If you're a right brain entrepreneur or executive, the odds are stacked against you. In most Western cultures, business is structured as a left-brain activity. But that doesn't mean you can't stand out and be wildly successful. In fact, it means it's easier for you to stand out...and hence be wildly successful. In fact, what business desperately needs right now are the unique gifts you bring to the table as a right brain entrepreneur.
BUT, it means you have to overcome these 4 roadblocks to stand out, be valued, and contribute effectively.
Roadblock #1: Assuming Too Much Responsibility
Rather than being a jack of all trades, spreading yourself too thin and taking on too much responsibility, you must recognize and monetize your gifts - the things that are easy, natural, effortless for you...the things that you are good at and love doing.
Most right brainers I work with have no idea what their gifts are, so they spend most of their time doing things that are more difficult, take more effort, and are dramatically less rewarding, not to mention depleting and exhausting.
Here's my rule of thumb: If you spend a lot of time worn out, stressed, and frustrated, you aren't monetizing your gifts.
Here's what it looks like when you do monetize your gifts:
You're excited and really enjoy your work.
Your work is extremely high quality.
And others are impressed by and appreciate your work.
Roadblock #2: Starting Too Many Things...and Finishing Few
Right brainers are full of ideas. We can make connections between concepts that others cannot, use our imaginations to create possibilities, paint the picture for others to follow, and think extraordinarily fast on our feet.
People love us for that.
But most right brainers also have a very long list of unfinished projects because we usually have way too many things going at one time. Many of us have what's called "the shiny object syndrome" where we get seduced by new ideas or possibilities, and we get bored with the details and the amount of effort and time it takes to complete things. If we're leading other people, it's often confusing and disheartening when we don't follow through and complete the things we start.
What we have to realize is we are GREAT at starting things, but we are not so good at finishing them ourselves.
Most right brainers I work with think they are good at almost everything, but when pressed to finish projects or ideas, they try harder and harder, get frustrated, their to do lists grow longer and longer, they get stressed out, and they think there's something wrong with them but they have no idea what.
The key to finishing lots of things? Partner with finishers. Here's what it looks like when you partner with finishers:
Your list of unfinished projects becomes complete.
Your to do list shrinks (over time).
The world gets to finally see and appreciate your ideas, which can generate significantly more revenue and satisfaction for you.
The added bonus is that you begin to trust yourself more, your self esteem improves, and you have proof your ideas are actually valid.
To overcome this roadblock we must partner with people who are great at finishing things, and empower them to do so. What's important to realize is that the part of our brain that is good at starting things (one of our gifts) is not good at finishing things. So don't spend a lot of time, money, effort, and resources trying to become good at finishing things because our brains and our habits will rarely allow us to do so proficiently.
Roadblock #3: Hiring for Potential vs. Hiring for Proof of Competence
As right brainers, we crave respect. Since that's our perspective, we assume others also crave respect - and we want to give it to them way too early. Because of this we often don't make people earn our respect. In hiring, this can become a big problem because we sense people's potential (it's also one of our gifts) and we automatically respect people for that potential.
Many businesses, particularly small businesses or startups, need people who can work independently, take on the role completely on Day 1, and do what is required immediately with little orientation or training. If you hire people based on their potential, it requires that you spend a lot of time training and mentoring them, supervising their work, giving lots of feedback, and explaining your expectations in great detail. Most of us don't have the luxury of taking the time and effort required to do that.
Most right brainers I work with pride themselves on giving people opportunities, in part because many of them got where they are because they were given opportunities. However, this practice often creates a tremendous amount of overwhelm, missed expectations, stress, and additional work for the person who hired them (that would be you). So while you might feel great about giving someone a chance - an opportunity to learn and grow - you could be sabotaging your business.
Here's what it looks like when you hire based on proof of competence:
People start their roles being able to anticipate our expectations because they've already done it.
They can make an immediate impact on the outcomes you need.
They know the job better than you do.
Roadblock #4: Helping Everyone Else vs. Helping Yourself
Right brainers love to help people. Most run businesses that serve others well, while leaving the owner worn out, stressed, financially strapped, and chaotic.
Most right brain executives focus on what the clients need vs. what their employees (or they, themselves) need. This usually results in high staff turnover because expectations are unclear. When the sole focus is on helping the clients, vs. valuing the needs of the employees and owner as well, people will search for somewhere else to work where they are valued and appreciated.
Most right brain entrepreneurs and executives call me for help when they are in a crisis. Either they are completely worn out and they want their lives back, their businesses are at risk of going under, or their staff is ready to mutiny. Usually they've played with a million strategies, but haven't completely followed through with any of them.
