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Steve's Life And Business Coaching Notes - January 2011


Hummer

This little guy is an Anna's hummingbird that, rather than migrating to the warmer winter climes of Mexico, has decided to winter here near Vancouver. With a heartbeat of over 1200 times a minute,wings that beat at over 60 times a second and an ability to go into a nightly torpor to conserve energy in their tiny little bodies, these guys amaze me. They are truly one of life's ordinary little miracles.


CONTENTS

1) A New Year’s Challenge - For Better Health, More Joy, More Success And Way Less Stress and Struggle.

2) Making Use of YouTube - It's massive, it's fun, it's free and it can bring you lots of clients. Let's talk about using YouTube for your business.

3) Business Development - This is part 4 in a series of articles to help you get dramatically more business from your web site.

4) Practice Building With Heart - Registration is open for January's affordable and proven practice building program.


1) A New Year’s Challenge - for Better Health, More Joy, More Success And Way Less Stress and Struggle.

It’s a new year and as is common at these moments, I have a challenge for you.  In the last few newsletters I have been sharing thoughts and strategies to help you better deal with your everyday mind.  Why?  Because everyone has a mind, and almost everyone thinks too much.  What is thinking too much?  I suspect you know. All humans are blessed with this enormous neo-cortical brain which can develop language, invent the Internet and unravel the secrets of the human genome.  It can also obsess on any variety of everyday nonsense, fearful future possibilities, past disappointments or exaggerated or critical assessments of you and your lot in life. 

Gratuitous thinking can suck the joy out of life.  It can make you miserable. It is also an often quoted statistic that the American Medical Association estimates that 70-90% of all disease related illness is caused by stress.  (Stress raises blood pressure, suppresses the immune system and generally accelerates aging.)  And most stress is produced by the mind’s efforts to remedy the difference between how things really are, and how the mind wants them to be. 

So about the challenge.  If you persist and succeed, I guarantee it will completely revolutionize your life and lead to far more joy, health and success than I suspect you can now imagine.

Here it is:  Find out what allows you to calm your mind, without going to sleep.

Seems simple enough doesn’t it?

Well check it out. See what helps you calm your mind whenever you want. And if like the other 6.8 billion people out there, you find it's not so easy to routinely calm your mind and prevent it from its daily flights of fancy, here are a few suggestions to try out:

  1. When your mind is raging away with some perceived threat, the primary line of defense is to explore exactly who is affected by this problem.  In other words, who is the “I” that is actually going to be hurt?  Is it your body that is directly affected by this threat?  Is it your mind?  When exploring who exactly is impacted by the threat do not settle with a rushed assumption of it's just “me”.  Dig deeper and be suspicious of any definition of self that is changeable. For example, if you sense the threat affects your mind, look deeper into what exactly is your mind. Is the physical brain really threatened? Or do you find that what you call your mind is just your current thoughts, memories, sensations and perceptions, which are constantly changing anyway. Will what is perceived as a threat today probably be gone by tomorrow. (Do you really remember what you were worrying about 3 crises ago? How about 2 crises ago? Those crises passed, won't this one too? )

    This process of self inquiry is a very old and powerful strategy that was shared with the western world by teachers such as 20th century Indian sage Ramana Maharshi.  It works. And if you utilize this approach to calm your mind, you may find that your definition of “I” is revised. You may find that there is a foundational “I” in you whose well being is independent of circumstances. If you can follow your inquiry to a stage where you connect with the pure witnessing I, (not the I that plans or hopes for a particular outcome) your capacity to overcome life’s challenges will hugely improve, along with everything else.
  2. If this type of inquiry is difficult for you, another strategy is to simply accept or surrender to what is currently a fact.  Surrendering gets a bad rap in our "take no prisoners", "never give up" culture. However, in this context, surrender simply means letting go of the ego (and its constant desire to struggle against reality) and fully accepting what is true right now. (Which is actually a powerful act of sanity.) This does not mean you remain passive without action or intention.  Rather it simply points to the truth that when you stop trying to mentally resist what has already happened, you liberate a lot of energy to create new solutions (actions and plans) from then and there.  For example, simply fully accepting that your mind is very busy right now, can by itself begin to transmute the mental noise into a greater sense of peace. And once you are truly present, you can make much better plans to adjust your activities to experience even more peace tomorrow.
  3. The final strategy I will share to help you calm your mind is simply that if all else fails, seek to remain as quiet as possible. Stillness and quiet can help calm the strongest of mental storms.

Try these strategies. Find out what works best for you. For those interested, you will find additional information on other popular strategies in previous newsletters, (see the August and April 2010 editions) including detailed instructions on how to calm your mind by watching your breath, (in the January 2010 edition) which you can view here.  

