A New Approach

OK peeps, listen up.

I have some fabulous new workshops on offer. I know they’re fabulous because they are distilled from coaching sessions I’ve had with clients, and everything that’s gone into one of these workshops has made a real difference to someone.

The thing is, they’re not selling and that’s a real shame because I know that there are people out there (maybe you) that could really benefit from them.

There could be any number of reasons why they’re not selling –

  • I haven’t done enough marketing
  • I haven’t done the right sort of marketing
  • the timing’s wrong
  • they’re too expensive
  • I’m still an unknown quantity
  • it feels too risky
  • other things I haven’t thought of

So I’m going to try a new strategy.

Instead of asking for a fixed fee, I’m going to try another way.

If you want to come along to one of my workshops, I’ll ask you for a nominal fee to reserve your spot. The fee will be just enough so that, when all the places are booked, I will have covered the costs of hiring the venue.

Once you’ve reserved your seat, you come along to the workshop and at the end of the day

  • you pay me what you think the day was worth

I’ll give you an envelope and a piece of paper for you to anonymously tell me what you thought of the workshop and why you’ve decided to pay me what you did.

You put whatever you like into the envelope, seal it and off you go.

You’re under no obligation whatsoever to put any money in, and your comments will help me to keep on improving what I offer.

How does that sound?

Personal development and coaching at a price that really IS right for you – because you set it!

You can see all the workshops I currently have on offer here.  Ticket prices for most workshops are now just £10 and places are strictly limited.

And For My Next Challenge…

…I’m going to jump put of an aeroplane!

On July 9th, at Cirencester airfield.

In doing so, I shall be not only facing my fears, but also raising money for Mind, the Mental Health Charity. If you’d like to encourage me, you can make a donation by clicking here – and BLIMEY! In the two minutes since I started typing this I’ve already started receiving donations!!

How exciting 🙂

There is another challenge inherent in this, because I currently weigh more than the upper limit allowed for this airfield.  Since my diet is already very good, I’m going to have to get off my backside and start exercising regularly other wise they’ll turn me away at the airfield.

So. As one who has spent a lifetime shunning exercise in any way, shape or form, this is going to be another form of challenge – not facing my fears, but getting in touch with my inner Gym Bunny.

Any suggestions?!

 

Some questions for all the Coaches out there

I see more and more people, many of them coaches, offering to show me the “one, guaranteed way” to gather lots of new clients.

Maybe I’m “the best kept secret” in coaching, or maybe I need to learn how to move from “one-to-one to one-to-many”. Maybe I need to learn how to package my knowledge or funnel my products or create my irrisistible offer, or do any one of a number of other catchphras-ey things.

But whatever it is I need, lots of people are all convinced they’ve got The Thing to help me.

And The Thing is ALWAYS the same at heart – whoever’s offering it and whatever they call it.

The Thing is a pattern of marketing that begins with doing free teleseminars that always include a special offer only available to the listeners. Then you move on to selling ebooks and recordings of your teleseminars, always with another special offer included. And so on you go, building up and selling up until you’ve got people begging to be allowed to pay you thousands of dollars to fly half way around the world to come and sit at your feet.

Now don’t get me wrong. I mean no disrespect. For some people this approach has clearly worked wonders.

I’ve tried aspects of it myself but never really bought into it as a concept – and certainly not as THE ONLY WAY to get yourself known as a coach. If that means I’m doomed to a life of muddling through and never making that magic “Seven-Figure-Income” that keeps on getting bandied about then so be it.

But what strikes me is how more and more coaches seem to be turning their practice into churning out this advice, in their own words, and trying to sell it to other coaches.

There are a number of things that could be going on here:

  • this method really IS the only one that works, it’s been enormously successful for these coaches and they now want to share their good fortune with others
  • selling “the formula” seems like more of a sure-fire winner than keeping on trying to get coaching clients and it’s clearly bringing in loads of dosh for other people so why not give it a try…
  • something else I haven’t thought of

I’m interested to know what other coaches think about all this.

