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Steve's Life And Business Coaching Notes

June 2011

taking off

The photo, (courtesy of freephotobank.com) captures the moment of take off,
which is one of the themes in the newsletter this month.


1) Suffering is Always Optional - Here is a little formula that will help you minimize any of the day to day suffering you may experience in your life, relationship and career.

2) Business Development - Critical Business Takeoff Points - Making the call whether to go for it or cut your losses.

3) Web Marketing - This is part 6 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 August's affordable and proven practice building program for coaches.

1) Suffering Is Always Optional

You can have a perfect life, a perfect career, a great relationship, wonderful friends, lots of money and great health - and chances are you are still doing your share of daily suffering (worry, anxiety, desire, aversion, excessive thinking, etc.). So, what about the other 99.999% of humanity, who have lots of things they would desperately like to change? They definitely have more than their fair share of day to day suffering. This sort of suffering is simply a fact of the human condition.

It's our big neocortical minds. That wonderful evolutionary adaptation that allows us to imagine, solve complex problems and converse, also has a seemingly endless capacity to anticipate the future, worry about unfavorable scenarios, compare and judge whatever is happening as being less than optimal. And the more we resist whatever is happening, the more we suffer.

Every life has its share of genuine pain, both physical and emotional. This is mandatory. However, when we resist, pout, deny, try to flee or just generally rail against whatever we deem to be unpleasant, we are adding suffering to the pain. And the suffering is completely optional.

Here is a simple formula to remember:

Suffering = Change x Resistance

(The suffering you experience is equal to whatever resistance you give to the changes you experience in your life.)

If you accept whatever comes as simply being a fact (not some universal plot to make your life miserable) you stop the suffering. From that small act of sanity, you can then respond, create and begin to act in whatever way you choose and your energy will be focused on the reality of your situation, not the fantasy of how you would prefer it to be.

It may not be easy, but it is that simple. Drop your resistance and the suffering vanishes.

You might ask, "Yes, makes sense, but how do I drop my resistance?"

This is a very important question. You can actually make some small measure of progress by having your thinking mind convince itself to stop complaining and resisting life. But really, that is like asking a fish to stop swimming. It's what it does, so it is not going to stop for long. You might as well just accept that you will never get the thinking mind to be happy for long, no matter how much discipline or positive psychology you employ.

The deeper teaching here is to cultivate your sense of identity with the witnessing part of your awareness that is noticing your mind's highly conditioned tendency to want life to be different than it is. If you can notice a particular behaviour pattern, then clearly that is not who you are. It may be a part of you. It may be a part you have long collapsed your identity into. However, if you notice it, then obviously there is a behaviour and something witnessing it. Get curious about exploring and remaining as the witnessing part of your awareness. (Which in its purest form does not judge and has no intention, attachment or personal agenda.)

Once you stop feeding behaviours with identity, you essentially surrender the need to act on every thought or emotion. You can get good at trusting that every situation will come and go on its own accord. Many behaviours begin to fade away or simply loose their traction on you. You remain more open, creative, resourceful and spontaneously able to respond appropriately to every eventuality in life.

Sometimes simple truths are the most powerful.

“In every life there is some trouble,
but when you worry you make it double.
Don't worry. Be happy."

- Bobby McFerrin

2) Business Development - Takeoff Points

Starting your own business can be a lot like a plane on a runway. You have chosen your course. You have done careful preparation taking on all the fuel and supplies you think you will need. You may have even fastened your seat belt in anticipation for a bumpy ride. And there you sit at the start of the runway. (Ready to commit to do what it takes to start your own business.)

With engines blaring you start to move down the runway. You notice you are moving quite slowly at first but the speed is increasing. It's exciting. (This is the early stage in your business building where you are full of hope and expectation but you haven't really accomplished anything yet.)

Halfway down the runway, engines still roaring, you notice things are speeding up, there is a lot of activity but you haven't gained any altitude. (This is the stage of your business when you have been quite active running around telling people of your business and even though it has not translated into much business yet, you remain hopeful.)

Three quarters of the way down the runway, you have expended a ton of energy, the engines on the plane continue to roar, you are moving faster than ever, and yet, you have still not gained one inch of altitude. (This is the stage in your business building when you may start to wonder, "Am I ever going to make it? Am I cut out to be in business for myself? I have put a huge amount of time and energy into this so far. I am really running around doing everything I can think of but I still have no clients. Maybe this is a really bad idea.")

While the particulars of this experience are as diverse as the individuals involved, this is an incredibly common and problematic moment in your journey into the entrepreneurial atmosphere. In truth, there are some planes (business ideas, professionals and would be business owners) who despite all their best efforts will never get off the ground, this time. If this is you, the kindest thing that can happen is for someone to point out that it doesn't look like you are going to make it this time. (So you can cut your losses, learn your lessons, adjust your plans, build up new reserves and try again later.)

