What's Up Buttercup?
What's Up Buttercup?
Have you ever heard this phrase before? I have lots of times and it totally resonates for me 🙌
New clients walk into my office on a regular basis with a request that I help them to “get rid of” their Anxiety 😲
That’s when I get to deliver the News (I’m not gonna label it “Bad” news or “Good” news, it’s just News 😉) that the goal is not to get rid of their Anxiety 😳
The goal is to learn to embrace and deal with their Anxiety. The goal is to change their relationship with Anxiety 🙌
This is where I begin the process of teaching what Carl Jung spoke about (and that people have been paraphrasing for years, ‘cause us humans just love us a short cut 🙄) that “What you resist not only persists, but will grow in size” 😬
What the fuck 😫
Yes folks, we are talking Law of Attraction stuff right here.
One of the fundamental Laws of how the Universe works is that what we put our focus on is what we attract.
Now that sounds pretty simple and yet I know that I sure as hell don’t like all of the shit that comes walking through my life’s door 😩
So why isn’t it so simple and easy as “Hey Universe I want 10 million dollars” and 💥💰💵
Well let’s think about that….
You see way back when humans lived in survival mode every minute of every fucking day (unlike how our comfortable and cushy asses live most of the time today), the humans who relaxed and danced around the fire and shit were the ones who got to be breakfast, lunch, dinner, or midnight snack for some hungry carnivore 😬
That means that the rest of us descended from the humans who were alert and vigilant. The ones who expected to be eaten and so took action to survive rather than fill a hungry beast’s belly 😳
Our ancestors are the ones who figured out how to Plan for the Worst AND Expect the Best 👊 except that in so many cases they left off that last part OR they rephrased it to something like “Expect the Worst and Hope for the Best” 😬
Can you see how just that little flip and tweak totally fucks up the meaning and intent AND leads us down the path of some pretty overfocused negative thinking?
Guess what fucks with The Universe and The Law of Attraction? Those fucking “minor” changes in how we are actually putting our thoughts, feelings, and overall energy out into the world 🥴
Yep, so we run around every day focused on:
All of that shit is coming from our resistance to accepting and embracing WHAT IS so we are the ones who just keep perpetuating our perceived negative situation 😳😬
For most of us when we think “I want 10 million dollars” instead of actually embracing and attracting the cash, we actually start thinking about all of the “negative” responsibility type stuff that our subconscious believes comes along with having money.
What do you believe about money?
That it is “the root of all evil” or how miserable lottery winners end up because they have no idea of how to actually manage all of that money or how your distant relatives will come out of the woodwork looking for a hand out or that you won’t be able to trust your friends because they will just be hanging around ‘cause your rich?
So, instead of getting completely overwhelmed and throwing up your hands, take a moment to get Curious with me 🤔
What is one truly shitty thing that has happened to you that actually made you stronger, wiser, or more compassionate?
What is one overwhelming or scary thing that you once thought about yourself (think along the lines of believing that you were stupid or incompetent), that, by taking action, you have proved to yourself was not true?
Now, what is one thought or feeling that you are resisting (and, according to Carl Jung, growing out of proportion) that you are ready to accept, embrace, and flip that fucker so that it is working for you rather than against you?
OK, it is action step time 👣
Choose one of your examples from the questions I just asked and share it with me in the comments.
I want to know what has been holding you back, what you have been resisting AND I want us to decide how you are going to flip that fucker and take some action on moving forward toward being The Boss in Your Life and Your Business 👊🙌
Motivation is a Myth 😳
The belief that we have to feel inspired or motivated in order to do something is complete bullshit!
For the past couple of weeks, no matter whether the weather is “good” or “bad” I take my morning walk.
Now, I know you are smart and paying attention and you noticed those quotation marks around those two annoying words.
See the weather isn’t “bad” or “good”, the weather is just the weather.
We get caught up in judging the weather and then using those judgements to make decisions.
What my VOD (Voice of Doubt) says: “I can’t take my walk because the weather is bad and I don’t feel like walking in bad weather” 😳
What I say to myself in response: "Um, well, you can choose to use that fucked up VOD ‘logic' or you can decide that walking is an activity that you have committed to for a multitude of reasons (I love to connect with nature, walking clears my head and grounds me for the rest of the day, walking is healthy and I see myself as a healthy person, one important way to deal with my Anxiety is to practice being uncomfortable, etc.) and that you are going to take your walk regardless of the weather conditions." 🙌
Let’s be clear I don’t actually feel motivated to put spend an hour (that is an extreme exaggeration) putting on multiple layers of clothing on and go for a walk with my dog when the outdoor temperature is below 30 degrees. 😬
I don’t usually feel motivated to do things I find boring or tedious either. If I waited until I felt liked doing any of these things, my family would be on the front page of the newspaper for having been buried alive under a mountain of laundry and my business would be in the toilet since I would have no clients because I wouldn’t have done any marketing or systems maintenance to keep my business running smoothly 😜
I am not posting pictures of my morning walks when the wind chill is -10 🥶 to Inspire or Motivate you to take bone chilling walks or to cause your VOD to shame you for not walking in the shitty weather.
I am posting these pictures to share my experience in learning how to take Actionwhether I “feel” like it or not!
