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The 3 Amazing Things That Finally Got Me & My Business Unstuck

The 3 Amazing Things That Finally Got Me & My Business Unstuck

There aren’t too many things that feel worse in career, business, or life than the feeling that you’re stuck. We hear about people feeling stuck quite a bit these days and there are a plethora of books and posts about the experience of feeling unable to move forward in life.

If you’ve ever felt stuck in your career or life, these feelings may sound very familiar:

Being stuck can make you feel empty, hopeless, wiped out, and downright pissed off. Being stuck can seem to you as though your life is meaningless while everyone around you has direction. You just don’t know which way to turn to fix things and move forward again. People around you try to advise you but everything they suggest feels off the mark.

Frankly, this is just what I have been going through for a long time now. Almost 5 years, to be exact.
And I’ve been keeping it a secret. Or trying to at least.

The irony of this is as an experienced coach and business advisor, I’m pretty good at helping other people get un-stuck on a regular basis.

So why couldn’t I do this for myself?

Good question.

So in order to answer this question, let me take you back to when it all started – this stuck-ness.

In 2010, I decided to move my coaching and training business, and my life, to California.

I had just ended a 5-year relationship, and I was soooo sick of winters back East. I am a summer girl and love being outdoors and being active. Tennis, and running, and hiking are things you can’t do year-round back East.  I would find myself waiting 6 months of the year for the weather to turn warmer. That’s an awful lot of waiting.

Moving to California was a no-brainer : great weather, lots of close family, I knew my way around having lived there before, and I had the networking skills and a roster of clients to work with virtually.

It all looked perfect.

Baxter the dog and I got on the plane and headed West.

I don’t remember being happier than during those first couple of months in California.
I was feeling successful, in the midst of a big extended family, opportunity was huge, and I was in endless sunshine and warmth.


Then, I went for my yearly mammogram at UCLA and I experienced my own personal earthquake.

For the next few weeks, doubt and terror filled me. But this wasn’t a typical breast cancer scare. If the diagnosis was positive, it would be my 4th bout of it.

Yup, #4.

The news was both good and bad.

The bad news was that it was a malignancy that required major surgery. The good news was that it was super-early and I wouldn’t need chemotherapy.
So, within 2 months of this move, I went through life-altering and body-altering surgery.

Being a very fast recoverer, I was very, very lucky.

But now let’s get back to the point of this post.

Back to being stuck.

You see, within 2 weeks of my surgery, I got right back in the saddle and went back to work with clients. I had the rent to pay, contracts to fulfill, and work that had to be done.

But somehow, I couldn’t get my mojo back.
Try as I might, I didn’t feel the same about my business.

Look at my backyard office and tell me I shouldn’t have been motivated.



I wanted to. And in truth, when I started working again there were some clients who did ignite a spark of enthusiasm again. (Thank you guys – you know who you are).

But mostly my business started contracting.
My eagerness to network and prospect and generate leads in the old ways just felt boring and inauthentic. It was much more difficult to cultivate my “tribe.”

So I started retreating.
A dear friend suggested I start tapping into my creative side to find myself again.
Being stuck and stressed to the max, I took her advice.
I started painting, distressing and refinishing furniture.

I did feel really good. But as for my business – STUCK!

I was in the most amazing paradox: Living in the most beautiful place with gorgeous inspiring views, but my life and my business were totally uninspiring.
I felt as though I was just doing the same thing over and over and not growing.

And here was the worst of it.

My confidence was in the toilet.

Over time, it got somewhat better. I wrote my book on networking, Network Like A Fox. I was happy to have a goal, complete the project, and enjoy the process. I had fun speaking all over the country on this topic and others.

Things started to get better. A little.

But the feeling of STUCK, not moving forward, being in a rut, pervaded.
And it was a very lonely feeling – being stuck and not having anyone to really brainstorm with. That was one of the worst feelings. I had always enjoyed being a solopreneur, but now I truly missed having a partner or colleagues to brainstorm with.

I asked for advice, coaching, input. I tried many things. I had a new idea every month to move my business forward.

But none took hold. None inspired me.

None held my attention long enough to develop any traction.

Then, I started to learn how to dance. How I found dancing, or it found me, was an accident.

A friend dragged me to a local country music dance hall (I had always hated country music) but, go figure, I fell in love with country music and two-step dancing. line-dancing-with-tall-jeff-2
A bit later, I also found West Coast Swing, a really fun but challenging dance.

The challenge of learning to dance, feeling myself overcome the hurdle of going from novice to not-so-bad and having so much fun brought new energy to my life.

