are some questions you could ask yourself while exploring niche content online:

  • What are the most popular angles being talked about?
  • Where is the gap?
  • Do you agree, or disagree? Why?
  • Which posts or episodes make you irritated or frustrated? Why?

Write down all the things you like, agree with and disagree with.

Then, look for qualified facts to back up your views, for example, from Google Scholar, or recognised institutions.

Check in with yourself to work out which topics are most meaningful and interesting to you. These are the ones that will create a natural energy that is attractive to your audience.

Based on the topic or related topics you have identified, develop some blogs, live videos or podcasts that map out the problem, and outline 2 – 3 things that back your position.

Then, you’re ready to promote these topics to your audience – but not all at once!

For example, let’s say that you are really into natural methods of managing and avoiding stress, and you are super interested in managing the nervous system.

You’d talk about one or two related topics per month over a series of months.

Start your first month talking about one topic in-depth online and offline – in this example, let’s say you focus on comparing different breathing techniques to manage stress. You could find research papers and share the findings, and also your own experience.

Note which conversations or posts get the most interest.

In the second week, start refining the conversations to focus on the specific parts of the topic that are most popular. For example, you might find that people have been talking about the 4-7-8 technique because it’s been in the news and was developed by a Harvard-trained medical doctor, Dr Weill, so you could ask for people to comment on their experiences or insights about the technique. This will get engagement and organic reach.

If you wanted, you could collate all your insights from the month and do a live presentation or in-depth blog at the end of the month. Invite people to attend, invite comments and/or sharing through your networks. The next month, you might start talking about something that goes a bit deeper, like polyvagal theory, which is related to and goes deeper into the topic of the first month.

The first thing that happens here is that by posting on specific topics, you will either attract “your people” – the people who like and trust you based on your messaging and promotion – or you will attract people who are curious and interested in your topics.

You will also be ignored by people who aren’t interested – but that’s a good thing!

This process takes you closer to understanding and clarifying who has the problem that you can help to solve, and what the problem means to them in their lives.

Over the series of months and topics, you will find out which topics are most interesting to your audience, what types of people like each topic, what their main challenges are, and you will be closer to defining your niche.

Over a longer period, you can refine your content and topics to meet the audience, and you can also go back and update older content you created so it is more up-to-date and polished.

Summary

When you’re new to the business, it can be easy to compare yourself to others and wonder why they seem to be so successful, when you’re just getting crickets.

If this is you, remember that your clients are your teachers. By using your coaching skills in daily life, and by working with practice clients, you will start to get a deeper understanding of the people you want to work with, and what sorts of common problems they have that you can help with.

At the same time, you can do three things online to fast-track your understanding.

You can:

1. Develop posts and content built around your why (be specific)

2. Start listening to what people say (live and online conversations) and reflect on the trends, and which topics and people light you up.

3. Explore niche content marketing, by assessing what is in the news, what is a hot topic right now, and which posts irritate or inspire you. Then, start developing content around specific topics that are relevant and meaningful to you and your potential audience and start getting a sense of their reactions.

Live conversations take the least amount of time, whereas online research is more time-consuming and takes longer to engage your niche. Reflect on your skills and strengths to help you decide which way to go.

Welcome to the evolution of your niche! If you need help to understand, define and connect with your niche, book a good fit call to see if I can help you. My books are closed to personal clients until July, but I have space in my June Passion to Profit program if you need help to build the foundations of your business.

References

Balogh, A. Polyvagal Theory: A Simplified Explanation. Swan Counselling website accessed 28.2.22. https://www.swancounselling.com.au/polyvagal-theory-a-simplified-explanation/

Cuncic, A. October 2021. What is 4-7-8 breathing? Very Well Mind website accessed 28.2.22 https://www.verywellmind.com/what-is-4-7-8-breathing-5204438

Shatto, R. May 2019. Here’s Why Shared Values Are so Important in Couples, Experts Say. Elite Daily website accessed 28.2.22. https://www.elitedaily.com/p/why-are-shared-values-important-in-relationships-experts-weigh-in-on-this-common-thought-17917975

Passion to Profit Program: Wellness Coaching Australia Website https://www.wellnesscoachingaustralia.com.au/business-resources/passion-to-profit/

Ready to get clarity on your pathway to success?

Understanding who you are and what you need will allow your business to thrive! If you’re truly ready to break old habits and get out of the rut I encourage you to check out the Habitology membership.

Learn more here:

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E#181 The Skills of Connection

This episode is about the skills of connection

If you want to operate a business, any business, but especially a coaching business, your ability to connect with people is a key skill that you need to learn. I want to share some insights on the skills required to build connections and some tips on how to become better at connecting with prospective and actual clients.

What is Connection?

Connection is the attachment and relationships we form with others. It is essential to human survival, and it helps us feel aligned with ourselves and others.

Connecting with others helps us to build trust and rapport – and these are two VERY important criteria for someone to buy from you.

Think about the last time you bought a service – price aside, why did you buy from that particular person?

In this episode, I’ll talk about 
* What connection is
* The skills of connection
* Practicing and developing the skills
* You don’t need a marketing course to learn connection
* Putting yourself out there

Chances are, it was because you felt a connection – a sameness, or alignment of values or experience – that helped you to have enough trust to want to work with them.

I have a couple of my own examples.

Once, I hired a business coach who was younger than me and who had only been in business for two years. She has the specific experience that I didn’t have, but the whole time, I had discomfort and uncertainty around her overall business knowledge and therefore, her value as a professional. It was a short-term arrangement.

Much later, I worked with a business coach who was a similar age and had a specific experience that I didn’t have….but she is a lot more like me in personality. She also has 10 years of experience in her specific craft with a proven track record, a coaching qualification, a team working for her, and a book published. It was also a short-term arrangement, but I constantly refer others to her, promote her and would willingly go back to her, and may even approach her for a strategic alliance in future.

The subtleties of our personality fit, values and professional ethics are incredibly influential and powerful in our business relationships. Knowing how to connect is therefore critically important.

It’s about more than just attracting clients – it’s also about knowing who ISN’T your client.

What are the Skills of Connection?

Strong connections are built on good communication, common ground and a common, meaningful purpose.

If you want to build your skills in connection, you need to know what the skills are and find ways to practice them.

Skills

The skills required for creating connections could include:

  • Active listening (being able to listen intently to what is being said – without thinking of what you will say next)
  • Empathy
  • Asking positively-framed, big-picture questions
  • Reflecting back on what you hear someone say
  • Reframing, i.e. even though (negative), there is still (positive)
  • Having respect for the other person as the expert in their own life
  • Seeing the other person as resourceful and able to find their own solutions
  • Being able to identify shared values or beliefs in something
  • Clarity on your vision and values
  • Leadership
  • Self-regulation (the ability to regulate your emotions & behaviours regardless of what others say or do)
  • Trusting yourself

You may notice that these skills relate largely to the ICF core competencies #4 – cultivating trust and safety, #5 – maintaining presence, and #6 – listening actively. I’ll include a link so you can access them and see the full details.

Being able to truly listen to and understand another person is a key starting point for building connection.

But that last point is also important – it’s trusting yourself and feeling confident enough to initiate conversations.

What do I mean by this?

Well, consider how own confidence affects your ability to start conversations. How important is that for you?

What helps you to feel more confident?

I would hazard a guess that it’s about three things:

1. practising the skills

2. developing self-efficacy in your skills, and

3. regular exposure to new people.

Let’s talk about how to do that.

How to Practice and Develop Your Connection Skills

No matter what your starting point, you can learn and improve your communication skills and become better at making connections.

Practising the skills can be done in a number of ways. I will brainstorm a few ideas with you here.

1. Pick one skill and polish it up

This is a good method if you’re a fairly confident person and a self-starter kind of person.

Firstly, you can choose one of the skills (like active listening) and practice it over the next week with someone you live with or someone at work. Then at the end of each day, write a reflection on how you went, and what you learned.

Once you feel you have made some progress you can dive deeper, or you can pick another skill to add to the mix.

Remember, it’s not just about mastering the skill – it’s also about making it a habit, so don’t rush this process. It takes around 83 days on average for a habit to become automatic – take your time and do it well.

2. Watch and learn

This is a good method if you’re a bit less confident or are a kinaesthetic or interactive learner.

Secondly, you can research coaching or other videos, or identify people you know who have a skill you want to learn and watch how they do it.

All animals learn through mimicry and play, including humans!

Setting aside time each week to study and observe others is a great way to ‘see how to do it’ before you start practising for yourself.

There are plenty of videos on YouTube that can help, or your coach training organisation may have sample videos for you to watch and deep dive into.

3. Find a mentor

This is a good method if you lack experience and are not very confident in yourself or your skills.

There are plenty of coaches around who offer free or paid mentoring.

Practising your connection skills at a more professional level is incredibly helpful if you want to get some live feedback and tips as to whether you’re doing it right.

4. Join a Community of Practice

Community of Practice (COP) is something that many coaching associations offer as an opportunity to build and practise specific skills with other coaches.

For example, ICF members have access to free and low-cost sessions, 1 – 2 hours long, where you learn about and practice specific core competencies.

I recently attended one of these that was free to ICF members or $50 for non-members. It focused on maintaining presence, ICF core competency #5, and it was a lot of breakout room work for practice conversations with other coaches of varying levels of experience.

I gained a lot of insight into how I can improve my presence and got practice with building connections.

You Don’t Need a Marketing Course to Learn Connection

I know I said earlier that connection is an essential skill that you need to run a business – but you’ll notice I didn’t mention anything about marketing training or courses here.

That’s because connection is useful in marketing, but I feel it’s better developed in a more personal environment that focuses on core communication skills – like the coaching industry offers.

Putting Yourself Out There

Although you might be shuddering at the thought right now, the next step is to start meeting a wider circle of people to practice your skills.

Your ability to build a business relies on your ability to build new connections that might connect you with potential clients, or who might be potential clients themselves.

Finding ease in communication and conversation can break down a lot of those confidence barriers and make it much easier for you to start approaching people you don’t know, or don’t know well. To help you on this journey, I suggest you go back to episode 56 of this podcast, about icebreakers. Once you have polished up your connection skills, learning how to start conversations is a logical next step.

Summary

Today, we talked about connection and its relevance in building your coaching business.

Connection is defined as the attachment and relationships we form with others, and it is something that builds trust and rapport – two very important criteria for having someone buy from you.

The skills of connection are simply related to many of the core coaching competencies, particularly in terms of building trust, maintaining presence, and listening.

You also need to trust yourself and feel confident enough that you can have conversations with people – and the only way to build that trust and confidence is through practice.

We covered four ways to practice and develop your connection skills, including:

1. Picking one skill (at a time) and intentionally practising it

2. Watching and learning from others

3. Finding a mentor

4. Joining a community of practice.

It may seem like you need to learn marketing skills in order to learn about connection with potential clients – but this simply isn’t true. It’s the coaching competencies and practice that will help you develop good communication skills, and marketing becomes an extension of that skill set.

From there, learning how to break the ice will equip you to go out into the big, wide world, and start building connections with your newfound skills.

THIS is actually the secret to building your business.

References https://coachfederation.org/core-competencies https://anchor.fm/habitology/episodes/E56-5-Steps-to-Engaging-Icebreaker-Conversations-e57458

Ready to get clarity on your pathway to success?

Understanding who you are and what you need will allow your business to thrive! If you’re truly ready to break old habits and get out of the rut I encourage you to check out the Habitology membership.

Learn more here:

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E#175 Does Your Business Need a Website?

This episode is about if your business needs a website?

A lot of graduate coaches get focused on having and launching a website because we are told that having an online presence is essential to business success.

But is this important? Does your business need a website?

Let’s talk honestly about this so you can take a breather and get clear on exactly what you need to do, and when.

The Reality

There are two realities when it comes to business websites.

Firstly, you need to know a lot about your intended audience, and you need to have spent enough time on income-generating activities to know the value you bring to your audience.

In this episode, I’ll talk about 
* The two realities of business websites
* A simple website readiness quiz to work out if you’re even ready for a website
* Some ‘for now’ options that are just as good, if not better!

Secondly, when you hit ‘publish’ on the website, it will end up on page 7 gazillion on a Google search. Nobody will know it’s there – so you will need to have a plan to promote and market your website.

What this means is that if you are fairly new to the business, and/or lack client experience, you have a lot of work to do before even considering building a website.

Otherwise, you risk spending a huge amount of time and money on something that won’t generate you any income, delays your getting experience and reviews, and isn’t visible to the outside world.

I have prepared a website readiness quiz to help you get clarity on where you are at. See how you go with answering these questions and check your score at the end.

Website Readiness Quiz

Let me ask you a few questions before we answer this question.

