Tag Archives: failure

What Are You Afraid Of?

I think that “failure” 9.23.15has its roots not in the act of failing but what we think about failure.  After all, failing is just the act of not accomplishing what we set out to accomplish.  It is simply that and nothing more.  But when our minds get into the mix of failure, all hell breaks out.

What is the anatomy of failure in your minds?  It is something that is unique to each of us and possibly we revert to the age of the first time we know that we failed and the reaction of the people who witnessed our failure.  Certainly, it was not when we were learning to walk.  If you watch a baby beginning to walk, you notice that they end up on their butts more than striding across the room.  And our parents think it is cute, adorable or whatever.  Their reaction is mainly about acceptance and approval.

It is useful to think back to the first time you knew you failed and what happened then.  I suspect that it was around age 5 or 6 and a bicycle had something to do with the failure.  Falling off a bicycle when you want to ride it sooooo much is an absolute failure.  It is possible that the reaction of people watching is dismay or disgust, or they ridicule you in an unkind way.  What happens is not your reaction to failure.  It is instead your reaction to shame, not making the standard etc.  Of course, this is an example and you will have a better one that is uniquely yours.

The point is that we are not reacting to the failure, but instead to what we say to ourselves about it.
Here are some things that clients say to me when they have failed.
I know everyone is disappointed in me.
Everyone is laughing at me.
My (fill in the blank) thinks I am a loser.
How can I face my colleagues, staff, family?
Who did I think I am for even trying (fill in the blank)?

There is another way to view failure that may be more transformative.  Failure is just that—failure.  Failure allows us to see the next path or step to take.  It also allows us to evaluate if we really want what we thought we wanted.  If we decide yes, this is exactly what I want, then failure allows us to be more creative in new ways to get it.

Certainly, I am not being a Pollyanna, failure hurts and is certainly a way to make us stop and think about what we are really up to.  As business people we try many things and fail often.  To succeed, an entrepreneur must make friends with failure.

If you want support in turning your failure into a success, please contact me.  I am here for you.


Call Me…

3.18.15Like most of us I like hearing good news, and I love hearing breakthrough news from coaching clients.  Yesterday, I heard breakthrough news that is so exciting and over the top that I am sharing it with you.  One of my clients just closed a quarter million dollar contract.  She was excited.  I was over the moon pleased for her.

This contract wasn’t just going to happen.  This was not a lucky break.  She made it happen.  And she made it happen just like you can with taking the steps that are necessary to provide world class service to your clients.

Here are the qualities that produce breakthrough results:

  • A passionate belief in yourself and your ability to provide the services.
  • A clear vision of the core services you provide.
  • The ability to communicate clearly about your core services.
  • A continuing dedication to education about the latest developments in your field.
  • Knowing your target market like you know your best friend.
  • Keeping your word.
  • Planning your work and working your plan.
  • Communicating fully and honestly if you cannot keep your word.  Renewing a new “by when” for keeping your word.
  • Being willing to create a measurement for your results which includes “by whens” and promises and “go fors”.
  • Being willing to fail and to learn from the failures.
  • A refusal to be a victim of failure.
  • An unstoppable tenacity and persistence.
  • Having someone you trust hold you accountable for results.

Again and again I see these qualities in clients.  They are the people who have extraordinary results in their lives and in their businesses.

If you feel stuck.  If you feel like you can’t reach high enough for the breakthrough results you are longing for, please call me.  Together we can make your intention come true by clearing away what is holding you back from making that same kind of excited triumphant,” I did it!” telephone call to me.

I will look forward to hearing from you.


– Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net


How To Start Something – Anything

3.11.15It doesn’t matter when we start, it doesn’t matter where we start, all that matters is that we start. -Simon Sinek

Last week we discussed the importance of performing your business’s first quarterly review in 2015.  Most likely you were pleasantly surprised by some of the results and disappointed with others.  And now you are probably a little stuck on where to begin to correct the areas where you fell short.

