In fact, it was my own research and hard work of coping through the fear of doing uncomfortable things over the past decade that led me to start a coaching program to help female creators, thought leaders and creative entrepreneurs Brave UP and take more risks to become more visible and profitable.
My own tendency for the first couple years of my entrepreneurial journey was to stay very, very comfortable. And as long as business was flowing in, that was fine. Until it wasn’t …
Being in the business arena — especially when you need to grow your business — isn’t comfortable. It’s literally where you can get your ass kicked, as Brené Brown has famously said.
But, the truth is, when you are doing hard things that make you feel uncomfortable — ie: taking risks — you are most doing what it takes to grow your authority and your business.
But taking risks doesn’t mean going into panic zone.
In my coaching program, I support my clients as they begin to redefine and stretch their comfort zone.
What is Comfort Zone Theory?
As a culture, we have an obsession with being comfortable. We will spend great amounts of money to maintain our current level of comfort — or to move into an even comfier place of ease and pleasure.
But, comfort is a privilege that is not afforded to all.
I think about this when I see a single mom carrying groceries AND her kiddos off a bus and needing to walk a few blocks home in the rain as I drive by in my warm, clean car.
Comfort is political, as is everything in our lives.
The self-care industry is always, always luring us back into our comfort zones.
The bath commercials.
The cozy decor and blankets.
And, since the pandemic, we’ve even made business-friendly sweats a part of our fashion conversations.
Feeling safe and secure is important — in fact it’s a basic need — but as female thought leaders, creators and entrepreneurs, we know that powerful progress doesn’t happen in our comfort zones.
The question is will you do the hard things or will you keep pushing them off to stay in your comfort zone?
Your comfort zone is an important place to stop and rest and recover while you are doing hard things but it should not be where you remain forever.
When you have been in your comfort zone too long, you look around and realize nothing much has changed in months or even years.
It’s there, in your comfort zone, you feel safest. You experience that peace you have longed for, where you don’t have have disruptions or conflict — a great idea in theory, but not possible for those of us who are out leading and helping others transform.
It’s easy to believe — because we’ve been conditioned to believe it — that our lives are bad if there is chaos, mess, fear or doubt mixed in, and if we do experience any of that there must be something wrong with us. If we struggle with fear or doubt, we have imposter complex.
And that is simply not true.
As creators, creatives, and leaders we are on a path that leads to chaos, to uncertainty, to doubt and to upheaval — and that is OK.
This is beautifully defined in Buddhism, where there are two defined paths to follow.
The Monk’s Path (or renunciate path): This is the path that leads to silence, stillness and withdrawing from the human experience. This is where you choose long periods of time in hard work and meditation but little else, including little socialization and being in the real world enjoying the human experience. On this path, you do not make waves, you do not weigh in on political conversations, or run a shiny, radiant personal brand. You are hiding. You are avoiding as much suffering as possible.
The Householder’s Path: This is the path that most of us lead, a life with responsibilities, a life with conflict and relationships and imperfect human experiences. On this path, we are taking adventures daily — even if it’s just a heated conversation with loved ones — and we are showing up in our full, authentic radiance. You are taking up space, you are visible, you are putting yourself out there. And, as a result, there will be interactions and conflict and suffering.
If you are a householder trying to live a monk’s path of silence and no disruptions, you are going to fail at both paths.
If you are an entrepreneur who is trying to simultaneously grow your authority, visibility and revenue AND also stay hidden and comfy, you are going to fail at both paths.
In all of this, it’s true that your brain wants you to stay safe and secure and not rock any boats and not disrupt any systems because that will catapult you into the arena of discomfort.
It’s wants you to remain super comfy as if you are a monk hiding on a mountainside, unbothered by the suffering of the world.
After all, there are advantages to staying in your comfort zone, but most of them are illusions.
3 Illusions of Staying in Your Comfort Zone
Illusion One — You are confident. When you are in your comfort zone, it’s safe. It’ familiar. You own it. This gives you a false sense of confidence that you don’t need to make any changes, that all is well. Until it’s not. Until you are facing an experience where you are being called to play bigger and now suddenly you are filled with fear and doubt because you haven’t been accustomed to feeling discomfort.
Illusion Two — You are safe. In the comfort zone you are taking minimal risks and that gives you a feeling of safety. After all, if you keep hiding and playing small, you can’t fail. Except — when you aren’t taking any risks in your business it also means you aren’t challenging yourself, you aren’t growing and THIS is great way to stay stagnant in the long run. Your lack of putting yourself out there will catch up to you eventually. No doubt.
Illusion Three — You are at peace. When you are in your comfort zone, it’s easy to get caught up in only wanting ease and peace because you are not experiencing the discomfort of failure or rejection — or putting yourself out there. This false sense of peace is common. But, often, it’s not really a true feeling of peace because, while you may value slow days and no conflict, you may be feeling a lack of inner peace around your own confidence or money fears. And if you don’t right now, you will.
