We sure do get this money stuff tangled up, don’t we? This is the place where I untangle pieces of it. Most of it’s about money while some of it’s about something else that strikes my interest. All of it is about noticing how things get knotted up and how to untangle the knots. Oh, and if you have a topic you’d like me to explore, just let me know. I’ll be happy to give it a good shake and see what untangles.
It’s not one thing that creates stress… it’s a whole bunch of things that build up. Little things that pile on until we are over our edge.
Right now, the world is mired in all sorts of concerns. We all are feeling it. Climate change—which they just should have called Global Weirding and no one would have debated it! The mass shooting of innocent people. The Stock Market in a tizzy. Too many to mention. It’s way capable of frazzling our nerves!
But of course, there is also whatever your triggers are! Little things like health, making money, relationships, the car breaking down. ‘Tis never-ending!
The real problem for us all is that our biology is behind the times. It hasn’t caught up and probably won’t, based on the speed of change these days. Our bodies evolved to use ‘stress’ as a way of getting our attention and focus when bad things were about to happen. Things like a lion or a pack of hyenas running toward us. One of the evolutionary fixes for coping with danger is the fight-or-flight response, a physiological reaction to a perceived harmful event, attack, or threat to survival.
To simplify the result let’s just say we go into hyperdrive. The “Danger, Danger, Will Robinson” alerts kick in and carry us away. There are all sorts of things going on in our bodies and minds, not the least of which is we lose our peripheral vision, and can’t hear—which explains why when in an argument you often find someone saying: “Don’t you hear me?” Actually, they don’t, and they won’t until they have calmed down which will take between 20 to 60 minutes after they have stopped stressing.
This has been going on for quite a while. In 1910 Rudyard Kipling wrote the poem “If”, which started with “If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs and blaming it on you…” So it’s not new.
The real point is how do we manage the stress? How do we keep the deep mire of it from sneaking up on us? There are so many stress factors bombarding us every day that it is prudent to get ahead of it. Don’t wait! Create your own pockets of peace now!
There are all sorts of ways to build your capacity for dealing with the vast, never-ending triggers we experience every day. In my search for balance, it’s the little things that are the most effective for me. I’m being purposeful in creating what I call “Pockets of Peace”. Some examples I’ve been trying include:
- Time swimming—being in the quiet of the water
- Muting the ‘ads’ on the TV—otherwise thought of as ‘limiting white noise’
- Reading books that take me away, and are NOT scary
- Petting the ‘purr machine’—otherwise known as the cat
There are lots and lots of possibilities. There are only two things to keep in mind:
- Have some techniques that work for your own stress reduction in the moment
- Have some everyday practices that build calm and peace as a preventative measure
Unfortunately, we can’t actually eliminate stress, what we can do is make choices about how we handle and manage it! Find the ones that work for you… it’s crucial, especially now!
Shell Tain, the Untangler
If you need a bit of support finding those pockets of peace give me a call at 503-258-1630 or leave a comment.
Here’s yet another guest blog for your summer reading. This one is from Kate Deaton, a certified coach, friend, and colleague with a slightly different take on the Inner Critic voice than mine. Kate is writing a book about the Inner Saboteur and agreed to give us a taste of her work. Her contact information is at the bottom of the blog if you’d like to get in touch with her, or follow her musings!
“My boss-he doesn’t care about what I am doing- he just wants more. Even if it means I work late 4 days a week and take work home, it’s always MORE-MORE-MORE! If I didn’t count on that paycheck for my family, I would quit. I know I have my master’s but jobs in my field just don’t pay that well. I am lucky to have gotten this job.”
There is a saying that a complaint is simply a value that is being stomped on. Being expected to do more and more at work, beyond what can be delivered in a 50-hour work-week may stomp on quite a few values: family time, fairness, quality over quantity, being able to deliver good work…just possible examples. Yet do you notice that, in the first example, the worker ends by reminding themselves why to continue in that cycle? It is not that it is not true- most of us depend on our income for supporting ourselves and our family. Yet something else is true, too: We could be more satisfied, have more family time in other circumstances that might also support the value of family security. So what stops us from checking out those options?
