Yesterday, I started reading, “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” by Robert Kiyosaki. The very first lesson is that “rich people don’t work for money… they make money work for them.” And, within this lesson, another said, “we need to learn to control our emotions — to think before we act”.
Robert shares that most people (the 99%) are driven by the emotions of fear & greed… fear of not having enough money, and then greed about what things they will buy with the money they do get.
These two fears never completely go away. So, we need to learn to control them … to respond (after thinking), rather than react (without thinking).
After finishing chapter one, I set the book aside, needing time to let it all sink in. And, as I put some of my other books back on my shelf (ones I’d been reading the day before), my eye landed on “The Motivation Manifesto” by Brendon Burchard. So, I pulled it down and started skimming through it, as something in my gut prompted me to do so. And, sure enough, there was a whole chapter titled, “On Fear”. So, I sat down, and read through that chapter.
Where I started off, it talked about the “weaklings” — those who fear effort — calling them “worshippers of ease” and “escapists” (all of which struck a nerve). It talked about them having given up their power to absolve themselves of the responsibility of living a remarkable life. Ouch.
Brendon writes, “They don’t have the resolve to pursue their highest selves, or any meaningful purpose … [But] what good is a life without struggle? … What mastery can there be without real effort…?”
This made me think, again, about how I’ve never been driven towards “mastery” or “excellence” in anything. I’ve never cared to excel; good enough was good enough.
Yet, I’d also researched “work ethic”, this morning (along with what the Bible says about this topic), learning that it’s about dedicating oneself, and giving your all toward something… having certain principles that guide your work behavior. And, in combining that with these two new insights from these books, I’m starting to see that the value of all of this isn’t the outcome or the result. Its value actually lies in the fulfillment that comes from knowing you gave it your all, and –more importantly– that God is glorified by our dedication, integrity, diligence, and commitment to the task at hand.
For me, the outcome has almost never been worth the effort I’d have to expend; it wasn’t worth me forfeiting things I’d rather be doing with my time.
But that, there, is also faulty thinking: that “my time” is my own!
God says we are to be good stewards of this life, including — maybe especially — our time… because my whole purpose for existence is to know God, love God, and to make Him known… to do as He calls me to do… not to whittle away my days, being comfortable, scrolling social media, and gluttonously feeding my ego with motivational quotes.
So, the true fulfillment isn’t in what we get from the work we do (eg. the money, or all that it could buy). True fulfillment lies in giving our all to the work, itself, because that honors God — which is the whole point! In using the gifts and talents God gave us, in service to others (with a good attitude, and with excellence), we are bringing glory to God, and being –proving ourselves– set apart for the Kingdom.
And, honoring, and bringing glory to, God is FULLY worth my time… it’s the only thing that really is!
By knowing that our joy and fulfillment come through doing the work, it seems all the more imperative to me, too, that we choose work that best uses the talents and gifts God has given us… choosing work that brings us joy.
Do you know what work best aligns with YOUR talents & gifts? If not, feel free to set up a time to chat with me (30 minutes, no obligation), and we can get you some insight on that!
When you first start out in business for yourself, it’s so exciting to get everything set up. You choose a name for your company, you set up your website and social media platforms, you pick out a color scheme, and you decide what you’re going to offer to your audience. Best of all, you’re finally escaping the 9-to-5 grind… or, you’re starting on the path towards that. It’s only a matter of time.
After a couple of months of being “open”, and doing promotion and other things you’re supposed to do as a self-employed business owner, you start to get discouraged because, for all of your efforts, you’re mostly hearing crickets… maybe you got a little bit of interest, but it’s been nowhere near the fanfare (or income) that you’d expected.
What’s the deal? Are you just not cut out for this whole entrepreneurship thing? Are you just not trying hard enough?
Here’s a hint: Go back and re-read the first paragraph of this post, and notice the word that appears (in two versions), over and over throughout. Did you catch it?
That’s the problem. It’s been all about you. In actually, “your” business is supposed to be all about …them.
Who are they?
“They” are your audience and potential customers. Without them, you’ll never have a business, only have a hobby. Because, they are the ones who are supposed to be paying for your offerings.
Doesn’t it make sense, then, that it should be all about them?
So, let’s come at this from this new perspective. Let’s go back to the beginning and put this together with our audience in the spotlight.
