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Motivation | Style, Structure, and Tasty Bite-Sized Morsels

One of the main challenges that small business people face—particularly solo practitioners or “solo-preneurs” in general--is the problem and the art of motivating oneself.

You are your own boss. If you have employees, then the game may be a little different for you as you have people depending on you.  However, if it is just you, there are often no external forces telling you that you must do any particular “thing”.  There are certainly exceptions to this—client deliverables, purchases that have been made, the general inertia of your business pulling you along at some point, but really, especially at first, it is an uphill battle for many on their own.

There are so many aspects to this problem of motivation that some never figure it out—or worse, they find solutions that compound the problem in the long-term because the “solutions” are ill-suited approaches. Ill-suited to them as individuals.

To really add fuel to the fire [or baking soda to the lack thereof] we have distractions, overwhelm, time management, prioritization, and the list goes on, and on, and on.

What works for one person in terms of motivation may or may not—and often does not—work for another. So it is with time management, goals, and the like. There is no one-size-fits-all or even a one-size-fits-most solution. Particularly for those who are more sensitive both emotionally and kinesthetically/energetically, many of the “take massive action” or “get present to the consequences if you do not” approaches create more internal dissonance, and if the tasks or milestones the individual is accountable for are not accomplished, this can lead to a build-up of that same internal dissonance, or worse, feelings of guilt or worse still, even shame, and with the principle of compound interest on the “debt” you have with yourself…well, we can see where it may and often does lead: overwhelm rather than accomplishment.

Even if it does not lead there for you, these levels of intense urgent styles of motivational techniques can cause a lack of balance at best, and at worst, hardcore burnout.

What is the solution? Custom design your own motivational strategy using a few basic principles and approaches.

 

Step 1: Discover Your Style

Find out what works for you at a base level. Since at least Aristotle was writing in the  300s B.C. we have known that humans are generally motivated in two basic ways or “directions” ::: away from pain or toward pleasure. Or both.

Stated in the context of goals and deliverables: away from consequences or toward a vision.

You will notice one creates leverage [and often contraction and internal dissonance] in your body—it pushes you. Compels you. Often uncomfortably. The other pulls you forward. It is expansive. It opens you and draws you toward it.

The danger is to judge one or the other. Urgency/away from/consequence driven motivation could be “bad” because it creates tension and dissonance. Vision is “good” because it is expansive. Or the reverse; vision/toward is “bad” because it does not create massive intense action, necessarily. Urgency/away from is “good” because it creates more instant [in some] results.

An additional component is style is how you like to be supported. 

This is also a critical component. While I am not an "accountability coach" per se, and never have been, quite often, clients ask me to support them in getting stuff done. Before I even begin such an aspect of our relationship, and since I can assume almost any style of coaching to serve them at this point, I ask them ::: how do you like to be supported.

No this before asking for external help--or be prepared to explore that inquiry with your friend, guide, coach, or accountability partner.

The truth is, whichever style works for you, as you become more aware, even now, at how you have created results in the past for yourself—when you found yourself simply motivated to accomplish what you wanted to accomplish—is the “good” style for you.

If an “away from” strategy works best for you, then create externally supported consequences to propel you forward. Engage a coach professionally, who coaches in that style. Or have a friend be your accountability partner—and someone willing to enforce uncomfortable consequences for/on you.

If this kind of approach has you feel overwhelmed, or has you feel like running from your entire support system [missing phone calls, not emailing them when you said you would, unaccomplished tasks building up, etc.], then consider the other approach: an approach that has you moving toward a larger vision. Toward a future you are creating. An approach that has you stay constantly present to the deeper meaning in the work you are doing; what your purpose of mission is, so you stay in the game. Plainly put ::: remember why you are committed to doing what you are supposed to do, in the grand scheme of things.  

As an example: you’re not simply “having a client session”. You are doing far more than that—you are helping someone have the life they have always dreamed of. And even greater or larger, you are contributing to the evolution of humanity itself—to a global vision of the Greater Good.

 

Mission. Vision. Life Purpose.

Whatever your style, be sure you use the one that best suits your sensibilities and produces the results for you, in your life, that you want produced.

 

Step 2: Make Your Tasks Bite-Sized.

“How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.” –Anonymous

It is not an "event" is an unfolding process.

Make sure your expectations are realistic, and that your goals and outcomes are in stages, and a palatable size. Often, people set these wild expectations for themselves or they have their goal of “building a business” be a one-step process, rather than what it is: a natural process of growth we see all around us.

First, we crawl. Then we walk. Then we run.

You would not expect to go to the gym for the very first time and lift 300 pounds would you? Of course not. You would go, do a little to stretch yourself—just get a little sore—and then do a little more until you are at the level—eventually—you want to be at.

 

Nothing happens in one step.

And make sure the chunks are an appropriate size for your sensibilities—again, not someone else’s no matter how much of a “motivational guru” they are.

Allow me to give you a personal example. Nearly a decade ago now, I used to make 200 cold calls a day. However, I did not last long when I tried to declare or commit to making that many phone calls. Too large of a chunk.  So I tried blocks of 50. It was still daunting. Eventually, I got down to committing to simply doing blocks of 10. That was easy. In fact, it was so easy, I did another 10. And another. This little psychological game I played with myself made it easier and easier to consistently accomplish 200 calls a day.

Make sure your level of expectations (your workload, your milestones, and even your to-do list if you use one) are all designed to maintain balance, while consistently building and growing.

Slow, sustainable, constant growth and expansion is always preferable to short-term, over-the-top goals, as that is the sustainable, and more ecological [both emotionally and systemically] approach.

I will suggest one thing : make sure you always accomplish the most important or most pressing single task for that day. Just pick one. You know which one it is. If you want to do more, great. But commit to doing that one thing you know needs to be done today. If that “one thing” is too large a task, break it down into sub-tasks, and eat that elephant one bite at a time.

 

In sum, there are three major steps to “motivating” yourself.

  1. Discover The Style or “direction” that works for you. Are you motivated toward something larger or toward a vision? Or are you more motivated with consequences and pain?
  2. Set up systems and structures to support your style of motivation. Whether that is through a colleague, friend, professional, or with yourself is irrelevant until you learn what best works for you--both in terms of style and in terms of actual structures.
  3. Make sure your goals or milestones or “stuff” you wanna get done is not only realistic, but is also in the appropriate “chunk size” so you do not undercut or undermine the first two steps. And relax—you can always increase chunk size or workload as you gain momentum and a sense of accomplishment.

Above all, be  a scientist in the laboratory of your own life. Consider the above and the choices you make at first an experiment. Test it out. If you find, after some days, or a week, or more that the style of motivation is not working, be willing to be flexible and try the other style. If you discover you are seldom—or never--accomplishing your desired “things” to do, that’s fine. It only means one thing ::: you need to adjust the size or the scope or the chunks as appropriate.

Test. Adjust. Test again. Find out what work. Build on your successes. Harvest the lessons when you miss your target. Build upon that as well. Often, those lessons are even more valuable than accomplishing what you set out to do.

If you know where and how to examine the failures they are always more valuable than the successes and will lead to exponential success in the long run.

Have fun with it. Remember, it is your life. You get to live it as you choose.

 

In Service,

 

Jason The McClain

 

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The Need for Approval | Ego | Your Self-Worth is a Settled Matter

[Originally written in August 2008]
 
Many people have read this piece and encouraged me to post it publicly. So, by popular demand... It is an email I posted to a client near the end of their completion of the Personal Evolution Program, and in it I address a need for approval, ego development, the purpose and motivation for personal evolution...and the distinction between self-worth and value, and more... Your self-worth is a settled matter if you will accept it as such. Enjoy.

::: :::

Now back to you.

I was thinking about the approval thing. But first--you have come a long way. So stop, take a deep breath, turn around towards the sunset and enjoy the vista. You deserve it. 
 
"The mountain we climb in Personal Evolution is a bit like a mirage while hiking/climbing a mountain. You could stop now and camp for the night--or say, "forget this", it and go back down the mountainside.
 
