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Monthly Archives: November 2010

What To Do When Speaking About Your Work is Hard

This week, I had a fascinating marketing coaching session with a woman who shared with me her difficulty in speaking about her work.  She revealed that, every time she discusses what she does for a living, one of two things happen:

1) People turn off immediately

or

2) They poke some fun at the company she works for (it’s a well-known national organization with an external reputation that isn’t 100% positive)

While our session was ostensibly about “crafting a powerful elevator pitch,” it morphed quickly into something quite different.  We explored not just the “content” of her elevator pitch, but the “process” of how she feels about and connects to her work, and what is missing.

There are vitally important factors that contribute to being able to speak and write about your work and your job in an authentic, exciting and compelling way.  It’s not all about the words you choose – it’s about what’s underneath those words.

The following are key ingredients to communicating about what you do for a living with passion, power, and purpose:

1) Alignment – You have to be aligned with your work and supportive of it in order to speak engagingly about it.  If you have internal conflicts about the company or the work you do, it’ll show.

2) Clarity – You must be clear about what you do and what aspects of your responsibilities you wish to share with others.  If you wear several different hats in your work, get crystal clear about which professional dimension you want to focus on, and to whom (tailor your messages for each type of audience you encounter, so they can care about what you do).

3) Authenticity – If you have to lie or fib to create a compelling story of what you do, it’s time for a change.  Lying weakens you, and your energy palpably reveals that you’re not telling the truth.

4) Passion – You can’t fake enthusiasm.  If you’re bored to tears with your work, you’ll be boring to others about it.  There’s a difference between a “job and a calling.”  If you have a calling, you’ve got passion for it.  But if you have a job that doesn’t light you up, find some aspect of it that elicits excitment in you (or think about changing directions a bit so it will). 

5) Growth – Finally, if your work is NOT helping you grow and learn, your communications will reflect your stagnation.  Make a shift in your work so you’re learning and growing all the time.  Your writing and speaking will reflect this expansion, and positive growth is a magnet to others.

In the final years before I reinvented my career to something I love, I was corporate VP selling products that, to me, had zero contributive value or meaning in the world.  I hated the work, and I simply couldn’t find a way to speak about it positively.  When folks would ask me, “What do you do?” I’d give some vague, boring or confusing response. 

Why?  Because the work I did wasn’t me at all.  I didn’t like, respect, or even care about it!  If that resonates with you, it’s not your elevator pitch that needs tweaking – it’s your line of work or how you’re engaged in it. 

How about you? Do you like talking about your work?  If not, what’s the hardest thing about it, and what do you think that challenge suggests?

 Thanks for sharing!

The 12 Hidden Crises of Entrepreneurial Women

Several years ago I conducted a yearlong research study with over 100 working women across the country about professional crises in women and how we can reclaim our lives to overcome them.  I was astounded by the findings, and felt they were so universal and important for women, I wrote a book called Breakdown Breakthrough about these 12 crises, offering a three-step holistic model to break through these challenges once and for all.

Since the book came out in 2008, women from all over the country have written to me sharing sentiments such as, “You are writing to me, about me, and for me,” and “It’s as if you know exactly what I’m living and feeling!”  My research shows that 9 out of 10 working women are experiencing at least one of these 12 “hidden” crises, and on average, women are experiencing three at the same time!  And over half of these women don’t know what to do about it.

These 12 crises are not just tiny “bumps” in the road but full-out, serious challenges that are marked by chronic disempowered thinking and a serious lack of ability to move oneself forward in positive, powerful ways towards one’s goals and visions.

These 12 crises fall into four categories that represent how we relate to ourselves and the world. 

These four levels depict the nature of our:

  • Relationship with Ourselves
  • Relationship with Others
  • Relationship with the World
  • Relationship with Our Higher Selves

In general, each crisis is characterized by an “I can’t do this!” mantra, or some form of disempowered thinking, beliefs and actions.  The crises include:

  • “I can’t speak up for myself.”
  • “I can’t get out of this financial trap.”
  • “I can’t escape this crushing competition.”
  • “I can’t resolve my chronic health problems.”
  • “I don’t like who I’ve become.”
  • “I can’t use my real talents in my work.”
  • “I can’t balance life and work.”
  • “I can’t do work and play that I love.”

Entrepreneurial Women Face these Same Challenges

As I move forward with marketing consulting work for entrepreneurial women around the country, I’m finding that these same 12 crises are challenging women in their entrepreneurial ventures as well, and in the ways in which they view and run their businesses!

Entrepreneurial women are challenged on these same four levels:

Relationship With Themselves as Entrepreneurs 
Key issue: “Do I have what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur, and am I “good” or “smart” enough to run this business?”

