Got Knocked Down? Afraid to Fail? Here’s the Solution (Video)

Have you ever felt like you just couldn’t get back up?

You failed.  Or you’re afraid you’re about to fail.

I’ve had those moments through out my life… some more recently that I’d like to admit.

From the honest conversations I’ve had lately with friends who are entrepreneurs, I know I’m not alone.

And yesterday this interview landed in my inbox.  Derek Halpern of Social Triggers (if you aren’t reading his blog yet, subscribe right now) interviewed Tim Ferris about suicide, fear of failure, and the secret to success.   And I’ve got a whole new level of respect for these two guys for their honesty and openness.

Entrepreneurialism is a roller coaster…

First and foremost, a start-up puts you on an emotional rollercoaster unlike anything you have ever experienced. You flip rapidly from day-to-day – one where you are euphorically convinced you are going to own the world, to a day in which doom seems only weeks away and you feel completely ruined, and back again. Over and over and over. And I’m talking about what happens to stable entrepreneurs. There is so much uncertainty and so much risk around practically everything you are doing. The level of stress that you’re under generally will magnify things incredible highs and unbelievable lows at whiplash speed and huge magnitude. Sound like fun?
Marc Andreessen, co-founder of Netscape

As I listened to the podcast interview, I browsed through Tim’s blog where I found the quote above and this video in a post called “The Prescription for Self-Doubt.”

Click play.  It’s 5 minutes long and you won’t regret it.

She Called Me a Liar and Said I’d Never Succeed

I did something I probably shouldn’t have this morning.

I’d not yet had my morning coffee, I was a wee bit cranky, and I was in conversation with a lovely person who shared a bad experience she’d had with a coach that was affecting her still.  But I’d heard the SAME heart-breaking story from so many others.

So I ranted on Facebook, which I almost never do.

FacebookRant

You can see the firestorm I ignited in the comments on my personal profile at http://facebook.com/michelleshaeffer (I made this post public so you can read it even if we aren’t connected as friends yet). 

There’s some great insight and discussion from people I truly admire and who are the good guys in the coaching world so I encourage you to check it out.  I didn’t want to copy over their comments without permission but it restored my momentarily shaken faith.

Here’s the thing:  I understand selling.  I get the process.  I get that you’ve got to dig into and identify the blocks and challenges that are holding clients back–that’s GREAT, because once we identify it, we know what we’ve got to fix.  But digging into that and then telling them they’re going to fail is not okay.  It’s  not.

So here’s the rest of the story and why I’m so emotional about this.

An Open Letter to Business Coaches…

Big foot of crisis crushes small entrepreneurTo the one who told me I’d fail… the ones who’ve told my (successful, amazing, talented, beautiful) friends they’ll fail… all because you wanted to pressure us into working with you…

To the coaches who feel a little uncomfortable with the sales approach you’ve been taught… unsure if it’s really the right way to sell… please consider the story I’m sharing here.  It’s mine and it’s true.

I’ve lost count of how many friends, colleagues, and clients come to me with raw emotions, deep hurt, and self-doubt from what’s essentially the same story.  I’m tired of it.  I’m tired of seeing people crushed.  Please stop it.

So here it is:

Do you remember that day?  Probably not.  Like so many coaches out there, I was just another name and number on your list who might agree to work with you and hand over thousands of dollars.

But I remember that day, and that conversation–vividly–even though it was years ago.

You offered “no pitch” strategy sessions claiming you weren’t going to sell on the calls.  I knew it was to enroll into your mastermind program though and I was okay with that.  I wanted to work with you and planned to sign up.  But the sneaky positioning should probably have tipped me off that we wouldn’t be a great fit…

The program you offered was out of my budget, and I wasn’t sure we were the right fit to work together, either.  But when I declined and explained why, you told me I had to put it on a credit card if I really wanted to reach the goals I’d shared with you.  Not an option since I hadn’t owned a credit card in years.

