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Archive for August, 2010

An Irresistible Birthday Lesson from My Garbage Man to the Young Turk

August 27th, 2010

It is my habit to write a special post just to my son, the Young Turk on his birthday. Usually they are about how amazing he is and how he inspires me every single stinkin day to show up as 100% myself no matter what other people say.  He reminds me that, even though it can be the harder path, I don’t have to live my life based on other people’s rules.

But we were all taught an amazing lesson this morning by our garbage man and if the YT ever wants to read the archives of his birthday posts, I hope this one reaches out and grabs him by the heart.

Here’s what went down:

We were in the usual front yard pandemonium getting ready to walk to school with backbacks and strollers and scooters and helmets when our garbage man walked down the street. (I truly hang my head in shame because I do not know his name. But I’m gonna find out.)

The YT shouted out “It’s my birthday!” I expected a polite acknowledgment at best. After all, we’ve never had a conversation with this man before. But here’s what we got instead:

“Really? How old are you?”

“I’m 8!” says the Young Turk.

“Well that’s fantastic.”

Then we gather our things and start the troop movement toward school. THEN the garbage man literally takes my breath away to the point of tears.

Calling my son by name, because he LISTENED, he pulls two one dollar bills out of his wallet, hands them to the YT and says with a smile, “Happy Birthday.”

Stunning and mesmerizing and memorable and remarkable and captivating and irresistible – all in 3 seconds flat.

I hope the memory of that three seconds stays with you your whole life, Young Turk, because it really doesn’t get more beautiful than that. And if I can help you glean a few life lessons (I’m your mom. It’s what I do.) here they are:

1) No matter who, what or where you are, you can do something amazing.

2) Always pay attention to the little things. It really is all about the little things.

3) If you aspire to be irresistible or remarkable or unforgettable, get out of your own head , focus on the people who inhabit the world you walk in every day and make them feel spectacularly important.

There are more lessons of course, but I will stop here. Otherwise you will think I’m lecturing you. Well, I AM lecturing you, but again, I’m your mother. That’s my job.

I love you sweetheart. And I am eternally grateful for the gift you received from our garbage man today. I hope I can come close the matching it.

Happy Birthday!

What I Can Do For You and Your Business

August 26th, 2010

I’ve written and deleted a version of this post three times this morning. My coach handed me the challenge of talking about the kinds of results I can deliver for my clients and I simply can’t seem to do it.

It’s not that I don’t deliver results. My clients tell me all the time how their businesses are different because of the work we’ve done together. And they will tell you, too – just scroll to the bottom of the Irresistible Presence site and you can read what they have to say.

But ask me directly what results I deliver and I balk, stammer and can’t make virtual eye contact.

In thinking about the many reasons for this extreme discomfort, I’ve come up with two thoughts:

1) I REALLY don’t want to sound like I think I’m all that and a bag of chips. There are enough of those people in this world we inhabit.

2) I’ve never seen myself as an Expert with a capital “E”. I’m just somebody who works really hard, listens to some really awesome people who are willing to give me really awesome advice and shares what I’ve learned about business strategy with my clients.

It also makes me feel like I’m gonna throw up to talk about myself in this way, which is a sure sign that I have to “damn the torpedoes” and do it anyway.

So here it goes – ACK! (And here’s the thing you need to know: I’ve done and am currently doing all of these things with real live people. This is not some unproven fantasy list.)

1) I can help you figure out the intersection of 1) Your passion 2) Your skills 3) A Market Demand.

2) I can help you articulate what you do in a way that adds serious cashflow to your business.

3) I can help you get more comfortable in your own skin and share who you really are in a way that attracts business like a magnet.

4) I can help you narrow your focus to only the things that you are truly passionate about and let go of distractions that get in your way.

5) I can help you set firm business boundaries so that you only say yes to the things that will move your business in the direction you want it to go.

6) I can flat tell you when you are on the wrong track. In the most loving of ways of course.

7) I can show you how to stop the internal and external struggle with what you offer, who you offer it to, and how you communicate all that.

8) I can show you how to get relatively comfortable in your own skin and the powerful platform that real-ness is.

9) I can help you build a cold, hard business strategy around your passion that will actually bring you clients and money.

10) I can give you the tools for rising above all the noise in the loud, crowded marketplace out there so that your message, your “it” gets heard by your right people.

Whew! I held my breathe as typed all ten of those things. I’m sure my coach is going to tell me I left out a bunch of stuff but if I don’t press publish on this version of this post, I may delete and stare at a blank screen all stinkin’ day!

So I don’t feel quite so queasy about all this, in the comments I invite you to share one, two or ten thing that you do for your clients.

