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For Judi Knight; For Dana Reeves; For Brandon Sutton

August 26th, 2011

Last night, I had an experience that I would have never dreamed possible one year ago.

Three members of this Escaping Mediocrity Tribe created something amazing for me in Atlanta.

Several months ago, Judi Knight conceived of hosting an event at her super-cool B & B and I would be the featured guest speaker. Then she enlisted Dana Reeves and Brandon Sutton as co-conspirators for her mission.

Together, they organized, cooked, invited friends – and basically threw their hearts and souls into ensuring that the event ROCKED. And it did.

Sixty people showed up, listened to killer music, ate fab food, mixed, mingled, laughed and talked. Oh – and they got to listen to me speak for a little while too. :-)

During my two and a half hour drive home (I drove back to Birmingham when the event) last night, I got a little teary as I started thinking about everything they did:

1) They spent their VERY valuable time planning and executing the event.

2) They put other priorities aside and cooked a TON of food.

3) They went out on a limb and invited friends to come hear me speak. To me that is the ultimate compliment and I can only hope that I did them proud.

I am touched beyond measure at the belief and support they gave me last night – and give me every single day.

So today, I say “Thank You.” Thank you for being the reasons I do what I do. Thank you for making me better and smarter. Thank you for opening your hearts and sharing your friends with me. Thank you for all the time, energy and love you put into making last night a success. Thank you for being a part of my tribe. I am an incredibly lucky woman.

Creatures of Habit

August 24th, 2011

I like being comfortable. Which means I like my habits. Even when they don’t serve me.

See, changing up a routine, doing things differently, trying something new and bold – that stuff requires a certain level of discomfort and a certain level of extra effort.

Because I am human, I want to take the easy path. That desire is programmed into my DNA.

Fortunately I am not an amoeba and am not at the mercy of my pre-programmed DNA (well - most of the time anyway.).

I can think and feel and make (drumroll for the frontal lobe’s’ evolution!) CHOICES.

I can step outside myself and say “Hey look – there you are doing the same old same old again. Isn’t that interesting.”

Or “Are you done with the same old same old yet? Cuz I sure am!”

Or “Hey why don’t we shake things up and try cooking Asian tonight?”

You get the idea.

The only way I’m going to move ahead on this escaping mediocrity path I chosen is to make different choices and create new habits.

Scary?

Sure it’s scary as h-e-double-toothpicks.

But the idea of staying where I am, doing the same old same old – THAT is really scary to me.

So, I screw up my courage and do new things. Go new places. Ask different people for help.

And soon – being daring and bold becomes a habit. And it’s a habit I think I’ll keep. :-)

If you want to break out of your same-old, same-old habits that are holding you and your business back, I HIGHLY encourage you to check out my live event Creating Irresistible Presence. You’ll come away with a whole pack of awesome new habits that will propel you forward into the kind of success you are after.

Getting to Know Brandon Sutton

August 17th, 2011

This is blog series where I introduce you to the movers and shakers that make my live event, Creating Irresistible Presence, so awesome. ;-)

Yesterday, you my dear friend and colleague, Elizabeth Marshall. And today, I want you to meet Brandon Sutton.

Wait, Brandon Sutton? Who’s he?!

Last year Brandon had the charming experience of being the ONLY GUY IN THE ROOM at CIP. He rose to the challenge beautifully (and surprisingly – he was extremely willing to be THAT guy!).

He also has a wonderful perspective on what the event looks like from the inside. I can tell you what it’s like all day but it’s way more fun to hear it from someone who was sitting in the audience, don’t you think?!

So, without further adieu……Brandon Sutton.

Creating Irresistible Presence 

Brandon Sutton

Last Summer, Sarah announced her first live event – Creating Irresistible Presence.  It wasn’t a matter of whether this was something worth attending, but more of a knowing this would be a great experience for me.

I had been following Sarah’s blog for several months, and I had always respected the relationship she had with her tribe.  A live version of this was sure to be something I needed to invest in, so I went for it.  Leading up to the event, I had a chance to work directly with Sarah to provide some of the behind the scenes tech support for the event itself, which was really fun I must say.