You called me a liar, said that “everyone has credit cards” and that I wasn’t willing to be honest so I’d never succeed in business.

Then you told me that my lack of commitment to my dreams meant that I would continue to fail and the only thing that would change it was making the decision right then to give you my credit card number and work with you.

Did you know I was already quietly in tears?  Or that after I hung up the phone my children gathered around me with hugs and wanted to know what was wrong with Mommy?

I reached out to you because I respected you and wanted to learn from you.  I even knew enough to do my homework and find out what types of programs you’d offered in the past and their price ranges.  I was ready to invest in what I thought would be required–and it would have been cash straight from my bank account because I’m not the only one in this world who got out of the credit card craziness.  I didn’t know you’d decided to more than quadruple your prices.

For weeks after our call I felt like a complete failure.  I didn’t know what to do except give up.  And I almost did. 

I was afraid to reach out to any other coaches or mentors for help, afraid they’d see what you saw in me–that I was nothing but a failure.  I thought that no one would ever have faith in me or believe I could succeed.

Is that what you meant to create from our conversation?  I hope not.  Maybe you were just having a bad day.

Should one person’s opinion of me have mattered that much?  No.  And that’s not your fault.  It’s where I was at.

Please remember when someone reaches out to you for help, you see them at their lowest, you see their challenges, they’re looking for a safe space to fall apart in and help putting the pieces back together.

I hope that you just didn’t realize the affect your words had.  Maybe you were trying to follow a script, a badly written sales script, that someone told you would sell.  That you were trying to “handle” my “objections” the right way to close.

Please, please don’t ever do that to anyone else.  It didn’t work.  And it crushed me.

[pullquote]Years later, I may not be what YOU would consider a success.  But you were wrong about me.[/pullquote]  I have a business I love.  I’m excited about what I do, the clients I work with, and that I can be of service to those around me.

And between you and me, I don’t care what you think anymore.  Because you lost my respect the minute you called me a liar and told me I’d never succeed.

Don’t tell me what I can’t do or that there’s only one possible way to succeed.  In 20 minutes on the phone, all you got was a snapshot of where I was at for that moment in life.  To say I won’t ever succeed based on that is a lie.

So to all the coaches out there…

When you challenge a potential client to step up and work with you… please be gentle… please hold a safe space of honesty but tread lightly… and I beg you, don’t tell anyone they’ll fail if they don’t choose to hire you at that vulnerable moment.

Remember they’ve come to you for help and your words hold great weight.  Whether they decide to work with you or not, you can set off a chain reaction that either helps the world by encouraging them to share their unique gifts, or one that causes them to stumble and fall, and for weeks, months or longer causes them to question if you were really right about them, if they really CAN’T help others and CAN’T build a business that serves others.  Do you really want to do that to the world?

Because it’s about MORE than just you making a sale.  It’s about more than if that potential client chooses to commit to YOU.

Are you one of the coaches who care?

Before you wonder, I adore and respect the coaches I’ve chosen to work with now.  They’ve been absolutely key to my success.  They challenge me and push me way beyond my comfort zone and I love them for it.

But never have they told me I’m a failure or a liar.  Even on the days where I fell apart and really felt like a failure.

They come from a space of truly wanting the best for me, and knowing that they can support me and help me to reach that best.

Thank you to the coaches who sell and coach with integrity.

Have you been hurt?

If you’ve ever been discouraged or hurt by a conversation like the one I’ve shared here, don’t let it stop you.  I promise you, they were wrong about you.  If they said you’d fail, I’m telling you that you will succeed.

Do you want it?  Then forget what they said and make it happen Do whatever it takes.  You CAN do it.

And, find another coach, okay?  There are great ones out there and you’ll find the perfect fit for you.

Why I’m Celebrating Recent Failures

We’re a little over three weeks into the year… and by now many “New Year’s Resolutions” have been abandoned… great plans have been filed right in that round bin labeled “trash”…

But does that mean failure?

Do you think of success and failure as two opposite things?  Two different roads to be traveled like that image on the left?

