Last week, my husband and I went to an Aimee Mann show. We’ve seen her perform before, and she was as wonderful as ever.
During that show, I had an epiphany about myself, my sacred work, and my business that I wanted to share with you because the questions it raised and answered are truly VITAL to any business owner out there.
If you aren’t familiar with Aimee Mann, she is a musician who has been around for over 20 years now with a successful and long-term career. Her music is deep and soulful and really full of rich content, melodies, and ideas. She has had a few “bigger” hits, but for the most part her work has received a ton of critical acclaim and a consistent following of loyal fans, without making it to the Top 10 on the charts.
At the show, for whatever reason, I started comparing it to what I imagine a Lady Gaga show would be like:
Aimee wasn’t playing in an arena with thousands of seats. Instead, the theatre held about 500 filled seats and I know she sells out to crowds of about 500 every night of her tour. There weren’t flashy light shows, but instead gorgeous stained-glass windows that were lit up in the theatre. Aimee didn’t have back-up singers or dancers or change outfits 10 times throughout the show. She spoke directly to her audience and told pertinent stories about her life. She joked around with her audience. She put on no pretenses and even came out on stage to play a few songs with her opening act before her set, not worrying that this was some kind of showman’s faux pas.
And then I paused. And I looked around the theatre at the fans that were in a trance with the beauty and power of the show. And I realized something so obvious, yet so important:
Aimee Mann isn’t Lady Gaga, and probably doesn’t want to be.
Meaning: her music simply wouldn’t make sense in a huge arena. It would get lost in there. In this more intimate setting, it was much more powerful. And, it didn’t seem Aimee needed to be in front of more folks or having thousands upon thousands of audience members present. It appeared that everyone at that show was there because they absolutely loved her – they were loyal, devoted fans, not passing audience members momentarily getting sucked into big name hits. It was clear she was delivering so much value in that evening, and she loved doing it.
And that realization brought me to an even deeper one: When it comes to my own business, I have a choice about what I want. My choice is to be more like Aimee Mann than Lady Gaga.
My work is deep and powerful and intimate, and right now it fits better in a “theatre” than in a “stadium”. I’m not interested in droves of strangers unfamiliar with me and my work being in the room. I prefer a loyal following of engaged women who really want to do the work and really resonate with my message. I’m interested in long-term relationships with my clients instead of temporary fans, and I am committed to being myself and showing up authentically, without any pretenses, no matter what.
I admit, it’s sometimes easy to get lured into the image of being a larger-than-life superstar, to think I want a flashy business with a million followers. But when I really connect in to my heart and soul and what I want for myself, my work and my personal life, it’s so clear to me that being a “larger-than-life” super-coach guru isn’t my calling. At least not for right now. ☺
That doesn’t mean that I don’t strive to create more or more visibility. Of course I do. But I do it knowing where I fit best, how I serve best, and being in control of how I want my business & life to look instead of an empty longing for a stardom that doesn’t really suit me.
Now, I’m not saying that Aimee Mann is better than Lady Gaga. Not by a long shot.
What I’m saying is that it is so valuable to get clear on who you are and who you want to be, and live by that. If you reach into your heart and find that you truly are a Lady Gaga, then YAY! Strive for that and go for it.
But if you reach into your heart and find that you’re an Aimee Mann or a Madeleine Peyroux or a street performer or anything else – EMBRACE it. Love it. Take joy and pleasure in knowing that you know who you are and set goals that reflect it. Don’t blindly yearn or strive for the biggest or grandest business ever just because you’ve been told that’s what’s best.
Know yourself. Be yourself. Appreciate all the diversity and paths that are available. And take pleasure in who you are.
Joanna Lindenbaum is the founder of Soulful Coaching for busy women. She believes with every fiber in my being that women have the power to transform the world. Because of this, she coaches busy women who are looking to nourish their creativity and take their lives to the next level.
When I met Larry Winget for the first time he was telling the story of how after working his tail off to become a professional public speaker he basically woke up one day and realized he hated his life. I listened and thought to myself, “Wow, how does that happen?”
I have always been so staunchly focused on creating the life that I want for myself, I didnt think that I would ever have that kind of experience…
I don’t think I got to the place that Larry Winget got too. I didn’t feel like it was all wrong BUT I definitely felt all the places in my life where I was not doing it my way and I was not as happy as I could be.
Afterall, isn’t my work about fulfillment?