She even threw me a curve ball and asked me to create an impromptu playlist of appropriate music to play at the end of the first day. My DJ background kicked in and I knocked it out of the park, if I do say so myself.  The leadoff song was Unwritten by Natasha Bedingfield. I dare you to find a better song for this audience.  :)

On the first day of the event as everyone took their seats, I became the pink elephant in the room.  Every attendee, presenter, and support resource that was present was female. This actually made for a very fun experience for me, and I think for the women as well.  We went through a series of fun exercises that got us to open up and discover what was lurking just under the surface of our carefully crafted public personas.  We got past the facade and into the good stuff I suppose you could say.

One particular moment stands out to me quite vividly.  Sarah went through a series of questions that had us each write down the things that we most enjoyed doing in various stages in our lives, starting with when we were young kids. I didn’t see where it was leading until I got to the thing that I most enjoy doing now. When I looked at what I had written down, every single life stage had included some form of connection to nature.

This was a big breakthrough for me.  Huge actually.  Over the past 15 years, my connection with nature had been waning, although it was starting to come back around during the Spring and Summer of 2010. I realized that the nature connection element was the aspect of life that I was absolutely unwilling to live without, period. This was huge.  And I mean, like really huge! I got up in front of the crowd at the end of the day, and fighting back tears, I made this a public proclamation. I haven’t felt that relieved in years.

I decided that day that no matter what happened, nature was going to play a big role in my life moving forward. That meant that certain sacrifices were going to need to be made in order to make it happen.  I can happily report today that I’ve taken significant intentional steps in that direction, and have spent a lot more time in nature over the past few months than at any time since I was in college.

CIP fell just 2 weeks before the public exhibition of Spirit of the Gulf Coast (http://spiritofthegulfcoast.com), which is a documentary initiative that I founded in 2010 in response to the BP oil spill.  I almost canceled on CIP because I was ‘too busy’ prepping for this event I was producing. If I hadn’t told Sarah I would provide tech support at the event, I might have bowed out.

Thankfully, I didn’t.  The experience led to some of the biggest ‘A-Ha’ moments I’ve had in my life. In addition, the relationships that formed that weekend have been instrumental in my personal and professional development over the past year. I consider my ‘CIP Sisters’ some of my best friends, and stay in touch with many of them regularly.

I can’t say thank you enough for the opportunity to attend this incredible event, and I’m eagerly anticipating CIP 2011 coming up in September. Anyone who has thought for a second about the direction life is taking or if he or she is on the right path can benefit from attending CIP. It helped put me on the path to truly realizing what I want to get out of my life and how I can take tangible steps each day toward making it happen.

Thank you Sarah and all the CIP alumni! See you in September. :)

Launching In The Time of Cholera

August 10th, 2011

If you are waiting for conditions to be perfect, you will be waiting a very long time.

You can see my launch here: http://bit.ly/BlogPlaybook

 

Launching in the Time of Cholera Pt. 2

I’ve Accomplished What?!

August 8th, 2011

It’s been a crazy year, no doubt about it.

And I’m not counting that we brought the mini-turk home from Russia last August.

I was prepping for an interview and one of the questions asked me to hit the highlights of the past year. I had to stop and think about it. So much of my life happens in the present moment that I don’t have room to store a ton of historical information.

When I pulled out my date book and did an actual review of everything that has happened over the past twelve months in my professional life, I was sort of startled by what I discovered. Some of the highlights include

  • Ranking No. 47 on Dun & Bradstreet’s list of the Most Influential Small Business Experts on Twitter.
  • Being selected to be part of Seth Godin’s Domino Project Street Team.
  • Curating a month-long blog series that tripled my traffic, doubled my list size and strengthened my relationships with my tribe and with some pretty amazing experts (who are now friends)
  • Selling out my Summer Mastermind in less than two weeks.
  • Building a 5 person team who are, at times, even more invested in the success of my business than I am!
  • Hosting an incredible, energetic, life-changing live event in Atlanta.
  • Working with the most amazing group of  private clients ever.
I really can’t believe that list is MY list. :-)
I’m not writing this to brag. I’m writing this because I want YOU to make the same kind of list. Think back over the past twelve months and write down all the things that have happened in your business that you’ve forgotten about.
Sometimes I think we get so focused on where we are going that we forget all the great things that have happened along the way.  Do stop. Breathe for just a couple of minutes. And write down the very best highlights you can think of. the take it in.
I’m betting you’ve done some pretty amazing stuff. And I’m REALLY hoping you’ll share some of it in the comments. :-)
P.S. Tomorrow I’m launching my Blog PowerUp! Playbook that will give you everything you need to curate a guest blog series just like the one on my list. Stay tuned for that!