These illusions make the comfort zone feel like the best place for you but I know from experience that the most joy and momentum in my life and business happens when I stretch out of my comfort zone and redefine it.
And while it is true, it is easier said than done.
One of my favorite coaching conversations is supporting clients who are coping through doing hard things and helping them stay accountable to themselves and not giving up.
This has been a pillar of my work for 10 years.
Holding boundaries is not comfortable.
Asking for a sale is not comfortable.
Being rejected for our work is not comfortable.
Getting on stage to speak is not always comfortable.
Much of business and leadership is not comfortable, in fact.
Since we have been conditioned that our comfort is everything and something to maintain constantly, we develop discomfort avoidance, which prevents us from taking important, powerful risks in our life and business.
Discomfort avoidance negatively impacts women entrepreneurs the most by keeping you hiding and avoiding all kinds of actions that might actually move the needle in your business.
In order to be braver, bolder and create more momentum you must become accustomed to feeling small pangs of discomfort.
Discomfort is not your enemy.
Lack of action is.
When your life is at risk, that is something to fear and we would never want that for you.
But doing things that raise your profile or help you set bold business boundaries for more ease are hard — but not life or death decisions.
Taking up space is hard, but nothing to fear.
It’s your thoughts about the discomfort that impact you the most and why my Brave YES Mindset work is so important in the work I do.
When you become at ease with discomfort, you start entering your Expansion Zone.
What it means to Redefine Your Comfort Zone
Just beyond your comfort zone is a space, a space where growth mindset takes over and you realize you can be at ease while stretching, growing and doing new things.
It’s just enough to help you redefine your comfort zone.
It’s not enough to create panic or fear.
I call this the Expansion Zone.
My work as a business strategist and courage coach is about supporting you while you redefine your comfort zone and move into your Expansion Zone.
Not all discomfort is equal.
Some discomfort is unsafe and, as stated above, you should leave that situation immediately.
Other kinds of discomfort, though, will help you take up space, become a bolder leader and expand your visibility in your industry.
That’s the kind of discomfort I work with my clients on coping through and dealing with so that you can take the Brave YES Leaps you want to do in your lifetime and business.
As you set goals to help you play bigger more comfortably you will also be upleveling your power, purpose, and prosperity.
Steps to Move into YOUR Expansion Zone
Your Expansion Zone — which we will identify during the Bravest Business Year Yet Retreat — will help you stretch, grow, and lean into the grit you need to get to your next level so you can truly play bigger.
There’s some research that says that this is where “optimal anxiety” sets in which is good anxiety.
Robert Yerkes, a celebrated psychologist, began speaking of a behavioral theory whereby, in order to optimize performance, humans must reach a level of stress slightly higher than normal. He referred to this as “Optimal Anxiety” and it seems that this space exists just outside of our comfort zone.
“Anxiety improves performance until a certain optimum level of arousal has been reached. Beyond that point, performance deteriorates as higher levels of anxiety are attained.”
When you are beyond your expansion zone — and into an unsafe space for your mind, body and spirit and anxiety starts to take over– you may have jumped too far and entered the Panic Zone.
What is the Panic Zone?
You might be in the Panic Zone if your fear and anxiety lead to feelings of shutting down, hiding, overwhelm or quitting entirely. This is often when Fight, flight, freeze or fawn takes over in this zone. You may feel tense, fearful, rage, frustration, resentment or a sick feeling in your stomach.
You also may not have the energy to truly handle the enormous change or growth that is required in this zone. It’s best to walk yourself back and take a tiny step into your expansion zone — often called the stretch zone.
The key to moving into your Expansion Zone is to do so while avoiding the panic zone because it’s not where you are going to experience flow and feeling empowered.
6 Steps to Move into Your Expansion Zone
Clarity is essential — Choose “just right” Brave YES goals or intentions that align with you and your values — and your strengths and vision — is a powerful way to upgrade yourself. You should feel grounded and in flow with the stretch goals you set.
Surround yourself with next-level support — I serve as a rumble partner for my clients who are doing new, brave things and it’s an honor. When I am about to take a Brave YES Leap I make sure to have the right support by my side. That means people who care about my wellbeing and aren’t going to let me off the hook.
Uplevel your Resilience. Doing hard things, taking risks means you must be ready for the fallout. There will be discomfort. You must be ready. There are active practices to do daily to improve your resilience.
Boost Your Capacity. Support is one way to be more resilient, as is making sure you are practicing Radical Wellbeing because you won’t take bold action if you are tired, overwhelmed or burned out. You must stabilize yourself and your current life and business circumstances in order to take risks that count.
Develop coping skills for the hard moments. Doing hard things is … hard. There will be discomfort. Knowing what you can do to make those hard things more joyful is one thing — and making sure you know how to work with your emotions is essential. Find someone to talk to about your feelings.
Develop Emotional safety Practices. You don’t have to feel the fear and do it anyway. You can, instead, really work with redefining your comfort zone by making sure you are taking appropriate risks for you and your business.