In all this work, remember you are looking for progress rather than perfection. Keep exploring until you find a few strategies that work for you, most of the time. I say most of the time, because very, very few of us ever get to a stage were we can manage our mind all the time. However, with even modest attention, I believe you will find that all thoughts, all emotions, all crises will come and go. The better you get at identifying with the part of you that knows this, the fewer struggles you will encounter in 2011 and the more joy, success and freedom you will experience.


“Since resistance is inseparable from the mind, relinquishment of resistance - surrender - is the end of the mind as your master, the imposter pretending to be "you," the false god. All judgment and all negativity dissolve. The realm of Being, which had been obscured by the mind, then opens up. Suddenly, a great stillness arises within you, an unfathomable sense of peace. And within that peace, there is great joy. And within that joy, there is love. And at the innermost core, there is the sacred, the immeasurable,
that which cannot be named.”

- Eckhart Tolle


2) Business Development - Making Use of YouTube

If you have a business to promote, you may be somewhat overwhelmed at the plethora of new online opportunities to get your message out.  These days you can promote your business around the world without ever leaving your house.
One of the most potentially powerful new avenues for online business promotion is YouTube.  It is now very easy to create and share your own videos and the audience is massive. There are now more than 1 billion views of YouTube videos each day!

One of the great things about YouTube is that it has a simple process to designate your content and identify your keywords. That makes it easier for you make sure your message gets noticed by your ideal clients, particularly since Google now routinely matches search phrases to relevant YouTube videos. (In other words, Google is beginning to show relevant YouTube videos within the various search results for keyword phrases.)

Producing your own video is simpler than ever.  It doesn’t take forever and you don’t have to be a computer nerd.  The average Joe or Jane can now produce videos that reach a lot of eyeballs and get your message out there. And if a picture is worth a thousand words, a good video is worth 100 thousand words, as it gives your clients a very easy way to get a feel for you and your service.

To explore these possibilities, I recently shot two videos. The camcorder cost me $200. Reading a few online articles on shooting simple videos and lighting basics took 30 minutes. Putting my thoughts together took a couple of hours. It took a few dry runs to get the lighting right and arrive at a decent take.  Editing, inserting graphics and exporting the videos took about an hour on the Window’s Live Movie Maker that came with my laptop. All told, it was pretty darn easy and quick.

I invite you to think about what you would like to share with the world. And if you are interested, you can view my humble submissions here.

Here is one video on the process of making important changes. (Good to review at this time of year.)

Here is another one on becoming a successful coach.


3) Business Development - Web Marketing Basics Part 4

If you have been following this series of articles on web marketing, you will remember that to date we have discussed finding the keywords that will give you the most traffic, determining which of them will allow you to show up in the top 5 results and learning where to place the keywords on your homepage so Google knows what you are about. In this segment, I would like to start to talk about writing your homepage, so you make the most of all the visitors you attract.

The first thing to keep in mind, is that on your homepage you need to speak 3 different languages. You definitely need to speak the language of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) because if you don’t Google will not know what to make of your site and no one will find you. (This we covered in the last edition.)

You also need to speak the language of the thinking or neo-cortical mind, as every one of your visitors will have a conscious or unconscious checklist of things they will need to see there to qualify you as someone they are interested in.

And you will also need to speak the language of the feeling or limbic mind because, all things being equal, it is the feeling potential clients have about you and your site that will play the dominant role in determining whether they take the next step.  (In other words, you may be as qualified as possible, but if by the end of the page your visitors don’t have a good “feeling” for who you are and what you are doing – you will not get their business.)

So, with this in mind, think for a moment how your potential clients find information online. Put yourself in their shoes. Let’s say you are unhappy at work and you want to change jobs. You might go to Google and type in any number of key words, such as: how to change jobs, making a good career transition, finding a dream job, career coach, etc.

Pretty quickly you are absolutely overwhelmed by the amount of information available. Many sites are too wordy or too irrelevant or focused on some topic that is not of direct interest. You simply do not have time to read it all. So you end up doing a lot of very quick browsing. Most people click on a site and just by the appearance, and what they can instantaneously discern from the headings, make a decision to stay and read a little more or move on.

It is a very important point to keep in mind that your first job is to capture your visitor's attention and reassure them they are on the right site.  So the first thing you need to create in your site is a general appearance (overall feel, pictures and especially headings) that connect with and speak to the interests of your ideal client. You want your potential client to be able to instantly recognize, “Oh, here’s a site I’m interested in”.

