Why Your Creative or Healing Business is Not Growing

WhyBizNotGrowing

Many of my mentoring clients are creative and/or healing professionals who feel spiritually *called* to their work—it feels like their life’s purpose. They are drawn to me because they want to find a way to do their heart work while also making a good living.

Creative and healing professionals often have their craft at the forefront of their business radar—none would have considered opening their doors if they didn’t feel they offered a valuable service. In fact, the number one reason creative and healing professionals do not officially start their businesses is a fear that they are ‘not good enough, yet’.

These professionals spend an enormous amount of time making sure they have something of value to offer, and constantly improving those offerings.

What often takes a back seat to the honing of their craft or skill, though, is the actual Sales and Marketing for their business. It’s true. S&M (Sales and Marketing) are often viewed as torturous. Not only do these skills not come easy to these professionals, there are often a lot of bad-feeling stories and judgment wrapped around the idea of sales and marketing, as well as other essential business success functions like hiring a support team. I’m talking about the kind of bad-feeling stories and judgment that keeps people stuck where they are, never able to move forward.

When Our Stories And Judgments Hold Us In Limbo
Amy (name changed for privacy) feels called to her work as a massage therapist who incorporates sound healing, and often refers to it as her ‘heart work’. Performing her work fulfills her deeply and she cannot see herself NOT doing this work.

However, Amy has been struggling for the last few years to get her business off the ground and actually growing. See if you can tell from Amy’s stories why her business is not growing…

• “I hate having to sell or promote my business.”
• “UGH…Marketing feels like busy work—so much to do, for no results.”
• “No one can afford my fees—and I cannot afford to drop my fees any farther.”
• “It’s pretty much impossible to make a living doing my heart work!”
• “I highly doubt people making money doing this work are ethical. I don’t know how they can possibly be making any money!”
• “I’m not willing to be a sell-out like others, in order to be successful in my work.”

In addition to focusing on what she hates about her business, Amy has already decided people cannot afford her services, and she negatively judges others who manage to make money in her field.

These stories and judgments are woven into nearly every conversation Amy has, and despite understanding the power of energy, these are also woven into Amy’s own mental self-talk. In fact, her stories are now so embedded into her being (she’s been telling them so long), the minute she sees her business cards or equipment, she physically feels the negative impact in her body.

Professional colleagues who encounter Amy find themselves feeling drained after speaking with her, so they make excuses not to interact. No one is mentioning her business to potential clients.

Family and friends, who say they want to support Amy, instead, find themselves commiserating with just how *difficult* it must be to start and run a successful business. This only reinforces what Amy already believes to be true.

Creative and healing professionals who have both an inner calling to do their life’s work while simultaneously holding bad-feeling stories and judgments that prevent them from growing their business or being financially successful are their own worst enemies.

That disconnect between their calling and their stories/judgments that undermines their calling creates energetic resistance, keeping business growth and success forever at bay in a state of suspension. Never growing. Never thriving. Always pain-filled. Frustrating. Exhausting.

Sound familiar?

It Matters How You Start and Nurture Your Business
When I began working with Amy, I helped her see how she had actually started her business with the doubt, bad-feeling stories and judgments in place. Then, when her business began to reflect those stories and judgments back to her, she labeled what she observed as the ‘reality’ of her failing business.

Once she had observed and labeled the failure, she was never able to imagine something better because ‘reality’ (aka ‘what is’) was always staring her in the face. She literally set the groundwork for her business to fail before she started and then she nurtured the failure, not the success.

Whenever Amy had tried to set her observed ‘reality’ aside for a moment, to imagine something better for her business, she had plenty of people around her happy to remind her of ‘reality’. Her husband and parents, attempting to be helpful, were particularly relentless in suggesting that Amy give up on her dream, and just get a reliable 9-to-5 job. (For the record, not following your heart work is soul-crushing, and a fast-track to depression and loss of self-esteem.)

Abraham-Hicks often talks about the importance of only focusing on ‘what is’ if we ENJOY ‘what is’. Otherwise, they tell us we have to be willing to look beyond it in order to grow:

As others insist that you look at “reality,” they are influencing you to be rooted to this spot like a tree. As long as you are seeing only what-is, you cannot grow beyond it. You must be allowed to see what you want to see if you will ever attract what you want to see. Attention to what-is only creates more of what-is.

(excerpt, The Law of Attraction: The Basics of the Teachings of Abraham, pg 190)

Looking beyond ‘what-is’ is a skill well worth developing as a business owner. Successful business owners know this. Children practice this every day as they play using their imaginations. They suspend their disbelief that their playmate is not really a cowboy and they are not really a pirate. They toss a piece of fabric around their backs and call it a cape, and strike the Super Man pose with true conviction.