“The devil we know is better than the devil we don’t.” That could have been written by our inner saboteur-that inner voice that creates seeds of doubt each time you try new behavior or have a thought about taking a stand for what you need. Have you noticed that voice sometimes? It is the one that tells you the safe way is the best, keeping the status quo is imperative. It may even go so far as ridiculing you for dreaming and planning, for taking steps toward something new. Here is another example:
People had always told Kim how good her work was on creating mosaic inlaid furniture. She had been encouraged for a few years to apply for a juried arts and crafts show in her community and she always laughed it off. “No one wants to pay for my work- it is best as a gift.” Finally, Kim was persuaded to try, and the first time she applied for the high quality, juried show, she was accepted. Kim sold well, got lots of compliments and 6 months’ worth of orders. Although this was what she loved to do, she refused to apply for more shows. “It is just a fluke that I got in. Sales won’t keep coming. I will just finish up these orders. I was lucky to get them.”
So what kept Kim from celebrating her success and reaching for more? The voice of her inner saboteur, telling her she was just lucky- nothing to count on.
Each time we challenge the status quo in our life, the voice can get stronger and meaner to match the level of threat to the norm. And the worse thing may be that the voice is cloaked to sound like our own voice or even the voice of our parents or people we love.
So how can we make changes and reach for more in our lives? A simple method is to become aware of when the inner saboteur shows up, what it sounds likes like, thank it for trying to keep you safe and then take the next right step. With some practice, you will be able to notice the trends of when your inner saboteur is going to get activated. Then you will be ready to avoid getting hijacked by the fearful thoughts, thank your inner voice for wanting your safety and take steps forward. It is a new dance. And a new dance that will create new neural pathways in your brain that support new options, rather than familiar behavior.
So what do you want? What small steps can you take toward your goals? Just be ready with some recognition, appreciation, and movement.
For other methods of recognizing and dealing with your inner saboteur, look for Kate’s upcoming book…….
Kate Deaton MS CPCC, Personal Leadership Coaching, (434)390-0105, Kdeatonleadership@gmail.com
Shell Tain, the Untangler
As part of my summer blogs, I just couldn’t resist sharing this with you! Meet Marcus Elliot. He is an amazing Sax player and Composer in Detroit, Michigan. He has recently written and performed an fascinating piece of music dedicated to his mother. One of the most beautiful parts of his journey with this challenging time in his life is his recognition of the value of really being present in the moment. He’s someone I’m honored to know. Please read what he has written and listen to “Aesthetically Present”
“April 27th, 2019, my mother was diagnosed with cancer, multiple myeloma. This news really shook me at my core. As time went on I begin to find myself trying to distract myself from the reality that I was faced with. One of those distractions that I fell into was hoping for “more time”. I found myself hoping and praying for more time with my mother, and hoping that all of the treatments that she will receive will work, and hoping that things would be better than they were at that time.
I did all of this hoping with the thought that doing so could only better the situation. I was wrong. It did not better the situation. If anything, it created a distance between myself and the reality of where my mother was at. It was not allowing me to be present with her at this moment and time. The “more time” that I was hoping for was already happening. I was missing the exact thing that I was hoping for because I took for granted the fact that every single moment that we are alive and we are with one another is the “more time”.
Our lives are not a given, every moment is truly a gift. For me, music is an exercise in this principle of being present. Music allows us for a brief second to realize just how beautiful, precious, and fragile these moments that have been entrusted to us are. “Aesthetically Present” was written during the time that all of this was happening in my life. It was not originally written with this theme in mind, but it felt appropriate and necessary to dedicate the music to the time that it was written inside of.
Thank you to my mother, Jo-Lynn Miller, for your love, strength, wisdom, and encouragement. If I already don’t say it enough then please, let me say it again, I love you.
Sincerely, Marcus Elliot”
Such a joy to know such talented people!!!
Shell Tain, the Untangler
It’s Tuesday, and I’ve been spending the last several days in another dimension – one where time, access to information and connection are very different. It truly is like being in the Twilight Zone!