However, even for the really well-prepared, high potential, future business owners who have done everything right, this is a critical moment in their takeoff. Because if you falter, if you do not fully commit to going the extra mile, putting in the last bit of energy, finding the way past your mounting anxiety - you will not get off the ground.

Making this critical call, whether to cut the engines and lean on the brakes before you crash and burn or keep your engines blaring and go for broke - is never easy. It is not a decision you ever want to make rashly or simply on your emotions. (Because everyone is scared at this point and if you let your fear make the decision, you will never get off the ground. And if you let blind ambition make the call, you may be risking far too much.)

Pilots call this point on a runway V1, the agonizing point after which you are fully committed to take off because you don't have enough runway to safely slow down. In launching your business, this point when you are three-quarters of the way down your launching runway is definitely the time to check your fuel (how much reserves do you have left), check your speed (what you have learned to date, what is working for you so far, does it look like you are going to make it, etc.). Most importantly, it is a critical time to check in with another experienced co-pilot (fellow business owner, entrepreneur, business coach, etc.) who has been down this runway many, many times before and can help you make a great call.

As someone who has worked with hundreds and hundreds of people trying to get ventures off the ground, it is exceedingly hard when a client has to put the brakes on a dream they have. However, if they do it right, they will survive to try again another day and they will be much wiser. (Most successful entrepreneurs have many failure-to-launch stories. Wisdom comes from experience and experience in business is just another word for many past mistakes.)

However, the biggest sadness I encounter is when I see someone who definitely has what it takes, who has done enough of the right things and who you just know can succeed - give up on their dream, just because they ran out of faith. (Usually right before they are about to take flight.)

It is only in the last little bit of the runway that you get enough wind under your wings to begin to gain appreciable altitude. And once you are off the ground, the sky is the limit.

Bottom line is, getting a business off the ground is rarely easy. It will usually test everything you have. You don't want to give up prematurely and you also don't want to ride a losing venture right into the ground.

Don't try to be a proud, lonely hero. Reach out and learn from a few others who have come down this runway before. (They are all around you and are usually happy to help.)

Asking for help does not mean we are weak or incompetent.
It usually indicates an advanced level of honesty and intelligence."

- Anne Wilson Schaef

3) Web Marketing Basics Part 6

The final topic in this series on Web Marketing Basics is how to increase your webpage popularity. You may have a great site, optimized to your ideal clients but if Google and the rest of the search engines do not deem it valuable, you will remain back on page 3 of the results for any keyword search, virtually invisible.

So, how do you let the search engines know you have a valuable site? You have to actually become a valuable site that lots of people are interested in.

How do you do that? You create and maintain content that draws people to your site, and gets people to link to your site. Here, "link" means that they have an active hyperlink (say www.yoursite.com), from their website, blog, forum, Facebook page, etc., to your homepage.

In other words, the main factor Google uses to determine the importance of your site, is how many other sites think you are valuable enough to have a link pointing back to you. The key is to maximize the number of one-way (incoming) links from other related sites that are themselves highly rated by Google.

Now, the way you can determine the popularity of a site is through the use of the Google Page Rank Tool. (This is fully described back in the October 2010 Newsletter.)

Your goal with your website is to get a higher page rank than your competition for the keywords or search phrases your ideal clients are typing into Google. So that means you need to have more incoming links, from other relevant and highly ranked sites, than your competition.

Just trading links with your friends (reciprocal links) will no longer help you. You want one-way links from good sites. And if you can get links from a diversity of sites it is even better. (I.E. - some from static sites, government or education sites, some from blogs, some from forums, some from article sites, and some from social media, etc.)

However, you need to know that many sources of potential links are not worth the effort, as their links might not be permanent or followed by Google. (I.E. - most comments placed on other's blog sites are not followed by the search engines and many of the thousands of Internet directories put together by lazy link-builders are virtually useless and may actually hurt your rankings.)

Many serious web marketers seek to build good quality links by putting time in each month to generously share their content and thus get their sites listed on; well-known legitimate directories, various blogs, forums, social media sites including Google +, and by getting articles (with your signature box and link) up on article sites. It takes time, but is worth it.   Here is a good online article to help guide you in this.  

If you are interested in doing this work well, I also encourage you to read this article and become familiar with Google's guidelines.

Once you have a site focused on your niche, optimized for the keywords they type into Google, where you engage and educate your visitors through the offer of a free and compelling article on something relevant to their biggest needs and you have raised your page rank high enough so you are coming up in the top 5 results for your keywords - you will have built a very, very successful client attraction platform.

These days, pretty much every serious business has a website. It is definitely worth the effort to do it once, really well. It could make the difference between a business that struggles and one that has a steady supply of ideal clients.

“As equality increases,
so does the number of people struggling for predominance."

- Mason Cooley

4) Practice Building On A Budget - The next Mentor Program is coming around again.

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

This program is designed to teach you all you need to know to find a niche, establish your brand, set up your marketing systems and generally 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 the very happy participants over the years. If you are interested, you can 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."

"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."

"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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