Sinek tells us that it doesn’t matter where you start.  What matters is that you start.  Starting something is the place where many people are hesitant.  They are plagued with doubt; the specter of failing again looms over them like a dark cloud.  I do think it’s good that you question yourself.  Although the questioning can last way too long and become the reason not to start something.  Lingering in self-doubt is your clue to begin doing something now.

Instead of failure being the be all and end all of your business, it is the beginning of creating newly, of coming up with brand new answers to the questions you have.  If you can flip failure into telling you what doesn’t work, you are free to discover what does work.  And how else would you know if it works unless you get busy and try it out?  By starting something—anything—you will learn something new about your business.  You will be engaged; you will move forward.  The inertia will disappear; it will become the energy of forward momentum.

In order to start something, first you need to say that you are going to do it, whatever it is.  Put in a “by when date” and also a measurement of the result that you intend to produce.  Then tell someone, one of your circle of people who are the cheerleaders for your success.  You know who they are: the ones who, after you talk with them, you feel lifted, energized, ready for the next challenge.

By following those steps, you will start something.  And it will be great whether it flops or is a success.  Either way you will be moving.  That certainly beats the alternative.


Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net



Are You Selling To Please Yourself Or Your Client?

111914 Your OfferThere is a lot of value in being disappointed and failing in business.  Each disappointment and failure signals something that is not working in your business.  Once you see what is not working then you can change it, fix it, or just plain toss it away and not do it anymore.  Looking at what is not working sounds rather benign on paper; however on the playing field it can be painful for you, the entrepreneur, to face the fact that something you have put a lot of time and energy into is not working.

One of my clients had a brilliant idea.  In order to stimulate sales and bring in new clients, she would reduce her fee for service by 40% for a certain length of time.  She went about crafting her offer, designing special graphics, carefully composing emails about the offer and with much fanfare introduced her deeply reduced fee for service to her large list of potential clients.  What happened?  Nothing.  The offer bombed, and all the weeks of crafting, composing, and marketing was time wasted.

Another client has been selling a product to his target market for several years.  He has always told the potential buyer about the benefits and the limits of the product.  Sales were increasing steadily, but not dramatically.  He knew something was not working as it should.  After all, he always told the potential client what the product would not do as well as what the benefits were.  Why wasn’t his sales offering working as it should?

Both coaching clients came to their coaching session upset with their potential buyers.  They blamed the buyer for not understanding their offers.  “After all,” they said “My offer is wonderful.  Why isn’t the potential buyer buying?”

The answer to both coaching clients turned out to be the same.  They had forgotten WHO they were selling to.  They had made the assumption that the potential client knew their product offering as well as they did, when in fact, clearly evidenced by the disappointing sales numbers, the potential client didn’t understand the offer.  They didn’t see what they would be getting for their money so they declined the offer.  Once my client began to look at the offer through the eyes and mind of his potential client—his specific target market who he calls The One—he could see how to change the offer so it was appealing  

In the first instance, the coaching client could adjust the offer of the discounted fee for service by clearly listing what benefits the potential client would receive by accepting the offer.  The benefits would be written in such a way that would speak the language of the potential target client.  The potential client would want what the person was selling because it spoke to his needs.

In the second instance, the seller saw that in his quest for being honest and straight about what the product would not do, he didn’t specifically highlight what the product would do for the client.  He had been emphasizing the short fall, NOT the benefits.  The clients were left confused.

Do a thorough debriefing about your business failures with the intention of finding out what didn’t work.  It is essential to your entrepreneurial process.  Only when you see clearly why something didn’t work can you change it so that it does work.  The real proving ground for the success of every offer is through the eyes and ears of your target market, the specific person, the One.  If the One won’t buy the offer, find out why.

I am looking forward to hearing from you about this topic.


Why In The World Would You Hire A Business Coach?

Now Hiring 91014Indeed, why in the world would you hire a business coach?  There is no simple answer to questions like these as there is for why you would brush your teeth or exercise.  To answer this question requires some personal reflection and then a certain amount of courage to act on it.  Yet business people do hire coaches.  And there may be several compelling reasons for taking that action, which is probably an atypical action for an entrepreneur.