I’ve Jumped Off Another Cliff…..

August 3rd, 2011

I emceed Elizabeth Marshall’s and Janet Goldstein’s Book Breakthrough event in NYC last week. They masterfully guided aspiring writers through the maze of writing a book and bringing it to market. I could write a whole post about everything that happened there. But not today.

Today I’m going to give you the short and sweet on the cliff I jumped off of while I was there.

See, people often ask me “Where’s your book?” “When are you going to write a book?” “Do you have a book?” And I always mumble some semi-intelligible answer hoping to change the subject.

I want to write a book. I’ve tried to write a book. And the same thing happens every time. I get bogged down and confused, so I throw in the towel.

Which brings me to last Thursday.  I sat there staring at the opening exercise of “7 Questions About Your Book Idea” (or something like that). These were pretty basic questions like “What do you want to write about?” “Who do you want to write it for?”, stuff like that.

I couldn’t answer any of them. That familiar feeling of stifling overwhelm began to creep over me and I wanted to cry.

I made a decision then and there. When Janet and Elizabeth announced their mastermind program, I was signing up for the top level. Yes, it’s a huge commitment  - both time-wise and money-wise – but it’s what I know I need to do.

Then I did something even scarier. I told the whole room what I was doing and why. Here’s the recap:

- I could bumble around and maybe put a book together on my own.

- I know a lot of authors I could get advice from.

- I could try to piece together all the marketing myself.

- I need to find the sharp edges of my message or my blog and business are doomed.

But I don’t want to figure this all out by myself. And I know, in my heart of hearts, that I do not have the skill set to do it alone.

I want expert help and expert guidance from people who know infinitely more than I do about writing and publishing. And no one knows more about that than Elizabeth and Janet.

Am I scared? You bet! I’ve declared in front of God and everybody that I’m going to actually work on a book. And I know Elizabeth and Janet well enough to know that they are not going to let me slack off now that I’ve committed.  I’ve got nowhere to hide, as they say.

Here’s the other thing I know: to get where I want to go, I’ve got to get really good at jumping off bigger and bigger cliffs. And being scared to jump is simply no excuse not to make the leap.

So I jumped.

What about you? What cliff could you jump off of? What are you tired of trying to figure out alone? What expert help could you get to help you get where you want to go?

 

If you suddenly had the attention of your perfect, right tribe…..

July 18th, 2011

If you suddenly had the undivided attention of your perfect, right tribe, what would you say to them?

Earlier today, I posed this question on Twitter, Facebook and Google+. As always, I got some incredible responses. I love it when the wisdom of a group far exceeds my own. :-)

I’m sharing some of them below. After you read them, I hope you will add your answer in the comments

carla birnberg MizFitOnline Know you are enough. Right in this moment. Rt as u r. & help each other. There’s rm enough for us all to shine.
Andy andrewghayes @SarahRobinson I love you. (er, in answer to your question.)
sumner musolf sumnermusolf @SarahRobinson: I would tell them that listening has exponentially more value than speaking. And accountability is the measure of a career.
Mark Silver MarkHeartofBiz  @SarahRobinson ”Uh… hi… is this thing on?”
Greg Hartle greghartle @SarahRobinson Don’t tell, show. Don’t talk, take action. Not tomorrow, today.
Constant CrowdConstantCrowd @SarahRobinson To the right tribe: what are the issues that keep you up at night? & what do you wish would magically happen for your brand?
prof.dr.tyler durden swagclub @SarahRobinson I’d say, ‘thanks for doing that thing you do….now go do more if what’s working & dream bigger dreams.’ & I often do say it.
cloudspark cloudspark @SarahRobinson i’d start with thank you and then move into how we’re working for them, to help them.
 Judi Knight I would ask them how I could best serve them.
Nicole BoyceNicole Boyce I want to tell them how much I love and appreciate them in *my* life!
Al Smith I would say Thank You !
 Catherine Altman Morgan Having the opportunity to support them (and be supported by them) energizes and inspires me.
Lori Shea Finnigan I would want to tell them how much I enjoyed them.
Michael Grosheim's profile photo Michael Grosheim - Thank you for you loyalty and support. And, Happy New Year!

