The Contributor Forum Technology Centre Business Development Personal Development

Identifying Obstacles to Growth

Personal Development Comments Off

“The block of granite which was an obstacle in the pathway of the weak becomes a stepping-stone in the pathway of the strong.” Thomas Carlyle

What factors are holding you back, slowing you down or preventing you from achieving your goals? Almost all progress toward a goal or series of goals comes up against a limiting factor of some kind.

It is crucial to identify these limits or obstacles in order to eliminate them. Progress at the pace you’d like and in the direction of your goals requires the systematic removal of obstacles that undermine advancement.

Identifying the true obstacle to progress takes honest reflection and analysis. Obstacles may be entrenched within organisational structures or culture. Conversely, obstacles may be embedded in our own mind, in the beliefs that you hold and the behaviours that you routinely perform.

By reflecting honestly on the obstacles within your own mind, you become better equipped to focus your energies on removing or eliminating the most appropriate obstacle. This of course is preferable to spending valuable time removing external obstacles that are inconsequential to your progress. 

Personal obstacles consist of any belief, thought or action that may sabotage your progression towards your goals. They may include:

The attitudes you hold about change and progress - Do you think change is a process that is controlled by you or controlled by something external, such as luck or destiny? This is the concept of locus of control.

Locus of control refers to the extent to which a person believes they are in control of their destiny. An individual with an external locus of control attributes change largely to forces outside of themselves such as fate, good fortune or bad luck.

Conversely, those individuals with an internal locus of control are more likely to see change as a function of their own doing. Individuals with an internal locus of control tend to be more comfortable with change and consequently make smoother, more efficient progress.

Self-limiting thoughts - Self-limiting thoughts are ingrained processes of thought that impact on the way in which we appraise, interpret or analyse a given situation or event. Self-limiting thoughts can take many forms, such as:

  • Black and white thinking – The tendency to interpret events in extremes (no shades of grey). This means that anything less than perfect is interpreted negatively and limits our ability to see the positives.
  • Unrealistic expectations – The tendency to pre-empt an event with unrealistic ideas of what should occur. This is a clear sign of setting yourself up for failure.
  • Selective thinking – This is the tendency to hone in on the negative aspects of a situation and ignore any of the positives, leading to an unbalanced perspective.
  • Catastrophizing – Imagining the worst possible outcome. This can discourage action and stall change.

Lack of assertiveness - Assertiveness is the ability to communicate self-assurance to those around you. It involves being direct and clear about what you want without aggression or hostility. An individual lacking assertiveness may miss opportunities and may be taken advantage of by others.

A lack of assertiveness can interfere with the achievement of your goals. If you suspect a lack of assertiveness may be an obstacle to you, it may be useful to focus on assertiveness training and communication techniques to assist you in eliminating this obstacle.

Vague time management - Vague or unfocused time management can impact greatly on the achievement of tasks and can ultimately impact on the quality of your performance. If you find that time slips away from you and meeting deadlines is difficult, you may benefit from focusing on your time-management skills.

It is possible, however to have well-developed time-management skills, but find difficulty prioritising tasks. Sometimes guilt and expectations can distract us from concentrating on our self-focused goals. If this rings true for you, it may be helpful to review the section on self-limiting beliefs.

Next Steps and the Journey Ahead

The Contributor Forum Comments Off

This is Part 9 of the special series “Discover the Work You Were Born to Do“, by author Nick Williams.

By the end of this article, you will have explored:

  • Your next steps on the path to becoming an inspired entrepreneur.
  • The eight stages of progression from employee to inspired entrepreneur.

Taking it from here… we are almost at the end of this series!

I hope you’ve been inspired to some new possibilities for discovering the work you were born to do – and that you’re excited about the idea of creating your own business and becoming an Inspired Entrepreneur. I hope you can also recognise the common obstacles you’re likely to encounter along the way – both within yourself – and those presented by the environment.

I’ve given you a little of the ‘how to’ information you need, but that wasn’t the primary purpose of this programme… If you are serious about moving from being an employee to becoming an inspired entrepreneur, then I have – along with my friend and colleague Niki Hignett – created a range of products and services designed to help you at each stage of your journey.

We know that the best way for you to build your confidence is to start by creating tiny successes and then use them to create momentum. Our advice is always to invest the least amount of time, effort and money into creating the minimal working version of your product or service before taking it into the real world – in other words – action not perfection!

We also know that, just as a rocket burns most of its fuel during the first few moments of flight in order to overcome inertia and the gravitational pull of the earth, so it can be for us when we launch our dreams into the real world. It takes a lot of energy to go from having an idea to manifesting that idea in the real world and earning our first income from it.

But it’s well worth the effort!