This past Saturday in the early evening, I happened to take a look at the box where my WiFi/internet comes into the house, and it was swarmed with ants—thousands of little tiny ants in my living room. I know these guys, there is an ongoing war between me and them! Last November they took out an electric outlet which left me in the dark for several days before I could get an electrician out to restore order.
This time is more bizarre because it took out my capacity to use the web and my phone (which is voice over internet). I’m left with my truly basic cell phone, designed for emergencies only. What that means is that it’s a basic “burner” phone. I can call and get texts but no data at all. It’s sort of reliable.
Of course Frontier doesn’t see this as urgent so they have decided to drop in and fix it on Wednesday. I was delighted to have a neighbor who allowed me to use her computer so I could email my three clients that I had calls with on Monday, and friends I was supposed to meet on Tuesday. I still need to contact the clients booked on Wednesday to warn them. Theoretically it will be fixed by the time of their calls, but I’m not really trusting that.
So here I am writing my blog, not in WordPress where I normally do this. Instead it’s back to Microsoft Word for me. I have TV because I have been on an antenna for that for several years. I also have a fairly big collection of movies on DVD. So there is that.
The phone doesn’t ring. That’s odd in a way. Somehow that’s more about all the catch up I’ll need and want to do when I am reconnected to people.
Which brings me to the real reason I’m writing this blog. The most pervasive and odd part of this ‘blackout’ is that I can’t go look anything up, any little fact. Things like:
- What’s the weather going to be like today?
- Which internet provider gives the best service? (Frontier had me on hold for an hour, and wasn’t clever enough to have an option where I could choose to have them call me back. They did continue to suggest that I use the internet to solve my problem…hmm…but I both digress and rant.)
- Is the next Phryne Fisher Mystery ready for me to download onto my tablet from the library?
- What’s an easier Hair Ball treatment to use than that sticky brown toothpaste I can’t get down Miss Teak’s throat?
One of the reasons I don’t have a smart phone is that when I’m out in the world, I want to be present in the experience. So I’m frankly amazed at how many times I go look something up out of curiosity, a desire to plan, or wanting to gather data to make a decision.
Most of my childhood through my teenage years I spent summers in Wyoming with my maternal grandmother, “Cupcake” (so named by me when I was very young because she was sweet and had white hair – Frosting on top). She never had a TV, and reception for those that did was spotty anyway. We read, played games, wrote letters, sewed, knitted, talked…did things. The phone was on a party line so people didn’t tend to have really long conversations, and if they did, they did so knowing that someone might be listening. Summers where very different than my life at home where I had a TV in my room, and spent much time on the phone as a teenager.
I held the two places as equally valuable, just different. Frankly I think these two different worlds helped me to be both adaptable and curious.
Today I’m feeling calmer about this turn of events. There is something in this ‘experiment’ about the value of just ‘being’ where I am in the moment.
I have learned something from this hiatus. It’s something around allowing myself to sink into where I am right now, instead of anticipating and leaning toward what’s next. Trying to cram it all in to the detriment of not really experiencing the fullness of what’s here. Oddly, for me, the next step will be to limit how many times I go look something up once I am able to do that again. The question will be: “Do I need to know that now? Or can it wait?”
What might the experience of being without phone or internet in your daily life for several days be like for you? And could there be a pony in the midst of that pile? Looks like at the end of this I’ll have to acknowledge some value in the ants’ act after all… hmmm.
Shell Tain, the Untangler
PS: it did finally all get sorted. I’m back in the present!
It’s an old Texas term that most of us have heard, and many of us have used. ‘Fixin’ To‘ is similar to ‘trying’ in its effectiveness. The question really is “How to get out of the Fixin’ To stage and into the actual doing things stage?” And like most things, changing your thinking can make all the difference.