Ready to Play Bigger?
I don’t see my role as a business strategist AND courage coach to keep you comfortable.
You’ll do that VERY well on your own.
I nearly let a comfort move slide today during a session but a little red flag was going off in my ear … ding, ding, ding.
Here’s a highly successful entrepreneur dealing with what most are dealing with right now — a downturn in traffic and, as a result, sales.
And yet … she’s kind of in a why bother, I can’t do more right now.
Yeah, I get that. We’re tired. No one can afford to hire help but help is what’s needed because your capacity is low. This is a horrible vicious cycle for female entrepreneurs.
Brave visions < low capacity
This is a real problem.
So, I did in the coaching session what I always do.
I caused trouble.
“I’m going to plant a seed and suggest you think about something bigger, something that will excite you and actually get you feeling motivated.”
She paused. And breathed.
What if … and I went into a bit of Impossible Land for a minute. What if you think … what if you considered …
She was smiling.
She was feeling the call to action.
“That’s not a seed, that’s a bush,” she said.
We’re tired, ya’ll.
Tired of playing THEIR game.
Tired of not having power.
Tired of doing things conventionally.
Tired of traveling through the dark valley of irrelevance where only the dancing, shining and brighter objects glisten in the darkness.
It’s going to take UNCONVENTIONAL business strategies — and truly knowing how to position your passion work — to make money and feel in alignment.
I’m not afraid to push you to your edge. If you want soft, you’ll handle that fine on your own.
Plant those seeds.
READY TO AIM BIGGER? Join me for my upcoming Design Your Bravest Business Year Yet goal-setting retreat for 2023. https://lnkd.in/e52YSCh2
Hey, Quietly Powerful & Creatively Passionate Biz Owners!
This is not your average “business as usual” annual planning retreat. Because YOUR business isn’t average. Or typical. And neither are YOU.
So why set boring business goals?
Join me on Nov. 18 — and we’re going to take things up a notch for your 2023!
You started your business for the freedom it would give you and then you quickly learned that to offset that salary you once had working for someone else’s company, you don’t have as much freedom as you’d like.
In fact, it’s a lot more work than you thought and there is a constant piling up on your to-do list.
This is the life of a creative solopreneur and personal brand.
We currently have a lot of personal brands, thought leaders and creators trying to make it as one-person businesses and, therefore, a lot of amazing people trying to make it big in this world.
Your success doesn’t have to look like everyone else’s …
The thing is, though, being a solopreneur means that for every YES, there must be a NO, and for every NO, you are making space for a YES.
Not all goals are created equal and all too often I see solopreneurs setting themselves up for failure by setting goals that are actually designed for a team — and not a one-person solo show that centers their thriving and prosperity.
I’ve been a solopreneur for 10 years full-time and I made these very goal-setting mistakes more than once — until I learned how to truly set goals that put a fire in my belly AND were doable.
6 Goal-Setting Mistakes One-Person Business Owners Make
You Set Goals That Are Too Big
Planning too audacious goals without the capacity — or the resources is a common goal-setting mistake, especially for solopreneurs and personal brands. After all, are we even good enough if we aren’t pushing ourselves to some ridiculous standard?
The thing is, though, when you’re truly going after really big goals, you need a sustainable strategy and unwavering and unconditional support — as well as compassionate accountability.
Your partner — who has their own life goals and challenges — does not count in most cases.
I’m a big fan of audacious goals — things that are going to move the needle in your business — but I never set a big goal without the support and resources in place. I’ve learned that when I do that, I am 3x more successful with achieving my goals.
TRY THIS: Set goals that are connected to successes you’ve already had. Build on the work you’ve already done and stretch yourself to take those even farther.
You Set Goals that Are too Small
If you set goals and cross them off the next week or two, that’s a sign that your goals are a bit too small. This is another common goal-setting pitfall I see with solopreneurs and small business owners.
When you are setting goals that are easily crossed off that is evidence that your goals are actually tasks — not goals.
TRY THIS: Put your goals to the test by asking if it will make a difference a year from now — or not? If in a year you will forget it even happened, it’s not quite big enough.
You Set Goals that are Shoulds
Possibly more derailing than all the goal-setting mistakes listed here, setting SHOULD Goals is the one that often causes burnout and resentment in a business.
Should goals are often based on what others are doing — or saying you should do. These goals are often created by watching online gurus or speakers talking about their own goals — or from reading articles or books.
An example of should goals that I see happening a lot right now is posting on social media even if you hate it or pitching podcasts even if you don’t feel comfortable doing so.
Setting goals based on where you “should be” is usually out of alignment with what you really need right now for yourself and your business and can cause a serious case of shiny object syndrome.
Should Goals are also distractions to doing the real work that your business needs — which is often a simple revenue sustainability plan.
TRY THIS: Do a deep assessment of what you truly need to take your business to the next level and set goals that will get you where you want to be — not where others are earning money on taking you where they want you to go.
READY TO DESIGN YOUR BRAVEST BUSINESS YEAR YET? Register now for the upcoming half-day retreat that will walk you through an assessment process to find brave, authentic and joy-based goals to grow your business. Sign up for the retreat here.
You Set Goals That Are Out of Your Control
This goal-setting mistake is the one I could share as a TedTalk right now.
This one is about choosing business goals that are out of YOUR control and, therefore, create a constant feeling of failure.
When a goal is out of your control, it means you are trying to reach a number goal that is based on other people’s actions such as hitting a certain sales goal or revenue goal.
For a solopreneur, revenue is your job but so are a million other things. So your goals need to be well within your control to make happen — rather than hoping things will work out by what other people do or do not do.
At the upcoming Design Your Bravest Business Year Yet you will learn going how to choose audacious goals that are well within your control. Not easy goals, but goals that will uplevel you and redefine YOUR comfort zone.
TRY THIS: Check in with every single goal that you set and make sure the outcome uses strategy and tactics that are 100 percent in your power — and if you aren’t sure if it is get the support you need to make sure you can make it happen.
You Set Goals that are Beyond Your Capacity
Sometimes we take on more than we can chew — in food, and in setting our business goals as one-person business operations.
I know I have done this — with both food AND business goals.
We have such good intentions!
When your goals require more time, energy and resources than you are able to give, you need to either scale back or level up and maybe a one-person business isn’t going to be enough capacity to do the work needed.
Ease is always important and so setting goals that will keep you motivated AND feel like ease is essential so that you feel momentum and traction at every turn.
TRY THIS: Rather than downgrade your goals, upgrade your capacity! There are many ways to do this including getting added support, creating sustainable systems, and taking care of yourself in mind, body and spirit.
START A MONTHLY WELLBEING CHECK-IN! Every single month, usually on the first of the month, I do a wellbeing inventory of myself to see where I need to shore up my mind, body and spirit. Learn how to do this for yourself here.
Stop Setting Goals that ZAP your Creative Energy
Forgetting yourself and your role in the business goals — if your goals are constantly about climbing, chasing, and striving to meet the next number or deadline you may put your own creative and life desires on hold until SOME DAY.
Some day when I finally hit 7 figures … someday, someday, someday.
These kinds of goals sound good on the face but often take away your joy and your ability to be present for your life and family right now. Building a business that is successful is a lofty goal — but if you have to sacrifice your joy now, it is worth it? To some, yes. To many, no.
TRY THIS: Joy comes from having more space rather than less, more freedom rather than less. Sometimes the best goals are going to free you up and give you more time for yourself and your passions. Consider if your goals are going to require more of your time — or create more space.
It’s time to channel your Inner Goldilocks & Find Your Brave YES Goals
The truth is that choosing goals should be intentional and joy-filled — not just strategic.
Sometimes it can feel like we’re Goldilocks trying to find the right goals.
Sometimes we hear the “jump off the cliff and do the hard things” voice that tells us to set big, hairy, audacious goals and suffer through to make them happen.
These goals wear a passport tied around their neck and work 4 hours a week out of a rental in Bali. Just thinking about these goals induces panic and anxiety.
And, then there are the slow and boring “business as usual” goals.
These goals wear a suit and tie and mingle at Chamber events. These goals are like sitting on the couch in your sweatpants and drinking tea. You know you should do more but … why bother?
Instead, I encourage my clients to set Brave YES business goals.
What’s a Brave YES Goal?
A Brave YES goal lands “just right” … and hits you square in your Expansion Zone, meaning it’s designed to help you grow into who you need to be and how you want to show up SO you can hit all of your goals.
This kind of YES goal feels good in your mind, body and spirit because it’s designed for you and who you want to be in your business and how you want to run your business — on your terms.
Every part of you says YES so it’s also a no-brainer to make happen.
The Expansion Zone is where you walk to the edge of your comfort zone, slowly expanding your resilience and courage muscles.
Expansion Zone goals wear bright orange and funky glasses and hang out in a cafe enjoying fiery conversations. These goals get you up in the morning and energize you.
During Your Bravest Business Year Yet Retreat, I will guide you through a 2023 goal-setting process that isn’t about numbers and shoulds — but about heart and soul — and all of it will be 100 percent within your control to make happen. I will inspire you to choose clear, courageous objectives that creatively stretch you AND create momentum for you and your business in 2023.
Are you the bottleneck in your one-person business?
Believe it or not, this is often the case for solopreneurs.
The problem with doing it all yourself is that you are responsible for doing it all — yourself.
And so, naturally, you are the one to blame yourself, your circumstances, or your strategy for not achieving your business goals.
But, here’s the thing: When you are a one-person business you are holding more than a business — and so treating yourself like a company when you are just one person is setting yourself up for failure.
If life keeps knocking you down, blaming yourself for your life circumstances isn’t fair to you. It’s also letting a whole of others off the hook.
This is where I come back to two sayings I’ve used with my clients whose life circumstances are a challenge over the years …
Start where you are.
Bloom where you are planted.
If your life circumstances are not in the way, it’s then either you or your strategy. My guess is before it’s you, it’s your strategy — or, more commonly, your lack of one.
Your goals and vision require a strategy. The more clear you are on what that strategy is the more clear it is on what actions to take. You must know where you want to go and how you want to get there. Actions then become no-brainers.
But, if you have all of that, and you are still not performing at your own personal peak level, then we likely need to get to the root of things. Like your fear. Like your capacity. Like your routines. Like your doubt.
I secretly love it when a business strategy client tells me she’s grappling with fear.
We’ll be in the middle of a conversation around lead magnets and messaging when she’ll say something like … but I’m afraid none of this will work.
That is the kind of self-sabotage I can work with!
Managing your life circumstances is a big part of the work I do with my clients because as a working mom of twins for 10 years,
I get that sometimes life is going to life. But that’s actually no excuse to not do the things you want to do. At all. We just have to get creative with it. Life is going to life. Period. I’ve talked about this a lot. I’ve heard of some major things disrupting business as usual lately — Covid, moving, major health issues, kid diagnosis and behavior, parent illnesses or diagnosis — or even deaths. Managing a business through this is about supporting you as you navigate the messy middle of chaos — and making sure you are doing the essentials.
Designing a strategy that works for you, your values, your strengths and your expertise is the next step.
This strategy needs to be simple, sustainable and repeatable. It also needs creative flexibility for you to thrive in any circumstances. Period. Your resilience will only get you so far. Your strategy needs to serve you.
Finally, we need to address your capacity container.
If fear or doubt is blocking you, it will cause procrastination. If you are burned out on client delivery, we’ll need to shore some things up so you have time for the other parts of your vision to be implemented. If you are exhausted before you get to your marketing, we’re going to need to find out why and get to the root of your exhaustion.
Hey, Quietly Powerful & Creatively Passionate Biz Owners!
This is not your average “business as usual” annual planning retreat. Because YOUR business isn’t average. Or typical. And neither are YOU.
So why set boring business goals?
Join me on Nov. 18 — and we’re going to take things up a notch for your 2023!
If you are a solopreneur, you wear a lot of hats and cover a lot of ground in your business each day.
And, since you are both the marketing department and the sales department, it can be hard to move your business ahead while being super attentive to the client delivery work that pays the bills.
But YOU know you are capable of so much more.
And you know you have transformational work to share with this world.
So, why are you so busy being busy and playing small?
I’ve been a full-time creative solopreneur for 10 years, singlehandedly managing a 6-figure membership community, a private coaching program and my own marketing — with relative ease and joy along the way.
I work with my solopreneur clients who are trying to grow their brand image and authority AND stay committed to what I call The Entrepreneur’s Freedom Trifecta — the space to do what you want to do in your life and do work you love as well as operate fully as yourself — on establishing sustainable, supportive systems as well as making courage moves to uplevel your sales and visibility.
In this post, I am sharing how I view goal-setting in business as someone who has no interest in scaling my business in the future or operating a “business as usual business.”
Are You a Pantser or Planner?
I remember one year inside my membership community, one of our members did a No Goals Year.
I was intrigued.
Of course, there are some people who can get by with a few of their friends and no goals.
I am not one of those people.
In fact, there’s research that shows that working toward meaningful goals is a clear act of well-being and experiencing positive emotions.
I would agree.
Most of us need goals to work toward to create meaning in our lives.
Our business is no different.
Over the years, I have come across three types of goal-setting and planning types in the small business world:
This is the kind of entrepreneur who tends to wing it and fly by the seat of their pants with just a running to-do list or three. They don’t like to be tied down and really love to let their intuition guide them.
They have goals but they may or may not work toward them.
They wake up and let the day decide what they will tackle next.
Their process is messy and free-spirited and they are sometimes OK with this but often wish they had more structure, more of a plan and a clear path to follow.
They want space and flexibility throughout the day for creative inspiration — and for their busy life — and to always have a plan in their back pocket for when blocks of time clear.
The challenge for a Pantser is not really making a dent in things over time because you can easily get off track or distracted. Plus, the biggest challenge here is not being consistent.
In coaching, I work with Pantsers to have more of a planning system to follow.
A planner, on the other hand, has everything mapped out and ready to go and lives and breathes by their to-do list that has been planned in their day to the max. They follow this plan to a T knowing exactly what needs to be done on Tuesdays at 2:45 p.m.
They have goals — maybe too many goals and their day is dictated by trying to reach them. They reach their goals through a linear timeline.
The challenge for Planners is they leave very little space for things they truly want to do or very little freedom for spontaneity and joy and they end up feeling frustrated and resentful rather than inspired and creatively motivated.
In my coaching program, I work with Planners to free up space to make more time for doing what is needed to reach the big outcomes they want to see in their business.
A visionary is an entrepreneur who loves to set the vision and build a plan but doesn’t necessarily want to execute on the plan, verbatim.
Instead, their plan is a loose map to follow that leads to their outcomes but it’s not a script to follow. It’s a vision — an idea they are headed toward — but not an exact set of directions.
They have a vision and goals and they work toward them — but with creativity and flexibility.
Visionary types have the best of both worlds — a clear direction of where they want to travel as well as not over-planning and over-scheduling themselves to the point of zapping their creative energy and joy.
The Visionary has a gift for using intuition when parts of the plan need to go — and when they need to buckle down and focus on making the plan happen. Their execution is focused and aiming but with a good bit of freedom on HOW their plan will happen.
I am a visionary type.
I always have a plan.
I rarely follow the plan verbatim.
And I always reach my goals — just rarely in a linear fashion.
Clearly, no matter your style of planning, you must find equanimity and balance in how you approach choosing and reaching your goals.
I’m a fan of being super creative and operationalizing joy in all things — including in how you set your goals and strategy and how you create rituals, routines, and habits to see them through.
Brave Vision vs. Brave Actualization
I talk a lot with my clients in Brave Yes Business Strategy Coaching about having a clear and powerful vision that is focused on what you want to happen in your life and business.
Your future business dream is just a dream until you write it down and start to take it seriously.
This is where a Brave YES Vision turns into Brave YES Actualization.
Actualization is tricky.
It’s tricky because we’re human beings, not human doings.
We are not computers with perfect computing and execution.
We are living, breathing souls with life circumstances to account for every single day.
When you are building, creating, or starting anything, the final product may not match the vision you had in your mind — the one you so clearly mapped out and put into the planning of it all.
Your plan was just your ideal vision on paper.
That’s where the work begins.
And, your vision informs your strategy. And your strategy informs your goals. And your goals inform your tactics and tasks.
When Goals Aren’t the Goal
I have never set traditional business goals. I am not a traditional business owner or strategist.
For one thing, I have never had anything other than an online business. From day one my clients have been all over the world: Australia, the UK, France, Germany, New Zealand, Malaysia, Canada, and more.
For a second thing, I have never set a goal to make X sales in a year or to earn Y amount of revenue.
Much of my revenue — which has been ample enough to sustain my full-time work-at-home status — is a byproduct of doing work that I absolutely love all the time.
My particular way of goal-setting is more visionary, more macro-focused.
When goals are based on numbers we lose the human side of things — especially for ourselves.
When really, what you want is to see a change or to have a certain experience.
When you set goals without knowing how you want to feel you are likely in Should Land.
Instead of setting should goals or one-off goals based on comparisons and other metrics, consider aiming toward outcomes.
In other words, focus on the outcome you want.
Adjust your AIM and You may Hit your Goal!
As a business strategist and courage coach, my clients come to me because they aren’t hitting their goals and so we begin with one thing — changing their aim.
My method is in The Art of the Aim and it’s essentially about changing HOW you are aiming toward your target and doing what it takes to get closer and closer to your target.
You don’t just shoot an arrow.
You have to develop the right stance, the right focal point, the right aim.
When you focus on HOW you are going to reach your goal, more than the goal itself, magic unfolds — and I see this with my clients.
One just said a Brave YES to sticking to a chill vibe marketing plan and brought in a ton of new members to her online membership community — all with a clear understanding of the outcome.
Another is happily booked as a consultant company that she’s running on her terms, not industry standards — and is now busy enough to grow a team so she has more time and space for running her business and building her expert platform.
A third is close to having her group coaching program up and running – a dream she’s had for years.
When your goals are metric-focused rather than aim focused — which is what I love to work with my clients on — you end up chasing numbers and not joy.
When you are AIM-focused, you are putting energy into the HOW of reaching an outcome rather than the outcome itself. As a result, the outcomes happen.
So, let’s talk about how to create powerful goals that are AIM-focused rather than metrics focused.
Finding the Right Timeline Target for Your Business Goals and Outcomes
There’s a lot of chatter in the collective about how far out you should set your vision and goals.
I like a lifetime goal to be set for your personal life.
And a 3- to 5-year business vision and goal-setting strategy.
Here’s a little bit about these types of timeline goals:
This is what you are working toward in your lifetime – maybe for yourself or for your career. By a certain age — let’s say retirement — you want to be, do and have what? A beach house? A life of travel? To have no mortgage? Do you want to be a New York Times Bestselling Author?
Lifetime goals are not for everyone. They require you to stay true to one or two visions for your life and if you are someone who is learning and growing fast you may find that your life goals change. Or, perhaps you need more time to really know what you want later in your life.
These goals are often around 10 years out from your life right now. And you know they will take time. Long-term goals are obviously hard to achieve and that’s why they will take years, not months.
Long-term goals are great if you have a set vision for your business 10 years down the road — which often means you have a business you are trying to scale.
Long-term goals are not necessary for every solopreneur. If you have a goal of taking yourself out of your business or changing your role in your business, a long-term goal may be ideal.
Short-term goals are the goals most people set at the start of a New Year, a New Season, or even a new week.
These are goals that are more possible to make happen in a shorter window of time — and keep your life and business moving in a steady forward motion.
Most people set short-term goals — and so they work for everyone. But, it is possible to set the wrong short-term goals that don’t help you reach your long-term or lifetime goals. Plus, it’s easy to let your goals be dictated by distractions, what you are learning and consuming and what you see others are doing.
These are the goals you wanted to be done yesterday and I am sure they make up a bulk of the goals you are working toward. The goals of the past. The goals you haven’t quite finished or even started working toward.
These goals are immediate because you feel a sense of urgency behind them. Often, immediate goals precede any long-term goals for the future.
Immediate goals are often what is standing between you and where you want to take your business in the future. These goals are often determined by the things you haven’t done or the things you’ve deemed important in the past. Sometimes immediate goals become our default and we’re working toward things that were once important but we haven’t reconnected within our lives — and yet we still keep working toward them.
It’s powerful to make sure you aren’t working toward immediate goals that are no longer in alignment with what you really want.
What Kind of Business Goals Should You Set?
Process Goals are about the actions you want to take in your business. How you perform your job and there’s almost always a good process goal to put into play in your business — either for yourself or for someone on your team.
I have worked with many solopreneurs over the years and some of the common process goals I’ve seen set are the following:
Getting to your desk by a certain hour
Updating and Managing your task management system
Being consistent on your preferred marketing channels
Boldly managing your team and creating a dynamic culture
I love a good learning goal, honestly.
A learning goal is really about building and bolstering your skills as an entrepreneur or expert in your industry.
Learning how to be a copywriter is a great example of an online business startup.
Another learning goal may be structured around getting better at speaking on stage.
A learning goal is focused on elevating and expanding yourself either personally or professionally.
Maintenance goals are the most underrated and under-used powerhouse of a goal.
Let’s say you are already doing really well in one area of your business — such as sending out a weekly newsletter — a maintenance goal would be to keep sending that newsletter out consistently so you don’t let it slip.
Maintenance Goals simply uphold what you are already doing well at and what to keep doing well at going forward.
Make a list of everything you are doing well at in your business — and decide on a maintenance goal or two.
Outcome goals are the results you want to see from the actions you take. Perhaps one outcome goal is to grow your email subscribers.
Outcome goals require strategy and tactics — and then performance.
If your outcome goal is to write a book, you’ll likely need some process goals to add to your plan as well.
Every goal is connected to an outcome. Every goal informs your strategy and tactics.
The stretchier you can get with your goals, the further you will go … which is why I am a fan of also setting Brave YES Goals.
Don’t Forget to Declare Your Brave YES Goals …
As a personal brand and solopreneur, your visibility is essential.
YOU are the business.
You are the lead magnet.
Since it’s so easy to hide behind client work and the day-to-day tasks needed to keep your business up and running, it can be hard to go above and beyond to market your business and boost your own authority in your industry.
This is precisely what I work with my clients on — and we begin with setting a Brave YES Business Vision and Expansion Goals.
During my upcoming Design Your Bravest Business Year Yet, I will be leading participants through a series of exercises and activities to understand what you really want for your business in 2023 and what outcome goals will help you get there. By working on goal-setting in a community setting, participants will have permission to dream bigger and aim higher.
The right YES goals will …
Elevate your authority and grow your brand
Grow your income and your Ease-factor
Give you permission to run your business on your terms
Everyone’s Brave YES Goals are different and choosing carefully is vital because they will stretch YOU and change your business. The right goals will be just what you need to AIM toward to have the life and business you really want.
I’ve met with and worked with a lot of entrepreneurs over the past 10 years.
And more than money, the entrepreneurs in my circle want to feel whole, to feel like their work is aligned and a part of how they draw meaning in the world. They want to earn an income consciously and with their integrity intact.
The freedom to be yourself, do what you want, and make a living doing that is the ultimate goal for my clients as a business design strategist and courage coach.
Most entrepreneurs have been conditioned to believe freedom is only found through making as much money as humanly possible and the solution for that is to hustle and grind until you get there.
This results in shoulding your life and business away by chasing all the wrong goals.
Sadly, that often means while you are so busy building a wildly successful business you are also putting on hold who you really are and what you really want until you finally reach the financial success of 6 or 7 figures.
I call absolute BS on that.
It’s a myth that you must scale in order to have enough money to do what you want to do. The toll of growing a business to 7 figures is enormous.
Scaling doesn’t need to be your goal to thrive and flourish — but FREEDOM should be.
I started my first business for one thing — the freedom to do what I wanted creatively and to have the space and time to take care of my daughters when they needed me most. Even at 6-figures, my goal was always to stay in my integrity and live a slow, sustainable life.
Honestly, some entrepreneurs never reach 7 figures. It depends on your service and offer, the market, and timing. It depends on your capacity and your team.
Or, you may get there and still not have true freedom because you are too busy holding up an image or a certain type of identity that no longer fits you but you are stuck in the day-to-day of the business.
This is the Vicious Cycle of Entrepreneurship and I have seen so many trapped in and feeling stuck in year after year.
True prosperity and freedom are much more than that.
Your business should offer you what I call the Entrepreneur’s Freedom Trifecta.
A business designed for the Entrepreneur’s Freedom Trifecta puts your thriving in the center.
Time freedom — The ability to do what you need to do for your life, family, and business and still have time left over for rest, pleasure, and joy. This means being available to your kids at crucial family moment times. This means having time to take good care of yourself in mind, body, and spirit. This means being able to work on the YES projects you want to work on.
Pursuit of Meaning Freedom — The ability to do work that brings you most alive and to have the capacity and space to work on projects that light you up and bring meaning to your life. Not just transactional work but true, authentic superpower and zone of genius work.
Designing a business FOR this kind of freedom is possible. And once you do, it will also bring with it the other kinds of more traditional freedoms such as financial freedom and, if it’s your thing, geographic freedom.
Financial freedom for my clients is not always about scaling.
It’s about paying yourself a thriving wage and paying your team a thriving wage as well — so you can all enjoy a good life.
This means having plenty of resources to live the life you want and take care of your needs AND maintaining ease. This kind of financial freedom allows freedom from worry, stress, and scarcity. As a business strategist and courage coach, I work with my clients on what feels good to make money and pay yourself a thriving wage — with your integrity still intact.
The truth is you don’t need to hustle or scale to experience The Entrepreneur’s Freedom Trifecta. You can design a business for where you are right now and what you need right now — and center YOUR thriving and flourishing — and earning bank will become the byproduct of your happiness and sustainable energy.
To achieve true freedom, you must take bold, impactful, and courageous actions to design and run a Brave YES business empire that centers your sovereignty and thriving in mind, body, and spirit.
Here are 5 Steps to Building Your Brave YES Business Empire where YOU are flourishing and experiencing the Entrepreneur’s Freedom Trifecta with purpose, possibility, prerogative, and prosperity.
5 Steps to Building Your Brave YES Business Empire
The preliminary work I do with every one of my Brave Yes Business Design Strategy clients is to help them find clarity on where they are, where they are going, and what needs to change. This is alignment.
A big part of the alignment process is unearthing your strengths and values and tying those together in a super-defined vision for yourself and your business.
This process includes your work and the life you — the founder — want to lead and begins to look at the business you have and see what’s matching up and what’s not.
Often in this process, we’re doing a lot of new boundary setting and editing of your time and offers. And you are starting to unlearn some No Brain habits that keep you people-pleasing and undercharging for your work.
The big question here: Where you are right now and what you are offering and doing — Does the energy match where you want to go?
During the assessment process, we’re focusing a lot on your capacity — what you can handle right now and what you want to be able to handle going forward — and how to grow your capacity for bigger, bolder goals.
This is where we take a look under the hood of your business and begin to design your money-making strategy and marketing spiral to fit your vision and values and truly focus on what’s going to bring you alive each day.
This is where you start to shine in your newly aligned business strategy.
You are ready to start taking risks. You are ready to start moving into growth mode.
This is when you must start to believe in yourself and what makes you a powerful leader so you can ASCEND and truly stand out and to grown and boost your business.
This is where we truly get into learning and adopting the Brave YES Mindset that will help you take action and really design your business for time, creative and financial freedom — without apology.
Essential to any business is your attraction strategy!
A thriving business is taking visibility risks that Call In your most aligned clients and allows them gracious ways to get closer and closer to your work — and to you — all the time — without you having to go and find them.
This is a powerful part of your freedom.
When you have the prerogative to do what lights you up in your business, the right people will flock to you.
Establish a powerful sales and lead magnet strategy that works for you and your personality and your strengths. This is when you establish a clear system for how to call in your most aligned clients and start to really put your powerful message into the world.
Finally, it’s time to ACTUALIZE your vision for yourself and your business so that you are feeling FREE to be yourself and do your thing.
This is the time to put yourself out there — consistently.
Doing the work — consistently.
Showing up — consistently.
And, to do so without burning out, you’re going to need to have everything else in place — clarity around the WHAT, the essential team that will support you and what you need, and systems and routines that keep you grounded and on the path to your empire where you have full sovereignty over yourself and your life.
Establishing Bold business practices that increase your visibility, sales, and audience as well as designing a business that works for you not against you is the way to create true freedom in your life.
Some homework I would give to you if freedom is important to you … what does true freedom mean to you?
SAY YES TO YOUR FREEDOM! READY TO SET POWERFUL GOALS FOR THE UPCOMING YEAR?