I can see how this may look contradictory...
The idea is to effortlessly stop some activities that are not useful any more... to create the space to grow your business the fastest possible.
I love this shift precisely because it's effortless and has the potential to bring almost instant results. (It's like when taking the broccoli off from between a person's teeth makes their photo look instantly better).
Rather than making this yet another list of do's and don't's, I thought I would show you the things my clients, students and I have been crossing off our to-do lists:
1. OVERWHELMING MYSELF
One of the top feelings when growing a business is overwhelm.
For me, I first had to put back the activity in the noun. (Overwhelm is a verb. It's an action).
Then I easily began to see where I was overwhelming myself.
I love the Internet as a tool to grow a business. I moved to the German Alps when I married my dear German engineer husband and learned to use the Internet to make my business work from the middle of nowhere. (I always joke about there being many more cows than people where we live).
The online world can also create an overload of information.
I saw that more information was not going to stop me from overwhelming myself.
What made it easy for me to stop overwhelming myself was to go back to the business foundations I know to be true. (I built my first training/coaching/consulting business entirely offline. There was not even social media back then! Imagine that...
2. DOING THINGS IN THE WRONG ORDER AND SEQUENCE
The amount of misinformation out there can be dangerous. It can lead you to collect bits and pieces of tactics and try them out of sequence.
When a tactic doesn't work, it looks "easy" to hop to the next one...
At the same time, it's obvious that growing a successful business requires the right actions done in the right order and sequence.
If I were to build a house, I wouldn't decorate the living room until the roof is in place. (There is nothing wrong with living room decoration per se. It just needs to happen at the right time).
Likewise, lots of people start by posting on social media before they even know what they're going to offer.
Some people get caught in the "I-need-an-online-program-to-sell" too soon. (Those same people could be using the Internet to attract clients to day for their services and then create a superior online program that comes from the experience of having worked with lots of clients first).
3. PUTTING MYSELF ON THE WRONG PART OF THE BUSINESS EQUATION
I had a moment of a flash of enlightenment and saw that I don't have to "market myself", "brand myself" or "sell myself" because I'm not the product.
Clients buy the value of getting closer and achieving results. They don't buy me.
I took this shift further into natural confidence.
The more I remove myself from the wrong part of the equation, the more confident I feel and the more effortlessly my business grows.
Let me give you an example. If I'm developing an online training and I make it all about me, my feelings of deserving (or not deserving), my need to prove something, the more self conscious I become. The more I make the online training just about the topic of the training, the more confident I feel.
4. ONLINE MODELLING
We're not talking about becoming a model here... We're talking about "modelling" people in your industry.
I've lost count how many times people come to me because they want to do online exactly what Mr Big Name In Their Industry is doing.
I can see why it might look logical to them.
The problem is that from outside one cannot see their strategy and where they are in their business for those strategies to work.
For example, the strategy of a large company with a significant marketing budget is very different from the smart strategy for a solo practitioner.
Going back to what we've said, it's cool to get a plan for your unique business growth and stick to it no matter what the other players in your field are doing.
What is NOT cool is trying to copy the competition because, if for no other reason, from a very practical perspective, one has no clue whether what they're doing is giving them the results they want. From outside nobody can know if what they're doing is working.
5. PUTTING MARKETING FIRST
I love marketing as the communication of the value you add so that your best clients invest in working with you.
However, there is something that needs to happen first so that communication is heard.
If you want to give your message a chance, you need to position it right first.
If an expert mistakenly positions themselves to be ignored, for instance, they can communicate all they want but people won't listen.
(More specifically on positioning in Shift #3).
6. SUPERSTITIOUS MONEY THINKING
Business is about creating money. (If not, it would be a hobby).
When my thinking was all over the place about what money really is, creating growth was very complicated.
Once I stopped giving money meanings and functions it will never have, a lot of energy was freed to create as much money as I wanted in my business.
My mom was a ballet dancer and later on her career a ballet trainer. She spent many years in the theater environment where she picked up a lot of superstitions.
My dad was a dentist and came from a science and medicine family.
Imagine how entertaining it was for me as a kid to see the clash of these two worlds.
Spoiler alert - I ended up siding with my dad and falling in love with "debunking superstitions" to the dismay of my mom.
So surely I couldn't be engaging in superstitions myself, right?
Well, it turned out that I was inadvertently assigning money some "hidden magical powers" that money cannot have.
An obvious one once I saw it was the "oxygen" superstition.
I used to experience the "I need money or I'll die" feeling. (I assume you've probably never felt like that).
I had another one: "money as food superstition".
Then, it got even darker... money as confidence, well-being, security...
My way of debunking superstitions is to start with facts that I know are true.
Once I could see the fact that money is a means of exchange, I could also see any other meaning I was assigning to money was my personal superstition.
(The money conversation goes beyond these shifts, so we'll pick it up later).
When I could see my superstitious thinking about money (and that it said nothing about me and my worth), I was free to create as much or as little of it as I truly wanted.
7. LOOKING IN THE WRONG DIRECTION
This is my experience when I stopped looking in the wrong direction.
I stopped trying to fix the circumstances to try to feel worthy, happy and peaceful.
I was doing a lot of work to cope with the outside world because of a simple (yet profound) misunderstanding.
I thought that "better" circumstances and a lot of coping with feelings of fear, stress, pressure, lack of confidence, unworthiness would eventually fix everything.
There is a misunderstanding that human experience comes from the world circumstances. (I am stressed out because of the economy, the money, the business, etc.).
In reality, our human experience of life doesn't come from the world circumstances.
It comes from inside us via thought and consciousness.
Once I saw that I create my experience of life moment by moment via thought and I feel it real (not like created) via consciousness, I relaxed for the first time in my life.
I've always been a very fearful person. Always worrying.
I could also see that my feelings are only the thermometer that shows the temperature of my thinking.
I don't even need to know exactly what my thoughts are at any given moment. I know that if I feel agitated or stressed out, my thinking is creating agitation and stress.
The beautiful thing about this understanding is that once you see you are never again afraid of the monsters of money, business success or failure because they are just made up.
Another freeing result of this understanding is that there is nothing to do to cope or manage stress, pressure, insecurity...
… because our system works in a way that once out thinking calms down, new, fresh thinking has the space to appear.
Babies are in this calm, blissful state most of the time. A baby might cry for a moment because she is hungry and after she is fed, she goes back to happiness.
I was a baby once and that made me see that I came to this world with this system that has the automatic capability to reboot itself and go back to happiness mode, which is the factory default.
I learned to jam the system with more and more old thinking and less and less space for new, fresh one.
It was my innocent attempt at coping and managing the world.
Once I saw for myself that there is no need for that, a lot of space, energy and time became available to play the game of business with joy.
It got even better...
I saw that I didn't need to do anything in particular to control or manipulate my thinking because the system is designed to settle down on its own.
And when I thought it couldn't get any better...
I also saw the source of business brilliance, wisdom and confidence and that I can stay connected to that source by giving it the space to emerge.
Where did your latest brilliant idea or solution to a problem come from?
There is more of that inside there.
Equipped with the understanding of how humans experience reality 100% of the time and what humans have going on for them (the innate happiness, wisdom, intuition), my only job now was to show up to play the game of business.
And that’s in a nutshell what I have been doing ever since.