Is There an Inspired Thought Leader Inside of You?

Sixteen years ago, as legend has it, I read a book in six days and everything in my life changed. Upon finishing it, I knew that I needed to leave my marriage and to change the course of my career–writing novels–which I had adored.  I woke up from that book knowing I needed to do something that was more real and substantial than creating fictional plots and characters had been for me. The words that I said–in the privacy of my own head—were, ” I want to change the world.”

For two years, all dressed up with no where to go, I searched for the venue that would help me to do that and finally came upon coaching. It was not what it is today: no one had heard of it, no one understood it (I think most still don’t) and so it was wide-open terrain. I was passionate about it because I knew its empowering methodology could indeed change the world.

accelerated learning mapFive years later, at a seminar, I was captivated by a method of working with audiences derived from education science called “accelerated learning.” It was another life-changing few days, as I decided to leave coaching and immerse myself in learning everything I could about accelerated learning and brain-based learning. Eighteen months later, passionate and convicted, I launched my second business—Inspired Leaders’ Academy—with a new kind of public speaking training just for entrepreneurs, using these technologies. I knew that when used properly, this “new paradigm of audience leadership” could change the world.

It’s been many years since that launch and many more since my realization that I wanted to change the world, but the drive is as real and fresh in me as it was when I closed the cover of that book.  I still believe coaching can change the world; I know that leading audiences with the technology of brain-based-learning will change the world—and now I work with coaches and other experts to help them change the world with a third element: Thought leadership.

Here’s my conviction: No business will make it now without leaving the pack and standing far apart from everyone else. And the way coaches, consultants and other experts will do that is with a fresh, provocative, even radical, message that shatters the status quo. A thought leader message. It’s essential for survival, and the only option for changing the world.

But a thought leader message isn’t enough. I named my business Inspired Leaders’ Academy years ago because I knew to stand out, and to change the world, you must lead with inspiration.  The fact is, inspiration sells as no data, evidence, or sound intellectual arguments ever will. My father was a minister and I adapted his natural ability to inspire, so when I began leading my public speaking trainings and free events, I saw that truth in action: inspiration is the ultimate call-to-action.ShieldHighResVersion

So, to be successful and change the world, you can’t just have a thought leader message that is intellectually satisfying; you need the fire and passion of inspiration to move an audience to truly “hear” that message and make it their own. On the other hand, you cannot just have an inspirational message—heat and heart—without a solid idea that confounds common understanding, fries brain circuits and destroys conformist thinking. You need them both.

I’ll be leading a virtual event in a couple of weeks: Is There an Inspired Thought Leader Inside of You?” It’s not an easy road; it requires rigorous thinking and a commitment to excellence beyond anything you’ll see around you–but if you are here to change the world, there will be only one answer for you, as there was for me sixteen years ago: Yes, and it’s ready to come out!

So…Is There an Inspired Thought Leader Inside of You?

Freedom to Lead Series 9: Freedom to Rise

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This 10-day video series honors our Independence Day here in the States–July 4; honors the determination our forefathers had to be free by looking at the freedoms entrepreneurial thought leaders must claim in order to be successful in business and in changing the world.

In this next-to-last 9th video, we look at one word that will give you everything you need to rise to the top and far above the crowd.

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Freedom to Lead Series 6: Freedom from Failure

This 10-day video series honors our Independence Day here in the States–July 4; honors the determination our forefathers had to be free by looking at the freedoms entrepreneurial thought leaders must claim in order to be successful in business and in changing the world.

In this sixth video, we look at failure and the formula truly successful entrepreneurs use to ward off its crushing defeat. What do you do most often? Crash or correct? 

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Freedom to Lead Series 4: Freedom from Identity Confusion

This 10-day video series honors our Independence Day here in the States–July 4; honors the determination our forefathers had to be free by looking at the freedoms entrepreneurial thought leaders must claim in order to be successful in business and in changing the world. 

In this fourth video, we look at the limitation of putting too much out in the marketplace and the freedom of having a *single* business identity!