Buuuuutt, you can also see there is a reachable summit. So you choose to go further--yet...when you reach what you thought would be the summit, there is yet another summit that materializes out of the mist. And this goes on forever. There is no omega point except when you choose to simply stop and rest.
 
Each of us have that choice every day. For some, we still consciously choose to continue to deepen our depths--and plumb just behind them. There is no end or bottom to the depth, there are only unplumbed depths. For others, they have achieved a high enough peak, that there is no motivation--no real life reason--to climb the next.  And there are others I will not list in the interests of time. I choose--consciously--to evolve further when I should or must--that is when my business or financial or relational results are inhibited by some aspect of myself. Otherwise, I am pretty darned content with where I am at-BUT I still need to have constant attention on where I need to be for others in the context in which I want to move with greater velocity--or frankly, sometimes, ANY velocity. 
 
I urge you to make the same or a similar real world criteria as you become more and more comfortable with you you are...and as you come to full acceptance of yourself, there is a pitfall of not caring what others think--and disregarding their feedback. Care what others think in practical terms--and care deeply--as it fosters results. Do not care about their opinions and judgments of you on a personal level. That is--think about the practical results and adjust, but know that as an internally validated man, the matter of your self-worth is settled. The question of the value you bring to people and the world in this context or that context, well, that is never settled as it depends on too many variables [each individuals expectations and sensibilities, your skill and competence in the domain, your sensitivities/awareness when adjustments are needed, market forces, etc.]. But that is a separate practical matter. 
 
The personal: your self-worth, is a settled matter. It is...well, pick your preference/metaphor: it is good. It is priceless. It is worth-full. It is Spirit manifest. It is divine. 
 
As for the seeking of approval-that is obviously pretending as if your worth could be determined externally. It can not. Whether you realize it yet or not, you still have to accept the opinion of others--good, bad, right, wrong--to have their opinions matter. In other words, you have the ultimate choice still--even if you are not exercising it to as full a degree as you will enjoy in the future. 
 
But why even do this work? What does it make possible? Why spend the time, energy, and the--at times--grueling work of dis-identification, detachment, and internalizing validity when you notice it as external? Why forgo the feel good and the short term false ego pump of compliments? 
 
In a word: Freedom. Freedom from what? 

Freedom from the ebbs and flows of the opinions and judgments of others. Why is this important? So you can gather feedback, without the moral and emotional cloud of personal meaning. Here is the challenge with tying your valuation to another's opinions: you are not only cast about from one end to the other, AND the problem with that is that people react from and interpret through their stage of egoic, emotional, and values meme stage of development. There will be patterns and probabilities, and all feedback is valid for them, but there is only so much contorting you can engage in, and stay sane and centered, and more importantly, live authentically--true to yourself.
 
Additionally, believe me, as someone who has had people tell me I am a god [literally] on more than one occasion and at times, had people tell me I was an a**hole and the devil's spawn [literally] I came to realize that no matter what they say, the truth is somewhere in the middle, and their acknowledgments and their judgments are worth only one thing: getting specifics around those experiences [I did X Y and Z in A context and they felt B emotion as a result] for the purpose of adjusting my behavior for improved results. 
 
Their characterizations are worthless except as crude pointers to their stage of development because, again, we interpret through and react and respond from our stage of development And even then, I have to gauge how valuable it is -- determined solely by how large a percentage of people are at that stage and would react/interpret the same way. 
 
All feedback is valid--and everyone's emotional experience is valid as it is and to be left untouched unless requested otherwise. However, not all feedback is valuable
 
Now, what I can not say is where the line is between the idea that they are responsible for their own emotional experience--and you are not--and where you are responsible for your impact on others and the results you garner. That is a line I have yet to determine for myself after nearly a decade of inquiry. I do know that I tend to move more and more towards having room for the emotional reactions I create in others-sometimes by simply walking through the room, or making a benign comment about my schedule, or not noticing someone in a room I am in--having space for that and having them feel valid without my trying to adjust their experience is a skill I am still developing and only in the last year and a half feel fully competent at. And I get it right about 65% of the time. 
 
Circling back--the thing to remember is that you are already determining your own worth, by agreeing or disagreeing with those who assess you as good/bad or some variation. You still have to buy into their perspective. And since you are the ultimate decider, decide now, that irrespective of the value assessments they are making and the validity of the feedback, the matter of your self-worth is settled. 
 
We were told a lie as children--something about original sin. It is more accurate to say we were born with universal innocence. And imagine, the preciousness and the innocence of a blameless child. At your core...that is you irrespective of any behaviors that are not aligned--YOU, at your core, are precious and pure, and have a hologram of divinity that you are reflecting and projecting. 
 
To think otherwise is an error--a mistake--and nothing more. 
 
In Service and in Evolution, 
 
Jason
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Your Success Equation | Thoughts Action Will | Part 2 ::: Action

Part 1 can be found HERE.   Part 3 Can be found HERE.


Part II ::: Action

 

We covered the first variable in your equation for success ::: thoughts. And the third ::: Will.

 In this post we will cover the 2nd variable in your equation for success ::: Action.

 

Deliberate. Consistent. Action.

 

Many talk about the need to take “massive action”.  While this is useful, I disagree.  AND I disagree not because that approach is ineffective, but rather because it is harmful to the system ::: it is un-ecological.

Taking massive action can burn one out and then they must stop and take a breather. Then they go into massive action again. And they get burned out. And so it goes, the cycle infinite, ad nauseum. There is a fundamental lack of balance. Over time, this will lead to resistance to projects, significant health issues—a lack of lack of healthy being-ness with families, spouses, children, life partners, and lovers, who are lacking engagement from you—feeling a love deficit.

AND at worst, addictions—be they food or drugs or alcohol or relationships—so that people can detach and become disembodied.  So they can stop feeling how bad this approach feels in their body.

 

While those who advocate this approach are coming from a positive place, to be sure, I have only 1 question ::: “do we want to be advocating an approach that leads to the above pathologies?

Of course not.

 

This lack of balance and consistency pervades our culture to no good end—long term.

 

However, there is a more whole-istic [taking your whole system into account with a long term view added as an additional dimension] way of approaching action…

Think of your business—and your action around your business—like an extension of your body. Would you go to the gym for the first time and automatically try to spend 2 hours on the stair master? Of course not. Would you go to the gym for the first time ever and expect to bench press 300 pounds? Of course not. Even if you were actually able, somehow, to physically complete those “goals” you would be so wiped out the following day—and so sore—that you may or may not return.

Business acquisition  is the same way. Go easy at first. Pace yourself. Make sure you stretch and prepare. Make sure you go push yourself a little bit.  However, go to the gym almost every day.

I cannot count the times I was in action. Consistent. Deliberate. Action.  And business came from somewhere completely out of the blue and seemingly entirely unrelated to the activity I was engaged in around business or the leads I was following up on.

 Say, returning calls. Or writing an article to demonstrate your competence. Writing a talk that you could give at the local small business association or trade conference, or what have you. Email a resource to a client you had stumbled upon that will be valuable to them given what you know about them and their particular needs—and heck, just calling your clients on a non-business call for 10 or so minutes to see how they are in general. 

Consistently. Deliberately. Persistently. Continuously. Ever-expanding-ly.

Not only will your neurology—your nervous system and your egoic and emotional structures—expand to include all of that; to appropriately embrace your experience. To expand your embrace of all that is and is arising. Including your business. Your wealth. Your “successes” and your  “failures”.  Whatever is arising moment to moment. Even now.

 And of course, the “spooky” thing is that often, just having your attention and intentionality on your business produces results often from “out of nowhere”.  As if you are applying the basic principles of the Law of Attraction, you will also see opportunities that you would not have noticed before. And opportunities will come to you as you put out the energy into the world. 

Whether you succeed or fail is almost irrelevant. I say almost, because we want the general direction to be upwards—the general trend of you meeting or exceeding your self-declared targets to be...up.