Let’s explore a different way to get results, shall we? You’ve all heard of the Law of Attraction. Near as I can tell it was originally a Hindu concept, or possibly even older than that. More recently it has become a “New Age” mainstay with the use of the equation: Intention + Attention = Manifestation. First let’s move that into clearer language: something like “Dreams, Desires, Goals,” even Fixin’ To for the Intention part. Frankly the simple word for the Attention part is Action. And finally manifestation comes down to Results.
Now, hang on. I’m fixin’ to play with the math a bit. I think of Laws of Nature like Gravity as working whether or not we believe in them. Frankly I’ve been having this ‘conversation’ with Gravity for years, asking it to lighten up a bit… but does Gravity even listen to me? Nope! I think the Law of Attraction equation works that way too, except I—being a numbers person—want to change it just slightly, from addition to multiplication. What the equation is really saying is that you need both Desire (Being) and Action (Doing) to create a Result, and math-wise, a multiplication sign makes more sense to me. If I’ve got only one of the elements without the other it’s like multiplying by zero and the result of that is zero! Wow! Math can be helpful.
So the bottom line is that Fixin’ To doesn’t get you off the couch. Actions do. And for those actions to be effective you need to be clear about what you want.
One thing I know for sure, is that when you or I get wonky results it’s because we are missing one of those two elements in the math problem!
Fixin’ To is a good step, it’s just needs a partner like action. How about aligning the two together?
Shell Tain, the Untangler
Fixin’ to change your money thinking? Give me a call at 503-258-1630 or leave a comment.
It’s one of those things that happens whether you are conscious of it or not: your brain gets trained. Most of us have heard something about this, the way our brains store information in groups of neurons firing together. Thus all the information about a particular thing is tucked in the same pile. That just happens. The question is how can you use that to your advantage?
I had somewhat of an epiphany about this recently watching a favorite movie with someone who had never seen it. The film was ‘Cat Ballou‘, the 1965 western romp with a very young Jane Fonda, a wild and inebriated Lee Marvin, and Nate King Cole and Stubby Kaye as narrating balladeers! I hadn’t seen it in years.
The moment it started I was flooded with memories. I remembered sitting in the Wyo Theatre in Sheridan, Wyoming seeing it several times as it played that summer. I spent many summers in Wyoming with Cup Cake, my grandmother. She worked at a furniture store; she’d take me with her to the store, and I’d help her. When she got busy I’d wander the town or go to the movies.
Since I saw the movie several times in the week that it ran, it’s a strong memory. I even remembered that Lee Marvin won an Oscar for it. As we watched I could smell the popcorn. I knew every bit of dialog and every shot. This was a really impactrul memory, and it was securely tucked there in my brain. I didn’t actually call it forward—it came on its own. The main difference between how my brain built this memory and others was that I saw the film a bunch of times close together.
Since we know our brains work this way, we could purposely and specifically ‘train’ them to build strength in areas that are desirable. Actually, we already do that, right? We learn things. We practice. We gather data. We do that about all sorts of things… except for money!
Actually we do unconsciously train our brains about money… it’s just that most of the training is negative. It’s about things that happened with money in our childhoods. It’s about arguments around money. It’s about many situations where money was present in the mix, but probably not the actual cause of the problem.
We all need money to survive in our culture, and at some level most of us want it. It seems to me that it’s a lot easier to acquire and deal with something you like and understand than a mysterious thing you find scary and incomprehensible. So why not change that?
Change truly results from creating those groups of neurons firing together. How can you create some new groups—and stop adding more to the old ones—around money? What might be different if that happened? You’ve developed memory and expertise around all sorts of things in your life… why not give training your brain around money a go?
Shell Tain, the Untangler
Want to chat about how to re-train your money brain? Give me a call at 503-258-1630 or leave a comment.
We’ve all watched and enjoyed mysteries, and one of the tried-and-true adages of a mystery is: Follow the Money. In the case of a mystery it has to do with motive. But where else does Follow the Money ring true?
Actually, Follow The Money applies almost anywhere. In most instances, money is reflective, not causative. It points to the issues and problems. It marks and reports them. It doesn’t create them.
