Fighting to Succeed in Business: Have you ever doubted your calling?

I'm breaking through!“If the muse exists, she does not whisper to the untalented.” (from the forward to The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles by Stephen Pressfield)

I’m afraid they’ll find out I’m a fraud.

I feel guilty charging people to do something I find so easy.

This is really hard. . .is this really what I’m supposed to be doing? Why does it feel so natural and easy on the inside, yet so damn hard and gut-wrenching to try to “get it out”?

What keeps you from breaking through?

If you find yourself second-guessing your calling, or frustrated by the dig-deep work you have to do to “keep going” down this path toward actualizing your full potential, boy are you ever in good company. I’ve never met an independent professional who didn’t feel the frustration and the fear that evolving as a business owner inevitably brings. Every client I’ve ever had has privately confided in me fears and frustrations and nagging doubts about the path they’ve chosen. Dare I say, nearly every strategy call I’ve ever done (hundreds) has included a confession of sorts that revealed the frustration, the angst, the private pain of the beautiful soul on the other end of the line.

And it seems that the most volatile, frustrating moments appear when it’s time for the client to sit down and write or create products, content, or offerings intended to serve the masses.

In The War of Art , Pressfield reveals, “There’s a secret that real writers know that wannabe writers (or painters, or musicians, or creatives of any kind) don’t, and that secret is this: It’s not the writing part that’s hard. What’s hard is sitting down to write. What keeps us from sitting down is Resistance (emphasis added).


Your biggest block: Your own resistance

Ah, resistance–that internal “block” that keeps us from moving forward or taking action. The whispers of fear, the lies that tell us we won’t succeed or that we’re frauds or that today-isn’t-the-day or this isn’t our time.  For those among us who are called to share their gifts with the world, to blaze this unique trail to uncovering their bliss, resistance is an ever-present force that must be confronted with courage as we trust in the call of the Universe for us to give, to expand, to grow.

So what does resistance look like? From The War of Art:

“First, unhappiness. We feel like hell. A low-grade misery pervades everything. We’re bored, we’re restless. We can’t get no satisfaction. There’s guilt but we can’t put our finger on the source. We want to go back to bed; we want to get up and party. We feel unloved and unlovable. We’re disgusted. We hate our lives. We hate ourselves. . . . If you find yourself criticizing other people, you’re probably doing it out of resistance. When we see others beginning to live their authentic selves, it drives us crazy if we have not lived out our own.

“. . . If you find yourself asking, Am I really a writer? Am I really an artist? Chances are, you are. The counterfeit innovator is wildly self-confident. The real one is scared to death… The more scared we are of our work or calling, the more sure we can be that we have to do it.

“The amateur believes he must first overcome his fear; then he can do his work.  The professional knows that fear can never be overcome. He knows there is no such thing as a fearless warrior or a dread-free artist.”

I’ve often said that for independent professionals (people who are packaging their knowledge and expertise as authors, speakers, coaches, consultants, etc), growing our businesses can be some of the most intense spiritual work we’ll ever do. So how do we “overcome resistance?”

My friend, Scott Jeffrey, reminds us of a beautiful metaphor for understanding the nature of our true selves (that includes the giving of our sacred selves). In his blog post “Approaching Spiritual Work,” he explains, “Numerous spiritual teachers. . .say that the sun is always shining; we need only remove the clouds. The clouds represent our psychological and spiritual work. The sun is the Light that we are (the Self, with a capital “S”), only realizable when the clouds are removed. Our clouds are many: negative emotions, poor habits and tendencies, false identifications, addiction to our minds and thinking, and so on.

“Examining, understanding, and dissolving these clouds represent the core of serious psycho-spiritual work. That’s why it’s work. Once this is accepted as given, we can approach our darker side with courage, forbearance, and patience. Then, situations that trigger our negative emotions, for example, become opportunities to develop instead of reasons to feel bad about ourselves, getting discouraged about our ‘lack of progress’.”

The battleground for overcoming resistance is in our minds, in undoing our crappy programming and embracing our responsibility to give the world our best and make a difference. Go easy on yourself. This journey isn’t for the faint of heart. Your destiny is assured; the sun is shining bright. May courage take you all the way!

Need a how-to guide for working through your resistance? I’ve created a three-part blog series on creating solid content that includes some great strategies for finding your break-thoughs.  If you’re looking for some good reading, I love Byron Katie’s Loving What Is: Four Questions That Can Change Your Life and Patricia Carrington’s The Power Of Letting Go: A Practical Approach to Releasing the Pressures in Your Life.

Create Solid Content Around Your Expertise – Part III

Content Creation & Getting it Done

In my first two blogs in this series, we covered how your content is like rocket fuel for your business and what kind of content you can create to showcase your expertise. In this blog, we’ll look at ways for you to create your own breakthroughs and push through writers block to leverage your content to grow your business.

