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Archive for May, 2010

Who the Frak is "Everybody"?

May 25th, 2010

Apparently I have an intimate relationship with “Everybody”. I can read their minds. I scurry to please them. I hover over the publish button, worrying about how they will respond to whatever I am posting. I fear them.

“What will Everybody think?”

“What will Everybody say?”

“What if Everybody hates me?”

“What would make Everybody love me?”

“What if Nobody (just another word for Everybody) likes it or me?”

Yeah – I’m twisted like that.

Pretty powerful group, this “everybody” who resides in my head. If I allow them, they will control my every move.

Fortunately, I had a pretty amazing teacher who gave me some insights around Everybody. Her name is Martha Beck. (I was lucky enough to be personally trained by her a life coach – AMAZING experience. But I digress.) And I would like to share a few of her thoughts on managing Everybody.

So, let’s use my Burn The Ships post as an example. Writing and hovering over the Publish button brought out every fear I had about Everybody. What would they think? Would they still respect me in the morning? Would they laugh at me? All that mess.

So here are the questions Martha taught me to ask:

– Can you name five specific people who would agree with Everybody?

– If yes, do you even like these people?

– If yes, will the people who love really care about the opinion of these people?

– If yes, are these people actually people you want in your space anyway?

-If yes, are there an equal number of specific people who would disagree with everybody?

– In the end, and if there really are 5 people – and I usually struggle to come up with who they are – do I care about what they think enough to let them control me?

Now, I will confess that the fear does not magically and completely leave me once I run through answering all these questions. BUT, it does shrink the size of my fear – and of Everybody – considerably.

What about you? How do you deal with Everybody?

P.S. Don’t forget – the first Ustream Tribal Meeting is tonight (Tuesday) at 10p EST. http://www.ustream.tv/channel/escaping-mediocrity.

Stop Stalling and Get in the Game!

May 20th, 2010

So, to continue our conversation about making money, where and how do we start to do that?

I wish there were a magic formula I could give you. But I really don’t know any. (Btw -there are ton of people selling very expensive “formulas”. Proceed with caution on those.)

An besides, looking to others like they hold some magic key that unlocks the door to your fortunes is the fastest way to get bogged down in uncertainty and mediocrity. Sure, there are some basic strategies you need to know to build a solid business and they can be had pretty inexpensively.

But here’s the thing, reading and theorizing about business ideas and strategies will do you NO good if you don’t get out there and a) find your voice and b) build your tribe (in that order).

So many people I talk to are choking on the whole getting out there and developing a voice. For some reason, there is this idea floating around that you can get it perfectly right the first time out. And so lots of people are waiting for that perfection to arrive before attempting anything.

Guess what?

It doesn’t work that way. Some gurus may tell you it does. They are lying.

Everyone successful person I know and whom I admire used this amazingly complex strategy: they just started. They didn’t know if what they were doing was perfect. They didn’t know exactly what they were doing. They didn’t know the end game. But they started anyway.

And that is the magic key.

Get your blog up and running. Use http://www.wordpress.org. It’s free and has lots of free themes. If you want to purchase a theme that give you more oomph, I highly recommend Headway, but a paid theme is not necessary to begin.

Choose a name. Don’t get hung up on the “perfect” name. I thought I had the perfect name and then changed it seven months later. I survived.

Choose what you want to write about. The only requirement is that you are passionate about it. If, a few months down the road, you decide that you’ve chosen something that isn’t getting it, you can change it. I did that, too. And survived.

And it really really helps to know who it is you are writing for. It will help you focus your writing. Again, the first time out, I thought I had this nailed. Seven months later, I changed it. And I survived.

(As a side note – when I changed it, I wasn’t sure exactly who I was writing for. I don’t recommend this route though unless you can’t avoid it.)

So get out there! Try something! It is the ONLY way you will find your voice. And once you find it, your tribe will find you. It just works like that.

What are you going to do to get this thing off the ground?