We talk a lot about all of the amazing things that we “want” to do, so why aren’t we doing most of it? We feel inspired easily enough some times, but where we hit the wall is that we wait to feel motivated so what happens is that the most important part of the equation doesn’t happen, we don’t take Action 😩
Since I deal exclusively with clients who are experiencing Anxiety including a very loud VOD, chronic worry, and Imposter Syndrome, I see the Mental Masturbation ALL.THE. TIME. 😲
We (and I say we ‘cause I am a Master Mental Masturbator Myself 😉) get so stuck in the “thinking about it” phase and the “I don’t feel like ALL of the conditions are RIGHT” phase that we definitely find ourselves challenged in the "where the rubber meets the road" in the TAKING ACTION part!
How does this apply to business?
To begin with, we start applying this Taking Action First idea to our personal lives. When we are willing to apply it to our personal lives, it will also make a positive impact in our business lives 🙌
Second, we focus on how our VOD really digs at our core beliefs about not being good enough, smart enough, tough enough, or whatever enough to take the Action steps necessary to either start or stick with our hopes and dreams of building our own business. 👣
When I first started being willing to talk about leaving my agency job to be in business for myself, a few of my colleagues expressed a similar interest. We even went to so far as to look at office space together. It was exciting to me to think about not having to do this business thing alone. My VOD was loud and clear that I “need” others to do this with me so that we could “make sure” that it would work. 🙄
So why am I a solo practitioner in business for myself? Because, at the time, I was the only one of the three of us who was ready and willing to take the uncomfortable Action and move forward. I talked back to my VOD and took the Action steps necessary to move forward AND I proved to myself that I did not “need” the others and that “making sure” is just an illusion 😜
Hey, we all take Action in our own time. No judgement here!
I get that there are a lot of factors (financial, emotions, physical to name a few) that go into our decisions about our futures AND I am challenging you to consider whether your Anxiety, VOD, chronic worry, or Imposter Syndrome Bullshit have you convinced that you have to “feel Motivated” and that you have to “make sure” all of the external conditions are “right" in order to take the Action steps necessary to move forward. 🤔
This is pretty big deal so I suspect we will be chatting about this on the regular.
For today, hit reply and share one thing that you “want” to do, but have been putting off the Action steps waiting to “feel Motivated” to do them….😘
A few days ago I heard someone mention that by January 12th the majority of the population who got themselves all worked up and followed the crowd by making a New Year’s Resolution have, in less than two weeks, blown those resolutions 😳
Are you a resolution maker?
Do you get caught up in the hype and make a New Year’s Resolution?
If you do, have you broken it already?
Now don’t get me wrong (and don't let your Anxiety tell you that I am shaming you 😝). I get how easy it is to get caught up in this seemingly harmless yearly tradition!
Identifying old habits that are not working for us and committing to make changes is top shelf shit 👊
However, most of us go about making those changes at the “wrong” time and in the “wrong” way 🤔 (yes, I put the word "wrong" in quotes because I do not believe in right/wrong AND I got your attention, yes?)
For those of us in the Northern Hemisphere at least, this time of year (Winter) is a time of slowing down, reflecting, and hibernating.
Why would we expect ourselves to commit to a daunting new exercise regimen or have the willpower to go from stuffing our faces with Christmas cookies to allowing them to sit on the counter for more than five minutes🙄
The other thing that I noticed in December was all of the business folks yammering about how they were doing all this planning for the new year. 😩
They were all like, “Buy this complicated planner, and then plan your whole year out to the most minute detail, and then turn around sixteen times, stand on your head, and now you will have a successful year in business" 😬
Yeah, there was this thing called Christmas barreling down on me (oh and my daughter’s birthday just before it) so I was kind of focused on those important family commitments 😳
Why do we insist on taking a time of year when we can so easily be stressed out dealing with commitments and obligations and decide to judge ourselves as not good enough so we have to resolve to better ourselves all the while knowing, on some level, that we are just setting ourselves up for “failure” and self flagellation?
Yeah, so while you may well have forgotten this by next year (unless you write it in your fancy planner and are still looking at it next December 😉) I’m going to advocate that we focus on reflection and self care during the Holidays and then calmly and with curiosity look forward to that bright and shiny New Year with excitement rather than the dread of “fixing” ourselves.
While I did work and did do some amount of planning (like buying the simplest planner I could find with the best cover quote I could find), it is actually the first few weeks of January when I get my best planning and goal setting for the year done 🙌
January is historically more “quiet” and I embrace the quiet, do my best say “no” to too many social obligations, and take every chance I get to hibernate.
It is during this quiet hibernation time that my best ideas make themselves known. This is when I can start to discern which of my amazing ideas will get the attention and focus that it deserves.
How do I do this magical and elusive “planning” thing?
By being less caught up in the goals (to grow my business) and more focused on the incremental steps I can take toward that goal (talk about my business offerings in person or email or on social media one time each day, spend 15 minutes each day taming my email inbox).
James Clear’s “Atomic Habits” points out that it is the daily 1% incremental changes that support us in making our way, one step at a time, toward our bigger goals.
This explains why resolutions “fail” 🧐
It is because we don’t put the habits into place to support ourselves in actually taking the steps from where we are to where we aspire to be.
For those of us with a very loud VOD (voice of doubt) it can be overwhelming to have so many sources of pressure to set specific goals, use a specific planner, or even to make a resolution.
We get caught up in what everyone else is doing, or using, or telling us we “should” be doing that we lose our Connection to our own Inner Guidance system 😔
Our Anxiety loves to convince us that it is in charge and then get us lost in the spinning wheel of indecision, making choices based on obligation, perceived failure, self judgement, and just that overall sucky feeling of stuckness (which is not a word AND I am using it anyway because I am the boss of me 😜).