So that you can better understand the structure of the journey that’s ahead of you, we’ve described the eight stages of progression from being a 9-5 employee to your new life as a card-carrying Inspired Entrepreneur living the work you were born to do…

Stage 1: A new vision for work and its place in your life. Becoming re-inspired about the whole idea of work. Realise that work is a means via which you can contribute to the world and to spread positivity. Understand the defining the characteristics of the work you were born to do.

Stage 2: Study the nine signposts of the work you were born to do. Become clear about where your heart lies and what will inspire you. Decide the answers for yourself, or get support throughout the process.

Stage 3: Inspire yourself to the possibility of becoming an entrepreneur and being your own boss. Understand that self-employment is one of the greatest vehicles for you to live the work you were born to do.

Stage 4: Design your business and secure your first paying client whilst still employed. Overcome your resistance to promoting yourself and asking for money for your services. Have incontrovertible evidence that you CAN earn money doing work you love, quieten the critical voices of resistance and help silence the naysayers.

Stage 5: Launch your business whilst still employed, and develop your idea to the point were it’s producing a stable and consistent source of cashflow. Become an apprentice, learn your craft, and reduce your dependency on your 9-5 salary.

Stage 6: Scale your fledgling business so that it can fund a period of transition, during which you’ll triumphantly quit your 9-5 job and become a full-time Inspired Entrepreneur. Scale your business to the point were it can deliver a comfortable standard of living.

Stage 7: Grow your business into a successful operation that will enable you to live life on your terms – and create a lifestyle of joy, freedom and abundance.

Stage 8: Become an inspiration to others and help mentor them through the process of starting and growing their own businesses. You can mentor at earlier stages as well: wherever you are, even one step ahead, you can help others on the path behind you.

That brings us to then end of this series! I hope you’ve enjoyed it, and please check our website to find out how we could help you take the next steps on your journey.

About the Author

Through his books, and live talks, workshops, personal coaching and on-line learning programmes, Nick Williams has inspired tens of thousands of people to discover the work they were born to do.

Website: www.nick-williams.com
Blog: http://nickwilliams100.typepad.com

Skills to Cope

Personal Development, Professional Development Comments Off

Counselling Connection, the official Blog of the Australian Institute of Professional Counsellors, is filled with great content to optimise your life.

Their ‘Life Coping Skills’ category showcases skills, techniques, strategies and activities developed by professionals to assist individuals in coping with a range of challenging situations in life.

Such situations include daily stress, changes, loss of a loved one, relationship problems, and much more. Post-series approach each topic with a comprehensive display of information, and some skills and techniques can also be used in coaching sessions to assist clients.

To access some of these post series, visit www.counsellingconnection.com or follow the links below:

Optimising Service Attributes

Business Development Comments Off

You have an invisible business! What you sell is not tangible. You can’t drive it home, wear it, sleep on it or consume it. As a coach you are in the Service Industry. The service industry has many unique attributes that differentiate it from the product industry.

There are both positive and negative differentiators to a service industry. How you optimise the positives and mitigate the negatives impacts on the effectiveness and success of your business. And it impacts dramatically.

This article will provide you with some strategies to optimise your services in order to stand out from your competitors. The strategies will include: information products; establishing your credibility; Post Purchase Reassurance and; low delivery costs.

Information Products

Information products are a very powerful tool. They can be used in many leveraged ways. In the context of this module, information products are one of your best means to build trust, rapport and credibility.

They are one of the best mechanisms to overcome low credibility and high perceived risk in the early stages of your client relationship. They can be used as a very low barrier to entry device to allow clients to ‘test drive’ your service.

In the initial stages of your relationship with your prospect there is a significant Credibility Gap. This the gap that exists between the level of credibility you need to sell your prospects into your higher priced service, and the actual credibility you have with them. Information Products allow you to demonstrate to prospects the value you can provide them.

For example, let’s say your core product is a 6 month, $500 per month ($3,000) 1-to-1 coaching program. This may initially pose a significant barrier to your prospects.

To bridge the Credibility Gap and promote your service, you speak at an Association meeting for your niche (Information Product 1). Due to time constraints, you’re allocated 30-minutes.

Whilst your content may be compelling, it’s most likely the 30-minutes of content will not be enough to bridge the Credibility Gap. But you came prepared.

At the seminar you used a Green Sheet technique (Information Product 2). At a critical point in your speech you channel people’s attention to a green A4 page containing incredibly important information.

You say something like: “If you’d like more information on this, I have a free resource guide that I can send you.” Hold up the green sheet and continue: “If you want a free copy, just write “GS” for “green sheet” on your business card and hand it to me after the presentation.”

When you do this, you’ll be swarmed by prospects eager for more information. In return you capture their names, addresses and emails. By giving more information you bridge the Credibility Gap a little more. And now you have their contacts, you can continue to nurture them (Information Product 3, 4, 5) until your credibility reaches the point they are willing to invest in your higher priced services.