If I Were a Snail

May 19th, 2010

an essay by The Young Turk

If I were a snail I would be a pond snail. I would swim fairly slow. I would be very useless.  My shell would be made out of calcium. I would play. We would play with another snail. We would play.  I would leave a trail of slime. I would love being a snail.

I would have one foot.

I would have fun.

Also I would play snail ball.

On Making Money

May 18th, 2010

The topic of making money is always so charged with emotional energy. Even when I tweeted about it this morning people jumped to confirm that money is important but not really THAT important.

And I get that. I really do. So many of us have spent energy chasing the almighty dollar and come up feeling empty. Or we know people whose pursuit of the dollar leads them to using strategies and tactics that are just icky.

Great reasons to make sure we know that money takes a backseat to other things.

But here’s where I am now with money – and I thought it would be helpful to share: we all pretty much agree that money is energy, right? And that we have a relationship with money – whether we are aware of that relationship or not.

If those things are true, and I keep saying “money isn’t that important”, what does that invite into my world?

I mean let’s just say I was in a relationship with someone – be it friendship or love or whatever – and anytime anyone mentioned me they said “Oh Sarah? Yeah – she’s in my life but other stuff is WAY more important.”

Suffice it to say that I would dump their lame ass in a nano-second.

I’m not saying we need to sleep with money, or put our money relationship above all others. I’m simply saying that we need to have a warm comfortable relationship with it  – and with earning it, if we want it to hang around.

Some of us already have that – yay! But some of us are still trying to figure out how to make money while we execute our escape plan and we want to earn it in an un-mediocre way yes?

Well, I’d like to share some resources – paid and otherwise – to help with that.

First – and the most critical time-wise, is Chris Guillebeau’s Empire Builder’s Kit that is available today, May 18, ONLY. I give you an insider’s glimpse here if you want some help deciding if this is worthwhile for you. Pricing starts at $149 and you get a ton of strategic help. This is my affiliate link: http://bit.ly/empirebuilding

At the very least, download Chris’s free manifestos from his blog. They are EXCELLENT.

If you are a mom and an entrepreneur, I highly recommend MOMeo’s free Business In a Box which you can download here (it comes with some awesome bonuses, too!). Again, in the interest of full disclosure, this is also an affiliate link.

And if you want to connect the person who talks about money and the making of it in such a non-icky way, I invite you to connect with MY mentor, Andrea Lee. Her website is full of resources – free and not free – that are sure to shift your thinking about money in a very Escaping Mediocrity kind of way.

So there you are. My thoughts about making money and some resources to get us all started in making it in a way that feels true to who we are.

Would love to know your thoughts, ideas and recommended resources for The Tribe!

Something Wicked (Awesome) This Way Comes

May 14th, 2010

Chris Guillebeau is launching his Empire Builders Kit (EBK) on Tuesday, May 18. It will only be available for 24 hours. So that you can make a really good decision about whether this is for you, I want to give you an insider’s glimpse of what it’s all about.

Here is the link (yes it is an affiliate link) to the EBK Sales Page. Remember, it won’t be live until TUESDAY, May 18. http://bit.ly/empirebuilding

Remember, if you choose to invest in an Empire Builders Kit and use the above link, email me your receipt and I will send you the downloadable audio of my interview with Chris, Jonathan Fields, Pam Slim and Reese Spykerman on Creating a GameChanging Brand. Email that to sarah (at) escaping-mediocrity (dot) com.

Spirit Sleuthing is No Place for the Mediocre

May 13th, 2010

A guest post by Sally G.

This post has a theme song. :-)

People Are Strange by Echo and the Bunnymen: http://tinysong.com/sECk

I gave myself a new title yesterday – Spirit Sleuth. From this point onward, I will observe everything around me as a Detective who is trying to solve a case. Everything that happens will hold within it a clue. Everyone who crosses my path will have something to do with the truth that I search. Nice to know that my English Major background will finally be put to good use!

