Business: Stop lying, it IS personal.

That’s what he said, right before he went into a huge rant and tore down a coworker to their very core. But everybody says that, right? “It’s just business” is supposed to mean that you shouldn’t show emotion, it shouldn’t hurt, you shouldn’t be personal or take things personally because it is “just business.”

I’m here to call BS on that lie, because let me tell you my friend, business is nothing if it’s not personal.

I had an experience yesterday that I will never forget, and I have to share it with you. See how you can relate…

I’ve been working with a new client, getting things set up for them to start a new program with me – let’s call them Client A. I’m used to most of my clients working in a very rapid-fire pace, but there were some things this client needed to do before we could start – fair enough.

While this client was getting things in order, another prospective client emailed me asking if we could talk – let’s call them Client B. Sure, why not – I’ll chat with them. My roster is technically full once Client A moves forward, but I’ll talk with them.

But Client B didn’t just want to talk. Client B wanted to work with me – and they were ready to move forward today. So I said “I don’t have the room for you to start today, Client B, but if you can wait a few days I’ll look into my other clients’ program dates and see when I can fit you in.” They agreed. No problem.

Client A was facing more and more challenges in getting started, though, and I couldn’t have a complete picture of my calendar until I knew when they were starting. Client B kept emailing – “any news yet?” And I kept responding, “No, not yet. Just a few more days.”

Days turned into over a week, and then the unthinkable happened for Client A – a big personal matter that needed all of their focus. One that, after my father’s strokes last year, hit close to home. I felt for them so deeply… But I knew I needed to give an answer to Client B.

So I did what the textbooks tell you to do. I did what the boss above would have done. I pulled up my business britches, expressed my condolences, and explained the situation with Client B. I asked if it were possible for Client A to move forward at all, even in the slightest way, so I could tell Client B with certainty.

Sometimes we make decisions based on whom we feel we should be rather than who we are. Those decisions, FYI, are typically wrong.

Client A came back with a no – it will have to wait, the personal matter was priority #1. If we couldn’t end up working together as a result, they were willing to make that sacrifice.

And in that moment, I had a decision to make. I could do the “business smart” thing, take Client B who was ready and willing and able to start right away, and send more condolences to Client A.

But here’s the thing – business isn’t just business. It is personal. It is intensely personal, especially when you spend all day genuinely caring about your clients and their success.

And so I did something that most hard-core business gurus, teachers, trainers, CEOs would write me off for. I emailed Client A:

“Client B can start in September, when another client is wrapping up their program. Your spot is waiting here for you when you get back. Let me know if there is anything I can do for you.”

A complete reverse in position, a shocker for Client A I’m sure. Then the email to Client B:

“I’m sorry, my roster is full until September. If you want to lay out a plan of action for then, we can get started after the summer.”

I still haven’t heard back, and don’t know if I will.

And that was the best possible decision I could have made.

It makes no business sense. I mean really, I just turned away a paying client for a client that is *likely* but not *guaranteed* to come on. I turned down money today for the potential of money next month.

But I couldn’t do it any other way. Reading their words, feeling the raw emotion of what they were going through – and then robbing them of something they really wanted to do? I couldn’t do it. There wasn’t a fibre in my being that would let me pull that trigger.

And that, my friends, is why business is personal.

Because sometimes you have to make the choice that will help you sleep at night.

I don’t know what will come of all of this, but I do know that no matter what happens, I can feel good about it.

When you spend your life building a business to serve others, when you spend your days genuinely caring about the success and joy and pain of others, business is deeply personal.

Have you had an experience like this? How did you handle it? Do you have any regrets? Share in the comments!

 

The Story of RADIANCE – behind this very blog.

That right there.

That photo was taken on a Thursday afternoon. Most people would have been at work, but me – I was at the lake with my oldest daughter, celebrating the end of her first year of preschool with her friends. I absolutely love that photo.

So why am I here sharing it with you today?

Because she is one of my reasons why. My other daughter, my husband, our camping trips, my future flying lessons, and of course, the success of everyone I get to meet are some of the other reasons.