This example is just one of an infinite combination you could use.

Establish Your Credibility

As a service professional it’s crucial you establish your credibility. Most product businesses establish their credibility through their brand. For instance, Nike has immediate credibility. As does Porsche. You know what you’ll get for your money.

These brands have so much credibility it becomes a shortcut to decision making. Their brands have so much credibility that prospects do not need to consciously consider or validate the value of the proposition.

But as a service professional, do you have the same? Anthony Robbins does. Jay Abraham does. As do many others. What are you doing to establish your credibility?

Post Purchase Reassurance

You must have a system in place to reinforce your clients buying decision. Once your client has overcome the mental hurdle to commit to buying your service they are immediately seeking validation of their choice.

In a service business your client has no tangible product to look to as validation. You must therefore nurture them, particularly in the honeymoon stage. This will improve your client relationships, make your client feel positive about their choice, and also improve referral.

Low Delivery Costs

A significant benefit for service businesses is their shorter development timelines, lower development and delivery costs and higher profit margins. If you use these attributes to your advantage you can gain considerable upside advantage.

These features allow you to create multiple services to utilise in your sales process and sales funnel. You can create services with very low perceived risk as incentives into the top of your funnel, then incrementally more valuable services to sell as you demonstrate and increase your credibility. You can offer services as value-adds to your sales proposition in place of discounting.

As you have much greater net margin, your risk of loss on returns is significantly lesser. As such an extremely powerful psychological tool to use as a conversion inducement is a risk-reversal or guarantee.

You remove the risk to your prospect of losing their money but giving them a fully refundable guarantee. In this way, the risk is reversed from your client to yourself.

The 5 Pillars That Support Your Entrepreneurial Spirit

The Contributor Forum Comments Off

This is Part 8 of the special series “Discover the Work You Were Born to Do“, by author Nick Williams.

By the end of this article, you will have explored:

  • The five pillars that support your entrepreneurial spirit.

You may well have been inspired by what you’ve read so far, but one of the most important factors in determining if you’ll succeed is whether you have the support of others for your business ideas.

One of the most misleading myths is that going it alone requires us to do it alone, so it shows great strength to be able to ask others for support!

Trying to create your own business without the support of a wider community will make the whole process much, much harder and less fun for you. Isolation can kill entrepreneurial dreams. So acknowledge your need for support and actively seek it out.

Join or create networks, form alliances and partnerships… In my experience, Inspired Entrepreneurs often have generous hearts – having overcome their own obstacles and resistance to achieve their success – and many are willing to reach out a hand to help others along. Make the most of that generosity by asking other entrepreneurs for their help and support.

The five greatest elements of support are:

  1. Support for your inspiration: Keeping our souls aloft will give us the motivation and momentum we need to move forward. Inspiration also lights a fire in the heart, giving us the courage we’ll sometimes need to overcome our fears. It can motivate us to take action in the face of our resistance.
  2. Support for your sense of possibility: When we are acting as pioneers in our own lives, doing new things and moving in new directions, we need hope. This often comes from particular reference points, such as the people who have already pioneered the way along their own paths. When we look to them, we can see that they achieved their goals – and that we could follow in their footsteps. With their example, we can start to believe we can really change our own lives.
  3. Support for your learning, skilfulness, strategies and ‘know how’: Merely being inspired is not enough – we need to channel our enthusiasm and master the practical tools and strategies we need to succeed. We must learn new things – boldly act on new information – and keep learning as we go. As we follow this path we’ll gradually become more competent and more able to contribute fully in the lives of others – and our personal success will naturally follow.
  4. Support for a sense of community and belonging: We need to be around like-minded individuals to keep our sense of passion, inspiration and belief alive. A connection with a wider sense of community also offers the potential to forge friendships, to face challenges in company, to receive affirmations from others, and to create new learning opportunities. Isolation is the greatest dream-killer! If we are left on our own for too long, our resistance may grow and defeat us; we may become disheartened and feel like giving up. You’ll always evolve more quickly when we are plugged into a community of like-minded souls.
  5. Supportive reminders, repetition and reinforcement: we very rarely hear something once and ‘get it’; some of our conditioning will go so deep that we will need to hear things repeatedly so that we can gradually integrate them on ever deeper levels of our psyche. Regular supportive repetition of new ideas can be crucial for dislodging our old ways of thinking and helping us to install new ones.

As human beings we have a tendency to forget much of what we learn, so we all need regular reminders of the new ideas that come our way.

About the Author

Through his books, and live talks, workshops, personal coaching and on-line learning programmes, Nick Williams has inspired tens of thousands of people to discover the work they were born to do.

Website: www.nick-williams.com
Blog: http://nickwilliams100.typepad.com