Some of the biggest mistakes are having too much text, too few headings, too few interesting pictures, too many choices - and the biggest mistake of all - talking about themselves, not the prospect and their interests. Most online viewers are there to gain information, long before they buy anything. They are interested in what is important to them. They do not want to know all about you, until they determine that you have something they are interested in.
 
In addition to having a pleasing, professional looking site, with attractive colors and graphics, you need to write headlines that capture your prospect’s attention.

In the case of our imaginary job searcher, it might be something like:

LOOKING TO FIND A GREAT JOB?
or
TIRED OF JOBS THAT DON’T GET YOU ANYWHERE?
or
LOOKING FOR A CAREER, NOT JUST ANOTHER JOB?

You get the idea, write an attention getting headline that speaks to the main interests of your ideal client and don’t forget you also want your keywords in your headings.

Once we have persuaded your potential clients to pause on your page, (rather than the other dozen pages they have scanned) we have a few more seconds to convince them to slow down and read some more. As people skim before they read, we need to capture their attention through bulleted points or short clear text that can be scanned quickly.

Let’s keep building on our fictitious job coach site for an imaginary job coach we will call Jim Smith. In our main heading at the top of the page we might choose a heading that looks like:

Job Coach Jim Smith MCC
Career Coaching Individuals To Find Their Dream Job and Make Successful Career Changes.

In this text, note we started with our main keyword, “Job Coach”, then had a sub heading with a few other secondary keywords that also works to catch the interest of our ideal client.

Then as we move on to our main text we might briefly welcome our visitors and introduce Jim as a great choice for a Job Coach. (Note we want to use our main keyword again, and position Jim as a qualified expert.)  Perhaps it might read as:

"Welcome. Are you frustrated at work and looking for a great job or career path that you really love? My name is Coach Jim Smith MCC and I am a professional, certified Job Coach. I’ve coached hundreds of successful individuals to:

• Find their strengths and identify jobs they’d be great at.

• Write resumes that get them hired and paid what they’re worth.

• Smoothly transition from jobs that drain them, to careers they love….. etc."

By now the reader, if they are an ideal client, will know this page is written for them, and will most likely decide to learn more about Jim, his process, and what is involved in finding a great job. In other words, they have granted you a little more time to tell them more about what they are interested in.

Typically, in writing a compelling home page, you would then give the reader a little information about what is involved in finding a great job. Perhaps you would talk about some of the challenges. Perhaps you would have a link to a story of how another client managed to leave a dead-end job and find a dream career (people learn more from stories they can relate to.)

Typically you want to give them a chance to learn a little more about you, because they need to have an answer to the question, “Why should I choose this person?” In this example we might write a paragraph about Jim, some of his accomplishments and what qualifies him as a trusted expert. (It is important that they get a feel for who you are as a person.) Then we might offer a link to a separate page for those who really want to learn about Jim’s background and training in depth.

Pay careful attention to the layout, colors and feel of the page. Choose graphics that are pleasing and reinforce the image your ideal clients would expect to see of a professional in this area. Design the overall impression of your page so it stands up well against the competitors each prospect might compare you with. (Since you have already checked out all the competition, while you were choosing your keywords, you will have a feel for how you want to position yourself.)

Remember that your job is to carefully build mental and emotional bonds of trust, credibility and a desire to act, with your visitors. The more welcoming and personal you can make your page, (for coaches and consultants it is worthwhile to include a picture of yourself, because real people are far easier to trust than anonymous companies) the greater the rapport you build.

We will talk more about the homepage, and learn how to move interest into action, in our next newsletter.


“Here are the three questions you must answer about every single page you build:

1. Who’s here?
2. What do you want them to do?
3. How can you instantly tell a persuasive story to get them to do #2?

- Seth Godin


4) Transformational Practice Building On A Budget - The Next Mentor Program is here

If you love coaching, and are not getting the results you want with your marketing, please note that registration is now open for January's edition of THE 6-FIGURE PRACTICE MENTORING PROGRAM . This program will help you find a path with heart to a very successful coaching practice.

This proven program will teach you all you need to know to find a niche and build a great practice and it will support you long enough to actually put what you learn into action. Please read the course description and testimonials of happy participants over the years. If you are interested, please email me at scmitten@shaw.ca to secure your spot. 


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

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

"I wanted to make sure I wrote to thank you, as you have been pivotal in helping me focus...... which has opened a world of opportunity. Thank you very much for your wise counsel and masterful coaching."

"It is only month 3 and I have gone from 4 to 13 clients."

"Found my niche, established my brand, optimized my website,
and now I actually attract all the ideal clients I can coach!
This program exceeded all my expectations."

"This is truly a transformational experience...thank you."

"Never been busier."

"I have experienced more success than I thought possible." 


Visit Steve at Life and Business Coach Steve Mitten.


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