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Episode 72: Unwavering Self-Confidence

This episode is for you if you want to be more secure in yourself and your abilities, and to feel worthy, helpful and capable. We look at what self-confidence is and the basics of what you need to do to get it.

Right now, imagine the feeling of having unwavering self-confidence. When I say unwavering, I mean steady, resolute and consistent.

You are someone who is totally secure in yourself and your abilities. You trust yourself and your abilities completely – there is no second-guessing, and you are committed to taking action without needing to know all the steps required, or any promise that you will succeed.

What would it be like to be a cool cat like that?

How would self-confidence affect your relationships, your business, your job, your kids, your friends and your level of satisfaction and fulfilment with life?

It’s really worth talking about self-confidence because it’s one of the keys to success, and it’s something that most people want – yet there is a bit of confusion about what it is, what it isn’t, and how much confidence you have.

So that’s what I want to talk about in this episode.

Let’s start by exploring what self-confidence can create in your life.

Self-Confidence is a Key to Thriving

According to research by Deci and Ryan (2002), confidence is one of three vital lifetime pursuits (the other two are learning/developing competence and applying strengths).

You have probably heard of the saying that “like attracts like”.

What this means is that if you are confident, you will tend to attract more positive and confident people, opportunities, clients and circumstances.

Confidence is a strong predictor of success in all areas of life, from work performance through to creating new health habits.

So, What is Self-Confidence?

There are various definitions of self-confidence out there.

But a simple one is this – self-confidence is your ability to be secure in yourself and your abilities. A self-confident person has thinking patterns about how worthy, helpful and capable they are. 

So what are the elements of confidence?

There are three things:

  1.     Backing yourself
  2.     Trusting yourself and
  3.     Having a healthy opinion of yourself.

Backing yourself is mostly about courage. It means that you will take the risk of putting yourself or your ideas ‘out there’.

Trusting yourself is mostly about your competence or self-efficacy. It means you believe that you have enough skills and know how to follow through and complete something.

It means you will follow your plan and take responsibility for things, even if you are nervous, frightened, unsure or inexperienced.

Trusting yourself is mostly about your competence or self-efficacy. It means you believe that you have enough skills and know how to follow through and complete something.

Notice that I said complete, not achieve.

Trust is not about results – it is about your faith that you have the ability and persistence to follow through.

A healthy opinion of yourself is about your self-esteem or value. In other words, you feel good about yourself and have a realistic view of your value, and that you are deserving of success, respect and achievements.

Henry Ford sums up confidence in his famous saying:

“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t, you’re right.’

That being said, I want to myth bust some of the confusion around self-confidence and be really clear about what it isn’t.

What isn’t Self-Confidence?

When you hear the word self-confident, what comes to mind? Here are some words that are often associated with self-confidence, but which are actually nothing to do with it.

Aggressive – this is being forceful.

Aloof – cool and distant; uninvolved.

Arrogant – this is thinking you are better than someone else.

Assertive – the quality of being self-assured without being aggressive.

Gregarious – fond of company, sociable.

Happy – showing pleasure or contentment.

Successful – accomplishing a desired result.

These words are more likely based on your perspective, beliefs or judgement. 

Please don’t confuse them with self-confidence. Being self-confident is none of these; it is capacity, capability and strength.

The interesting thing about confidence is that you can be self-confident without any proof.

When you have those three elements in place, you develop a self-confident attitude to life, and that’s what creates the results and life you want.

The Attitude of Self-Confidence

To develop self-confidence, you need to adopt a proactive attitude. That is, if I see it, I will believe it – rather than the other way around.

Your attitude is that you don’t need certainty to take action and you are prepared to take calculated risks on the unknown. 

We’re not talking about reckless behaviour – it’s about managing risks and being willing to be uncomfortable, knowing that growth is on the other side of that.

Remember that self-confidence is about backing yourself, trusting yourself and having a healthy opinion of yourself.

With that in mind, you can see that someone with an attitude of self confidence totally trusts themselves and the process – irrespective of the result.

This is also known as a growth mindset.

Let’s do a little test. I’m going to read out six statements now. Count how many you agree with and believe. 

  1. The why is more important than the how
  2. The steps will be revealed along the journey
  3. You need to persist and follow your plan even if you’re fearful
  4. You may need to change your plan, problem solve and be agile
  5. There is no failure, only feedback and learning
  6. Risk is a prerequisite for learning and growth.

How many did you agree with? 

Does this sound like you overall?

The more of these statements you agree with, the more of a self-confident attitude you have.

You are probably someone who is willing to give things a red hot go, to respond to feedback, and to problem solve so you can overcome setbacks. 

You are willing to explore uncharted territory and go against the grain in order to succeed, if necessary. 

You have a pioneering spirit. And, with a self-confident attitude, you an innate capacity to build self-confidence. But even if you don’t – you can build this attitude with a few simple techniques, which we will talk about in a coming episode.

By now you probably have some idea about your own level of self-confidence.

I want to ask you some questions now so that you can get clarity on what self-confidence means and feels like to you. 

When have you felt self-confident?

What did it feel like in your body, and where did you feel it?

What were you thinking at the time?

What were you able to do because you had self-confidence?

What results did your self-confident action create?

I’m sure you have felt self-confident at some time in your life. 

Here’s what it feels like. It feels good, energizing, uplifting, optimistic and powerful.

You feel unflappable, unstoppable. You have pose, and are calm, unshaken. You have a cool head, you are composed, have faith and are disciplined. 

You take action because you believe in what you are doing, and your ability to do it.

Does that sound familiar? If not, or if you want to feel more self-confident, you may need to do some work – and that is a topic for the next episode – a deep dive into building self-confidence.

Summary

Self-confidence is your ability to be secure in yourself and your abilities. A self-confident person has thinking patterns about how worthy, helpful and capable they are. 

The elements of self-confidence are your ability to back yourself, trust yourself and have a healthy opinion of yourself.

Remember that self-confidence is about backing yourself, trusting yourself and having a healthy opinion of yourself.

When you have those three elements in place, you develop an attitude of self-confidence, that is unwavering, persistent and the basis of all your actions.

We will talk about building self confidence in the coming episodes.

But if you’d like to build unwavering self-confidence NOW, join the February intake of Habitology where we will study this important topic and implement the lessons into your life. 

Visit https://www.melaniejwhite.com/habitology for more details or visit my contact page.

Ready for unwavering self confidence?

Having a healthy opinion of yourself can make all the difference. 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 59: Becoming Your Future Self

This podcast is about one of the fundamental things of becoming your future self: challenging and changing your beliefs.

You’ve probably heard the saying “If you always do what you’ve always done you’ll always get what you’ve always got.”

You’ve probably also heard the saying “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.”

Both of those sayings speak to the concept that if you hang onto the beliefs, habits and thoughts that you have right now then nothing is going to change.

Both of those sayings speak to the concept that if you hang onto the beliefs, habits and thoughts that you have right now then nothing is going to change.

In other words, if you want to become your future self, you have to start thinking and acting differently.

It SOUNDS easy, but your brain wants to hang onto your current beliefs, habits and thoughts because it invested a lot of energy in creating and habitualising them. 

That’s why I want to talk about this exact topic today in the podcast.

Let’s start with an understanding of what beliefs, habits and thoughts are, and then to talk about two methods to change them so that you can become your future self.

Definitions

Before we get into definitions of beliefs, habits and thoughts, let’s recap how the brain works, because this is a beautiful way to illustrate the difference between them.

When you first learn how to do something it takes a lot of focus and energy – in other words, it takes a lot of conscious thinking. 

Your brain loves learning things quickly and properly so it can turn the steps into automated habits that run on autopilot. Your brain uses your thoughts as motivation and instructions to get you to take the right actions.

When you practice those thoughts and actions repeatedly they become a habit.

And when something becomes a habit, your brain can switch into autopilot and save energy. 

In the recesses of your mind there is an unconscious thinking process going on to instruct all the thoughts and actions that will get you out of bed on time. 

You switch from conscious thoughts about what you’re doing into unconscious thoughts about what you’re doing. Your thoughts are still there, they’re just in the background, barely noticeable, quietly instructing what you are doing.

