Stop Serving to Create Business

One of the ways I’ve learned to create success in business is by actively helping people – to provide some product or service – before they ever pay anything or become a client/customer.

In countless industries, both in my own businesses and those of my clients, I’ve seen the willingness to ‘go first’ in giving be a beautifully effective strategy for creating clients, customers and prosperity.

The catch-22 to overcome however can be summed up like this: ‘How do I come from a place of pure giving, when really I know it is a strategy for getting business?’

Until recently, my answer has been to take it moment by moment and day by day. It was to ask yourself, “Am I willing, at least for this moment/today, to ONLY give?”

This works in that it snaps you out of the transactional reality and absolves you almost fully into the reality of giving.

Dependably though, this reality soon melts away and you return to a transactional way of being; I give to you so that you will give to me. 

Recently I spent a day with a man who lives service more deeply than only one other man I’ve ever met before. The man’s name is Steve Hardison and he is a ‘coach’ in Phoenix, Arizona. (Calling him a coach is a bit of a misnomer, but that’s another story.)

I won’t go into all the details of how I experienced this now, but what I got from this man – someone with a client waiting list years long and whose clients pay him upwards of $1,000,000 to work with him – is that service is not his ‘strategy’ for creating clients.

Service is not his tactic. Service is not what he does BECAUSE he wants clients. Service is not what he does SO THAT people will become clients.

Service is simply what he does. Full stop.

In fact – service is WHO HE IS.

By being service, he DOES serve people. And by being this way, clients DO happen.

However, these two occurrences are as separate as the sky and the ocean.

This distinction of ‘Service as Strategy’ vs ‘Service as Being’ is important because it changes the inner story that has attachment to an outcome keep sneaking back in.

When you move from ‘Service as Strategy’ to ‘Service as Being’, you automatically stop keeping score.

A weight rises from your shoulders and no longer must you qualify, filter or concern yourself with the likeliness that something will come back to you.

When you simply BE SERVICE, life works itself out.

I got this during my hot yoga class, standing in a warrior position and staring out the window. Sweat dripping down my face, breathing in and out, I watched the tree outside just sit there. The oxygen I sucked into my lungs came from that tree. It didn’t ask me to give it carbon dioxide first. It just gave me oxygen. Not because it was transacting oxygen for carbon dioxide, but because creating and giving oxygen is just what it does. It just serves.

My new story is to be like Steve and to be like the tree outside my yoga class.

I am Service.

Are you with me?

COACHING QUESTIONS:

  • How are you using service as a strategy to create business?
  • How would what you are doing change if service instead became something you ARE?

Living (and Sailing) With Integrity

When I was a little kid, I would go with my father to check on the houses he was building. I loved to explore the maze of timber sticks and breathe in the smell of sawdust. I remember one summer morning looking down a set of thin, temporary stairs that led into the basement.

“Dad, I’m going downstairs,” I shouted into the shell of a house, hearing my voice echo.

“No you’re not!”, he responded quickly.

“Why not?”

“Because the stairs aren’t in yet.”

“Yes they are!? I can see them!”

“Those aren’t real stairs. They’re lacking integrity.”

That morning I learned two things:

First, if something lacked integrity, then it wasn’t safe. It wasn’t trustworthy.

Second, since the stairs didn’t have integrity, they essentially were not even stairs. Sure there was wood there, but there would be no stairs until integrity was added to them. Without integrity, the stairs didn’t exist.

It is like this too with our personal integrity.

First, the more integrity we have, the more others trust us (and the more we trust ourselves).

On the flip side, those who lack integrity we find to be untrustworthy.

Again, secondly, it is those people with integrity who we hold to be most substantial. We consider them most valuable and even real. It is also when we have integrity that we take ourselves most seriously.

On the the other hand, we tend to disregard those who lack integrity as inconsequential. For ourselves, without personal integrity, we feel as if we lack meaning or purpose in life.