Relationship With Others
Key issue: “How can I forge a mutually-beneficial and supporting relationship with clients, customers, colleagues, and peers?”

Relationship With The World
Key issue: “Am I using my real gifts and talents in this business, and is my business providing a service to the world that I care about delivering, that others need and want?”

Relationship With the Higher Self 
Key issue: “Does my business have a higher mission, vision and values that mean more  to me than simply making money?”

If you’re an entrepreneurial woman and are challenged with any of the above issues in your life and work, please know that there is indeed help out there for you, and these are very common challenges that entrepreneurial women face.  Also know that new thinking and actions can indeed shift you away from feeling disempowered and unable to tackle the issues at hand.  You can do this, and you can do it well, loving your work and thriving in the process. But you have to take action, and a kind of action that is different from what you normally would engage in.

There are four key steps to overcoming these types of challenges:

1. Step Back – to gain a fresh, empowered perspective of your situation and what it is telling you about what needs to change

2. Let Go – of the thinking, actions, and behaviors that are keeping you stuck and holding you back

3. Say Yes! – to your compelling future visions of your business and of your success as an entrepreneurial woman.

4. Create It – create a S.M.A.R.T. plan with concrete, measurable goals and action steps – and find someone to help you become accountable – for moving on your way to achieving your visions of success and fulfillment.

Try this experiment! Pick up a copy of my book Breakdown Breakthrough and read it.  (Commit to carving out a bit of time just for yourself over the holidays and read the chapters that really speak to you.)  As you read the book and the powerful stories and advice presented by women who have transformed their lives and work, focus specifically on the concepts and information that elicit a feeing of “resistance” in you – ideas or words that make you say to yourself, “Oh, I really don’t want to look at that,” or “That’s not me!”  Then take one, targeted action that will help you address the area you resist the most.

One of the most powerful concepts I learned in therapy training is, “What you resist, persists.”  Watch closely what you resist, because resistance is a sign that you’re overly attached to one particular view or approach, and you’ve closed yourself off from openly exploring other avenues.  I’ve found that the biggest breakthroughs, learning and growth come when we muster the courage to walk directly toward — and through — what we resist the most.

*  *  *  *  *

Let me know how the experiment works!  What is your deepest entrepreneurial struggle, and what did you learn when you mustered the courage to walk through your resistance to Say Yes! to yourself and your business.

Thank you for sharing, and wishing you many happy breakthroughs.

Why Million-Dollar Coaching Promises Should Make You Leery

“It is a mistake to look too far ahead. Only one link of the chain of destiny can be handled at a time.” – Winston Churchill

These past few years I’ve been connected with literally dozens of coaches who promise that, if you follow their work and their model, you’ll be a millionaire. 

 Really?

I’ve listened intently to numerous coaching teleseminars these past months about how to make a million dollars, and so many are all about the insider “secrets” to making seven figures, and if you follow their “five easy steps” (or whatever model they’re pitching), you too can do it easily and effortlessly.

I don’t know about you, but I’m up to my craw with these ridiculous promises.  Why do they annoy me so much?  Because they’re misleading and unethical, and leading thousands of people down a path that is clearly not in their best interest.

I’m not saying that people can’t make a million dollars in their coaching practice, or other forms of business, and I’m not saying that there aren’t some great coaches out there who help people reach the million-dollar mark and higher. 

I am saying that there are many more ineffective, self-serving coaches who aren’t capable of helping you reach your high goals.  If you’re broke, and are told you can go from that to a millionaire in a year because you’re following this one coach’s program (and not doing all the inner and outer work it truly takes to be abundantly successful), then you’ll be sorely disappointed and waste a great deal of time and money in the process.

Here’s the rundown of my serious complaints about so many “millionaire” coaches:

Often millionaire coaches end up telling you exactly how they made their million, and recommend that you should follow their “five easy steps”.  However, my many years of training as a therapist, coach, marketing and business exec, writer and researcher of women tell me that:

  1. Easy Steps aren’t the ones that bring about life change: If it were easy, you’d be doing it!  What brings about massive shifting and change is the challenging stuff – the actions that make us fearful or take us WAY out of our comfort zone.  And “easy” steps are not necessarily easy or right or aligned with everyone.  Offering specific “easy” tactics to help people make more money is fine as far as it goes, but it’s not far enough without helping the individual identify specifically the powerful internal shifts they need to make to bring about far greater success.
  2. Broke to Millionaire – it’s doable, but I can tell you, if you’re flat broke, and are given a promise you can make half a million next year, it’s misleading at best, devastatingly off-track at worst.  The reason for that is that we all operate on a level that we’re comfortable at right now, and launching yourself 10 levels higher doesn’t typically work.  What does work is slow and steady progress to the next level higher, then the next and the next, and continuing that process with vigilance and commitment.
  3. Cookie-cutter models are ineffective – A cookie-cutter model to generate a million dollars in revenue is absurd.  To make seven figures, you have to power yourself up in ways that you don’t even realize right now – in your mindset, beliefs, actions, offerings, sense of worth, expectations, financial planning savvy, boundaries, self-advocacy, and in your relationship with money and success.  And you don’t do that by following someone else’s basic tactical strategy.  You do that through intently focused inner and outer work that brings you – step by step, day by day – to a new place that is right for you specifically.
  4.  These promises are entirely self-serving – These millionaire coaches want you to think it’s easy to follow their plan and succeed, because that’s how they make their millions!  Signing people up for programs that cost thousands of dollars, when in many cases the individual being coached can’t possibly recoup those thousands of dollars that year (or in the several years to come) given their mindset, capabilities (at the moment), and business model—that’s just plain wrong.

I come from a perspective of social and ethical consciousness, so seeing these promises being made in sleek and sleazy teleseminars and long-copy marketing pages – the whole thing makes my head spin.  They talk about offering high value and content in the teleseminar, but literally 60% of the seminar is selling their next event (using a cookie-cutter marketing approach for selling events!).

About money – I’ve made six figures in many years throughout my career, and I know what it takes to do it, and it’s not “5 Easy Steps.”  In winning the Make Mine a Million Dollar Business “Micro to Millions” program award in 2008, that one event in my life stepped up my goals and visions for my company significantly, and took me to new heights overnight.  Of course you can power up your career and your business and make great money – and a million dollars is within your reach if the necessary events, factors and ingredients are there, but it’s not through an easy five-step coaching model.

If you too are tired of (and disgusted with) these empty, over-simplistic and grandiose claims and selling tactics, you’re not alone!!  And don’t worry – you’re not being resistant or pushing away your millions to say that that these coaches and messages turn you way off.  There are other ways and means (and empowering mentors, coaches and consultants) who can truly help you achieve what you long for.

The key is in discernment – figure out how to tell the difference between a flashy, self-serving promise (that makes the process sound far easier than it is) vs. a heart-felt commitment to your success — with the intellectual, spiritual and ethical chops to make it work for you. Find helpers who wish to be of true service in helping you become exactly what you want to be in the world.

Thanks for listening to my rant!  And PLEASE share – are you tired of these empty, vacuous and absurd promises?  I’d love to hear.

My 52 Mistakes Project – Mistake #52 – The Biggest

Hi Friends – happy to share the second installment of my project “My 52 Mistakes” – a social media and research project aimed at providing an open, authentic forum for women to explore, understand and grow from their biggest mistakes in life and work, and to help other women by sharing the amazing lessons we’ve learned from our missteps.

Today, I’m talking about my Mistake #52 – the biggest, most impactful error I made (so far!).  This mistake involved my remaining deeply stuck in struggle, sickness, and sadness for years in my worklife, not grasping until I was in my forties that I am special, unique, and powerful, and can make the difference I truly want to, in my life and in the world.

Hope you enjoy it!  PLEASE share this link with every woman you know, and please comment – let me know what you think of this mistake, if it resonates, your biggest mistake, what you learned, and where you are today.

Thank you so much for your honest and courageous sharing.  It means the world.

Wishing you many happy breakthroughs.

7 Reasons You Hate Marketing – And How to Learn to Love It

In ramping up my marketing consulting work with women consultants, practitioners, and entrepreneurs these past months, I’ve heard these words over and over:

 “I hate marketing.”

 or, more specifically…

 “I hate promoting myself.”

It’s an amazing thing to observe – that so many women today view marketing as sleazy, embarrassing, scary, or simply overwhelming.

Women tell me that marketing and networking are deeply challenging (and scare the pants off of them) for the following reasons (these are exact quotes):

 “I just feel like that sleazy used car salesman I hate.”

 “I don’t know how to go up to people and share what I do.”

 “I feel so intrusive to just blurt out that I can help someone.”

 “I’m too shy to do what’s necessary.”

 “I don’t understand how to do this – it’s all so overwhelming.”

 “I think I have to be like her (an aggressive, in-your-face networker) to be successful, and I just can’t.”

 “I love the work I do – why do I have to do this other marketing stuff?”

If these statements resonate with you, help is out there for you!

I’m here to tell you – marketing is not what you think.  And the sooner you can embrace your “inner marketer,” and learn to love her, the happier and more fulfilled you’ll be in your work.

 What Is Marketing?

First, marketing is not the hairy monster you’ve imagined.  It’s simply about letting people know you exist – via any and all of the many neat methods and forms available today – so that you can be of powerful and joyful service to the world. 

It’s about sharing your unique messages in an authentic, compelling way so that the people you love to serve can find you, and identify that you’re the right one to help them. 