However, even more important that tactical success is strategic learning. I say “more important” as the latter will serve the former in ways you can only begin to imagine…even now. I would rather have your attention on the learnings—even when you “succeed” than on whether your are “succeeding” or “failing”

And while most of this article has been focused on the Self, there is another aspect that can be the crux of your success or failure ::: and it is included as an essential aspect of your action. What is this element? It is your skill acquisition and your learning acquisition—your heard earned and well-paid-for lessons in business—in how to inspire others toward a vision.

 As important as maintaining deliberate action toward your vision--perhaps even more important--is your ability to inspire a team, a spouse, a business partner to maintain their own deliberate action in service of the ultimate goal or realization.

We will discuss this at length in future writings. For now, McClain, out.

 

Wishing you Health, Success, and Fulfillment,

 

Jason The McClain

 

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Your Success Equation | Thoughts Action Will | Part 3 ::: Will

Part 1 can be found HERE.  Part 2 can be found HERE.


The final variable in your personal equation for success is Will. The Will To Carry It Through.

 

Even if your thoughts are aligned, your actions directed appropriately, and all other factors are in alignment and in support of your desired outcomes, if you lack the will to carry it through you will fail. AND you will fail in the worst way—as a result of your lack of will; something entirely under your control and an aspect of your very own making.

 

To be blunt: a function of your character.

 

That’s tough for people to absorb.  They will want to look outside. As if the locus of their responsibility somehow lies outside of themselves. Somehow belongs to another. Somehow it is a matter of circumstance whether they succeed or fail. AND while it is certainly easier to blame outside forces, people, elements, and /or circumstances, there is no power in that. There is no way for you to learn and shift and adjust. You end up hobbling your own growth, development, and professional evolution for this short-term comfort. And you sell out your short-term success and achievement.

 

Even if it is true, you give all of your power to succeed over to the ghost of blame. The apparition of an outside locus of responsibility.  You lose your ability to adjust to the new information that you are being presented with.

 

In addition to that, there are multiple metaphors that speaks to what it takes to succeed often simply being about endurance—about will and the will to “finish the _________ .” the fight goes to the last man standing. The race goes to the runner who simply finishes.  Etc., etc., ad nauseum infinitum.

 

“The same is true when we begin a marathon race. We may start out with enthusiasm because our energy level is high, but we must then run the race with endurance to reach the finish line. Some race to reach the line in first place, other runners’ motivations may be more personal; their goal is simply to finish.” --Harry Connor Jr--Harry Connor Jr

 

It is that last 2 percent. The will to carry it through despite the obstacles. Most people quit at 98%. Most quit the game just before they are about to win. They lose their commitment to the game in the 4th quarter—and then the underdog produces an upset.

 

AND there will be obstacles to bringing your IDEA into the world. They will include but are not limited to

 

  • You think your IDEA is original and you find out it is not. At all.
  • Naysayers
    • People will tell you are crazy or your IDEA won’t work
    • You may be ridiculed in the press [or lied about]
    • Your friends or family may think you’re insane. Sometimes literally. Other times figuratively.
    • Small-minded folk may want to see you fail out of envy or out of shame around their own lack of success, etc. [not “true friends”, in my book, but make your own choices there]
  • You’ll discover platforms or technology you’ve invested in aren’t working as expected or not working at all for the intended purposes that had you invest in them in the first place
  • Distractions in your own life

 

 

If you are to bring your IDEA into the world; if you are to manifest your vision as a reality “in the firmament”, as they say; if you are to bring it from an IDEA to concrete reality, you must let nothing stand in your way. That does not mean to run them over or blast through them—your actions and the way in which you overcome them still must be ecological in this sense ::: they must be “good” in Self, Other and Community, and for the World/Nature. However, you must go over, around, under, and as a last resort, through the obstacles to achieve your goals.

 

The most important obstacles are distractions. These are entirely under your control. They are the function of a mind that lacks discipline. They include but are certainly not limited to :::

 

  • People [friends, romance, etc.]
  • Experiences and desires for experiences
  • “Opportunities” that seem like a good IDEA

 

 

I could go on and on about how these things can, do, and might distract you, but really there is a solution that covers the bases :::

 

Whatever you choose to do, make sure it is in alignment with your vision; make sure it serves. Be it a relationship, a lover, a partner in business, collaboration, a financial opportunity, or a new business venture.

 

Say no to the rest so you can say yes to the best. AND in this case, the “best” means your own, personal vision for what you want to bring into the world.  For your future. You’re your own achievement and satisfaction. For the fulfillment that comes from contributing to the world in a positive way.

 

For the Good. For the True. And for the Beautiful.

 

I understand—and have experienced personally—that means you will make tough choices. You will have to say no to very compelling experiences. AND it is critical to your success.

 

You must have the will to carry it through to success—or to a dignified, rational end—as the only viable option. The only acceptable outcome.

That does not mean to be pig-headed when you are wrong or you are headed down the wrong path or run up against an obstacle. Quite the contrary; it means adjusting with flexibility, fluidity, to new information conditions in service of the outcome. It means having a fixed outcome, but a variable, flexible approach. You may know what you will bring into existence, but the how may have to adjust.

 

That also means constantly integrating feedback—no matter how harsh it may be or how neutral or how numerical—or frankly, how personal. Some people will attack you personally. Trust me. Ad hominem attacks are all too common.

 

You will endure.

 

Eye on the prize. AND by “prize”, I mean bringing your good and beautiful gifts to the world in a way that serves the good of all. That is true for most. And is personally fulfilling for you.

 

 

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Evening Intro ::: Sustainability of Change | Financial Sustainability

Sustainability of Change for Your Clients | Financial Sustainability for You

How to create compelling packages for your clients.

"The most striking feature of the perennial philosophy/psychology is that it presents being and consciousness as a holarchy of dimensional levels, moving from the lowest, densest, and most fragmentary realms to the highest, subtlest, and most unitary ones." --Ken Wilber


You may be wondering ::: what the heck does that quote from Ken Wilber have to do with creating packages for your clients?!

I am happy to share that with you.

 


It is no secret that a primary component of building a 6-figure practice is to offer prospective clients a comprehensive package and path to step into.

Not only does it allow you to guide a client to more sustainable and stable change that takes hold--change that actually sticks--serving them more comprehensively--it also allows you, as the practitioner, to relax into serving them--allowing you to focus all of your energies on the clients outcomes--rather than concern for whether they will be back next week--or not.

That's all well and good...but :::

Many of my clients lately have been asking "Well, HOW do I create one, McClain?"

HOW do we create these offerings such that they are coherent, cogent, compelling, and credibly solid?

This seems to be a fairly confronting aspect of building a 6-figure coaching or practitioner business. Confronting both emotionally and structurally.

Doing what The McClain-Ness™ does best, I have modeled out the structure of this kind of offering and what it must contain and comprise to be something that a client finds coherent, cogent, compelling, and credible.


What you will take home with you from this event :::
  • The structure of phases and stages and how to "stack" them to best serve the client
  • The 4 components a comprehensive package must have to be compelling
  • How to use the package to NOT sell and therefore sell even more effectively
  • The philosophical and emotional residue that comes up for practitioners from antiquated ways of thinking ::: and how to resolve them

What ::: Evening Intro ::: Sustainability of Change for Your Clients
Financial Sustainability for You

When ::: Tuesday, December 15th from 7pm to 9pm
Where ::: http://sandboxsuites.com/http://sandboxsuites.com/ [10th Street @ Mission Street in SF]
Cost ::: $0.00 [Free]
Why ::: Duh. See above.

In Service,
/jason.the.mcclain™

 

 

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Evening Intro ::: How to Create Compelling Packages for Your Clients

Sustainability of Change for Your Clients | Financial Sustainability for You


[RSVP Required]


It is no secret that a primary component of building a 6-figure practice is to offer prospective clients a comprehensive package and path to step into.

Not only does it allow you to guide a client to more sustainable and stable change that takes hold--change that actually sticks--serving them more comprehensively--it also allows you, as the practitioner, to relax into serving them--allowing you to focus all of your energies on the clients outcomes--rather than concern for whether they will be back next week--or not.

That's all well and good...but :::

Many of my clients lately have been asking "Well, HOW do I create one, McClain?"

HOW do we create these offerings such that they are coherent, cogent, compelling, and credibly solid?