Oh – and if you want me to help you with any or all of these things in a very high-touch, you are the star environment, I invite you to seriously consider attending Creating Irresistible Presence in September. :-)

3 Branding Questions Every Entrepreneur Must Answer

August 24th, 2010

I was having a skype convo with a friend last night about business strategy, branding, identity, etc. and the critical, fundamental elements of success most entrepreneurs are missing.

Because I want you to be a spectacular (and so-NOT-mediocre) success, I want you to be certain of these elements in your business. If you are, you will be way, WAY ahead of most entrepreneurs out there.

When I am working with clients on these parts of their businesses, we address three critical questions. Being able to answer them with precision and certainty gives us the basis for building a successful strategy.

And here they are:

1) What problem do I solve?

Here’s the thing: people buy solutions. So you’ve got to frame whatever you are offering as a solution to a problem.

For example: This spring I had a huge problem. I couldn’t figure out how to combine my love for strategic coaching with my life-long passion for the theatre into something that felt like “all me” AND was lucrative. I felt like I was truncated. And it showed in my business. The zip was losing it’s zip and I was considering retiring from the coaching world.

Then the smartest business strategist I know, Andrea Lee, posted an article about this very thing: how to say yes to all that we are and combine it into something new and fresh and that makes money. (She’s really smart about these kinds of things.)

So I threw her my challenge of combining theatre and coaching. And guess what she did? She showed me EXACTLY how I could do it. She SOLVED my problem. (And notice she did it first in a free and general way – talking to all entrepreneurs about building a business model that combines all that we are – which led me to pay her to help me solve it in a very specific way.)

So, look at what you do. How can you frame it as a solution to a problem?

2) Whom do I solve it for?

Hand in hand with question one goes question two.  You’ve got to know the audience you solve the problem for.

Using the above example, Andrea is very clear that she solves problems for online entrepreneurs who are coaches, authors, speakers and who are inclined to think outside the box. Dig a little deeper and you’ll see she speaks specifically to their need for 1) revenue generation and 2) self-expression in their businesses.

The clearer you can be on the audience you provide a solution for, the better, clearer and more successful your branding will be.

Who is your audience?

3) Do they want their problem solved?

Ah – here is the question that many MANY entrepreneurs overlook and can make all the difference in your success.  Does the market you are targeting want their problem solved?  Just because you know they have the problem and you’ve packaged up a brilliant solution doesn’t mean it will sell like hotcakes. If your target market isn’t actively looking to solve their problem, all the strategy and marketing in the world won’t get them to buy what you’ve got.

Again – using our example with Andrea and me.  If I were an entrepreneur who sold electronic widgets, for example, I probably wouldn’t want the problem of combining my passions solved because it wouldn’t have occurred to me that I HAD that problem.

Now there is a potential solution to this dilemma. Figure out how to position something you have as a solution to a problem they DO want solved. After they connect with you on that, THEN you can introduce the solution they need. It goes back to the idea of “sell them what they want, then sell them what they need”.

Does your chosen market want their problem solved?

So there you are. Three questions every entrepreneur must answer. I would love it if you would share YOUR answers in the comments section – even if they are a work in progress.

And, in a shameless plug of self-promotion, these are the kinds of things we will be tackling at Creating Irresistible Presence in Atlanta next month. And lucky us, Andrea Lee herself will be there to help us along!

http://www.irresistiblepresence.com

Online & Social Media Leaders Who Aren't Lame

August 19th, 2010

Online and Social Media Leaders Who Aren’t Lame, Aren’t Shams and Don’t Completely Suck

Here’s the thing: one of the very first things I learned as an actor was the power of observing other people. Watching other people and how they move and speak in the world fills the well to draw from when it’s time to create a character on stage.

This habit of studying people is still with me. I continue to observe people, most especially when they think no one is watching – at least no one “of consequence”. And because of the world I now operate in, I am able to observe lots and lots of self-described gurus and leaders. Because I am essentially an unknown “nobody”, they have no idea I am watching.

I gotta tell you – I’ve seen some pretty appalling stuff.  No need to name names or go into details. Calling people out isn’t the point of this post.

The point of this post is to highlight people I’ve watched in all kinds of situations. And they stand up in private and in public as being who they say they are, delivering irresistible presence, generously giving whether anyone is looking or not.

They are not perfect by any means. None of us are. But they are who they say they are, in private and in public.

I’m not arrogant enough to say this is the GREATEST list or the DEFINITIVE list and I’m sure I will be adding to it as I remember people I forgot to put on here.

But you check them out. Watch them. If they resonate with you – that’s awesome. If not, that’s okay too. In the end, it’s just a list. :-)

(Oh – and these are in no particular order, at all. So don’t go reading anything into that, okay?!)