In that moment…they ARE what they imagine themselves to be. They FEEL the power of their imaginations, and they revel in the joy of it.

As adults, we can benefit greatly from brushing off our childhood skills of suspending disbelief and imagining something fun in our professional life.

Brain science has already proven that the subconscious mind does not know the difference between our real observations, our memories, or our imagination. The subconscious is moving forward, choosing opportunities and experiences based on how you feel. If you start a business with stories of doubt, fear, and judgment of those who are successful, the feeling is probably not very good—and neither will be the results.

Getting Help To Succeed
Amy hired me when she needed someone dedicated to seeing her succeed, willing to guide her through the maze to turn her business around from the ground up. First, she had to consciously choose to wipe the slate clean on her business, create her business anew from a better-feeling place while releasing her judgments. Then, she had to be willing to actively nurture her own success as one would lovingly tend a garden. As a result, Amy discovered a new-found interest in sales and marketing on her own terms, in a way that was fun and invigorating for her. The result is a thriving business with a lot less frustration, and a MUCH happier business owner!

What are you willing to do to grow your creative or healing business? Share your better-feeling stories in the comments below…

Image credit: Ion Chiosea

How You View It

View - "The Twa Corbies" (The Two Crows) by Arthur Rackham

“The Twa Corbies” (The Two Crows) by Arthur Rackham

“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder”, the old adage goes. I would dare say, that it isn’t just beauty, but everything that is in the eye of the beholder. As the beholder of your own life, how are you viewing it?

Last night I had an experience that brilliantly illustrates how one situation can be viewed differently depending on the attitude of the ‘beholder’.

I was enjoying a lovely walk at dusk, enjoying the fresh air, marveling at the gorgeous moon and clear skies. Suddenly, I heard a sound that crows make: rattle or comb call.

Since I live in an area with abundant tall trees, we have a huge assortment of birds and the crows often live at the tops of the tallest trees. I recognized the rattling call, looked around to see where the crows might be, and saw a single crow flying toward me about 20 feet in the air while cawing.

Knowing that everything has consciousness, I smiled at the crow and said hello. I let the crow know I was happy to see it. The crow circled over me cawing to his friends, who quickly joined him. Stopping on the sidewalk, I greeted them all and expressed my appreciation for the visit. You might think this was crazy, unless you had experienced it yourself, but the birds seemed very happy that I was acknowledging them.

I’m guessing they have enough people ignoring them throughout the day, so it probably was very fun to have a non-threatening human actually *see* them.

As I started walking again, the three birds flew with me—above, to the right and left—flying from tree to street lamp to tree ahead of me. As I caught up, they flew to the next one. I smiled at the way they were clearly “playing” with me and enjoying it as much!

So, this is how I went down this residential street, and toward the end I saw a little girl with her father. The girl seemed scared when she saw the birds, and ran to her father’s side. The father saw me with the crows flying about and said, “Oh, I hate these birds! They are so aggressive…” He may have said more, but I was still walking.

I smiled at the father and said, “Oh…I  think they are just having fun and want to play!”

To which he replied, “Yeah, well they play all over my car every night and leave it a mess!”

Just then, I noticed that the birds had stopped playing with me as I passed this man’s house. I know that my pets are sensitive to the energy of humans, so it’s not hard to believe that the birds knew the man did not appreciate them or delight in their games of flight.

This man was so convinced of his story that the birds were a menace. Yet, living in the same neighborhood, I view them as joyful wild playmates. Same experience, yet one saw a reason to be angry, the other saw a reason to be joyful. Which one of us is right?

Both of us are. From our respective and unique vantage points, we each see what we see…driven by the story we are telling ourselves (this is good or bad, right or wrong, etc.). Through the universal Law of Attraction, we are always drawing to us more and more examples that we are right about the stories we’ve been carrying.

The good news is that we can change our story at any time and start experiencing something new.

Right now, I don’t know anyone who isn’t dealing with some hardship or difficulty in their life. Whether it’s health, relationships or prosperity, we are all working on improving some aspect of our lives. How we see our life and how we handle our hardships is directly affected by the stories we are telling about those experiences.

So that leads to an important question: Are you finding a reason to be angry or joyful about your life? Share your thoughts below in the comments.