When I brought in the mail, I was excited to see my woman’s magazine had been delivered. I always look forward to reading through it at night with a hot cup of tea – my reward for a day that I’ve at last put behind me. I then decided to see it as a Spirit Sleuth would see it ~ what message for me lay somewhere on its cover?

Strong, Sexy, Stylish leaped off the page. It was in reference to the actress featured inside the issue – but it got me to thinking: if someone were to run a feature story about me, what three adjectives would they deem appropriate to scream from the page? And more importantly, what three adjectives would I desire to sum me up succinctly in a nano-second?

Dull, Forgettable, Strange. Hmmmm, not very flattering – and it would be the last time anyone ever featured me in their magazine, that’s for sure.

Who spends money to read about Dull, Forgettable and Strange?

I’m going to make an executive decision here and forget about how others might define me. After all, that’s been my ‘problem’ all along, hasn’t it? Letting others define me and then living up to those expectations regardless of how well the adjectives fit?

I’m going to create myself as I’d like to be seen.

Spiritualists do that – they create themselves in the grandest version of the greatest vision that they can imagine. And I’ve decided that I am a Spiritualist – at least, I’m practicing to be one because I do believe it to be the most effective way to eventually replace my false Self with my authentic Self.

The vision I’ve been holding of me walking up to a closed door, opening it, throwing my arms around the Authentic Me that’s waiting there and crying, “Oh thank heavens I’ve finally found you – we can be one at last and the role playing will end forever!” isn’t really working for me. And I’m quite enjoying this idea of myself as a Spirit Sleuth – so, yes – I’m going to create three adjectives to describe me the way I would like to be seen, which is probably how I actually am, I just haven’t fully found the confidence to act on that yet.

Fascinating, Funny, Fluid

I probably didn’t have to use alliteration just because the magazine did – but I actually like this. If people knew what went on in this head of mine in the time it takes to blink, they might actually deem me fascinating. And I do have a different way of looking at the world – and I may also be the only person on the planet who has a fear of closed doors, so – Fascinating stays.

I also consider myself to be quite hilarious – I truly do crack myself up on quite a regular basis. Yes, not everyone seems to be on my wavelength and I do have a wit that requires you to pay attention to everything said up to my hilarious outburst because I do tend to play off what is being discussed and spin it into the humorous. But people who are capable of doing all that do tend to laugh too. And more than once people have looked at me differently and said, “Wow, you’re funny.” – like THAT was beyond imagining until just moments before. So, Funny stays too.

Besides, this ability I have to see a different spin on something being discussed really helps me with my present missive as a Spirit Sleuth – from what I can gather so far, you really have to look for what’s not there and in the looking for what’s not there, it suddenly becomes visible to the point that the entire event or exchange is completely about what was not even noticeable at first, leaving you to wonder how you ever missed it in the first place.

Which leads me to my final adjective: Fluid

If I do anything well, it’s going with the flow. I mean, I’m learning to do that well now – I wasn’t always fluid, I was more on the other end of the spectrum – very rigid. However, if you’re going to dedicate your days to looking for things that aren’t there and then affixing meaning to those things that only you see, and only you see them because only you are looking for them – then being rigid is only going to hold you back.

Fluidity, however, allows me to be involved in an interaction, oblivious to the clue it holds until I suddenly remember that I’m a Spirit Sleuth – and I then continue on as though I am still oblivious (because not to do so would probably completely freak out the other person or people in the exchange) but the whole time I’m really looking for the underlying meaning that could really change everything if I can find it, interpret it and then act upon it in kind.

It is not lost on me that this blog post could be entered as evidence in a future law suit launched to challenge my sanity.

Not that anyone would have any reason to do that – but if they did, I could see this working against me. Unless the lawyer was a Spirit Sleuth too. What are the odds of that though –- I’ve heard they don’t even have souls.

Spirit Sleuthing is definitely no place for the Mediocre. And it can be lonely at times. What do you say – will you join me in my work?

