A Funny Thing Happened at this Workshop
I attended a marketing workshop this week-end with the hope that at the end of it, I would come away with some doable action steps to move me forward with my business.
There were a lot of great concepts, and because it was being offered by a marketing “coach”, I knew much of the information would be familiar because of my coaching perspective. I also had a sense that even the marketing specific information would be a review as I have being doing lots of my own research and have received learning from a bunch of great resources. The information I got throughout the workshop was consistent with what I already knew, so I felt I was on the right track.
Up until this point with my business, I have been primarily relying on word of mouth marketing; you know, using my friends and current contacts to say good things about my service and make a referral. My sticking point has been actually going out and promoting my business to potential clients who have no idea who I am or what I do. I went to the workshop looking for the “clogged drain to be cleared”, so to speak. This is basically the same reason that people would come to see me or any other life coach; to get unstuck.
Moving a business forward is analogous to moving your life forward; 1)become CLEAR on what you want, 2)get READY by putting plans and processes in place, and then 3) become ACTIVE to make it all happen. All of these steps need to be taken and done in this sequence in order to actually see the results you want. If you are clear and ready, but don’t take action, it won’t happen. If you are clear and take action but didn’t get ready by making a plan, you will get in a situation down the road that you don’t have the resources in place to manage the challenges, and it will be difficult make a plan while still taking action.
So, back to the actual workshop and what happened for me. The first day and a half we worked in small groups to get clear on our service and I felt good about how I was describing what I do as a life coach. In fact, my group members got to know with a clear understanding of what I did without me even saying “I am a life adventure coach”. Step 1 was complete; I was clear.
Moving forward to Step 2; Get Ready ( which included designing a website). I had a chance to have the marketing coach look at my website during a break. He wasn’t in my small group where I was able to be clear, so all he knew was that I called myself a “life adventure coach”. In his mind, he created his own picture of what an adventure coach did and it was from his perspective that he provided feedback on my website. He was able to point out many inconsistencies between his understanding of what I did and the content and description in my website. It was from his point of clarity (which wasn’t the same as mine) that he gave me all sorts of awesome suggestions for how to improve my website, action steps I could take, programs and services I could offer, and other businesses I could partner with.
It was so easy for me to be inspired by his excitement for what he thought I had to offer. He is an expert, afterall. It felt like if that’s who he thinks I am, then maybe that’s who I am supposed to be. I wanted to be who he thought I could be and provide the service that he knew so many people would get into. He’s a cool guy who thought my business was cool (through his lens), and I thought I could be cool (and successful in business) too, if I just followed his suggestions.
I went to a networking party that night as part of the workshop and I had a chance to meet many other entrepreneurs who I could potentially partner with. In one-on-one conversation, I was able to clearly describe how I use coaching to help people and they got that passion, adventure, and play are essential to personal growth. I was back to being true to me. There were some real shared values and real connection and it felt great. But there was not one response of “that’s so cool!”
After about an hour of informal interaction, the whole group was gathered into a sharing circle and everyone introduced themselves. It was my turn and I told the group I was a life adventure coach, with none of the description of what that means to me. What a response; Wow! Cool! That’s awesome! I know some people who would love to do a kayak trip with you! I was cool again. When I came home Saturday night, I was full of lots of energy and excitement, seeing myself as a great explorer and adventure guide.
On Sunday, the focus was on creating an action plan. The perspective from which I approached this exercise was that of an adventure guide, because that’s what I thought was the cool thing to do. As the plan became more detailed, I began to feel uncomfortable and I didn’t know why until Monday morning. At the end of the week-end I had a list of at least ten things I could actually do. I had the resources and the step-by-step action plan I needed and hoped to take away from the workshop. But it didn’t feel good.
So Monday morning was when it hit me. Everything I do needs to be consistent with what is right for me. I may get awesome advice, but if it doesn’t match with MY truth, MY passion, MY values, that is when the drain gets clogged and I get stuck.
As a result of this week-end, I have come up with a couple of promises.
To myself as a human being; I promise to voice my truth and clarity. When another person is unclear about my perspective, I will respectfully provide additional information to provide more clarity. If a change in perspective is not achieved and a person provides me with advice, I will accept their viewpoint, without allowing it to shape my vision, my path, and my journey.
To my clients as a life coach; I promise to ask enough questions and listen deeply enough for you to express your truth. I will encourage you to be as clear as possible. I will not give you advice without asking if it fits with your truth. I promise to honor your vision, your path, and your journey.