You have reasons, too – and they aren’t all about money. I know that. Not a lot of other “online entrepreneurs” or “business mentors” seem to realize it, but I know it.

Business isn’t just about business.

It’s about designing your life – taking control, experiencing freedom, building something with your own blood, sweat, and tears that takes on a life beyond you. Supporting your family. Taking trips. Checking things off of your bucket list. Growing as a person. Those are just a few of the other things that business is about.

And despite how it might look from the outside, it I’ve had to remember those reasons many times – just to keep going.

I shared with you last week that this blog is turning a new corner. That instead of sharing exercises and practices and stories, I’m going to share with you what is happening in my business. In real life. Like a no-makeup selfie of my business, every time there is something to share.

But for that to make any sense to you whatsoever – for it to have any impact – I have to lift the veil, and tell you the story of how this business came to be. Beyond the typical tales, you’re going to see the struggles, the triumph, and the reality of life behind it all.

And it started with her.

Years ago, Darren (that’s me other half!) and I were getting married in a few months and trying for a baby. Everything was planned out… We had the right house, the right vehicle, Darren had the right job, I was freelancing part time (I had been consulting and writing full time for 5-6 years by that point, but had slowed down once we got married) and everything was humming along.

Apparently not everything in life works out quite the way you plan, and it took a few different doctors to figure things out, but come November… We had an answer and we had hope. We found out in early December that we were expecting our long awaited miracle baby. That’s her above.

Fast forward to September 2nd, 2010. Our daughter was about to turn 1 month old, and Darren had returned to work… But when he came home that day, it didn’t take long to figure out that something was wrong.

He had been fired.

Not just from any job, but from a manufacturing job in the middle of a recession. One in which he had worked his pay up to a level that couldn’t be easily replaced. All less than a month after our precious miracle baby was born.

And I did what any crazy, semi-hormonal, entrepreneurial woman would do in that situation – I told him that everything would be fine, pulled out all of our retirement savings, applied for a loan, and told him to start a business.

The only problem was, he didn’t know the first thing about entrepreneurship and I was rusty on consulting, let alone teaching. We fumbled along for a few months, but I finally recognized that he just wasn’t passionate about making it happen. I started to get back into freelancing, helping him less and less…

Within 2 months, the business had completely failed – having never made a single dime.

Yep, I’m sitting here asking you to trust me with your journey and admitting failure – but I learned several valuable lessons from that experience.

You see, I was rusty on consulting – but I learned how to teach, train, and mentor from helping him move forward.

I learned even more over the next 18 months as I busted my butt day in and day out, freelancing and consulting. I supported our family and one gig after another, we made it through… Barely. We were constantly in emergency mode though, and eventually it just took its toll.

Less than two years after the journey started, we lost our house and moved in with my in-laws.

Ouch.

I love my in-laws from a distance. They’re fabulous to visit, and they will never, ever be thanked enough for the way they graciously took us in. But I was pregnant with our second child when it happened, our first was almost two, and we had just been through a crazy ride – living there sucked.

I tried my best over the coming months to cobble a business together, but again, I was constantly in emergency “get me out of here!” mode, and nothing was working. Clients would try to hire me, but something would stop it from happening.

Our second daughter was born, and came home to their house – my business still not taking off.

It was around then, following all of the “right” advice, doing all of the “right” business-y things, that I realized I had to be missing something. It couldn’t possibly be my skills, not after I had consulted so many companies to such huge growth. No, it had to be something else.

That’s when I discovered the truth behind the entrepreneurial mindset.

Nothing up until that point had been working, so I really believed that it couldn’t get any worse by following this “cooky” trail off into the spiritual realm. I had believed in the Law of Attraction and spirits, energies for a long time. So I began to absorb everything I could about mindset and manifestation. I started to tap into my own intuition more, and develop the innate abilities I’ve had since I was a child.

Teleseminars, webinars, classes, calls, books, blogs, newsletters, ecourses, and anything else I could get my hands on. And things… Things started to shift.

First, an old client came back and offered me work in marketing. Paying work. Good stuff.

