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The 52-week guide to becoming an entrepreneur – Week 28

December 20th, 2013 No comments

IMG_2746This is the twenty-eighth post in my epic journey going from lawyer to entrepreneur.  You can read the previous entry here, and next week’s entry here.

This week’s theme has been entirely about fear.  Not fear in the bad way though, fear in the good way.

What does that even mean?  It means that most of us set goals for ourselves that are ridiculously limited.  I was putting together a plan for the next phase of Evergrowth, which is to have small and medium business retain the company to provide coaching to their employees, as part of a benefits package.

The employees benefit because they are happier, more aligned with their purpose and values, more focused, and stretching, growing and achieving goals greater than they thought possible.  The companies benefit from having employees that are all of these things, as well as being able to attract and retain top talent, weed out the employees that aren’t really a fit with the company sooner, and creating a corporate culture far more organic and aligned with their values (do you belong to a company where having values and a mission simply means they’re posted somewhere in the office?)

This approach is a win/win for everyone involved.  I’ve looked and no one is delivering coaching in this package right now, and we will be some of the first.  As I sat pondering next steps, I stopped to ask myself a question: “Why would someone hire us when they could, theoretically, hire the principal of the company for less money”.

There’s a number of ways that I came up with to answer this question, but the simplest one was that it was time to raise my rates again.

Up to this point, I’ve been raising my rates incrementally.  Bit by bit.  But I realized something.  This isn’t what I’m committed to creating with my clients, and it’s not what I’m committed to creating for myself either.  You hire me to create exponential growth.  Incremental growth is something you’re already capable of.

There’s no challenge for me in raising my rates by $100.  It’s not a big number.  But doubling my rates?  Holy cow, that’s terrifying!

As I sat and talked with my coach about this, she reflected to me “Yah, it sounds like all that really happened is you really scared yourself with your next goal”.

That’s how I know it’s a worthy goal.  If a goal doesn’t scare you, it’s time to create a new goal.

[Tweet “If a goal doesn’t scare you, it’s time to create a new goal.”]

Exponential growth is the growth that doesn’t look predictable from where we are currently standing.  Those are the kind of goals to aim for.  Those are the places to aim your arrow.  Those goals are the reason to hire a coach.

Coaching is a profession designed to create miracles in our lives.  And the crazy thing, is that it works.

Embrace the fear.  It’s how you know that you’re up to something worthwhile.

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The 52-week guide to becoming an entrepreneur – Week 27

December 13th, 2013 No comments

IMG_2738This is the twenty-seventh post in my epic journey going from lawyer to entrepreneur.  You can read the previous entry here, and next week’s entry here.

This week’s theme has simply been love.  My coach reflected to me at the start of the call that I seemed like a man in love with his work and his life.  She’s right.  Sometimes, this work is so rewarding, I can barely contain my love and passion for it.  Seeing people take on their lives in a big way is thrilling.  It is the purpose for which I am on this planet.

You know what else comes with love?  Heartbreak.  All my life, I’d put together sophisticated mechanisms to ensure that I never had to face the downside of being in love.  I kept my girlfriends at a safe distance from my heart, ultimately leading to problems of intimacy — if you can’t let someone into your heart, how the heck are you going to have real intimacy with them?  I kept other people out, and jealously guarded the word love.  That word was reserved only for my girlfriend/wife, and my family.  And even then, my family got to hear it only in e-mails.

That stuff doesn’t work as a coach.  My job is to be intimately connected with my clients, and to really get their struggles, their pains, and see what they are truly capable of.  That last part can be heartbreaking.

The loss you experience when you lose someone precious is an indication of how much loved them.  When I see how much someone is capable of, and they are simply too scared to step in to it, that creates its own heartbreak.

It’s okay that people don’t step forward into their power and who they are.  There’s nothing wrong with hanging out in comfort.  The challenge is mine to own — once I’m acquainted with what someone is truly capable of as the full expression of themselves, it becomes immeasurably difficult to see them step back from that and go back to comfort and avoiding fear.

The gift that that heartbreak brings is the same gift that my work has brought me overall.  It is all an indication of how much joy I experience in my work, and how much I love the opportunity to coach the powerful leaders that I do.  If you want to be in love, you can’t protect yourself from the heartbreak.  You must open your arms wide and let everything in.  Let your heart fill to bursting, even if doing so means that it may later all be taken away.

Love and heartbreak are both the gifts that come with living a full life.  If you avoid one, you avoid the other.

The 52-week guide to becoming an entrepreneur – Week 26

December 6th, 2013 No comments

IMG_2720This is the twenty-sixth (halfway!) post in my epic journey going from lawyer to entrepreneur.  You can read the previous entry here, and next week’s entry here.

This week’s theme has really been about diving in and not letting fear stop us.  This entire journey is really based on that premise, but I’ve seen it reflected all over the place recently.

Clients come to me with many different reasons for wanting to work together.  More often than not, people don’t overcome the fear that they won’t be able to create a big enough difference to justify hiring a coach.

Other people get over the hump of investing in themselves, but then still hang out with their fears.  They show up each week with the same request, wanting to better understand why they are so scared and unwilling to take something on.

I think the biggest value I got from the first person I hired as a coach was when I went to them with the coaching request “I’d like to better understand why I’m so scared to coach my friends” (never mind that these days I simply won’t coach my friends).

His response was “Well, we can look into that, but is what you really want to actually coach them?  Because if so, that’s probably where we should focus our attention”.

Who cares why you’re scared of something?  As a coach, I certainly don’t.  What I care about is what you want to create.  Learning more about why we’re scared, while interesting, does nothing to move us forward.

If we want to move forward, we have to actually confront the fear.  We can get clear on what we’re actually avoiding, but that won’t change the fact that, if we want to grow, we have to stop avoiding that thing (or realize that it’s not really that significant in the first place).

I’ve succeeded in this venture beyond what I had even believed possible (achieving the goal I set for my practice in half the time I had declared) — and that is due to the simple fact that I have repeatedly been made present to my fears (thanks to my coach) and dived headfirst in to them.  If I was still practicing law part-time, I anticipate that my practice would be much less than half of what it currently is.

Whether you choose to work with a coach or not, you still have to confront your fears if you want to move forward.  A coach will make that far easier, and actually support you in doing so — but it doesn’t change the fact that you’ve got to do the work.

So quit waiting around. Have a conversation with me, get clear on what you’re avoiding, and dive in.