START WITH WHY
In this book (and TED talk), “Start With Why“, Simon Sinek talks about how the most successful brands (eg. Apple, Inc.) don’t start with what they offer, but instead, why they’re offering it. The reason for this is because we, as consumers, shop first based on our emotional response — and then we justify our decisions with logic. It therefore makes sense to start by thinking about why you’re offering this particular product or service, and why your audience needs it. Also, why did you decide to get into this particular business?
Next, you’re going to need to think about who needs what you’ve got to offer. Whose problem aligns with why you feel compelled to be an entrepreneur?
After all, that’s what business is all about — solving the problems others have, and getting paid to do so. It’s an exchange of value.
The tricky part, here, is finding a balance between who has a problem you can solve, but also who fits the profile of someone you’d most like to work with, or serve.
Depending on your business model, this second bit may or may not matter. For example, if you’re opening a retail store, perhaps the customer’s personality type isn’t going to matter; whereas, if you’re offering a service like coaching others on-on-one (or, even in a group setting), it’s going to matter a great deal whether or not you and your customer get along!
This topic needs far more depth than I have the space to go into, in this post, so I’ll do another post about it at a later date (or, you can dig into this more with me, one-on-one).
Simon Sinek also says that “customers don’t buy what you do; they buy why and how“.
So, the next question you need to ask yourself is this: How will my product or service help my audience get what they want? How will it solve their most pressing problem?
Notice that you’re not yet touching on what the customer needs. They may not even know, yet, what they truly need. All they do know is that they have this problem, and they want relief… they want it solved.
So, answer the question they’re really asking, which is, “what’s in it for me?” How can you (your product/service) solve their problem?
Finally, you’ll need to come up with what you can offer that answers all of the above questions. To recap:
- Why are you offering this, and why does your audience need it?
- Who needs what you’ve got to offer?
- How does it benefit them? (What’s in it for them?)
There are other questions you’ll need to answer, of course (like how you’ll offer these solutions, what you’ll charge, etc).
The key, though, is to always keep your customer at the forefront of your mind in everything you do throughout “your” business.
. . . . . . . . .
How has this post opened your eyes to changes you could make in your business set-up or thinking? Let me know in the comments (or, message me!)
Have you ever gotten into something, realized it wasn’t the greatest fit for you, and then… accepted your fate and stayed put? Maybe you thought it was the “responsible” thing to do, or that, since you’d already invested this much time in it, you may as well keep going. But, what if I told you that it was okay to quit — to let it go?
So often, we blindly follow rules and perform actions without questioning why. We accept that things just are the way they are, because that’s how it’s “always been”, or we do things a certain way because it’s what is “expected”. The problem is, we then end up just going through the motions in life, and things continue to feel boring, or routine, or mundane. We continue to do and think things, but then wonder why we feel so unfulfilled.
Here’s a question for you: Who decided that you must keep doing things that way? What would happen if you changed things up? And, who said you can’t do this or that? What if you all-of-a-sudden just…did? (obviously, I’m not meaning anything illegal, or morally corrupt, okay?)
Seriously, though… I think far too many of us are left with unsatisfying and unfulfilling lives because we forget the following 4 things:
It’s okay — and even GOOD! — to question things; to ask “why”. Until I was in my late teens, I never really questioned my faith or the things I’d been taught in church, or even the way we did things in that church. Yet when I learned to question, I saw the flaws, and I realized I’d fallen into legalism. My faith has actually grown by leaps & bounds, ever since I learned to question why I do & think the things I do.
Despite what they say about our poor feline friend, curiosity won’t (normally) kill you. Instead, it makes life brighter, and it adds an element of fun! We are born curious… it’s how we learn! Which leads me to…
You know that thing you’ve been wanting to do, but you’ve put off doing out of hesitation? What would happen if you took a leap of faith, and just gave it a try? Sure, you might fail at it. Would that really be as bad as you think? Isn’t regretting chances not taken ultimately worse? Don’t let your fear hold you back, and leave you with end-of-life regrets. Take chances! Have an open-minded attitude. Decide you will try the thing, and if it doesn’t work out (or you end up really disliking it), you can just let it go and try something else! You have the freedom to choose. Use it! (and hey… maybe it will work out — maybe you’ll succeed — and you’ll have a blast! Only one way to find out!)