Do you use the standard formula, and has it worked for you?

Do you use other methods to attract clients, and how do they work for you?

And what about potential clients? If you’re looking for a coach, what attracts you to one in particular?

What kind of marketing works for you, and when do you feel like you’re being “sold to”?

Please comment – I really do want to know what peoples’ opinions are on this subject.

I Could Never Do That!!

I’ve been hearing that a lot lately, as you might imagine. Whether it’s taking my clothes off, jumping out of an aeroplane, blogging about my deepest darkest feelings or wearing lots of bright colours all at once, I seem to be doing a lot of things that a lot of people think they could never do.

I had an interesting conversation the other day with someone who wondered what the point was – her view was that each of these things might make a difference to me on the day I do them, but that it wouldn’t really change anything in the long run.

I beg to differ.

The reasons I’m taking on these challenges are as follows:

1. To challenge myself out of constantly thinking “I could never do that!”

I’m as prone to thinking like that as anyone else and the older I get the more frustrating I find it because it gets in the way of my doing all sorts of perfectly reasonable things.

So I figured that, the more REALLY challenging things I’ve done, the less I’ll believe myself when I tell myself “I can’t do that” about apparently simple things like asking for what I want, or challenging something that I’m not happy with.

2. To keep myself alert and interested.

I thrive on intellectual challenges. I am a creature of the mind rather than the body, but there have been some significant occasions when I have learnt really profound things about how my mind works from challenging my body.

So I want to see what more can I learn about myself and how I operate – and it seems to me the way to do that is by challenging myself physically as well as mentally.

3. To give myself choices and opportunities.

The more we stay in our comfort zone, the less choice and opportunity we give ourselves. It’s like choosing to wear blinkers, and only ever changing them for bigger blinkers. We all have comfort zones but for many of us they are misnamed – they’re more like Familiarity Zones – and even though they’ve long ceased to be comfortable we cling to them because familiarity feels safe.

But sometimes we need to take a good hard look at our Familiarity Zone and recognise that actually it’s a wasteland, or a swamp, or a desert and it’s time to leave.

Only when we do that, can we begin to look around and see the amazing choices and opportunities that are available to us.

4. To encourage you to challenge yourself.

I’m no different to anyone else. I have my fears and hangups, my good days and my not so good days. But I see my purpose in life as being to help as many people as possible to get to know what they are really, truly capable of and to experience the joy and fulfillment that comes from doing so.

My hope is that, by seeing me challenging myself, you will feel inspired to challenge yourself to do something that you’ve previously thought “I could never do that!” about.

It doesn’t matter what it is – it could be jumping out of a plane or standing up to a bully or tackling your credit card debt full on or coming out about your sexuality or admitting that you’re finding something really difficult – everyone has their own fears to face and challenges to overcome.  What I want to do is to encourage you to think differently about yourself.

So, the next time you find yourself thinking

“I could never do that” ask yourself

“Why not? What’s the worst that could happen?”

I’d LOVE to know whether you’ve been inspired to set yourself your own challenge – do comment here and let me know!

 

 

Body Issues, what Body Issues?

Last night I went and took all my clothes off in front of a group of total strangers.

And a dog.

For 2 hours I sat completely still (on an electric blanket, surrounded by fan heaters) as 7 people stood at easels and painted/sketched/drew/charcoaled their own versions of me, to a soundtrack of old ska music and the odd surprising interjection of hip-hop (that Biggie Smalls, he was a laugh, eh?!)

Apart from the tutor and one girl who didn’t stay for the entire session, the group was entirely male – including the dog – and two of them appeared to be younger than my son.

It didn’t feel even slightly odd, though. There was no hint that any of this was in any way unusual or unpleasant and apart from the fact that everyone else in the room knew each other and I knew no-one, it was a perfectly ordinary, comfortable evening.

So – it seemed that for me there was no real challenge and no fears to be faced in getting naked.