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10 Years in Business–Tip #35: Set Parameters With Your Clients

In my special report, What I Know For Sure: Lessons Learned in 10 Years of Business, I list 75 topic areas that I have bumped into over ten years. And every day in October, I will randomly choose one of the 75 and expound on it. So here’s today’s: Set limits with your coaching/consulting clients before you even engage them. Put these limits in writing and get their verbal and even written agreement to abide by them. Limits on how often they can postpone before you sever the relationship; on the latest they can send you an assignment; what you will do if they fail to work with you in a timely manner, etc. Do you have clients routinely appear late at your session appointments? Or let you know rather late that they have to cancel? How about those who have an excuse for not having done the assignment they agreed to do the week before? Or, if, as in my case, their assignment is a written one–they send it to you two hours before your scheduled appointment instead of a full day before? And do you have a tangent-runner? Someone who talks much too long? And even on a topic unrelated to your sessions? If you haven’t met any such client, you will. I’ve met them all after ten years, and you want to be prepared with each one of these scenarios (and any others) by setting parameters before you begin coaching them. And each one (except the last) must be met with a hard consequence if they do it more than once. Tell them up-front that you allow them to be late only once, and after that,  either 1) you’ll charge them $20 or 2) double the time they were late and subtract that from the call. So, late 5 minutes? You’ll get off 10 minutes early. I don’t recommend that you tell them that the session will end at its regularly scheduled time no matter how late they are because a) you may be the type to go over-time, so that won’t mean anything, and b) it won’t stop the behavior. Make the consequence tough to stop the behavior. Which leads to the other issues. Make sure you tell them that they are charged if they fail to cancel within 18-24 hours, whatever feels best to you. AND tell them up front that this will be the case even if it’s a heart-rending story! You’ll get pulled into empathy and compassion otherwise and fold like a stack of cards–and miss an opportunity to have scheduled someone else. What if they don’t do their assignment? Remember: a consequence that will change their behavior. But your reputation is at stake with this one, as well.  The fact is, you’re not going to have success stories if clients don’t do their work. So, your future directly hinges on their following through with their commitments. I’d get really tough here, right at the outset. Tell them that if they come to an appointment without their homework, you will 1) cancel the session and they’ll pay for it, or 2) after 2x, you’ll cancel the relationship, with no refund of any previous payment. And remember, do this before you start and get their agreement in writing. How to ward off a tangential talker? Well, hopefully you’ll never know you have one of you tell them up front that you are dedicated to giving your clients the very best of your time and so you have a policy that if anyone goes off-topic, you will steer the ship back on course and to please not take offense if you cut them off. If you say this in the beginning, before you know them at all, they won’t take it personally. Be sure to get all 75 tips from my 14-page special report here. And be SURE to grab today’s special offer–The Audience Leadership Assessment–my 108-question assessment that tests your strengths and weaknesses in 7 core competencies of public speaking. This is a GREAT assessment and you can take it for just $20.01 today and tomorrow only! Go to:

10 Years in Business–Tip #62: Are You Building Your Business Around Your Favorite Style?

In my special report, What I Know For Sure: Lessons Learned in 10 Years of Business, I list 75 topic areas that I have bumped into over ten years. And every day in October, I will randomly choose one of the 75 and expound on it. So here’s today’s: TIP #62 It is essential that you build your business model around how you want to spend your days. You’re working for yourself, not for someone else! You don’t have to be miserable. Do your work the way you like to do it. Be in front of the computer, if that’s how you like to spend your days. Be on the phone, coaching. Get out and teach and speak. Write. But spend it the way you want to spend it. This is another one of those tips that can be glossed over because you think you are spending your day doing what you love. You love your niche and you love your target market. But are you spending the hours in the processes you love the most? Or are you spending them the way you’ve been told you “should”? At some point, you need to take stock: are you coaching when you should really just be writing because that’s what you love and it’s where you want your future to go? (A past client of mine just had this aha-moment recently). Are you giving seminars to groups when you really just want to do one-on-one consulting or coaching? Are you giving keynotes, when you really want to be creating changes, which means more time with your audiences than keynotes ever provide? Are you coaching when deep-down you know you’re a teacher? Are you poring over the internet to get clients–engaging with social media–when you really need to be in-person with people? Are you making choices out of a presumption of what you should do, rather than what you love to do? It is essential that you build your business, (which means your days) around your favorite things to do. I’m celebrating 10 years in business all through October with these blog posts, a party/call on Monday, October 10th–and special invitations to take my programs and get my products at deep discounts. Today’s offer: work with me privately. This RARELY happens. Go see the 3 business-building options I’m offering here.

