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Steve's Life And Business Coaching Notes - March 2011


These little snowdrops are the first signs of spring in the garden.
This year they were up and large as life by mid-January.


1) 7 Common Myths on the Road to Enlightenment - For all the seekers out there strugging away on the path to higher awareness.

2) Business Development - This is part 5 in a series of articles to help you get dramatically more business from your web site. This month we talk more about composing your homepage.

3) Practice Building With Heart - Registration is open for this summer's affordable and proven practice building program.

1) 7 Common Myths on the Road to Enlightenment

Many people come to coaching to make very practical changes in their lives, careers or businesses that will lead to greater success and general well being.

A smaller percentage of people come to coaching at a stage in their journey where they have overcome certain challenges or achieved various milestones and find themselves wanting to explore questions like; “Is this really all there is? ” Sometimes they simply intuit that, “There must be more to life than this.” Another presentation of this energy is as a strong calling to seek their own path to a greater experience of “truth”, “reality”, “presence”, “God”, “freedom”, “enlightenment”, “awakening”, or “the Self”. (Someone on this type of journey is often called a “seeker”.) Such a line of inquiry can be termed spiritual, as it lies beyond conventional, tangible or material concerns.

Often, as soon as someone introduces the “s” word in a conversation, some people head for the exits. This is perfectly understandable. Spirituality is a much abused, maligned and confusing topic with lots of baggage. Almost everyone has been alienated by some dogmatic, specious or otherwise inappropriate set of beliefs being thrust on them. So if this is your response, I understand and wish you a very nice day.

However any serious exploration into higher levels of happiness and well being must surely lead beyond the offerings of the material world. And as someone with a rather serious, sometimes sceptical, logical, and yet open stance - who has spent 30 years studying the “s” topic - I encourage you not to throw out the baby with the bathwater. I say this because I have been down this road. Found dozens of dead ends, met countless charlatans and encountered my share of nuts.  However along the way I have had big holes shot in what I thought was an unassailable scientific view of reality, and been profoundly inspired from the core teachings and perennial wisdom that underlie some of the world’s great spiritual traditions. I have also benefited from the compassion, direction and practices of a small number of living masters.  

For seekers, it is said that there are many paths, but only one mountain. In practical terms this can be translated to acknowledge that while there are many teachings, practices and perspectives that may prove valuable to individuals seekers, they all lead towards a greater realization, deeper understanding and much higher awareness of what is real.
And on this path to higher awareness, there are some very common and predictable potholes that get in the way. This is what I want to talk about in this article. I would like to share some shortcuts, crib notes and advisories from a spiritual path road warrior.

In serious spiritual circles, offering any sort of prescriptive advice is generally frowned upon. Seekers are encouraged to find the path or teacher of their choice, immerse themselves in the teaching or practice and stick with it.
The rationale for this is that the egoic mind in us all quests for an answer, plan, map, etc. to higher awareness, so it can preserve its illusionary control of life.  And since the goal of any serious practice involves getting beyond the mind, focusing on shortcuts that aid the mind’s false sense of “figuring it out” might not be a great idea. However, while this advice may have served well in the past, most of today’s seekers have jobs, families and commitments that generally keep them from moving into the monastery or ashram for years at a time to absorb the truth directly from their teacher.  

Besides, millions of people who follow the traditional spiritual advice can literally spend decades grinding away at various practices (prayer, meditation, yoga, etc.) without ever finding what they are looking for or experiencing any lasting peace.  So, millions of seekers remain adrift in a sea of frustration, confusion and false prophets. The search for greater freedom and peace turns into yet another endless and unfulfilling quest, another task or compulsion.

So, at the risk of offending the spiritual police around the world - and in service of supporting the countless good souls out there and the coaches that work with them - here are a few key pointers on the journey towards higher awareness. (Just keep in mind, they are pointers towards truth, not the truth. Any serious seeker needs to get to a point where they can discard all pointers and concepts to recognize there is no proper action but inaction, and that ultimately any path takes you further from home.)

Consider my list of the 7 Common Myths of Awakening.

  1. There is a belief that once you experience any sort of awakening experience, and taste the peace, joy, love and spaciousness of the Self, that you should be able to stay there permanently.  - This is simply not the case for 99.9999% of seekers. It is simply not how it works for most people. Even the Buddha, Christ and the sages of all times had their share of bad days or very human behaviour. Full enlightenment is ridiculously rare, but radically more peace, contentment and freedom is widely achievable.

  2. There is a belief that once you awaken to your true Self, all mental noise and all habitual thought patterns of the mind will stop. – Not true. Every human thinks. The Awakened just do not take thoughts as seriously as everyone else. They don’t get high-jacked by thoughts or emotions for long.  They certainly do not identify, resist or run from them.

  3. There is a belief that unless you experience some atomic, burning bush, kundalini exploding, blue or white light flooding, out of body, samadi event, you cannot realize the Self. - These events are exceedingly rare, and largely up to Grace. (Although anybody with a serious yoga or meditation practice can start to experience some pretty weird stuff.) Any and all of these experiences come and go.  Most seekers experience a slower cooking fire of rising awareness, that over a period of a few years burns off what is not needed.