Your turn ...
How are you going to talk back to your VOD and cut through your cloud of overwhelm and choose one incremental step to move toward your goal this year?
Shoot me and email (click here) and share your One Thing 🙌
I’m eternally curious AND I answer every email 😘
This is my time of year to party 🥳
It started 52 years ago when I made my arrival on the planet for this incarnation. I’m an Epiphany Baby, so Happy Birthday to me!
Then five years ago I took the leap and went full-time into Private Practice, so Happy Anniversary to me!
More recently, like as of Friday, I added another thing to celebrate: a successful premier workshop in my Demote Your Doubt: Be the Boss in Your Business series, so Happy Successful Workshop for me!
I’m feeling a bit like a Queen at the moment….or at least a Duchess 😜 It hasn't always been easy to toot my own horn or call attention to myself AND today I am more willing to do just that 🙌
Anyway thanks for hanging out with me on my birthday 😍
What shall we talk about? It has to be something a least a little deep, because I am not a fan of small talk 😝
How about what it takes to make it to a 5 year Anniversary in Business?
Let me tell you that story 🤓
Once upon a time I was a girl with a dream.
That dream was kind of blurry, but from what I could make out (and what I was experiencing in real life) was that most of the people in charge and bossing me around were morons (don’t get your panties in a wad....not all of them and not all of the time...it just makes for a good story 😜)
What I took from that was I had two choices: 1) I could stick around, bitch a lot, drink a lot, and be miserable or 2) take action and be my own boss.
I chose what was behind Door #2 and haven’t (often) looked back.
Does being my own boss suck sometimes?
Why yes, yes it does.
I don’t get to blame shit on my boss or coworkers, ‘cause I’m a one person show. I am solely responsible for it all, the good, bad, and the ugly.
Would I ever consider (more than briefly) throwing in the towel and finding a job where I just have to show up and someone else is in charge?
Nope, not a chance 😉
For all of the shit sandwiches* that I have had (and will continue to) eat , the freedom and ability to be responsible for the good, the bad, and the ugly makes it totally worth it for me. *Mark Manson "Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck" reference
Isn’t it interesting that so much of this can be boiled down to perspective?
It reminds me of a cartoon I saw many years ago (I am so about to date myself 😳) where two kids were outside of a school room banging chalk erasers on the brick wall. One kid says to the other “What bad thing did you do to get this punishment?” while the other kid looks confused and replies, “I volunteered to do this fun job!” (You have no idea how much time I spent attempting to track down the original cartoon, to no avail 😩).
Yes, being our own bosses when Anxiety and it’s whole clan of misfits (Worry, VOD, and Imposter just to name a few) want to run the show can be exhausting AND when we put the clan members in their place at the foot rather than the head of the table, owning and running our own businesses can be Totally Kick Ass!
So how have I made the past 5 years successful?
A whole lot of “I don’t know what the fuck I’m doing, but I’m going to do it anyway” 😳😬😂
What did that actually look like?
Having ideas, reseaching ways to make the ideas happen, taking the action steps to make the ideas into reality, and then wash, rinse, repeat.
So many coaches are on the scene doing their best to appeal to our desire to take shortcuts.
Now I’m not saying an occasional shortcut isn’t awesome AND I’ve learned my best lessons by going the long way around.
I have made a shit ton (which is more than a ton and less than a fuck ton) of mistakes AND turned each and every one of them into an opportunity (even if the only opportunity was to tell a great story about what not to do 😬).
Have I stumbled and even fallen?
Yep, I have experienced a range of emotions including joy, jealousy, sorrow, stubborn, fear, frustration, anger, and anxiety (just to name just a few 😉).
When the members of my Anxiety clan show up (and they drop by unannounced regularly 🙄), I deal with them.
No avoiding, no procrastinating, no running and hiding (OK, that’s kind of a lie, ‘cause every once in awhile there is a coup and I go hide in a corner and regroup and then come back out and get back in the driver’s seat 😲) and no quitting!
When shit gets real and I’m feeling on shaky ground, I rally my troops both internal and external 🤗
One of the best investments in myself and in my business (and has contributed to my success) has been my own coaching. 🤩
Having a coach as part of my support team (along with my family, friends, accountant, bookeeper, biweekly housecleaner/organizer, and part-time office assistant) has been the #1 Best Investment (yes even better than any technology or book or course or workshop) that I have made as a business owner 🙌
Coaches keep us focused, accountable, and moving forward.
They listen to us vent and then help us problem solve and get back on track. They put fresh eyes on our blurry bump in the road and suddenly the path gets clearer. They kick our ass and cheer us on as we navigate our journey.
So, while I might be a wee bit biased (since I am a coach myself 😊) about coaching, I do believe wholeheartedly that hiring my coach was the #1 best investment that I have made and that it has brought me the highest ROI (return on investment) possible 😘
Alright, that’s deep enough. I’m off to celebrate my day with an awesome brunch buffet with part of my support team (my family).
Thanks for celebrating with me 🤩🎉🤩🎉
Hey if you haven’t noticed, 2018 is about to take it’s leave and 2019 is crouched and ready to take its place 🥳
With all of the “shoulds” being flung around out there (picking your word for the year, making resolutions, setting goals, taking down your decorations, eating all of the leftovers, losing weight, and any other thing someone out there is shouting that you “should” be doing) it is easy to fall down the rabbit hole of overwhelm!
