The honeymoon was over. I’d been speaking for 5 years, but was a newly certified life coach and business owner. I had a dream to help others get unstuck and enjoy their lives again. But being the overachiever I am, by 6 months in, I was drowning in anxiety and overwhelm. Doh!
In honor of Living Power Life Coaching’s first anniversary this week, I thought I’d
rat myself out get honest about some things I messed up. Following our dreams is a messy job. Though your calling may be different than mine, you might be struggling with one of these mistakes too.
Mistake #1: Fear of Rejection.
I’d been speaking to women’s and parenting groups for years… for free. Why?
1. As a new speaker, free made sense.
2. Speaking to Christian groups (even once I had experience), I struggled with guilt: was it still ministry if I got paid?
3. I was afraid of rejection. And of someone judging me not worth the money, or thinking I was greedy.
How I overcame that mistake:
1. I confronted the fears with facts. Was I worth the money? I’d been a secondary school teacher, the coordinator of a department on my campus, and a community liaison with master’s work in education. Therefore, it wasn’t absurd to be paid to speak.
2. I took baby steps, my own coach challenged me to “just do it” – to set a fee (a low one, initially) and increase the cost each time I talked with a speaker coordinator until someone refused. So I did. And I was depressed that I’d short-changed myself as long as I had! As I continued testing the market, people did begin to refuse, but I was ready because…
3. I got basic marketing training in a Guerilla Marketing class that gave me bartering tools and services I could request in lieu of an honorarium (e.g. the group made handout copies, or provided me with an original recording of the talk for future use). Creativity is definitely your friend when you’re trying not to short-sell yourself!
Mistake #2: Doing Too Much.
As I began engaging people online, I joined too many networks and started too many projects. Why?
1. I was unsure of my message, so I joined a half dozen communities to try and find it.
2. Once connected with people, loyalty overrode logic, which was screaming, “Be strategic!” and my body, which was screaming, “Get some sleep!”
3. I was afraid I’d miss my dream if I narrowed and focused my efforts.
How I moved past that mistake:
1. I allow myself to try a variety of things… for a season. I set a deadline for this, so I didn’t fall in to the trap of becoming a “jack of all trades, master of none.” Doing this with online communities helped me find my voice as a coach and speaker.
2. I made some (hard) choices. Because at least four sites were a good fit, it came down to simply choosing to invest in one or two over the others. Once I made the choice, I’d message those closest to me on the forums with my contact information. Then I’d delete my profile and move on… and reassure myself closed doors didn’t mean I’d miss my dream!
3. I didn’t let discouragement get to me. Building an online presence, just like anything else in business, is based on relationships. Those can’t be rushed! So I kept deciding to stick with my choices, even if growth seemed small, and kept reminding myself of my dream along the way.
Sometimes, we don’t know what mistake we’re making, or if we do, how to get past it. So we need to surround ourselves with people who are doing what we envision for our dream, and with mentors and coaches to help us see and take the next steps in our journey. For me, it was a combination of learning from other coaches whose practices I resonated with, meeting with my own coach every other week, and having the courage to approach a national speaker to ask her to mentor me.
How have you dealt with mistakes as you pursue your life’s dream?
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