Wait, what?! Money doesn’t create problems? No, it doesn’t. What we choose to do or not do with money creates the problems, not the actual money itself. Money doesn’t have free will or volition. It goes where you tell it to. It gets used and spent and earned and saved strictly by the actions of people.
All money can really do is tell you what happened.
And it does a really good job of that. And it certainly does it in more circumstances than we tend to initially realize. Let’s look at where money talks and tells.
Business: This one is pretty obvious. Looking at a company’s financial statements tells you what’s going on in the company. The way I look at those statements goes deeper than just the sales and expenses though.
For me, the money in a company tells me where the people issues are. If all the employees in one department are complaining about not being paid enough, that tells me something. It tells me something is going on in that department that needs to be addressed. The money is reflective. If people aren’t paying the company on time, that says something too; it may be about the invoices going out too late, about the product not being right, or about a lax follow-up procedure.
The money can be talking about a lot of different things, but it is certainly reflecting information.
Personal: I also think money is reflective in our personal lives. What does your money say about you? Where do you spend it? What kind of attention do you pay to it? What is it reflecting? If you really look at your money, you can learn a lot.
I once worked with someone who said they had money all over the house, tucked here and there. They didn’t really know where it was. They didn’t know how much they had. That’s a reflection of this person’s money perspective. The fact that the money is all over, and not “organized” is reflective of something. Follow that money mystery and you’ll get somewhere interesting, somewhere important.
Sometimes following the personal money leads to some pretty predictable places. The money might go toward a collection, it might go for a child’s education, it might go for a car. It is most likely to reflect the person’s interests and passions. It also will reflect the person’s money prejudices—those beliefs they fund without even knowing it. It might go to buy everything “on sale” because that’s just what you are supposed to do. Or it might buy jewelry because it makes you feel good. Where ever it goes, there’s some meaning or symbolism behind it.
Remember, money isn’t about money—it’s about our sense of worth. What we spend it on is reflective of how we see ourselves and our world. It reflects our values, passions and dreams.
I think we can learn a lot about people by looking at different aspects of their lives. Think about it: Look in someone’s refrigerator, what does it tell you? Lots of weird sauces, or is there just a six pack and a cold pizza? Reflective, right? Money is the same way. So, spend some time noticing what your money is telling you. Where do you spend it? What do you do with it? Where do you keep it? How do those actions sometimes reflect things you hadn’t realized before? You can learn a lot. Just follow the money.
Shell Tain, the Untangler
Want to chat about what your money might be trying to tell you? Give me a call at 503-258-1630 or leave a comment.
Loyalty is a good thing. We seek it in all our relationships, and we practice it in return. We want to be loyal and we want others to be loyal to us. The question to ponder here is where might loyalty actually work against you? Specifically where does it have you spending money to be ‘loyal‘ that doesn’t actually align with balancing your self-care with your desire to care for others? And where are you possibly being taken advantage of by companies and associations that rely on your loyalty, even when they haven’t ‘earned‘ it?
It’s a tricky thing. I had a client once who was a major shopper. In truth she was in it for the ‘hunt‘, and had a whole room full of bags of things she’d bought and never used. Many of them she had bought at a particular department store that had ‘given‘ her a credit card with their name on it. She felt really honored and special that they had given her the card. It made her one of the ‘in crowd‘. She went there often, really loved their customer service, and piled up many charges on the card. The card had a much higher interest rate than her other credit cards. She was great at the buying… not so much at paying on time. Oh, and she didn’t want to ‘insult‘ the store by returning things, so she didn’t. It was all about a ‘personal‘ relationship she was imagining she was having with a store. The store was doing its job well. She just wasn’t noticing that she was confusing her personal desire—for relationship—with their techniques of building loyalty. She was stunned when I pointed out that the clerk that was helping her didn’t actually know she had a store credit card until it was time to pay. The clerk was giving good service regardless. And she also missed that no actual person would feel hurt and disappointed if she returned things that she didn’t use.
Together we did get her out of this pattern, but the bigger question this raises is something like “Where are you assuming more ‘caring’ from a company or professional than is really there?”