All too many of us (myself, included!) tend to forget that it takes practice to become good at just about everything. All of us start at Level Zero when we’re first trying something new. Every single one of us starts as a beginner — a “newbie”. And that’s an okay place to be. Why? Because you can only go UP from there! By practicing, you may never reach “perfection”, but you –guaranteed!– will see progress. Yes, it may take a while. The more you do a thing, however, the better you’ll get at it. Keep practicing, and you’ll keep “leveling up“! It’s the only way to succeed.
So, the next time you’re feeling stuck or bored, ask yourself if you need to throw out the old ways, and try something new. Be curious about how you can change things up. And, when you find something that does bring a spark back to things, accept your “beginner” status, and commit to practicing until you’ve gotten to your preferred level of excellence. And, don’t forget: nothing is ever permanent (except death). You ALWAYS have the freedom to make a different choice.
Have you ever tried to ignore something, but just couldn’t seem to escape it? I most definitely have. Let me tell you a story…
For my 10th birthday, an older friend gave me my very first diary. I still have that book today. It’s got a mint-green cover, and the pages are heavily perfumed. It has its own lock and key.
I remember, as a young girl, weaving stories in my mind as I drifted off to sleep each night. Often times they included living in a mansion, and/or horseback riding through the woods on my grandparents’ property.
Sometimes I would even speak my stories into my brown Fisher Price tape recorder.
In grade school, one of my favorite things was when the teacher would fill all three chalkboards with notes for us to copy into our notebooks… then erase it all, and fill all three boards again. I loved taking notes! And I still take notes from every nonfiction book I read, actually!
I completed NaNoWriMo in 2006. I wrote 50,911 words in 28 days. My novel still sits on my shelf, unfinished.
To this day, I keep a journal. I don’t write in it daily, any more — only when I desperately need an outlet for my emotions, and/or I need to sort through the tangled messes of my thoughts. Writing things out almost always brings clarity.
I oftentimes “pray” on paper, as well, seeking God’s take on the issues I’m dealing with. I’ll write out what I feel He’s saying to my spirit, in response, also. This practice has truly helped to deepen my faith, and draw me closer in relationship with my Lord.
Also, I’ve been a blogger since 2005. It started as a way to record the books I was reading, then morphed into a community of others who loved the book-related memes I posted each week, and then evolved over time into a place where I now teach others the things that I’ve learned, thus far… and what I am still in the process of learning.
You would think, on reading all of the above, that I’d classify myself as a Writer. Yet, for the longest time, I’ve fought that title. I’ve even told God that I don’t want to be a Writer. And yet, the thread of writing has been woven throughout the tapestry that is my life, and it seems that I, like Jonah, must surrender to the call.
I realized something, this past week, that has truly helped me to start the process of accepting this: that I don’t actually hate to write. In fact, I have to grudgingly admit that, yes, I even like writing. As I said earlier, writing is how I sort through my thoughts; it’s always been how I am best able to express myself.
The “aha!” came when I saw that what I don’t like is writing for others… and, in asking myself whythat is, it all came down to one thing:
PERFECTIONISM (aka: Fear)
…I don’t like writing out posts for my blog because I feel like my writing has to be “perfect” and “polished”, or else I won’t be seen as the professional that I’m aiming to be.
Yet, every professional was once a beginner. And God even tells us to not “despise the days of small beginnings” (Zechariah 4:10).
I guess I need to learn to give myself more grace — to accept my “beginner” status when it comes to writing, and to not mentally kick myself for being so inconsistent.
After all, I teach others that practice makes progress… and I think progress is as close to “perfection” as we’re going to get, this side of heaven. So, if I want to feel more confident in this role as a Writer, I just need to keep practicing. The more I do it — the more I write — the better I’ll get.
I’m curious… is there some title or calling that you’ve been trying to run away from? Share in the comments. I’d love to know I’m not alone in this!
If you have seen the Disney/Pixar movie, “Up“, you probably caught the reference in today’s post title. Yes, I’m talking about… what, again? Oh, right — distraction.
The Dark Side has many tricks and tools in its arsenal to keep us from living the full & abundant life God promised us. Some of those schemes include:
Discouragement | Fear | Procrastination | Gluttony | Apathy | Convenience | Mediocrity | Doubt | Ease | Instant Gratification | Laziness | Overwhelm | Pride | Greed | Lust | Anger | Jealousy
…and, of course, DISTRACTION.