Sally G. is a self-professed work-in-progress who has chosen to keep the aspects of herself that work ~ releasing old habits, labels and tendencies that do not. Chanting the mantra “Self-Actualization ain’t no place for sissies” ~ she fully supports, encourages and inspires all the courageous travellers she meets along the way. Sally’s reflections, humour and insight are on full display on her blog site and on Twitter

I Hate Getting Yelled At

May 11th, 2010

[Update: The firm I talk about below and I have moved forward. The project at hand is far more important than personal differences. As always, there two sides to every coin and I feel certain that I share in the responsibility of how this thing played out. Apologies have been made an accepted - and now it is time to move on. ~S.]

Last night I go yelled at over the phone. And I mean the I-had-to-pull-the-phone-away-from-my-ear kind of yelled at.

What is particularly interesting about this is that a) I was being yelled at by the head of an outfit that my husband and I have paid to significant amount of money to help us with something pretty major and 2) I was being yelled at because I had the audacity to express frustration and my feelings about a lack of partnership.

Oh – and the person yelling told ME to calm down.

Here’s the thing about this. Aside from the fact that I truly hate being yelled at (it makes me feel like a little kid who has done something terribly wrong), I think the firm in question totally lost sight of the fact the we are clients. We get to be frustrated. And yelling about how we don’t “understand” that we are partners doesn’t make those feelings any different.

Because I do try to turn most anything into a teachable something, here is what I am taking away from this experience:

1. If someone is paying you money for something – especially if it is a significant amount of money TO THEM – they are a client. They deserve to be treated as clients.

2. Telling clients that their feelings are wrong, making them feel wrong, and generally talking down to them is never a good move.

3. Hiding behind “policies and procedures” to deflect honest customer dissatisfaction is cowardly.

4. If you have forced your client to be their own advocate and agreed to their requests, it is totally out of bounds to bottle up resentment about it and dump it on them later.

5. Being able to put yourself in the shoes of your client and really see things through their eyes is the heart of amazing customer service.

6. Though the natural knee-jerk reaction to hearing something unflattering is to be defensive, I’ve never seen that create a happy ending.

7. Accepting 0% responsibility in a heated client situation isn’t going to create a happy ending either.

8. Most client dissatisfaction can be defused by sincere interest in their pain and discomfort.

9. Though you may know more than your client about the details of a situation, don’t make them feel unintelligent.

10. Yelling at a client is always always always a bad idea.

I don’t know. Maybe I expect too much in this legalistic, CYA world we now seem to reside in. And stellar customer service is a rare exception in a world where mediocre is the accepted norm.

What say you? What are your best client relations/customer service suggestions? Oh – and here’s the test: before you suggest them for others, make sure you are willing to deliver them yourself. :-)

Writers Block and Other Annoyances

May 6th, 2010

Ok – so I posted zip, nada, nothing on Tuesday. And I do have a very good reason, sort of. I was in an intense in-person coaching session with my mentor Andrea Lee.

Of course I could have planned ahead and posted something or scheduled a guest blogger, but about a million things happened at once in the the days before I boarded my plane, so I really didn’t even think about it.  #OneofthemanywaysIamlame

I was also VERY late getting a promised guest post to @ElizabethPW. She loves me anyway and I did finally get it to her but again #anotherwayIfeellame.

And i was supposed to announce the winner of Delivering Happiness on Monday. And I haven’t. #yetanotherwayIamlame

And now here I sit knowing that I really should be creating something brilliant to say to make up for the fact that I haven’t posted anything all week. And……nothing is coming.

That isn’t exactly true. My mind is awhirl with all of the ideas and discussions from my coaching sessions this week, but my thoughts about it all are still forming into something articulate. They need more time to marinate before I can put them into words.

So, instead of forcing myself to write something that won’t be very good, I’ve decided to let myself off the hook. That way I don’t struggle to write a post and you don’t struggle to read it.

However, I will leave you with a question to ponder. You don’t have to answer it in the comments unless you feel moved to.

Ready?

When describing your business and your life, what do you wish you were able to say about them?

Answer that, and you’ve begun making the map for your own escape from mediocrity. :-)