Prepare Yourself to Create Your Content

Creating content consistently is like training for a race – you’ve got to condition your muscles to endure.  You’re not going to leave the house and run a marathon the first time you go for a jog … in fact, if you try, you’re going to end up so discouraged and frustrated that you may not make out of the house again for the second jog. Finding and following a plan that will grow you toward the marathon (or book / training program / etc) is key — you’ve got to pace yourself so that each session feels manageable and builds on what you’ve created in the past, taking you closer to manifesting your “big goals.”

There is no “pat formula” for creating content … what works great for one prolific professional might not work for you.  Here are a few ideas to try on for size, though, to help you find a framework and strategy that may work for you.

  • Dedicate a significant block of time (2-4 hours) every 4-6 weeks to create a month or two of content rather than trying to fit in writing sessions once or twice a week to create next week’s content.  (This can be particularly helpful to people who have a really demanding coaching or travel schedule.)
  • Set aside the same block of time weekly to write and create, and safeguard that time as if you’re meeting the president.  Creating your content is not “secondary” to your “paid” work; it’s the most important work you will do on a weekly basis to develop a sustainable, financially-solid career.
  • Leverage jott.com or a similar tool to capture your ideas and thoughts as you speak them. Jott will actually transcribe your voice notes. There are also other similar tools out there. The transcribing is particularly helpful, as it gives you written content to work with/massage when it’s time to create your final deliverable.
  • If you’re experiencing challenges getting momentum, schedule time with a coach, ghost writer, or other professional to get the writing going. It’s like scheduling time with a personal trainer: committing to a pro both financially and with your valuable time can often create the leverage and discipline you need to break through.

If your schedule seems gridlocked and you need to find more time, check out this slideshare from my friends at CultBranding.com — no matter how “busy” you are, you can free up time to focus on what’s important if you make the commitment:

Got Time?

View more presentations from Scott Jeffrey


As my friend Mark LeBlanc says, Done is better than perfect. I’ve got a client that says, Perfection is a ghost. Your goal in creating great content isn’t to compete with Michelangelo’s David – it’s to serve, educate and inform your ideal customers, ultimately building trust, growing your influence and inspiring people to take action–all of which will grow your bottom line.

For some good recommendations on improving as a writer, check out Scott Jeffrey’s post, On the Craft of Writing.

Create Solid Content Around Your Expertise – Part II

What Kind of Content Can you Create?

In my last blog, we discussed the value of creating content as a powerful trust-builder for growing your platform.  There are several ways you can leverage your content to expand your influence:

Free Content

Leveraging your content into free resources is a great way to funnel traffic to your website, connect with the prospects on your mailing list, and showcase your expertise for decision-makers.  You can create:

  • Blog Posts
  • Video Blogs
  • Articles (for submission online, publication periodicals / magazines / journals, publishing on your website)
  • White Papers / Special Reports
  • Podcasts
  • BlogTalkRadio.com Radio Show

Content for Sale

You can also package your content into products that people can buy, which is a great way to create passive income:

  • Books
  • Workbooks
  • Audio / Video Programs
  • Training Programs

Connecting with your Market: From the Stage to the Page

It can be mind-bending to transition from allowing your expertise to flow “naturally” in live situations (speeches, training sessions, coaching sessions, conversations) to intentionally outlining and packaging the content so your expertise can be useful without your “physical presence,” especially for professionals who are not used to organizing their thoughts into a linear format.  There are lots of ways you can tackle content creation:

  1. Interview others to tell their stories. Interview people who have experienced breakthroughs or significant achievements aligned with your platform / expertise to help the reader glean gems, truths, and/or lessons from their stories.  You can package these interviews as audio, Q&A, or articles with quotes from the person you’re interviewing.
  2. Be interviewed by reporters, strategic partners, or even your team members. Having others ask you intentional, poignant questions aligns you with the flow of your intuition “in the moment,” which is likely highly-developed and will elicit your expertise and its gems fairly easily.
  3. Develop an editorial calendar to guide you. Block off an afternoon to brainstorm and mindmap your ideas. Organizing a brain dump of topics or concepts can give you a format to follow so that when you sit down to write or create, you’re not having to “dig so deep.”  A good editor might be able to help you with this process.
  4. Keep a notebook close during calls, meetings, talks, etc so you can capture your best ideas. Oftentimes, your “brilliance” comes out in impromptu dialog with individuals or groups who are tapping you for support and advice.  By grabbing your thoughts (and the patterns/steps you outline for others) as they flow, you’ll make it a lot easier on yourself when it’s time to write or create your content.
  5. Honor and align with the ebb and flow of your own creativity. When the spirit moves you, WRITE or CREATE — set other things aside so you can capture inspiration as it comes to you in the moment, when it’s easy and almost effortless.