@FleurDeLeigh

@AndreaJLee

@UnMarketing

@MayhemStudios

@RSHotel

@Kim

@dave_carpenter

@reese

@lesmckeown

@leesabarnes

@kickofftopic

@todd_herman

@LoriMoreno

@cheth

@JohnHaydon

@DannyBrown

@DaivRawks

@loubortone

@JonathanFields

@ChrisGuillebeau

@janetgoldstein

@lizmarshall

@jenlouden

@rochelleveturis

@chelseamoser

@ChiefHotMomma

@GiniDietrich

@KylePlacy

@Sophfronia

@BarryMoltz

@MichaelPort

@TheBrandBuilder

@KrisColvin

@ChrisGarrett

@CarlaYoung

@ElizabethPW

@AllisonNazarian

@SandyGrason

@MelaniWard

@JeffreySummers

@ShermanHu

@WarrenWhitlock

@RiaSharon

@ShellyKramer

@c_reed

@drewmaniac

@AngieSwartz

@CameronHerold

@KatTansey

@DelWilliams

@MelissaOnline

@ChrisBrogan

@GrantGriffiths

@TheInnerMaryKay

I've Lost My Edge

August 17th, 2010

I realized it last night. I’ve lost my edge around Escaping Mediocrity.

Between flying to Russia twice in a month and getting my first ever live event off the ground, I’ve let my commitment to Escaping Mediocrity get soft around the edges. And it shows.

My message is muddy. My blog posts don’t have their usual oomph. And I’m just not feelin’ it.

But that is going to change.

Here’s what I am thinking – and I need to know if you are in cuz I don’t want to do this by myself.

I am going to pick a day in the very near future and declare it Escaping Mediocrity Day.  And I am going to prepare for that day like I am preparing for a safari to Africa. Because I want it to be like that. Exciting. Adventurous. Traveling in new and unknown territory.

And I’m going to blog about it as it unfolds.

Now before I do all that, I REALLY need you to tell if you are ready, willing and able to do this with me, so share your thoughts with me. If it is a GO!, I will start our planning so we can all have an amazing day.

I await your comments with baited breathe!!!

On Making Tough Decisions

August 11th, 2010

I’ve heard it a lot lately – in emails, DMs, phone conversations, Skype chats – “I am having a really tough time making a decision about X.”

Heck – even I get stuck making decisions!

So I thought I would share the best tool Martha Beck taught me when we *think* we don’t know what to do. I love it because it taps into the deep wisdom our bodies hold that can circumvent our very smart and very conflicted brains.

(As a side note, many actors refer to their body as their “instrument”. It must always be kept in tune and in touch for it to operate properly. This exercise does exactly that!)

It’s called The Body Compass. And if you’re thinking – “yeah yeah, I already know that.”, do yourself a favor and re-visit it with a fresh heart. :-)

Step 1. Think of the most joyful moment of your life.

Close your eyes and really put yourself into that moment. What do you see? Who was there? What do you smell? Anchor it into your senses. Now, scan your body. Where does that supremely joyful feeling live? Really nestle down into it’s place of residence like a big down bed.

Step 2. Think of the most heinous experience of your life.

Do everything you did in Step 1 to anchor it in your body. What do you see? Who is there? What do you smell. Once it’s vividly technicolor, scan your body again. Where does this complete and total yucky, nastly feeling live in your body. Now you don’t have to nestle down into it, but do make a note of it’s address in your body and what it feels like to be there.

Step 3. Summon the decision you must make.

Visualize each of your available options in turn. Breathe into the details. What will that option look like? Feel like? And when you really are “in” that option, where does the feeling it gives you “live”? Is it a nearby neighbor of Joyful or it camped out near YuckyMcNasty?  Don’t let your brain get in on this conversation. This is about tapping into what your body knows.

I’m guessing that one of the options in front of you lives in Joyful’s neighborhood. And, if I were you, that is the option I would choose. :-)

So my challenge to the tribe is this: try this little exercise on a decision large (like should you move) or small (like what should you have for dinner) and let me know how it goes. As always, I am fascinated by what you teach me. :-)

Love,

Sarah

P.S. Yep – it is a shameless self-promotion for the Creating Irresistible Presence Preview call TOMORROW (Thursday). I’ve got awesome teaching to share, a seat at CIP to give away and another trick up my sleeve, so I do hope you will join me! http://bit.ly/CIPPreview

The Greatest Accolade

August 9th, 2010

I sent this out to Escape Notes subscribers yesterday. (I send them notes like this from time to time. If you are so inclined, you can subscribe, too, in the top right corner of this blog.) The response was so tremendous that I decided to share it with everyone. Enjoy!

The Greatest Accolade

This afternoon during a thunderstorm reverie, I thought of something that I immediately decided was worth sharing with you.

Ed Gero was my first real Shakespeare teacher. I was lucky enough to study with him first at The Shakespeare Theater in Washington, D.C.

Among the many finer points of acting he shared with me, this is the one that has stayed with me the longest:

“The greatest accolade an actor can receive isn’t an Academy Award or a Tony Award. It isn’t an amazing review in the New York Times. And it isn’t even being #1 at the Box Office.