I, on the other hand, spent the week seeing how long I could go without showering or knowing what day of the week it was 😳
Yeah, I could be “trying” to see clients (nope, learned my first year that while clients have “good intentions” when they make appointments between Christmas and New Year’s that it gets shot to hell and they cancel or no show, so no client appointments that week, I just build that into the calendar every year 🙌) or frantically “planning” for 2019 AND I have chosen to take the week to decompress, enjoy family time, read, watch movies, eat (a lot 😳), and paint my bathroom.
Now, don’t misunderstand, I have worked in time to do some work and planning for my business. I just did it with intention rather than feeling some external pressure from something that I read on the internet about what I “should” be doing right now.
You see, I figured out pretty quickly that when I let someone else be the boss of me I was really letting my Anxiety, Worry, and VOD (Voice of Doubt) be in charge.
Any time I hear about or read something that someone else says I “should” be doing, I stop being the CEO of my business and let Anxiety, Worry, and VOD take the reins.
Guess what? Anxiety, Worry, and VOD are not very good Leaders. Interestingly, they do make good employees, managers, and even advisors (once you know how to train them to be your super powers), just not good Leaders!
Now you can try to run your business with managers, employees, and even advisors, but it won’t be successful unless you have a clear Leader who actually knows how to Lead!
So how does one go from letting VOD be the CEO to being the type of Boss you might have actually stayed at a salaried job for?
You know, a real Leader Boss?
(That is why you left a soul sucking job, or are deep into the fantasy about doing so, right? To be your own boss? 👊)
Why would you be a Boss that sucks?
Think about that.
We work hard to step into the arena and become our own boss, and then we just let Anxiety, Worry, and our VOD run the show…WTF?
That’s fucking crazy and yet, it’s exactly what so many of us do 😳
I did it early on (and still have my moments when they attempt a mutiny and take over 😳).
What did that look like?
Yeah, it wasn’t exactly pretty or, in the end, productive 😩
You know what actually worked to move forward in my business?
Taking one step at a time 👣
What did that look like?
Now that may seem obvious or even simple AND it’s not.
I hope you know by now that I don’t sugar coat and I don’t lie, I just cuss a lot 😜
Ever day I wake up and recommit to being the Boss that I want to be for myself.
I remind myself of my “Why” I do what I do and then I get on about doing it.
I make mistakes and I do my best to learn from them and see them as opportunities.
I don’t quit, no matter how scary or shitty the situation, I keep going.
I might pause for a moment to cry, cuss, or catch my breath, AND I get back off and get back to kicking ass as soon as I can. Oh, and I throw in some compassion for myself once in awhile too 😉
Who are you?
Over the past week or so I have been making posts on FB asking what appear to be simple questions:
Now those may seem like simple questions AND if you know me at all, you know that I tend to be a shitstirer (is that even a word 🤔).
Who the fuck only wants two choices for answers? Not me! (Not to go down the rabbit hole of politics and shit, but look what only having two choices got us in the last Presidential Election 🤮)
When we ask for permission or forgiveness we are giving our power over to others.
No one else has your answers.
You can ask for advice from those you trust and you can do a mea culpa if something you are doing breaks a rule and you get caught, but being a Leader Boss in your Business means making your own decisions and dealing with the consequences of those decisions.
I didn’t realize how often I was saying “sorry” until my daughter started saying it regularly 🤦♀️
While I have taken the stand in the past that it is better to ask for forgiveness than permission (we got married on a mountain where we found out 2 weeks before the date that we were supposed to “get permission” and make a donation….we made the donation after the fact, but I was not going to be told “no” for some random reason, so we just didn’t ask! I had my “oops” speech all ready 😜), I put a disclaimer on that when it comes to randomly saying “Sorry” for shit that we have no control over.
What we really mean to say is “I feel empathy for you right now” 😔
What do you think might happen if we all started saying that instead? 🤔
Baking tends to be more about following the rules while cooking allows for more flexibility if you want to go off the recipe.
Leaders have to know how to do both.
Once you know the “rules” in baking you can go rogue and make substitutions, but you have to be willing to deal with the consequences.
Cooking inherently allows for more creativity AND you still have to know that substituting the same amount of cayenne pepper for chili powder is going to end rather explosively 💥
Introverted or Extroverted (and the follow up HSP question 😜)?
Well now, that’s just all about how important it is to know yourself and to work with your strengths.
Both Extroverts and Introverts and Highly Sensitive People can make great leaders as long as they are being authentic to themselves and not “trying” to be someone they are not.
Know yourself, know your peeps (clients and customers), and you will figure out how to use your personality and sensitivities as super powers 🙌
So what’s it gonna be?
Are you going to Bust into 2019 committed to being the Best Boss you can be for yourself?
Even if you aren’t currently in a position to be your own boss at work, you can start practicing being your own boss at home by demoting your doubt and getting to know your super powers 🤩
Just take it one step at a time….😘
Keeping it a simple as possible is great in theory AND can be hard to do in our current reality 😩
As a means of leading by example, I am going to keep this email short and (hopefully) sweet 😘
This holiday season I have worked on taking it one step at a time 👣.