1. How long have you been running your business – or are you brand new?

2. Do people know what you are capable of?

3. What sort of people do you attract?

4. What does your business stand for?

5. Do you have clarity on your niche?

6. Do you truly know and understand your niche client?

7. Can you describe your niche client’s problem and solution clearly, in their words?

8. Do you know their specific desired outcomes in their words?

9. What format is your program?

10. Which dates are you running your program this year?

11. What is your lead magnet for the program?

12. When are your marketing campaigns running – and on which channels?

13. How and where will you promote your website?

Here’s how to score yourself for these questions.

If you could answer all 13 questions clearly and easily, then your business is probably ready for a website. You have a clear offering, clarity on your market, what they want help with, and probably some level of traction and proof of success.

If you could answer 7 or more questions clearly and easily, your business is not quite ready for a website. You need to do some pilot or beta testing, market research and/or planning to truly understand how to position your business on a website, and/or where to promote it.

If you struggled to answer even 7 of these questions, your business is clearly not ready for a website. You need to do or get help with many of the business basics, to develop a blueprint for success, get some experience and start earning an income before you are ready to create a website.

So, If Not a Website, Then What?

It’s super easy to create an online presence and credibility without the time and expense of a website.

Three cheap, very effective options are:

1. Create a professional-looking LinkedIn profile for your business, with good quality photos and descriptions of how you help your clients. You can also ask clients to give reviews on this platform which lends credibility, trust and social proof.

This option is great if your business targets clients in professional roles or corporate settings, or where your leads come from professional networks such as allied health.

In these cases, professionalism is especially important, and a good LinkedIn profile can convey this.

2. Create a professional-looking Google My Business profile for your business, same as above. You can ask clients to give 5-star ratings on this platform which boost your Google visibility.

This option is great for businesses targeting a local area (e.g. your local shire) and/or if your marketing strategy will focus on publishing, guest blogging, blogging, SEO or other online strategies.

It can be an easy entry point for more introverted people who feel exhausted at the thought of daily interaction on a social media platform, or for those who are not on social media.

3. Start a social media following (e.g. Facebook or Instagram).

This option is great if you love being on social media and are a people person, love being in groups, and are extraverted or get a lot of energy from others.

It suits clients who are extraverted and love engaging online, being active in groups, and getting value from a lot of support and interaction from you and their peers.

Summary

Does your business need a website? As you can see, it depends on which stage of business you are in.

If you are brand new, without a track record, it makes sense that you choose a quicker, easier option to gain online visibility.

Then, when you have a track record, experience, a better understanding of your niche, and some social proof – you will have all the information and clarity you need to launch a website that will actually work for your business.

If you need help with understanding your audience, enquire about my February or June Passion to Profit Course intakes, where we go through the foundational work behind understanding your clients, your best marketing strategies and marketing channels.

Ready to get clarity on your pathway to success?

Understanding who you are and what you need will allow your business to thrive! If you’re truly ready to break old habits and get out of the rut I encourage you to check out the Habitology membership.

Learn more here:

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E#163 Early Warning Signs of Mental Health Decline

This episode is about early warning signs of mental health decline

October is mental health month, and I am in the thick of Mental Health First Aid training. If you haven’t heard of this, it’s a fabulous course that equips you with some basic skills to more easily identify and directly help people who are struggling with mental health.

In celebration of this important month, I decided to share some of the common early warning signs of mental health decline.

A Few Facts

Let’s start with a few basic facts.

Mental health challenges affect your brain, your body and your behaviour. 

In this episode, I’ll talk about 
* A few facts about mental health
* What are the signs of mental health decline?

Chronic stress is a precursor to mental health conditions. It can affect your brain, shrinking the hippocampus, and subsequently decreasing your memory, mood and learning ability.

The early warning signs and symptoms of chronic stress and subsequent mental health decline may be subtle and highly individualised. 

They may not be detected or reported until a crisis state is reached, and in that sense, it can be difficult to identify people who are at risk (1) .

Physical and Physiological Signs of Stress and Mental Health Decline

  • Tiring more easily 
  • Being tired all the time
  • Feeling sick and run down
  • Headaches
  • Persistent/resistant muscle aches and pains
  • Increased or decreased reaction times
  • Changes to sleeping patterns
  • Weight loss or gain
  • Dishevelled appearance
  • Gastro-intestinal issues.

    Behavioural Signs

    Behaviours associated with mental health concerns include:

    • Not getting things done
    • Unusual emotional responses
    • Inappropriate complaints about lack of management support
    • Inappropriate focus on fair treatment issues
    • Inappropriate complaints about not coping with workload
    • Withdrawing from colleagues
    • Reduced participation in work activities
    • Increased consumption of caffeine, alcohol, cigarettes and/or sedatives
    • Inability to concentrate
    • Indecisiveness
    • Difficulty with memory
    • Loss of confidence
    • Unplanned absences
    • Conflict with others
    • Inappropriate use of grievance procedures
    • Increased errors and/or accidents.

    Many of these are ‘invisible’, may be easily mistaken for other conditions, or could be interpreted as non-significant, single events. It is only in a face-to-face (or virtual) interview with a mental health professional, who looks at a cluster of symptoms, that mental health concerns may be assessed and properly diagnosed.

    Outside of a clinical setting, or when workers are remote, it is difficult for peers, managers, clients (or for the individual themselves) to identify mental health risks.

    The stigma around reporting mental health issues is part of the issue, and this is indicated by the underuse of employee assistance programs (EAPs). 

    We know that 20% of people of working age will experience a mental health concern in any given year, yet typically only 5% of employees (across all sectors) access EAPs for mental health concerns[4],[5].

    For these reasons, mental health diagnosis is often reactive and comes too late, when things are at a crisis point.

    Filling the Gaps

    It can be tricky to know what to do when someone you know or love has these sorts of signs or symptoms.

    The best thing you can do is let them know tactfully, and directly, that you have noticed a change in their behaviour, and to ask how they are feeling.

    Better still, enrol for the Mental Health First Aid course. It’ll equip you with skills to better deal with your clients, your friends, family or coworkers.

    Summary

    Mental health can decline secretly and silently, affecting your brain, your body and your behaviour. Chronic stress is a precursor to mental health conditions. 

    The journey from not coping with stress to mental health decline can be subtle and highly individualised, and hard to see until it’s too late. 

    Today, I  described some of those signs and symptoms, and talked about mental health first aid, a course that can equip you with the skills to identify mental health concerns early on and help people in need to take charge and get back on track more easily.

    [1] https://returntowork.workplace-mentalhealth.net.au/

    [2] https://mhfa.com.au/

    [3] Robert M. Sapolsky. Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers: An Updated Guide To Stress, Stress Related Diseases, and Coping. 3nd Rev Kindle, 2004. W. H. Freeman ASIN B0037NX018

    [4] https://www.pwc.com.au/about-us/insights/non-executive-directors/mental-health.html

    [5] https://www.businessfirstmagazine.com.au/finding-health-and-wellbeing-in-the-workplace/16285/

    [6] https://www.ihealthcareanalyst.com/government-initiatives-public-awareness-propel-preventive-health-care-technologies-services-market/

    Ready to get clarity on your pathway to success?

    Understanding who you are and what you need will allow your business to thrive! If you’re truly ready to break old habits and get out of the rut I encourage you to check out the Habitology membership.

    Learn more here:

    Posted on

    E#143 Just Be Yourself and Be Authentic in Marketing with Natasha Berta

    This episode is about just being yourself and being authentic in marketing with Natasha Berta

    MW: Hi Natasha. So great to see you and thanks for being here on the podcast today.

    NB: Hello, it’s lovely to be here, we’re so smiley. If you’re listening on the podcast, you’re not going to see our gigantic smiles of happiness to see each other but if you’re watching the YouTube version of this clip then you might.

    MW: Now, I just love chatting to you and I think a lot of people listening to this would have heard our last session. But can you just introduce yourself just in case there’s a new listener that doesn’t know how awesome you are.

    In this episode, I’ll talk about 
    * Marketing
    * How people think and handle their marketing

    NB: Oh yes. I have a little tiny marketing agency called Connected Marketing which I’ve just branched into having a team in the last couple of years and it finally just felt weird to not just be called Natasha Berta anymore because I was saying I was doing things but actually just was helping so that’s exciting. And I would say that I mostly focus on our online presence. And so by that, I mean your website or your social media or however it is that you connect with your audience and also growing your audience and I love doing that with Facebook ads. Jess helps with things that people don’t want to do like turning their blog in 250 million social media posts and spreading them all around the universe.

    And what else do I mean? I love email marketing. I love all the tech of marketing I would say, mmm, that’s the bit you all hate. That’s why I’ll get you guys and your team to do my stuff.

    MW: Yes, I hate all that stuff.

    NB: A lot of people do not like it and no wonder because it’s like minutiae and you just want to get on and do your work, like your zone of Genius stuff.

    MW: Right. And I guess anyone listening to this podcast is going to be like me and think I’ve got to create posts and what a drag. So I make sure I put your details in the show notes.
    And so, we are going to get a bit ranty today, right?
    NB: Probably we’re going to talk about that old, imposter syndrome, that all that old judging yourself, comparing yourself to other people and say “well, why do you think you have to be like everybody else out there?”
    What’s your first thought when you hear that, if you don’t have a strategy, you’re going to be like a little boat in a big sea just getting tossed around. You know, like the times that I get that, I imposter syndrome, like “what should do – this or that is” when I don’t have a proper plan and then I’m very vulnerable to, you know, marketing of people trying to sell me things or I’m taking advice from multiple people and just getting really confused and I would say it’s so important.
    It doesn’t mean you have to do what I say or you have to do what Mel says, or you have to do what any big-name person says. It’s just that you should choose one and just give it a red-hot go for, probably at least three months, maybe 12 and that when I have a strategy, I feel so impenetrable.

    I see people’s marketing and I’m like, it’s like an Iron Man suit or something. Like I just, it just washes off me and I don’t feel any compulsion to leap at it. I might look at what they’re saying and be interested but it’s so easy for me to resist because this my plan is to create a bunch of small courses and to leverage my business through selling courses on a one-to-many level. So I’m trying a different kind of leverage. I’ve tried a few different things and this is my year of making little courses and selling them one-to-many.
    So because I know that that’s my strategic move for this year, there have been a couple of funny things. Like I saw the Big Shiny tender for the $5,000 website or $15,000 pitch to someone and I start with her for a few days and I just thought, actually no – I’m doing this course thing, if I start bridging out and getting distracted I’ll go off course.
    And then my, my strategic plan hasn’t gone as well because I diluted my attention. So, I feel really excited that this year, I’ve got a fantastic strategy that I’m in love with, I’m fully committed to, and yeah, I’m undiluted.

    MW: Funnily enough, that’s my strategy for this year.
    NB: I think it depends on what stage of business you’re at. So, I think it’s helpful to build up one-on-one clients first.
    MW: Absolutely with one-on-one first.

    NB: And then once you’re fully booked this, an obvious next step is to scale and grow.
    MW: And I think the other thing too, is that it’s easy to get wrapped up in somebody else’s success. But you also have to look at your own things. Like I see so many people go “I need to have a Facebook group and I need to be in there every day and I need to learn how to do that.” But if you hate Facebook, you’re going to hate showing up for work every day and it’s like, why do you have to be like everyone else? Why can’t you just do it your way? Like for me I’ve figured out what I like to do is podcast and turn that into a Blog and have your team, put it out there on social media as snippets on Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram. So that’s what I do. And I lead people to an information session or a free call.
    I’ve stopped doing my email newsletter list which some people might say, oh, that’s terrible, but I’m doing it my way and I’m going to roll with it for the next 12 months and see what happens.
    NB: I’ve just posted about this last week on social media as well, especially for people who either have another job and then their coaching or consulting little baby business is sort of a side thing or if you’re a mother and any kind of business of your side thing, you can’t follow certain people on social media because they don’t have kids or they don’t have a side hustle, they have 40 to 60 hours a week to dedicate to their business baby and you simply cannot achieve. What they can achieve in half the time with this psycho-emotional pressure of this other thing like for parenting.
    It’s very intense having other people in your life and if you have another business then you’ve got or, you know, or a job, you’ve got all those people take your energy as well. So it’s just noticing what’s your energy resource of time or money and making smart choices with that and just turning some people off like you just have to choose not to follow certain people.
    Now, when I think certain people, I just scroll past. I’m like, I like you. I love you. I dig what you’re doing but you cannot serve me right now. It’s going to mess me up if I try and take your advice.
    MW: So that’s a really important point that you’ve kind of touched on a couple of times now is that you’re clear on what you’re doing. And you’ve got to keep that front of mind and let that guide your decisions as in, “No, I’m going out of my lane if I follow that person know I’ve got a switch that off. No, I got to stay focused on what I can do.
    NB: And I think a key piece that backs that is the business Vision which I know you are so good at covering like I’m really clear about what kind of business I want. What kind of days I want? How sustainable? I want my business life to be?
    Two years ago when I would do business Vision, it would be really vague and I just didn’t get it, but I guess after a long enough in business, you have enough days where you’re cracking your own whip, you’re not eating, you’re not exercising, your burning yourself out that you come to a point where you’re like oh that’s my vision for my business is actually to feel good to eat well too, rest myself and for it to be sustainable.
    And something that I actually want to even do next year.