Rachael Acklin's profile photo Rachael Acklin - Hello, sweethearts. I love you.

Mary Klaebel's profile photo Mary Klaebel - Thank you.
Tori Deaux's profile photo Tori Deaux - I believe in you. Even when you don’t.
Carrie Wilkerson's profile photoCarrie Wilkerson - agreed with all of the above…I would also add… ‘you are enough. you are worthy. you can do this’
Kathy Sprinkle's profile photo Kathy Sprinkle - What do you want and need most from me?
So what are you now inspired to say or to ask to the tribe you currently have? even if it isn’t the perfect tribe, say it anyway. :-)

Oh – and don’t forget to share in the comments!!

Searching for Team Incredible

July 11th, 2011

I have something really fun to share with you! I’m creating and deploying a Street Team for my live event,Creating Irresistible Presence (CIP).  The CIP Street Team will be comprised of smart, vocal, passionate and connected people who are ready to engage their communities about something they find truly valuable.

You’re a good fit for the CIP Street Team if:
- you love connecting on social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+.

- you are a creative risk taker, ready to try new ways of promoting something you believe in.

- you immediately start sharing something you discover when that something resonates with you.

- you know you are something much, much more than mediocre.

Being a CIP Street Team member has its perks:
- Special pricing on reserved seats for Creating Irresistible Presence

- The chance to earn $200 for every sale completed through your unique CIP Street Team affiliate link

- The chance to earn way cool prizes (like a video interview with me focused on your business) just by generating clicks on your link.

- Exclusive, CIP Street Team only calls with me, Les McKeown, Elizabeth Marshall, Janet Goldstein, Mark Silver and other CIP speakers.

- A private Google+ Circle where you can connect with other CIP Street Team members.

- Listing on www.CreatingIrresistiblePresence.com as a CIP Street Team member.

- Killer marketing ideas and copy that will make sharing CIP super easy-peasy.

- Other cool stuff we’ll think up as we go along!
I’ve never done anything like this and, as best I can tell, no one has ever fashioned an affiliate program this way.  So I’m fully prepared for the possibility that it may fail spectacularly.  BUT, not matter what else happens, I can promise you that this will be a TON of fun!

Since this is the first time I’m trying something like this, I am limiting participation to only 30 people, who will be chosen by my team and me after we review all the applications.

If the CIP Street Team sounds like something you want to be a part of, you can apply using the link below. But hurry. We are going to move into lift-off mode in just one week, so I need your application by noon EST on Sunday, July 17.

Application link: http://bit.ly/CIPStreetTeam

 
Questions? Ask them in the comments and I’ll get right back to you!

How to Develop Laser Sharp Clarity Like the Big Dogs (Day Three of Big Dog Series)

June 22nd, 2011

Today, I am guest blogger for Judi Knight’s Big Dogs blog series. In my post I share the best strategy I know for getting laser sharp clarity about your blog, your brand, your business or even your life.

You can read all about it here:

http://www.newtricks.me/how-to-develop-laser-sharp-clarity-like-the-big-dogs-day-three-of-big-dog-series/

Money Models and the Spirituality of Business Structure by Mark Silver

June 15th, 2011

I am thrilled to announce ANOTHER amazing speaker for my live event, Creating Irresistible Presence!  Mark Silver is one of my very favorite people on the planet and he will bringing his expertise on Revenue Models to the table for all CIP attendees. W00t!  His blog post below will give you just a glimpse of what a treat you are in for!

Money Models and the Spirituality of Business Structure

One of my students in the Heart of Money Transformational Journey asked about how to handle a lack of confidence in her pricing when she wanted to serve the nonprofit community. “I don’t believe they can afford it,” she asked. She was struggling to trust her pricing, even though she used our resonant pricing exercise to get guidance.

As a designated master teacher in my Sufi spiritual lineage, I’m always supporting our students to have the clarity of love in their heart when taking business actions, so the confidence they feel isn’t forced.

However, sometimes the issue isn’t spiritual. At least not in that internal, belief sense. Sometimes the problem is external.

So let’s talk about the spirituality of structures and how it relates to how you bring revenue into your business.