The devil knows that we are easily distracted, so he uses this to keep us from doing what God asks us to do, and he slyly makes us forget what is really important. If he can distract us, then we don’t complete the mission we were sent here for (to make God known & bring Him glory). And that makes the devil really happy.
I have been falling prey to distraction, a lot, lately. This is part of why my blog post schedule has been somewhat erratic. I’ve gotten distracted by the side-hustle I’m building, the books I’m reading, and the worst culprit of them all — social media.
Revelation Wellness shared a quote, the other day, that really hit home, for me, on this. It said:
“My concern is that our generation will miss their destiny because
they are too busy scrolling through everyone else’s.” (Christine Caine)
So, how do we combat this distraction? How do we wake up? Is this even possible?
It is absolutely possible. “With God, ALL THINGS are possible!” And it starts with prayer.
Actually, let me back up a bit. In reality, it starts with knowing that you have committed your life to God, by accepting His free gift of being saved from sin, through faith… which then gave you the Holy Spirit within you as your Counselor, Guide, and a sort of holy GPS system!
The Spirit will nudge you to pay attention (maybe He’s using this very blog post!), and that is how you start “waking up” to the devil’s schemes. Once you start to become aware of what’s going on, then you can start fighting back! And, prayer is a good place to start.
Prayer is our call to God to say, “Hey, I could use some supernatural help here, please!” Because really, we cannot fight the devil on our own. We can try, but it won’t last — it doesn’t really work. We need God’s help in this battle.
So, we pray and ask God to open our eyes to all of the ways that the Dark Side is trying to distract us and keep us from our destinies. And we ask God to give us focus and strength to combat the temptation toward those distractions. Then we need to trust that God will help us (for when we ask for something that is already God’s will for us, we can have FULL confidence that we’ve already got it — it’s a done deal!).
And finally, we then need to get to work, and DO what God has been asking us to do…pursue that which we have been distracted from.
So again, to overcome distraction (or, any of the Dark Side’s other tactics), we need to:
- WAKE UP
- TAKE ACTION!
A quick example for you:
That quote from Revelation Wellness is what the Holy Spirit used to start waking me up. I recognized what had been happening (that I had been doing other things, rather than what God wants me to do), I prayed for focus and believed God would help me out, and then I took action — I left my computer turned off, this morning, in order to get this blog post written FIRST, before the online world could suck me into its distractions.
Like I mentioned earlier, maybe the Spirit is using this very post to get your attention! If so, don’t hesitate… pray, believe, and take action, today. It’s the best way to fight back against the enemy. Don’t let him steal another day. You’ve got this!
PS… As I wrote this post, my pens kept dying! I had to switch them out twice! Obviously, the Dark Side was working hard to keep me from sharing this with you!
I love personality quizzes! Mind you, I’ve always been very self-reflective, and I love psychology (knowing what makes people do what they do).
Either way, I honestly believe that knowing my personality type has brought me freedom. Let me show you how…
A LITTLE HISTORY
I started learning about personality types back in 1997. Florence Littauer’s books were the first to introduce me to these, and from there, I have taken several others.
THE RENAISSANCE SOUL
Margaret Lobenstine has a book called “The Renaissance Soul“, and it describes me perfectly! When I found this book, I immediately recommended it to my sister, and she, too, feels that it perfectly describes her. She and I now frequently reference this aspect of our personalities. 😉
Tom Rath’s book, “StrengthsFinder 2.0“, had a code for you to go online and take the Clifton StrengthsFinder quiz. From that, I learned that my “Top 5” are Empathy, Connectedness, Input, Intellection, and Strategic.
This explained for me my love of keeping empty boxes around in case I might need them some day (Input), and my love of books & reading (Intellection / collecting knowledge!).
MYERS-BRIGGS TYPE INDICATOR
Through reading several descriptions online, I learned my MBTI — only to then take a quiz at 16personalites.com and have my findings confirmed. I am predominantly INFP (Introverted, iNtuitive, Feeling, Perceiving), but also ENFP (probably about a 60% | 40% mix).
[Fun fact: One who has a fairly even split between Introvert & Extrovert is called an “Ambivert“! Thanks, Pinterest!] LOL
I haven’t done enough research on this one, yet, so I don’t know enough about it. But, from the quiz I took, my Enneagram number is 5.
