Friday, August 14, 2009

Thinking Bigger: Worldwide Calls

With no small thanks to Michael Port (creator of the Book Yourself Solid 15 week course I'm currently enrolled in, author of The Think Big Manifesto that I'm currently reading -- and the leader of the revolution via the website ), a nodding acknowledgement to Peter Gabriel (Big Time), I am thinking bigger and bigger. Many of you know that I've been a holistic healer for many years, and that's one reason I've always extended a discount for my services to holistic professionals. You may not have known that I have been an ordained Interfaith minister for over 10 years, although if you've been reading this blog you should be aware of that as well. I've decided that I am going to practice (and preach) what I preach more often: unconditional love, non-discriminatory healing of anyone and anything, raising the bar on planetary awareness. This is part of my personal Think Big Revolution. Now it's on your doorstep. "Whatcha gonna do 'bout it?" Sorry, you can move the girrl outta Brooklyn butcha can't take da Brooklyn outta da girrl. Here's what you can do about it: Get on the calls! Not interested? Get someone else on the calls! You know the type -- they think they can help people, heal people, save people. Maybe they're even doing their part already. Invite them to this call. My ultimate goal is to make sure the healers are taking care of themselves. How better to do that than to have them share with each other about how they work, what they're up to, getting help with the work, sharing the burden. In my self-examination in Michael's Book Yourself Solid course, I realized WHY I want to work with holistic healers. My answer to why: "I can't heal the world alone!" Well, duh, of course not. But maybe all the other healers are thinking the same thing! So get them on the call -- because if we can't heal the world alone, we can heal the world together! Hence the "Let's Heal the World Together!" Collaboration Calls are born! Let's Heal the World Together - free collaborative calls* Motivation - Connections - Group Healings Mondays: August 17, August 24, August 31 Time: 5pm EST, 2pm PST Get together on a conference call with healers from around the world to talk about how we can raise awareness of healing modalities and collaborate together to perform group healings to help people all over the world. Everyone is welcome - this is free, you don't need to be a holistic practitioner or healer to participate on the calls. All modalities of healing welcome. Please invite other healers to the call! if the calls are successful, they will become a regular offering! Register for the call here. *This is not a toll-free call. You must cover the expense of connecting to the call. The call is in the USA area code 530. For now only the first 50 people can be on the call, but we'll have the ability to have break outs into smaller groups to have intimate discussions. If you're too busy to join the calls, I'm going to try to record them and offer recordings to my mailing list for free after-the-fact, so be sure to sign up on the mailing list!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Follow Your Burning Desire - without burning out

I've been working on a proper marketing plan for Liberated Life Coaching and following a path that seemed to resonate with me, and I ended up in the category of burnout in the holistic practitioner market.

It was an interesting cubby, I thought, as a life and business coach, to help practitioners identify and manage burnout. There's a reason these things happen. Call it Law of Attraction, synchronicity, kismet, coincidence, what have you: I'm pondering dozens of articles about burnout, printing them, making mindmaps of a variety of concepts on my whiteboard, digesting all this information.

When I got to the second article, or was it the third, I stopped in my tracks. That veil of ignorance or is it denial suddenly fell down and I was looking at a profile of myself on paper. Signs & symptoms of burning out vary from person to person, but enough of them fit my former incarnation as a web designer that I realized that I was at minimum at very high risk if I had not already succumbed.

I won't go into all the symptoms here and now, the list is tremendous, but I checked in with my life coach, Sheila Pearl about it.

So our meeting this week was an overview exploration of my burning out, whether complete or in-progress, and what I needed to do to start getting un-burnt.

Causation or correlation, no matter, when you burn out you are no longer living your dreams, no longer taking care of yourself, not maintaining a steady energy and beneficial stress (eustress) level, and you are succumbing to exhaustion, lack of motivation, distractions, and sometimes a sense of fight (gripe) or flight (change careers, change cubicles, something).

I have an extreme problem in how I frame my "to do" list. It's my "Do I have to?" list. It's full of should's, have to's, musts, someone will get upset with me unless...but on the other hand the entire list, top to bottom, are things that I decided, wittingly or not, to accept onto my plate. How something I've said "yes" to (even if only by not saying "no" to it) suddenly transforms into this heavy weight of obligation is beyond me, but it does.

I recognize that I did the same at my last employer too. At every weekly meeting, I was given a few more things "to do" aside from requests that came in from staff during the week. I ended up with a "Do I have to?" list of over 100 items, frozen in my tracks unable to define an action plan or prioritize the list, and I was fired.

That's ok, I usually would burn out and leave a position in about 3 years -- long before they wanted to get rid of me. I've only been fired twice out of a dozen jobs, and I take being fired as a great learning experience. It's only taken 3 years to learn this particular part of the lesson, and I've never said they were wrong to fire me.

Well, I have to fire my "Do I have to?" list. It's now becoming a "Want to" list. This is a challenge for me, having been blackmailed out of being comfortable with saying I want something in childhood. 

The fear says that "When I want something, someone is going to use it against me." So if there's something on my "Do I have to?" list that can't be reframed as "I want to..." then I'm going to have to -- oh, there I go again -- then I want to get rid of the sense of obligation. I want to find the person who handed it to me (yay monkeys! Which book has the monkeys again?) and give it back.

I may be doing a lot of apologizing, but at least I'll be able to sleep.

Oh, I see 2 paragraphs above, I did it there too: I WANT TO fire my "Do I have to?" list. **Phew** This is tough work.