By definition of entrepreneur, you are “one who organizes, manages, and assumes the risks of a business or enterprise “merriam-webster.com

You are a risk taker, an explorer, riding into the undiscovered plains and mountains of the business world.  In other words you have courage, “guts”, and there are times when you fail.  When you fail, you are resilient—you go back at it again.  You don’t need anyone telling you what to do, “I want to do it myself—thank you very much.”

So then the question: Why hire a business coach?

  1. You are committed to accomplishing something that seems bigger than your expertise.
  2. You have reached a plateau in your business and are trying to figure out what to do next.
  3. You want to quit but feel like you still have something great to give and can’t figure out how to do it.
  4. You have tried and failed, but after the independence of owning your own business you know that you don’t want to work for anyone else.  But still, how can you make your business successful?

Hiring a business coach is an investment in success.

So, why would YOU hire a business coach?  I look forward to hearing from you.  Please comment in the space below.

When Is The End Not The End?

82014The ENDEverything will be all right in the end so, if it’s not alright, it’s not the end.  -Deborah Moggach, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

One of my clients contacted me this week, downhearted and very sad.  “I thought I did a good job with my guest event but I failed.”  Why?  He only registered two people immediately after the event.  The gloom was palpitating through the email.

And if that was the end of the sales opportunities, that certainly would be a failure, however, it wasn’t the end.  It was only the beginning of causing a success to occur by addressing the alleged failure.

In looking together at the statistics of the event, we found that only a third of the people who attended qualified for registration.  What is meant by qualification for registration is: have the money to pay for the offering and hadn’t already taken the program.  The number of participants at the event was inflated by a majority of alumni of the offered course.  They were not taking it again but got so much value from working with the client, they came to hear what he had to say.

Next we looked at how to reach out to the people who qualified to take the program and didn’t immediately register.  We decided on offering an incentive discount to those people for a limited time.  That offer resulted in more registrations.  Now a little light was showing in the original gloom.

However, there were still people who could register but didn’t, so how could he reach out to them without seeming too pushy?  We brainstormed some ideas, which were quickly rejected and gave us some laughs about how absurd we were being.  But, we did come up with one idea that sounded sane and would be of value to the remaining non registered guests.  We decided that perhaps they were confused about the program and had questions about their individual needs to see if the offering would work for them.  The client sent out a third email offering to talk to them in person to answer any questions that they had. This idea was a winner.  He now has appointments to talk to each person and discuss their individual concerns.

The project is not finished yet.  There is more to go.  However, this is something that is sure: “Everything will be all right in the end so, if it’s not alright, it’s not the end.”

I am looking forward to hearing from you.  When have you not accepted the end as the end?


Photo courtesy of FreeDigtalPhotos.net


Are You Resisting Change?

Resisting Change“Failure is not fatal, but failure to change might be.”
Legendary Basketball Coach, John Wooden

There you are looking at your results, knowing once again, clearly you failed.  The results are there staring at you, pointing their fingers at the failure sign above your head.  What do you do?  Once you have determined that something in your approach has to change, do you make the change?  Probably not.  If you are like me, you most likely try the same thing again, hoping you will have a different result.

What is it about change that we resist so much?  I did some research.  Lisa Quast, in Forbes, summarized it succinctly:

  1. Fear of the unknown/surprise
  2. Mistrust
  3. Loss of security/control
  4. Bad timing
  5. An individual’s predisposition

Bingo!  If you have 3 out of 5 reasons residing in you, you resist change.  So what are you going to do about it when you know that change is calling you?

I suggest that you do some work using the above 5 factors to be your guide.  Set aside some time and grab some paper and begin to write down your answers.

Ask yourself:

  • What am I afraid of?
  • Am I surprised about the change required?  And why?
  • Who do I not trust about making the change?  And why?
  • What about this change makes me feel insecure and out of control?
  • How does the timing of the change affect me and my business?
  • How am I about change in general?  Do I always resist change?  Why is that?

Allow yourself time to reflect on the answers and you may be surprised by them.  When you are honest with yourself, you can develop a strategy for the change that won’t be so jarring.  You will feel in control, and you can plan the timing of the change.  Who knows, you may even begin to like change.

I look forward to hearing your comments about this topic and what happened when you took a look at the change by answering the questions above.

Is It Time To Let It Go?

3.26.14We have been investigating the brilliant wisdom of Peter Drucker utilizing the “12 Keys to Entrepreneurial Success “as a path to better understanding what it takes to be successful in our lives and our business.

Peter Drucker was a leader in the development of management education and invented “management by objectives”.  He wrote dozens of books about business and management.  He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2002.

Key 11: “Most of the people who persist in the wilderness leave nothing behind but bleached bones.”

I don’t know about you but this one is hard for me.  I often cling to a business idea or possibility when I know with some certainty that it is a dead end.  I stand in admiration of people who can easily change their minds as often as they change their underwear. 

And yet, I persist in pursuing the dream.  You too?  Perhaps it’s time for us to take Drucker’s wisdom seriously. 

We actually do have to know when to quit pursuing something that is not working.  And yes, it is hard to do.  I think we need some guidelines to know when to quit, let it go, and, in the words of Kenny Rogers’ song: The Gambler,You’ve got to know when to hold ‘em; know when to fold ‘em; know when to walk away; know when to run.”

My guide for knowing the best time is asking myself a key question: Is this the hill I want to die on?  And no it’s not.  Is this the idea, the possibility that gives you life, or does it deplete you and leave you panting for air?

There is nothing wrong with you for failing and quitting.  Failures are good.  Failures teach us what not to do.  You can always be proud of yourself that you did try.  You got results, you just didn’t like them.  It didn’t work…so what?  Go on to the next thing and create newly.

Key 12: “Finding and realizing the potential of a business is psychologically difficult.”

This key is powerful.  We can add the word “self” to this key and see where it fits both our life and our business.  Knowing this key gives us the ability to move forward.  It also points to surrounding ourselves with mentors, committed friends who are listeners, and who are 100% for us winning.  We don’t need many but we certainly need to develop some people who we can count on 100% to be on our team.

Right now, look around your circle of friends and see who you know you can count on.  Acknowledge them for being there for you.  Look, too, at who you are 100% for.  Be sure to let them know that they can count on you. 

Now it’s your turn.  In the comments below, say how you will apply Key 11 and Key 12.  I look forward to reading your comments!

How To Re-imagine Part 2

Apparently, I hit a nerve with the last newsletter, Re-imagine Your Failure.  Some readers commented on it and others just called to tell me what they saw about re-imagining.  What struck me as the most was that their reactions pointed to who they are as entrepreneurs.  Yes, they have failures.  Yes, they do NOT like failures, and YES, OF COURSE, re-imagining is what must occur.

Here is what one highly successful entrepreneur said: “When asking yourself Man Creatingthat important question, ‘What could you do differently that may make the project succeed?’… it is also important to realize it was YOUR SCENE…Re-Imagine the SCENE…you may not have failed, even though you FEEL that way! Re-imagining has you get out of the grief a LOT faster!”

I think it’s a brilliant response to the inquiry.  Taking the comment apart, here is what inspires me about it.  It is where this person is coming from, this person is totally taking responsibility for her reaction to the failure.  In being responsible for the reaction then she can re-imagine it and give herself an alternative to experiencing failure.

She pointed to a very important trait of successful entrepreneurs, the art of being responsible.  Responsibility is perhaps a unsung positive trait of entrepreneurs.  In the true meaning of the word, being responsible is not blame or guilt, shame or any such demoralizing explanation.  Being responsible is “liable to be called on to answer, being the cause or explanation, able to answer for one’s conduct and obligations.”  Notice that the word “being” is used.  Being meaning, at least to me, who we are on the playing field of business.

An entrepreneur who is being responsible can re-imagine effortlessly, as the commenter said: “it is also important to realize it was YOUR SCENE”.  She takes responsibility for the scene and then, since its hers, she can re-imagine it.  And, that ability, is the key factor for being a successful entrepreneur.  No one else did it to you, or even for you; you and you alone are the one.  There is so much power in that way of being that you cannot fail.  You can only re-imagine and move forward.

I look forward to hearing your comments about this way of being.