Without integrity, we ask questions like: Who am I? Why am I here?

One could say that without integrity, a person doesn’t exist.

I’ve been taking sailing lessons recently, as I find sailing to be a great metaphor for life. The integrity of the sailboat is obviously fundamental to it harnessing the power of the wind and it going where it wants to go. On reflection, I noticed a sailboat has three main structural features that enable it to sail, each of which can represent an aspect of personal integrity.

Watch this video to find out what they are.

Yoda Was Wrong – Try, Do or Do Not

My coach Rich posted an update on Facebook last year about how yoda was wrong.

He was referring to the scene in Star Wars where Luke says “I’ll try” and Yoda responds saying “Do or do not. There is no try.”

Rich remarked about how his son, learning to walk, tried, fell, got up and tried again.

The suggestion was that Yoda was wrong because by denouncing ’trying’, he underestimated the power of the willingness to TRY.
And at the same time, Yoda was right too.

So many people say “I’ll try“…just like Luke, with those slumped shoulders and wobbly head. You just know they aren’t committed.

I’ll try to go to the gym. I’ll try to meditate.

What’s the difference?

Is trying good or is trying bad?

“Trying” is not the thing to judge. It is how we apply the try that matters.

What does NOT serve creation is when we apply TRY to actions and instead of results.

Trying an action means you are not committed to doing the action. Your heart isn’t in it. This is what Yoda was saying to Luke.

More subtly though, is people’s unwillingness to try to achieve a result. This is what Rich was pointing to.

We never have total control over results. Only influence at best. Thus to try for a result is all we can ever do.
“I’m not going to try to achieve that, in case I fail.”
“I’m not going to try to get super fit, because I might give up.”

You are trying in the wrong place!

STOP trying to do things.
START trying for outcomes.

When it comes to actions: Do.

When it comes to results: Try, try, try. Keep trying. Be willing to try over and over and over again.

Talk About Money – Enter The Haunted House

Lots of people I meet are scared to have the ‘money’ conversation.

It feels like going into a dark, scary house at the end of the street that everyone says is haunted.

You want to do it, but you don’t want to do it.

However, if you’re willing to hold the flashlight and go in first, then you and everyone with you gets to go inside.

And then…once you’re in there…and you’ve looked in all the rooms, you discover it’s not haunted after all.

It’s just a big, dark, empty house.

You were only scared because you didn’t know what was in there.

Talking about money is like this.

Once you do it – once it’s out in the open – it’s no big deal.

Carry the flashlight.

Go in first.

 

How to Become More Adept at Creating Passion

If you want more passion in your life, then you need to be taking action.

Why?

Imagine you want to learn to paint. You stand in front of a blank canvas, you feel something, you imagine it, you reach out with your brush and you make your first stroke.

Your experience of making this stroke is slightly different than you imagined it would be. It looks a bit different too. This gives you feedback. You try again. Still different, but better. More feedback.

The more you do it, the more it begins to feel and look as if you imagined it would. And the more skilled your hand becomes at painting what inspires your heart.

The more this happens, the more you love to paint.

Action is crucial in creating a passionate life for two reasons:

1. Action feeds new imagination.
2. The experience of your action gives clarity as to what it is you really want.

Both of these things make you more adept at creating and making decisions from your heart.

Feel -> Imagine -> Act -> Experience -> Repeat

You Are Already Failing

You know that thing you’re not doing because you’re afraid you might fail at it?

NEWSFLASH: You are already failing at it!

Having NOT stepped out into the world and started doing that thing you are being called to do (because you risk failing) is itself, by default, a failure.

Don’t kid yourself that you are staying free from failure.

When they nail the lid of your coffin shut, if you haven’t succeeded at the thing yet, you will have failed, no matter if you tried or not.

Whether you try and fail or you fail to try, you are failing just the same.

Why fail by default when you can fail in action?

Isn’t the latter more noble?
More meaningful?

More of what you really want anyway?

Your Results Don’t Matter

Most coaches say “IT’S ALL ABOUT RESULTS!”

Personally, I don’t care what results you get.

Results are something that are either in the future or in the past. You cannot experience results.

In my opinion, ‘results coaching’ is actually an exacerbation of the story of separation that infects our societal psyche. It creates an attachment to outcome that puts you forward in time, taking you out of your deepest self and thrusting you into an ego-driven future.

You cannot be present when your mission is results. You cannot experience passion when you live life outside of this moment.

What I care about is that my clients are MOVING vs STATIC. I care that they are in ACTION. I care that they are CHANGING – present progressive.

And furthermore, I care that their ACTION is emerging from their heart rather than their head.

This is because I want them in flow. I want them participating in the unfolding. I want them creating.

My clients do create results, but their results aren’t always what they expect or desire. Sometimes they are greater, sometimes they are lesser, but it doesn’t matter to me because  results are not the thing.

In fact, I do not even allow my coaching apprentices to report their results each week. They can only report their actions.

As has been said by many a wise folk:

Life is about the journey, not the destination.

This is my work.

If you inquire about coaching with me, I will talk about ‘results’ with you. Secretly though, I’ll do this only to get your fears out of the way. Once you have paid your coaching fee, my focus will be on bringing you into the right here, right now, where the life you want is already happening.

I have achieved many things in life, but none of them because I was focused on results. Instead, the achievements I’ve made have emerged from being committed to where I am and what I am doing.

This is what I want to bring into your life.

Where are you, right now?

What are you doing, right now?

This is what matters.

Nothing else.

The Quick Fix Lie

As a comment on a recent video I published called Affirmations Suck! Try This Instead, my friend Laurence wrote:

“Our society has a strong bias now towards the quick-fix lie…we fake it ourselves in order to polish our persona. It is highly narcissistic (in the clinical sense) and does not really prepare us for the challenges of life as persona will fall away under pressure. Forging the self takes time and effort but to transform the soul you must face the shadow and all the self doubt and fear that is held there. This is something to build a life on!”

He was so dead on.

The ‘quick fix lie’ is what I’m fighting against with my work.

Most personal development training attracts and massages the ego. Self-help events are typically mass collections of what I call ‘ego-minimalists’ – people gathered under the common bond of a low self-esteem narcissism.

Ideas like ‘limiting beliefs’ become buzz words that unite them.

“I’ve got 5 limiting beliefs. How many do you have?”

“Just 4 now, but I used to have 10!”

Course after course, book after book, they find more and more places to lay blame as they drive themselves deeper and deeper into victimhood.

They come together in online forums and at weekend events, following gurus promising a magic elixir for their tiny, brightly burning egos .

They trade credit card debt for toxic hope that this time it will work…this will flip the switch and make my life beautiful.

But nothing changes.

To the light they look, while what they are searching for sits  in the darkness waiting to be taken, but only by will.

They sit, numb, dazed, scribbling notes they’ll never read, empty of courage and wallowing in their self-pity, while the world burns beneath their feet.

“In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”
– Martin Luther King, Jr.

If you really want to help yourself, then forget the ‘self’ you are trying to protect. Enter the darkness, move towards the heat and get on with creating something greater.

Schedule Meetings With Your Demons

Last week, I had a meeting with my demons. We did it at the cafe around the corner from my home at 3pm on Wednesday (I’d scheduled it with them on Sunday).

The aim of the meeting was to discuss what they are trying to stop me from doing next in my life. I didn’t actually challenge them in that meeting. Instead I just sat down and talked peacefully with them. I have to admit, it was a bit deceptive on my part. When I was there, I knew all the while that as soon as I got the information I was going to hatch a plan to do the things I discovered they were stopping me from doing.

I knew I couldn’t plan on doing the things right away or even in the same day though. They would have smelled it on me. They would have gotten their claws right into my belly at the meeting. So I just kept it in the back of my mind and focused on finding out what they knew. I just went and I met with them. I ordered a coffee, and just sat and spoke to them.

I asked them things like:

“What is it you are afraid of?”

“What really, really scares you?”

They didn’t have much to say at first, but the longer I sat there, holding them to my questions, the more they started to speak. And when they spoke, I took notes. It was exciting and enlightening, but I was careful not to show too much excitement. I didn’t want them catching on.

Once I’d gotten all the information out of them that I could, and I’d filled a page in my notebook I thanked them, got up, and walked out of the cafe. The moment I was out the door, a devious smile spread across my face.

I’d tricked them. The bastards.

Immediately I began hatching a plan to undermine them. One of the things I found out was that there was someone I needed to phone. Someone whom being assertive with made me uncomfortable.

Once I’d gotten the information out of them, it was as good as done. The next day, when I picked up the phone to make the call, they got their claws into me, but since I knew it was them – since I had expected them to try to stop me – I was able to overcome them.

The demons couldn’t hold up against my awareness. I moved forward and they fell. And when they fell I felt greatness expand within me.

Schedule a meeting with your demons.

They’ll be happy to speak with you. And they’ll never see it coming when, a day or two later, you use what they told you to overcome them.

How NOT to be a Struggling Business Artist (Or a Flat Spirited-Millionaire)

The banker, the MBA and the profit-driven entrepreneur all want to see the market research that identifies the need. They want to see round pegs and round holes. How many are there? Are they the right size? Yes? Good. Let’s go to production.

The artist, the musician, the creative entrepreneur all want to see their thing loved, valued and paid for. They want it to emerge from the depths of their soul into the world and they want money to then flow in exchange towards them.

Both groups are missing something though.

What the profit-driven entrepreneur creates is fully and only for others, but she is the empty millionaire. She makes money, but her soul is flat.

What the creative entrepreneur creates is fully, and only, from his heart; but he is the struggling artist. He creates from spirit, but he is broke.

The groups try to help each other.

The banker tells the artist to meet the needs of potential buyers, but the artist resists because he doesn’t want to ignore his spirit. He doesn’t want to ‘sell out’.

The musician tells the MBA to use her imagination to create, but the MBA resists because it would be too risky not to focus on the demands of the market.

What both sides are missing though is this:

Compromise is NOT the only option. By embracing the paradox, you can transcend the alternatives.

What the profit-driven entrepreneur is missing are the transcendent possibilities that would emerge if she were to let her creativity serve the market instead of her reason. By providing the obvious, she is missing out on a greater service she could provide. So quick to put a round peg in a round hole, she misses how the stems of the flowers that fill her house could fill holes of all shapes and sizes, despite the fact that nobody was looking for that. She doesn’t see what could be wanted because she is so busy looking for what is wanted from within the world of what already is.

What the creative entrepreneur is missing are the transcendent possibilities that would emerge if he, instead of dancing to his own music, was willing to dance to the music that is already there. He thinks the music is the thing and so he dances to his own. But it is not. The dance is the thing. If only he were willing to dance to the buyer’s song. He is missing that even more awesome thing he could create if he were to let the market’s needs be the paints on his palette and he were to paint with those colours.

The way for the profit-driven entrepreneur to do this is to begin using her imagination, to play with possibility and to risk creating in a way that’s not currently sought or asked for. She must risk in order to explore the possibility that by reaching into the world with a fist full of flowers round holes would reveal themselves. In this way, she provides something which not only serves a market’s need, but which is also a pro-creation between what the market needs and what she has to give.

The way for the creative entrepreneur to do this is to learn and get to know the needs of buyers, to listen to them and their language, to feel them, to bring these into his heart, to be with them, play with them, paint with them, sing with them and dance with them. And then to create something which is not only from the depths of his soul, but which is also a pro-creation between what he has to give and what the market needs.

On with creating…

 

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