    MW: That’s such a good point and you know, you wonder why do people fall in the hole? When you create a vision at first and you’re not familiar with meeting your own needs, even like health and wellness coaches, who know this stuff, still do it, right. But they’re comparing themselves with people who’ve got a 10-year established track record in business and they go “I’ll never be that person.”
    But it’s like any other part of health and wellness. It’s like somebody who wishes they could lose 30 kilo and they’re comparing themselves with a size 8 person or somebody that says, oh, I wish I was fit as that marathon runner. They’re just looking at the end result after hours and hours and hours of persistence and hard work.
    And I think that’s that important part of the vision is to say, maybe I aspire to that but what I want to achieve now, and what I need to do to get there, what a my strengths like, you can definitely learn by the way, somebody else does something but you don’t have to follow their exact process to the letter and like in health and wellness coaching, we say, oh there’s no cookie cutter approach.
    And yet when it comes to marketing and business, everyone wants to follow a cookie cutter approach, it’s so funny.

    NB: Well, that makes me think of that like weight loss as a metaphor. It’s like everybody has a different Constitution. Like I’m only five six but I weigh 85 kilos. I’m not that fat honestly at the BMI just the nightmare for me. But even if I lost 30 kilos, I would still just look like I would, I would still just look a lot like this, you know, like maybe my tummy and my bum would be slimmer. My face would be a tiny bit slimmer and I’m just never going to be a size 8.
    So business-wise, if I look at someone who’s really great at networking, who’s really extroverted, who has loads of time and just loves going and hang out, who’s got all the fancy frocks? Who’s just that kind of front person. Like, constitutionally I’m not like that, like, I’m really sensitive. I’m probably a little bit introverted and I know what I need.
    I need lots of downtime and my digestive stuff gets in the way of me like, you know, because I’ve got some gut healing stuff to do or, you know, I’ve got food sensitivities or whatever. So in the same way like yeah I don’t know I guess if you look at someone who’s doing well and you want to align your vision with that, I guess it’s worth doing that kind of Abraham Hicks thing. Whether you’re into that or not of like you know they say we’re just out and about and we’re just kind of information.

    Yeah, look at someone who’s famous and rich and has a great business and you sort of want to collect them into your life like in, you’re going to sort of register that like that’s part of my future Vision.
    It’s worth being super specific and just noting like oh which bits are really actually achievable. Like if I don’t have a 40 hour a week, ten thousand dollars a week business does that can that actually fit inside my life container with me the way I am? Like,
    That person’s possibly constitutionally quite different to me. So yes, notice what they’re doing and pick like cherry pick the bits of their life, that you really.
    MW: Yes, yes, absolutely. And it’s so funny. I recently went to Grace Lever’s doing weekend because someone said to me, you could totally do what Grace does.
    And I thought, well, I’ll see what she does. And it’s this huge production. This huge event with a team and three or four hundred people online. And a lot of selling and while I can see the appeal of the business and how it works and what she’s able to achieve, I’m not that person and I don’t want to do that.
    And I think a lot of people get stuck in “I should be like this, and I should do it like that, and I wish I was like that person.”
    But you also have to be honest with yourself and go I’m not that person. Yeah, I mean, and I can do that, like, I actually don’t want that.

    NB: I reckon you’re actually smarter than her at least and like, at least, as good as hers. And, and so, maybe that’s what the person has seen. They are seeing some kind of echo of that. Your advice is as good or better than hers, but that doesn’t mean that you have to be her.
    NB: One thing I learned was when I was doing Kate Bush dancing a few years ago. So fun. So you’ve got like 20 or 30 women in a room together all doing the Wuthering Heights choreo and she split the group and she said okay so half the group will perform in the other half could watch them.
    So I was in the first group to perform and I was the whole time just thinking that because you can see yourself in the mirror is I’m so stumpy, I’m so lumpy, like like the way I move is not like Mica led the dance persons like, I don’t know if mines really that good.
    And just all the self-talk of performing and just hated it and sat down and watch the other people. And then I noticed that each woman has her whole own beautiful way that they dance, and it’s not like Mica. But each woman, like, I just cried. I just cried and I cried because I realized that the way I take in information and the way I am body in this life and then the way I express in this life is as each of those women and we all contain that like we are all a very unique filter that ingests information and then creates it and expresses it out in such a moving and beautiful and wonderful way.
    And we don’t have to be or it’s just actually not possible or desirable to try and fit in someone else’s frame. It’s just gross.

    MW: It’s true. And as you’re just describing that I was thinking about the people that you naturally attract and I do honestly, believe and what I teach in my passion to profit program is start. They’re like, who are you attracting? Who are the people that are naturally drawn to you and resonate with you? They’re the ones with the similar personality or the complementary personality, the shared values, are the people that are going to buy your stuff?
    If you’re trying to be somebody else, you’re not going to attract those natural connections. You know, you need to be yourself and be authentic.
    The best marketing is authenticity, is my catchphrase, and, and you’re going to get those right people because, you know what, Brooke Castillo says. You can be the juiciest peach in the bowl, but some people like bananas.
    NB: So, stop trying to pretend to be a banana and be a juicy peach December. That makes me think, you know, I’ve seen some people lately and I know what they’re like in real life and then I see their videos on social media. I’m like, why is she acting like that?
    And I think I got a couple of friends and a client who does that and like why is she talking like that? She never talks like that in real life and it just confuses the crap out of me? And I think yeah, what are you going to attract? If you show up like that, like that’s not you. That’s not the you that I know.

    But then I know that there are these hurdles particularly with marketing oh you need to do video. Yeah, you need to do video but you know, maybe there’s other ways like if you’re a great writer, maybe there is another way you can get around it. Because if you’re not able to embody on video just as your natural self, I don’t know how that’s supposed to work and I know my first video was in a Facebook group and I could not stand it. I literally wanted to delete it straight away and then we’ll how do, you know, don’t delete it because I had cut. I was a mummy. I was thinking the mummy and I had piles of washing behind.
    And me, and I could not stand to listen to my own voice. I could not stand my own physical appearance, like it was just a visceral and I got through that. And then I posted my first public video and a troll, some trolled me. And he said, you know, the reason I left the city, you like a parasite on the face. Okay, I’ve heard about this because I was in a supportive business group and I’d heard that if you start getting trolled on your videos, it’s a good sign, it means you’re showing up, you know, don’t take it to heart. So gratefully, I mean, it still hurt, but greatly I was able to kind of divest from that instead of clean. Just kind of set that free, but there were definitely hurdles but now I’ve just done so many videos. Like, sometimes it’s, I don’t even care how it sounds.
    Sometimes, I watch my own videos back and I listen to myself and I’m like, that’s pretty good. Like now, I’m in a place where I’m really okay with it. Plus I have a video on YouTube that has 50,000 views that is me with wet hair hunched over with all my jowls with bluetac photos in the background and it’s had 50,000 views.
    So I’m like, okay you it really is about the value that you give and that video is how to put faces in circles in canva. If you Google that might come up and it just literally gives people the information that they need in that moment. So, you know, people could check out our how to blog to grow your business course.

    Think about their SEO and think about what are the things that people are typing in because that can be a great way to just organically get some people to find you. If you know what they’re asking for, you can create content to slot that in but where I was going with that was a bit of a little segue little appendix and coming back to the intestine of the conversation.
    MW: You were talking about video and I did want to add to that. That audio is just as good. Like, there are so many people that listen to podcasts on the way to work and staff and while they’re walking and if you have an awesome voice and you love talking, why not do that instead? I mean, we both know somebody that hates being on video, but loves doing podcasts.
    Actually it’s not me because I’m on video and I love video but we know somebody you and I and she doesn’t actually do a podcast but she does audio really well.
    NB: That’s right. And that is the key piece. Really easy with content. If you’ve got one piece of content, you’ll be amazed what we can tease out of that. Even if it’s a three minute audio that we can get tons of social media posts out of that.
    There’s this great app called headliner. That will turn audios into little videos so you can actually turn audios into videos. I mean it’s not you it’s just a static photo with an audiogram over the top like a wavegram and that makes it a video and it still gets great reach, the robot loves them because it thinks they’re a video. So yeah you don’t have to get on video but you do need to find a way to share your Juju.

    Like all the good things you have to do is to find a way to share that consistently. I mean you just showing up on the regular really moves the needle. Hmm.
    MW: And also, getting on the stage a little bit too. You know, you can submit an article to Mamma Mia online. If you are a good writer and you get a bigger audience there or like Sarah Rusbatch has done some ABC and other radio interviews, a lot of people listen to the radio.
    I’ve done radio before, as well. I had a Weekly Wellness session on our local radio station here in the country and people would come up to me in the street and go “Oh, you’re that person on that wellness segment.” You get in everybody’s ears, in their brains.
    Even though videos really popular people have busy lives, I can’t sit still and watch a video.
    NB: Yeah, it’s very difficult as a mother and I would say, like, I’m just reading them how to break up with your phone, and there are people who they don’t want to be on social media.
    I mean, I never really wanted to in the first place. It was my work. I’m happy to do it for work. But in terms of how I receive information I might read your blog, you know, I might be more inclined to read your email then to find you on social media now, so it’s worth knowing that you don’t have to do the social media thing.
    Leonie Orson, who is massive, recently just quit social media and I mean, she’s already very established. So I feel like she’s in a different position.

    MW: Yeah. You could definitely make it work.
    NB: It doesn’t have to be cookie cutter there. It’s a big fat experiment. That’s what nobody wants to hear.
    You need to try something, but give it a good chunk of time and then re-evaluate and go again. That’s what I do. That’s what you do.
    MW: I built my first coaching business face-to-face, without anybody looking at my website or social media. It was all talking to people. And it’s the quickest way to connect because you’ve got all the benefit of the visual cues and the body language.
    And if you’re afraid to get on video, get out there in person and talk to people and I guess the, you know, the common theme we’re coming to here is you have to kind of know who you are and what you stand for and build up a level of confidence to put yourself out there, whether it be online or in a blog or face-to-face.
    Like I’ve met people who say I’m so terrified about posting my first blog and what happens when people read it? And as we know, you’re on page 7 million of Google and no one’s going to see it anyway until you share it.
    NB: I can totally relate and I started writing a bit more now and I’m coming around to writing and I think there’s loads of options, and you know, if you need a safe space, what can be nice is to share a blog, or your first piece of content with just a few trusted colleagues or friends but maybe don’t send it to the wide world. If you are feeling really tense and I think that’s the thing.

    You break down those barriers with little achievable steps and then actually your body realizes, I’m not going to die. Like I’m not in the savanna. I know I am not actually going to die and once you’ve done it a few times, then you just kind of ease up about it and you know that you’re safe and you know that it’s an okay thing to do here. And it’s, you know, it’s also that evolving Journey. Like what works now you might get sick of it. Like I did a lot of email list, newsletters and then I went actually, this is hard work for me. I don’t want to do this.
    MW: It means a learning experience, the whole thing. Think about what you were like when you were a kid, I don’t know about you, but I was incredibly shy and I didn’t want to speak to anybody or be seen by anybody. And I’ve had to do a lot of work to overcome that, but I went to Melbourne last week and did a pitch in front of a room full of people and I loved it – so good. I just thrived on the opportunity to do it and I thought, wow.
    Remember if I took my ten year old self had looked forward and said, what are you going to be doing in the future? I never would have guessed that.
    NB: Yeah. And the other thing that came to mind for me is like, if you’re 30, you have enough life experience to help anybody who’s in the early 20 years, mid-20s, you’ve got enough experience to help anyone who’s in their late teens. Like wherever you are, you have already got enough experience and like, even before I had a Commerce degree, I had enough life experience.
    If I’d known I could have totally just become like a personal transformation coach or something. We all are sitting on a ton of knowledge and care and love and ability to support other people. And that’s really valuable and it’s what makes you, YOU.
    Your unique life experience and your interpretation of that and how you process things and how you overcome challenges, that’s what people buy at the end of the day, right?
    They believe you to be credible because you have these skills and strengths and experience. And I think also, there is an energetic resonance there. Like, you call it, the, what do you call it?