You see, not only do we have Christmas to gear up for this time of year, but I went and had a baby 6 days before Christmas, just because having one celebration in December wasn't enough 🙄
Anxiety and my VOD (Voice of Doubt) can get all up inside of my head, especially this time of year AND we have had lots of productive conversations like:
VOD: "Your (home) office is a fucking wreck! There is shit laying everywhere. You are so disorganized and you are going to fuck something up!"
Me: "Hey, thanks for pointing out that it would be a great idea for me to put an hour on my calendar to sort through all of the boxes and bags and check to see if I have any last minute shopping to do. Oh, and so what if something get's missed. No one is going to die!"
VOD: "There is way too much stuff coming into your house right now, you better start controlling, telling everyone what to do, and losing your shit so they know you are in charge!"
Me: "Ummm, yeah, no thanks. I've done that before and it just fucks up my relationships. Besides I have systems in place and ways to deal with all of the stuff. Oh, and I'm learning how to let the other people who live in the house manage their own stuff."
VOD: "If you take time off from work, it's all just going to fall apart. You don't have every last detail worked out for your workshop, your new online TCAK Mastermind, and everything else you are offering in 2019!"
Me: "Thanks so much for pointing all of that out 😜 You know I actually work better when I work smarter and take some time off. It recharges me and I am way more creative when I slow down on occasion. Oh, and I have a couple of hours scheduled here and there throughout the Winter Break where I will get my creative on and be ready for some kick ass workshops and groups in 2019!" 🙌
VOD: "Damn, I got nothing left right now!"
Me: "No worries, it's been fun playing our game. I know you'll be back, and I'll be ready for you!" 😂
So now that I've given you a glimpse into one of my favorite games with my VOD 🙄 I have a favor to ask of you....
On Friday I got a wild hair up my ass and posted what I thought was a simple question on my FB Page (what you don't follow me on FB? Heres' the link: AuntieAnxiety The Compassionate AssKicker ) and what followed was an amazing conversation that let me know that the question was not as simple as I had intended 🤔
OK, so here is what I want from you: Email me and tell me your answer to this "simple" question (it would be like a really inexpensive Christmas Present from you to me)...
Are you more likely to ask for Permission or Forgiveness?
I am quite certain that there will be a blog post about this...so answer the question for me and then stay tuned 😘
OK, so we have just over a month left in 2018 AND between the Holidays and the weather and our end of year business wrap ups, things can start to feel a little overwhelming (Well Thank You Captain Obvious 😜)!
One thing that I have done this year is to get another copy of the notebook that I started to fall in love with this year AND a very simple paper planner with a very motivating front cover:
Now I don't know about you, but I discovered this year that I am still a bit of an "old school" kind of gal. I do love me some technology (when I can use it as a tool rather than a distraction 🙄) AND I still love the feel of the paper and pen making sweet connection 😘
Of course there are a zillion planners out there AND I know that one of my Values is Simplicity, so I took my time to find this beauty!
The cover speaks to my desire for "pretty things" and the inside is just a straightforward month and day planner without times ('cause I got an online calendar for that shit 😜).
Anyway, I'm sharing this because one of the things that keeps me sane this time of year is spending some time getting ready for next year.
I know that may sound a little crazy coming from someone who is all like "stay in the present moment" AND spending some time considering where you are going is also important!
One thing that I am working on for 2019 is to be specific in my steps toward my goals. I'm reading James Clear's Atomic Habits and he is blowing my mind!
Did you know that it’s not our actual goal that is important 😳?
Yeah, it’s breaking those goals down into actionable habit forming steps that will get you where you want to go! I’m thinking I will be back with more gold nuggets on this topic as we get closer to the New Year 🤔
Alright so why did I show up here today?
To share with you a simple way to connect with your clients during the insanity of this season….
We all want to gain new clients or customers, right? Maybe at the moment you are full or almost full and/or the holidays are so busy that you don't feel like you can focus on marketing at the moment AND just sitting back and crossing your fingers and hoping that new clients will show up in January is leaving a whole lot to chance 😳
What is one of your best ways to get new clients or customers?
Is it Facebook or other social media ads? NOPE
Is it to start a podcast? NOPE
Is it to cold call possible referral sources? HELL NO
One of the best ways to connect with potential new clients is to NURTURE THE ONES YOU ALREADY HAVE 🤩
I’m gonna keep this Simple, this time of year is a great time to get your creative on and make contact with your current and past clients and customers. (Disclaimer: if you are a therapist and have not yet done the groundwork to get permission to send mail to clients, do that work first and put this exercise on your list for next year sometime).
Let’s face it, we all love to get us a sweet card in the old fashioned mailbox.
What is something that you could offer your clients or customers that would be valuable this time of year AND remind them that you exist?
January can be one of the busiest months for any business that provides some form of relief for its customers.
Come on, the holidays are over AND we got at least two months of “blah” before things get interesting in the spring 🤔
Don’t you want to be at the top of the list for folks who are looking for what you are selling?
Here is an example of the postcard that I made and mailed out last year:
Fun, funny, and full of great shit for all of us to keep in mind, especially this time of year 🥰
Alrighty then….(yeah, there may have been some Ace Ventura going on around here this weekend) I’m gonna leave you with this: follow the advice on the postcard.
Keep It Simple and even if the creative end is not your “thing”, buy some fun holiday cards (you know your clients and customers best) and write a personal note to each.
There is no one or “right” way to do this!
Breathe and consider the reason “Why” you would make this part of your holiday tradition: because some of our best referral sources are our current and past ideal clients.
