Self alignment is vital to your success as an entrepreneur. You never looked so good as when the way you live fills you up so much that your zest for existing in a way that really works for you spills over into the way you interact with your business connections. Your clients and collaborators will be compelled when they hear your ideas from a place of truly bright living.
Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love.
It will not lead you astray.
“I’ve been in business for nearly 15 years,” Sam said, “and I don’t think I’ve ever struggled so much. I took a long, hard look at my numbers as part of my prep for my session with you. I’m down about 35% in revenue from this time last year.
I keep trying different marketing tactics, different offers…and it’s crickets. I’m pretty scared to be honest. But most of all, I’m exhausted. Like next-level depleted. I’m a shadow of my former self, a zombie. A freaked-out zombie.”
Sam paused. He looked down at his open journal and brought his left hand to the side of his forehead, lightly raking his fingers over his left brow. I knew the gesture. It was exactly what I do when I’m about to cry, and I’m doing everything I can to hold it together.
I waited, holding the silence so Sam could find his breath and collect himself.
“I don’t know why I’m not connecting in my marketing,” he said. “I spent hours trying to come up with new ideas for sales copy this week, and none of it truly articulates what it is I want my ideal clients to feel and know.”
Sam kept his gaze on his journal, searching for answers on the page.
“When was the last time you did something fun, Sam?” I asked gently.
He looked up, startled. Confusion gave way to irritation. “Fun?!”
“Yes,” I said. “Something that you enjoy, that fills you with a sense of new possibilities. Something just for the heck of it. Wild abandon. An adventure of some sort. Time for yourself. Being immersed in a place or setting that brings you back home to yourself, restores and energizes you.”
Sam said, “Well, over the last couple of years, I’ve had a few days away here and there, but that time felt stolen. Frivolous. I didn’t really find it fun because I felt guilty for taking the time off when I should be focused on building my business.”
“So rest and fun feel irresponsible?” I asked.
Sam laughed. “Of course not,” he said. “It’s just that….”
His voice trailed off. He looked away. I waited.
“Well, maybe…yeah,” he said. “Right now at least.”
Sam continued looking off into the distance, his eyes scanning back and forth.
“Sam,” I said, “what if I told you that the reason you aren’t connecting with the people you most want to reach is directly tied to your not having any fun or enough rest?”
Sam turned to me and said, “I’d say that was a bunch of bunk, frankly.”
We both laughed. He leaned forward and asked, “How could that be possible?”
“Sam,” I said, “today is your lucky day.”
We entrepreneurs and creators are very well trained by the cultural lore that hard work, punishing schedules, and withholding fun and joy from our lives are the tried and true ways to find the success and freedom we crave.
These lies are such a part of our belief systems that if we dare to live and work differently, we can be consumed with crushing guilt. Our inner dialogues feature the greatest hits from our meanest self-talk such as:
“You don’t have what it takes.”
“Everyone else is leaving you in the dust.”
“If you don’t have it figured out by now, it ain’t gonna happen.”
“Success is not in the cards for you. Admit it. Give up.”
“Your offers (and you) are total crap.”
When we are exhausted like Sam, those hideous voices from within our own brains take on a bold and relentless drumming quality. On our good days, we may be able to brush them aside and soldier on. But when we are burned out and overwhelmed, they take up permanent residence, belting out a chorus of self-loathing.
The Ultimate Marketing Venn Diagram
Here is the exercise I coached Sam through. If you are feeling like Sam right now, give it a try.
First, open your journal to a fresh, 2-page spread. Draw 5 intersecting circles in a Venn diagram. Make your circles big enough so that you can write within each. In the center of each circle, write the following:
What brings me alive?
What is seeking to be done through me?
To whom do I want to be a heroine/hero?
What is it they most need to hear from me?
What is it I really want to say?
Your drawing should look something like this:
Next, begin to play around with your answers from a stance of fun possibility. Forget duty. Take a deep breath, exhale, and lower your shoulders. There’s a new sheriff in town, and she’s done with the worn-out and false notions that you don’t have what it takes. You do. And you’ll find the best of your abilities hidden away in the answers inside your completed circles.
Once you have filled the circles, get some distance. Take a walk or a nap. Then come back to your drawing and see what lifts off the page.
- What surprises you?
- What insights do you have?
- What is it you now remember about why you became an entrepreneur?
- What clues do you see for how to approach your marketing and messaging?
- What should you be doing more of in order to amp up your joy, your passion, and your unfettered energy?
We get to the words that land and prompt immediate action from our market when we open our focus and connect to our inspired creativity. And we open our focus by gifting ourselves rest and time to think, enjoying cozy moments in our favorite spots, and moving in fresh air in settings that stir our souls.
How you feel, your connection to your true self, and how aligned you are with what brings you alive are 100% tied to your success as an entrepreneur.
It’s not about working more. It’s about living lightly.
From a state of renewal, playful abandon, exploration, experimentation, curiosity, and wonder, we emit signals to a crowded marketplace that pierce through all the noise because the words we choose are infused with empathy and truth.
Our ideal clients feel seen and heard and intuit their problems will be solved at long last. That’s precisely when they say, “Yes.”