Here's what it looks like when you help yourself, as a right brain entrepreneur or executive:
You're really clear on what your needs, your employees' needs, the business's needs and your customer's needs are. I often ask my clients, "Did you start your business to focus on everybody else, or to create the freedom and life you wanted?"
Then you create the systems, processes and procedures that get those needs met. You literally design your business with this in mind.
You're able to run a profitable business with happy employees, happy customers, and you finally have the time and energy to have a life you really enjoy.
If you're facing any of these road blocks, use my 15 years of expertise of helping hundreds of people just like you take the steps and make the changes required to overcome them.
Working across multiple industries, including advertising, public relations, design, software development, gaming, etc. often gives me unique insights into emerging trends that most people may think are isolated to their particular field or profession.
One trend I'm noticing now is that the sales process is changing in each of these industries. It's not just that the sales cycle has nearly doubled in the past 4-6 months, but that the decision making structure, itself, has been transformed and the ultimate decision makers have changed.
Finance is playing a greater part in these decisions, and is often becoming the ultimate decision maker.
Boards of Advisors are also playing a much greater role, and are often the final decision maker for projects.
That didn't used to be the case. And it's like the rules have changed, but nobody told you.
No one should be surprised that the finance department has become more involved. After the long recession and recovery, financial decisions are under intense scrutiny and must be managed well. However, when finance people are making purchase decisions for areas they aren't qualified to make, it requires you to educate financial decision-makers on the benefits and expected return of what you are selling.
Remember, finance folks are "numbers" people. They love data. Naturally, then, there is a greater demand for measurement. This new requirement is tough for most sales people and small business owners in creative fields who aren't used to quantifying the results of their work.
I'm also hearing from my clients that when it comes time for their prospective client to make a decision about working with them, either the clients didn't communicate at all, or communicated that the Board was reviewing the decision. This is highly frustrating and not anticipated by most sales people.
What this change now requires is asking your clients specifically who will be making the final decision? What's the process for making the decision? And it may even require incentivizing your customers to make a decision by a particular date.
Here is a perfect example.
I was working with a client in public relations who was facing this challenge. To help their prospective client make a decision sooner rather than later (which is important for your own cash flow needs), we created a bonus if the client made a decision early, and a savings if they made the decision by a particular date.
What this new trend means is:
You may have to approach the sales process differently and provide different (new) types of information, depending on who is making the decision.
You may have to change your expectations on the length of sales cycle and the amount of effort you need to expend to land new business.
You probably need to get more creative about how you help clients make decisions in a time frame that works for your business, and that makes them even more confident about the decision they end up making.
Have you noticed this trend happening in your own business? What has changed about your typical sales cycle, or about the decision-making process your own customers are using?
Leave a comment below to share.
If you need help creating a strategy, work with your coach, or call me, to get help.
And who needs one?
Many people ask me what my work is like. Because everything I do is confidential, it is often difficult for people to grasp the type of work I do. Here's a typical day this week:
1. I helped a real estate agent who's burned out and really uninterested in his job discover his life's purpose
2. I helped a multi-billion-dollar heiress evaluate the soundness of one of her investments, identify challenges with her investing knowledge and created a plan for how to communicate with and hold her investment managers accountable
3. I helped CEO of a billion-dollar real estate marketing firm set personal and professional goals for the next 10 years
4. I coached two business partners who are fighting and pointing fingers at each other on how to resolve their differences and focus on growing their company. (They still have some work to do to forgive each other! There's only so much healing that can happen in an hour!)
5. I helped a Creative Director evaluate his employees' performance and create individual development plans to improve the quality of their projects
6. I helped a massage therapist develop a high-level business model so that he can work toward his goals
Seems pretty varied on the surface, doesn't it? The truth is, every single one of these coaching engagements was helping each of these individuals tap into their own wisdom, explore where they weren't trusting themselves and combine that with my intuition and knowledge across hundreds of companies, dozens of industries and over 15 years of experience coaching people to create a plan and path forward that they can trust.
Simple. Quick. Effective. What do you need help figuring out? Set up a 30-minute complementary exploratory coaching session with me.
Accelerating personal growth isn't easy. Over the past 18 months, while I have been developing and testing BrillianceQuest, many people have asked me, why did you do it? Why did you create this program? The short answer is: because I needed it myself!
I was probably just like you. On the outside, I was successful. I had a great business that I owned, it was doing well financially, I had great clients who referred their friends and family to work with me. Externally, it all looked great! I even had people tell me that they envied my life. What they couldn't see on the inside is that I was miserable. Yes, miserable.
To be clear, the definition of misery that I use is "distress or suffering caused by need." So, while everything on the outside looked good, it felt like something major was missing for me. I NEEDED something that I could not figure out for years!
