Sometimes, I don't write at all.

A lot of people tell me that they wish they could write like I do. I hear it so often, in fact, that it is a large part of why I am here on this site today. It is why I coach others to communicate effectively by removing blocks and limiting beliefs, sprinkling in my magic marketing wisdom.

But I have to say, a part of me does feel guilty when someone compliments me on my writing – especially certain pieces. You see, sometimes, I don’t write at all.

It has taken me nearly 15 years to realize that when I look back on my best writing, I don’t actually remember creating any of it. The words don’t ring true, they don’t seem familiar, they don’t even seem like my own. Especially when it comes to sales copy.

In fact, the best copy I write typically comes about through a scenario like this:

  1. I sit around trying to think of a hook or an angle.
  2. I ask the universe for inspiration.
  3. I receive an idea or spark of inspiration.
  4. I sit down to write, and somehow 30 minutes to 4 hours later I have amazing copy that I hardly even recognize – even though I just wrote it. In 30 minutes to 4 hours.

In the past 5 years I have come to experience more and more of my gifts – the work of my soul, my connection with the universe, and how free and abundant that connection is. But it was only a short time ago that I came to a simple realization:

Great writing and marketing aren’t forced out of you, they flow through you.

I can’t say that I completely understand this phenomenon, but the most effective marketing, branding, communications, and writing all happen when I’m in what some would consider to be an “Alpha” state – relaxed, detached, not really thinking of the words as they flow through me and form sentences.

I am, in fact, writing most of this blog post with my eyes out of focus (not wearing my glasses) because I don’t need to see the words to know that they are communicating exactly what I want to say.

The lesson here is this – if you’re having to force your words, they’re not likely to be effective. The next time you’re struggling to get into a “flow” state, try asking the universe for inspiration to come with ease and clarity.

It may take awhile for you to develop this skill, but once you do, you will be able to receive an idea and create the marketing messages to accompany it with almost zero effort – just the time it takes to get out of your own way!

Do you have any experiences like this? Share them in the comments below!

It's about choice.

Let’s say, for a minute, that you’re human and there is something you’re afraid of. I’m sure you can relate to a situation like that.

You put off doing something that could have a huge, positive impact on your life or your business because you’re afraid of what could happen. It could be a public speaking engagement, reaching out to a mentor or a high-paid coach or consultant in your niche, or even day to day things like making dinner or picking up the kids.

You don’t want to screw up.

You don’t want to look bad.

You don’t want to forget.

Or like I’m faced with right now, you don’t want to let someone down.

Here’s a coach tip for you – make a choice.

Don’t want to screw up? Choose not to.

Don’t want to look bad? Choose not to.

Don’t want to forget? Choose not to.

Don’t want to let someone down? Choose not to!

It may sound silly and trivial, but what you have to realize is that most of those fears are coming from a limiting belief. In the moment, however, we don’t often have time to trace our lives back over the years and figure out exactly where that limiting belief came from, heal it, and move on – we often have to just pick up our boots and do something about it now.

That is when you make a choice.

By choosing to be competent, to look good, to remember, or to keep your word, you’re essentially short-circuiting your belief.

You’re telling your mind “I know you believe that I could screw this up and let so-and-so down, and that if I do, it’ll be really, epically bad… But guess what? I choose to be competent. I choose to keep my word. And there is nothing you can do or say to change that.”

Try it right now with something you’ve been afraid of.

If you’ve been afraid of letting down a family member, try telling yourself “no, I won’t let them down!” – then listen. Listen closely, and you’ll probably hear “yeah, you will. You always do!”

That negative self-talk is at it again, speaking from the experience of your limiting beliefs.

Now try telling yourself “I choose to keep my word, regardless of the circumstances.” And wait.

Totally different, isn’t it?

You might hear silence. You might hear “okay”, or something similar. This is your internal dialogue, and it is okay that you play with it like this – you’re not going crazy or hearing voices or anything like that.

Whether you like it or not, this internal dialogue is always going on. It filters everything for us and controls how we interpret situations, so that it can attach limiting beliefs to our new thoughts – protecting us.

But no thought or situation has meaning until we give it meaning, so no limiting belief has power until we give it power. And by stepping in and making a choice, you’re temporarily taking the power away from your limiting belief.

Obviously, you will still want to come back when you have time and trace out the root of that belief. See if you can heal the original situation that caused the belief to form, and then you’ll be free from it on a more permanent basis.

But in the moment, when you can do what you want (and face your fears) or play it safe, make a choice. Choose to be powerful, keep your word, look good, be competent… Choose to be the opposite of whatever you fear.

Take the power away from your limiting beliefs.

Try it some time.