Sheila asked me to spend time this week exploring why I'm reluctant to label things as "wants" rather than "shoulds" or "musts".

For example, I caught myself this afternoon saying "I should check if there's a UPS number for my book order" and corrected myself to "I want to check if there's a tracking number" because there isn't even a client involved.  Checking for a number won't change when it gets here. It's not an obligation, and it's absolutely unreasonable to call it a "should." It's an unnecessary burden -- framing my desires as obligations is hurting my ability to finish even my personal projects.

As I work on my own burnout, I'm also taking note of the process I'm going through. I will be helping others with this process in the very near future.

Update: I ended up having a complete epiphany and writing a whole book on burnout recovery:  SURRENDER™ to Passion: Worried to wonderful in 28 days by Rev. Criss Ittermann.  Check it out on & Kindle.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Victim or Perpetrator?

If you're in professional services of any type, where you have to put a price tag on your time, this definitely happens to you. If you are not, it's likely you're doing this to people delivering professional services to you.

Let's look back, for a moment, to my post "Thank You For Your Time" -- are you expressing gratitude to people for their one finite commodity, their time?

Service professionals in all industries struggle with the question of pricing. The actual real value of the dollar fluctuates constantly, the purchase power of each greenback gets weaker by the moment, housing, stocks, retirement savings plans, investments, everything around us is bouncing around like a yo-yo on a daily basis, but we need to have a snapshot fixed hourly or service-based rate that we can quote to people. Or perhaps today we're sending out a 20-page proposal on a 6-month contract and trying to gaze deeply into our crystal ball and project our financial needs for 6-months + the period of time we'll be looking for the next contract + padding for inflation and emergencies over 6 months, and oh yeah a profit margin so maybe we can actually advertise.

But for some reason, people have little or no respect for time -- our one finite commodity. As they firmly grasp and push forward the hands of our lifetime clock, taking our time that we will never get back, the mechanisms screaming protest in clockwork agony, they hold onto their wallets for dear life. Money, however, is an asset that you can quite readily get. Ask any affiliate marketer, you can get a residual income for an up-front investment. That up-front investment, again, is time. But it will continually pay off, the check's in the mail from the company paying you a commission. If you ask law of attraction aficionados money is ready to come to you in great quantities once you free yourself from disbelief and actually act on your dreams, fulfill your mission in life and STOP WASTING TIME by getting in your own way.

Even as they lengthen our lives with medicines, cybernetic enhancements, nanoprobes, and everything that the creativity of science can leverage against the Reaper, lives will still run out. We can squeeze only so much out of life before it is gone. With the caveat of a few people on ice awaiting immortality.

So why do people "leak minutes" on the boob tube? (I don't) Why do we often commit sins of robbing others of their time and being stingy on the compensation? While we should come at this with an attitude of gracious thankfulness, instead we hang on to our wallet when someone is willing to leverage their expertise, blood, sweat, and most especially precious moments to further our cause. It's perhaps one of the leading causes of burnout amongst the experts, since we always have to fight for the right to feed our families, insure our business, plan our financial future. Hear the sound of clients crying in agony, clinging to their wallets like we were ripping out their heart, when what they're paying for is the ransom for saving them that one absolutely finite commodity -- time.

If you could do it yourself, in less time than it takes you to make that money, and with the same quality, then you should do it yourself. What you are hiring is higher quality than you can produce, with less of a <cough> commitment <cough> of your time (remember: the pig is committed*), far less stress, and the ability to "set it and forget it" with regard to achieving the results you need. You decide what price that's worth to you, and PLEASE save the expert a lot of time by telling us up-front if there's a hard price limit on what that's worth to you. We shouldn't spend 5 hours writing the 20 page proposal if we can tell we'll need over $15,000 to do the work, but your hard limit is $10,000.

Below is a video message that's absolutely brilliant. I think it was meant to be funny, but I didn't laugh. I thought I would share it to help you understand the patent ridiculousness of arguing with service professionals who have set their fees, or poured over your RFP to give you a quote.

Are you the victim or perpetrator? Enjoy:

Perhaps this can help change people's attitudes? Here's my wishful-thinking:

If you're in need of an expert's services...quit haggling. If you must, ask if the price is final, or if there's budge room, but don't whine if the quote is final. Perhaps removing a few unnecessary items from a quote will lower the price to an acceptable fee for excellent service. You can save precious minutes, or hours if you keep requesting revisions to a quote -- both yours and the professionals. And if you're more interested in price than the high quality of the professional who gave you the quote, ask: "Do you know someone who can provide a comparable service for $1000?" Cut to the chase. Everyone can save some grey hairs on the issue.

On the service person's end: if you've poured over pricing and you think it's fair -- It Is! Quit letting customers haggle. If you really feel that you want to work with them, level with them: "What exactly are you willing to pay?" Then decide whether you can remove some items from the list of deliverables to bring it down to their price, but don't compromise. If there's no equitable solution cut your losses, reclaim precious minutes and walk away. Someone so willing to haggle over everything is going to be a source of pain for every moment while you're on the job. If you lower your prices, you will resent doing the work. You shouldn't charge money if your very best will be tinged with resentment or regret. Don't low-ball yourself by jumping the gun and offering lower fees if the potential client hesitates. Just keep your trap shut and wait. Either they want you or they don't want you: they'll speak with their wallet.

*In the making of the average american breakfast, the chicken and cow are involved, the pig is committed.