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Steve's Life And Business Coaching Notes

December 2012


Early December*


1) Your Mind: The Merits of Not Taking Your Thoughts Too Seriously - We all have one. Here are some thoughts on how to get far more joy, meaning and success out of your mind. (Rather than the usual noise.)

2) Getting More Business, For Free, With Google Plus - Some valuable information to help you get more business quickly and for free.

3) Some Useful Resources For Everyone - Want more happiness, peace, business success, maybe a little inspiration? This month's resources have something for everyone.

4) Don't Starve, Just Because You Want to Help Others - For the coaches in the crowd who want to learn how to make a good living WHILE helping others, January's 6 FIGURE PRACTICE MENTOR PROGRAM for coaches is now open for registration.

Here is a new spiritual practice for you:
don't take your thoughts too seriously.

- Eckhart Tolle

1) Not Taking Your Thoughts Too Seriously

In over 15 years of coaching, I have worked with about 1,200 individuals. All of them came to coaching wanting to affect some positive change in the external realms of their lives, careers, businesses and relationships. At the heart of these changes was a desire to achieve a greater internal experience of happiness, peace and love.  

While it is a universally accepted belief that greater happiness, peace and love will accrue when we improve our external circumstances; it is also possible to pursue these outcomes directly through internal means. In other words, rather than assuming everything we want can only be achieved by heading out and changing things in our world, what benefit might be possible by simply turning our attention inward?

I believe this is a very important question and find that it is one of life's biggest ironies that we spend most of our time seeking solutions in the external world in an attempt to change internal conditions. Why not consider a more direct approach?

Whenever you turn the flashlight of your attention around, away from the outer world and inward towards its source, things get interesting.  You may notice:

  • There is almost a continuous stream of thought. (While there is little hard data, some neuroscientists have estimated that the average human can have over 10,000 thoughts per day, and some of us may think more than 50,000 thoughts every waking day.)

  • Much of this thought is spent worrying, planning, analyzing, judging, striving, regretting, etc.

  • A substantial number of our thoughts do not appear to be: necessary, important, uplifting or actually contributing to improving our peace or happiness. [If you spend 10 minutes on Google you will find discussions between neuroscientists, psychologists and self-help gurus over exactly what percentage of our thoughts are repetitive (some estimates go as high as 98%) and negative (estimates vary between 50 - 80%). Whatever the numbers really are, it seems likely you and I are spending over half of our waking hours, thinking about things that will either depress us or make us anxious.]

Think what you could do with all this time if we got a little better at managing our internal world of thought. I suggest that at the very least there is an argument that considerably more of the very happiness, peace and love we spend our lives pursuing in the external world, might be directly experienced in our internal world. Remember this is the only place these qualities are ever really experienced anyway.

"If you are depressed you are living in the past.
If you are anxious you are living in the future.
If you are at peace you are living in the present."

- Lao Tzu

So, what to do? Well this is not a new topic. For thousands of years wise souls in many parts of the world have pursued this very inquiry. Further, whether you take a philosophical, psychological, religious or spiritual perspective, there are some straightforward and practical things you can do to immediately experience less noise and more of the love, peace and happiness you most want. Here are a few starting suggestions:

  • Reduce your stress. An anxious mind makes far too many plans and tends to live far too much in an imagined future.

  • Suspect your thoughts. Do not take every thought you have as some gospel truth. Many of them are repetitive, conditioned, exaggerated, out-of-date or simply do not serve you.

  • Do not try to combat your thoughts with additional thoughts. This is just adding more fuel to the fire. Rather, practice ignoring your thoughts out of existence. Whenever you remove attention or belief, thoughts lose their power. This does not mean ignoring anything important or real. Rather, simply allow whatever unnecessary thoughts and emotions that arise (emotions are rarely more than a cluster of thoughts, or stories, coupled with a bodily sensation which somehow grabs more attention) to arise, and be experienced (not resisted). Then shift your attention onto pretty much anything else; your breath, a positive thought, just the feeling of being aware or pretty much anything you want to put attention on. And keep doing it.

  • Find a daily mind-slowing or mindfulness practice, teacher or path that supports your learning and feeds your spirit.

  • Find the place or perspective within you that needs nothing, resists nothing and where a gentle background buzz of joy is undiminished by all occurrences.

Just as it takes a sustained wind to create a sea of waves out of the ocean, so too does it take constant thought to create a world of lack, resistance and unhappiness.

By not putting so much importance and identity into all your thoughts, you will be able to generate a lot more of what you really want.