P. S. After passing that man’s house, I kept walking and the crows caught up with me to resume the game a few houses down the road.  🙂

 

Image credit: “The Twa Corbies” (The Two Crows),
by English illustrator,  Arthur Rackham

Our Stories Create Our Beliefs Which Drive Our Actions

You probably have noticed that I have written a lot about how our stories affect us. Last night, I was watching Oprah’s LIfe Class (episode 3, with Cheryl Richardson) where she talks about how we don’t get what we want, we get what we believe. Our beliefs are formed by the stories we tell ourselves, based on what we have perceived through our lifetime.

Stories Beliefs ActionsMost of the stories we carry with us as adults were developed between birth and 6 years old. When experience meets emotions, we create a meaning around that experience that becomes a story – and a story we tell ourselves long enough becomes a belief. If we witness our father being unkind to our mother, we create the meaning that this is how men treat women. When we grow up, we come to expect that behavior from men and will seek relationships that will make us right about our story…even though that story isn’t true for everyone, and it doesn’t even have to be true for you if you decide to drop the story!

Our stories become our beliefs which drive our actions. If you want to know what stories and beliefs you are carrying, take a look at your actions.

I was personally reminded of the power of our beliefs and stories last week when a gunman in my area killed 3 co-workers, wounded 7 others (6 of them co-workers), and eventually killed himself when law enforcement caught up with him. During the first day that he was loose in my neighborhood, we were not allowed to leave the house as SWAT teams with search dogs scoured the area. I work from home, so it really didn’t impact me as it may have impacted others. The whole time I felt safe and knew we were going to be fine.

As news reports came in about the suspect, his co-workers and friends began expressing astonishment that such a nice, happy person – a single dad who was considered to be an upstanding member of his community – could commit such a series of crimes. Most of the people interviewed could not have conceived this was even possible!

I know that beliefs and stories drive our actions, so when I heard about the disconnect between how this man was perceived by others and how he acted, I knew this man was being driven by stories and beliefs that made him feel justified in his behavior.

When you think about it, this is yet another perfect example of how Law of Attraction is ALWAYS working – whether you believe in it or not – and it’s always lining you up with experiences that prove you right. When you harbor thoughts that feel bad, you attract experiences that feel bad, which causes you to focus more thoughts that feel bad, and attracts even worse feeling experiences. The Universe is responding to the energy you are sending out through thoughts and emotions. It doesn’t matter if you are remembering the past, living in the moment, or imagining the future ~ whatever energy you are sending out is what you will attract back into your experience.

As that day progressed, when the media began interviewing the least-wounded, it became clear that the gunman perceived that his employer and all his co-workers were against him. Although he had been employed for 15 years at this company, he was convinced they were getting ready to fire him.

Now, many people lose jobs and…then they get another job. Sometimes even a better job with better pay and perks! So, in addition to feeling that everyone was against him and that he’d lose his job, the gunman last week also had to believe that he would NOT be able to get another job. Dwelling on those negative stories, stewing and festering in those growing negative beliefs, he felt compelled and justified in potentially killing all of his co-workers…which led to attempting a car-jacking (another victim) and eventually his suicide.

To top it off, his two children no longer have their father. My heart goes out to them!

Do you see how the Law of Attraction was lining this father up with more of what he was focusing upon? It really can be no other way – the Universe can only mirror back to us the same energy we are sending out based on what we focus upon and how it makes us feel!

In the end, like all of us, this man’s beliefs and stories drove experiences and his actions. Yes, this is a horrible and dramatic example, but this man would still be alive today – and his children would have their father – IF he had been willing to question his beliefs and stories! For that reason alone, I do not want this tragic series of events to be in vain.

Don’t let another day go by without questioning your stories and long-held beliefs—become aware of your actions, and follow the stories, beliefs, and thoughts that led up to those behaviors. Question the everything that feels bad (sad, mad, frustrated, irritated, etc.) to think. Those are the ones that will create actions you might someday truly regret.

Need help learning how to question your thoughts? Check out Byron Katie’s TheWork.com (watch the videos where she shows the process in action).

What beliefs, stories and thoughts are you willing to begin questioning?

You Are Always Creating

04.2010.creating

We are creative beings in a vibrational universe that responds to our moment-to-moment energetic pulse.

This means you are ALWAYS creating *new experiences*. You create based on what you believe is possible, and that is determined by how you FEEL about the stories you tell yourself and others, the way you speak to yourself, and the way you speak to others.

If you believe you have been abandoned, your life will reflect that.

Every time you criticize yourself or another, you create more experiences to criticize.

If you believe you are supported by the world and those around you, you will be. If you tell the story of how supported and loved you are, your world will reflect that back to you!