I Did It My Way
“For what is a man, what has he got? If not himself, then he has naught. To say the things he truly feels; And not the words of one who kneels. The record shows I took the blows – And did it my way!”
It is true, as Sinatra says, that if we don’t have ourselves we have nothing and also true is that we are made the way we are made because we have something very special to offer. When we realize this, we have something fabulous –we have the recipe for success and fulfillment.
Why do I need to say this?
Well in situation after situation, home, school, jobs…we are told that we need to make ourselves fit the mold. We are told this so much that even if we feel that we are staunchly devoted to doing it our way, we can still get worn down little by little.
Sometimes this process helps us see even more of yourself and sometimes it obscures it.
Time will let us know… And our own level of happiness.
So my words of wisdom for the day are: If you find yourself leaving parts of you behind that truly made you happy, go back and get them! What is back there will definitely make you happier and may be the key to your success. It has been for Larry and I.
I am often surprised how few of my clients are clear when it comes to the difference between goals and vision. Below is an except from David Neagle’s blog where he clarifies the issue:
“A vision is a clear picture of what you’d like for your life or business.
When I was just starting out, my vision was pretty simple. I could only see a few things.
I wanted a boat and I wanted to buy property in Central Wisconsin for when I retired.
Some people have grander visions like a house in Italy or speaking on huge stages.
The key piece with a vision is that it is not about anyone else. It’s what you want for you; and it maybe hidden in your secret thoughts that you’ve never told anyone about.
A goal is a step toward that big vision.
It’s something you need to do that will take you closer to realizing your vision.
My vision was to buy a boat, so I set a goal for myself to double my income.
By increasing my income, I would be closer to having the ability to buy that boat.
Think of goals as the rungs of a ladder that leads to your vision at the top.
Keep in mind that as you take steps toward your vision, it may begin to change.
As your vision changes continue setting goals to take you closer to that vision, and when you see opportunities, always ask yourself: Is this taking me closer to my vision or further away?
Let your vision be your guide.”
This periodic reassessment of vision is key. As you may know I am making some changes in my business and these come from a refocusing of my vision
When is the last time you gave your vision and update? I suggest you take an hour to walk, journal or do anything that gets you in a calm meditative space. Focus in on what You want for You. If your vision is in need of updating, you may have some surprises!
When I was 16 years old, I went to Catholic school for a year. Interestingly, right in the middle of this drop in Catholic period, I began reading about Buddhism. In the 24 years since then, I have continued to find these teachings helpful.
In Buddhism there is something called the 8 fold path. The components of the path can roughly be described as complete vision, perfected emotion, whole speech, integral action, proper livelihood, full effort, complete awareness, and one-pointedness of mind.
When I read about the eightfold path, something really clicked for me. It was like reading about the path to fulfillment. I had realized at this point that much of my pain was self inflicted and was looking for ways to change how I lived.
The principles of the 8 fold path and similar ones from other religions and philosophies guide my work and my life.
For example, when I am working with my Business Development people, they often ask about different high level, often expensive methods that can be used to grow their businesses. They will feel like they need advanced strategies to be successful.
In response, what I always say to them is, “What ultimately do you want for your business?” You don’t employ top level methods for a 100k a year business. If you do, you will always be spending more money that you make. Not a good business strategy.
This is a very long way to say that things are not useful or not useful; good or bad, it is all about what they are intended for if they are the right fit for the situation.
When we start using a method or anything else for that matter without thinking, we create unintended results. These results are sometimes good and sometimes bad.
So, my question for you today is what are you trying to create? And, is what you are using going to get you there? To me this is related to the “complete vision” step of the 8 fold path. The clearer you are on both of these questions, the faster and farther you will move toward your desired goal.
Will the people in your life always support your decisions? No, they won’t. But you need to remember that life is not about justifying yourself; it’s about creating yourself. Your life is yours alone. Others can try to persuade you, but they can’t decide for you. They can walk with you, but not in your shoes. So make sure the path you decide to walk aligns with your own intuition and desires, and don’t be scared to walk alone and pave your own path when you know it’s the right thing to do.
Make this your lifelong motto: “I respectfully do not care.” Say it to anyone who passes judgment on something you strongly believe in or something that makes you who you are. People will inevitable judge you at some point anyway, and that’s OK. You affected their life; don’t let them affect yours.
