How To Do The Impossible: Part 3

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Step 5: Do What You Can Do – RIGHT NOW. Keep on doing it.

In early November 2012 I was rear-ended and it left me with bad tendinitis in both forearms and re-breaks in my healed ankles that had broken 2 years ago.

I hadn’t been to a formal yoga class in seven months.

I was absolutely forbidden to do any yoga at all for the first three months, through the holidays. That killed – because the holidays are traditionally the time we all put on a bit more weight.

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A Midlife Woman Is Unstoppable

woman-unstoppable-deserves-betterYou’re unstoppable. Definitely. Especially when you think it’s all going downhill and younger women are taking over the planet, your mind is going south, you can’t remember your kid’s teacher’s name, if you’ve mailed the mortgage payment or it’s on autopay, “what-the-heck-was-I-thinking starting a business at my age?” or “screw it, I’m done!”.

Especially then.

If you’re in a rut right now, if you’re stuck and hurting and scared as hell to take a step forward…the ONE remedy, the thing that really works is: to do the thing you’re the most frightened of doing.

Trust that the net, the friends, the new community, job or place to live or whatever else will rise to catch you as you soar out over what might look like empty space.

The way towards freedom, towards better-than-this is not empty. It’s just so very full of your negative projections of doom you can’t see what’s really there: friendly faces and loving, gentle hands. Catching you. Whether you know them now, or they are blessings yet-to-come, they will catch you, and raise you up.

They are there. Waiting for you to step up. I am living proof of this. I stepped into the Void, with nothing but Trust and the net – finely woven of people I knew and resources, situations and people I had yet to meet – arose and supported me as they do all who journey bravely into the Unknown.

That infinitely strong and resilient net will emerge at just the right time to support you too. Just step.

Trust.

Step again.

RISE…

*photo: David Avocado Wolfe

“Talk Sexy To Me” – Zappos Wins Because They Do One Thing Really, REALLY Well

Want to hear a good one that involves great message, good product, nice people and sex? Because you know that marketing is about sex, right? Sex and hot men doing the dishes, apparently. To the American woman. 

But really, it’s all about the quality of the customer service.

I may be late to the party, but have just had my own personal Zappos epiphany. On the verge of a business event, I realized I couldn’t fit my ankle brace into any of the nice conference shoes I have. So lacking time to shop, off to Zappos I went.

The shopping experience is way beyond nice. To put a fine point on it, they revved my engines, gave me a hot oil rubdown, tons of freebies and left me begging for more. I’ll deconstruct that for you below so you can use the same successful tactics with your tribe. But my buy-in is… 

I’m the original Comfy Shoeist.

I will not wear shoes that are uncomfortable for any reason whatsoever. I have a strong, sexy yogabody, but with broken bones in my back and now a broken ankle, you couldn’t pay me to wear heels. So, I’ve been on a never-ending quest for not only comfy, but nice looking shoes.

To compound the problem…

I was allowed to run barefoot as a child and have wide feet. It’s hard to find shoes in my size. Zappos has them in abundance. Even the Sweet Grape flavored Keen Whisper (ooh baby!). And what’s more, they’ve got all this:

keen-grape-zappos

Zappos literally videos every single shoe and has an employee model it and tell you little known things like it runs large or small, is sized for the Asian market or the European market so adjust your size thus ‘n so and etc. Bonus points for going the extra mile. 

In fact, Zappos is all about the extra mile. 

I heard a story where a guy frivolously asked for a pack of cinnamon gum, so a Zappos employee was deputized to go get a pack and include it in his package. Now that’s service. 

I had my own service experience though. I called to find out something about a pair of shoes I was ordering and if the package would get to me in time before I went off to a conference. The Zappo’s employee said “You’ll totally have it by Tuesday with overnight shipping” and ran down the color question I had about the shoe. Then he said: 

“I can actually make Overnight Shipping free to you for life by putting you in our VIP club. I’ll do that, okay?” 

Oooo….talk sexy to me baby!!   

I was breathing a little heavily by now and perspiring damply. The American woman loves the sound of the words “free shipping, to and from”. You couldn’t offer any better porn than that to an on-budget female homemaker, corporate VP or business owner, unless it’s one of those beefcake calendars where the man is doing the dishes while begging to give you a foot massage. They make me hot and sweaty too…or it could just be menopause.

But I digress. 

I asked if there was any charge for the VIP Program and was told no, but it offered benefits to me as a customer, was by invitation only and he was inviting me just because I picked up the phone to call. “We like to talk to people voice to voice, and we like to do good folks favors.” he said in answer to why that was a worthy action. 