Celebrating 10 Years In Business This Month!!

It was October 2001. After nearly nine months of rigorous study and practice, I charged out of the iPEC Coaching school in New Jersey, where I’d just earned my ICF-accredited certification, and was ready to change the world. After all, two years before, I’d left my marriage to do just that (that’s another story) and I figured it was about time I followed through. Never mind that I had no idea how to run a business. My father had been a minister, my mother a psychotherapist and the very cornerstones of any successful business—selling and marketing—had never been skills they’d needed, and in fact, they had quite openly disparaged them. While it has become a cliché now, I was one of those who truly believed that all it took to be good in business was being good at what I did. And I was great at coaching. So, it wasn’t much of a leap, I figured, to assume I’d be great in business. Are you laughing? I wish someone had laughed at me and set me straight back then, but I didn’t have any entrepreneurial friends or family members, so they stepped into the poppy field with me and off we marched into my fantasy. I soon woke up. With a start. As I’ve said, I had no idea how to sell—but it was all much worse than just that. I didn’t want to sell. Like, fiercely. I honestly would have rather starved—and if it hadn’t been for my ex-husband, I probably would have. Sales people were desperate, sleazy, manipulative. And since I wasn’t any of those, I was not going to risk my reputation and become them. Lesson 1. I had no target market. If you’ve been a student or client of mine, you’re openly gaping right now—but I assure you, it’s true: I wanted to be a generalist coach. After all, Marianne Williamson and Wayne Dyer didn’t have narrow markets: they spoke to the whole world and so would I. Lesson 2. Then there was the clarity thing. It was bad enough that the world didn’t really know what a “coach” was outside of sports–and while making the analogy helped, still, furrowed brows dominated the faces of those to whom I tried to describe this new profession. And since I was a generalist, I had very little compelling to say about what I did. Lesson 3. There’s more to the story–not trying to tease, but too long for a post. Go get the rest PLUS the 75 lessons I learned the hard way:

8 Sessions with 2 Financial Coaches Who Want Clients

I had an 8-session consultation with two financial coaches who wanted more clients to walk in the door. There was one thing they were clear on: once they had clients, these two coaches would do amazing work with them. The trick was getting them in the door! Sound familiar? Over the next 8 days, you’re going to get the chance to “eavesdrop” in on my sessions with “M&M” and get some ideas for your own business. This is just a sampling of the work I do and I decided to make it public—not just in these blog posts, but in a CD product I’m launching next week! You’ll be able to get the actual sessions, plus 2 great bonuses, starting next Tuesday. So Session 1 with M&M. Of course, I need to get the lay of the land: how long have they been coaching, who have they been coaching, etc. They tell me they were trained through Dave Ramsey and have been coaching couples on and off for ten years, mostly giving their coaching away. Now, they’re ready to make money! I am pleased to see that they have a somewhat Brain-Sticky differentia- tion already, promoting themselves as, to paraphrase, the “seasoned couple working with younger couples.” This is, of course, very appealing, as what younger couple wouldn’t want to be guided by an “older and wiser” couple, who had weathered financial storms in marriage? I am also pleased to see that they have a target market! I can’t tell you how many service entrepreneurs don’t. “Couples” is still too broad, but we can begin to focus this down by looking at the age of their market’s children. Do M&M work with very new couples, who have newborns? Or those who have preschoolers? Or are they in high school, facing the issue of college? Each “era” has its own difficulties and it is critical to know which difficulty they want to address as coaches. They tell me that most of their clients have children in elementary-school, indicating that (generally), the parents have been married at least seven years, and up to 14 years.  These are often pressure-cooker times, when the honeymoon is over, financial issues are no longer ignorable and volcanic eruptions occur. I begin to take M&M through a process I call the “Trigger Event.” The fact is, humans walk around thinking they can handle most of their issues by themselves, or at least with the help of friends and family. But something happens, one day—in fact, one moment—that triggers their dawning reali- zation that they need help. This is a tough exercise for most people, and M&M and I move right in like “Google Earth” on their couples, looking in on a typical scene when such an awakening might occur. They decide the couple is reviewing a new credit card statement and we move through the entire scene: what the conversation is like, what eruption occurs, and what finally “pops the cork;” has one or both of them blurting out, “We can’t do this alone!” Why is this important to know? For starters, it is critical to understand that you won’t make money if your market isn’t hungry—and they aren’t always hungry. I always tell my clients and students that your greatest competition is not someone else, but rather the idea, “I can do this myself.” But there will be a tipping point when they are in such pain or frustration they are finally ready to spend money. And you want to know what that pain is—on a very specific level —so you can refer to it in marketing copy, creating intimacy with your market as they “self-identify,” saying, “That’s me!” —and so you can potentially influence that trigger event in those who haven’t had it yet. The trials and tribulations are there in the background, like a humming furnace, but they haven’t realized they need help yet. You can help them realize it, by talking about those moments, only if you know what they are. So, what is a moment that would wake up your market from enduring and tolerating whatever is not working for them? Would love to hear your ideas below! And be sure to come back tomorrow, when M&M decide on the strategy they’re going to use to get more clients!