As I made new friends, and my confidence started to come back, I also worked on getting into shape. I got stronger and fitter than I had ever been. I was running 3 miles every other day, playing tennis, dancing 3-4 nights a week, eating really well and enjoying a wonderful social life.

Yet my business was still in neutral.

And then the first amazing thing happened.

I heard a podcast with Anthony Robbins about living on purpose.

Amazing Aha #1:
I had been unclear about my purpose. This explained why all of the attempts at new directions hadn’t panned out. They were unconnected to my larger purpose and mission.

I now knew my search for purpose had to precede whatever I decided to do next professionally. I knew that I had learned and cultivated lots skills and abilities I wanted to share with people. I knew I wanted to make a difference with others in a much bigger way than I had before.

So I went on a Purpose Quest.

I created a vision board.

I started meditating every day and focused on detecting my purpose.

I started watching for signs and signals about what to do next aligned with my purpose – whatever that was!

On a strange whim, I registered for an online course in building new business models.

The course was terrific but in the beginning I still felt kinda stuck.

Then as I interacted with the community and the leader of the course, it hit me.

Amazing Aha #2: I felt a strong yearning to build and inspire a community of my own, helping them succeed. How? Well, I’ll share that a little later so read on.

As I learned and participated in this course, I found my community of amazing supportive business people to brainstorm with. My direction formed, and my ideas started lining up.

In my focusing and visioning exercises, I created the intention of living a life where my work felt like play.

And that’s what it started to feel like. My brain was challenged, my creativity was challenged, my connection to others in my community expanded.

But here’s the thing: as excited as I was, I knew, without a doubt, that I was going to have to pull the curtain back and share my personal story.

I realized that in order for others to be attracted to my community, they needed to know why they should follow me.  I knew that people follow those whom they can relate to, those with whom they resonate, those whose stories impact them and inspire them.

That is how connection is generated – and sustained.

Amazing Aha #3 – I was now ready to tell my story – all of it and trust that the story would not diminish my image or value to the business community. I had to trust that telling my story, reveal the truth, would not only help others see their value and purpose, but build the powerful community I envisioned.

I now could truly believe that I was capable of creating this, where before it was only a nice wish.

Looking back, the best way I can describe being stuck is

“it’s hell in the hallway”

I now feel like I’m back in the light again – most of the time.
I do get moments of doubt. That’s when my community reminds me who I am – for the community I want to build.

What I’ve learned, so far, about being stuck, and what it takes to get unstuck is the following:

1. We are stuck for a reason, usually because we’re supposed to stretch into something new, way bigger, way more challenging.

2. You can’t rush getting unstuck. It’s a process and all you can do is the personal exploration work needed until you gain the new awareness and readiness to move forward.

3. Having community whether it’s a coach or a mastermind group or a business community or a spiritual community – is so essential to get the support and smarts of others to help you.

You know, when I was in the worst of my stuck-ness, I did know that I would eventually come out of it. I just hated having to be patient, I hated that I couldn’t just take an action and have things shift immediately.

Being stuck can happen to anyone -whether you’re brilliant or not-so, successful or struggling, hard-working or a slacker. Lots and lots of people go through a career or life quagmire.

In fact, Tim Butler, director of career development programs at Harvard Business School recently authored a best-selling book entitled, Getting Unstuck:How Dead Ends Become New Paths (check out the itunes podcast here).

Now, with that “stuck” residue starting to wash away, I understand how my dead end was essential for me to see the green arrow pointing me to new purpose, passion, and productivity.

Soon, in an upcoming post, I’ll be sharing all about the project that I’m working on now and ideally what’s in it for you too.

After all, without being of real value to you folks, I’m right back in that hellish hallway.

P.S. In the meantime, this a personal invitation to visit me (and “like”) me on my Facebook Business Fox Page where I’ll be posting some meaty videos on some of the new business strategies I’ll be revealing. And I’ll soon be doing some Facebook Live video streams – so I’ll be at your disposal to answer business questions about getting unstuck, confidence in business, and new business strategies and tools to help you and your business grow in big new ways.

Would You Sink Or Swim In The Tank?

Would You Sink Or Swim In The Tank?

One pitch, one message, one opportunity to fund your dream business.

Have you been watching Shark Tank?

What a great show. Rich guys and gal “Sharks” entice entrepreneurs with their deep pockets into pitching them with their products and business opportunities.

Here’s what’s amazing: If you watch the show regularly, you’ll notice that the Sharks want to know three things: How much are you asking for, what % of equity are you willing to give them for their dough, and how much have you sold in the last year.

They want to know what you think the value of your company is, and then they figure out if you’re reasonable or off the wall with what you think your business is worth.They decide whether they want to partner with you and help you become a super-success.

I’m amazed by how unprepared some of the entrepre-pitchers are, but also how indecisive they often are. Frequently, the Sharks are the best deal they’ve ever gotten and yet they think about it so long they lose the deal.

The best part is when they bring back former entrepre-pitchers to show you what’s become of the business in the last year. Barbara Corcoran gave Kim of Daisy Cakes $50,000 for 25% equity in the company. In 2010 she sold 2,000 cakes and at the close of 2011, she sold 18,000 cakes!

Shark Tank is on Friday nights at 8 PM on ABC.

Making Rain Without Pain

Clients and workshop participants frequently ask me: “What’s the difference between sales and business development. Aren’t they the same thing?” Often I answer with a question: “How does it feel when someone is trying to sell you?” Ugh!

Daily, we are bombarded with “sales pitches” almost from the moment we wake up until the moment we close our eyes at night. I have a feeling in the not-too-distant future, someone will figure out a way to create some kind of moving ad, like a billboard traveling across the inside of our closed eyes, to pitch us even when we are sleeping.

Gaining new business and clients in the service sector is a totally different process than selling widgets. When people purchase services, they are purchasing something quite intangible. That’s why business development is anything but selling.

Business development is a relationship-building process where you are actually attracting new opportunity toward you. How? By being interested in potential clients’ needs rather than “selling them your wares.” When we are truly interested in helping someone’s business, they will be interested in us. Pretending to be interested just won’t cut it. People intuitively sense when we are primarily interested in selling them on how much we know and pontificating about our expertise. If you are dead set on telling people all about you and your smarts, don’t be surprised if you are rewarded with the dreaded blank stare of boredom.

People are primarily interested in one person – themselves. Work on asking them probing questions about their business. When you give them this clear expression of your interest in them and their business, it’s pretty likely you will find yourself being the center of their complete and undivided attention.

Most of us recognize it’s important to be working on business development, but it seems to take so much time for such a small return. It seems impossible to do all the necessary work for clients AND work on business development at the same time.

The key to building your business while you are serving your business is systematizing, prioritizing, and training your clients to adhere to this system.

Here are three key actions you MUST take to get a handle on your business development results:

1. Plan your business development activities for short spans of time every day. Make 2-3 calls or outreaches every single day, set up meetings for ideal candidates and track your calls.

2. Return phone calls and e-mails no more than twice a day. Ask people to identify if the issue is truly urgent.

3. Train your clients. You must demonstrate being responsive yet maintain control of your schedule. Clue your clients in to how you will work with them at the beginning of the engagement. They can count on you to get back to them in a mutually agreed upon amount of time. No one benefits from or feels confident about a confused, frazzled professional.

All three of these key action steps address a biz dev approach that I call “Daily Consistent Activity©.” By implementing “Daily Consistent Activity©,” you are certain to generate a healthy, flowing pipeline with greater speed and ease.

5 Ways To Drive Your Business Up During A Business Downturn

The worst thing we can do during a business slowdown is to panic. Going on a business starvation diet will only prolong the rough times. A business downturn calls for cool minds, steadfast adherence to sound business systems and structures, and innovative thinking about ways to create opportunities where only difficulties seem to exist.

Here are the essentials that can drive your business upward even when the economic climate is gloomy: 5 Ways To Drive Your Business Up During A Business Downturn –

1. Be thrifty with your expenditures but generous with praise for employees and coworkers. You want to be especially cautious about spending without starving the business. And it is also the perfect time to upgrade the team atmosphere so your entire staff works together in strategizing ways to not only preserve the business but enhance it.

2. Avoid having too great a percentage of your business with one or two customers; diversify and spread your business over a broader customer base. Ideally, you will have been preparing for this ahead of the downward curve, but if you haven’t, challenge your entire marketing and sales team to come up with ways to put more of your sales eggs in other baskets as quickly as possible.

3. A contracting business climate also offers new opportunity. Be flexible and strategize new ways your business model can capitalize on the changing market and come up with new programs to tap this.

4. Bring added value to your customers. Identify new ways you can add service and products vs. cutting corners on value. Study the competition carefully so you can be one step ahead of the curve and their value proposition.

5. Increase your face time with customers. Stay in front of your customers regularly. Find ways to connect with them, check in with them and find out what’s happening in their business. Stay connected and stay in touch. Let them know they are top of mind with you, and you will increase your value with them.