    MW: The high chemistry clients.
    NB: There are people that just need to work with you and you could almost like, be teaching them to make bread or you could be teaching them to change a tyre. It kind of doesn’t matter because you guys just need to hang out. There’s some kind of catalyst for change in your relationship and quite, possibly leave for both of you. So yeah there’s lots of levels you know the way we need to hang out with each other that’s often where the niche is.
    MW: A lot of people think about or teach that you should start with a niche and then drill down and I think it’s totally reasonable to say instead, “who’s the person that you love being around?” and then to go and see what all these people have in common that you can help them with. Because ultimately, why would you want to work with people that drain you?
    NB: Exactly. And nobody wants that. There are those right people in your personal connections that you could give a free session to who would write you a testimonial who are already high, chemistry people in your life that would love to help you. And yeah, so you’ve already got six potential clients, just, you know, even if you’re a pretty low-key person.
    MW: I think we just solved the problems of the world to know that was gonna happen. Now it’s easy to be captain hindsight to look back and say these are the things that work but I guess from our experience we’re saying to people at the beginning of that journey or who are trying new things, just do it your way, give it a good crack given enough time and get help if you need and especially get help from Natasha Berta at Connected Marketing.

    NB: I’ve got heaps of cool courses now on like all good things for newbies as well. I just doing MailerLite and MailChimp at the moment and it has been really fun – I’m excited.
    So, I’ll be polishing all of those up and rehashing, some old Instagram, and it’s just actually been really fun. Just talking about little nibbles of things.
    MW: Super fun, bitesize learning to empower your growth.
    NB: Oh, I need your copy team!
    MW: Thanks so much for making the time today to catch up!

    Ready to get clarity on your pathway to success?

    Understanding who you are and what you need will allow your business to thrive! If you’re truly ready to break old habits and get out of the rut I encourage you to check out the Habitology membership.

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    Episode 114: Client and Work Boundaries

    In this episode, I talk about setting boundaries with clients and at work so that you can feel in control, confident and create cash flow and greater client success

    Running your business in a 24/7 world, how do you maintain work life balance? 

    In this episode, I talk about setting boundaries with clients and at work so that you can feel in control, confident and create cash flow and greater client success.

    Modern World Work

    Pre internet, small businesses set up as bricks and mortar businesses that relied on print marketing in the physical world and pounding the pavement to find new clients. 

    Businesses were open to the public during standard trading hours and probably worked more than this, but there was a defined window of client time.

    Now, the internet has created a virtual world that operates globally, 24 hours per day, 7 days per week.

    And small businesses seem to be feeling the pressure and buying into it.

    Small Business

    A lot of my clients are running small businesses but they feel compelled to act like global businesses, answering emails and messages at all hours of the day and night in case they lose a client.

    They’re showing up live on social media at all hours, trying to engage people. 

    They’re comparing themselves to others who seem to be, in my clients’ words, ‘more organised, all over it, very productive, getting lots of business, showing up consistently all over the place and nailing it, with loads of happy clients.’

    That, my friends, is a point of view, not necessarily a fact. 

    We all know that things are often different than they seem to be.

    But even if it were true, and that person you’re watching is seemingly everywhere and all over it, how do they do it?

    Work Boundaries for Small Business

    Having been in business for over 25 years, I can say that with a few well-placed boundaries, you can be the owner of an efficient, effective and profitable business.

    Here are some important work boundaries that will help small businesses get established, grow and thrive.

    Only Work with High Chemistry Clients

    Firstly, not everyone is your ideal client. I learned early on that by saying yes to everyone who enquires, I’d have great chemistry with some clients and not so great chemistry with others.

    The chemistry you have with a client DIRECTLY impacts their results, so when you work with anyone, then your business may not appear as successful.

    With low chemistry clients, they’re less committed, less engaged, less motivated and the rapport is lower, so they are less likely to achieve their goals.

    Now picture how that changes if you only work with high-chemistry clients. A higher portion of them will succeed, they will be more connected and engaged, they will rave about their results (and you), and your business reputation and referrals will soar.

    It’s a basic formula that works.

    So how do you attract and work with high chemistry clients?

    Quite simply, you need to be selective by setting some boundaries about who you do and don’t work with.

    You can do this by putting some filtering mechanisms in place to screen out anyone who isn’t the right fit for you or your services.

    Here are three steps to follow.

    Step 1: When it comes to marketing, you can attract high chemistry clients by being specific, and talking about what they are interested in, and using their specific language, pain points and desired outcomes.

    Do this, and you’re more likely to build a tribe of high chemistry leads who are engaged and interested.

    Step 2: When you make formal offers for a program or other service, you can list criteria – who this is for – to help them qualify themselves as a good fit.

    That way, most of the work is done by them, before they even reach for the phone or message you!

    Step 3: before working with any client, have a good fit call with them right up front to see if the person who wants to do your program is the right kind of person.

    If they’re not, you can refer them to another coach or practitioner, or simply tell them that you don’t think you can give them the right sort of help.

    Imagine yourself as the client – would you rather someone be honest up front, or find out half way through a program that this isn’t really your jam? 

    In marketing, this process is often referred to as ‘creating touch points’ because the more interactions you have with clients, the more easily they will build trust and potentially buy.

    I want to challenge that idea and flip it on it’s head.

    I prefer to call this process as Chemistry 101 because the clearer you are about what you do and who you serve, the more enjoyable your business will be, the more enriching your work, and the more satisfied your clients will be and the better results they will get.

    It just makes sense.

    Establish Working Hours

    I often see exhausted coaches who are working scattered hours, nights and weekends, trying to fit clients in at any given time slot. These coaches have no down time and are constantly thinking about work.

    Imagine how hard it is to coach when you feel like that!

    It’s so important to optimise your energy and set boundaries that allow you to do that.

    Here are two things to think about.

    1. Working Hours

    Think about a big store like Harvey Norman. They advertise specific opening and closing hours. You can’t buy a dining room table at 9pm on a Sunday!

    Establishing set working hours is setting a boundary. 

    Right now, you’re probably saying to yourself, ‘yeah, but I might lose clients if I am strict with my working hours!’

    Here’s the truth.

    When you work with low chemistry clients, they tend to be the types of clients who are too busy, cancel repeatedly, aren’t committed, can’t fit you in and turn up late, or want you to work odd hours. 

    Here’s the truth.

    When you work with low chemistry clients, they tend to be the types of clients who are too busy, cancel repeatedly, aren’t committed, can’t fit you in and turn up late, or want you to work odd hours. 

    You end up running yourself ragged trying to keep up with their demands and changing goal posts.

    On the other hand, when you work with high chemistry clients, then your availability will probably align with theirs. They will show up on time, every time, and only cancel if something unforeseen and major happens. They are more willing to negotiate the session times and find something to suit.

    Why?

    BECAUSE of the chemistry – and the value they place on your service, and the respect they have for you.

    2. Non Working Hours

    Here’s the second part of that. Having dedicated, not-negotiable time off from work is setting a boundary.

    Why?

    Because if you are constantly working, not sleeping well, giving up fun for the sake of your business and clients, you’ll feel tired and start feeling resentful, disillusioned and you may start questioning your ability.

    I’ve seen this way too often.

    When you set a boundary around your time off, it shows off your integrity. It positions you as a role model for work life balance. It commands respect.

    And more importantly, it gives you the opportunity to rest, relax and replenish your energy so that you can show up and be your best for your high chemistry clients.

    Those are the people you value, and want to serve best. You can only do that if you take adequate time off.

    By serving yourself in this way, you are serving your clients and offering them premium value – your best self. 

    Do What You’re Good At, Let Go of The Rest

    Do you know anybody who is good at EVERYTHING?

    I don’t.

    As a small business owner, one of the boundaries you might need to set for yourself is to focus on doing what you’re good at, and say no to the things you don’t do well. 

    You might tell yourself you can’t afford to outsource things, or to buy systems that do it for you, but here’s a different perspective.

    How do you feel when you are constantly doing things that you don’t enjoy, aren’t skilled at and don’t do very well?

    How does that energy affect the running of your business and servicing customers?

    I offer that by investing in the right support, you will more likely do a better job servicing customers and getting referrals as a result.

    You will stop wasting hours on Canva, or Facebook, or MailChimp, or any other thing that you wish you could do, but can’t master, and you will have heaps more time to do important business building activities like networking, blogging or interacting in groups.

    This was a turning point in my coaching business.

    As soon as I outsourced design work, Facebook ads and email campaigns, I stopped spending money on courses I never finished and then felt irritated about spending on.

    I stopped stressing about getting things done, or taking hours to do something that takes someone else minutes.

    I figured it was way easier to pay someone $70 to do a task in one hour, rather than me spending several hours over several days, procrastinating and feeling overwhelmed that it wasn’t right, didn’t look good or might not work. For ALL of that time, I was useless to everyone and not coaching at capacity.

    I can’t express what a relief it was to find someone who was like me (a high chemistry contractor) to turn my ideas in reality before I’d had a chance to even transfer the money.

    Setting that boundary with myself was SO worth it.

    And even if you can do it all, it doesn’t mean that you should.

    Summary

    Today we discussed three areas for setting boundaries in business that will make a big difference to your energy, motivation, self-confidence and ability to show up for your client.

    Those boundaries are:

    1. Only working with high chemistry clients
    2. Establish working hours, and
    3. Do what you’re good at, let the rest go.

    Think about your own business situation and imagine what would happen if you started moving toward these boundaries?

    Setting boundaries in business will make a big difference to your energy, motivation, self-confidence and ability to show up for your client.

    How would you feel if you could operate like this?

    What might open up for you?

    What else could change?

    I invite you to consider what’s possible, and to map out a couple of first steps you can take to get there over the next 8 weeks, so you can regain control, confidence and create cash flow and better-served clients in your business.

    Ready to strike the right balance?

    Being clear about your boundaries will give you more time and improve what you are able to offer. If you’re truly ready to break old habits and get out of the rut I encourage you to check out the Habitology membership.

    Learn more here:

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    Episode 113: The Benefits of Boundaries

    Today we’ll discuss how setting boundaries around your habits, and meet your own needs first, can lead to integrity, feeling happier with life, and finding greater meaning and purpose.

    Do you have one of those friends who seems to be ‘disciplined’ and ‘motivated’ to do their exercise, not work weekends, prepare their meals and spend time supporting their community – and wondered just how they manage to do it?

    Do you wish you could be more like that yourself?

    In this episode, I am going to unpack this with you, and talk about how learning to set healthy boundaries can create a more fulfilling, authentic and purposeful life.

    Values, beliefs, standards come first

    Let’s set the scene by recapping the last episode.

    When you know who you are and what you want, and what’s important to you – that is, when you are clear on your identity, values and opinions – then it’s easy to define your own related standards of behaviour and living.

    For example your values around health and community might mean you’re committed to walking every day no matter what, exercising 3-4 days per week at the gym no matter what, and being active in networks and groups for causes that matter to you.

    With those standards clearly in your mind, you can more easily identify what you want to say no to, and how to set boundaries with other people.

    It’s clear that if you want to walk daily no matter what, you’ll say no to things that get in the way. You’ll feel motivated to do it and will set yourself up for success. It’s unlikely that you’d go into work early and miss your walk, or that you’d sleep in and not be bothered.

    Or if you want to spend quality time with your kids on the weekend no matter what, you’ll more easily say no to social events, switch off from work and complete chores during the week so that you have the time available for the kids.

    These are just a couple of examples of what standards and related boundaries might look like.

    Notice how strongly held values and beliefs set you up for consistent behaviour in the areas that matter most to you.

    What does this tell you about becoming that disciplined, motivated person?

    What I see in these examples – and in the thousands of hours of coaching I’ve done – is that if you want to become a certain way, you can get there by digging into your values, purpose, meaning and beliefs.

    When you understand and change your mind, it’s a catalyst for massive changes in your life. 

    If you’re on the fence with this – wanting to make change but unsure about whether it’s worth it, or too hard, or that you might fail, let’s examine what it takes to get there.

    The ‘Do Nothing’ Approach

    Firstly, let’s talk about the do nothing approach. 

    We know that the human brain is wired to seek pleasure and avoid pain. 

    That is, our brains tend to believe something is impossible if we lack proof – that is, if you’ve never tried or if you have failed in the past.

    In those circumstances, you let your brain’s natural response take over, then you get to stay where you are in the safe, comfortable and familiar – even if it’s unsatisfying and unfulfilling.

    But what happens if you choose the ‘do something’ approach?

    What if you decide to do the work on your mind, to understand your values, examine and shift your beliefs and change your standards of behaviour, and start setting healthy boundaries around your new behaviours?

    What You Might Say No To

    Setting boundaries around new behaviours, so that they can become entrenched, automatic habits, probably means you’ll have to say no to some things.

    For starters, you might have to say no to yourself. Let’s look at how this might play out in three different areas – health, work and relationships.

    If it’s health behaviours that you’re working on, then you might have to set boundaries by saying no to sleeping in, that extra drink, the second serving of dessert, the block of rocky road chocolate, staying up late to watch Netflix, or that big boozy party the night before a big presentation at work.