  4. There is a belief that you have to kill off the ego to be free of it. - The ego is just another aspect of any human being. It comes and goes and is diminished over time if not acted on, resisted or identified with.  Focusing too much energy on killing off one aspect of yourself simply lengthens its lease on life.

  5. There is a belief that you will wake up one day and the mind will say, “there is no more work or seeking to be done.”  - It is the full time job of the thinking mind to find projects to secure your apparently precarious place and power in the world. And this too is observed by awareness.

  6. There is a belief that should I pursue higher awareness I will lose interest in everything I love in the world (job, family, etc.) dramatically change my personality and be really different and boring. - The first part of this is simply rarely true. Few successful seekers abandon their family and go to live in seclusion somewhere, although many have been known to begin to make personal and professional choices that are in greater alignment with their new perspective. As to the concern of being boring, what makes you think you are so darn exciting now? The reality is that an individual’s personality remains after awakening. If you were a cranky morning person to begin with, you will still be one down the road. You will just not get stuck there as long or take it all so seriously.

  7. There is a belief that if I just find the right/next teacher, practice or path, if I just read another book or take another course, I will get the final knowledge I need and become completely “enlightened”. - It is said that the “you” that starts this journey will not be the one who finishes it. In other words radically higher awareness is not just another technical challenge to be conquered. The “you” that is so strongly seeking awakening, will never actually experience it. However, when it exhausts itself, surrenders, or is hit by Grace, there is an opportunity for the reality of the Self to be recognized. (It is always there, and is always surprisingly simple.)

If you are called to explore the higher regions of awareness I would encourage you to find a daily practice that quiets your mind and opens your heart. Just be prepared to surrender both your concepts and practice a little further down the road. I would also encourage you to find a path, tradition or teacher that really resonates with you. You need to overcome your current limiting beliefs and learn enough knowledge to easily discern the unreal and temporal, from the real and eternal. With a quieter mind and an orienting context, it is much easier to live from your heart.    

Keep in mind that one of the surest signs of spiritual progress is a lack of concern about spiritual progress. You don’t want to fall in love with spirituality rather, fall in love with truth.

“ What we are looking for is what is looking."

- St. Francis

2)  Business Development - Web Marketing Basics Part 5

In our last installment we talked about some of the considerations involved in getting our ideal prospects to stop on the home page of our website and want to learn more about us.

If we have done our job well, we have directed their attention down a logical sequence of conversation where we might have talked about some of their common challenges, who we are and why we are a great choice, what we can help them achieve and how it might work, etc.   And along the margins of our home page we might also include testimonials of happy clients and perhaps logos that speak to our credentials or expertise. (As new prospects may not know you from Adam, third party validation matters a lot.)

Assuming the prospect has made it this far, many of them will be ready for a next step. However, do not assume that the next step will be picking up the phone and hiring you. The vast majority of the visitors on our sites are going to be here for the first time, just gathering information, just sizing up what the options there are.  They are not ready to make a decision on hiring you yet. So if you push them to call you, you are going to be disappointed 99% of the time and lose the chance to further the relationship. It is far better to offer them something they can say yes to.

Ten years ago, this was accomplished by offering them a newsletter. Five years ago, this might have been accomplished by offering them to subscribe to your blog. However since everyone and their dog offers newsletters and blogs – and nobody has enough time to read all the newsletters they would like to read, this no longer works well.

Today, it is far more effective to offer a compelling free report or e-course on some topic your audience will be genuinely interested in. If you have done your homework researching your niche, you probably have some good ideas of what their most persistent problems are. Thus it should not take you too long to condense your solutions/advice/wisdom/shortcuts into a short article something like “The 5 Key Lessons for (fill in the blank with your niche.)”  The goal of the article is to further educate your client on the key issue they face, further raise your credibility as a solution provider, further make them aware that there are certain changes they cannot make easily on their own, further give them a feel for who you are as a person.

You want to make the report relevant and compelling, so most of your visitors will really want to read it. Because when they click on the link to get the free report, you also offer them a complimentary subscription to your newsletter.
The reality is that 99% of the people that read your free report will still not be ready to call you. However, a month later when they get an email with your newsletter they will remember you. And if in your newsletter you share some short useful tidbit of knowledge on something relevant to them (their life, career, business, etc.) your relationship will be strengthened.  And once they have had another 3 to 6 newsletters from you, (and assuming your content is always useful and relevant to them) you will have moved from someone they never heard of, to someone they know, trust and appreciate.

That is when you really begin to harvest the fruits from your website. If you have done your keyword work well, every month you should have thousands of new visitors on your site. If you have done your homepage work well, hundreds and hundreds of them should be getting your free report and joining your newsletter list.  And months down the road every time you send out another newsletter to thousands of your subscribers, many of them are going to finally be ready to hire you.

“Be conscious of yourself, watch your mind, give it your full attention. Don’t look for quick results; there may be none within your noticing. Unknown to you, your psyche will undergo a change; there will be more clarity in your thinking, charity in your feeling, purity in your behavior. You need not aim at these — you will witness the change all the same. For, what you are now is the result of inattention and what you become will be the fruit of attention."

- Nisargadatta Maharaj

3) 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 this summer'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.

"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."

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and now I actually attract all the ideal clients I can coach!
This program exceeded all my expectations."

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

Visit Steve at Life and Business Coach Steve Mitten.

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