Show them some love 😍
Have you ever read or seen and advertisement for something and you just knew immediately that you had to have whatever the advertiser was selling? 🤩
A fancy blanket with pockets for your feet to keep you warm when the weather turns cold or the latest kitchen appliance guaranteed to make you and your family nutritious meals in almost no time with no effort from you.
The description practically made your mouth water and you got that warm fuzzy feeling because you just knew in your heart of hearts that this something was going to be ‘da bomb.
Now, have you ever had the experience of buying that something only to find yourself dazed and confused because whatever you just laid down your hard earned cash for did not end up living up to the hype that gave you the warm fuzzies in the first place?
It fucking sucks, right?
The blanket isn’t soft or warm and the kitchen gadget is made of cheap plastic and breaks before you can make your first gourmet meal.
What a let down! 😝
Advertisers get paid a lot of money to hook us on an emotional level. To use their words to reach deep inside and tug on our heart strings in a way that opens up our purse strings so that they can make a sale. Companies do this all the time AND, in the end, if their product (or service) doesn’t live up to the description that company is not going to stay in business for very long.
Maybe you had a similar experience with online dating. From my own experience one guy in particular stands out to me. His profile and his pictures did not match up with the guy that I met in person. He was at least 40 pounds heavier and I’m pretty sure he had photshopped his acne out of all of his pictures! Oh, and I can’t forget the feeling of desperation oozing from his pores that did not match up with the confident words of his profile. 😬
Now imagine being in some sort of emotional pain and searching online for a service provider like a counselor or therapist. You are awake at 3:00 in the morning and scrolling through Psychology Today profiles and one practically jumps off the page. You start to feel relief almost immediately as the words in this profile are practically wrapping you in a warm hug of understanding and compassion. You feel like you have just met your soulmate! The words in this profile allow you to drift back to sleep safe in the knowing that there is a professional out there who “gets” you and once you make an appointment all of your pain and suffering will begin to heal.
You make the appointment and show up giddy with anticipation of meeting this amazing practitioner whose words have already been a healing balm on your open wound. Then something strange and unexpected starts to happen. As the session progresses you get this feeling in your gut that the person in the room with you is not the same person from the profile that spoke to your deepest core self. Now, on top of the pain you were already experiencing, you have concerns that you may have been “had”.
Now, you may be saying “What’s your fucking point, Lynn?” Thanks for asking 😜
Let me tell you a story that I heard from a friend and colleague. It happened to her this week.
She had a new client who told her that she had been referred by a new therapist in the area. My friend wanted to thank this new referral source and so jumped on Psychology Today to find this person’s profile and get an email.
What she found shocked and angered her 😳🤯😤
What do you think it might have been?
If you guessed that my friend found herself staring at her own (almost verbatim) profile, you would be correct 😳
Yep, the other therapist had Copied and Pasted, almost verbatim, her entire Psychology Today profile 😖
WHAT THE FUCK! SO NOT COOL 🤬
I wish that this story had flabbergasted me and was the first time I had heard of something like this. Unfortunately it was not and actually happens more often than I like to think about.
It happened to me right after I started my private practice 😣. I was shocked at first and then angry. Once I worked through those feelings I was flattered and then, ultimately amused. Why amused? Because I found the fraud while I was working on giving my own profile a makeover. In the end I decided that my new profile was better and if she wanted a hand me down she was welcome to it 😘
Here’s the thing, though: It is a form of identity theft and it happens when someone inexperienced and desperate gets writer’s block, thinks that reading other therapist’s profiles on Psychology Today is the best way to get unstuck, and then has an impulse to ease their own pain and suffering by using a tool that we all have in our technology toolbox: Copy and Paste.
Folks, Copy and Paste is a great tool as long as the words that you are copying and pasting ARE YOUR OWN WORDS (or you have paid someone else to write them). Copy and Paste is a HUGE NO-NO if the words are not your own, you have not paid for them, and/or the person you are copying them from has not given you permission!
Think about it. You may like to think of yourself in whatever fun and fancy way that someone else described themselves AND it is not authentically you. When that client shows up they are going to have a nagging voice inside their head questioning what it is that is not matching up! Your therapeutic relationship is now built on a lie 😩
I’m pretty sure that none of us wants to be perceived as a sleazy advertiser using someone else’s words to describe us just to get client’s in the door and take their money 😬
No matter what we are selling, be it our services or a product, we have to find a way to describe our service or product in a way that speaks to the heart of our ideal client or customer in an AUTHENTIC way! Don’t just copy and paste someone else’s awesome shit, create some of your own!
What? You don’t think you are creative enough or good enough? Setting aside the (false) idea that you are not creative and good enough (for now 😉) you actually have lots of options that don’t include CHEATING!
So if you have been feeling desperate and have either considered stealing someone else’s words (or have already done it), chill the fuck out and pick one of the above options.
Your ideal clients are waiting to meet YOU, not a false advertisement 😘
If you haven't already figured it out, I like to play with words. Whether it is is awesomely alliterating all over the place, or using animated adult language, I love to play with words AND I love to use words to play with and bring humor to others.
Now, some slightly twisted part of me likes to drop a line and then watch the wheels turn while the other person’s brain does it’s best to reconcile all of the pieces of information that I just shared. 🤔
Case in point. I am self-employed. When someone asks me to do something at a time when I am busy, I often reply with, “I would love to, but my boss is such a bitch and won’t let me have the time off”.