I began perspiring in that special way, and had to fan my face. Oh, he was good

Now he could be handing out VIP memberships to all and sundry for all I know. But I was deliberately and with great care made to feel special, had it reinforced that I’d done the right thing by calling and my service guy said several times how happy he was that I’d called in.

He really sold it too, not one particle of cheesiness did I whiff. He made me feel like I’d saved him from an interminably boring evening. And, I was given a special VIP login which takes it up just one more level. On comparison it appears to be the same catalog items, though some of the prices were less expensive. And the free overnight shipping like I said – priceless. 

Who loves ya, baby? Zappos does.  

I’m probably the last one on the bandwagon. But I love, love, LOVED how I was treated – so much that I’ll be back, many times over. They’ve won a customer for life. And notice how little, relatively speaking, it took. Five minutes total of a very well-trained employee’s time. The VIP program in place. 

The will to be a nice guy business in a cutthroat world. 

First of all, Zappos gives free shipping both ways to everyone. They gave me the perk of overnight shipping free, which is a $25 savings I appreciated, needing to get my items within 48 hours. Then they say that I can return items for up to a year. A YEAR. And on their dime no less. That’s insane. But it works, and from studying company loss strategies, I’ll just bet they have very few returns in the later months. 

Hassle of returning items is one of the primary reasons more customers don’t shop online or buy from catalogs. 

Secondarily, the cost involved in shipping an item back to the company can be prohibitive. Zappos did away with those two issues in one fell swoop. 

There’s a lesson to be learned here O Best Beloveds: 

Whatever objections your customers raise, address them and make them non-issues before you even open your doors. And if there’s a problem, take on all the responsibility and bend over backwards to accommodate them. That’s what keeps ’em coming back.. 

Last and most important of all, they tell me I can call 24 hours a day or choose to chat online if I prefer. Options for the Chatty Cathy and for the Socially Avoidant.  Covering all bases = Exceptionally Cool. 

It got me looking at my own company. 

I’m a cottage industry & vend mostly non-physical products. I also don’t have the staff to take on the world in quite the same way Zappos does. But I was seeing plenty of things that could easily be changed to remove hassle from the customer equation. Dealing with Zappos was for a shoe store, close to a spa experience.

I felt pampered. Like a fine looking gentleman had just given me the “hey sexy mama” eye then shook his head, regretting we were at such a distance. And married or not, that still feels good. 

I wonder now what I can do to make customers and clients of my products feel uniquely well cared for like Zappos does? What about your business? What have you to share with your tribe that they aren’t getting elsewhere – not in terms of information or your ninja skills, but in terms of tender loving care as a customer? 

Think about it. And shop Zappos. Model your experience with them, particularly if you had any trouble with your order. How did they handle it? What did they offer and in what manner? 

What are Zappos providing you that you could in turn be providing your ideal community members and customers? 

Go, and do likewise.

 

 

Online Teachers: How To Avoid Presentation #Fail

Plus a “How To Do It Better” Step-by-Step tutorial below.

teaching-onlineEarlier today I was in a spiritually oriented, personal development webinar that I just clicked “closed” on before the leader even got out of the starting gate.

Busy mom-preneurs, and midlife women launching second lives with online businesses, listen up, because I want you to avoid this kind of self-involved failure.

I stayed half an hour, but the leader spent those first thirty minutes telling us how wonderful her life is, their entire life history in “the movement”, all the bigwigs she knows and using the same two keywords in EVERY other sentence.

Sorry, but nobody cares that much about you.

I know that’s hard to hear, but the truth is, all anyone attending your webinar, teleseminar or live class cares about is if you “get” them and if you can help them.

The leader compounded everyone’s boredom by advertising this event “for advanced spiritual business people” when it was clearly for the kiddie pool.

Lesson here: don’t try to be all things to all people.

Casting a smaller net to a more focused audience is more effective and authentic than trying to catch every fish in the sea.

To go on, the speaker extended her rambling monologue by telling us what she was GOING to be speaking about, and GOING to be teaching for a further fifteen minutes. She repeated this information twice, bringing us up to the thirty minute mark with not one bit of useful info to the audience having been given.
The audience was radically bored and put off at this point.

You could hear the beeps of people clicking out and on to some other more productive use of their day…

…just as she was getting around to telling us about her third European vacation.

bored-with-computerExtensive mention of how cool you are, how many vacations you’ve been on this year and how many celebrities you hot tub with is distasteful for most people. It reeks of too carefully cultivated a persona.

A careful and respectful note of celebrity involvement or “filling this program bought my new car, seen here – I can teach you to do the same…” where it makes sense or teaches a point is fine. Any more is outright bragging and will turn people off.

Your people’s time is precious. Don’t waste it.

The leader of this event just wasted half an hour telling us how awesome she was. The lesson that followed might have been GREAT, but we were already too done with time-wastage to listen any further.

You’ve got about five minutes to impress people in the average teleseminar/webinar. You HAVE to care more about them than talking on about yourself in any public offering. Keep it to a minimum.

You get one chance to command my attention. As enlightened as you say you are, you just blew it. You don’t get my money or my buy-in. Caveat, Orator.

Here’s a good formula for Appropriate Sharing in Online Events:

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How To Do The Impossible: Part 2

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Phase II: “Working Towards Possible & Melting The Glacier”

Ask for and get whatever it is you think you can’t, shouldn’t or will never do…but MUST do.

You’re facing one of the toughest situations you’ve ever been in. Could be financial, medical, interpersonal, business – just about anything. But you have been told you’ll fail at it, will never do it, can’t possibly hope to succeed or shouldn’t even try to solve a problem “this big”. Maybe those words have even come out of your own mouth, or been said in the silence of your own mind.

But you don’t have a choice. You’ve got to pull your socks up and get on with finding and implementing the solution to this thing. If you read the first post in this series, you will have gone through the initial

First Steps of Doing The Impossible…

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Your Built In Truth Detector & Having It All

happy Woman Profile at Dawn

If I could share 500 words to inspire, this is the important wisdom I’d want to pass along…

In life there will be doubt, in even the strongest of minds and hearts. When in doubt, trust the body to lead you through it. Hand on heart, and the other on your stomach, ask if an option you consider is right for you. The heart will warm and feel light with a yes, the stomach will shrink and feel leaden or cold for a no. Your body may differ, but it will always give you equally clear signals, of what is best for you.

Don’t trust what your tongue says as it makes its arguments for or against a position. Face it, the average tongue will lie for chocolate cake!

But the heart and stomach are true and loyal advisors who will never steer you wrong.

Likewise, these bodily “Truth Detectors” will tell you who is a true friend and who is false. The true friend will leave you with a light, warm, comforted feeling, the false one with a feeling of sickness or cold heaviness in the pit of your stomach. Think of two friends – one you love and one you mistrust. Hand on heart, hand on stomach – how does your body feel when you consider each?

Exactly. That’s how this Truth Detector works. And you have it with you, all the time. Comforting, isn’t it?

Tread lightly in your journey on the earth. Endeavor to leave no trace of yourself, whether outdoors or in. Take extraordinary good care of this beautiful planet that is home to us all. Many more will come after you. Leave a clean home for all to live in.

And as you interact with others, remember that the most important thing is that you are literally the essence of love, you are very much loved, and it evolves you and others to be loving to all you meet.

Love is the central emotion that powers all good things to come into and bless your life. The more you give love freely and without putting the price-tag of “that person must now love me back” on your gift, the more freedom the universe has to send love to you. Be open to love returning to you in a surprising form, and give thanks when it does come.

That’s the formula for always having more love, or more of anything else.

Sometimes it’s not easy though, and we feel that the entire universe is against us. That’s when you need to keep a single-minded vision of where you’re going in front of you at all times, to direct and guide you towards that end goal – especially if it seems thousands of miles away.

Give life to that goal image – make it walk, talk, breathe and move. Go to sleep with it and wake up with what you desire more than anything. See it, feel it, embody it in yourself – especially if you can’t yet do it. The more you trial-run doing a thing you really want like this, the more power the universe has to pull that goal towards you effortlessly and quickly.

* (originally written by request for InspireMeToday.com as featured Luminary )

How To Do The Impossible: Part 1

ask-big-redAsk for and get whatever it is you think you can’t, shouldn’t or will never do…but must do.

You may be facing the worst day or night of your life. Or a horrible choice you think you can’t make…but have to. Perhaps it’s a diagnosis, work assignment or relationship ultimatum that freezes you to the marrow. Or a task that seems more fitting for a super-hero…but life has assigned to you.

Particularly if you’re a woman entering midlife, and what once seemed easy is now difficult and what was was difficult now seems impossible. With a side order of hot flashes, brain fog and relationship uncertainty as you enter your second adulthood and chance of a second life. Sound familiar?

Whatever reason you’re reading this, like 90% of people presented with a difficult opportunity for personal transformation, you may think you can’t, shouldn’t, mustn’t – or it would simply be impossible to do what you need to do.

Worse still, everyone around you, from authority figures to your own family and friends may be telling you “don’t even try, it’s impossible”. Chances are, they’re saying this out of love for you, because they want to spare you pain.

This is admirable, but misguided.

And they are wrong.

First Thing To Know:

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Inventing Our Lives, One “Hell No!” At A Time

Inventing-Our-Lives I’m in what Suzanne Braun Levine calls the “fuck you 50’s” in her book Inventing The Rest of Our Lives (*highly* recommended) and resonate with her notation that most savvy professional women in this period have no time or patience with naysayers in life or the workplace.

I’ll go one further and say “don’t tolerate the Naysayer in your universe, period”.

You literally cannot afford the constant energy drain that they are. I’ve changed my energy patterns so the Negative Nellies and Nates don’t get in my life anymore.

In order to achieve this, Educate them.

Hear them once and once only with the codicil “I appreciate your concerns, but I don’t share them, and I’ll have to ask you to keep negative comments to yourself in the future.”

If a Negative Nellie or Nate is a serial part of your life like a relative or longtime co-worker, the very next time they attempt to naysay you, tell them something like this:

“I love you Aunt Marge/Uncle Harry, and I’m sure you don’t know how constantly hearing negative comments about my life exhausts and wears me down. While I appreciate you have my best interests at heart, please accept that I’m an adult capable of looking at all sides of the equation, and don’t make negative remarks to me in future. I welcome any constructive and positive comments you would care to make however. If you find that difficult, I would be sorry to do so, but I will have to reduce the amount of time I spend with you.”

Does that help?

Are you dealing with an Aunt Marge, Uncle Harry, whether relative, supervisor or co-worker that naysays or badmouths?

Have you successfully dealt with them?

If this is part of your experience and you’d like some help to get past this common yet nagging symptom of midlife change, I invite you to book a “Change Your Life & Change Your World” Breakthrough Session with me to see if working together would be helpful. If you’re running a business in particular, I’d love to speak with you and see how I can help!

Just click here to get going.

 

Recoding Failure, Coaching Opinionated Women & Fatal Presuppositions

Businesswoman with pen in front of whiteboard. Isolated on white background.
Plus, a real client case study of someone I am SO proud of at the end. 😉

Many of my clients get referred to me after having been to coach after coach and not getting what they need to go forward in life or business. These strongly opinionated and passionate women want to fill a desperate need they see in the world, but typically don’t know how to start, and may not have enough support around them to achieve a goal like that.

Women perhaps, like yourself.

I specialize in helping women like you to bring big, important and often difficult projects into being. I do that by creating a transformative environment grounded in deep trust, full support of you as an awesome gift to yourself and the world, and the inability to do or say anything wrong. In this transformative container it’s possible to try on new behaviors, beliefs, identities and states of being.

In short, it becomes truly possible to create the world you want to live in.

And – this is real important – anything goes. It absolutely has to for you to feel safe enough to take the deep dive into transformation that you need to in order to create the changes you want to see in your world.

You can cuss & swear in session if you want to – heaven knows, I do from time to time. You can complain about how unfair things are…then enjoy creating the fairness you want to experience in your life and in the world, together.

And I swear to Goddess, I will never tell you “Life is unfair – get over it”. I would never insult you like that. That’s not productive and it doesn’t let you feel safe to fail.

And you need to fail. In fact, it’s mandatory in the creation of any Great Work like you’re contemplating. Whether that’s doing the Sistine Chapel one better or creating a simple, workable life for yourself that has a lot of what you want and none of what you don’t…you need to fail, fail fast, and “fail forward”.
In fact there is a hugely important bit of recoding you need to do around failure – There is no Failure. There is only feedback, data and collecting and learning from that data in order to get to the right answer as swiftly as possible.

Failing is one of the coolest things in the world because it bring you invaluable data about how you need to proceed to go forward. But our culture has so demonized this kind of data-gathering as a Bad Thing that most people feel unsafe to share that they’ve found yet-another way not to accomplish their objective.
Them: “EWW…you FAILED. Failure is bad. Therefore, You = Bad.”

Waah! No fair at all! As a coach, I actively WANT you to share the failures with me so we can celebrate them. Any coach worth their headset will agree.

Celebrate? What am I, crazy?

Well yes, just a little bit and in a good way, but that’s beside the point. Here’s why…

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You Can’t Fix Toad

You Can't Fix ToadSometimes, a toad is just a toad. It will never be a frog, much less a magical one, able to be kissed into a prince.

To vigorously insist that the toad has the possibility of becoming a fine frog, and may one day be a prince can be nice for the toad to hear, but it doesn’t contain the power to change its species, and in the end is just postponing the inevitable realization, that a toad it will always be.

Unless you really want to be with a toad – either one in terms of relationship, a job/career or any other situation (including those inside yourself), you need to wake up, smell the pond water and move on.

You can’t fix toad.

You have to love and accept it warts and all, or leave. If you want frog or prince, or to jump out of a job you hate for a chance of helping those you’re passionate about –  start with that, and work from there.

(though he’s a cute little guy, don’t you think?)