– Cheryl

Step up and do something BIG

Today is the day to step up and do something big.

Think of a marketing project you have wanted to do… Or a new product you have wanted to launch… Or have been dreaming of getting a hold of your mentor or a big name guru… Stop for a minute and think – what has been holding you back?

Fear?

Anxiety?

Guilt?

Shame?

Unworthiness?

STOP. None of those things mean anything in life.

Terry Fox – a great Canadian hero. He had cancer, and lost his leg. He ran across the country to raise funds for a cure, and died before he could finish. Millions of Canadians run in his honor every year, raising millions more for cancer.

Agnes Bojaxhiu lost her father at the age of 8. Her mother raised her Roman Catholic from that day forward. At age 18, she left on a pilgrimage with almost nothing, and never again saw her family. She became a Nun in the Catholic Church, and won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979 for her work with the poorest of the world’s poor. She is commonly known as Mother Teresa.

Joe Vitale – born into poverty, homeless in his twenties, lived in poverty as a writer. Now he changes the world through music and song, and lives the life of a millionaire.

Aretha Franklin’s father was a preacher who got a teenage member of his congregation pregnant and ran off on her family. Her mother died. She grew up in relative poverty. Her music became the voice of the civil rights movement, and millions of Americans live free because of the passion and hope her songs gave to those who needed it.

What is holding you back? Cancer? Absolute poverty? Homelessness? No family? Because all of those things have been overcome to achieve great things – world-changing, ground-breaking, no-one-will-ever-be-the-same things.

Are you going to step up today? Are you going to stand up and do something big?

Reach 100,000 people.

Change the world.

Speak for those who don’t have a voice.

Make a difference.

Do something bigger than yourself.

I am, and I’ll be sharing it with you later today… So stay tuned.

How to work less and earn MORE

I’m willing to bet that you’ve heard of Pareto’s Principle (the 80/20 rule) before, right? 20% of your work generates 80% of your results, 20% of your clients bring in 80% of your revenue, etc. Dr. Joseph Juran described the principle as “the vital few and trivial many”, which I think is a great way to put it.

We’re going to cover Pareto’s Principle from a different angle today.

Have you ever wondered why you bother with the trivial activities that only bring in 20% of your results? Really, if 20% of your activities bring in most of your profit, why not just do that 20% and then move on with your day?

Well, I’ll tell you why. You have a limiting belief.

Of course, you probably have hundreds of limiting beliefs – even thousands. But today, we’re going to talk about one in particular. For me, this belief sounds like:

“Until I _____________, I have to work really hard.”

That blank space could be filled by “pay the bills”, “finish my book”, “achieve success”, or any other goal you are working towards. Even when you’re not actually moving towards your goal, you want to continue working hard because you believe that you have to.

Often you’ll even end up feeling guilty when you’re not working.

Now, think about Pareto’s Principle for a second. If only 20% of your work creates 80% of your results, why would you feel guilty if you skipped some of the 80% that is basically time filler?

Your job now is to recognize where in your business you are working for the sake of working, and determine if that time would be better spent on other tasks (profitable things!) or just relaxing, taking care of yourself, and spending time with your family.

When I began doing this, I was able to cut my 16 hour days down to about 6 hours – and still make more money, change more lives, help more clients, and get more done.

I stopped working for the sake of looking busy, I stopped working because I thought I *had* to – and it gave me more free time to take care of myself and my family, which resulted in more profitable ideas “coming to me” instead of having to fight for them.

Even this very blog post just came to me last night while I was relaxing in bed, reading a book.

Stop working for the sake of working. Realize when this belief is controlling you, and take back your time!

Until next time…

– Cheryl

If you haven’t downloaded my free assessment tool yet, now is your chance! Discover the beliefs that are holding you back from authentic, effective marketing and sales copy, learn how to move past them, and take your business to the next level. Click here for your free download!

Turn off your editor!

Editors. Authors loathe them, journalists are under pressure from them, copywriters wish they would leave well enough alone, companies strain to get their attention, and half of every class of communications students wants to be one.

Much like a dentist, it is a job that many people want, even though nobody wants to visit one.

But authors, journalists, copywriters, and companies aren’t the only ones who have an editor to deal with. Did you know that you and I have one as well?

It’s true. We all have our internal filters on at all times, trying to say “the right thing” at “the right time” and “look good.” Right?

It is as if we have a little evil editor on our shoulders, crossing out our spoken and written words in big, red felt marker!

If you want to see proof of this, try writing a comment on this post. Right now. About anything – the post itself, your cat, your grandma, I don’t care.

Now notice how many times you hit the backspace key.