    What would you be missing out on if you said no? 

    Well, you’d be missing out on stress, excess weight, insomnia, food cravings, tiredness, indifference and sluggishness.

    If it’s work-related behaviours that you’re working on, then you might have to set boundaries by saying no to working after hours and on weekends, your big to-do list, and messaging clients at all hours of the day, night and weekend. Maybe you’ll have to say no to those coaching clients who want you to do sessions with them at 9pm Wednesday, or 7am Sunday  morning. You might have to accept that you’re not superhuman after all. 

    What would you be missing out on if you said no, and set boundaries around your work behaviours?

    Strongly held values and beliefs set you up for consistent behaviour in the areas that matter most to you.

    You would probably miss out on competing priorities, disorganisation, overwhelm, stress, resentment, frustration, impatience, procrastination, self-doubt, anxiety, insomnia and feelings of helplessness.

    If it’s behaviours in relationships that you’re working on, then you might have to say no to requests for help, the demands of others, tantrums, engaging in pointless arguments, and giving all your time and energy to others.

    What would you be missing out on if you said no, and set boundaries within your relationships?

    You’d miss out on a range of things including fear of judgement, being affected by criticism, toxic situations, eroded self-confidence, diminished self-worth. 

    In addition, no matter which area you’re working on, by making change, you will probably lose overwhelm, fear, self-doubt and anxiety.

    All of those things are borne in your mind, after all, and by working on your mind you will reduce the spring of negative thinking patterns that currently hold you back and start standing up for yourself, meeting your own needs and feeling better about yourself.

    What You Stand to Gain

    If you do this work, what do you stand to gain?

    Let’s look at those three areas – health, work and relationships.

    In terms of health, by setting boundaries around your new habits, you’d create the space to be consistent with those new healthy habits so you’d become more self-confident in the first instance because you’d be winning and improving. 

    You’d start losing weight. Your skin would look better. You’d be energised, feeling alive and vital. Your eyes would be sparkling. 

    You’d feel lighter, freer. You’d be happier within yourself because of the investment in yourself. 

    You’d gain a sense of self respect, hope and optimism. You’d feel more in control of yourself, more assertive, and your confidence would build. You’d gain a sense of gratitude, and an abundance of energy and love that you could then give back to others.

    In terms of work, by setting boundaries around your working hours and other work-related behaviours, you’d create the space to be more efficient, saving lots of time and probably money, too.

    You’d feel more relaxed and in control as a result. That means you’d probably perform better at work, finding more creative headspace and presence to bring to your clients. You’d serve them better, and they’d feel better around you, and likely get better outcomes.

    You’d get more done in less time, attract more business, and be able to grow your business for greater impact and income.

    In terms of relationships, by setting boundaries you’d gain more respect from others. You’d be less affected by the opinions of others, and feel more confident about who you are and your value. 

    You’d feel calmer and better able to respond to other people rather than reacting, and you’d be able to disengage from toxic situations, and handle conflict in a more balanced way. You’d be sleeping better at night. 

    In all of these cases, there might be some break-ups as the differences in your values become clear. The people who are not your people may rebel against your changes, like the ‘old you’ better, or be upset that you’re no longer investing so much in their demands.

    But trust me – you’d feel ok about that – because you’ve probably had enough of feeling worn down by the demands of people that you may not like, agree with or want to spend time with.

    And no matter which area you’re working on, by making change, you will probably gain clarity, certainty, confidence, a sense of identity, meaning, purpose, inspiration and motivation. You will feel challenged, accomplished, satisfied and content.

    Summary

    There’s a lot to think about here. 

    The question to ask yourself is this – if you were to start setting clear boundaries, how would your life be different?

    What could be possible for your own health?

    What might happen at work?

    How might your relationships change?

    When you understand and change your mind, it’s a catalyst for massive changes in your life. 

    A couple of things are clear – when you start setting boundaries around your new habits, and meet your own needs first, then you are better equipped to act with integrity, to feel happier with life, and to find more meaning and purpose.

    If you need help with your identity, values or boundaries, then hit up my contact page and waitlist for a short course I’m developing, called ‘Get To Know Yourself and Build Integrity.’ It’s a 21 day program for people who need some guidance to do this important work.

    Ready to work on your boundaries?

    Setting boundaries can give you more time to do what feels good and meaningful to you. If you’re truly ready to break old habits and get out of the rut I encourage you to check out the Habitology membership.

    Learn more here:

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    Episode 111: Succession Planning

    Early succession planning – that is, planning the way you will run your business and gradually transition out of it or sell it – has lots of great benefits. Here are FIVE that I can think of.

    Today, I’m going to start with the end. And the reason is that when you’re thinking about exiting your business, after many years of service, or even just a few years, that is, you might be selling your shares out, or you might be selling your business to another company or an individual.

    Then, as part of that, you’ll naturally be tidying things up and positioning your company to be really attractive to buyers, or to be able to hand the business over in a really seamless way. As part of that process, you need to be making sure that all of your systems are in place working well, you’re making sure that your business is running properly, and that all of the policies, procedures and financials are in order.

    It’s not like selling a house, when you make the decision to sell him at least cleaning up waiting the garden planting and renovating so that you can put your best foot forward and make the house attractive to buy, hopefully for a high price of what it’s worth.

     And when it comes to business, sure, you could do it that way. You could say, well, we’re ready to sell it. Now let’s improve everything. You could do that without any planning.

    But I want to explain why early succession planning is important. And I would say exceptional, and how it might just change a whole lot of things for you and your business. So let’s ask the question and answer the question: Why should I succession plan early?

    Early succession planning or planning the way that you’ll run your business and gradually transition out of it or sell it has a lot of great benefits, and here are five that I can think of.

    1. It gives you focus and intention.

    Having the focus of preparing your business for eventual sale helps you to bring a stronger intention to the way that you run your business.

    You’ll be focused on being professional proactively.  You’re very clear on this long term vision. It means that you’re more likely to put purposeful steps in place to succeed and to reach that goal.

    You’ll be motivated to develop a clear plan of building and maintaining strong foundational systems, policies and procedures that will ultimately make it really easy for you to hand your business over someone else when it’s time.

    In the meantime, it will also help you to run your business more efficiently and to take holidays when you need to. With good systems policies and procedures in place, almost any qualified person should be able to step in and hold the fought. And that’s one of the indicators that your systems in your business are robust.

    As the E-Myth author Michael Gerber says  – systems drive the business and people drive the systems.

    So get that set set up right and you’ve heard a lot of value to business.

    2. Early succession planning helps you to create and really feel that belief in the value of what you’re doing.

    Think about it, your goal is to create a business that offers value to the customers, and the more valuable your services and products are to your customers, it will be so much easier for you to sell your business later, or hand it over to management teams as you prepared an exit.

    By purposely creating value for your customers, building on the value of the systems that you’ve set up, you’re going to feel good about your business. You’ll feel more confident about what you do and you’ll have a true sense of the value of your business in and of itself and to the world.

    You’ll be striving for quality and impact and that will in turn attract more customers and more profit.

    It’s just going to be an upward spiral of you really feeling like your business is truly worth something. And that will make it easy to ask for what it’s worth at the time, the right sale price.

    3.It helps you to enjoy the journey of running a business.

    It helps you to think about how you’d like to live your life in the future and how you might need to evolve on the journey to get there.

    You might ask well, why is that important? Simply because most people spend their time focusing on what they’re doing right now in the immediate future without any regard to them. Then they get to retirement age and realize that they don’t have a plan. They realize that they’ve worked hard and work has been in life often at the expense of the hobbies and the health fitness, possibly also family friends sanity. Why work long and hard in order to retire, but then just finish up all broken with no energy left?

    Early succession planning is a tool to help you keep focused on your vision of a future balance life of what your retirement is going to look like, and  it helps you to proactively create and update visions for your business in your life and plans to get there.

    So you’re progressively spending less time on work more time enjoying your life, and gradually over a period of time putting people and systems in place to take over some of the tasks so that you can gradually move towards that really pleasurable, healthy retirement. And when you operate like that, you’ll never get stale, you’ll always be having something to work towards.

    That’s exciting, something to look forward to. And you’re more likely to enjoy your work and have enough time for yourself. So there’s a lot of balance to be had.

     4. It gives you a reason to start your business and give it a shot.

    If you know that there’s a financially viable exit plan ahead of you. You know that if you no longer want to do business or you’re bored with it, you’ve got an option. Think about how much a new business owner in your industry would love the ease and confidence walking into a ready  set up operational business that was systemized and you could create that.

    And if you approach your business from your mindset, in the beginning, it makes you probably take a more balanced view of things and be more intentional and purposeful about creating a business, without getting caught up in that typical startup self taught like, “what if I don’t like it,” or “I’ll just give it a bit of a go and see how it turns out.”

    Obviously having those sorts of thoughts means that your business won’t succeed, because you’re going to approach it with a half hearted attitude. But if you have the confidence for security of knowing that you could sell your business or lock it up, license it out for other coaches to use, it shines a whole new perspective on things.

    And it can give you the impetus to give your best shot and make it work right from the get go.

     

    5. It means less stress for you for you.

    I think that one of the best parts of having a succession plan in place is that you’re going to be allowing yourself progressively more time over a period of years to work on the business rather than in it in an uninterrupted way.

    Think of it this way, when you’re in a solo business on your own and you start your business with a big picture strategy in mind, it’s easy to get bogged down in all of the day to day detail of running all of the aspects of your business yourself.  You end up working all day, every day in well into the night. You need to stop doing that , and make plan to step away from that work ethic because it’s just goin to burn you out.

    A succession plan gives you a framework for progressively extracting yourself from a day to day grind, and what you’re doing is bringing in others to do some of the work for you. It could be outsourcing, or hiring people, contractors or employees, or perhaps automating some of the work or building in leverage.

    When you do that, it means it you’ll be able to step away from people focused on the day to day work that you’re doing and do work on the business.

    When you’re working on the business, it means you’re able to continue adding value to it, which is just going to build profit margins income and enhance the value of your business when it comes down to sell it.

    I could go on there are many more benefits like certainty about the future, confidence in what you’re doing, clarity on your direction, clarity on who your best strategic partners are going to be, and clarity on what you shouldn’t do, because it’s not part of the plan and it doesn’t align with your goals.

    But I’ve just mentioned five benefits for early succession planning today. And there are others that I didn’t go into today.

    So what does succession planning actually look like?

    I’m going to keep it fairly big picture so you get a bit of an idea and I succession planned out of my business in Perth, and over a two year period.

    I founded the company co founded it with someone else. And after 13 and a half, 14 years in the business. I knew everything about the company. So I wasn’t just going to walk away.

    I had my lifestyle – my new life, I should say – planned out as a sea change. And over two years, I made progressive moves to work myself out the business.

    I suggest that you keep a really simple and use the framework, if you’re starting out have a five year plan or a 10 year plan, or at a minimum two or three years if you’re in a workplace or a job or business right now that you’d like to get out of and move to something else.

    Write it down two pieces of paper. If you’re new in business, or if you’re in a job, start by mapping out the next two years of productivity, quality revenue or other income goals that you need to have any plan to achieve them. For me, I knew that when I sold my shares and business I would have a certain amount of money I had to save, so that I could have a buffer and then be able to move.

    So it’s easy to put away savings over three or four or five years to do that. And then to gradually succession plan out, and have financial stability when you make a plan like that.

    So mapping out what those income productivity or quality goals in your business or your workplace are is the first step. And you need to identify that tipping point at which you could start to outsource your tasks, employ staff or start to automate areas of business by upgrading systems or creating rich service products.

    Typically, a tipping point would be that you reach a certain amount of revenue in your business, and you have six months or more of future work ahead of you. When you’re at that kind of steady level of performance, it’s probably a good time to think about what happens next.

    So that could be the first page and on the second page, you can map out some key criteria and a bit of a timeline towards succession planning yourself out of business. Some of the things you might want to write down are what sort of take home income you would need each year for years 3,4,5 or longer, based on your current lifestyle and commitments that might require you to do a budget income budget to see how much you’re actually spending. And this is something that my husband did, we created an Excel sheet and we logged everything we spent in that sheet per month. We set up a budget for every nine year living, and we stuck to a budget, knowing that we would still be stepping away from big salaries into a low income situation for at least a year

    . So that was stepping out of a job and into the unknown. But if you are selling out of your business, you might just be thinking about how much revenue your business would need to generate. If you remained a partner, or perhaps if you sold it, what do you need to sell it for. So thinking about your income needs as the platform for that.

    You also want to think about how much how you would maintain revenue in the business if you started to spend less time with it. And usually, as I’ve already mentioned, that means you’re going to be hiring staff, upgrading your system so that businesses more automated before requiring less manual work. Or perhaps you’re starting to really to more leveraged business model or leveraged income products.