This seems to be a fairly confronting aspect of building a 6-figure coaching or practitioner business. Confronting both emotionally and structurally.

Doing what The McClain-Ness™ does best, I have modeled out the structure of this kind of offering and what it must contain and comprise to be something that a client finds coherent, cogent, compelling, and credible.

What you will take home with you from this event :::
  • The structure of phases and stages and how to "stack" them to best serve the client
  • The 4 components a comprehensive package must have to be compelling
  • How to use the package to NOT sell and therefore sell even more effectively
  • The philosophical and emotional residue that comes up for practitioners from antiquated ways of thinking ::: and how to resolve them

What ::: Evening Intro ::: Sustainability of Change for Your Clients
Financial Sustainability for You

When ::: Tuesday, November 24th from 7pm to 8pm
Where ::: http://sandboxsuites.com/http://sandboxsuites.com/ [10th and Mission Streets in SF]
Cost ::: $0.00 [Free]
Why ::: Duh. See above.

In Service,
/jason.the.mcclain™

 

 

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Precision Practitioners | What Distinguishes a True Master

Often people ask me what separates a “Practitioner” from a “Master Practitioner”. Or what separates a “good” practitioner, from a “great” practitioner from an “extraordinary” practitioner. It is a good question, and one deserving of answers.

From a technical standpoint as well as a practical standpoint, there are several criteria that filter these levels, and the piece of paper upon which their certification is printed is usually not one of them.

The simple answer first ::: what separates a Practitioner from a Master Practitioner?

From a technical standpoint, a "practitioner" is effective at the lower logical levels; they can assist a client in changing behaviors, be they addictive behaviors, habits, or context or situational reactions.  They can also assist a client in changing or expanding their skills and capabilities. Whether it be to speak more effectively, or creating accelerated learning strategies, or modeling some physical, athletic, or communication based set of “skills” or capabilities or capacities.

They are likely still working to integrate their work themselves–still learning to walk their talk, but they are effective at working “on” a client. They can often point to how “others who are effective at XYZ do it” as a model.

The "Master Practitioner" can affect those levels as well as the higher or deeper logical levels. They can assist a client in altering or changing their beliefs about themselves–or about others or about the world–allowing the client to expand into previously “impossible” possibilities in relationships, or in what they can achieve. Still higher or deeper, they can assist the client in altering the very way they relate to themselves. The “kind of person” they are. Their identity and their egoic structures. And at the deepest or highest level, a Master Practitioner can facilitate change at the very level of Spirit. A profound, connected, spiritual shift that ripples out or cascades down to the rest.

They are walking their talk fully. There are no aspects of their life that are out of alignment with their espoused principles and approaches–unless quite briefly, before they right themselves again–they are the relationship coach who has an extraordinary relationship and communicates in the way they recommend, the financial coach that uses their own systems, and is affluent etc., etc. They can often point to how “they do it themselves” as a model. They are effective and come from a place of working "with" a client.

And you could say a practitioner is a “good” practitioner and a Master Practitioner is a “great” practitioner.

However, I would assert that what makes an Extraordinary Practitioner is several additional elements [at a minimum] transcending yet also including and encompassing the above :::

  1. Been trained in multiple, seemingly disparate approaches [a combination of Eastern and Western approaches at least]; my rule for practitioners who work with me as a client is at least 3 disciplines or “perspectives” to their training path
  2. Being dynamic with the client [they may have a loose framework, but it is fleshed out quite dynamically by the human being in front of them, who is a variable in the equation, to say the least]
  3. They know where they are headed, often multiple sessions in advance, and have an eye not only on where they’ve been, and where they are going, but also do a bit of dynamic triage at the beginning of the session and are unattached to the “plan” yet still committed to the path.
  4. They have no interest in ego-driven “authority” over a client and elegantly avoid any tension-filled conflict or power struggles as they are not “in the way” of being an instrument for the client and their outcomes
  5. Additionally, they have some understanding of the verticality [stages/waves/levels] in multiple "lines" of development and it is well integrated into their offering and work

However, there is one more component I consider critical in addition to all of the above that is an aspect of an extraordinary practitioner. Someone who is a true master and it is this :::

They understand that their client and the client’s evolution is a bit like a jigsaw puzzle.

First, you build out the foundation–the corners and then the outer border. And then you find the appropriate pieces to begin to build in toward the depths of the center. If you attempt to push a piece into the corner that does not belong there, you will break a piece or “blow it out”. Similarly, if you drop a piece in the middle with nothing to connect it to, it is just confusing. No place for it to fit. No place for it to be anchored or connected to, and so it is discarded. Forgotten. Perhaps even lost.

And if that is the case, no one is served.

What truly makes an Extraordinary Practitioner is the ability to discern what the client needs, what they have already integrated, which piece they can handle next, and which piece they will need even beyond that, and to elegantly give them that next piece with wisdom, precision, and with an eye on the ultimate evolutionary expanse for the client and their mental, emotional, and egoic structures.

It takes years and hundreds of clients to be able to develop not only the insight and lack of attachment, but the timing and precision to be an agent in service of the client in this way. And when you find them, they are worth their weight in gold, to be sure.

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Why NOT to Use Hypnotic Sales Techniques

Why NOT to Use "Hypnotic Sales" Techniques :::

Often I get asked to teach someone "hypnotic sales" or some variation; anchoring, state association, etc. The idea is that if you associate someone into a positive state, then anchor yourself to that for them, this will be an effective sales technique--even if it has nearly nothing to do with your offering or the functional fit between your prospective client, and their needs with your services.

There are other ideas and approaches about this, but I am going to give just that one example. They are all of that flavor.

These techniques are thought to be very powerful, and some of the most effective techniques available. Which is partly true. They may be in the very short-term sense. They are also a nightmare strategically, in the long-term sense. Not only do I advise against it, I categorically consider them unethical in most situations.

If a prospective client cannot remember how they arrived at the decision to work with you [and as a good measure, if you can not easily remind them in writing over an email] then you are going to have blowback at some point in the future.

"Buyer's remorse" does not quite cover it.

So not only do I have people agree that they will only use the tools of influence that I do teach in service of someone else's outcomes [not their own], but I also advise against and refuse to teach hypnosis or anchoring in the context of sales and influence in the Evolutionary Sales process. It is anathema to all that Evolutionary Sales is. If you are always coming from the place of using tools of influence ONLY to assist another in achieving their outcomes, it is virtually guaranteed you will be selling ethically.

Now there are trainers and entertainers and presenters and "edutainers" who not only use the hypnotic sales techniques, but teach it, brag about it, and sell products to do the very things I mentioned above as unethical in my not-so-humble opinion. I have also dealt with enough of their customers post-fact that I can say the resentments and shattered hopes as a result of that strategy is frustrating to watch and painful to behold, empathetically.

On the one hand, given the volume that people like Christopher Howard and Tony Robbins produce in terms of attendees, it is hard not to be grateful for what they are doing in the world in exposing people to rapid transformation. And to be honest, I am not sure how you could do it any other way in terms of sales with a crowd that large.

While hypnotic sales may be effective and the only viable solution in a large crowd [I question that, but it is efficient for short-term-monetary gain]; it is a toxic approach for those of us in solo-businesses as practitioners. 

There is a better way, where all sides are more effectively served. 

 What I do know is that if you are opening a relationship [rather than "closing deals"] You must engage the prospect in inquiry, mostly to be certain you can be of service. Once that is assured, direct them to consider if they did have the solution they seek what it would open up in their lives and then if you are certain you are a fit for their needs and they are a fit for you, then you can ethically open the relationship.

This is the process we teach in the Coaching the Life Coach Apprentice Program. This is the approach that assures conversion rates of over 95% AND what I call a "stick rate". In other words--no relationship fall off from buyer's remorse.

At the upcoming event I am not only going to teach this entire ethical sales process for free, but I will give you all the nuts and bolts you need to have high conversion rates in your introductory sessions.

Every nut and bolt I know how to deliver to you. In service of you having sustainability of finances, your clients having sustainability of change, so we can all create a better world together as we accelerate the Evolution of Consciousness.

