What's Up Buttercup?
What's Up Buttercup?
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!
I don’t want to write this email.
Really, really don’t want to.
Don’t make me……
OK, fine….hold on while I tell Debbie Downer, Bitchy Brenda, and Judge Judy (that trio in my head who go by the stage name Voice of Doubt) to turn down the volume.
There, that’s better 😜
As I was considering the topic for this email, money was not on the short list.
I had other topics AND I started noticing that I was putting a lot of pressure on myself to come up with the “right” topic to follow up after my audios.
Oh shit, feeling the “NEED” to be “RIGHT”... that almost never turns out well. 🤔
Then my daughter got sick and I let myself watch more television in two days than I had in the entire month prior to that 😬.
Watching TV is one of those things that I used to do to tune out when the overwhelm would hit. These days it is more likely to be some mindless time on social media, so when I found myself binge watching a Canadian Horse related (how my daughter got hooked) Soap Opera (how I got hooked) I knew that the feelings of Overwhelm and the Imposter Police were knocking on my door.
My brain was feeling mushy as I went back to work AND still no clear topic for this email.
Then I got a ping on Messenger from my friend and mentor who put the topic the table: Money. FUCK 😩
She wasn’t the first one to mention the connection between Money and Imposter Syndrome.
A couple of weeks ago my business coach began pushing me (OK, she was compassionately encouraging me, just kind of felt like pushing since I had my feet dug in pretty far) to do my work in being willing to talk about money from the get go with business coaching clients.
Now don’t misunderstand. I have done my work around money. A lot of work around money. A shit ton of work around money.
I am pretty solid (pun intended 💩) when it comes to my money shit AND my VOD shows up when it’s time to share that work with you.
See, Imposter Syndrome tells us that no matter how much work we have done, classes we have taken, books we have read, certifications we have earned: we are not good enough.
We don’t know enough, we haven’t gathered enough, and we haven’t experienced enough.
Voice of Doubt’s favorite song is “Not Enough”.
What a stupid fucking song AND one of those that just gets stuck in there like a fucking ear worm🙄
The first thing I threw up as an obstacle in our conversation was “I guess I have more work to do around my money stuff” 🤔
She looked at me with that look (the one that says “Are you fucking kidding me?”) and gently says, “You’ve done the work, this is just a new way to apply it”. BOOM!
That’s how you Outsmart the Imposter Police!
How many times has a issue, topic, or concern come up with a client and your first thought is “I need to take another course”?
Whoa! Hold on there buckaroo...
I am willing to bet that if you could picture me looking at you with my head cocked to one side and saying “Are you fucking kidding me?”, you would recognize one of VOD’s tunes playing in your head AND if you took a moment to pause you might realize that you are the expert in the room.
Even if your client has the exact same degree hanging on their wall that is hanging on yours, you are the expert in assisting them in sorting out their shit.
Do you know where I have gotten most of my awesome skills from? Working with my clients.
I sure as shit have learned more from doing the work then sitting in a classroom or reading a book!
Oh, don’t get your panties in a wad. Of course I get my CEU’s.
Are you fucking kidding me?
I am a “life long learner”.
I love to learn and share what I have learned AND I do it on my time and on topics that interest me.
I no longer let my VOD have a say in what, when, or how I choose to learn.
Think about that….what would it feel like to be the one deciding what you want to learn and when you want to learn it...
And you thought we were actually going to talk about money today 😂.
Oh, we will, just after we lean more about how to turn down the volume on your Voice of Doubt and outsmart the Imposter Police 😜