And when you need a quick reminder or a dose of encouragement, refer to this list of things you shouldn’t have to justify to anyone else:
Why you’re putting yourself first. – During a 2011 television interview, Michelle Obama was asked if she thought it was at all selfish that she has openly admitted to making herself her first priority, to which the First Lady replied, “No, not at all. It’s practical…. a lot of times we just slip pretty low on our own priority list because we’re so busy caring for everyone else. And one of the things that I want to model for my children is investing in themselves as much as they invest in others.” Spot on advice if you ask me! There are only a few people in this world who will stay 100% true to you, and YOU should be one of them. Prioritize your own needs into your daily to-do’s.
Bottom line: Constantly trying to justify yourself to everyone else forces you to miss out on the beauty of simply being yourself, with your own unique ideas, desires, and life experiences. If you are led through life only doing and being what you’ve come to believe is expected of you, then, in a way, you cease to live… you merely exist.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…
Do more than just exist! We all exist. The question is: Do you live?
reblogged from www.marcandangel.com
I don’t know who you wound up hanging out with in high school, but it seemed to me that the Artists were heavy on imagination, vision, and dreaminess while the Jocks were about results, goals, and action. As I look at the people I work with now, I can see this classic high-school saga play out — the vast majority of either group rolling their eyes at the other. The Artists are weird. The Jocks are stupid.
Truth be told, I work with more artists than jocks. Artists tend to dream big and forget to wake up, get a cup of coffee, and take some action. Quite honestly, some artists get lost on the way to the coffee pot, never to be heard from again. When I start to talk goals or plans with them, all of a sudden they look at me like I’m in an athletic uniform on the other side of that cafeteria — like I just don’t get them or I am not one of them. In their mind, Artists do not work that way.
Jocks, on the other hand, might be very successful in their lives, but they feel empty on the inside. They got the job done, they scored the goal, and their team is giving them praise, but it just isn’t giving them the same thrill it used to. When I start talking about vision, dreams and life purpose with them, they start noticing that I am dressed a bit funny and think that maybe I am a little too flaky to help them out.
However, what rarely happened in high school needs to happen in our lives. The Artists and Jocks need to hang out together — and even enjoy hanging out together. This needs to happen or we are not going to be able to bring our dreams into reality. If we have vision and no action, we eventually have frustration. If we have action with no vision, we also get frustration. When the Jock and the Artist figure out that they really make a great pair, we have some of our favorite high school movies — satisfaction.
Life pulls us in many directions. No matter the phase of development our work is in, we can get caught in the tangle of competing interest and loss of motivation.
While I think it is unlikely, and perhaps even unproductive, to always stay on track, there are tools for getting back on track faster and easier. When we develop these abilities we also develop trust in ourselves. This makes the time we spend “off track” that much easier and more productive.
One of these tools you may have heard me talk about is the Vision Statement. There are just about as many ways to define the vision statement as there are people in the world, but one thing is sure – the vision statement is a useful tool for getting back on track.
When I talk with my clients, I am continually inspired by the dedication they show in bringing their work into the world. At one point, everyone works to get clear on their vision and their mission. It is not an easy thing – sometimes, the more we care, the more difficult attaining clarity becomes.
Your vision is the heart of what you do. Putting that depth of feeling and complexity into simple yet powerful words is a big task. But when you do it, you have managed to create the very thing that will pump life-blood through your work for years to come.
This means that, when you get off track, you are able to reconnect to the heart of what you are doing just by rereading your vision statement. The benefits do not stop there. Your vision statement also helps you every time you communicate with others about what you do because you are clearer about the real reason you are doing it.
So what is your vision for your world, your community, or your business? What would you like to see be different?
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So what is meant by the term “vision”? It’s simple. Whatever difference you want to make in the world — ending hunger and war, teaching parents how to raise children better, teaching partners how to love better, or however you want to make the world a better place — it is important to have a clear desired end result.
Your vision is your all-encompassing goal. You might never ultimately achieve this goal on your own — after all, ending world hunger is a pretty tall order — but your contribution will get the world closer to that goal.
Your first step is to create your Vision Statement. Most businesses use this step, as well, to help them formulate their business plan. It’s a good way to help clarify your project.
Here is the first part of an exercise to help you write your Vision Statement:
Answer the following questions:
What I want to change about the world is:
One to three things I think the world needs are:
What I want to communicate to the world is:
How is your life and your business currently in line with your vision? What steps can you take today and this week that will bring you closer to living your purpose through this vision?
Does your visions include helping others? Dr. Kate’s Master Transformational Coach Certification will give you a foundation from which you can reach those you most want to effect AND make money doing it.