Join us. RSVP now to reserve your spot.

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Self-Esteem and the Solo-Preneur | Internal vs. External Locus of Responsibility

Read this sentence to yourself in your mind or out loud:


"My life is the sum total of my own choices; the state of my business is the sum total of my choices".

As you read that and re-read that, what is your experience? Do you feel excitement? Pride? Shame? Do you sense a burden on your shoulders? What does it weigh in your mind? Do you quickly move to insist it is not your "fault". That it was out of your control? That it was this circumstance or that circumstance? That you were "wronged"? Or "unlucky"?

Or do you experience a comforting and/or challenging level of acceptance. A "yup" with a quiet nod of your head?

One thing is for certain-your relationship to that sentence is a good indicator of your level of self-esteem, or your level of healthy egoic development in the positive sense. You see, it is not the big ego that needs defending or asserting in the world; it is the small ego. It is not the big ego that is arrogant, self-righteous, or deflects responsibility and blames others; it is the small, pre-rational, pre-conventional, vengeful, ego-centric ego.

It is a challenging re-frame for most to get their minds around. But just ask yourself this: what kind of ego could achieve a non-dual sense of reality; what kind of ego could be one with all things, moment to moment? A big, huge ego. An ego so large it can be a yes to whatever is arising moment to moment and relate to it, be a part of it. That takes an expanded sense of self. Yet that ego is also diffuse. It is large, but it is flexible. It lacks rigidity. It does not need defending or asserting; it understands its power. As a result, there is nothing to prove to anyone-not even itself.

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How to Determine Your Fees and Get Paid What You Are Worth [Part 1]

One of the challenges I see so many coaches and solopreneurs struggle with is what they should charge for their services. Most do not know what they should charge. Many charge what they think they can get. Some charge whatever the next coach or practitioner charges. That is--"the going rate". Many charge what they would be willing to pay themselves. Most charge less than they are worth--while improving the lives of others dramatically.

But why? And what are the solutions to this travesty of value?

There are three primary reasons:

  • Mistakingly thinking they are actually trading time for money, and/or that their services are a commodity. A thing to purchase
  • Limiting beliefs; usually about themselves or the value they bring at their very core-and what they or their services are worth, what the prospective client would be willing to pay, or about money in general
  • A lack of sales skill; they do not know how to create accurate yet inspiring value perceptions in the prospective client that make the fees irrelevant or appear minimal in comparison to what they are getting through the service.

How the heck do you determine or set your rate?

What are your services and/or your offering actually worth?

There are two answers to "how do you determine the rate?", or "what should I charge?":

  • 20% more than you feel comfortable asking for
  • Whatever the market can bear: whatever you can consistently get in return for your services or product

I have never met a solopreneur or some other type of small business person, who was in their first 5 years in business, who I have not advised to raise their rates. After understanding what they do, I examined their rates, and told every single one of them to raise them about 10% to 20%. They were all dramatically undervalued and undervaluing their offering.

You Might Be as Well

There is fear around raising rates for most people. They think they will see less clients, and as a result, have trouble with their financial obligations, they fear people will not pay that rate, and ultimately they either lack confidence in themselves and their offering, or they themselves are making the mistake of confused value perceptions; they do not see the true value for themselves.

So especially if you are just starting out or you are in the first few years of building your business, as a general rule of thumb, you should add 10% to 20%. Not so much that you are anxious about it, but enough to expand your beliefs about your value.

What can the market bare? In other words, charge whatever people are willing to pay. Ultimately, the consumers of your services set the rates. If your conversion rates of prospects to clients is too low [and I say it is too low if you can not reasonably count on them signing up], then your rate may need to be adjusted down. However, where you look first, is your ability to sell or enroll others in your services. Be careful to look there first. Anyone can get better at anything. Lowering your rates serves no one--least of all the client.

Clients who pay more are more serious about the work--and they get more accomplished in a shorter period of time. AND you show up at an ever grater level of excellence at a higher rate, multiplying this exponentially.

This is why I do not allow friends or family to subsidize a clients work for them with me.

They can borrow the money--they will take that seriously--but they may not be gifted any number of sessions. It is for the clients own good. And in the case of their borrowing it, I usually conduct my due diligence in making sure my work with them relieves more stress than it creates, so if there are underlying issues around money in their relationship, I may still decline that, not wanting to exacerbate them.

Additionally, if you told me you were unable to get the rate you wanted, I would ask a few questions

  • Can't get it from whom? Which market? There is always someone somewhere who can afford you and will see the value in it. The higher the rates, the smaller the pool of prospective clients as a matter of financial and numerical fact, but you can get it from the right target market
  • How confident and relaxed are you when they review the agreement and see the fees? Do you communicate worth and confidence? Or do you communicate an opening for a negotiation? Do you communicate uncertainty? Or--god forbid--do you ask them if it is too high as you project your own unresolved issues around money onto them? [The client has enough of their own limitations--they do not need you to add yours]
  • Are you selling from vision and possibility and creating more accurate and inspiring value perceptions in the prospect--or are you trading time for money?
  • How effective are you at inspiring, enrolling, and re-framing concerns?
  • Where do you need to gain additional skill?

No matter how good you are, you can ALWAYS improve your sales and communication skills.

Those are the questions we explore first to be an Evolutionary Professional--to be constantly improving our efficacy at leveraging others beyond their limitations to have the life they dream of. There is always something you could have done to make a difference in the process. Examine that and only that. After that inquiry is exhausted, then you can indulge in examining how the client X,Y or Z. And it is, in fact, an egoic indulgence unless you are clarifying what a "qualified" prospect is.

You also need to look at what your intake process and your behavior is telling the client and yourself about what are you selling and offering? What are you offering? How clear are you when you communicate that? Do you communicate competence? Where do you come from or what platform do you stand on? What does your approach and your behavior presuppose as organizing principles. Not espoused beliefs or platitudes, but rather--integrated and aligned behavior.

One of the organizing principles I shared with my Apprentices and Evolutionary Professional clients and I will share with you now is this: You are not selling them on your service or product. It is a mistake to think so no only for your relationship to your own fees, the client's relationship to your fees--their investment--but also your level of fulfillment. If you try to sell them on how great your product or service is, you run the risk of some dynamics that will be set you up to less effective.

What you are selling them is a solution to a problem, or an access--a gateway--to the vision they have for themselves. Therefore:

Inspire them Towards Their Vision and Leverage Them Beyond Their Limitations; Never Try to Convince Them of the Value of You or Your Service

It often becomes a matter of convincing them that your product or service is worth XYZ for beginning and even journeyman or mid-level seasoned practitioners. Not only does that not serve the client, but it leaves you with results that are unpredictable. That is to say that if you have someone come in for an exploratory session, or an initial consultation, that you can not say with certainty they will sign up until they do. Wouldn't you rather be certain, in your mind, that they will? If you are trying to convince them, there is a 50/50 chance they may polarize against your points, and suddenly you are in a debate.

Do not sell the client on your products or services--guide them to selling themselves with more accurate and more visionary value perceptions. In your presentation, do no selling. In your presentation, demonstrate competence.

I have never had the debate or polarized communication with a client in an exploratory session. It has never happened to me in my business because of the Organizing Principle on bold above. I urge you for the sustainability of your business and for the benefit of your clients to try it on.

Additionally [and worse for the clients' experience] if you are trying to convince them, it had you be attached and has you be "jerky" and potentially jumping on a client's concern or objection immediately to try and address it--by telling them how great your product or service is, in whatever way you do that. Or worse, telling them [or saying something they can interpret as] their objection is invalid, in whatever way you do that.

This is yet another reason you must come from a platform of service and contribution. If you come from a place of just closing the deal to be making money, or relating to your clients and prospectives clients as objects to be moved around like chess pieces hoping to checkmate your financial obligations, you will behave differently than if you are coming from service and contribution. They will sense this on some level or another. They will not know what it is, or perhaps even how to describe it, but it will show up for them in some was a a lack of rapport, or safety, or trust in your motives. That is the very thing that no longer works in the 21st Century Marketplace.