Your evil little editor is trying to tell you “don’t write that!” and “that isn’t the right word…” – stopping the flow of your writing, trying to make sure you get everything perfect to look good.

Now I want you to try something.

Erase your whole comment, and start over – without using the backspace key *once*.

Okay, so there will be typos. There will be grammatical errors. And the very idea of writing without being able to use your backspace key will probably scare you a bit. Do it anyway.

This is an exercise! Everyone who comments is going to be doing it, so you won’t look silly or bad or different from anyone else. This is your chance to be free from your little internal editor and feel your communication flow.

Every day, we allow our editor to dictate what we can and cannot say, and how we should and should not say it. Your job now is to recognize when your editor is taking over, and regain control of your own communications.

Allow the words to flow freely as you write them, and come back and allow your editor some freedom to help you later.

Give it a try!

Your Words Must be Authentic

I was reading a post today on the Copyblogger blog, and this portion really caught my attention as something that I want to share with you:

There’s a lot of smarmy social media kool-aid out there about authenticity. That’s not what we’re talking about.

What we’re talking about this this: No one will care about your meaningful, sticky message if it smells like bullshit.

If your readers suspect you’re trying to sell them something they don’t want — whether it’s a product or an idea — you’ll lose their attention forever.

That’s why your words must be authentic.

“Authentic” doesn’t have to mean sharing intimate details of your personal life. (In fact, if you could refrain from letting us know what your cat had for breakfast, that would be awesome.)

But it does mean that you have to believe in what you’re writing. You have to let a piece of yourself shine through in your words.

You have to give a damn.

World-changing writers and copywriters both let authenticity into their writing.

Bingo. That is exactly what I’m talking about when I tell you to be authentic with your marketing and the way you communicate. You don’t have to share irrelevant details of your life, but you want to feel like every piece of communication that you create contains a piece of yourself.

Because when you feel like you are giving away a piece of yourself in your writing, chances are that you have written something meaningful. Something that people can relate to and feel engaged with.

We both know that you do give a damn about what you’re sharing with the world, otherwise you wouldn’t be here trying to learn how to share it more effectively.

Just remember, it has to show. Your passion and your desire to share yourself with the world has to come through.

Otherwise – well, otherwise you’re just using another “tactic” to persuade people. They’ll see right through it, move on, and never come back.

Go ahead and check out the full post on the CopyBlogger site – it is called “How to be a World-Changing Writer“, and is well worth the read.

– Cheryl

A little-known secret…

Want a quick tip to get an “in” with nearly anybody in any industry?

Find a common problem.

I don’t mean common like “everybody gets the flu” common, I’m talking about a problem that you have in common with your target.

Let’s take a winery for example. You (obviously) want to sell more wine. You’re targeting a specific retailer, because you have smartly determined the qualities and traits of your ideal targets and developed your laser focus.

Now, try to find a problem that you and your perfect “dream retailer” are both facing – one that you are solving in a common way.

This can, literally, be anything. Do you both get your floors cleaned by a commercial cleaning company? Are you hiring using the same recruiting firm? Do you get your signage or labelling printed at the same place?

Do your grandmothers go to the same beauty parlor?

Find a problem that you both have, that you are both solving in the same way.

Then, get in touch with the “middle man”.

Strike up a conversation. Don’t approach the cleaner/recruiter/printer/hairdresser and say “hey, can you give me so-and-so’s phone number?” – that will just build more resistance.

Talk to this service provider about how your business is growing, and you’re going to need more help from them soon (because truthfully, you will.)

Tell them that you wish you could find more retailers in the area that have X, Y, and Z qualities.

Wait a second, and see if anything happens.

Most of the time, people won’t need much prompting – they will gladly mention the retailer you’re looking to target, and maybe even offer an introduction.

If they don’t say anything, just ask: “Would you happen to know of anyone? I know you’re so well connected here!”

Now you’re not cold-calling this retailer.

You’re calling because a mutual service provider mentioned them, or even introduced you to them. Resistance? Rejection? No more! (Okay, well maybe it will still happen occasionally, but not nearly as much.)

One could refer to this as networking 101, but there is a specific reason that this works:

Everybody wins.

The service provider gets to feel like the well-connected big-shot (ego boost) and knows that you’ll be needing more from them as you grow (business boost.)

The retailer/target gets the knowledge of knowing that the service provider thinks highly of them (ego boost) and gains access to a new product that will sell well in their store (business boost) and solve a problem of theirs – you have identified the problem your product solves for retailers, right?

You don’t have to worry about rejection (ego boost) and find a great retailer to work with (business boost) while building a more satisfying relationship with your service providers (bonus!)

Nobody loses in this situation. That is why it works so well.

Try it and share your results in the comments!