Generally, I tend to stay away from Astrology & horoscopes — they’re never very accurate, anyway. However, there are bits of the Sagittarius profile (my horoscope) that fit me perfectly … fiercely independent? Yep! A fiery temper? Not so much. I’m quite easy-going, in fact.
I also researched my core values, and came up with a list of my top 10 (plus a few extra). Suffice it to say, Freedom is my #1 core value, and SheWillRise has that as its overarching theme — the thread that ties all of my various interests together.
So, having done all of these quizzes (plus, a whole slew of the ones through BuzzFeed… Thanks, Facebook! LOL), I now feel I have a really good grasp of who I am, what makes me tick, and why I do what I do… especially on default/instinct, when I’m not really responding, but reacting.
LEARNING TO “SEE”
Because I know my personality type and core values, I can now see why certain jobs never fit me (mainly any of them where I work for an employer! LOL), and why I’ve acted as I have — or made certain choices — in the past. Knowing that I’m a right-brained creative, for example (INFP is “the Artist”), shows me why the left-brained, secretarial jobs I’ve had never worked out for me (I had 3 of them in 3 years!). I was trying to force the proverbial square peg into a round hole, so-to-speak… acting in a way that was in opposition to my type.
During the second of those secretarial jobs, I was super-stressed because of work, and decided to make up a list of all of the things I both loved & hated from all of my previous jobs. Doing this, plus taking into account my personality & values, I was able to make my next job a much better fit for me, even if it still wasn’t perfect. Of course, at that time, I still hadn’t realized the bit about my right-brained creative side (I knew I had it, but it’d been buried for years at that point). Therefore, I still didn’t see that secretarial jobs weren’t a fit for me. After all, I’d gone to college and had gotten a certificate in Office Administration! So, I assumed that that’s what I needed to (should) be doing! I knew that, eventually, when finances allowed, I wanted to start my own business — I didn’t know what business, yet, but I knew I wanted to work for myself. But again, finances at that time didn’t allow for that.
Well, fast forward nine months, and I found myself out of a job — again. And, being that the job market was pretty sucky (especially in the small town where I live), hubby suggested that I go through the government-run self-employment program (here in Ontario, Canada) and try starting up the business I’d told him I’d been considering (virtual assistance for authors). So, I did!
Since October 2013, I have been self-employed (yay!). As previously mentioned, I’ve always had a gut feeling that I was meant to be an entrepreneur — long before I got the chance to be one! I come from a family of entrepreneurs, actually (both of my grandfathers, two of my uncles, and my sister), so I like to say “it’s in my blood!” LOL
Mind you, even my first year-and-a-half of self-employment was a learning curve. As I’m sure you’ve guessed, the “virtual assistant” thing didn’t last long, partially because it was yet another secretarial gig.
I then thought about doing Life & Business Coaching and took the steps toward that, but I realized I’d need years of training first, which I didn’t have the time or money for. So, that got set aside…
Four-and-a-half years into my self-employment journey, I realized that coaching really is the thing I’m meant to do with my life. I was able to look back through my journals (from the past several years), and connect the dots. And it stood out like a glaring light… Plus, it helped that I found some Life Coaching courses on sale through Udemy, which I purchased, and am working through.
The biggest thing my path has shown/taught me, though, is first, to know myself (ala Socrates), and second, to trust my intuition. All of the various versions of my “business(es)” over the last few years have been me getting an idea, trying it, feeling that something was still “off” (not quite “it”), and then pivoting to the next thing. It’s been frustrating, at times, and somewhat discouraging, too. However, I was blessed to have an amazing business coach & friend who helped me work through all of that, as well as my sister — a business-owner herself — whose business is thriving!
Another thing that helped add to my feeling of “freedom” was going to an Art Journaling class once a month, via the local library. This helped me to reconnect with my creativity.
I used to spend a lot of time doing “creative” or artsy things, but motherhood pushed that (mostly) into the background for seventeen years.
I also met some great new friends, in the last couple of years, who are musicians and creatives, themselves — which helped me to realize (after having spent time with them) that they are my “tribe”, my people… the creatives and the dreamers are with whom I feel at home.
So, be encouraged. If you still don’t know what you are meant to do, just keep experimenting. And, if you need help, you can always book a FREE discovery call with me to see if we’d be a good fit to work together through my Business Coaching services. I’d love to help you get clarity!
Do you know YOUR personality type? (Share it here! I’d love to see what mix we have!) If so, how has it helped you?