Are Your Presentations Moving with the Times?

For the next few weeks, I’m focusing my posts on public speaking because it’s key to changing the world. Today, I want to send you over to an eye-opening video on YouTube that has, on the surface, nothing to do with speaking–and yet nothing we do in any part of our lives is exempt from the message contained in this video.  The video tell us “We are living in exponential times“–and it then proceeds to make its point: in 2006, there were 2.7 billion Google searchs. Two years later, there were 31 billion!! Did you read that right? In 1984 there were 1,000 internet devices. In ’92, there were 1 million. In ’08–1 trillion. Exponential times. A company in Japan is testing a fiber optic cable that can send  14 trillion bits of information per second down a single strand of fiber…this is equal to 210 millon phone calls per second. Ever heard for an exabyte? It’s (4 x10 ^19). Equal to 1 billion gigabytes. It looks like this: 1,000,000,000,000,000,000. The video estimated that in ’08, 4 exabytes of unique information would be generated. More than in the previous 5,000 years. We are living in exponential times. The world is humming at  frequencies never known before. Obsolescence is occuring some- where every second. With this mind-boggling upsurge in speed, our brains are being rewired; we are thinking differently and  learning differently. The brain is plastic; it changes and grows and the way we integrated information twenty years ago in high school doesn’t apply. And it doesn’t apply for those we’re teaching and coaching. Are your current attempts at knowledge-transfer (ie. your pre- sentations) humming as fast as the rest of the world? Are they provocative enough to capture the attention of minds fractured by constant stumuli? Are they as new as the latest App? Are the ideas you’re presenting “escaping the wannabees” and gener- ating exponential growth? Maybe those are high standards for a single presentation. But I’m not one to wrap myself up in cozy excuses and I bet you aren’t either.  I believe if we are worth our salt as leaders and as conveyors of information, we must measure the quality of our content against the pace of the world–and that of course, begins  with the big-picture question, Is my business keeping up with the breath-stealing acceleration of the times we’re in? If not, what must I do? If so, how do I ensure my presentations do the same? I teach a “new paradigm” of audience leadership– but this video got me asking the question, How can it be even newer? How can I speed up what I’m teaching to meet the frequency of the world’s vibration? I’m giving a free 90-minute teleclass on the “old paradigm” of public speaking, and its replacement: the new paradigm based on the latest brain research. I’m sending you away to watch the YouTube video–but before you go, I invite you to sign up for the teleclass on April 7th. It’s provocative and will shift how you think about speaking in public You can read all about it here. Then go check out the video I’ve talked about today, Did You Know?
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