And then I made the mistake of looking at some of the pictures.

I didn’t know what the etiquette was – does the model express an interest in the work going on around her and chat to the artists, or does she sit in a corner and mind her own business during the tea break?

So I combined the two. I sat in a corner stroking the dog and drinking my tea, and indulged myself with sneaky peaks at the pictures every now and then.

And that’s where the challenge and the fear came in.

Because, notwithstanding the varying degrees of skill of the individual artists, the difficult thing was seeing myself as others see me.

My fist instinct was to recoil at what I saw as ugliness. I’m under no illusions about my shape but I suppose I had expected to see something like this:

Beryl Cooke painting courtesy of the Canterbury Auction Galleries

And instead what I saw looked more like this:

The Venus of Willendorf

But without the hat and with my delicate lady parts far better hidden. Ahem.

Beryl Cooke’s work celebrates the female form, particularly the amply endowed female form, and does it in a way that smooths out the lumps and bumps and shows only curves and smoothness and generosity. Beryl’s work allows perkiness where there would, in reality, have been droop and sag, and satin skin instead of stretch marks and cellulite.

The Venus of Willendorf, in contrast, is much more lifelike, as are the paintings of Rubens which show bodies, male and female, as they really are rather than as we might wish them to be.

So – given that Rubens and that ancient sculptor had it right, what was I actually recoiling from? One of the paintings from last night was clearly made by an artist of real talent – he had captured the musculature under my skin and the fall of light and shade. There was a quote on the wall of the studio that said something about how painting the human body was a combination of architecture and landscape painting – and I think this artist last night had done both.

His work contained no judgement of me – the judgement was entirely in my own head.

And what was my judgement based on?

My external appearance doesn’t make me any less worthy as a human being.

It doesn’t make me any the less capable of doing the work that I love.

It is how it is in part as a result of 2 caesarean sections and breastfeeding 2 babies.

It also is how it is in part because I’ve never exercised regularly and I have a sweet tooth.

It is how it is also in part because of my genetic make-up.

And it is how it is because that’s who I am. If I looked different, I would have had an entirely different life and I wouldn’t be who I am today.

And who I am today is in a really good place, so why would I want to look any different? Do I really want to spend the rest of my life recoiling from The Real Me?

Hell No!

And so I am content. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience last night and I’m told that I made an excellent model because I had no difficulty sitting still. I shall do it again (especially if the dog turns up every time).

And next time I catch sight of a painitng, I will enjoy the artistry that’s gone into creating it and I will celebrate what it shows of the life I’ve lived to become who I am.

I have a couple of questions for you to ask yourself if you feel insecure about your appearance:

  • what POSITIVE impact has your appearance had on creating the person you are today?
  • if you’ve read this blog and thought “I could NEVER do that!” have a conversation with that fear and find out what it is you’re REALLY afraid of – you might be surprised by the answer.

Confronting My Fears

Well, I asked for challenges and you sent them my way, didn’t you!

As I type, I am facing the following LIVE challenges:

  • find an accompanist and sing at an open mic night
  • do a parachute jump
  • make my book the “must read” for anyone about to go to uni
  • work as a life model (ie take all my clothes off and pose naked for artists)

I also have some ideas incubating for later, including

  • coaching somewhere really challenging, like inside a prison
  • rebuilding a very broken relationship

At the moment, the parachute jump feels like the real biggie. I signed up to do it in a rush, knowing full well that if I didn’t do it there and then I’d find all sorts of excuses reasons not to do it.

Then I felt sick and spent the rest of that evening shaking, literally shaking.

And then I decided that, rather than letting the insane spiral of panic keep going round in my head, I’d have a conversation with it. And so I sat down and had a chat with one of my Gremlins, Little Miss Itstoo Scary.

Here’s how it went.

Me: Er, hello? Who’s there?

Little Miss Itstoo Scary: NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Me: Ah, hello, I thought you might be here. Could you just stop running around in circles screaming for a minute so we can talk?