Yes, every company or pro you work with wants you to keep coming back and using them, myself included! And you need to figure out whether the ‘relationship‘ is really going both ways, or if it is one-sided.
There is something in this mix of our need for actual human connection that is being hindered by the constant pseudo connection of Social Media and cell phones. I recently sat across from a family having lunch at my local Sushi place: Mom, Dad and an about-9-year-old child. All three were on their phones instead of talking to each other. They stopped the phones when the food came, but still didn’t talk.
Maybe it’s just that there is so little actual connection going on that we don’t recognize that the ‘connection‘ we have with the person who cuts our hair isn’t the same as the one with our friend we went to the movies with.
I’m extremely loyal to companies that give me good service for a fair price. And I’m not tolerant and won’t do business with those that are rude. I ‘vote with my feet‘—and do it as a reflection of my values… what I care about. I care about how we all treat each other. I care about fairness. And where I spend my money really does reflect what I’m up to. Am I trying to fulfill some need in a place where it really can’t happen? Or am I really having an exchange that enriches both of us?
The answer is different for each of us. There are things I care about—and might even be ‘extravagant’ with—that mean nothing to you, and visa versa. I’m just wanting to make sure that you are getting what you are seeking, and finding the balancing point—that your time, energy, and money are going toward what you truly care about. Give it a ponder and see what you notice…
Shell Tain, the Untangler
If you’d like some support with the pondering give me a call at 503-258-1630 or leave a comment.
A client recently asked me about the ‘how’ and ‘why’ of my becoming a coach. In thinking about the ‘road’ I took to becoming a coach, it occurred to me that the story and what I learned along the way might be of value to others.
There really are two separate stories tied up in my career path: the one about the Money road and the one about the Coaching road, which eventually connected. At this point, I’m going to focus on the Coaching one — Who knows, maybe later I’ll write about the Money one!
Allow me to wax philosophically a bit here. There is the distinction that Micheal Meade makes between Fate and Destiny. Fate being the family, culture and circumstances we are born into. Our fate is what leads to whole families of Doctors, or Teachers, and such. Destiny is more about our innate unique personality. The talents our family never really seems to understand. For me the fate piece was the Money road that had me become a CFO, while the destiny piece was much more the fuel for me embracing coaching—following a natural talent to a new place.
Certainly anyone can become a Personal Coach, Life Coach, Health Coach, Business Coach… whatever kind of coach they want to be. And I think that the seed of being a gifted and effective ‘coach’ is something we inherently have. It certainly was that way for me. As early as Junior High (Middle School) I found people coming to me with problems. They wanted someone to talk to, someone who would listen, support them, give some suggestions, and not judge them. I seemed to fit that bill. It wasn’t something I actively sought, it just happened. And it kept happening. Of course, like most things, it was a double-edged sword. I found that they often wanted my support, but less often asked me to hang out with their crowd. C’est la vie.
Frankly this thing of being a safe and trusted ‘ear’ stayed with me throughout the years.
And then in the early ’90s there was this incredible opportunity I had. I got involved with YRUU (Young Religious Unitarian Universalists). YRUU was a youth led program for teens ranging from Middle School through High School. Many churches had a Youth Group with supported by several Adult Advisors. There were also District and National events and conferences led by youth with adult support. It was a fascinating and delightful thing that unfortunately has gone by the wayside.
Through most of the ’90s I was heavily involved with YRUU on all levels: local, district, national… and I even wrote the “Youth Advisor Handbook” (available in various reprints on Amazon and even Ebay). The point was to really encourage the youth to run things themselves. The advisor role was to support, listen, and create an atmosphere that allowed the youth to actually come up with their own solutions. The youth never ceased to impress me. They were often wiser than the adults. Certainly it took patience to let them lead—I learned to count to 10, and then do it again, and again! Giving them the opportunity to fix the problem on their own gave them practical experience. And that is a fundamental tenet of the concept of coaching… that the client at some level actually knows—and has the capacity to solve—their problem.
This was a perfect place for me. The only frustration was dealing with the adults and parents who wanted to jump in and control things. They had a hard time truly trusting that the youth could make good decisions.