So I went back and studied more. I took courses from Joe Vitale to get certified as a Master LOA Coach.

The babies started sleeping through the night. My marriage started to heal. My body started to heal. And then the client came back and offered me full time work as their Marketing Director.

The pay wasn’t great, but at that point, I was grateful. Full time! Paid work! A way out! An executive position! It was everything I thought I wanted. The low pay was supposed to be just a temporary thing, topped up with sales incentives and whatnot.

But then the incentives didn’t show up.

So I went back, and I studied more. And I learned one key thing that has served me more than any other manifestation, business, or marketing lesson I’ve ever learned.

You have to grow a big, brass pair to succeed in life.

You have to ask for what you want, and KNOW that you will get it. You have to be unwilling to accept any option other than success, and know that you will achieve it.

So I went to my client-turned-boss, and I asked. Well, more accurately, I told. I said I couldn’t support my family on that pay, so it was either step up or step out. He stepped up. Two weeks later we moved out of my in-laws and into our own home.

At the time, I thought my corporate job was a lifesaver.

I made them a ton of money in the beginning… But after awhile (I think around the 3rd time I was fired then rehired for the same job…) I realized that it wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. I was yelled at constantly, my expertise was ignored, I was working 50-60 hours a week and being berated for not working enough. It was hell, honestly, and I started taking it out on my family.

I yelled at my kids. I cried almost every day. I wrote and brainstormed and dreamed of the day I had permission to break free. And then my dad had a stroke…

He healed from that one, thankfully. But then he had another. One more round of bedside visits, all night worry-sessions, coming together with the family and I realized enough was enough.

I spent all night one night at the hospital, came home the next day and got called a liar by my boss. I called my mom and cried – I asked for her to tell me it was okay to quit. I just needed to hear it was okay from someone else.

She told me it was okay. I called my boss and quit.

That was the end of October 2013. I had grown their business to over $300k in just months, before they decided they knew better and stopped listening. I decided to do the same thing for others who actually wanted my advice.

Well, after I took a few weeks off to enjoy my new-found freedom anyway!

So come November-ish, I sat down and finished my book. The one you got when you opted in to my newsletter.

I had one client in the spirits business from my pre-ex-corporate days, and that was IT. I marketed my book all November long, offered sessions, in fact I think I did 40 sessions before Christmas!

Aaannnd I walked out of it with no clients.

Zip. Nada. Zilch. My “amazing going to save us” business was going bust faster than you can say “ho ho ho.” And right during the holidays, too.

Our Christmas trip was cancelled, largely due to our inability to pay our rent. I buckled down again into mindset, but this time, I just had to reactivate everything I had learned.

I slowed down my sessions. I didn’t want quantity, I wanted quality.

I checked my mindset every day, before every session, before every activity.

I followed my own systems.

I stepped up and made big requests to start my telesummit.

I worked with my own coach.

And in January? I closed 3 new clients. Total revenue for the month was over $13k.

February slowed a bit, only doing about $4k.

March was hot again at $12k, April around $6k, and May – just last month – I hit $14k.

Do you know what that means? I’m on track for 6 figures – within 6 months, with a total of 600ish on my list.

Do you want to know something though? Do you want to know the best part of it all?

I spent it at the lake, at the park, in the library. I went to my daughter’s preschool. I played and painted pictures, I went camping and hiking, I got to spend my time writing great things and talking with amazing people and helping people reach success.

The best part was, I did what I want when I wanted to – I helped people and I was happy.

You can do it, too.

And no, you don’t have to work with me privately to make it happen. Sure, if we’re the right fit that could speed it up a whole lot – but it isn’t necessary. Nothing is necessary but the right mindset, the will and desire to succeed, and a few skills you can pick up right here on this blog.

That is the point of sharing the real journey. That is the point of sharing everything above, so you can see that no matter what you’re going through, success could be right on the other side. That you could be one small tweak away from achieving what you really want. That business isn’t just about money, but about life – at the root and in the results.

So what comes next?

I have a mentoring practice that supports my family. Great.