In my next post, we’ll talk about strategies for creating content to help you “get over the hump” so you can start creating.

Create Solid Content Around Your Expertise – Part I

Create solid content around your expertise

Great Content is like Rocket Fuel for Your Business

My complimentary strategy sessions with prospects often turn into a “confessional,” with professionals bemoaning how they know they need to be blogging, writing their book, creating articles, etc., but they aren’t, or can’t, or won’t, and they’ve got solid reasons why they haven’t been able to do these things yet:

  • Some of my clients just feel “overwhelmed” and “don’t know where to start.”
  • Others aren’t “writers” and feel intimidated to put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard.
  • Some people are just damn busy, and carving out this time in their calendar feels like an impossibility.
  • Some of my most skilled coaches, in particular, come from such an intuitive place when working with clients that the notion of “planning” what they’re going to say about a subject in advance feels disingenuous and strange.

I get all the reasons. I’ve struggled with every single one of them. I’m not going to lecture you on why you need to be doing this, because you likely already know. If you don’t, boy howdy, you are late to the party and you need to put this smack dab in the middle of your radar. It’s crucial for independent professionals whose business are built on TRUST.

My friend and coach, Scott Jeffrey, insists (and he’s right) that once you start blogging or putting out consistent content, you can never stop. Somehow, you have to find the fortitude and the emotional leverage to COMMIT to being consistent.

Your Content is Part of Your Commitment to Your Clients

I know, I know, the “c” word: commitment. It’s a must, friends. The people you serve need your commitment, your consistency, your brilliance. We all have blocks, and they are TOUGH to conquer sometimes. But you can do this! And you MUST.

Packaging your expertise into useful content (for free or for sale) is the most powerful way to grow your platform. Packaging your expertise not only builds trust and shines a light on how you serve, the informed content you create also:

  • gives people something to share and talk about online,
  • showcases your expertise for influencers and purveyors of content who need MORE content to showcase,
  • and enhances your credibility in the marketplace.

Start thinking about your content, the stuff you’ve been meaning to write, but just haven’t gotten out there yet, and make a commitment to getting it done.

In my next blog, we’ll review the types of content you might want to develop to support your marketing efforts, and the strategies you can implement to actually CREATE the content to grow your business.

Finding clarity when you’re feeling blocked, uninspired, overwhelmed, stressed …

Finding Clarity when you're feeling blocked, uninspired, overwhelmed, stressedI recently had a conversation with a colleague who knew he needed to take things “to the next level.” He was feeling pressure financially (as we all do at times; I mean, doesn’t almost anything that ails us almost always have some kind of financial impact?) to “make things happen,” yet he felt stuck.

This is a frustrating part of being an independent professional, for sure.  We get busy “doing” things, taking care of clients, and when we start to feel the pressures of responsibility to get our businesses to a certain level, in the midst of our struggle, we feel SO uninspired.  Sometimes, we get to the point where we even feel bored with what we find ourselves doing every day with our clients … not a powerful space to be in if we want to attract more business, right?

Don’t let fear interfere with your life

I live my life by this motto: Any decision made out of fear is the wrong decision. If I’m contemplating a strategic move of any kind, personal or professional, before I’ll commit to anything, I need to know that I’m not going to make this decision because I’m afraid of something:  failure, success, the opinions of others, losing respect or admiration, avoidance of conflict, not having enough money – notoriety – etc.

The Indian sage Nisargadatta Maharaj affirms, “To see clearly, the mind must be pure and unattached.”

Finding that pure, unadulterated space when we’re feeling pressure or emotionally taxed can really be tough.  Still, it’s absolutely crucial that we develop that “muscle” in our minds, because to grow a business, we often need the strength to move stress and clutter aside so we can captain our journeys and tap into our own creativity.

The right questions can pull you out of the doldrums

When a colleague contacted me recently because he felt like he should start marketing his business, his tone sounded flat and uninspired.  It’s a whole other blog post to talk about why it’s nearly impossible to market successfully from an uninspired place.  I told him, “Good marketing comes from a powerful, motivating vision.  So, where do you want to go with your business?  What excites you?  Where are you being divinely guided to make a difference in the world?”

It seemed my question took him off guard; I think he expected me to launch into a bunch of marketing jargon that promised moonbeams, unicorns and pots of gold within 90 days.  We spent the next hour talking about what he was passionate about, uncovering the things that inspired him to become a coach in the first place.  He reconnected with what he loved, and from that passionate place, we began mapping out what growing his business might look like.

Understanding how the creative process works and learning to align with it is crucial to your success as an independent professional.  Pick up a copy of Scott Jeffrey’s book, Creativity Revealed: Discovering the Source of Inspiration if you’re ready for a deep dive.