It’s something he or she can only receive from a fellow actor and it is this: to be called ‘generous’.”

Over time, I learned how right he was. When actors are called “generous”, it means that they put all of themselves out there to make their fellow actors look good. They have no desire to dominate the stage and easily yield the spotlight

to others  – even those with few lines or who simply have a “walk on” part.

In short, it means no ego. A generous actor is supremely confident and secure with nothing to prove.

Everyone wants to be onstage with a generous actor. Every director wants to work with a generous actor. Every audience members leaves just a little in love with a generous actor – though they may have no idea why.

I think it is the same on the online stage we are all sharing. True generosity and all the qualities that go with it is such a rare thing.

And yet when we are in the presence of someone who is confident and secure and whose lack of ego makes it possible

for them to shine the spotlight on others, we find them…well…irresistible. :-)

All this and more to be discussed further at Creating Irresistible Presence LIVE! Sept. 23-24 in Atlanta.

http://www.irresistiblepresence.com

And don’t forget, I’m holding a most UNmediocre Preview Call this Thursday, August 12, at 1pm EST.

Get the deets & reserve your seat here: http://bit.ly/CIPPreview.

Love You!

Sarah

24 Traits of a Game-Changer

August 6th, 2010

Last week I was supposed to MC an event for Wicker Park Group’s Client Relationship Symposium. Well, we all know that I “got the call” from Russia and had to hop on a plane. So the brains behind Wicker Park Group, Nat Slavin and Laura Meherg, and I pow-wowed on a solution and came up with idea of a pre-recorded opening video that would set the tone for the event and give participants something to build on.

(As a side note, one thing game-changers do is adapt and figure it out without a lot of drama.)

So I created 5 Important Traits of a Game-Changer which you can watch below. And what I love is that throughout the two-day event, the list of traits I began grew to twenty-four!

Again, this is not a be-all-to-end-all list. In fact, I could love it if you all  add even more. :-)

So here’s the video:

And here is the list of 24 Traits of a Game-changer:

Traits of Game Changers:

  1. flexible/adaptable
  2. risk takers
  3. make mistakes
  4. visionary-work at it
  5. engage others
  6. transparent
  7. communicators
  8. persistent
  9. follow gut instincts
  10. comfortable talking about the uncomfortable
  11. stake a claim/commit
  12. have courage/guts
  13. trusting and encouraging
  14. open minded
  15. connectors
  16. good listeners
  17. influencers
  18. proactive
  19. prioritize
  20. do what they say they will do
  21. get scared
  22. say yes
  23. resilient
  24. innovative

So what additions do you have?!

(And here is a shame-less, self-promoting plug: I’m changing the game for event preview calls, instead of putting mine under the guise of WILD INCREDIBLE VALUABLE content and then zinging you to register for my event, I’m calling it what it is. A preview call for Creating Irresistible Presence LIVE! that also happens to include some pretty awesome content that will be valuable whether you sign up for my event or not.

You can read more and register for the details here: http://bit.ly/CIPPreview)

Escaping Mediocrity Isn't for the Faint-of-Heart

August 3rd, 2010

This post will be short. With the 15 month old mini-turk running all over the place, my time to focus on writing is pretty limited.

But I did not want to miss checking in with my tribe because you all rock SO much. :-)

This is thing I most want to say: Escaping Mediocrity isn’t for the faint-of-heart. And once you open the escape hatch in one area of your life, you’ve opened the hatch on all areas of your life.

With the hatch open and the course for your heart’s desire, your way may be clear but there are no promises that the way will be easy, fast or simple.

My life at this moment is a perfect example.

I need to do work on my live event, Creating Irresistible Presence. September will be here before I turn around. I also have a Preview Call to prep for and this blog post to write. And a fair number of emails to reply to. My business is growing – which is great! And yet the timing isn’t exactly ideal.

See, back in early summer when I announced my event, I had no idea when our adoption would actually take place. Russian adoption is a very last minute “hop on the plane now” kind of thing. So I had a choice.

1) I could out my life and my business on hold while I waited for an invitation from the Russian government

or

2) I could move ahead with the things I felt called to do, especially in my business, knowing that if and when we got “the call” I would find a way.

Obviously I chose Door No. 2. :-)

And today Door No. 2 feels hard. But what I know is that this feeling will pass and I will get the things done that I need to get done. Maybe not perfectly and maybe not in the time I would like, but they WILL get done.

So, I screw up my courage and my faith (again!) and put one foot in front of the other.

My question for you today is this: Is there an Escape Hatch you are afraid to open because you don’t know HOW it will work out? What exactly are your choices? Write them down in black and white so you know what your are choosing between. Then make the very best choice you can – for today and for the rest of your life. :-)