One of the cool things about being a life coach is that you do a lot of self-coaching. Even the most experienced life coaches have self-limiting beliefs and get stuck too. And coaching—on yourself and others—is all about finding a negative thought and looking at it from a new perspective. But if any of you have ever been stuck in a funk or just have a serious case of ’bout-to-start-your-period, you probably know that this can be a hard thing to do.
So how do life coaches get underneath a negative thought? By asking lots and lots of questions. This can feel intrusive at first but it’s all about curiosity and gathering information—and loosening the grip around self-limiting belief that feels oh-so very real.
My very favorite question that I’ve learned from Martha Beck herself to use in coaching sessions (and that I use all. the. time. on myself) is this:
Why is that so bad?
Asking “Why is that so bad?” accomplishes a couple things:
1. It takes you deeper into the negative thought, which often uncovers the root of the real problem… OR
2. It makes you realize that what you thought was a problem is not in fact a problem at all.
Here it is boiled down in super-simplified example (but sometimes it really is this simple):
Client: “I’m afraid I’m staying at my job because it’s comfortable.”
Me: “Why is that so bad?”
Client: “What do you mean?” This question often throws the client for a bit of a loop.
Me: “Why is it so bad to be comfortable at your job?”
Client: “Wow. Yeah… it isn’t so bad to be comfortable.” And that’s where the shift in perspective begins to happen.
But that same conversation could’ve easily gone in a different direction:
Client: “I’m afraid I’m staying at my job because it’s comfortable.”
Me: “Why is that so bad?”
Client: “I suppose it’s not bad that it’s comfortable. But it’s bad because I’m not able to grow or develop my skill sets. I don’t have any mentors in my work place. I’m not being pushed to become the kind of designer I want to be.” So here we’ve uncovered that the problem isn’t comfort—the problem is the inability to grow. Now the client has a little more clarity around the real issue.
I use “why is that so bad?” when I feel pressure to say yes but really want to say no. If you’re a people pleaser, you probably obligate yourself to too many things you don’t want to do or feel bad about saying no. For me this includes lots of things—from deciding whether or not to go out on a Friday night to being invited to speak at a conference in New York to being asked to do free work for friends or family. It might also include being lazy about doing blog posts every week or not being as involved on social media as I’d like to be. When I ask myself “why is that so bad (to decline)?” it helps me see the reality of the situation, honor my own needs, and feel a lot less apologetic and “bad” about saying no.
As you move through your day, take notice of your internal dialogue—especially when it comes to making decisions or judgments. Then ask yourself “Why is that so bad?” Create some new thoughts. Expand your mind. See what happens.
If you like this post you might like our DIY Coaching for Creatives Email Sessions. It’s 4 emails x 4 weeks (16 emails total) for just $40. Complete with worksheets, exercises, mantras, meditations, and to-dos for time management, decision-making, and strategies for living more of what you love—in work and life. You can learn more about what you’ll get and purchase anytime here.
SHARE THIS +
I recently learned a new productivity / time management tool – I’ve adopted it as my mantra for the week and have been trying my best to put it into practice. It’s this:
Touch it just once.
That means when you take a dish to the sink, wash it.
When you take off your clothes, put them in the hamper.
When you open an email, respond right then.
I’m pretty much the worst at all these things. I feel like everything can be saved for later … but later always has it’s own needs and demands to be met too – like mouths to feed or a TV show to be watched (I’m so curious to see what happens in this last season of Mad Men.) So instead of scanning emails, I’ll dedicate a block of time to reading and responding. And I’m sure my husband will especially appreciate it if my dishes could make it into the dishwasher as I go.
As you incorporate this practice into your life, you may find yourself struggling to only touch things once.
A couple months ago, during a meeting, I grabbed a pen that didn’t work. I started to put it back in my jar of pens when my sister said “Throw it away.” So I did. And now my life is exponentially better because I will never grab that pen that doesn’t work ever again.
Then the other morning during my typical breakfast of oats & egg whites, I got a little bit of maple syrup on my spoon. In between bites I was trying to find exactly where this maple syrup was on my spoon and wipe it off with a napkin but with each bite my utensil hand was getting stickier. At that point I would normally just suffer through breakfast with the minor inconvenience of a sticky spoon, but I remembered my sister’s command to ditch the ink pen. Except now the dried out ink pen was a sticky spoon. So I got up, washed my hands, and grabbed a new spoon. I enjoyed the rest of my breakfast routine and started my day without annoyance.
So then I started thinking about all the other things I could edit out of my life. The uncomfortable bra that I never wear and constantly have to shove to the back of my drawer – I should just toss it (along with the sock that hasn’t had a match for years). Or my iPhone case that has to be removed every time I plug it into my sounddock – I should just get a better designed case that fits my dock adapter. Then there’s that high school acquaintance whose Facebook status updates always get me riled up – why are we still even “friends”? And of course, there are all the email blasts I get from stores I don’t even shop at flooding my inbox. How long would it take to hit “unsubscribe”?
Today I invite you to move through your day with an awareness to the little details you could just touch once or edit completely out of your life. Take note of all of the little things that deplete you of even the slightest bit of energy. And then I challenge you to touch it once and ditch the broken pen.
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
P.S. If you like this post you might like my DIY Coaching for Creatives Email Sessions. It’s 4 emails x 4 weeks (16 emails total) for just $40. Complete with worksheets, exercises, mantras, meditations, and to-dos for time management, decision-making, and strategies for living more of what you love – in work and life. You can learn more about what you’ll get and purchase anytime here.