If the other person has ever worked for someone that they disliked, they might initially feel empathy….until the lightbulb goes off and they remember that I am my own boss!
The look on their face as that light starts to shine is priceless…..and then we both get a great laugh😂
Just one of the many little ways that I bring humor into my life.
The reality is that being my own boss has lots of Perks AND lots of Responsibility 🙌
Like right now.
I have it blocked off on my calendar to write this e-mail this morning. I was reading an article by Brene Brown instead.
The Universe decided to use my computer downloading and installing an update to “encourage” me to actually get to the task that I had assigned myself.
Some days are like that. 🙄
Who is the Boss of You?
Most of us have spent much of our lives being told what to do by someone else.
Someone who we perceived to be in a position of power over us (our parents, teachers, clergy, bosses, and even spouses in some situations) **when my eight year old (who totally believes that she is currently in charge) was younger we would entertain ourselves (OK, I was entertained and my husband tolerated it) by asking her who was in charge and she would, without hesitation, say "You are Mommy" **
The challenging part of this mindset (based on our experience) is that we can struggle some internally as we figure out how to be the boss and employee all at the same time.
The idea of being our own boss and the potential freedom that may bring feels awesome....for the brief period of time that we see ourselves making our own schedule, sitting on the beach drinking fancy drinks with little umbrellas, and bossing other people around.
Yeah, and then the needle scratches on the record as visions of “Holy shit! I’m the one responsible for EVERYTHING” interrupt our fantasy of freedom.
The tough truth is that being your own boss is fucking hard work AND absolutely awesome at the same time!
For my business summer can often come with what I call Summer Slowdown.
Did you know that Anxiety goes on vacation over the summer? 🙄
Yeah, it doesn’t, but what does often happen is that people (my clients) get busy (take action) over the summer so they “feel” better and make appointments less often during the summer months.
Now, I have been to this rodeo a few times (yeah, September is know as “Shitshow September”) so when I look at my calendar and see only half of my session slots filled I take a moment to say “Fuck”and then I get on about my business.
See being in business isn’t just about seeing clients or providing whatever service or even product that you provide. It is about working on the business itself sometimes.
Hopefully you do set aside time each week to work on your business not just in your business. You have to be the employee (providing the service) AND the boss (taking care of all the other stuff that supports your business to run smoothly).
I’m not going to go any farther into that discussion today. 😜
What I want to encourage you to do is to take care of the biggest asset in your business, yourself!
Now I fully own (and share with you😜) that I am a fairly intense (Type A if you must label me) person.
I’m a first born and a Capricorn, so I tend to think that the Universe set me up!
That means, though, that I could work pretty much 24/7 (OK, I do actually love to sleep, so probably more like 16/7 😜) which takes us back to the “joke” that I share with people about my Boss being a Bitch.
I could easily be that kind of boss with myself. The one who works at and in my business almost every waking hour.
While it has not been easy, I have made a concious choice to not be that kind of boss to myself!
If you follow my Instagram @Auntie_Anxiety or Facebook page AuntieAnxiety you may have seen a recent post where I was at the pool (OK, there may be a few posts from the pool this summer).
Yep, it is summer, my client load is low, and instead of sitting in my office panicking or even working on ways to “drum up business”, I choose to spend time outside (and poolside) with friends and family.
I am that kind of boss 💥
This past weekend I asked my daughter-in-law (yes, I have an 8 year old and a 28 year old who is about to make me a grandmother any moment now 😳😬😂😍) if she had any help lined up once the baby arrives.
She told me that her mother had taken off work last week (when the baby was due - yep looks like another stubborn one who will fit right in with the rest of us), so she would only be able to take a day or two off once the baby arrives 😔
I looked at my schedule and realized that I would be able to slip over to their house (they live about 5 minutes from my office) for a few hours each day to support them.
I don’t have to ask permission from anyone. I am the boss😍
Just to be clear: I have systems and structures in place in my business so that when there is an ebb in income, like during Summer Slowdown, I don’t panic.
I trust my systems and structures to keep me stable AND The Universe to bring another flow of income my way in time.
The more that I have embraced what is (that clients and income ebb and flow) and slowed down myself, the more my brain responds by being creative and supporting me in getting reinvigorated and excited about my business and ways to continue to grow and evolve in it and with it 😘
Yeah, I’m not talking about the weight I’ve gained over the winter 😜
I’m talking about that thing that happens when we get excited and even passionate about what we are doing.
We put time and effort into bringing something into the world.
We create what may well be our version of a masterpiece.
We can hardly wait to share what we are doing…. and then some (well intentioned) loved one attempts to bring us down a notch by telling us to stop being “too big for our britches”.
What the fuck?
We are pushed to achieve and then told not to “brag” about our accomplishments.
We put professional athletes and entertainers on pedestals and then tell our kids not to toot their own horns.
We give everyone a ribbon for participating and being exceptional and then, when we actually do work hard and do something amazing we are told to keep that to ourselves so someone else won’t feel bad (what because they didn’t work hard?).
What’s with the mixed messages?
Yeah, all that mixed-up shit gets stored in our subconscious and gives our Voice of Doubt some amazing fuel for it’s fire in our brain 🤯
So how is our VOD able to use this bullshit against us?