LMIS: No-but-how-could-you-do-this-you-can’t-jump-out-of-a-plane-you’ll-die-and-it’s-far-too-dangerous-and-scary-and …………………………….. well- noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!

Me: OK, look, I understand you’re frightened and you’re concerned for my safety, I am too. VERY. But can you tell me EXACTLY what it is about this that frightens you?

LMIS: YOU’RE GOING TO DIE!!!!!

Me: What makes you think that?

LMIS: Because you’re going to JUMP OUT OF AN AEROPLANE!!!!! That’s NOT SAFE!!

Me: Well no, it wouldn’t be safe if that was all I was going to do, jump out of an aeroplane. But I’m jumping WITH a parachute and strapped to an experienced sky-diver, so it’s not like I haven’t mitigated some of the risks involved.

LMIS: Oh. Well, OK, but it’s still a MASSIVE RISK! People die in parachuting accidents every day!

Me: Do they? Every day?

LMIS: Well, maybe not every day…but it does happen.

Me: Yes it does. And people get killed everyday crossing the road or driving their cars but you don’t worry about me doing those things, do you?

LMIS: Er, well…no, I suppose not…

Me: Why is that?

LMIS: Well, because I’m used to you doing them. They’re normal things

Me: Just because I do something regularly doesn’t necessarily make them any less risky – it might even make them riskier because of complacency.

LMIS: Mmmm…I hadn’t thought of it like that. So – you’ll be strapped to an expert and they’ll make sure you’re as safe as you can be?

Me: Yes.

LMIS: OK then. I’m happy.

Me: Sorry?

LMIS: I said, I’m happy. You go off and enjoy yourself. Oh, and you’re doing it for charity, aren’t you? Well done, I hope you get lots of sponsors. Oh, and enjoy the singing and the modelling too. I’ll see you around.

Me: Er..right. So – we’re cool now?

LMIS: Yup, I just wanted to be sure you’d thought about the risks and you clearly have, so that’s fine. Bye!

And that’s REALLY how it was. Once I’d stepped aside from the primal fear mode and thought about relative risks I suddenly stopped being frightened and started to become excited.

And I still am.

Let’s see how long it lasts…

Challenges…

So, yesterday I said I was in need of a challenge and asked for suggestions. I’ve had one so far, from my lovely daughter, and I have accepted her challenge to devise a set-list, find an accompanist and sing at least 3 songs at an open mic event.

I do love to sing but have been very shy of singing in public – partly from being told when I was younger that I had a rotten voice, and partly as a result of getting such a severe attack of nerves when I agreed to perform a solo in a school music competition that I went on stage, opened my voice, and NOTHING came out.

Imagine that – me, making no noise whatsoever!

So – if anyone knows of any open mic venues in the Cheltenham area or wants to recommend an accompanist or volunteer themself to act as one, please email me at cathy@colourinyourthinking.co.uk or tweet me @colourfulcoach

I know some of you are out there plotting on what challenges you’re going to offer me – don’t leave it too long cos I can only hold my breath for so long!!

I’ve also realised that there’s a challenge I had already set mself, and had promptly “forgotten” about, and that’s to do with promoting and selling my book.

So this morning I got to work on that, and you can follow that story on my dedicated blog at Goodreads.com, where you’ll also find a competition to win a free review copy.

The adrenaline is flowing and today has been an enormoudsly productive way for all sorts of things, so onwards and upwards is what I say!!

UPDATE:

as I was writing that, the lovely RedHairedHiker was commenting on yesterday’s post and challenging me to do some kind of really scary sporting activity.

So I’ve just signed up to do a Tandem Skydive in aid of Mind, the mental health charity.

I did it quickly so as not to give myself time to chicken out, so it’s all booked and paid for and I’m waiting for the date. Once I have that I’ll let you know how you can sponsor me – you will sponsor me, won’t you? Please? Cos now that I’ve stopped to think about it, I’m REALLY scared…