Here’s an example. When you are learning to drive a car, your focus is everywhere – put foot on accelerator, check mirrors, use indicator, change gears while depressing the clutch – and so on.  

But when you have mastered all those intricate steps, you can find yourself singing along with the radio as you drive and suddenly realise you are at your destination, barely remembering how you got there.

This process of forming a habit takes anywhere from 30 – 360 days, depending on the complexity of the habit. The average time to form a habit is 83 days.

And once a habit has been running on autopilot for an extended period, your brain notices the benefit or result of that habit.

From there, your mind forms a belief about that thing you’re doing.

Here’s an example. 

Let’s say that when you were a kid your mum woke you up really early in the morning. She’d say something like “Come on honey, get up, rise and shine! The early bird catches the worm.”

During this ritual your brain worked out the best way to think and act in order to get you out of bed early every day. That was reinforced by what your mum was telling you something positive about that habit.

Now if, as an adult, you are still getting out of bed early every morning, then you most likely have some beliefs about that habit and yourself. 

For example you might be saying or thinking things like “I’m a morning person” or “the morning is the best part of the day.” 

In the recesses of your mind there is an unconscious thinking process going on to instruct all the thoughts and actions that will get you out of bed on time. There is also the conscious recognition of the beliefs you have about that habit.

Watch your mind next time you get out of bed and notice what’s in your head as you get up.

So that’s the difference between conscious and unconscious thoughts, habits, and finally, beliefs.

One last nuance I want to mention is this.

Once you have formed a belief about something, your brain starts collecting evidence that your belief is true. 

Your brain filters out anything that doesn’t match with that belief. 

Your brain likes to be right. 

This is called confirmation bias. 

Changing beliefs 

Having said all that, I’m sure you can see how imagine changing your beliefs is a little bit complicated for two reasons. 

  1. You have a lot of autopilot going on. You have automatic habits and you have automatic thoughts that drive them or are caused by your habits. 
  2. You have confirmation bias. Your brain believes that what you are doing is right, is the best thing for you. And your brain hates being wrong.

What does this mean in terms of becoming your future self? 

It means you need a way to identify and then change those automatic patterns. AND, it means you might also need to challenge your perspective.

Might I just say at this point, that this is why coaching is so important. 

Most of us cannot see our own automatic thoughts and patterns. And we generally are stuck in our own perspectives. A coach can help somebody to do this work to see things differently to challenge their automatic thoughts and to become their future selves.

But there is still a lot you can do yourself to become your future self, so let’s talk about how to do that.

Begin With The End in Mind 

In his book the Seven Habits of Highly Successful People, Stephen Covey’s second success habit was to begin with the end in mind.

I want to talk to you briefly about what that means. It really means that to become your future self, you need to have a clear picture of what your future self looks like so that you know what you need to do to get there. You might want to listen to my episodes on creating a vision (#1) and on being specific (#14) both of which are relevant to this.

For now, let’s say that you have a specific view of how your future self look and feels. 

Maybe you can imagine your fitter self, or your richer self, or your more successful self, or your slimmer self, or your happier self or whatever it is for you.

I’m just talking about ONE area – pick one area of life that you’d like to change, and create a vision of your future self around that.

Once you have that idea in your mind of what you would like to be and what your future self looks and feels like you’re ready to do the work to start changing your beliefs so you can become that future version of yourself.

What Would You be Thinking?

If you want to become your future self, you need to start thinking differently. More like your future self would.

Let’s look at a few examples.

Let’s say that right now you feel like you’re overdrinking and that you want to eventually become a non-drinker. 

Right now, your thoughts might be things like:

“I’m only going to have a drink on Friday and Saturday this week.” 

Or, “I need to cut back on alcohol.” 

Or, “I feel so hung over and terrible I’m never drinking again.”

Now mentally propel yourself five years forward. Imagine that you are now your future self and that you’re a non-drinker. Pretend that you stopped drinking alcohol three years ago. 

What are your new thoughts about alcohol? 

Chances are, your non-drinking self is not thinking about alcohol at all, because you no longer drink it. It’s not even on your radar.

You’re no longer thinking about alcohol at 2pm, wondering if you’ll drink tonight or not, or whether you will be judged by others for not drinking at the party.

You will probably see other people slurring and stumbling around and think, “that used to be me. I’m so glad I’m a non-drinker. I have so much more self-control and I feel good about that.” 

Maybe your future self is quite happy to go out to a party or a dinner with others who are drinking, and when people ask if you want to drink your future self says “No thanks, I don’t drink.” 

And your future self would feel a sense of confidence, and conviction, and contentment about saying that because they really believe that it’s true.

Notice how different your future thinking patterns are compared that with what your current self thinks and believes. The dialogue is totally different. 

The same could be said about any other area of life. 

Let’s look at an example of a successful business.

Let’s say that you are struggling to get clients right now and your income is erratic.

You might be thinking, “I need clients!” or, “I wonder if I should run a Facebook ad!” 

Maybe you’re thinking “The market is saturated, nobody wants what I am selling.” Or perhaps, “That other person is so successful, maybe I should do what she is doing?” 

Or even “I wonder if I need to do more training courses.”

Now, what would your future successful business owner self be saying instead?

Probably the focus would be on quality of service and expansion.

Maybe you’d be saying things like “I wonder how I can serve my clients better.” 

Or “I would love to do a workshop on this topic that I’m really passionate about so I can share this with more people.” 

Or perhaps, “What could I do that would really help my clients to 10X their results?”

What’s interesting about this example is that both the before and after business person is striving for the same goals, but the language and feeling about the process is different.

Ok, examples aside, let’s talk about how to start taking action and getting traction with this.

In the words of Amy Cuddy, “our bodies change our minds.”

So I’d like to walk you through two ways to start becoming your future self, by tapping into the mind-body connection.

  1. Start Thinking Like Your Future Self

The easiest way to become your future self is to seed your mind with the thoughts of your future self. 

Let’s do a little exercise. 

Pretend that you are already your future self. Right now. Imagine being that person who has achieved what you want to achieve. 

Really take yourself to that place and imagine how you look, how you feel what your experience of life is every day. 

What would your future self be saying about this each day?

Notice that you will probably not be thinking about how great it is to be successful. That is the voice of your current self.

You’re probably passed that honeymoon period. You will probably be thinking about your next actions.  

Let’s use the example of body weight.

If you are currently overweight you might think to yourself, “I need to lose weight but I don’t know what to do.”

That may be a fact, but it’s unhelpful. 

So what would your future self be thinking and saying?

Maybe, “I need to schedule in three exercise sessions this week and block out my calendar”.

Or maybe, “On Sunday night, I’ll do my meal prep for the week.”

Perhaps you’d be saying “I love the way my body feels.” 

Or “Sorry, I don’t eat sugary foods, they’re not good for me.”

Your current self might be judgmental and self-critical. 

Your future self will more likely show self-compassion. 

So I want to offer that you can start speaking to yourself with compassion right now, because that judgement and self-criticism is unhelpful and will not support you taking action or achieving your goals. It will do the opposite.

In summary, consider the thoughts of your future self and say them, write them and practice them daily.

Start now. 

Start rewiring your neural pathways.

  1. Acting like your future self

Apart from the thinking work there are also the actions that your future self would be taking or not taking. 

Let’s talk about the business example. 

If you were successful in business as your future self what would be the actions that you would be taking each week?

Maybe you would use Monday morning as a big picture planning session. 

Maybe on Friday afternoon you’d be reflecting on what went well I need be planning the next week so you could totally shut off on the weekend. 

And maybe you wouldn’t be working on the weekend to be having fun instead. 

These are some of the things – the actions – that are successful business person might be taking.

What about the weight example? 

If you were at your healthy weight, the actions that you might be taking would be perhaps walking every morning when you get up as a not negotiable thing. 

Ask yourself now, if you were your future healthy self, what actions would you be taking regularly, as not negotiable actions that you were committed to?

Maybe at the supermarket you be walking past the junk food aisles because you don’t go there anymore. You’d be heading straight for the fruit and veg section.

Ask yourself now, if you were your future healthy self, what actions would you be taking regularly, as not negotiable actions that you were committed to?

Identify those actions and find a way to start now. 

Start rewiring your physiological pathways.

Summing it up

As you can see your future self is thinking and acting totally differently from how are you are right now. 

The starting point to become your future self is to simply work out what your future self might be thinking and doing and then, to start thinking and doing those things.

To do this, you will need to plug both the thinking work and the actions into your calendar as not negotiable.

You’ll need to make space for them.

This truly is a gradual, one at a time process. 

You can definitely fast-track becoming your future self, but you can’t do it all tomorrow it just doesn’t work that way. It’s too much for your brain to absorb.

Your brain takes time to create new habits – on average, 86 days. 

So the goal is to start with one thing or two things perhaps and turn those into habits stick with them consistently for 83 days at least.

Ready to become your future self?

Start the journey to become who you want to be! 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 58: Removing Motivation Blocks

It’s all well and good to think about creating motivation. But what happens when something unexpected blocks your motivation?

It’s all well and good to just do it and to have a plan to take action, but at some point we get blindsided by the facts of life.

Things happen that disrupt our thoughts, our intentions, and our mood. So we need to be able to pull ourselves back on track quickly and easily. We need to be able to remove the unexpected motivation blocks that come up. 

That’s what this episode is all about.

No matter what your intentions sometimes you hit a slump.

Usually it’s because of external forces or situations.

But it can also be your own thinking patterns that trip you up.

Thought-Based Obstacles

For example, maybe there is some event coming up that is a block in your mind, as in you can’t move forward until that thing has happened. 

This block has come up for several of my clients. 

I remember one business strategy session that I did and the person who purchased that session was not ready to take any action or even to plan.

They were in a job and they felt that it would be morally wrong to do any planning at all or even any market research into their idea until they had spoken to the current employer about what they intended to do. 

And that was a scary conversation that they were afraid of having. So we could achieve plotting the later action steps, but that was it, because there was this block that had to be removed before the person could find the motivation to take action.

I’ve heard many versions of this for around weight loss too. 

There is always a holiday coming up or the wedding coming up for a job change coming up or some other thing that prevents somebody from “starting now.”

Usually it’s because of external forces or situations, but it can also be your own thinking patterns that trip you up. 

I call these things “just-ifications”. As in:

I just need to have this conversation. 

I just need to take the holiday. 

I just need to get past the wedding. 

I just need to get ready. I’m not ready yet.

The word ‘just’ becomes an excuse for not taking action.

And there goes your motivation trickling down the drain again.

Getting Back On the Horse

If we slow down for a moment we can see what the reality is. Life is full of obstacles and despite them, we can take action.

We don’t need to feel ready, we don’t need to have a clear run, we don’t need to get rid of clutter, although all of those things can help. 

But they are actually all just mental constructs. 

The fact is, there is often nothing physical that stops us from taking continuous and deliberate action – which is the secret sauce for creating motivation.

So then the question becomes how do you get out of your head and into action? 

How do you remove motivation blocks in all shapes and forms?

I want to talk about five useful tools that you can use to switch your brain into a different state.

Five Tools For Creating Motivation

Tool #1 is from Amy Cuddy – power poses.

This one is great if you are feeling a bit fearful or lacking confidence in yourself.

It works on the principle that your physiology – that is, your body and it’s systems – is directly linked to your emotional state.

They are interconnected. Our bodies change our minds. So the most powerful way to change your state, using your physical body, is to adopt a ‘power pose’ for 2 minutes.

Why two minutes? Because research from the Association of Psychological Science shows how power poses change your hormones and therefore your state in JUST 2 minutes.

Powerful postures are legs apart with feet facing forward, hands on hips or arms up and out, standing up straight.

A yoga class could provide an opportunity to practice this.

Tool #2 is from Tony Robbins – creating your state

This one is a daily ritual you can perform as a means of building resilience and motivation, or as a mental tool that you can use to get into the right mindset for taking action.

Practicing mindfulness meditation, talking to yourself with positive language about the positive outcomes you want, and visualising them, are all tools that you can use to create a more positive, can-do state of mind.

There are many versions of this.

If you know your Tendency, from Gretchen Rubin’s quiz, then certain rituals might work better for you than others.

Questioners might do well to bring curiosity to their motivation funk and query it from that perspective.

Obligers might get out of their motivation funk by thinking about how they could help others, or how their taking action might benefit others.

Upholders might get out of their motivation funk by talking to themselves about re-writing and tackling their to-do list.

Rebels might feel justified in their lack of motivation. It can be harder for a rebel to break free. But what often works is to ask yourself – what’s in this for me?  What am I getting out of being unmotivated, and what would I rather have instead?

Tool #3 is from Mel Robbins – it’s the 5-second rule

No, this is not about dropping food on the floor!

This one is great if you’re feeling panicky or anxious, but also when you are stuck in a loop of procrastination which is really just fear in disguise.

On her blog, Mel says “the 5 Second Rule was something that I developed to get myself to take action when I didn’t want to.

I was so busy feeling sorry for myself that something that is so simple became so difficult.”  

She developed the 5-second rule which is simply this – if you have an impulse to act on a goal, you must physically move within 5 seconds or your brain will kill the idea.

When you feel yourself hesitate before doing something that you know you should do, count 5-4-3-2-1-GO and move towards action.

Tool #4 is specific planning and rehearsal

When you make a specific plan around the thing you’re putting off, you will feel motivated. 

Just making the plan of action feels good. It feels like you’re doing something!

And often the plan helps you to identify the things you’re unsure of or don’t know, so that you can problem solve them and get unstuck.

Even better is rehearsing the steps in your mind. 

First you write your plan. Then you mentally walk through the thing you are demotivated about and visualise yourself doing each step.

This mental rehearsal plugs the steps into your brain as instructions, which helps you to actually do the steps.

Tool #5 is positive language

Building on the previous concepts, the words you use can make things worse or better, easier or harder.

For example:

“I will give it a good go” is stronger and more positive than “I guess I’ll try”.

“I’ll do my best” is more intentional than “I’m not expecting much”.

“I will do whatever it takes” is more powerful than “I’ll see how I’m going after a week or two”.

“I will do this” is more intentional and committed than “I hope I can”.

And “I will eat fresh salads with each meal” is more empowering and positive than “I will restrict carbs and cut calories.”

See how different the former statement is to the latter?

Notice how the stronger language is more motivating?

Right, now it’s time to get motivated! Let’s summarise what we’ve covered today.

Summary

There are plenty of circumstances outside our control, and sometimes they can bring us down. But at the core of it, our thoughts are actually the things that sap our motivation.

There are 5 different tools you can use to remove motivation blocks in under 10 minutes.

  1. Power poses
  2. Create your state via visualisation and meditation 
  3. The 5-second rule
  4. Plan and rehearse the steps
  5. Use positive language

At the core of it, our thoughts are actually the things that sap our motivation.

I hope you find a way to use these tools over the next week or two and find the ones that work best for you.

Better still, be proactive about rewiring your default thinking patterns and make a habit or ritual out of some of these.

If you want to proactively manage your mind, visit www.melaniejwhite.com/habitology to learn about my monthly membership. 

Ready to overcome motivation blocks?

Try these five tools and watch yourself succeed. 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 56: 5 Steps to Engaging Icebreaker Conversations

This five step process will help you to break the ice with confidence to create strong connections and engagement.

When you start a business, one of the first things that you need to master is talking to people about what you do.

But if you’re like most people, you get nervous, flustered, and you get things wrong.

You freeze up, or you end up stumbling over your words.

Or maybe you aren’t quite sure what to say so you stand there silently, watching, wishing you could say something smart, witty or relevant.

The truth is, if you’re a new to business and networking it can feel a little bit uncomfortable, or it can feel downright uncomfortable. 

So today I want to walk you through a step-by-step process that you can use to help you to break the ice in all sorts of social and networking situations.

The goal of using this process is to feel more comfortable and confident when talking to people, making new connections and starting to generate business – and eventually become a household name!

And if you’re a coach, this is going to be easier than you think!

Let’s start at the beginning.

STEP 1 – Preparing for the Conversation

Your primary goal with this step is to feel prepared and confident before the event.

If you are going to an event to meet prospective clients or business partners, it can help you if you are feeling prepared. Feeling somewhat prepared means that you have a sense of confidence about showing up in the first place. You will more likely feel like you know what you are doing there. You will feel more comfortable knowing your place, who’s who, and what sorts of conversations you might be having.

So to prepare for the conversations you will have, there are four things you can do:

  1. Research the event or audience, 
  2. Review industry news, studies or current affairs
  3. Prepare some simple soundbites about what you do, and
  4. Establish some goals for the event.

Research the Event or Audience

It’s super easy to go online for 30 minutes and find out the history of the event, or the keynote speaker, or the organising group.

Discover what they stand for, what their mission is, and why the event is taking place.

If possible, look at the attendees list and decide who you might like to talk to. Research their background – their companies, interests and work ethic.

This is one way to feel prepared and to generate ideas for conversation.

Read the News

If you stay abreast of current affairs and latest research papers in your industry or related to your target market’s interests, you will find plenty of conversation starters. 

There are many ways you can turn the latest news or research into a conversation starter.

Here are some ideas:

  1. Apple is releasing a new iPhone in September – conversation about tech use, stress, blue light, monitoring apps.
  2. Bupa has a series of ads about self-care for mothers – conversation about the challenges of motherhood – did they get it right?

There are many ways you can turn the latest news or research into a conversation starter.

Prepare Some Soundbites

Invariably, someone will ask you why you are at the event, and possible what you do. Having some responses planned will help you navigate that part of the conversation smoothly.

If you have done your research you will have an answer to the ‘why are you here’ question.

Maybe it’s about professional development and networking.

Maybe you want to stay on top of industry trends.

Maybe you want to learn from industry experts, or about who else is out there servicing your niche.

These are all responses that could start a conversation about you. And when it comes to what you do, you need to have practiced a natural, authentic elevator pitch (a short one) that sounds aspirational but humble, and a bit like a vision.

If that engages interest, you’d have a longer elevator pitch prepared as well, to explain your mission and the benefits of what you do.

Establish Some Goals

I had a conversation with a student coach once, who was preparing for her first business networking event – a business networking lunch.

We discussed her setting some specific goals for the event so that she felt she had a specific purpose and focus.

I can’t remember her goals exactly but they were something like this:

  1. Without knowing exactly who would be there, she set a target number of people to talk to in the room – I think it was 5.
  2. She wanted to find common ground and aligned values with three local businesses who service her niche
  3. She wanted to learn from two experts about a specific topic.

As you can see these are simple goals that focus on connection and nothing else, and they evoke curiosity rather than fear.

She entered the event feeling confident and clear on how she would spend her time.

You could set goals like this or something different – it’s totally up to you.

Write down some ideas of questions you could ask, topics of interest, or the feelings you would like to have while you are there.

One thing’s for sure – when you set some goals and make a plan for the event you will feel a sense of relief, get a boost in confidence, and feel motivated about attending.

Invariably, someone will ask you why you are at the event, and possible what you do. Having some responses planned will help you navigate that part of the conversation smoothly.

STEP 2 – Set up the Conversation

Your primary goal with this step is to show up authentically.

No matter how good you are at networking, it can be difficult to start a conversation.

The goal of the conversation should always be get to know another person and to build rapport. 

If you are meeting someone for the first time, you want the other person to engage with you, to like you, and create a connection that you both value.

But we often approach these conversations the wrong way. 

Consider this for a moment.

You have just seen someone you would like to meet and you are considering your approach. You might think to yourself:

Are they going to like me?

Will they be able to connect me with clients?

Will they notice how nervous I am?

Will they be able to give me work? 

Will I be able to get my message across without seeming salesy? 

Which question should I ask next? 

What should I ask them about their business – or not?

Right now, take a step back and notice something that all of those things have in common.

The theme was this – all those thoughts and questions were all about you. And that’s the opposite way you need to be thinking.

The way to engage people and build trust and rapport is to make the conversation all about them. In other words, put your coaching skills into action!

When you shift the focus to the other person, with the idea that you have something to learn from them, then it takes away the focus on you and your nerves and needs.

Focusing on the other person raises curiosity, gratitude, warmth and empathy.

So when you are in the room and preparing to have a conversation, notice that your default  position might be fear and uncertainty, and you will need to refocus.

Think about the preparation you’ve done and focus on why you are here.

Remember that you will feel less anxious and more relaxed as you go.

If you feel awkward at any time, your fallback position is to ask a question, so the other person will speak and you get some time to think and process. 

STEP 3 – Breaking the Ice

Your primary goal with this step is to break the ice – to connect and engage confidently, authentically and with curiosity.

So, what do you say? How do you break the ice?

Think about the research you did and the goals you set. You should have a few topic ideas to get started.

For example, let’s say you are at a general business networking meeting and want to meet other businesses who also service your clients.

You could ask an icebreaker question such as:

  • What’s been the best experience you’ve had being in this group?
  • I’m curious – what inspired you to start your business in that particular area?
  • What do your clients love most about working with you?

Notice that these are all vision-style, big picture questions that invite a positive and expansive discussion.

Now let’s say that you went to a health and fitness expo and wanted to meet potential clients as you strolled around the booths and displays.

You could approach someone at a booth or who is waiting for a speaking event to start, and ask an icebreaker question such as:

  • I notice you’re checking out the fitness tights. What sport do you play?
  • I always feel so inspired at these events. What brought you here today?
  • This speaker is so amazing. What do you like best about her?

All you need to do is find someone to talk to, ask a thought-provoking question and listen carefully while the other person speaks.

Then, reflect what you hear to show you are listening.

Ask related, follow-on questions that go where the other person is taking the conversation.

If you start this way, you will break the ice, which is your primary goal. 

Now, consider how you might be able to SEE that the ice has been broken.

Certainly, body language and tone of voice will tell you if there is an authentic connection.

The person you are talking to will have relaxed body language. Their shoulders will relax. Their arms and legs will be open. Their pupils may be dilated. They may start to gesticulate. There will be a physical change in the other person.

Also, the cadence of their voice might slow down, or it may speed up if they get fired up about the topic. 

In any case, know that when you see and hear these signs, you have broken the ice and are ready to dig deeper into the conversation.

On the other hand, if you do NOT see these signs, don’t worry.

Not everyone has chemistry. You can end the conversation politely and move on, thanking them for their time and swapping cards with them.

STEP 4 – Building the Conversation 

Your primary goal with this step is to build the other person’s confidence and trust in you.

If there is a clear connection with someone, then you’ll want to build the conversation and take it deeper. 

You can ask more probing questions related to the initial conversation, or bigger picture questions. In other words, keep using your coaching skills! 

Ask for the other person’s opinions and insights.

If you have done your research and preparation, then you’ll have some background ideas and insights on the event or person that will help you come up with some insightful questions that will further the conversation.

At some point, the other person may ask you about yourself, so having a brief spiel about yourself or your business – an authentic elevator pitch – is a good idea.

At the end of the conversation you can decide where to take it.

Swapping business cards is a good start.

If you think there’s synergy worth pursuing, you can invite them to a coffee date or follow up chat.

Be specific and ask about their availability for a 30 minute chat in the next week.

Your self-confidence here will build the other person’s confidence and trust in you.

After the event, you may like to write notes on each business card you collected about the person and key points of interest.

STEP 5 – Following up

Your primary goal with this step is to demonstrate your accountability and professionalism.

If you have collected business cards from people it’s useful to follow up with them in a way that adds value.

You could, for example, send them a news article or link that they might find interesting or helpful, based on the conversation you had with them.

Or perhaps you ask if they are going to the next event, and would they like to meet beforehand for a drink.

If you discussed a coffee date or phone meeting, you can contact them the day before the arranged time to confirm it.

In either case, when you follow up proactively and with self-confidence, the other person will be impressed with your accountability and it will build their confidence in you.

This is an important outcome goal in any networking connection.

em.

The goal of the conversation should always be get to know another person and to build rapport. 

So to recap the five steps:

  1. Prepare for the specific event, what you will say, and goals, so you feel confident and ready
  2. Set yourself up to show up authentically, and ready with coaching-style conversation
  3. Break the ice and connect with confidence and curiosity
  4. Build the conversation with probing and broad questions – and build the other person’s trust and confidence
  5. Follow up promptly by adding value or to confirm – to show accountability and professionalism

Ready to master icebreaker conversations?

Try these five steps and watch your networking skills improve! 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 55: Business Models for Startup and Growth

This episode of they habitology podcast is about simple business models that you can use to run your business.

I want to talk about this from two perspectives.

  1. Transitioning from a job to a business.
  2. Transitioning from startup phase to an established business.

 

Most of us start our working lives being paid an hourly rate for a defined set of tasks in a business for somebody else’s company. So we are used to being paid by the hour. 

And then when we get to running our own business and we go through that transition we are still thinking about the hourly rate model. 

Think about working a job for somebody else. You go to that job and you are doing paid work for 40 hours a week. Your job is to show up and do a job for the business, just a part of all the work that the company does. 

For example, let’s say that you show up at a department store and your job is to sell perfume for eight hours a day at the perfume counter. Every hour that you’re there involves selling directly to clients and making sales so it totally makes sense that you are paid by the hour for that job.

But this mentality needs to change when you start running your own business.

Because suddenly you are doing more than just selling the perfume. You are formulating it, packaging it, costing it, running financial spreadsheets, finding brand ambassadors, pitching to stores, setting up an online store, and paying suppliers. 

Suddenly there’s not a lot of time left to sell the perfume! 

Running a business means you have to do a lot of unpaid business level tasks. 

You have to do administration work, you have to pay bills, you have to create invoices, you have to develop services and products, you have to do research and all of those things don’t earn any income. 

And in fact you’ll need to spend money on things like marketing and advertising. So what that means is that a portion of the work you do in a business is unpaid – it does not directly earn you any revenue. 

Running a business means you have to do a lot of unpaid business level tasks. 

You might have a few clients to begin with that pay you by the hour. But there’s no way you are going to replace your income in the long-term if you stick with that model.

So while it’s great to start your coaching business on a pay per session model with individuals in a one on one coaching environment, please know that you will need to change your model different later on if you want to scale your income and earn what you need to earn to replace money that you would earn in a job.

 

Let’s now look at TWO business models – firstly the startup service model, and then the growth business model.

The Start Up Business Model

We’re starting with the one to one service business model. 

Let’s first figure out what’s realistic and reasonable in terms of your earnings. 

I’m going to suggest that you just start by selling one core service. You might have two slightly different versions of the same service but let’s understand this-you are going to earn most of your money and income most easily by doing one thing consistently and very well. 

The reason I suggest ONE service is that it’s easier to become good at something and to create a clear marketing message if you start by keeping it simple. And all the other parts of your business will be simpler if you start by focusing on one thing. 

People who are new to business, let’s use the example of coaches, often have 10 different options like corporate and group and one-to-one coaching and 4, 6, 8 and 12 week programs. 

What does that look like to the consumer? 

If you go to somebody’s website and see one person offering all of those things, how do you judge that? For me, I don’t believe that person can do all of that and I’m put off by a lack of trust, and a lack of personalisation.

And from a business model perspective, it’s much simpler to sell one or two things, refine and test them, and become known for them. The financial and planning side is much easier.

So what I want you to do is to define a single, specific program that you can run and test repeatedly with a series of clients in your first 3 to 6 months. 

Usually you would price X number of sessions for X dollars per session and create a bit of a package that way. 

This creates a tangible offering to your audience with a tangible start and finish time and normally that is accompanied by a tangible result that they will achieve in that period of time. After all what people are buying is results. 

This type of business model X week program in exchange for X dollars is the best way to start.

Normally your goal would be to work up to seeing 100 clients per year on a 1:1 basis, perhaps over 45 working weeks of the year so you are taking off public and a few other holidays.

If each of each client paid $600 for an 8-week coaching program, for example, that’s $60K.

So in that scenario, you are delivering 800 sessions per year which is 100 clients x 8 sessions, for $60K.

Hearing this – can you see what would it be like if you kept it really simple and just offered 1 – 2 versions of something, knowing then that all you had to do was find 100 clients who would pay $600 for it?

If you like, you can offer other options, but given that you are investing a lot of time with clients at this stage in your business, and you are learning about business, I think you really want to keep it simple with your client work so you can simplify the unpaid stuff and make it as easy and time efficient as possible.

Working this way for 6 – 12 months allows you to find tune what you do, to become known for it, and become very good at it. It allows you to develop confidence and certainty on your own terms and in your own time. 

Use this period to get really clear on what you offer, the benefits of that one service, the types of clients you attract, and what they are getting out of working with you.

Then you are ready to adjust or grow.

From a business model perspective, it’s much simpler to sell one or two things, refine and test them, and become known for them.

The Group Model

The easiest way to scale your income and start earning a full-time income is to start working in groups. 

As a coach you can realistically only give enough attention to a group of 10 people at once, unless you are doing a more educational or teaching style approach where you can see rooms full of people. 

But let’s say that your ideal is to coach very interactively with a small group of people – this is an easy way to scale.

In the previous 1:1 scenario we had $600 for an individual 8 week program.

Now imagine that becomes your group program rate, and you run 10 per group.

Now you’re earning $6,000 in 8 weeks. You have 10x your income for 1/10th of the time.

If you ran 3 concurrent groups per week, you double or triple that amount. Your annual income would be in the order of $72K per annum, for around 96 sessions.

My scaled business model was just like this. 

I ran 3 – 4 x 8 week group coaching programs every school term. My groups ran on Tuesday at midday, Tuesday at 5.45pm and Wednesday at 5.45pm.

The group sessions may be slightly longer, say 1.5 hours instead of 1 hour. And you can still the same program in a few 1:1 situations if you like, probably for a higher price of say $800.

It’s feasible for a coach who has a great program that gets results, to earn around $80K per year this way.

The Premium Model

Another way to scale your business is to increase the prices of your packages because you have more experience – a specialty – and/or give a bigger result. 

In either case, you are offering more value and this transcends the idea of paying an hourly rate. Now the client is truly paying for a specific result and for access to the value of your experience.

In the Premium model, you can continue to work 1:1 or with small groups, but you significantly increase your prices so that you are charging a premium price to reflect the increased value of your services.

The way you deliver services could take a few different forms, such as 

  1. A VIP program that packages small group and individual coaching sessions, or 
  2. An intensive longer-term program or 
  3. A series of workshops.

These are just a few examples – and you would pick ONE of these to focus on.

No matter which format you choose, the model is based on doing some sort of deep intense work done to create a big transformation and you must specifically articulate the transformation and result, and the value of it, in order to be able to charge a higher price.

Usually these programs would involve highly personalised sessions, longer sessions, or the addition of coaching and/or other resources. It might include a hand-created welcome pack – it’s the real ‘chocolates on the pillow’ type of service, the Rolls Royce Service.

Your goal would be to service a few high-paying clients – often called high ticket clients – over the year.

For example, your 12 – 24 week program, VIP package or workshop series might cost $5,000 per person, and your goal is to sell your chosen Premium service to perhaps 20 clients per year. 

That would earn you $100K per year.

This is a more advanced strategy and is good for someone who is highly specialised, creates massive transformations, or is working in the richer end of the market.

The Automation Model

Another option for scaling is the Automation Model.

There are numerous ways to do this, but it is essentially a one-to-many service that might be a version or a combination of the other two models I’ve just discussed.

One way to semi-automate your program, such as an email system of worksheets or quizzes sent via automated email, supported coaching-style videos of you asking open ended questions, some self-coaching elements, and supported by 15-minute laser coaching sessions that you or a subcontract coach delivers.

This is like a group coaching model with less contact time and more self-coaching resources.

Another option is to deliver a program for people who don’t need a lot of intense coaching support, such as people who are in the maintenance stage of change, so you can see perhaps up to 50 or 100 people at a time.

You might run live webinars and use worksheets for your clients to fill in as you talk to them and ask questions of them. While much less personal, this is highly scalable. You could charge $100 per month to upward of 100 people which is $120K.

Automation models are the most advanced as they rely on technology, a strong coaching presence, good resources and an ability to stay in the coaching mode without reverting to teaching.

You are the boss and you have the flexibility to earn the income and work the hours that suit you best.

Summary of Business Models 

Let’s summarise the different business models that I’ve discussed today.

Firstly, the 1:1 model is the easiest place to start for most coaches or other service based businesses.

If you are someone who has left a job to start a business, this way will be easiest for your brain to handle as it’s basically like the hours-for-dollars model of the job you used to have.

If your goal was to work up to 100 clients per year, selling two slightly different versions of your one program, that’s an easy way to deliver a great service, become good at something and learn about running a business effectively.

That’s around 800 sessions per year, possibly 500 – 800 hours depending on session length.

When you become proficient at that, you can look at models to scale your income and reduce your time. In this scenario, you are focussed on selling value and that is what’s required to attract larger numbers and/or charge a higher rate independent of your time.

The three different options I mentioned as growth models included:

  1. The group coaching model, which is the easiest, ($80K, around 150 hours)
  2. The premium model which is for specialty and packaged services ($100K), and 
  3. The automation model which is higher tech and services many more clients at once (upward of $120K, possibly around 100 hours)

In any case, you are the boss and you have the flexibility to earn the income and work the hours that suit you best.

Ready to get your business model up and running?

I can help you work out which model is best for you, and start applying it.

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 51: Becoming a household name

This podcast is about how to become known for what you do in your area. I share my own experience about how I relocated to a regional community, how I became known, and the one thing I had to do to gain traction. 

These are the things I did to become known in the first 3 months in a new area.

You can do these even if you are not moving!

  1. Online research – I know it sounds boring, but you just need to spend an hour or two doing this and you will gain so much information. Go to the sensus data for your area and find out who lives there, or use the suburb information from realestate sites. Find out what the demographics are for your area so you can know who you’re working with.
  2. Network with clubs – Find out which clubs are operating in your area, then meet with people for a coffee. This will help you to find out who your tribe is, and to find out who they are already working with.  .
  3. Speak in public – You can do this in person, in community groups or online as a webinar. Speak about what you are passionate about, and make yourself known. This will help you develop relationships and find out who you have things in common with in the area.
  4. Host events – This was something I did that was really useful to interact with clients on a social and personal level. For me it was workshops, and movie nights, but it could be anything you are into that will welcome potential clients and and enable that social interaction.
  5. Attended expos – When setting up my stall, I try to use catchy things to engage people and start conversation. For example, my Tanita scale to measure body composition, bone mass etc. was a huge success. What I learnt from this is that people want to know about what’s going on with themselves, and I used this knowledge to help set up engaging activities at other events.
  6. Adult education – When I first moved to the area, I signed up to teach short courses based on private workshops. I taught from my experience,  knowledge and interest. It gave me intel on the local community and what their needs were, and helped me understand my niche.
  7. Form partnerships – I partnered with a wellness clinic, and by working out of that premises I connected with other allied health workers and got exposure from that workplace.
  8. Run a big promo event – The community I moved into needed a footpath, and had slowly been fundraising for it over a great length of time. I saw the need for this to move faster, and decided to run a fundraiser – we held a Guiness world record event for the longest bellydance hip shimmy. It turned out to be a great fundraiser, but also a great way to become known. The publicity was free – local newspapers supported the event and spread the word far and wide.

Without specificity you risk being vanilla and not standing out.

I used these things to get known – and I did.

BUT it was only when I niched down that I got traction.

I built a specific program around weight loss called downsizeme. When you have a name that is specific and clear, with a specific set of three pillars to create a specific result, then people know exactly what you do.

From there things began to fall into place.

I ran a pilot program, which is where you offer your product for free or at a reduced rate. Participants know that you are testing it so they are very forgiving of any mistakes, and are willing to give feedback to get what they want. It was a great success, and the participants told their friends about it, so publicity took care of itself.

I also consulted with a local doctor about the process, and suddenly I was communicating clearly about who I helped and how. All of the connections made prior to this began to make sense and became an integral foundation of the career path I was building.

The same sorts of stories can apply everywhere – online, or in your existing community – talk about a strong point and find your tribe.

Get out there and get known, build a profile for something. Then you need to talk about that something over and over. Without that specificity you risk being vanilla and not standing out.

Ready to make yourself known?

Let your community know who you are are what you do! 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 50: The Importance of Measuring Actions

This is an important conversation of me to have with you, if you have ever given up on yourself for not getting the results you want.

There is little point in setting a goal if you never know whether or not you will achieve it.

That’s where the saying “what gets measured gets done” comes from.

I know this topic well. Around 95% of the clients I’ve seen in the last 10 years of coaching have come to me for this specific reason – because they say they have tried everything and failed and they have lost confidence in themselves. They want my help to succeed.

To succeed in anything you need to do a few things.

You need to define a very specific outcome.

You need to articulate the specific steps you will take to get there.

You need to measure your actions compared with the result you want  – 

You need to persist for long enough to see if you are taking the right actions.

You need to be prepared to fail, and to tweak what you are doing.

And you need to be agile enough to get back on the horse, change your approach, and try again.

Measuring your habits and actions are just as important as measuring the result.

What most people do is measure their results and progress toward them, and that’s it.

But you also need to measure your actions along the way, so you can monitor the ‘How’ part of the equation.

After all, your actions are the things that create your results. 

And monitoring them means you can see what’s working, what’s not, and what needs to be tweaked and adjusted along the way.

Let’s look at an example.

Think about a weight loss goal of 15kg. 

Most people think that the weight is the goal and they measure it relentlessly.  I lost 1kg. Now I’ve lost another 1kg. Oh, now I’ve gained a kilo. I’m a failure!

No wonder you get disappointed – measuring weight doesn’t tell you anything about which parts of your approach, your how, your method, is working. So you start losing belief and give up at your apparent failure.

For example you could gain 1kg because you’ve put on muscle at the gym, and muscle is the main fat burning powerhouse in your body. So it’s a good thing to gain muscle mass, it’s the primary vehicle for losing weight.

The thing is that there’s a lag time. You gain muscle first, the a week or two later, the weight sees a rapid drop.

But if you are only measuring weight, then you won’t see any of this. You’ll only see the gain and you will feel like a failure.

Now imagine you are that person trying to lose 15kg. How you would feel if you understood this important point about strength training? 

Let’s say you could out your emotions aside and see this fact. 

What if you had correlated 1kg weight gain to your first two weeks of sessions at the gym doing a strength training program? 

Chances are you’d feel excited because you could see how your actions are creating your results, and you’d want to persist for long enough to see that happen.

That’s why measuring your habits and actions are just as important as measuring the result.

Measuring actions is important for three reasons.

  1. Measuring actions and habits gives you intrinsic motivation – what YOU are doing is working. You don’t need to rely on someone else for your self belief.
  2.  Measuring actions also gives you a sense of achievement along the way. How important do you think this is for a goal that will take a long time to get a result? Imagine for example, writing a book. It could take a year to do that. But if you were measuring writing 500 words per day, you’d feel motivated and proud of the micro goals you were achieving, knowing that they would take you to the bigger goal. 
  3. Measuring actions allows you to correct your course if you are not getting the incremental results.

Let’s  go back to the weight loss example. Depending on your specific body type, there might be 10 different approaches you could take to losing weight.

Perhaps you try two specific things; for example to eat vegetables and protein at 80% of your meals, and weight training four times per week.

For some people this will create weight loss. For others it won’t. So if you are in that second group, and you saw no results in the four weeks following and your body showed no changes, you’d need to tweak the specifics of those two habits, or try something different. 

You could only know this if you were tracking those habits to know a/ if you were truly being consistent or not, and b/ whether there were other factors that needed attention, such as portion size, stress or alcohol.

In other words, just because you’re taking action, it doesn’t mean that you’re going to get the results you want.

Even if the process you’re following is proven, and has worked for somebody else, it doesn’t mean that it’s going to work for you. 

You are a unique person with a unique body and mind and personality, so you have to find your own formula for success, for whatever you’re trying to succeed at.

The more specific the action that you are taking, the more likely you are to be able to adjust the habit to succeed in getting the result you want.

Pursuing a goal is highly individualised. If two people want the same result, the way they get there might be entirely different. 

That’s why your commitment to measuring and tweaking the process to get the results you want is as important as a measuring your progress to the result at self.

And finally, the more specific the action that you are taking, the more likely you are to be able to adjust the habit to succeed in getting the result you want.

Ready to get the results you want?

You can measure your habits and actions to help you achieve your goals. 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 44: Referral and Partnership Agreements

Having done some coaching work around agreements lately, and having been involved in many in my own business career, I thought I’d dedicate an episode to how to develop a professional partnership and ultimately, an agreement.

There are five stages in initiating, developing and formalising an agreement like this and I want to walk you through them.

Initiating Agreements

1. Values Fit

Initial meeting – explore their methods, practice, their business goals, their ethos and what they stand for. Discover the common ground. 

2. Instinct

With any new relationship, it’s important to tap into your instincts right away and notice how you ‘feel’ about the other person. If it feels right, then you should listen to that instinct.

Neuroscience proves that this is not woo woo stuff. Your primitive brain (also known as the basal ganglia) allows you to quickly pick up important information needed for survival. Any sense of distrust, risk or fear is picked up quickly here. 

Then, your slower prefrontal cortex monitors what your primitive brain has learned and it to gather a more judicious “big picture” of what is going on by taking into account more history and exerting executive control over your behavior.

So if it’s all green lights at this stage, you could move on to developing an agreement with that person or business.

If you have hesitation, explore it, and ask more questions before you decide.

Developing Agreements

3. Collaborating

The next step is to start developing agreements.

In order to build trust and rapport, you need to be collaborative and transparent.

This doesn’t mean you are giving away all your methodologies and customer lists and trade secrets.

What this means is that you start a series of back and forth conversations about the terms of how you will work together.

Along the way, use your intuition and keep testing that you are aligned. Iron out any creases along the way and explore all avenues of the relationship.

Ask lots of ‘what if’ questions.

Some questions to consider could include:

The goal of the relationship:

  • Is it about simply referring clients and cross-promoting?
  • Are you working as affiliates?
  • Are you packaging up your individual services?
  • Are you joint-venturing on a program or event?

What is included? 

How aligned are the individual services?

Who owns what? 

What happens when you start selling?

Who owns the leads?

4. Be Forthright

At this stage of the relationship, keep your eyes wide open and identify any niggles along the way, and explore them while they are still just niggles.

Keep your instincts fired up.

Use your character strengths of fairness, judgement, collaboration and also prudence. 

Prudence is important because it’s tempting to get all excited about the opportunity and rush in, but you need to let your pre-frontal cortex do its work and consider this carefully.

Formalising Agreements

When you feel that everything is kosher and you are ready to formalise your agreement, I’d advise that you put it in writing.

5. Create A Clear Agreement

While I’m not a lawyer, I’ve written a LOT of proposals and agreements and understand there are a few key things you need to include.

Please consider this general guidance only and seek advise from a contracts lawyer to ensure what you have developed is suitable for your unique situation.

Four essential things that all agreements need to include:

 

1. Naming the parties involved, using their formal business names.

You start there, by saying this is an agreement between X and Y, where X is the name of business 1 and Y is the name of business.

2. Definition of terms

In this section, you are listing the standard words or terminology that you use throughout the agreement. 

For example if you are collaborating on a workshop, you would define the word ‘workshop’ as a term in inverted commas. 

Then you would ONLY use that word throughout the agreement when talking about the workshop. Don’t use any other variations of the word.

The same goes for other things that you are talking about regularly, such as ‘the premises’, or ‘the list’ or anything else that is to be discussed as the main part of the agreement, such as a specific product, service, service provider, venue or staff. 

Keep this simple, perhaps only 3 – 7 terms.

3. Specifics of agreement

This is where you list everything you agreed on verbally at the collaboration stage.

Common things to cover include:

  • Intellectual property (who owns what)
  • Privacy
  • Confidentiality around methods
  • Fees payable
  • The period of the agreement (e.g. 6m to 1 year, single event?) as defined by a specific date range
  • How you represent each other in the public eye
  • Termination

 

Arbitration offers a flexible and efficient means of resolving disputes; note that the decision is binding. 

Be sure to make succinct, simple statements that clearly state the agreed intention.

It’s good to also mention a commitment to seek help via arbitration in the event of dispute.

Arbitration is a process in which you present arguments and evidence to a dispute resolution practitioner (the arbitrator) who helps you to resolve the issue. It’s a private process. Arbitration offers a flexible and efficient means of resolving disputes; note that the decision is binding.

 

4. Name, signatures and dates

Lastly you want to put a section for both parties names, signatures and the date the agreement was signed.

Right now you might be thinking that a written agreement is overkill, or too formal, or confronting.

And it may feel like that.

But here’s the thing: when you put your agreement in writing, you both show intent to do the right thing and professionalism.

You both show your commitment to the project and to uphold your end of the bargain.

And finally, there is every likelihood, you could totally make it work or fix any issues that come up and have a successful venture.

If things went wrong you could probably walk away unscathed.

But the thing is, there is a small chance that things could go pear-shaped and someone could sue you or try to, and if that happens, your written agreement becomes part of the evidence in a court of law showing how well each party upheld their side of the agreement.

 

Ready to build strong partnerships?

Be clear about what your agreement is and feel the difference. 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 39: Overcoming Your Blocks Being an Effective Leader

This episode is about overcoming the blocks to leadership and fulfilling your potential as a leader. 

The thing that gets in the way of good leadership is our mental blocks. Our psychology. And what we have to do is learn to persist no matter what the obstacles no matter what the challenges in a matter what the failures.

After all, any leadership skill or other skill that is required to succeed, can be learned.

But mental blocks must be overcome they must be challenged and resolved so that you can think differently and continue to thrive and grow.

What I see most of all in my own clients is the frustrating thing that they have such amazing ability to help people, to change lives, or to resolve their own issues.

And yet they are unable to put themselves out there, to market their business, to believe in themselves, to put themselves first or to talk about what they do because they’re fearful. They have mental blocks.

Leadership is all about your ability to move past this and to persist no matter what. To feel the fear and do it anyway in the words of Stephen Covey.

So what you need to learn how to do is to change your state, as Tony Robbins would say.

In any given moment you may feel frustrated or fearful or held back or blasé or complacent. And to be a leader in your own life on your business or in the world you need to change that state into passion, excitement, ambition, inspiration, creativity, or even just resilience.

Your brain behaves differently depending on whether it’s in a positive or negative state. When your brain is in a negative state it can’t see the future it can’t see the opportunity for change and it cannot move forward. When your brain is inspired passionate positive and resilient then you can see opportunities you are able to move forward you’re able to take action. And leadership is all about the ability to take action and to get traction and to get a result in your life or in your business.

Let’s talk for a moment about your ability to change state. I’m sure you’d agree that stress or anxiety or fear or worry are all a waste of time. They are useless emotions. And so what you need to do is to learn to sit with that for just a moment, and then to move on to what you need to do the action the plan the tactic.

Because that is where the gold is. When you’re able to take action things will move forward.

But if you get pulled down and what’s not possible in what hard it was fearful it was challenging then you will not move forward and that is not leadership.

 

When you’re able to take action things will move forward.

Part of your ability to take action is your willingness to take a risk. I mean let’s face it leadership is a lot about doing your known and feeling uncomfortable so that you can progress and move forward and tread new ground and make new discoveries.

You also need to learn how to get out of a stressed brain state and there are two simple ways to do this.

Firstly, you can work on your mental chatter. After all, the negative thoughts that you think repeatedly, eventually become beliefs. And you can use written thought-change techniques to alter these thinking patterns, so you can rewire your thinking and naturally become more positive and develop more self-belief.

The easiest example is to write down a negative or self-defeating thought you’re having, and to reframe it as a more positive, or at least a neutral, version.

For example, if you say to yourself “I’m frustrated and bored” then that’s how you’ll feel.

But if you write that down, then rewrite an alternative, such as “I notice I’m frustrated, so now I will focus on something else” – you are consciously creating a new pattern, based in fact, that is believable.

One of the easiest ways to do this apart from working on your mind is to work with your body. Tony Robbins has been talking for years about power poses. And Harvard medical has done a study that proves unequivocally, That’s spending two minutes in a power pose will totally change your attitude, build your confidence and engage the part of your brain that creates excitement.

You can absolutely train yourself to be in a peak state so that you can lead yourself and your business and your life and your kids in a way that is energising, exciting, inspiring, positive, and in a way that generates the success that you want in your life.

Ready to work on your leadership?

You’re invited! The Habitology Membership is the perfect tool if you’re truly ready to break old habits and get out of the rut. I encourage you to check it out. Learn more here:

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Episode 38: Top 8 Leadership Skills

This podcast will give you the foundations  to become a better leader.

Leadership is all about influence. And leadership starts with living life on your terms – writing your own rules.

You might be thinking of leadership in the capacity of a company or a big group.

But actually, leadership is both a skill and a personal character strength.

And really, the first person you must be able to to lead is yourself. You need to be able to influence your own thoughts feelings and actions and results before you can do the same on a bigger scale.

When you learn the skills and techniques of being a leader in your own life, you are better equipped to lead and influence others.

And it’s important that uses power for good and not evil.

If we ignore all the leadership jargon for a moment and ask, what makes a good leader?

There are three things.

A good leader is someone who:

  1. Encourages their followers
  2. Empowers their followers, and
  3. Energizes their followers.

Building on that, there are several traits that make good leaders.

When you learn the skills and techniques of being a leader in your own life, you are better equipped to lead and influence others.

  1. You are self-aware

This means you have social intelligence and emotional intelligence. You take the time to be mindful of your thoughts, feelings and actions and are aware of the impact they may have on others.

It also means you ask for feedback, not to justify or validate your behaviour, but to calibrate your behaviour via different perspectives.

2. You are transparent in your relationships

This means you wear your values on your sleeve and behave in a way that is aligned with your moral and ethical compass.

Being transparent means your intentions are clear.  Having strong values is great; your ability to demonstrate them is as important.

  1. Balanced interactions

This means you use active listening and listen at least as often as you speak, which indicate respect for and interest in the other person.

  1. Ethical behaviour

Following through and doing what you say you will do may seem like being productive, but it also conveys reliability, dependability and trust. Accountability is an important leadership trait to develop.

It means that you are firm but fair. This implies that you’re able to set boundaries and it also implies that you’re levelheaded and using judgement wisely. Both of these things are measures of emotional balance and emotional intelligence. And you can only have emotional balance intelligence emotional well-being as it were if you are able to manage your thoughts.

  1. Trustworthiness

If you treat others with respect, and are accountable to yourself and others, it creates an immense amount of trust and respect.

  1. Supportiveness

Giving appreciation and support to your followers conveys empathy and compassion. It makes you approachable, reliable and helpful.

  1. Empowerment

This is sometimes the hardest trait for a leader. Empowerment is the ability to give your followers freedom and choice – letting them come up with their own answers.

  1. Action-oriented

I would say a final important skill is your ability to take action. Afterall, leadership is all about inspiring action. It’s so wonderful to have skills and knowledge and capacity to lead, but it’s another to put things into play that will make a difference in your life and in the world..

Ready to work on your leadership?

You’re invited! The Habitology Membership is the perfect tool if you’re truly ready to break old habits and get out of the rut. I encourage you to check it out. Learn more here:

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Episode 7: How To Live and Work Like an Athlete

Episode 7: How To Live and Work Like an Athlete

This podcast will help you create balance and endurance in your life. 

I would like to introduce you to a confounding problem and a life-changing solution.

As a Health and Wellness Coach, I have learned so much from my clients.

I’ve learned that a problem we all face is how to be consistent with our habits.

A lot of my clients want to eat salad every day, go to the gym four times per week, and cut out all junk food, chocolate or alcohol.

They try so hard to be consistent, yet they all struggle to manage their time, energy, money and/or calories – anything else that requires that repetitive, continuous effort.

Through my work as a Biologist, I have learned that we are wired to run on autopilot.  Our brains LOVE the consistent, repetitive, predictable routine because it’s energy efficient.

So how can it be that we are creatures of habit, yet we struggle with consistency?

On the surface, it seems like a confounding problem. But what’s really going on?

When we say we want to be consistent, we think that means ‘continuous repetition.’ I’d like to offer a more realistic definition of consistency and show you how you can achieve it.

First, let’s consider the fact that nearly everything we do in our lives involves cycles. Nature provides daily, weekly, monthly and yearly triggers that every living thing responds to.

Instead of responding to that natural rhythm, we fight it.

We are convinced that we must do exactly the same thing every day.

When I work with clients who think like this, I find they struggle to form new habits, or even just cope with sudden changes in their home life, relationships and work. They’re too inflexible.

On the flipside, I’ve had several coaching clients who like to be totally flexible and live in the moment – but this has its own set of pitfalls. These clients often find it hard to stick to routines, set boundaries or commit to things. Consequently, they may struggle to build relationships, lose weight, save money, get new clients, build a business or feel a sense of purpose.

The facts are this: we are wired to live on autopilot, yet our environment demands us to be agile. Many people swing to either extreme, but what we really need is a middle ground. Let’s redefine consistency in that context. I propose that consistency means ‘cyclic repetition.’ That is, we are agile enough to adapt our regular habits to fit with the cycles of nature.

As Charles Darwin famously said:

It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.

I’d like to offer a compelling rationale for this definition of mine and then explain how you can get it. The rationale is simply this – all living things naturally respond to the sun, moon and seasonal cycles. It’s called a circadian rhythm and there are daily, weekly, monthly, seasonal and annual cycles that make up this circadian rhythm.

Each day, the intensity of the sun and day length affect our sleep, temperature, blood pressure, hormones and energy levels. Each month the moon influences our hormonal and sleep cycles. Even at the seasonal level, we have shifts in mood (such as seasonal affective disorder in winter) and changes in food preferences and cravings (in winter we tend to want heavier, starchier meals – and this happens to coincide with the types of foods that grow best at that time of year).

The trouble is our brains love running on autopilot, we love this ‘set and forget’ way of being.

What we need is a plan for our year – our season – broken into work and rest phases.

Athletes have a pretty good formula for operating at peak performance.

We can learn a thing or two from this. We can learn to live and work like athletes.

Depending on the sport, the pre-season to competition season is around 6 – 9 months. 

Take AFL football as an example, where the season runs from late February to early October.

  •         They spend 2 – 3 months building general endurance and training at low intensity.
  •         The next 2 – 3 months are sport-specific training and maximal strength.
  •         Then they ramp up to competition by alternating hard training with easy training sessions.

They are at peak fitness then, ready to bring their very best to the final games. 

Then they have an off season where they go on holiday, and for 4 – 12 weeks to allow for the body to recover both physically and psychologically.

What we can see is this: athletes recognise that their bodies can’t go full on all year round.

Yet when I see my coaching client Sue, she is extremely worried because she doesn’t feel like eating salad all year round. She is struggling to go to the gym 5 days per week for the whole year. She pushes herself at work every day and wonders why she is stressed and exhausted. She hasn’t had a holiday in 3 years. Sue is pushing the proverbial up hill.

The athletes have got it wired. What we need is a plan for our year – our season – broken into work and rest phases.

The reason we create a plan is that it’s a ‘set and forget’ approach that allows us to make the decisions all in one go, then simply run on autopilot. That is how we give our bodies the regularity and agility that they need. We create a plan for the year that involves times of peak effort and times of rest. We cycle our exercise and eating approach. We cycle our sleep and waking habits.

But we write it all down. That way, there’s no need to use brain power to make decisions every day when we’re busy. 

We just follow what’s on the plan – and perhaps review it every quarter to make sure we’re on track.

That way we can know we are on course to achieve everything we want. We’re never bored. We’re never expecting too much of ourselves. There’s no room for guilt.

We have a way of living and working that ticks all the boxes and creates that cyclic consistency that we need to thrive.

 

Ready to create balance and endurance in your life?

You too could live and work like an athlete! 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: