On 30 October 2012, I decided I wanted to be a transformational coach and help people live happy lives. I set up a private limited company and started to go to networking events spruiking my new ‘Mindset Makeover’ business.
Thing is, I was lying. To myself as well as other people.
I wasn’t lying deliberately. It was at an unconscious level. I’d managed to convince myself (superficially at least) that writing and editing and anything else related to journalism was ‘old world’ and had to be rejected. Transformational coaching was my new, bright, shiny future.
But every time I got close to picking up a client – one guy literally hurried across a room to sit down next to me and tell me he was my ideal client and wanted to work with me – I got a nudge of resistance inside me.
Working with my own coach, I explored whether it was to do with some leftover issues I had around money or worth (not being good enough), but I knew deep down that wasn’t really it.
Eventually I came to the realisation that my strengths and desires weren’t with transformational coaching. I could still use my NLP and life coaching techniques, but my skills combined with my experience of 15 years in journalism were better suited to teaching people how to get free publicity by being featured in the media.
So I went to some more networking events and told people that I taught small business owners and entrepreneurs how to get into the media.
Thing is, I was lying again. To myself as well as other people.
The same scenario occurred: I had people keen to hire me, but that resistance came up yet again. I was exasperated! There must be something ‘wrong’ with me; maybe I just wasn’t meant to run any kind of business – these and similar thoughts echoed through my mind pretty much 24/7 and kept me awake at night.
Then I started to get honest. I distanced myself from all the ‘rah rah’ coachy, personal development speak that focuses on serving and helping others to create a life of their dreams and acknowledged that this is NOT my raison d’etre. It’s a noble cause and I have wonderful friends (and a wife) who have a passion for this.
But the truth is, I don’t want to help everyone succeed in their business. There is a particular type of business owner and entrepreneur that I’m passionate about helping and that is those who care about running their operations as ethically and sustainably as possible in regards to people, animals and planet. And if I micro-niche, I have a special affinity for vegan-run businesses.
It all comes back to your ‘why’.
My ‘why’ is a kinder world for all beings. How I’ve contributed to achieving that in the past is through my journalism with countless articles for specialist as well as mainstream media advocating equality for oppressed minority groups, gender politics and animal rights.
Now I’ve come to realise (Finally! Phew!) that when I’m working with people whose values are similar to mine, everything moves into ‘flow’ and feels ‘right’. The clients I’m now attracting are a fit and it’s a joy to serve them. Because their business success contributes directly to my vision for a kinder world (and specifically a vegan world), to help them succeed is a no-brainer!
So, while others in my industry are happy to work with all and any business owners and entrepreneurs or with female entrepreneurs (both broad categories), I’m not. And I’m ok with that.
The sleepless nights and the knot of anxiety in the pit of my stomach have gone as I focus and zone right in on my ideal clients (who may be far fewer in numbers than the broader categories, but again, I’m ok with that). I have a new book project I’ve embarked on which is so tied into my ‘why’ that it’s a pleasure to put together.
Knowing your ideal clients and the kind of work you want to be doing is also essential for getting featured in the media, as well as your other marketing efforts because it becomes way easier to identify and target the right media outlets.
It took me two years of angst to get here. I hope it won’t take you as long. There are plenty of courses out there promoting formulas to ‘get unstuck’ or ‘find your purpose’. But it begins with this:
If where you’re at now doesn’t feel ‘right’: Be honest. Stop lying to yourself. Own what you’re truly passionate about. Then figure out how you can best manifest that in regards to your business.
I hope this helps.
If, as you read this, you feel a connection and shared values – cool bananas!
And if you happen to be in Sydney next Tuesday 16 September, my wife Tracie and I are holding the second meeting of the Extraordinary People Club for socially conscious entrepreneurs. The first one was a blast with plenty of meaningful networking and we’re excited about this next one.
You can find out more and book your ticket at this link:
Feel free to share your own experiences about being honest with yourself by leaving a comment below.
Like this article? Share it around your networks! Want more free tips on media, PR, ethical marketing, storytelling and creativity sent directly to your inbox? Enter your details in the box in the top right corner and it’s done.