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The Top 6 Mistakes Coaches and Practitioners Make [and Their Solutions] (Part 2)

We have already covered errors in philosophical grounding, lack of skill, and a failure of implementing a sustainable structure for your business--and for the scope of your clients' needs. What is next? More nuts and bolts rather than philosophical grounding or mindset:

Mistake #4: Having Only 1 Stream of Prospects

Most coaches and solo-preneurs rely on word of mouth. Word of mouth is critical. In the 21st Century marketplace there are hyper-empowered and talkative people. This is good for you. However, it is not enough. Make a decision now to take control--to be the locus of responsibility--for the success of your business. While word of mouth is critical, it is only one of at least three prospect streams the successful solo-preneur must establish for themselves. What are those three? Solution:
  • Formalized referral systems [two of them]
  • Speaking engagements and free evening talks
  • Word of mouth
The two formalized referral systems?
  • An affiliate program with a percentage or fee for referrals
  • Write a referral clause into your client contract--requiring two if the client is happy with your services. While you do not want to be heavy handed about this, it does set their intention and focuses their awareness on a more formal approach to referrals
The evening talks?
  • Make it explicit in your marketing AND in your introductory remarks that you are there for two reasons:
    • to provide value to their lives--first and foremost
    • to expose people to and offer an introduction to your services
Word of mouth?
  • Consider this a great backup and occasional unexpected icing on the cake when those unintentional or random referrals occur. And occur they will.
If you do this, and you consider them in this order of importance, you will always be in control of your flow of clients and prospects--and they will flow in. Your sustainable prosperity will follow.

Mistake #5: Failure to leverage contact points and the opportunity they hold

Solution: many
  • Consider any contact point you have with a prospect [be it an initial session, an email, or a phone call] an opportunity for you to leverage them beyond their current limitations emotionally or mentally--an opportunity for your to expand their world. An opportunity for you to be of service.
  • Do not give "free initial coaching sessions"
    • Many coaches and many prospects think it is beneficial to give away services or to experience the practitioner directly. I have never found this to be effective in a prosperous business. If you want to turn your practice into a business then offer a complimentary exploratory session--and consider it an information gathering session for you and a sales presentation for the prospect. Let them get a sense of you, but do not give them free coaching. You are not part of a buffet. You want them to commit to a more fulfilling experience. A full 3 course meal. Be sure to show them the menu and explain the dishes and presentation--be sure to demonstrate your competence, but be careful you are making sure your contact point is leveraged to its full potential--for their sake in finally having a better life--and for yours in creating a sustainable and prosperous business.
    • Have them make a decision one way or the other in that exploratory session. If you let them "think about it" then they will get less and less clear on what you presented, and therefore less and less clear on what it will make possible in their lives and their fear and limitations kick in. The very habit patters of the mind that they are coming to you to resolve take over. It is your duty to guide them to a choice in that session. Yes and no are both fine answers--but require an answer. I will often ask a prospect who wants to "think about it" if that is the thing that stops them elsewhere in their lives. That is usually all I have to say in those situations for them to sign the agreement in front of them.
    • Be respectful with their experience--set context--and make sure when you chat with them on the phone for the purpose of setting up the exploratory session that they are aware of the process--that they know you will clarify what they want, then explain your approach, and then if it is a fit--have them review a contract. Those contact points are critical for your guidance of the client to changing their lives.
  • When a client sends you an email raving about your contribution--or when they acknowledge you verbally communicating the difference you have made for them--ask them if you can quote them. Turn that acknowledgment into a testimonial for your marketing materials.
There are more examples I could give, but remember, if you want to have sustainable prosperity and truly be of service to a larger and larger portion of your community, and therefore be an agent of change rippling out to assist in creating a better global condition--consider every contact point an opportunity.

Mistake #6: Considering Your Service a Commodity

There is a reason I do not publish my rates. My services are not a commodity on the shelf to be price-shopped. And no one else does what I do, really. And consider that you offer something unique that no one else does. In discovering that you will not only feel better about your "fees", but you will also have take the first step in being able to communicate the value of your services to your clients and prospects in such a way that your fees seems insignificant and nearly irrelevant when measured against the value your service will bring to their lives. And really--just between you and me--do you really feel that a number, no matter how reasonable or how unreasonable it may seem communicates the scope and richness of the difference your service can provide in their lives? Unless you have nothing unique to offer--you do your prospects a disservice by buying into their mindset that they can price shop. I have never lost an opportunity or had a client not want to work with me as a result of this approach. In fact, it is one of the secrets of my success--selling from vision and value and having the money be a formality--but an afterthought.

Mistake #7: (Did I say 6?) I guess there is at least one more mistake:
"Healing" that which you need to resolve in your self and in your own life by healing others

I am going to say something harsh here and say that I consider it unethical--yes, "unethical" for coaches, therapist, or "healers" to work on the same issues with clients that they have not resolved within themselves. While you may still be able to provide solutions--at least be honest with your client that you have not handled it in your own life. And make a choice now to only provide services that you feel competent, resolved with, and apply to your self in your own life. If you are a relationship coach--have a great relationship. If you are a coach around self-esteem, have a well developed ego [in the positive and healthy sense]. If you are an addict who is still smoking, drinking, or doing drugs, do not counsel others on that. Do not look to heal your wounds through the wounds of others. There is a danger of projection, and even more so--how can you charge someone to solve something you have been unable to demonstrate as being solved in your own life? I hope this article helps you in your desire for sustainable prosperity.
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The Top 6 Mistakes Coaches and Practitioners Make [and Their Solutions] (Part 1)

It is amazing how many coaches, solopreneurs, massage therapists, lawyers, etc. are competent at what they do--yet suffer financially. They are doing good, but they are not doing well--that is, they are struggling financially, mentally, and emotionally.

 

There are reasons for this. I have identified the top 6 reasons--and their solutions-that I have found in my experience in my own business as well as observing those who still have a "practice".

 

The first 3 are presented to you below. The next three will be in Part 2 in a couple of weeks.

 

Mistake #1:  Thinking "Money and Spirituality are in Conflict"

 

For some, "capitalism" is a bad word. Which makes sense. "Capitalism" was a phrase coined by the biggest enemy of the free market and free enterprise to ever live--Karl Marx. Yet, we keep that inaccurate and pejorative moniker. We were taught for thousands of years that to profit was bad--and then this meme was punctuated by the evils of capitalism laid out by a failed mathematician who had no foresight into the services industry--never mind respect for private property and Natural Law and was therefore essentially a thief on a grand scale. Even though with the rise of capitalism in the mid-1800s, our standard of living has more than trebled, never mind that our life expectancy has doubled in a short time as a result...it...is...bad.

 

While there was a a time when one could only profit by exploitation and manipulation or by inheritance or plunder, this has not been accurate for nearly 300 years.

 

[Before commenting on this, please read my series of articles on Spiritual Capitalism, found here: Read First || Read Second || Read Third.]

 

Maybe we should consider throwing off the chains of thinking birthed centuries before the Enlightenment and even before the founding of this Country and came to a head--and have been proven to be inaccurate, ineffective, and fundamentally broken in the last Century.

 

The truth is, it is not only possible to come from service and contribution in a "for profit" environment--that is to live a purpose-filled life--but also to profit well from it and to live prosperously. It takes some personal work--being mindful of your thinking, cleaning out your unconscious imprints of guilt and shame, and to constantly be of service while having sufficient esteem for your self to recognize the value you are bringing to another's life and to have them provide that value monetarily in exchange. It takes a lack of attachment to "closing that deal" and being more focused on service and "opening relationships"--and much more.

 

Actually, I have found what can be provided to our clients lives is priceless to them. Fees are insignificant when weighed against what the work we do in their lives will make possible. It is not a commodity. It is a gateway to greater freedom and happiness. We can live a spiritually oriented life--and integrate free-market, service-based principles into that.

 

By doing so, we integrate our spiritual and our financial life. This frees us from guilt, shame, and allows us to flourish spiritually while prospering financially.