    If you’re going to do any of those, you’d need to think about which the best one would be to fit your business and then how much time and money you’d need to set those things up. That might require a little bit of research or to ask someone’s opinion. But after working in your business for two or three years, you should have a pretty good idea of the options available to you.

    The last thing to think about is whether you would sell your business outright or simply hire people to run it for you so that you still maintained a stake in it.

    So you might need to think about who might need to be upskilled or brought in to step into the leadership business. This might be especially the case if you’re planning on selling it too, because they’re going to need to know how to run the business. And often in the transfer business, there is a period of training and bringing the new person up to speed with things. So you want to have some pretty good training manuals and operating procedures and those sorts of systems in place. Also, you could start to think about how many hours a week you’d be working in business in year 3, 4 and  five or beyond. So you’re gradually and progressively working less and handing over that period. So identify some key dates typical, it’s useful.

    Then you have the succession plan. You could define an end date if you wanted, or you could make a date to define the index.

    So let’s summarize what I’ve talked about today.

    I decided to talk about succession planning. And mainly from the point of view that a lot of people who started businesses get scared of doing their best in their business. They say what if I like it, or what if I can’t make it. And that way of thinking about it is going to set you up to fail.

    Marketing and making friends follow roughly the same sort of process. You have to have some general conversation to build trust and rapport over a period of time – at least a few months – before you can expect anything in return. You need to give first in order to receive, as Stephen Covey would say.

    Early succession planning helps you to create and really feel that belief in the value of what you’re doing.

    But when you think about your exit plan from the beginning, you can see beyond that mindset, you can create an exciting vision with minimal goals for yourself. And you can get past those mental challenges. You could put a lot of effort and energy into doing great business making it a profitable businesses, that’s highly efficient and systemized. And then it’s ready for sale.

     It makes sense for a whole bunch of reasons to succession plan from the beginning. And if this is something that you’d like to talk about, or get help with, hit my website up. Hit me up on the contact page on my website and just send me an email. I’ll be happy to talk to you about what succession planning in your business.

     

    Need to move forward with succession planning?

    Simple changes to your business like this can be life changing! If you’re truly ready to break old habits and get out of the rut I encourage you to check out the Habitology membership.

    Learn more here:

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    Episode 109: Overdrinking Coaching with Sarah Rusbatch

    Today I interview Sarah Rusbatch about alcohol consumption and how and why she is developing her coaching business in this space.

    Melanie: Hi, Suzanne, lovely to have you here on the podcast today.

    Sarah: Hi, Melanie, it’s lovely to be here.

    Melanie: Thank you, and I’m really interested in talking to you, because you’re developing your coaching business at the moment, and you have a niche that you’re quite connected with, and it sounds like you’re very passionate about making a difference in this area. So, I thought it would be a great way to illustrate one of the many ways that coaching can be applied and also to find out a little bit more about your vision, and we’d like to take your business. Does that sound okay?

    Sarah: Yeah, sure, that’s fine.

    Melanie: Alright, so could you tell us a little bit about your niche to start with?

    Sarah: Sure. So my niche is working predominantly with women because I guess that’s what relates to my own story. That’s where I can kind of picture my ideal clients sort of being in that same area as where I was, who have got to a point where perhaps they’re drinking more than they want to. They’re drinking to a point that isn’t making them feel so good about themselves anymore, but because we do live in such an alcohol centric society, it’s actually really hard to, to stop doing that when it’s become quite a habit. When it’s become something that everyone around you is doing all of the time, and that everyone expects you to be doing when you’re socializing. It’s something that I addressed in myself, I stopped drinking about 18 months ago.

     

    Sarah: And it really did have a massive impact on my life in so many ways, and I’m now really passionate about spreading that word and letting people know that there is actually another way to live.  Of course, I appreciate that for some people, they’re absolutely happy with the level that they’re drinking, and they don’t want to change that. Of course, I’m not preaching and that’s definitely not my philosophy. But when I was contemplating and giving up alcohol, I didn’t have anyone at that point talking in the way that I’m talking now and showing me the way I had to really look for that. So I want to be that person for other people who perhaps do want a bit of help and a bit of support with addressing how much they’re drinking and how to reframe that.

    Melanie: Right. And as you describe that I’m hearing, it’s clearly not somebody who’s ready for Alcoholics Anonymous, and it’s not somebody that’s enjoying a bit of social drinking. It’s somebody that you said, I think is feeling like within themselves, they are just drinking a little bit too much and it’s having an impact on how they feel about themselves.

    Sarah: And it’s something that’s where I’m from in the UK, it’s been talked about a lot, and they call it an alcohol use disorder, or grey area drinking. So it’s that whole area where people don’t identify themselves perhaps as alcoholics, which I think is a whole other conversation of what IS an alcoholic. But I think that people who are not drinking every single day, they don’t have a physical dependence to drink every single day, but they are definitely drinking more than the recommended guidelines. And they’re definitely using alcohol as a crutch to perhaps help either relieve stress or escape emotions that they’re feeling that they don’t want to be feeling, or finding that once they start drinking, they really struggled to stop, and they’re always having more than they ever set out or intended to for that kind of area, which is definitely where I was before I thought.

    Melanie: Okay, so it’s just that little bit past the comfortable level, and noticing that it is a problem. And I think one other thing I heard you say was that they’re people who are going out socially, and there are these expectations of others that perhaps they don’t know how to manage. They don’t know how to set boundaries, in a social context, perhaps.

    Sarah: That was one of the hardest things for me was how other people reacted to me, and I was really shocked. I didn’t think it was anybody else’s business, or that anyone would be in any way concerned as to whether I was drinking or not. But they really were, and people had a lot to say on the matter. And I would get told, “let’s catch up when you’re drinking again”, and “when are you going to stop being so boring?” Yeah, things along those lines. And because I think that we are just in a society where it is just expected that any social occasion will have alcohol. And I think that there’s a stigma around if you don’t have alcohol, you’re not going to have a good time. And that’s what I’m really keen to show people that you can still have a really active and full social life without alcohol.

    Melanie: Mmm, interesting. And how did she feel when people were saying those things to you?

    Sarah: Horrified. It was… it was really hard. It’s hard to, to not drink. And it’s really hard when your friends are making you feel like they don’t approve of you not drinking, and they’re not being fully supportive. There was a lot of debate around, a lot of people would say to me: “but why don’t you just have one?” I was like, “Well, A why is it any of your business, whether I have one or not? And B and I’ve never been someone that really wanted to ever just have one.” Like, I’ve always loved having a few drinks, and I’ve always had one or two more and more. And for me, it was so much easier to have none than to just have one or two. But people… some people just really didn’t get that at all.

    Melanie: It’s interesting, isn’t it? It says more about them than it does about you. It’s they’re uncomfortable with you’re not drinking, and they feel like they need to do something to make themselves feel better, is how I kind of look at that.

    Sarah: Yeah, absolutely.

    Melanie: Yeah, I can think of two occasions a bit like that, that stand out for me and not for me directly, but with others. I remember maybe seven or eight years ago when Facebook groups were first a thing, I was in this group called “Clean Eating”, I think it was called. And one of the moderators came into the group, and she had 30,000 members, it was a huge group. And she said she’d gone out on the weekend and said she didn’t want to drink and was trying to drink less alcohol. And one of the friends said, “What are you pregnant?” And “what’s wrong with you?”, “Why aren’t you drinking?” and “What’s wrong with you?” And I thought, wow, that’s that’s amazing. And  then we had this whole discussion on the thread about judgment. And then, more recently, one of my clients stopped drinking for eight weeks, because she was eating a special way trying to lose some weight. And one of her friends was pressuring her and saying, “Why are you drinking?” And she said, “Well, I don’t want to drink for eight weeks.” And she said, “Well, why not? Why can’t you just have one?” – that same thing you’ve said, and she was saying: “Because I don’t want to.” And they ended up having a falling out. They’d been friends for 20 years. And the friend could not accept that her friend was not drinking for eight weeks. Yeah, she took it personally. It was incredible.

    Sarah:  Yep. And I just wasn’t expecting that, when I stopped drinking. It was it was my journey, and my thing. And in quite a lot of sober groups that I in, people say, well, if you turn around and said that you were stopping smoking, people would be like, “Good on you! Well done!” Or if you said, “I’m giving up cocaine,” I would be like, “Well, good for you.” As soon as you say alcohol, it’s the only thing that you can give up and people say “Oh go on!” It’s quite astonishing, isn’t it?

    Melanie: I agree. And actually, to be fair, I have heard this same conversation in my in my weight loss program that I’ve run in the past where people would come in and say, “I don’t eat that food” or “I don’t want any cake,” and people say “Go on, Just a skinny slice won’t hurt… why no? What’s wrong with you?”And so I’ve have heard that’s similar conversation around food. And once again, I think it’s more about the person who is not is eating the food or drinking the drink that feels uncomfortable about are now it’s just me, they’ve got no one to share the guilt, as I call it.

    Sarah: Absolutely, absolutely. And at the beginning, I used to have to kind of get my readymade little black book of excuses, though, that I was prepared for when I would start to get grilled and sometimes I couldn’t be bothered. And I’ll just say “I’m on antibiotics.” Or I’d say “I’m training for a triathlon.” And “I just don’t want to drink for a little while because I’ve got to get up early to train.” But I just got to the point where I was like, why should I be having to justify in that way and actually lie about the fact that I just don’t want to drink just so others can accept my reason? If it’s a reason that they can understand that they’re okay with it. But if you’re just saying I’m choosing not to drink, a lot of people don’t understand that.

    Melanie: It’s almost like just saying “no thanks,” is really all you need to say, I guess is what you’re saying.

    Sarah: Yeah. So that was definitely an interesting part of the process for me.

    Melanie: And what sorts of symptoms were you experiencing? Like, if you’re thinking about the types of people you’re working with? And they are, where you were in the past? What sorts of things would they be noticing as signs or symptoms that they need to do something or that they are ready to do something?

    Sarah: Yeah, so I think for me, and as soon as I hit 40, it was that typical thing of I started to get really bad hangovers. I’ve never really got hangovers in my 20s and 30s. I had pretty much sail through it. And then it was as if I as soon as I hit 40 I started to get really bad hangovers. It was really affecting my sleep. So I would just have even just having two glasses of wine, I would be awake at 3am and just restless and just couldn’t get back to sleep. And depending on how much I had had to drink, I might have a dry mouth need to get up and have water, but it was really affecting me. And I’m someone that really needs my sleep. So that was having been a real negative impact the next day because I was tired and grumpy. I definitely started to feel a little bit depressed The next day, which I’d never had before, I would have a bit of anxiety. And I would sometimes worry about what I’d said the night before. And I would sit kind of ruminating over it, which I’ve never done before. And it was just something that just in my 40s It felt like it had gone from drinking had been something that had been fun, and something that I did with all of my friends. But then I could see that my body was starting to give me signs that that there had to be some other way.

    And I just felt like even just having a small amount of alcohol, I would feel so rubbish the next day, and I wasn’t being the mom that I wanted to be I wasn’t being the wife that I wanted to be. I was kind of getting through the weekend, but not being present in the weekend, if that makes sense. And then it would be back to school back to work.

    I never really drank during the week. So that was that. But you’re so busy, you know, keeping your head above water with kid’s activities and work and pick up and everything else. So the week would go by and then it would be the weekend again. And there has to be another way to live than just having this low level feeling of a bit of anxiety, a bit of depression and bad sleep tired making bad food choices, because I was a little bit hungover. So not eating the food that I wanted to be eating that I knew made me feel good. Then with that came a bit of guilt. So all of that started to happen and that was when I kind of had those first signs of going, maybe this the alcohol is the thing that needs to change, because everything led back to that.

    Melanie: It’s interesting, you mentioned food, there was the food or consequence of being too tired to want to make healthy food? Or was that while you were drinking, you are making unhealthy choices or combination or something different?

    Sarah: No, it was definitely the next day. So I was never someone that ate and drank at the same time – I just drank. So I wasn’t someone who would sit, you know and get out all the biscuits and the crisps. Alcohol just never made me hungry. Whereas I know with others, they get munchies and chips. But for me it was the next day. And maybe because I hadn’t eaten much like before. And the next day, I would just crave really bad food. And because I was tired and feeling a bit rubbish I couldn’t not give into that craving. And so it was, you know, eating the foods that I would never normally eat, and that that didn’t make me feel good about myself either.

    Melanie: Mm hmm. Yeah, I can relate to that. I can think of times where I’ve, but but not exactly that way, like the next day, I may not eat that well. But for me when I have too much alcohol, then I want carbs, I want sugar, which obviously makes the sleep worse. So I remember even as a young person drinking one night with my boyfriend, and we’d had a full dinner, it was midnight, and I ate a whole family pizza to myself.