Marketing is about bringing yourself to the market you want to help, and communicating, “I’m really awesome at what I do and offer, and I LOVE my work.  May I be of service to you?”

How to Embrace Your “Inner Marketer”

Let’s break this down to look at what’s really beneath the challenges you face in marketing. 

The key marketing obstacles for women fall into the same four categories that I uncovered in my national research with career women.  (For more about the 12 “hidden” crises working women face today, and how to overcome them, see my  book Breakdown, Breakthrough.)

These categories represent levels at which we interact with ourselves and our world, and can be characterized as either empowered or disempowered, based on each individual’s specific situation, in:

  • Your Relationship with Yourself
  • Your Relationship with the World
  • Your Relationship with Others
  • Your Relationship with Your Higher Self

These same relationship categories apply to your marketing endeavors and marketing persona. 

Here’s what you need to understand to become a comfortable and easy marketer and networker who likes it:

Your Relationship with Yourself

Confidence and Worthiness:

The key marketing challenges for women are confidence and worthiness.  Deep down, many are not quite sure they’re great at their work, and don’t have the self-confidence to come out say “I’m very talented at this work, and would love to be of service to you!”

Tip: You need to step up to embrace how great you are in your work.  And if you don’t feel you offer high-quality products and services, then you need a shift.  Identify the new skills, talents and experiences that will bring your work to the next level.  Go out and get those skills and experiences.  Don’t wait.

Your Relationship with Others

Two key marketing challenges come up here: speaking up with power and authority, and connecting deeply with others in your communications and your interactions.

Speaking Up:
Many women are challenged in speaking up about and for themselves with power, authority, and command. 

Tip: If you believe that speaking out about your gifts and talents means you’re bragging, think again.  How can people know about your work if you don’t tell them about it – in your speaking, writing, and interactions? Release this misguided belief that talking about your work is pushy or arrogant.

Connecting:
Getting out there in the world with your products and services means you have to connect to people from the heart, help them find their pain points and show how your work addresses want they want most.  People do business with people they know, like and trust, so you’ve got to give them the opportunity to know you.

Tip: If you’re shy and uncomfortable about connecting and interacting with people, get out there and do more of it.  If you’re too self-focused and self-limiting, you’ll find it hard to make the authentic connections you need to bring your work and business out there in a bigger way.

Relationship with the World:

The two core challenges here are: Money and Service

Embracing Money:
Many women are simply disempowered around their finances, and around earning, managing, and investing their money.  Often, they can’t seem to establish great fees/prices for their work, and or command these fees on a consistent basis.  Further, many women don’t have the financial planning experience to make their marketing efforts profitable.

Tip: Get financial help!  First, you must have a very clear sense of what your products and services are worth in the marketplace – not what you think they SHOULD be worth, but the true and perceived value of the outcomes you give to others.  Then you must acquire the confidence and strength to obtain these prices and fees, and negotiate powerfully for them when needed.  Secondly, don’t overspend on your business (on marketing or other initiatives) before you’ve learned how to earn.

Being of Service:
You need to know how you want to serve the world, and how you do it best, above and beyond the competition.  If you don’t know how you’re different from your competitors, the marketplace won’t know either, and you won’t get the business you want.

Tip: Name and claim the niche you serve best and are most joyful at working in.  Find ways to become an expert and truly gifted in the areas that light you up the most, and communicate your stand-apart qualities.

Relationship with Your Higher Self

Finally, the two essential marketing blocks here in terms of accessing your most expansive, highest self in your work are: Finding Role Models and Being Open to Angels (the human kind – and others, if you wish!)

Finding Role Models:
If you think that the only way to do marketing is the sleazy, intrusive and shameless kind, you’re just stuck in a misguided story that’s holding you back.  You need a new set of role models that you can see, hear, and follow, who are doing it the way you want to.

Tip: Find fabulous visual role models of marketers who are doing it the way you love.  Follow my “marketingpeeps” list on twitter (@kathycaprino) for a start.  These men and women are just a sampling of amazing communicators and marketers who do great work in the most authentic, heart-aligned and compelling way possible on the planet!

Opening to Angels:
If you hate marketing, you’re going to struggle in your business and creative ventures.  It’s that simple.  So get help to overcome your fears about it.  Be open to the angels that come in your life who want to help you move forward.  Find people you trust and respect, and ask them for their critique (yes, critique!), advice and support.  You don’t have to do this alone.  Angels are waiting in the wings to help you.

*  *  *  *

Learning how to get yourself out there and share your authentic messages with the world – and powering up to deal with this success outcomes that will follow – is one of the most enlivening and exciting processes you can undertake.

 Are you ready to embrace your Inner Marketer? I think Yes!

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