I had been teaching people for ten years how the hard-wiring in their brains motivated them, which fears built into their brains drove them, what their stress responses were and how they manifested, how they made decisions, what irritated them and which environments were best for their brain types. I discovered a small study that was mostly unknown about neuro-transmitters and how they were biochemically required for joy and happiness - and the light bulb went off! Of course, I knew all this about my brain and how it worked but I wasn't using my brain the right way so that I could be happy! I immediately changed the way I worked and I felt better. I wasn't nearly as drained or exhausted after a hard day's work. With this new knowledge, my life improved, but I still felt like something was missing.
One day, I was reading a blog post by my friend Andrea Lee, who wrote about meaning and money. I started thinking about meaning and decided to look up what it meant, exactly. Meaning is the significance of something. While I enjoyed my work and it was making a difference in businesses all over the world, it was still not significant enough for me. Sure, I was helping executives and managers reduce their stress, use their brains more effectively, communicate more effectively for their audiences and direct reports, but I wasn't making a significant difference in their lives. I was helping them and they were thankful, but I knew I could do more.
A few months later, my friend Jeffrey Van Dyk called me to offer an amazing experience. He was learning how to teach people to access their purpose and was looking for a guinea pig. I immediately jumped at the opportunity and within a few weeks, I knew my purpose - to illuminate the world because the way we are working and living is unsustainable and goes against the natural order! Wow! I didn't know exactly what it meant, but I knew it was "real" and "accurate" because I felt it. I also felt the significance of it. A little too much. It started to feel like a burden to me. Then I freaked out - I decided to ignore my purpose because it was too overwhelming for me and I didn't think I could be successful at it (this is common for people who discover their purpose, by the way).
Be sure to check out my post on What Happens When You Ignore Your Life's Purpose?
Things got worse. When I ignored my purpose, I got nervous, anxious and couldn't focus. The next few months were a nightmare. Not only did my business suffer, my relationships, my health, my self-confidence all took a beating. Then I decided that I couldn't ignore my purpose any longer, so I set off to figure out what it meant, how to be successful at it and what else did I need to know and do so that I could enjoy it, have meaning, be happy and fulfilled.
I used myself as a laboratory. I tried several things that didn't work. I hired coaches and teachers and took courses and programs. I learned something from all of them, but not the "holy grail" for how to make it all work. Then one night I couldn't sleep. During the wee hours of the morning, I heard a voice say "you've got everything you need." I blinked and asked, "what?" And the voice inside my head said, "You've got everything you need. You have the skills, knowledge, strength, wisdom, passion and know-how to follow your purpose, be successful, find meaning and fulfillment and be happy. All you need to do is put it together the right way." I sat up in bed, stunned and shaking a little. It felt right. I did know it, but it didn't exist yet.
I knew my purpose, but I didn't exactly know how to make it successful. So, I added the Holistic Life Plan and I used the brain function information that I had been teaching so that I would have the right balance of neurotransmitters to biochemically set myself up for happiness. It all started to come together.
Necessity was the mother of invention. And now I'm proud to be able to share the entire BrillianceQuest process with you - if you're ready for it!
Be Prepared. Maximize Your Investment.
1. Be Prepared
Set an intention for each session. Prior to your session, give thought as to what would make the biggest difference for you and the assistance and coaching you may need. Generally, sessions that are focused with a specific intention will make you feel more complete and focused. The coaching also handles whatever “shows up”, helping you stay present with the realities of your life.Prepare for each coaching session by spending 5-10 minutes reviewing your original coaching goals, recent progress and listing any new areas that you want to focus on during the upcoming session. You will work with your coach during each session to create actions to complete for the next session. These actions will help you to move towards your goal. Make sure you do what you promise and turn up prepared each time. Completing these actions may be challenging at times, but the real work happens between sessions: in your business, work and life. Not prepared? Spend the first five minutes of your coaching conversation preparing with your coach!
2. Focus on What's Most Important to You
Get clear before you call your coach about what you want to focus on and what is the most important to you right now. Talk about what matters most to you. Talk about anything you want during your coaching sessions: your goals, your life, your needs, what you want to improve. Even stuff that may not appear to be all that ‘useful’ to talk about. Focus on what you need to talk about, not what you feel you ’should’ talk about. This approach will give you the most value from your sessions.
3. Do Your Homework
Often, you will have homework to accelerate your progress and the change between coaching sessions. Usually, the homework can be completed in 1-3 hours. Forgetting, skipping or ignoring the homework will affect the effectiveness of your coaching. If you're having difficulty completing an assignment, please email your coach between sessions for assistance.
4. Focus on Feelings Too
Focus on what you are feeling, not just on what you want to produce. Sometimes, clients feel the need to focus the coaching time on how to produce more tangible or financial results. But intangibles, such as feeling happier, more peaceful and more inspired, are equally important.
4. Be Responsible
Be responsible for your own actions. This also means raising with your coach, in real time, anything that you are unhappy about within your coaching relationship. Don’t relinquish power to your coach. Coaching is a partnership and you need to be responsible for your own actions.
5. Be Committed
The coaching process takes absolute commitment. To achieve anything extraordinary in business and life, you need to be willing to engage, work hard and move past obstacles and your own fears. Make sure you are ready to take on the commitment when you start your coaching sessions. Being clear about your commitment will help you get through the challenges you will face along the way.
6. Be Selfish
Become incredibly selfish. Coaching is about you and what you most want. So, go ahead, and put yourself first. Yes, be selfish in the sense that you are what matters most. When you are happy and do well, others will benefit also.
7. Be Open
Be open to seeing things differently. In coaching, you will be working with your goals (the ‘what’) and your strategies to reach these goals (the ‘how’) and all the time working on you (the ‘who’). Coaching becomes exciting when you re-look at some of your assumptions, ways of thinking, expectations, beliefs and approaches to success. It often is exciting to evolve and arrive at newly developed concepts.
8. Remove Obstacles and Drains
Get rid of your “psychic sappers.” Coaching works because it focuses you in two areas. First, you get to stretch and take more actions than you would on your own. Secondly, you will be reducing/eliminating things that drain you, such as toleration, stressful situations, difficult relationships and recurring problems. Bring these areas to the coaching session.
9. Create Space
Get more space, not just time, in your life. Coaching needs room in order to work. If you’re too busy, rushed, adrenalined, or burdened, you’ll be using your coaching sessions to push harder instead of smarter. When you begin, consider reducing your roles, install personal management systems, etc. Get simple. Simplification gives space. Space is needed to learn and evolve yourself beyond where you are today.
10. Change Your Environment To Do Some of the Work for You
Strengthen your personal/business foundation. Use part of your coaching time to design the perfect environment in which to live and work. Where you live and how you live are key to your success. Hang out with people who will cheer your success, not your failure. Be willing to invest time and money in improving your environment so that you feel supported to be your best!
Some people call it the “committee in their heads” while others call it the “boardroom” in their heads or simply the voices in their heads or on their shoulders. The reality is that there are an entire group of people – a family – residing in your psyche and they are controlling everything you do, including the way you think, feel, and often act.
I call them the MindMafia because they are an underground group of “people” or voices sharing an organizational structure and code of conduct within you. There is the ego, the protector, the pusher, the child, the mother and father and a whole host of other subpersonalities that control you. And each is an important part of your make up.
If you're procrastinating, it's likely because there's a voice in your head causing it. I worked with a filmmaker recently who kept procrastinating (see Procrastination Required for Filmmaker Success?) and he was beating himself up and his business was suffering because of it. We work with this part and it immediately identified itself as being responsible for his success. That was a surprise to him because it felt like it was doing the opposite - it felt like it was sabotaging him.
As we progressed, we learned that it was teaching this client to pace himself so that he wouldn't burn himself out or burn through the money he had in his account. Profound shift in understanding why this part of him MindMafia was slowing him down - he was only interpreting it as procrastination.
In pyschological circles, these subpersonalities have been known for years and there are various methods to attempt to identify, understand and work with these entities. Inspired by a particular method called Voice Dialogue that has been around for over 40 years, I developed the MindMafia Mapping Method as a system for identifying, understanding the roles each of these subpersonalities play, how much control they exert over you and, more importantly, a method for negotiating with each of these “people” to change their roles, if they are willing.
This is extremely powerful work that can change your life in an instant, much like hypnosis. But unlike most hypnotic methods, you are completely awake and aware during the entire process.
My MindMafia includes my ego, vulnerable child, magical child, baron (pusher), guardian, cynic and critic to just name a few. Who comprises your MindMafia and how are they running your business?
Most executives and leaders want some kind of change in their businesses, but struggle with all sorts of approaches, advice or options while rarely making change stick long term. We've all been there and think change is really difficult.
The truth is that most leaders don't know how change works! Change happens on seven levels and you must work on several levels to ensure that change can happen. The levels are:
Subconscious / Spirit
Beliefs & Values
Capabilities & Skills
In your organization, which of these levels require the change? Are you focusing your efforts, resources and attention on the appropriate levels of change? Most organizations try to change at the behavioral level, but behaviors are built from the way we think, our beliefs and our identities. They may also be controlled by our subconscious, which, until now, has been difficult to access. (See the MindMafia Mapping Method for more information on accessing the subconscious.)
So, the next time you want change, take an inventory of what must change and which levels of change are required to maximize your time and investment. And if your identity of being a good leader the status quo in critical areas, you'll need to envision a new identity that embraces and supports the change long term.
Special note: If you require change on ANY level, the levels below it must also change in some way.