SHARE THIS +
If you’ve got your eyes on our blog and your ears on the Being Boss Podcast — you’ve heard us mention a time or two the power of mindset, and making mental space for a successful business.
At Braid we use a chalkboard wall and physically draw out blank spaces as our practice of manifesting dream clients each quarter. But there’s a little more to it than that.
Caitlin here. I’m Braid’s assistant. I’ve been a long time follower of their work and blog and have been working with Tara, Kathleen, and Liz behind the scenes for the last several months. And without disrupting the amazing voices of Kathleen and Tara in this space, I wanted to pop in and share something that I’ve observed in working with them that perhaps they haven’t even really seen. Yes they’ve got the woo-woo working for them, but they’ve got some practical mojo working for them too.
I love me some good power-of-the-mind practices as much as the next gal. But when it comes to starting or even up-leveling, your own business, you’ve got to pair your woo with some hustle. I call it the “hustle-woo”...It’s a working title. Let’s just run with it here.
When it comes to your business, you’ve got to pair your woo with some hustle. Let’s call it the hustle-woo. (click to tweet)
Not long ago, as summer vacations were winding down and we knew busy Fall was around the corner, the Braid sisters got a little vulnerable. They sent out a newsletter talking about how for the first time in a long time we were staring a quarter in the face on that chalkboard of ours, that was staring back completely blank. Void of any clients. Not a single one.
And that’s every creative entrepreneur’s nightmare, right? Not having those clients knocking down your door. But Tara and Kathleen handled it like the bosses they are. When I shared this post with them (writing it in secret) and the idea of the hustle-woo, here’s what they shared about how they used it to bounce back before a brief slow time could turn into a long slump:
“We trusted the process. When we started to hear those insecure whisperings in our head of ‘We’ve run out of dream clients! We got a little too comfortable. It was too good to be true! The other shoe has indeed dropped!’ We trusted the process. We trusted our own Braid Method that had proven time and time again to work for us and our clients. We kept sharing our gifts of knowledge, blogging, writing, podcasting. That sounds pretty practical, but in fact, it was the woo part of the hustle-woo. It kept us in boss-mode, and kept those insecure whisperings leashed.” – Kathleen
“We took action. I’m usually the ‘process’ half of Braid, and Kathleen is the ‘take action!’ But in this case I knew if we wanted to fill those blanks on the chalkboard, we had to get hustling—not in a gross salesy way, but just by intentionally reaching out to people who had previously reached out to us, write emails pointed right at the heart of what they needed, schedule face-to-face meetings, and take the time to really explain how we work together (not just send a canned response). After three weeks of walking a dozen creatives through our method (versus passively waiting for new, amazing clients to come knocking on our door) the chalkboard was filled with new amazing clients after all, and Fall could roll on in the way we’ve become accustomed to…. busy!” – Tara
Here’s what else I saw happening from the Braid wings—some critical ingredients to the hustle-woo really working:
1. Ask. It wasn’t that there weren’t any dream clients who wanted to work with Braid, it’s that they hadn’t been explicitly invited to work with Braid. A lot of people assumed we were too busy or too expensive to work with us one-on-one, so we straight-up invited our newsletter subscribers to hire us, and Kathleen straight up asked her podcast listeners to hire Braid if they were interested. Even if you have a product or brand that your followers love, they need to hear it straight from your mouth time and time again: Hey! I want to work with you! (click to tweet)
2. Make the space. Yes, they had already been making the space on the chalkboard, but they also made space in their schedules to be a little more hands-on about reaching out to clients. Instead of devoting hours to writing a new blog post each week, they repurposed some amazing content from a newsletter series that they knew would still connect with their audience (and it has!), so that they could spend those hours reaching out to potential clients and working on refining and tweaking their creative process instead.
3. Reconnect. We took a look at all the inquiries we had received and Kathleen and Tara took some time to personally reach out to some inquiries that felt like a good fit but for one reason or another had fallen out of touch. They knew these people were already big fans of Braid, and even if it hadn’t been the right time before, maybe now was the time to say yes!
4. Reassess. If one of your offerings isn’t selling, it’s time to reassess why that may be and then repackage it in a way that speaks to your clients’ needs now. We’ve been changing up some aspects of our onboarding process and making tweaks to our offerings so that we can attract even more dreamy clients. Tara and Kathleen thought about which parts of the process were sucking more energy than they were giving—both on our end and the client’s end—and began reworking them to be more user-friendly and straightforward across the board.
You will always have highs and lows in your business. There will be times when it will feel like clients just manifest themselves, and there will be times when you have to do a little more hustle to get them through the door. And it’s those times when it helps to get a little reflective and take an honest look at your business to see which areas can use a little refining and tweaking. If you think you could use some help in this area, check out our Braid Method Branding ECourse. It’s a lot more than finding your personal brand—it’s filled with great exercises to help you think about your business is ways you might not have before so that you can pair your woo with some hustle and keep moving forward.
The Braid Method Branding ECourse is for creative entrepreneurs who are ready to support themselves financially with their business, create a blog or consistent online presence, and finally turn the work they’re already doing into a digital product, package, or offering for dream customers. This branding ecourse comes with 7 learning modules in a 300+ page digital download, a workbook with 20+ branding exercises and scripts, a quarterly masterclass, and an exclusive Facebook group so you can connect with us and other students.
SHARE THIS +