I used to.

A failure means I’m a failure.  I went the wrong way.  I did the wrong thing.  I made a poor decision.  I’ve got to back waaaaay up and find that path to success.

But I don’t think that way anymore.  Or, I try not to.

Failure happens on the pathway to success.  It’s the same road.  And it’s in the pushing forward through the failures (not giving in, giving up, and going backwards) that we achieve success.

I’ve been working to re-frame failure in my own mind as discovery.  It’s only failure when I give up without having learned something about myself or the process.

Send out an email to your list that gets a dismal open rate?  You didn’t fail.  You just discovered what time/day or subject lines may not work well for your audience.  Try again.  “Fail” better.

Write a blog post that gets zero traction?  It’s not a failure.  It’s an opportunity to learn from it and try something different next time.  I go from a post that gets 50 comments one day to one that gets 0 the next.  Whoops.  It’s feedback.  I’ll work to do better.

Have you tried to write every day as part of the Ultimate Blog Challenge and are discovering it didn’t work out or that you’re a few posts behind?  What’s the lesson?  Could be that you need to discover what will motivate you to write more, or find the tools to make it easier, so you can push through and make it happen and celebrate a huge success.  Or it could be that writing daily isn’t the best plan for you because something else works better or is a bigger priority for you right now.  Either of those discoveries (or the thousand other lessons you could be learning from the process) are valuable!

Knowing yourself and being brutally honest with yourself takes courage–and it takes “discovery” that can come through challenges and failures.

My blog, my business, my life — they’re all works in progress.  Others might look and see failure (or success).  But really it’s just a process of discovery.  Of finding what works and what doesn’t and doing a little better every day.

Last week I learned I could survive something I didn’t think I could.  I wasn’t perfect.  I could have kicked myself for one particular moment.  I’d love to go back and do it again and do better.  A year ago, I would have cried my eyes out afterwards for the failure to be perfect… but I am choosing to celebrate the good parts and learn from the mistakes.  Next time I’ll do better and now I know where I need to improve.  That’s awesome.

Celebrate every success, big or little.  And celebrate the lessons you learn from the less than successful moments, too.

Jump off more cliffs.  Say yes more often.  Know that sometimes you’ll crash and have to get back up and try again.  But you just might soar.  Isn’t it worth the risk?

So me?  I’m celebrating that in recent successes and failures I’m learning more about myself, discovering what works, and that I can step beyond my comfort zone and even when I fail, it’s okay, because I’ve found a soft place to fall where I can be gentle with myself and I can always try again.  And again.

Let’s celebrate together.  What have you learned lately from a success or failure in your blog, business, or life?

Image Credit: borysshevchuk/StockFresh

Did Plan A Fail? Remember This

 

Did Plan A fail?

Go to Plan B.

Did that fail?

Go to Plan C.

For every failure, learn whatever lessons you can and just keep going.

Period.

Don’t worry about Plan A.  There are 25 other letters in the alphabet.

“If you have made mistakes, there is always another chance for you. You may have a fresh start any moment you choose, for this thing we call “failure” is not the falling down, but the staying down.” ~ Mary Pickford

“The majority of men meet with failure because of their lack of persistence in creating new plans to take the place of those which fail.” ~Napoleon Hill

Fall seven times, get up eight.

Image Credit: donatas1205/StockFresh

Weekend Inspiration: Overcome Failure

Photo Credit lyns @ morguefile

Have you ever felt like a failure?  Has someone else told you that you couldn’t make your business successful?

You’re in great company!  Watch the short video below and see who else pushed forward after failure, or was told they wouldn’t succeed.

If you’ve never failed, you’ve never lived.  Accept now that sometimes things won’t go as planned.  See it as an opportunity to change plans when needed and just keep going.  Don’t let failure stop you.

The world needs you.  Whatever talents you’ve got, or whatever you have to share, there’s someone that needs you to be you.  So one step at a time just keep going.  [Read more…]