I get to hang out with and talk to amazing entrepreneurs doing incredible things. Love that part!

I’ve got a few products and some things kicking around that need more attention. No big deal.

What comes next is what I preach – I’ve done enough of the “Fire” step. I’ve executed and executed until I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that people want what I have. Now it is time to aim and get ready.

You’re going to watch right here on this blog as I move from lead-generating list with a basic opt-in to a full sales funnel, and I’m going to show you how I make every single step work.

The sheer volume of lessons and resources coming down the pipe between now and Christmas is going to make you absolutely GIDDY with delight. I know I’m super stoked for it all 🙂

So what do you think – are you ready for the play-by-play? The reality, the authentic struggle and triumph of it all? Have a question I didn’t answer? Share in the comments!

Shine bright, superstar!

– Cheryl

How to Keep Your Life and Business On Track: An Exercise

Every month, I do a simple exercise to help keep my business on track. When I first began to use this formula, I thought it would simply help me see how much work I had to do and where to focus my efforts… But the more I used it, the more I realized that this exercise helps in many, many other ways.

Aside from helping to focus my efforts, it also helps to:

1. Show me how far I’ve come, giving me motivation to keep moving forward.
2. Reminds me of my priorities and biggest goals once per month.
3. Actually assist in the manifesting process by creating both gratitude and desire simultaneously, without conflict.

So what is this simple exercise? Well it is the monthly inventory – and I’m going to show you how to do it today. Complete this exercise at the beginning of each month, and you will start to see major shifts and changes in your business.

The Monthly Inventory

The entire process starts out by completing an inventory of my life and work, as it stands, right now. Here is an example from June 2014 (when I’m publishing this post, obviously.)

Inventory:
Family – 9
Career – 10
Health – 8
Finances – 8
Education – 8
Recreation – 10
Charitable – 4
Adventure – 8
Travel – 7
Romance – 3
Relationships – 4
Spiritual – 6

I rate each item on a scale of 1-10, with 1 being completely dissatisfied and 10 being completely satisfied. In the past, things like charity and spiritual have been higher because I’ve been focusing on those areas. But as you can see, I’ve been focusing on my health, recreation, and business – so relationships, charity, and spirit have suffered a bit. Now I know where I need to shift some of my focus to for the month ahead.

Once I’ve completed my inventory, I can set my goals for the next month. For smaller goals, I’ll simply state a deadline. For larger ones that have carried over from months past, I’ll measure my progress. Here is an example you might use:

Revenue Goal: $1000
Revenue Current: $750
Goal Progress: 75%

Client Roster Goal: 10
Clients Current: 7
Goal Progress: 70%

Create landing page for new promotion (June 10th)

Reach out to new partners for promotion and secure 5 (June 25th)

Spend an entire day with friends and family (June 15th)

Take meditation course from MindValley (June 30th)

Now obviously those are not my real goals for the month, I simply made them up here as an example. However, you can see how I have business goals – continuing to build on the success I’ve had – and personal goals that relate to the areas in my life that I rated low on my inventory.

Now I have 4 small goals and 2 large goals to work toward for this month, so aside from my regular client work, those things will be my focus. At the beginning of July, I’ll do the inventory again and create new goals – bolstering the areas that need improvement and staying course with those that are okay as they are.

That’s it.

If there is one caution with this process, however, it is to not get caught up in guilt or shame about areas in your life that are lacking. Perhaps if you, like me, have been focusing on fun, fitness, and finances, your romance and friendships may have suffered a bit. Or you could have gone the other way – spent so much time in spirit-land, swooning your sweetheart and hanging with friends that when you’re being honest, your business isn’t where you would like it to be.

This inventory is not the place for judgement! Do not “should” yourself into a specific goal. You will never be “All 10s”, it is nearly impossible without the zen habits of a Buddhist monk. Where you focus will rise, and where you take focus from will fall. That is okay. This inventory simply points out where you’re not satisfied so that if you choose, you can make it a priority again.

Go ahead – do the inventory and then post a comment here. What did you discover from this process?