Remember there was a time when we not only had to consider being lunch for a saber toothed tiger, we also had to “fit in” to our tribe because if we pissed off the wrong person we would be out in the cold and surviving alone was a shit ton harder back in the day than it is now.
We no longer live in that time AND our old behavior patterns and beliefs systems are still stuck in our subconscious and can cause us some challenges when we are not aware of just what is going on in there.
From the mouths of babes...
The other day my daughter was talking about a project that she had spent a lot of time and energy on (finally, she’s 8 and I was beginning to lose hope that she would ever have an attention span longer than a gnat) and when I asked her about whether she was proud of herself she said that she didn’t want to brag 😬
I encouraged her to brag away AND we talked about what real bragging is about.
Real bragging is about allowing ourselves at least a moment to acknowledge that we worked hard, stayed focused, and put our best effort into a task, activity, or project and saw it through to completion.
Real bragging isn’t about putting someone else down while building ourselves up. It’s about recognizing what we have accomplished without comparison to anyone or anything else.
Real bragging is a great way to talk back to VOD.
My good friend Laura Long over at Your Badass Therapy Practice recommends keeping a Brag Book.
You can whip that thing out and read a few pages to your Voice of Doubt when it gets all up in your grill about how you suck! I have been known to write compliments that I receive from clients on sticky notes and put them on my computer or on the dashboard in my car!
We are not all exceptional...
That’s just a fact.
Exceptional, by definition, does not include everyone 😜
The thing is, we do not have to all be exceptional.
We don’t even have to be the Expert in what we do.
There will always be people who are better at what we do then we are AND there will always be people who are not better at what we do.
Comparing ourselves to others is not the point 🤔
What we have to be is the Authority in the room.
We have been over this before.
You have taken all of the classes and passed all of the exams and jumped through all of the hoops and read all of the books and done the hard work to get where you are.
That makes you the Authority in the room.
Of course you are going to continue to read and take classes and attend workshops.
You are a life-long learner and that is awesome AND you don’t have to wait until every last course or workshop is taken to know that you are the Authority in the room with your clients.
Take a moment and wrap your head around that 🤔
You are the Authority in the room.
Now tell your VOD to shut the fuck up about not being good enough, and “needing” more books or course to make you feel better.
Be the Authority in the room and choose to read books and take classes because you want to, not because your VOD is telling you that you “need” to!
OK, so now I am going to do some “bragging”.
*Keep in mind that to get to this part of this email I have spent two days going to get a drink, going to the bathroom, letting the dog out, letting the dog back in, fucking around on Facebook, and any other non-purposeful activity possible to assuage my discomfort in doing this “bragging” thing that I know logically is important to share AND (because of my subconscious shit) is super scary.*
In March I got a wild hair up my ass (and was able to slap some duct tape on VOD’s mouth) and I made a post to a FB group for local practitioners.
Now, in my mind I was just testing the waters.
You know what I mean, those thoughts we have that allow us to take any action at all, the ones where we tell ourselves that we don’t really care what happens, that we don’t have any high hopes, the ones that say we are “just going to see what happens”...
So I wrote up some copy about what I was offering and slapped it in a FB post on the page in this local group 😬
I was offering a group for practitioners to deal with the mental bullshit that keeps us stuck in moving our practice forward.
I had six spots available in the group.
I expected to be posting and begging for sign ups for the two months until the group started and I did the mental math and gave myself permission to start if I got at least four members.
Six amazing women signed up in the first week 😳
Now it might seem like I am bragging about “winning” and while that is part of it, what I am really bragging about is all of the work that I did to get to that moment.
Five years ago I made a decision to go from an agency into private practice.
I argued with my Anxiety.
I rented office space for one day a week while I made the transition.
I talked back to my VOD.
Decisions about insurance and time lines and EHR’s and marketing were made and I took the steps to execute them.
I faced my fears.
I invested in hiring a business coach and finally made a decision about my niche.
I tried to outrun the Imposter Police.
They kept showing up and I kept working on ways to deal with the mental bullshit that kept me on the run.
I woke up to the realization that I didn’t have to be an Expert, I only had to focus on being the Authority in the room.
I stopped running and started being really present to my greatest teachers: my clients.
Did you notice that I did not spend money on more trainings or even reading books about new techniques to use with clients?
I did spend money on learning more about how to run my business.
I learned to embrace being uncomfortable without false comforting by buying another book or taking another workshop or training.
Doing the work takes time and a willingness to face our fears, be uncomfortable, and to CTFO (chill the fuck out in case you don’t speak short hand text lingo) and be fully present to our clients and the truly valuable lessons that they teach us!
Now back to my bragging….
You see two years ago I made a post offering a group for practitioners to learn how to run a business and the response that I got was 🦗🦗🦗
What made the difference this time?
I spent the last two plus years listening to what practitioners want and need to move their practice forward. I spent that time being the Authority in the room with my clients and my colleagues AND I listened and took notes.
It’s not about the shiny objects and the distractions we use to keep our VOD and the Imposter Police at bay.
It’s about digging in and doing the work and being in the game for the long term.
It’s about focusing more on what we are doing well rather than what we think we are lacking.
It’s about taking action, making mistakes, and seeing them as opportunities instead of reasons to doubt yourself.
It’s about telling our Anxiety and VOD to either help or get out of our way!
We have some awesome shit to do, so let’s remember that we are the Authority in the room!
Now, grab yourself a notebook or a stack of sticky notes and start bragging and reminding yourself that you are Awesome!