At this point there was no such thing as Personal Coaching, and no way to make a living doing this (it was all volunteer work). However, around this same time along came Thomas Leonard. He was an EST employee in the ’80s and founded Coach U and the ICF (International Coach Federation) in 1995. He spearheaded the radical idea that people could seek help and support for their lives without needing “therapy”—that we all had the capacity to do better.
When I heard about coaching in the late ’90s , I was naturally intrigued and went to a presentation. It sounded great, and at that time looked like a hobby. How was anyone going to make a living doing this?
By late 2000 I was hooked by the idea and started training with CTI (Coaches Training Institute). This is what I was meant to do, what I’ve always done: untangled the knot, dug deeper, asked the questions. Now I had a platform and credentials for doing it. Fortunately for me the Money road had given me a bunch of business skills to help build my practice. It all came together for me.
There is something truly magical about finding the work that truly makes your heart sing. As you read this you’ll notice there were hints all along the way, coaching and untangling things comes naturally to me. It’s why I’ve been at this now for almost 20 years… it’s frankly the ONLY career I’ve ever had that never bores me!
Look back on your road and see where the clues are… is there something calling you to a different path?
Shell Tain, the Untangler
If you’d like some support in sussing out your ‘destiny’ give me a call at 503-258-1630 or leave a comment.
Have you every wished you had a business partner in your solopreneur business? What if the business itself could be that partner? If you are an entrepreneur, if your pay is ‘commission’ based, if you are self-employed — your business is your partner!
One of the pitfalls of having an independent business is that it’s just you, right? You make all the decisions. Sure you may have some outside help for things like accounting and keeping all the technology going. Hopefully you also use some outside support around marketing. And at the end of the day it’s just you.
I’d like you to consider a radical idea, one that will actually improve your business! Think of the business itself as an entity outside of you! Even imagine it as a person. First allow your mind to dream her up. See her there about three feet in front of you? What does she look like? What is she wearing? What is her name? Is it the name of your business or something else?
Imagine what it would be like to have a partner and ally in your business that you could talk to. Someone you could brainstorm ideas with. Someone that is right there with you every step of the way. Frankly most of us ‘talk’ to ourselves anyway — what would be the value of purposeful conversation with your business?
When you start thinking of your business as a person or entity things shift. It allows you not only to give different attention to your business, but to also have a clearer separation between it and your personal life. That’s a very good thing!
It’s very easy for us to get tangled in having the feeling that our business is personal—that people’s response to the business is to be taken personally. And that’s a trap. Clients see the ‘business’ you differently than friends and family do, right? You need to have some separation between those different roles in life to keep sane!
I have had some clear personal experience in this area. As the Money Knot Untangler, people naturally associate me with money. That’s a good thing for business. However, when you find people backing away from you when you are introduced because you represent that scary money thing, you start to worry that you might smell bad! I’ve had that experience many, many times. My ‘Business Babe‘ part laughs at that and thinks it’s great. Personally it took some getting used to in order to stop feeling like no one wanted to dance with me at the school dance.
In case you are thinking this is just weird and woo-woo, allow me to remind you that even our government thinks of Corporations as entities. Just sayin’!
How about having little meetings with your business? Asking what it needs? What’s working well? What needs improvement? Oh, and together you both might actually gather some data about what’s going on by looking at the money stuff. Money’s job really is to provide information. The twist here is that your business may see and interpret the information in a different way that creates new opportunities, or smooths out rough spots. It’s worth a shot, right?
By creating a real relationship with your business you will make both of your lives easier, and may actually get a level of support you just haven’t found before. Give it a try. At least these days when we talk to ourselves out in the world folks just assume we are on our cell phone, so no worries there! Remember that you are still the President/Owner of the business, and this ally is here to help you. See what you two can come up with. And if you need a bit of help mediating the difference between what you want and what the business wants, I’m here to help!
Shell Tain, the Untangler
Let me know if you’d like help creating a relationship with your business. Give me a call at 503-258-1630 or leave a comment.