"Leave your mind alone, that is all. Do not go along with it. After all, there is no such thing as mind apart from thoughts which come and go obeying their own laws, not yours.
They dominate you only because you are interested in them."

- Nisargadatta

2) Getting More Business, For Free, With Google +

One of the bigger trends in the world of search engines over the last few years is a huge push towards prioritizing local results. In other words many search engines, especially Google, has put a lot of effort into ensuring that those businesses closest to the origin of a search, are given priority in the listing of results.

Google Places and now Google + (called "Google Plus") is one of the major opportunities for any business to garner far more attention in your local market place independent of whether or not you have a website and whether or not your website is highly ranked.

So this is a note to encourage you, if you haven’t already, to take 30 minutes to learn a little about Google+ and how it can help you get more clients, quickly.

For those of you with newer businesses who do not yet have a good website optimized for your ideal clients, a Google+ page can give you a local presence fast. (You can be coming up in searches for your keywords, in your town, within a week or two.)

For those of you that already have a good website and/or are active on other social media, Google+ can greatly increase your social media imprint that translates into more traffic to your site and higher Google Page Rank - which will result in you being able to compete for better keywords, (i.e.- ones with much more traffic/competition) and generally get more business.

The good folks at Gshift labs (one of the SEO advisory/expert groups I follow) just published a free guide to Google+. Just go to G Shift Labs Google Plus Report and look on the right hand side to sign up for the free report.

Once you get your page up, connect with all your contacts. Google allows you to determine who you add to various circles – colleagues, friends, family, etc, - which makes it easy to choose what content you share with which audience.

Once you have your Google + page up, it makes great sense to connect with as many friends, colleagues and potential clients as you can. This will allow you to more widely distribute any content (posts, information, special offers, etc.) you may want to share.

With Google + it is not as easy to add friends/contacts as it is on Facebook. So when you have your G + account set up, you can either upload one of your address books (such as your contacts from Outlook - via the File, Export, Export to File commands - or simply search for people you know, like me, on the Google + search function. Also, another way to build your network on Google + is to look on mutual friends' Google + page and see who they are in contact with. If you recognize anyone, you can invite them to connect with you.

It may take a little time, but it will be well worth the effort. Google +'s influence is predicted to increase dramatically in the coming years.

Also, you can do yourself and your friends a big favor by hitting your Google "+1" button, when you are on their site. The "+1" button is Google's solution to Facebook's "like" feature. The more + 1s you accumulate the better for your site.

3) Some Useful Resources For Everyone

Here are a few resources that may be of interest or use:

Ted Talk Video On The Nature Of Happiness - By Matthieu Ricard, Biochemist turned Buddhist Monk who has been called the Happiest Man on Earth.

Article For Coaches - This is a marketing article I recently wrote for the ICF Newsletter on "What They Didn't Tell You In Coaching School".

Mindfulness Blog - Here is a link to my latest blog posting, for serious mindfulness fans, entitled "Don't Meditate, Be!

4) Don't Starve, Just Because You Want to Help Others! Registration for January's 6 FIGURE PRACTICE MENTOR PROGRAM is now open.

Just because you love to help people, are called to coach and make a difference, doesn't mean you can't earn a decent living.

If you are a coach that is simply not getting the results you want in your practice, I invite you to check out THE 6-FIGURE PRACTICE MENTORING PROGRAM.

This program runs only twice a year. It is about wholehearted success and it is 100% focused on coaches. We work together to help you find a great niche of ideal clients where you feel called to work and are sure you can make a good living. Then we move on to work through branding, positioning, choosing of marketing channels that suit your strengths and setting up or revamping your website and other systems to attract a steady stream of clients.

It is pay as you go and comes with a full satisfaction guarantee. So if it is not a great fit or of tremendous value, you can leave at any time. Feel free to read the course description and testimonials of the happy participants over the years.

If you are sick of struggling away by yourself and this looks like a fit, you can email me at scmitten@shaw.ca to secure a spot.  

Mentor Program Testimonials

"I really love the way you gently helped me move through all my doubts and find a way to market my practice that felt authentic to me. This has been so worth it."

"After 2 years of struggling alone, I took your program and am now profitable, paying all my bills, and I have 4 people to get back to today."

"Thank you, I deeply appreciate working together,
I am getting more value than I ever expected or could hope for."

"This is deeply important. Our conversations truly move me and inspire me to develop a similar depth of compassion and depth of knowledge for my clients."

"Working with Steve literally transformed my coaching practice and took my life to a whole new level."

Visit Steve at Life and Business Coach Steve Mitten.

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* Image courtesy of Evgeni Dinev of FreeDigitalPhotos.net