Every time you praise yourself or another, you create more experiences to praise.

While the vast majority of people on the planet are still creating unconsciously ~ reacting to the world around them ~ YOU can choose to be a conscious, deliberate Creator *right now*! Others are not unconsciously reacting and creating havoc because they want more things things to complain or worry or fear about, but because they have not decided to be *conscious about their life*.

You are always creating ~

why not create consciously?

One way to do this is to consciously tell yourself the stories that uplift and feel good to you. I created this sign (above) for my office a while back and realized that some of you might enjoy printing it out for yourself, too! Just right-click or double-click the graphic to save it.

If you download the sign, leave a little comment below…and if you have additional ways that you support yourself in being a deliberate creator, share that below, too!

Are You Stuck in Your Story?

Are you stuck in your story?Regardless of your employment, relationship, or financial status, there is one thing that can make or break your success: The stories you tell yourself about why your life is the way it is today.

We each create our own story, usually empahsized with facts such as where we grew up, what our family is like, where we went to school, and how we got into our current field of work. Our story is how we describe who we are to ourselves and others. It is how we internally define ourselves and the basis from which we vibrate energy out into the world and take action. They play out not only in how we speak about ourselves, but in the actions we take on our behalf. This is why the stories we tell matter in every aspect of our life.

Our stories are the information we tell the people we are just meeting, or friends we’ve known for a long time, and represents the way we feel about ourselves. If you see yourself as a winner, your story reflects that. If you see yourself as a loser or down-on-your-luck, your story reflects that. Which story do you want to reflect?

Your story keeps evolving all throughout your entire life. If you are breathing, right now, you are telling yourself and/or others some story…the question is: Is the story you are telling yourself serving you in a positive way?

Our stories, like most, are affirmations for who and where we are in life. They almost always start with, “I am…”, and contain some ‘neutral facts’:

I am self-employed, and my clients are…

I am so easy-going that I often attract…

I am organized and self-sufficient, which means I tend to…

I am in my current financial situation because…

After the facts are laid out, however, our stories often include generalizations and beliefs we have about ourselves and others that dramatically affect our life experiences. They become negative affirmations, if you will, for things we don’t like about ourselves. Often, these beliefs are not universally true, or even accurate, but we will speak them, think them, and *act on them* as if they are.

Have you ever stopped to look at the “story” you’ve created so far?

Do you tell yourself and others that your life is productive, successful, and happy? Do you include the many successes of your life and why you are a worthwhile human? Do you support your own success, health, and well-being?

Do you make excuses to yourself and others for your results and make those part of your story? Do you blame others for the experiences that you attracted? Do you justify your behaviors as reasons why you can never have what you want? Do you assume your needs cannot be met, so you stop asking? Do you sabotage any potential for success and happiness?

If we are not conscious, the stories we tell ourselves can morph into subtle forms of self-sabotage. By virtue of the Law of Attraction, we naturally attract more of what we think/speak/act upon. If we are telling the same story, over and over, we are attracting the same result repeatedly and that leaves us feeling stuck. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

For example, someone contacted me saying that they were shocked to find their general attitudes described in one of my articles, “Getting Out of the *How* Business”. They thanked me for the insight, and I responded that I was glad the article had been helpful. They responded back saying, “When you are an organized person it’s hard to get over the *how*” . The words they wrote stopped me in my tracks because I knew they did not have to be true. I also knew immediately: This was the story this person had been telling themselves to justify their current experiences. They justified their current struggles by saying it was hard for an organized person to be open to how their life unfolds.

Being a coach at heart, I couldn’t let that comment rest. I had to say something. (spot the story that makes me think that though?)

I responded back asking if it’s really true that being organized makes it hard to get over the *how*, or is this the story they had been telling themselves? If the latter, I suggested they create a new, improved story for themselves that supported their success and happiness.

By asking that question, and pointing out the story, the recipient was able to make a shift. They emailed right back to share how this was helping them move forward.

It can be incredibly liberating to look back over your life and weed out the parts of your story that no longer serve you. If you have been growing in consciousness, who you are today is much more evolved than who you were 10 – 20 – 30 (or more) years ago. You may not be able to physically change what happened, but you certainly don’t need to speak about it, to yourself or others, dredge up all the negative feelings and dwell in that same energy for the rest of your life. You have a choice in fact, LOTS of choices in how you tell your story!

Start where you are, and imagine new improved story about yourself that supports your own success, health, and well-being.

What are your thoughts about the stories you’ve been telling?

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