 

Mistake #2: Underdeveloped Skill: Sales, Marketing, and Ethical Influence

 

We have all had negative experience with sales people. Not sales professionals, but sales people--that is, people who want to "close a deal" rather than open a relationship. And most sales trainers teach techniques with little regard for a philosophical base or grounding. I do not support that.

 

I used to think sales was a dirty word. That was until I realized that until I could influence people to take action in their lives--leverage them beyond their limitations--I could never really do much good in the world. You can only be a positive agent for change if you can inspire others to move beyond their current thinking--the thinking that has them in their current life situation and has stopped them from being fully free and thriving.

 

Therefore--if you truly want to do good in the world, it becomes your duty--yes, your duty--to assist others in overcoming their limitations. That means learning to sell and market your services in a compelling way that comes from service and contribution while combining that with powerful tool of influence.

 

You must gain those skills if you want to make a difference and be prosperous.

 

While it may be hard to swallow at first [took me years to accept] you must be a sales person first--that is you must be able to enroll others in a vision--to live your purpose and prosper.

 

Mistake #3: A Lack of Structure: Service, Sustainability, and Packages

 

One you are coming from service and contribution, you begin to consider what would best serve the client. Most practitioners have session-by-session practices or monthly packages, but they do not have comprehensive packages that have stages and phases in them. How many people out there have dabbled here and dabbled there and never really bucked down and did the deep work to reveal greater depths within themselves? I have found most clients approach their personal development this way. "Well, I have tried this and I have tried that...", [but I never really got what I needed that was deeper].

 

The best thing you can do as a coach or a practitioner is to find a way to create a compelling 3-stage or 3-phase offering that allows the client to reveal greater and greater depths or to attain greater and greater heights. For a massage therapist, this may mean something like:

  • Healing
  • Activating
  • Opening
For a Coach it may mean something like:
  • Clarity
  • Tool Gathering/Education
  • Purpose/Action
I am just pulling these out of my pocket and tossing them out there. The point is that if you truly want to be of service to your clients, you will develop a phased program so that they finally make a deep commitment to themselves--and they finally achieve that elusive transformation--mentally, emotionally, and perhaps spiritually, they have been looking for for years. In the process, you create a sustainable practice with monthly payments coming in--and you get to then relax and be certain you are always acting with integrity and acting ethically. People only get slimy when they are desperate. You owe it to your clients to create a deep compelling offer that is only offered with integrity--and you owe it to your self to be prosperous as a purpose driven helper. Everyone wins. And wouldn't you like to be in a position to say to to a prospect you really do not want to work with? Of course you would. Wouldn't you like to always operate with full integrity and ethics intact coming from service and contribution? Of course you would. Wouldn't you like to provide comprehensive solutions to your clients so you can make a deep and lasting positive impact on their lives? [The next 3 top problems/errors and solutions will be handled in part 2]
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On Ego Development | Self Esteem

Your Self Worth is a Settled Matter 

I wrote this to a client in an email and thought it may be useful for others to read:

The mountain we climb in Personal Evolution is a bit like a mirage while hiking/climbing a mountain. You could stop now and camp for the night--or say screw it and go back down the mountainside. You can also see there is a reachable summit. So you choose to go further--yet...when you reach what you thought would be the summit, there is yet another summit that materializes out of the mist. And this goes on forever. There is no omega point except when you choose to simply stop and rest. 

Each of us have that choice every day. For some, we still consciously choose to continue to deepen our depths--and plumb just behind them. There is no end or bottom to the depth, there are only unplumbed depths. For others, they have achieved a high enough peak, that there is no motivation--no real life reason--to climb the next.  And there are others I will not list in the interests of time. I choose--consciously--to evolve further when I should or must--that is when my business or financial or relational results are inhibited by some aspect of myself. Otherwise, I am pretty darned content with where I am at--BUT I still need to have constant attention on where I need to be for others in the context in which I want to move with greater velocity--or frankly, sometimes, ANY velocity.

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Development | Transformation | Evolution

There is so much good work being done in the world today. It is astonishing how many people are dedicating their lives more and more to helping others. The human potential movement has spawned organizations and individuals committed to bringing change to the world through changing the individual.

When Ghandi said “be the change you wish to see in the world”, he probably could not have imagined how many people would take up that call and attempt to make the world a better place by making themselves better people through self-reflexive observation and intentional changework.

As a result of the richness in the field that we can now experience, it is useful to distinguish among the many offerings. There are three basic approaches I have noticed, experienced, and participated in directly. They are: 1. Development 2. Transformation 3. Evolution. These are each useful in and of themselves. They are “good”. And yet they have limitations that come along with their benefits. Let us examine this together...

Personal Development is a huge and ranging field. Workshops exist for skill acquisition that are readily available in every major metropolitan area in the Western World, and Asia is quickly cathing on as well. Corporations, having long recognized that their only asset that increases in value over time is their people, send their people to workshops to accelerate that process—to increase their value.

You can attend workshops on money management, communication skills—be it negotiation, sales techniques, relationship models, etc.—health and fitness and well being, and the list goes on and on. What all of these workshops have in common is that they focus on one domain of your life. We could think of it as a vertical line—or multiple vertical lines—of development. When we acquire skills or we “develop” ourselves in this area or that area, we increase the level of that vertical line of development in that domain. Development takes time, investment, and persistence if we are to become developed in any particular area—in other words, to become competent in some area. Skill acquisition is necessary to be successful in this world.

We all want to be more effective at something, and most of us recognize the value, benefits, and at times...need...to acquire more skills. And yet, mere skill acquisition will not solve all that troubles us. We can have all the skill in the world and have those around us not like us, be miserable or demanding, and generally unhappy and unfulfilled. Development may be necessary, but it is only a partial view of what we need as humans. Why is that? Development is a one-dimensional experience—the increase of one vertical developmental line. Increased “heights”, if you will. Yet, human beings are multi-dimensional. Skill alone will never suffice. Out of this limitation arises “transformational technologies”.

A level that is deeper and more complex than mere development. Transformation is unpredictable and at times, instant. It does not deal with any one particular domain, yet it can apply to all domains at any given moment. How is this done? By bringing a different way of being to a situation, something completely new and wonderful can arise out of a "breakdown"—that is a situation where there is an outcome that has been blocked by some circumstance or another.

Frankly, transformation is very appealing in today’s marketplace. It promises instant results in any given moment and gives people tremendous choice, empowerment, and responsibility...leading to more choice, empowerment...responsibility, and this loop feeds on itself with often wonderful results. But not always... Transformation is often reliant on breakdown and breakthrough patterns. In other words, we have some breakdown...and through that, we get to experience transformation of the situation or the circumstances or the dynamics or in ourselves...or a “breakthrough”. This often orients us towards breakdowns. Being humans that we are, we can become attached to experiencing that cycle—or worse...identified with it.

I have actually heard seminar leaders who deal in the world of transformation say that “you will begin to look forward to, and at times even create, your breakdowns”. While it is useful to see “breakdowns” as an opportunity so we can be more resourceful around them, rather than submerged in a “crisis”...building in a mechanism that has people seek out breakdowns has obvious limitations and can be problematic--not to mention hard on the core of the being. At times even causing internal dissonance rather than resolving it.

And while transformation is certainly useful...it is only a two-dimensional phenomenon. Height and breadth, if you will, being that transformation can be applied in multiple domains. But again, this will not fully suffice, as human beings are multi-dimensional beings.

Out of this limitation arises Personal Evolution. Evolution is not very sexy. It is an infinite and life-time game. There is no goal to reach and no "journey" to complete. It requires a life-time commitment. Regardless of which stage you have reached or how much depth has unfolded, there is always another stage and a deeper level. However, evolution is also the most fulfilling, and most complete of the three. It trickles out to all domains, making transformation possible and accessible as well as the development of skills even easier. It serves the whole being. Evolution is about the ever-widening of identity. It is about ever-deepening, ever more complex, and increasingly expansive levels of order.