The Spirituality of Structures

Maybe you’ve had the same experience I’ve had in a yoga class. I’ll be attempting a pose, I’m such a noob with it, and since we have 2 1/2 year-old twin toddlers it’s been about 2 1/2 years since I’ve been in a yoga class, but anyway, where was I? Oh yeah…

So you’re in class attempting a pose, and the teacher comes over behind you and adjusts you slightly. It’s the same pose, it’s not a major shift. Yet suddenly everything clicks. Your body relaxes, you feel energy flowing through. The position comes alive.

That’s an example of an external structure supporting internal, spiritual Divine connection.

It’s the same in your business. There are structures your business can take on that support your connection to both Source and to your clients. If those structures are out of alignment with your clients or Source then there’s static in the system, and things don’t flow easily.

Sometimes you need major adjustments, and sometimes you just need to shift a little bit.

An Example

A client was wanting to support moms. She had, as part of what she learned, a standard life-coaching model of hour-long sessions two to three times a month.

She wasn’t getting a lot of takers. While it’s true that she had some internal beliefs to clean up, and she could also have done better reaching a larger audience, there was also a reality of the money model, the offer she was making.

When the twins came along, in our family we made the decision that Holly would be the full-time mom, and I would be a very-involved dad, but still full-time in the business. Or what passes for full-time, what with taking time off to read a book or play with a puzzle every time I go upstairs to go to the bathroom.

My wife doesn’t have time for two or three hour-long coaching sessions a month. If she has that much time, she’s taking a nap. Or sitting in a cafe staring at a wall. We have twin toddler boys. And by “twin toddler boys” I mean “two 3-foot tornadoes in constant motion throughout the house.” We’re treading water here, folks. :)

Any mom can relate. What does she really need?

Our client changed her approach. Dropped the price, created a group experience/course, and made the time commitment shorter, focusing on quick, implementable strategies for moms with young kids, and creating a community of support for the participants.

She changed the money model. She ended up making a similar amount per hour, but the delivery was different. And yes, she did end up with some individual clients as well.

What’s So Spiritual About That?

It’s about surrendering what you think you know to being in alignment with what is being asked of you. There’s a Sufi teaching that attributes this quote to the Divine: “I love those of My servants best who are of most use to My creation.”

What this means is that when we are in service to the world around us, there is a flow of love available that is hard to access if you are only focused on yourself and what you need. While the standard thinking about money models has to do with questions like, “What’s most profitable?” or “What leverages your time the most?” those aren’t the first questions we’re asking.

The first question is, for the people you want to serve, how can you be most useful to them?

There’s a four-step process I teach which I call “Crafting Your Offer” which is about creating a Divinely-inspired structure for your work in the world. And the question of how much to charge is the last step, not the first consideration as many would have you think.

The Essence of the Four Steps

Although I dial the process in with more detail and nuance, here are two questions you can ask to get started with this process.

1. Where are your clients trying to get to?
2. Given who they are and the situation they are in, what do they need to get to that destination?

Then craft your offer, your Divinely-inspired money model, around those two questions, from an intention of wanting to be useful and supportive to your people.

One Last Bonus

In my spiritual lineage of Sufism, we talk about the essential qualities of the Divine, things like Love, Compassion, Friendship, Strength, Wisdom, etc.

One of the qualities is The Divine Designer, in Arabic “Al Musawwir.” This quality carries the message that everything that exists has received the Divine word “Be!” and with that existence, each thing has also received a unique form for its expression.

I recommend meditating/praying/Remembering using the Divine quality Al Musawwir The Designer, to help receive inspiration around the unique Divine form that supports your business in expressing itself and being most useful to both you (in terms of profit) and to the people you are meant to serve.

I’m curious, what do you notice about the design and structure of your money model if you take even a few moments to look at it from a Divine perspective?

bio:
Mark Silver (@markheartofbiz)  is a fourth-generation entrepreneur and a designated Master Teacher in his Sufi Spiritual lineage, which has earned him the title of “Business Tenderizer.” As the founder of Heart of Business, he heads up a team of practitioners that support heart-centered business owners who want to make a difference and need to make a profit. His approach of integrating a Sufi perspective on universal spiritual teachings with nitty-gritty business practices means that your every act of business can be an act of love. You can find free resources at http://www.heartofbusiness.com