    Sarah: Yeah.

    Melanie: At midnight, like, that’s a lot of pizza. And yeah, I just had this intense craving for carbs  – I couldn’t stop eating it, I was so full, but I just kept going and going. And I think part of it was that maybe the lack of inhibition around the alcohol, which is something you’ve alluded to in it maybe in social context as well. But then this craving as well as not having an off switch was a diabolical combination.

    Sarah: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Absolutely.

    Melanie: And so how much do you think? Well, maybe it’s not possible to put a limit on our amount on it, but what does somebody in this zone actually drink? Is it… How many standard drinks a day? Or is it sit number days? Or does it not really matter is in a particular trend you’ve noticed?

    Sarah: I don’t think it matters. I think it just is whatever is the number for you. That is crossing the line of being taking you feeling comfortable and happy with how much you’re drinking to the point where it’s having a terrible effect, and that might that number will be different for everyone. And some people drink every single day and a bottle or two of wine a night. Some people might only drink on a Friday and have two or three bottles and then feel so terrible for the three days after. So I don’t think there’s any rule around that.

    I think it’s just when you are questioning yourself. Am I drinking too much? That probably means you are if it’s even come up as a question at all.

    Melanie: Yeah, that’s a great, great way of looking at a great indicator is your own concern that you feel yourself stretched outside your Yeah, healthyzone ort your comfortable zone or whatever that is. And I heard you say earlier you’d have a couple of glasses of wine only and then not be able to sleep from three o’clock. Yeah, so that’s an indication to I guess there’s also as you’re in that, or if you’re in that perimenopause, or menopause age, you’ve got all of this other stuff going on. And it just seems to compound things like the hot flashes. I know if I have alcohol, one glass of anything. I’m gonna get hot that night, at least once my cup of tea flushed.

    Sarah: Yeah, absolutely. ‘ve just finished reading a book on perimenopause that pretty much says that if you want to kind of have the least impact of some of those symptoms, then cutting out alcohol is one of the first things to do. Because when your hormones are so imbalanced, and your body just can’t also cope with having to break down the alcohol that you’re taking in, and that will then have, you know, more of a knock on effect on things like hot flashes, and impact of sleep, impacting mood, things like that.

    Melanie: It’s quite an important time of life, I suppose to I mean, if you’re going through hormonal changes, and that’s women and men go through menopause, you know, in their 40s, or 50s. You kind of feel like you’re at a crossroads, you’re saying: “Am I going to continue doing what I’m doing and head down the path of setting myself up for chronic disease? Or am I going to take the initiative now and nip things in the bud?”

    What are your thoughts on that?

    Sarah: I totally agree. And I think that most people who I know, who are asking themselves that question are in their 40s, or 50s and have just to have got to that point where perhaps the hangovers haven’t been as bad before, and then they’re starting to feel worse, or what might be a whole host of reasons… it might be that they’re wanting to lose weight, it might be in lots of different reasons. But it definitely has got to the point where alcohol is not serving them anymore in the way that it used to just be a fun social aid to increase your fun on a night out. It just then becomes a bit different, and you start to see the negatives of it, whereas before you haven’t.

    Melanie: Right, so that the negatives are starting to outweigh the positives. Yeah. Feel good in the moment and feel terrible for the next three days?

    Sarah: Yeah, absolutely. And that was one of my techniques, which now that I’ve started learning and doing the coaching qualification, I’ve realized I was using but I didn’t, couldn’t put it into words at the time, which was always talking that in many of those sober groups or playing it forward. So when you have that real craving of wanting to have a drink, play it forward, how are you going to feel that next morning, like when you wake up, with the hangover? You’re not going to get all the things done that you wanted to do, you’re going to feel all these different things. So that was always the thing that I would do was, you know, the cravings still come even now.

    And it’s been 18 months since I have a drink and you know, in a certain situation after that glass of wine now, but then all I have to do is think how nice it will be at three in the morning when you’re wide awake, and think about when the kids are jumping on the bed and think you know, and then when you start to do that you actually realize for the fleeting moment of happiness or joy or whatever it is that you get from that glass of wine… Is it worth it? And in the end, for me, it passed that tipping point where it wasn’t worth it.

    Melanie: So good. So you’re talking about really looking at the longer term gain rather than the short term? Fix or, or benefit? Yeah, yeah, looking longer term and how it’s affecting you.

    Sarah: Yeah, absolutely. But I wish that I’d had more support to articulate some of that when I was going through it. Because I’ve realized now through the coaching that I’ve been doing that that’s exactly what I was doing, and there’s so many of the coaching techniques that I’ve realized now can be applied to this situation. And that’s why it’s got me so passionate and excited about it, because I can see how much support it could give to other people who were in the same situation that I was.

    Melanie: Yeah, absolutely. And just building on that something you said is that you still have cravings now and I guess that what came to mind when you said that is that whole micro habits or atomic habits, as James Clear calls them. You know, if you think about something like smoking and all of the situations in which someone smokes, when they wake up after a meal when they’re drinking, when they’re stressed before bed, you know, there are all those little tiny situations where someone might be triggered to have a cigarette or want to crave one. And all of those are micro habits that need to be unraveled and rewired.

    And it’s the same with alcohol, right? You drink when you’re tired you drink when you’re stressed. You drink when you’re this or that and you get this immediate feeling good feeling and your brains fighting with you saying I want that good feeling and you’re going no you can’t have it and then there’s deprivation… but there are all of those many situations that you may not even realize are a trigger for you. Not just the visible ones, but the unconscious ones too. Right?

    Sarah: Absolutely. And I think that it’s the more that you practice –  we call it like flexing that silver muscle -it’s kind of like the more you practice “The Firsts” all those firsts – the first Christmas, the first holiday, the first girls night out, the first hen weekend, just any of those things. And once you get through it, it’s just another thing that you’ve done to kind of retrain your brain to, to condition yourself that you can go and do those things without alcohol and you can still have a really good time.

    Melanie: And so Suzanne, how are you feeling now that you’ve been sober for 18 months? What’s the difference in your life?

    Sarah: So many! So the differences are, I think we’ve lost a lot of weight because I haven’t had the Sunday morning trips to Maccas, for the Bacon and Egg Mcmuffins and the rest of it. So I think I’ve lost about 12 kilos now. And I have always been an an exerciser. But I am definitely getting more of the results from the exercise and enjoying it more. I think before I was exercising, as a kind of punishment for the alcoholics, you know what I mean?

    Whereas now I think I exercise as something that I just absolutely love and enjoy. I would say that I sleep so much better, I have more energy, and more present and more connected to my kids. I’ve done a lot more work on myself, to understand myself and what things trigger me and what doesn’t, because I think when you stop … And, and so, yeah, all around I’d say that I’m just a more content person than I was before.

    Melanie: It sounds like the only cost really has been that occasionally. There’s a sense of missing out. Absolutely.

    Sarah:  Yeah, and I have to make that decision.

    Melanie: It’s an interesting topic, and I love that you’re working in this space. I think so many people don’t have much else in their lives. And I remember it other than alcohol and social occasions around it. And I remember going to do a job once. And I met a girl who would who’s 18 and when there was a lull in conversation, she would start talking about this awesome time when she got so drunk and so sick. And so this and I thought “Is that all you got?” All she could talk about were all these famous war stories of when she’d drunk too much and vomited everywhere. And, yeah, that wow, that’s the conversation you’ve got. Yeah, you know, to me, that was a really important moment to say, do I want to be like that? Or I’ve been like that myself in the past and had that kind of a conversation. But to hearing it from the other side, I thought, yeah, I think I could aspire to something better.

    Sarah: And that was definitely it for me as well. I’m 42 years old, I thought,  is that all I’ve got? I just like going out and getting drunk on a Saturday afternoon is like, is that my hobby, like just drinking? And that was definitely, you know, a question to ask. Myself, and then stopping drinking, it’s definitely allowed me to explore the things that I love doing and want to do more of. I’m just devouring books all the time and, and lots of friends in my sober circles if have taken up theater, one has started learning tap dancing… people have gone back to uni, but like everyone is just having this whole new lease of life, energy and time that they just never had before.

    Melanie: And so I guess, apart from strategies that you would help people to discover and develop, I’m guessing a lot of your work is also helping people to build confidence and courage to set boundaries, to help them come up with safe ways to be a little bit uncomfortable in social situations and still feel okay about not drinking. And there would be a lot of work around that area I’d imagine.

    Sarah: There is and I think that if you’re prepared for the obstacle before it happens, you’re halfway there already. I definitely think that’s an area that I would be looking to help people identify what the obstacles will be before they reach them so that they’re better prepared to deal with them when they arrive.

    Melanie: And it makes me think that one of the great benefits is that you become a role model for others, and you help others find if you’re a non drinker in a social situation. It’s like you help others to find their voice and their courage to stand with you. If they’re kind of feeling the same. And you’re saying, hey, well, I’m not drinking tonight, but I’m still gonna have fun. That just might help somebody else who’s been feeling the same way. Right?

    Sarah: Yeah, and the massive sober community online, like through Instagram, and through various Facebook groups, I’ve met people who I’ve just instantly connected with I can reach out to them anytime. I’ve never met them in real life, but I’ve just been on such a journey with them over the last 18 months or so. And even if it’s not physical, but just knowing that there’s someone there that you can send a quick message and that that definitely helps.

    Melanie: And so Suzanne, thank you for explaining what you’re passionate about why and what difference it’s made to alive. And it’s really clear to me, and I hope to everyone that listens to this, how many ways people may need support, and now can get support going on a journey to drink less or to stop drinking. And so if people are interested in finding out more about what you do about joining your Facebook group, or getting on your email list, or whatever that is, what what’s the best place for them to go to get in touch?

    Sarah: So I’m running a challenge at the moment, sober October, and which is I think we’ve got about 3540 people in the challenge. Everyone’s been hugely supportive of each other, some people have never gone more than three or four days without alcohol before. So it’s their first time of doing something like this. So that’s called the SLR wellness, sober October challenge. And I’m on Instagram, SLR wellness. And then I’ve got a Facebook group called the Women’s Wellbeing Collective, and that group was looking at everything to do with health issues for women in their 40s. So that’s looking at pre menopause hormone imbalance, nutrition exercise, and then for those that want to talk about it, and the area of alcohol free as well.

    Melanie: Fantastic. So lots of ways that you’re available to get to know people and support them to get started on a journey of getting healthier. Thank you so much for being here today, Suzanne, and I’ll put all those links in the notes and hopefully, some people who are on the fence thinking about their relationship with alcohol, especially in the lead up to Christmas, they’re gonna reach out to you and have a chat.

    Where you can connect with Sarah:

    Sarah’s facebook group “the women’s wellbeing collective” – https://www.facebook.com/groups/342319476897067/?ref=share

    Link to sober October: SLR wellness sober October 2020 https://www.facebook.com/groups/870302750042381/?ref=share

    Link to the Perth meet up group for ladies who want to socialise without alcohol: SLR wellness Perth meet up group

    https://www.facebook.com/groups/1093211501076062/?ref=share

    Link to Sarah’s Instagram page @slrwellness – install the app to follow her photos and videos.

    https://www.instagram.com/invites/contact/?i=jyvp6068ofy9&utm_content=gygtk7h

     

    Do you need support to change your life?

    Would you like to hear more about the Habitology membership? It could be the change you are looking for. Learn more here:

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    Episode 108: AmIOK?

    This episode is about taking care of your own mental well-being. 

     I want to start by talking about the RU OK campaign in Australia and then to talk about the need to manage our own mental well-being as well.

    RUOK?

    R U OK? is an organisation whose vision is a world where we’re all connected and are protected from suicide.

    Their mission is to inspire and empower everyone to meaningfully connect with people around them and support anyone struggling with life.

    Their goals are to: 

    1. Boost our confidence to meaningfully connect and ask about life’s ups and downs
    2. Nurture our sense of responsibility to regularly connect and support others
    3. Strengthen our sense of belonging because we know people are there for us
    4. Be relevant, strong and dynamic

    I love that the RU okay campaign exists. It gives us all an opportunity to think about the people around us and consider how we can offer support. 

    It means that we are proactively reaching out to check in with people and to help them to speak up about what’s going on for them so they can get help.

    I had a conversation with somebody one-day who I knew was severely depressed and going through a major incident and I had reached out to say are you okay. 

    It was a difficult conversation because I hadn’t yet trained as a coach and this person was very upset but I was concerned about their mental well-being so I did the best that I could with the skills that I had at the time. 

    Months later that person phoned me and said they were considering suicide the day I had called – they were getting ready to do it – and the conversation we had stopped them from taking action and caused them to reach out for help. 