How does evolution occur? Evolution occurs when the current stage a person is at become inadequate to deal with their life circumstances. We may experience chaos, confusion, or at times, even disaster or tragedy. When this happens, there are two choices or “directions”: evolution or regression. If we evolve, what actually occurs is that our very Self—the core of our being—moves to a new level of order. There is a widening of Identity [capital I]. The Self becomes more expansive, deep, complex, and at times and certainly eventually, more open and more flowing. I stress, this happens in stages. It is slow. It is creeping. it is a process in the largest sense of the word.

However, it is something that affects all domains in your life. Relationships, money, sex, career, family, politics, health, value spheres, world views—all of it. When the very core of who you thought you were and who you truly are evolves, then your experience and the way you relate to everything around you also evolves. It can be no other way. And we all interpret the events in our lives through our current stage of development...it can be no other way. Personal Evolution is truly multi-dimensional. It has height, breadth, and provides--and at times demands--increasing depth. It is an organic unfolding of the core of the being. Exposing ever deeper levels. And in the process, the being experiencing this evolution...this unfolding...comes ever closer to who they truly are. They become closer to Spirit itself until that stage where all separation and what they used to call “God” dissolves and they become Spirit itself.

They become the divine.

If we pause there and we look back on this very piece of writing, we can see the process of evolution represented right her on this page. The evolution of the human potential movement. Out of wanting better results, we created personal development rising to a new level of order. Then we realized, consciously or unconsciously, that development itself was inadequate to address the demands of being human. Out of that confusion and chaos we rose to a new level of order and transformational technologies came into being. This was useful for some time for some outcomes and addressed more of the being...yet we bumped up against the limitations of this level of order soon enough. Out of the realization of those limitations, a new level or order emerged—personal evolution itself. Evolution of the person and the personal.

The organic unfolding of manifest divinity and our personal and internal manifest destiny. Evolution is there. Unfolding is there. Divinity is there. Will you participate in it...or regress?

We are faced with that choice literally every day of our lives. We all choose one at times and the other at times. The key is in choosing consciously...even now.

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What is N.L.P.

What is N.L.P.?

NLP--the set of tools titled Neuro-Linguistic Programming--is misunderstood far more often that it is understood. There is nothing new in NLP. There is no magic. It will not revolutionize your life whole-sum in one fowl swoop, contrary to the marketing of some. However, it can produce amazing rapid results in a specific context ...

So what is it?

The co-founder of NLP, John Grinder, says that it is simply a learning tool. Nothing more than a set if filters and tools to give you access to more of your neurology for the purpose of accelerated learning.

Gregory Bateson, the world famous behavioral scientist, said that NLP is the only class 3 learning tool on the planet.

What does that mean?

With NLP you learn how to learn. So then, why is NLP used the way it is used in the world most often—for brief and result-oriented therapy? This is a good question and certainly worth addressing. In the beginning, in the early 70s, there were therapists producing amazing results. They were Virginia Satir, the founder and pioneer of Family Therapy; Fritz Pearls, the pioneer and founder of Gestalt Therapy; Milton Erickson, the grandfather of medical hypnotherapy.

Additionally, there was the genius of Gregory Bateson--the world-renowned behavioral scientist. Given the results they were producing, the founders of this class of tools called NLP wanted to find out what patterns these geniuses were employing (at the meta level) that could be modeled, distilled, and reproduced.

So, with their permission, they were studied by the co-founders of NLP along with the supporting staff. Who were these people that modeled the original patterns of these therapeutic geniuses? John Grinder and Richard Bandler assisted by Robert Dilts, Judith Delozier, Todd Epstein, and Leslie Cameron-Bandler. If you’ve a scientific or skeptical mind, read anything by Robert Dilts on NLP. He will make you a believer. It could be argued that this original modeling is just one possible application of NLP.

That argument would be stunningly accurate. NLP is simply a class of tools. It allows you to distill out the structure, process, and context of any given experience. Because of this, I call NLP “the study of the structure of human subjective experience”.

Given that emotions are seemingly the biggest challenge facing human beings, then it could also be argued that investing so much time in studying the patterns of genius that have therapists get results was one of the most generous applications possible for this new-found tool. I would agree with that argument.

That was 30 years ago. Since then, NLP has come a long way thanks to the practitioners of this tool. They have modeled out many processes that the human being goes through naturally for the purpose of accelerated movement through said process.

For example—how does someone naturally resolve a traumatic experience and come out of it with an outlook of positivity and even gratitude? This has been modeled. How does someone align themselves on multiple, holarchical levels of their experience—environment, behaviors, capabilities, beliefs/values, identity, and Spirit? This has been modeled. How does a human being take a part of themselves that they previously disliked and through greater understanding and negotiation, use it as a gateway to core states of being and connectedness? This has been modeled. How does a human being take some parental experience that was traumatic for them and move to a place of resource, gratitude, and compassion? This has been modeled. What is intuition, the most useful of all trans-rational experiences? This has been modeled.

The world owes NLP a debt of gratitude. This may not even be acknowledged for another generation and that is just fine... NLP, as a field, does not care for dissertations or academia. This is largely why it is not accepted in the academic world. NLP, as a field, does not focus on whether or not something is true. “Truth” in this context has no meaning. What matters is whether or not something is useful. In that sense, NLP, as a field, is highly scientific.

However, scientific in the broad sense, not the narrow sense. By scientific in the broad sense, I mean this: experiment, get some result, and offer up your findings to a group of your peers for rigorous testing. In this sense, NLP is deeply and rigorously scientific.

Scientific in the broad sense. Not the narrow sense.

What is NLP? A set of tools to distill out models of excellence. Human models of excellence. Nothing more, but assuredly nothing less.

What is N.L.P.? a summary by Mark Michael Lewis NLP is sourced in the realization that that all human emotion is a function of how a person re-presents (represents, thinks about) any aspect of their experience. If you shift/change/alter how someone re-presents any aspect of their experience, you will shift/change/alter how they understand that aspect, what they feel about it, how they relate to it, and who they *be* around it. In more technical terms, a "top 10" might be:

1. The map is not the territory, the menu is not the meal - human beings make maps of their experience, they re-present their experience to themselves in the five senses/modalities.

2. How we understand, feel about, relate to, and BE around any aspect of our experience is determined by the map we make about that experience (our "occurring" world), not the experience itself.

3. You can change/alter/manipulate the maps (representations, how the world occurs) directly, by altering one or more of the five senses in the “map”.

4. When you change the map, you will change how people understand, feel about, relate to, and BE around that aspect of their experience

5. People work perfectly, they are not broken. They are getting exactly the results that they are getting. They can learn to get different results.

6. People already have all the resources they need and anything one human being can do/be/have/know/relate another human being can learn to do/be/have/know/relate.

7. People always make the best choice they experience as available to them.

8. Every human behavior is driven/caused/sourced by a positive intention, every aspect of human experience is to be respected/honored/integrated .

9. Anything worth doing is worth doing poorly AT FIRST.

10. Choice is better than no choice, the element in any system which has the most flexibility will control that system - NLP is about adding choices, not subtracting them. In plain language, NLP provides tools with which to resolve virtually any human emotional issue.

NLP is 1) a set of filters through which to process our experience such that we have more power to achieve our values, and 2) a collection of hundreds of patterns/techniques/”interior rituals” that are specially designed to powerfully and permanently alter how someone represents (feels/BEs about) virtually every/any aspect of their life.

Since human behavior (how we do/be/have/know/relate to our “world) is driven by our emotions 99 percent of the time, the more choice we have around how we “feel,” the more powerfully and elegantly we can create and move through our lives. It is the most powerful form of fix/change/improve technology I have ever encountered. If transformation is all about shifting who we are/BE/relate to our world, NLP is all about shifting how that world automatically occurs for us through time. It is designed to alter not the "fact" of our Already Always Listening (AAL), but the standards by which our AAL automatically judges and assesses our experience.

It is a tool for resolving our past (rather than getting off of it) and tapping into the juice/value of any/every experience we have. If transformation gives us the freedom to "be with" our occurring world, NLP gives us tools to shift the unconscious processes by which that world “occurs.”

But really, what NLP is, is the study of the structure of subjective experience, and by extension, the study of human excellence.

Nothing more. And assuredly nothing less.

Jason D McClain © 2003

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