I know how the story goes. I’ve lived it.
- When I finally have more clients, I’ll stop feeling so insecure about my business.
- If this launch goes well, I’ll know that it means I should keep doing this work–it’ll be a sign from the Universe.
- Once I have more social media followers, it won’t be so hard to market myself, and I can finally relax.
These are the “booby prizes,” the “I’ll feel good about my life when…” head trip that gets just about everyone who’s an entrepreneur.
They happen because you’re looking at other people who are farther along in the process, thinking that if you were making the kind of money they were making, or if you were able to launch as easily as they are, you’d be feeling pretty damned good, right now.
Feeling good is an inside job. It doesn’t happen because you have money or followers or invitations to participate in collaborative projects.
Collective Blind Spot
Coaches tend to have a collective blind spot around all of this. We can be on the phone with clients all day, reminding them that it’s not a doting husband, an exciting job, or well-behaved children that will create happiness–it’s what’s inside.
Then we go off and start ramping up our coaching practices and we forget that, hey, this concept applies to us, too.
When we externalize our happiness, we always lose–it just depends on when we’ll notice. Usually, we’ll notice when the externalized thing has shape-shifted.
That’s why it doesn’t work to say “I’ll finally be able to relax when I have X number of followers.” No, you won’t–you’ll worry about keeping them. That’s what happens when happiness is externalized.
That’s why it doesn’t work to say, “When my coaching practice is finally making $X a year, I’ll be happy.” No, you won’t–you’ll worry about how to make that money the next year, or you’ll worry about losing clients, or you’ll have a falling out with someone online and feel insecure that they might have been the reason for your success and without them, you’ll be nothing.
I don’t know what shape it will look like–I only know that when we externalize our happiness, at some point, we always lose.
(*But not in a Charlie Sheen kind of way).
We win at this when we don’t externalize our happiness.
So–how do we not do that?
Don’t make it about anything external.
What is it that you love about coaching? What lights you up about it? What’s the best session you’ve ever had, and why was it so great?
These are the questions to hold dear to your heart. This is what you need to be doing, to feed your soul so that you can feed the souls of others. Coach for free, if you have to. Just keep coaching.
Do you love to write? Talk to people? Make videos? Make art? Take photographs?
Then this is how you really need to be marketing yourself. Somehow, some way, there’s a way to do this. If you’re putting a leash on your photographer self because you think that the only way to market yourself is through writing blog posts, then you’re cutting off your own oxygen–slowly, but surely.
Your New Mantra
Your new mantra is this: “I might not know how, but I know there’s got to be a way.”
Repeat it when you don’t know what the next step is.
Repeat it when you know you need to change a pattern, but you can’t imagine how you’re going to go about doing that.
Repeat it when you just don’t know, because there’s nothing wrong with knowing.
Instead, commit to finding a way.
Then just circumvent the part where you feel insecure about your business–because if you decide to just start coaching people, and that’s what lights you up inside, that will be enough to get you to your next step.
Circumvent looking for signs to prove that this is the work you’re meant to be doing–you know if it is by how you feel when you do it. Just own that.
And for the love of Christmas–don’t worry about numbers, social media followers, and the like. Just keep doing your good work, looking for opportunities to refine your edge, and keep on keeping on while you bask in the glow of doing what you love.
Don’t wait for money, fame, or numbers to legitimize it.
You’re legit. (Insert obvious joke for the context of this post: You’re too legit to quit!).
If you’re legit, start acting like it–so don’t settle for the booby prize. Do the inner work, no excuses, so that you can rock entrepreneurship the way it was meant to be rocked, with you shining brightly.
If you are a Coach, chances are great that you’ll love the Coaching Blueprint. It’s 300+ pages of solid, pragmatic, tried-and-true wisdom about running a practice–not to mention behind-the-curtain insider from 12 other coaches spanning a wide variety of niches, telling you what it really takes to run their businesses.