    Truly, I was taken aback that the conversation had had such a powerful impact on that person and it made me thankful that I’ve been able to help but also concerned about my skills and education and knowledge in this area.

    So where and how do you start getting these skills?

    What if you’re not a coach or working in a support capacity but want some basic understanding and skills?

    Mental Health First Aid

    It’s worth mentioning the mental first aid course.

    Several organisations deliver this course: Mental Health First Aid Australia says that: 

    Each year 1 in 5 Australians will experience a mental illness. Many people are not knowledgeable or confident to offer assistance. Physical first aid is accepted and widespread in our community, however most do not cover mental health problems. Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) teaches people the skills to help someone who they’re concerned about.

    What About Me?

    All of this got me thinking recently about the fact that there are many campaigns that are outward directed – helping us to check in with the other people about their own mental health and well-being.

    But just as important is the ability to be self-aware and identify our own mental health challenges.

    As a coach, I know that one of the main reasons people hire coaches is simply that they lack self-awareness of how they are thinking and operating in the world, and what their habits are.

    People are either too busy to notice themselves and reflect on their behaviour, needs and wants, OR, they notice an issue coming up for themselves but say ‘she’ll be right, I’ll just push through.’

    The old ‘she’ll be right attitude’ is a mask that many Australians have been wearing for a long time.

    In either case, most people simply don’t know HOW to check in with themselves or to ask for help.

    They say, I’m okay, don’t worry about me, everything is fine. I don’t need any help, I’ll put on my big girl pants or I’ll pull up my boots and I’ll just get on with it. 

    I can totally see how we came to be that way. That attitude comes from the hands-on, roll-up-your-sleeves, hard-working people who founded modern society in our nation.

    Think about it – once upon a time, not that long ago, we were a nation of pioneers in a new country who travelled long distances, lived off the land and managed many hardships to establish towns and cities. We were the kind of people that pitched in and did things and got on with things and to build a great nation.

    But these days, there is a changing of the guard.

    We have the rise of Gen Y (with more of a values focus, in my opinion) as dominant players in the workforce and leadership positions. 

    We have an increase in multiculturalism in our society, and a need to consider people with different cultures, ethics and values.

    And we are giving more attention to well-being, health and mindfulness. 

    With all of this going on, we are starting to realise that the old ‘she’ll be right attitude’ is a mask that many Australians have been wearing for a long time.

    The old stigma around mental health issues, not wanting to show any weakness or to be judged, has to come off.

    We have to learn how to ask for help.

    But first of all, we must be self-aware enough, to know when we need to get that help.

    AmIok – a new paradigm 

    I propose a concept that sits alongside RUOK, to acknowledge that it’s just as important to check in with yourself rather than to ignore the warning signs and push through. 

    I want to ask you to think about a new paradigm. 

    The AmIOK paradigm. 

    Certainly check in with the others and ask are you okay, but at the same time give yourself the attention to – how am I travelling? 

    Am I ok? 

    And if not, what do I need, how am I feeling, what’s my capacity, and what do I need to do differently? 

    I had this experience myself recently. 

    I noticed a few things were becoming difficult for me. 

    I was starting to avoid certain situations and certain tasks that I didn’t like. 

    Normally I can do tasks that I don’t like or don’t enjoy, but when I’m stressed, under a lot of pressure then I go into avoidance of those basic tasks. And to me that is a sign that I need to step back and check in with myself. 

    Other signs that I need a break or to get help are that my cooking is boring, I’m not sleeping well, and I feel frustrated, and starting to look for more coffee.

    Basically, I lose my enthusiasm and creativity. 

    When those things start to ebb, I know it’s time to take a break or to get help.

    Summary

    RUOK is a wonderful initiative that helps us to lower the risk and rate of suicide, by reaching out to others.

    It’s important to check in with yourself rather than to ignore the warning signs and push through. 

    Mental Health First Aid is a great training course to gain basic skills.

    I propose a new paradigm – AmIOK? – as a means of learning to give our own needs more attention and to get help sooner rather than later.

    Ready to pay more attention to your own needs?

    It’s OK to be not OK, but it doesn’t always have to be like that. If you need help to feel more in charge of your life, I encourage you to check out the Habitology membership.

    Learn more here:

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    Episode 107: Just-ification

    What you say to yourself matters. It has consequences. Learn how to rewire your reticular activating system in this episode for a calmer, less rushed, more grounded way of living.

    How are you going right now? How are you feeling?

    There’s been a lot going on in my life lately and it seems to be the same for a lot of people I’ve spoken to.

    Today I want to talk about a topic related to hard times, but that is also relevant at ANY time. 

    I want to help you to identify when you’re telling yourself some fibs, playing small and talking yourself into overwhelm, so you can quickly back out of that rabbithole and get back on track.

    Sound ok?

    What is Just-ification?

    A few years ago, I remember a point in the year and in my life where I was feeling low, harried, and overwhelmed.

    For a little while, everything felt hard.

    I felt swamped by urgent deadlines.

    I felt like I had to push through things and rush to get things done and meet targets.

    I was rushing from one appointment to the next, doing some things at the last minute, and racing out the door to simply meet friends for coffee!

    Yes, as you can see, the key theme here was feeling pressured and rushed.

    Of course, if you’ve listened to my previous episodes, you know that this stuff that we ‘feel’ happens because of what we tell ourselves.

    And this is where I noticed something interesting about my language – when I felt like this, I was always using the word ‘just’. 

    I was saying things to myself and others, like:

    • I just need to finish this document (to justify my working late)
    • I just have to do this job, then I can come out and meet you for coffee
    • I will just squeeze in some quick emails in this 5-minute break before I have to leave for an appointment
    • I just need one more minute

    This pattern in my language, and variations on it, made me realise that they were metaphors for how I was living. 

    With most of the ‘just’ statements that I thought or verbalised, I was unwittingly loading myself up with JUST one more thing.

    And I was justifying behaviours that were causing me to rush through life and become overwhelmed and overloaded!

    I’m sure you can see the pattern.

    Do you do this too?

    Is your language full of just-ifications that are creating stress, unnecessary busy-ness, a sense of being rushed and pressured?

    Your Words Are Instructions

    Just-ification is a real thing (to me at least), and it has me wondering what other language clues there are to indicate when we are talking ourselves into stress, strain, drama or heaviness.

    What are you telling yourself about your business or your life?

    What are the words that you use regularly, and what do they mean to you?

    “Be careful of what you say, because your body will hear you and obey.”

    If you say openly that you are playing small, procrastinating, ‘not ready yet’, I can’t do that, I’m no good at that, or any version of this kind of self-talk, please be aware of the implications.

    When you say things to yourself, I believe you are giving your body and mind instructions on how to behave.

    Let that sink in for a moment.

    Let’s say you describe yourself as a chocoholic, or a workaholic, a sweet tooth or an insomniac. At that moment, what kind of instruction are you giving your body and mind?

    What kind of information is getting plugged into the reticular activating system in your brain – your brain’s GPS?

    When you make any sort of written or verbal assertion, your RAS takes note and filters in everything that fits with that assertion, and at the same time, filters out anything that doesn’t fit that paradigm.

    On that basis, let me ask you this – what kind of behaviour are you condoning or even actively promoting for yourself?

    What kind of claim are you making about yourself as a person, and what does that say about your identity?

    Lots of questions from me today, but I have to say how important this is.

     Summary

    By virtue of the way our brains work, specifically, your reticular activating system, when you think or say something about yourself, your body responds in a way that reinforces that statement.

    I coined a phrase years ago while teaching a bellydancing class, that sums it up.

    “Be careful of what you say, because your body will hear you and obey.”

    Ready to have better self-talk?

    What you tell yourself matters. If you’re truly ready to break old habits and get out of the rut I encourage you to check out the Habitology membership.

    Learn more here:

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    Episode 104: Purpose Case Studies

    These case studies present a more organic approach to finding your purpose – an alternative to the method described in episode 102.

    Today I want to continue the conversation about purpose. I would like to invite you to do some deep thinking work about what matters to you, where you come from, what your journey has been and why you do what you do.

    I talked about purpose in episode 102 and walked through a process for discovering your purpose. 

    Perhaps you will see yourself in this journey. Perhaps you will be clearer by the end of this episode about what is most important to you and what your contribution to the world really is.

    The first thing that I want to say is that unless you already know what you want to do and are clear on that, a big part of discovering your purpose is discovering yourself. It’s a process of self-awareness and self reflection. 

    So if you want to get really clear on your purpose, you’ll need to spend some time thinking about where you’ve come from, what you’ve achieved, what you love to do and what’s most important to you.

    Here are a few examples of how that could play out.

    The first story is about someone who is super good at organising and planning. This person was trying to figure out her purpose and her niche. 

    What she has come from is a life of needing to help out in the family and get siblings and family members organised. She’s come from a place of needing to be self-sufficient with her schooling and study. So organisation is a natural strength and skill that she has.

    Through a process of being organised, this person has been able to juggle work and study, family commitments, and to start up and run a business. People come to her when they’re stuck and not sure where to turn, she helps him to get clarity and to make a plan to start taking action – normally starting with getting organised first.

    What she loves to do is see the relief on people‘s faces when they get stuff sorted out. And what’s most important to her is having a great routine for her own self care and well-being – in other words being self organised – so that she can show up with energy, confidence, and a sense of calmness.

    Example number two is somebody who comes from a public service background, and who has had a lot to do with project management. She comes from a very formal work environment, working for the government, and is very familiar with the policies and procedures.

    She was recognised among her peers as one of the best project managers in the division, largely because of her great attention to detail and love of doing things properly and finishing things in a high-quality way. She loved doing that type of work but not necessarily the role that she was in. 

    She wanted to start her own business because that’s what she loved – the creativity of building a business and the control that she could have by owning the business rather than working for someone else.

    So her purpose is to bring that detailed focus, high-quality and finishing aspects to helping people get their business admin sorted out in a really professional and structured way.  She does tasks for you as a VA and holds you accountable to getting your stuff delivered so she can do her job of making you look really good.

    If you want to get really clear on your purpose, you’ll need to spend some time thinking about where you’ve come from, what you’ve achieved, what you love to do and what’s most important to you.

    Example number three is somebody who really values spirituality and connection, is very honest and values driven, and comes from a religious background.

    She’s become known in her community as a connector as an empathetic listener, and has a wonderful support.

    She loves maintaining a spiritual practice of her own and she loves helping others to do the same. What’s important to her is creating peace and calm in the world and a sense of connection with people supporting each other.

    So it’s really clear that her purpose is to coach people in groups around their spiritual practice and the impact that they can have on others by being in a place of calmness, self-care and resilience.

    Example number four is somebody who has lost over 50 kg. She has had a journey with food, her body and her emotions over many years and has struggled with her weight. 

    She has been through cycles of weight loss and then re-gain, and finally realised that her secret to moving forward into a permanent healthy weight situation was simply to manage her mindset – in other words her thoughts and beliefs about herself and food.

    What’s important to her is family, relationships, creativity, freedom of expression. Food and weight and her challenges with mindset was stifling those things for her.

    What she loves to do is help other women who are busy, ambitious and overcommitted, to do less, be more organised, reduce stress, and find healthy ways to manage their emotions.

    Her purpose is to help women to stop over eating and to start living their lives so that they can show up for their loved ones in a really present connected way.

    Example number five is somebody who has always loved cooking, even as a little kid. She was always creatively experimenting with food, trying out new ideas. She also spent many years battling low-grade health issues and anxiety. She realised that her gut health was an issue and that she was feeling sluggish and tired because she wasn’t always making healthy choices or cooking the healthiest food.

    She experienced a significant improvement in her health by following a plant based diet. And as a result of this and her love of cooking she realised that she loves interacting with people and helping them to avoid chronic disease and take control of their health by eating more plants.

    What’s important to her as a value is health, and also spirituality. She regularly meditates and practices yoga and this fits really well with her beliefs about food and health in a holistic sense.

    She feels passionate about helping people realise that a disease diagnosis is not a life sentence, and that they can make significant improvements simply by eating more plants more often.

    So she feels that her purpose is to educate people about healthy eating, and to coach them around adopting lifestyle habits that will help them to feel more connected to themselves, but also to nip any looming health issues in the bud.

    As I work through these examples I realise that I have many hundreds of stories like this. Of people who have figured out their own journey, their own values, what lights them up and what’s important to them in the world.

    The stories are shortened and simplified. They don’t reflect the many years of searching or wondering what they’re here for.

    What I can say is that if you zoom out from your life and you look at the major highlights, the struggles, and the lowlights, you might see some things that help you to get closer to defining what your purpose is.

    Ready to find your purpose?

    Finding a way to use your strengths to do something you love can be a life changing! If you’re truly ready to break old habits and get out of the rut I encourage you to check out the Habitology membership.

    Learn more here: