Aging: The Inside Story

 

I saw an ad today for a “beauty” system that looked like a torture device. Picture a tiny paint roller with fine needles projecting from the surface. When you roll the device over your face the needles penetrate your skin. The fine print says “No known negative side effects.” I guess pain isn’t considered a side effect. Granted I haven’t tried it, but it sure looks like it would be painful.

I went onto YouTube to listen to reviews expecting to see people screaming in agony as they “beautified” themselves. The first reviewer I watched mentioned she had put a numbing cream on her face for 25 minutes before use. She said not to be afraid of the device. I’m afraid of anything that requires me to use numbing cream.

The theory behind the roller is that it “might” stimulate the production of collagen, reduce wrinkles, cellulite, etc. The holes it puts in your face also help you absorb serums and creams better.

Looking for Youth in all the Wrong Places

beautiful older womanWhat strikes me about this (and many other beauty treatments that are uncomfortable, expensive, and potentially dangerous) is the amount of focus on trying to look younger on the outside. I’ve known people that forgot about their “inside” life because they were so focused on the external.

I’m all for looking vital and healthy. I would love to have the same skin I had when I was 30. But I’m not 30. I’m 59 and happily counting. (There are more senior discounts in my future.) While I want to look vital and healthy and make choices that help me with that, I’m much more interested in FEELING vital and healthy.

Everyone makes his or her own choices about how much time and energy (and what type of time and energy) they want to put into looking “good.” And we also get to make up our minds about what we think looks good. We don’t all love purple hair, tartan plaid, or pearls. Thank goodness for that because it makes people watching much more interesting.

But there’s something disturbing to me about the hunt for pseudo youth. Dying your hair back to its original shade does not, after all, make you that age again. I believe it’s possible to do things like laser treatments, Botox, hair dye, even torture devices for your face because you love yourself and love looking your best. If getting your butt Botoxed makes you feel great then Botox away. But I think it’s equally possible (maybe more likely?) that many women are rolling torture devices over their faces because they don’t like who they see in the mirror. They don’t like the changes that aging can bring.

Embracing Change

You are changing. We all change. We don’t expect the tree we plant as a sapling to look the same in five years. We don’t expect our toddlers to stay the same or the oak tree to keep its leaves all year. Change is part of the beauty of life.

I’ll be honest. I don’t love all the changes I see in my body. I don’t obsess about aging and I’m grateful that I’ve very healthy—no medications, no arthritis, no high blood pressure. I don’t mind that my hair is gray because it’s thick and healthy. BUT I would love to have fewer lines and tauter skin on my face. I WANT to love all the changes including those lines. I’m working on that. My goals are to 1) accept the changes 2) love myself and 3) look and FEEL as vital and healthy as possible.

I do, however, love some of the changes that have come with age and maturing. I love that I’m more direct than when I was 25. I love that I don’t fall into victim mode anymore. I love that I don’t drink alcohol. It saves money and calories and I feel better. I love the community of friends I’ve gathered over the years. I love that I’m strong.

Being Edith-like

Cousin Edith

Edith at 100 years old with her Chevy

I’ve had the good fortune to have some outstanding role models for vital aging in my life. My
grandfather’s cousin Edith stands out. Edith lived to 108 years young. She lived independently until the last few months of her life. The year she turned 100 she was invited to be the Grand Marshall in her community’s annual Arkalalah celebration (yes, that’s really the name.) She walked to the DMV to renew her driver’s license so she could drive her 1950 Chevy, the only car she ever owned, in the parade. Not only did she get her driver’s license for the event, but also she bought a stylish modern dress that I would have been happy to wear at the time and I was in my early 30’s.

But Edith didn’t look 30. While her erect posture and lively movements belied her 100 years, she looked like an older woman. That didn’t seem to bother her. She was able to garden, take daily walks, play bridge, live on her own, and participate in a book group. She stayed active mentally and physically throughout her life. I never heard her complain about saggy skin, gray hair, or achy joints. She was far too busy for that. Maybe far too happy would be a better description. She once said she realized she could choose to be miserable or happy. She chose happy.

The theme of my coaching and retreat work is living a life of purpose well. Spending time trying to rewind time or focusing on what you don’t like about yourself takes time away from living that well life of purpose. I want to invite you to a life as rich, full, and happy as cousin Edith’s for as long as you live.

Your Vital Aging Challenge

1.    What do you value about your aging or maturing process?

2.    What about your maturing process do you want to learn to embrace or accept?

Here’s what I would love: Share your answer to #1 here. I think if we all start celebrating the wisdom of maturing instead of fighting against aging we’ll have more energy for what matters to us. The world will be a better place. And if you share here we can all celebrate each other’s awesomeness. Ready to join me?

Dreaming as Self-care

dare to dreamDuring my final months of college I read What Color’s Your Parachute?  In case you’re not familiar with this classic it’s a subtitled “A Practical Manual for Job-Hunters and Career-Changers.”

That book changed my life. It gave me permission to find work that fit my values, my interests, and my skills. Up until then I knew I wanted to be a social worker and help others. I knew I liked working with kids, but beyond that I didn’t have many specifics.

Wishlist

When I finished the book I had a long wishlist for my dream job. Here’s part of my list:

  • Time in nature, including hiking
  • Opportunity to do crafts
  • Able to dress casually
  • Not a 9-5 job
  • Working with kids
  • Non-traditional program
  • Opportunity to grow
  • Chance to travel
  • Vacation time
  • Place where my skills of teaching and counseling would be helpful

Let Your Dream Find You

Now with the list I had clarity Unfortunately I didn’t have any job prospects or any ideas of how to find my dream job. But clarity, focus on what I wanted, and trust paid off. (And maybe a healthy dose of 20-something naivety didn’t hurt.) Through a series of serendipities my dream job found me.

I had worked at a summer Girl Scout residence camp between my junior and senior years of college. I loved working with the kids and planned on returning for one more summer after graduation. My parents, who had been supporting me during college, strongly suggested I get on with a “real job” hunt instead. I agreed.

One morning in the late spring I woke up from a dream that told me I needed to work at camp again. I don’t have any memory of the dream, but I remember that I “knew” I must return to that summer job. I called the camp director to tell her I had decided to work at camp. I knew I had missed the deadline for signing my contract. Would a position still be available? Turns out she thought I HAD decided to work at camp and already had me on her list. Yeah!

That summer, in between s’mores, hiking, and swimming, I sent off resumes for all the job listings my mom sent me. I scoured the want ads in alternative magazines like Mother Earth News and applied for jobs that sounded like they might match my wishlist. But with only a few weeks of summer left I hadn’t lined up any job interviews.

One day the camp director invited me to ride with her to the Girl Scout council office about 30-minutes away. They had offered her a temporary job as director with a day camp for a new program. She wasn’t interested, but thought I should apply. So I put on my cleanest jeans and headed to Bloomington with her.

That position had been filled, but they hired me on the spot as a counselor for a three-week stint with the day camp for that new program. I was glad to have a job, even if it was temporary and I didn’t know where I’d stay.

After returning to the resident camp I told my friend and tent mate, Thumper (we all had camp names) and she invited me to housesit for her and her boyfriend Jim as they headed out of town. They’d be gone a week, but I could stay for the three weeks.

That temporary position led to a full-time position as a youthworker/trainer with that new program. It was the start of my coaching and truly my dream job. It ticked every box on my wishlist and then some.

How Do You Dream?

Some of my clients automatically bypass the dreaming phase. You might relate if you’ve ever gotten in trouble for daydreaming. Or if you’ve taken a risk going after your dreams only to be disappointed. Who wants to risk that again?

Maybe you’re a detail person who hasn’t learned how to go big with your vision. (Hint: your vision is made of details.) Or you’re afraid of getting caught in airy, fairy, fantasyland, never taking action toward your dream.

Like some of my clients you might be choosing the known, afraid to admit what you REALLY want. Or maybe you’re not even sure what you want.

Allowing yourself to dream does have risk. You could get your hopes up and be disappointed. But by going for what is safe and known, you risk not living your dream.

Dream-mode

Staying in “dream-mode” all the time won’t get you a free ride. When you step onto the path of your dreams it’s helpful to pack some reality to help you make plans, to help you take action. I had to go to the interview when it was offered. I had to take a temporary job that felt right. There’s a time and place for both dream and “reality.” If you’ve been all action or living someone else’s dream then you’re overdo for some “dream time.” Here are a few ideas to get you going.

How to dream

  1. Pretend you’re a kid. Remember lying on your back under the clouds? Let your mind wander as you make up an “imaginary” tale about your life. What would super hero, super-model, or super-confident you do? What would you ask the genie in the bottle for? Which vision gets you excited? Which one seems to have a life of its own?
  1. Notice bits of other people’s lives that you’d love to copy. And yes, copying is allowed. Do you envy a friend who travels to exotic locations? Or melt when you see the woman down the street with her 3 kids? Are you in awe of your friend who’s set up her business so she only works 3 days a week?

Do find yourself wondering how a friend published a book or landed a new job? Remember you don’t have to take their whole picture into your vision. The woman who travels might seem exhausted. You can incorporate the travel and leave the exhaustion out.

  1. Make your vision more tangible and present by recording it. Depending on your tastes and talents you might want to keep notes in a journal, paint a picture, or collage a dream board. Having a touchstone helps keep that dream alive as you take action.
  1. Hire a coach. I’m personally a fan of this one. : ) Hiring a coach provides wings to this process. A coach will hear things in what you say that you might not pick up on. A coach can lead you through the process guiding you when you get stuck and then helping you take that dream into action. Sometimes the other people in your life, like your partner or kids, have a vested interest in you staying the same. A coach can be a cheerleader for exploring change in your life when those around you feel unsure about that change.

When I hear someone say I’ve always wanted to… my ears perk up. If you think there might be a “dream” in you then you take the time to explore it. I believe that acknowledging and going for your dreams IS an overlooked and important piece of self-care. That’s gold on the path to a big life of joy.

Share a bit of your dream here.

Five Common Self-care Traps

You’ve made efforts, maybe even heroic efforts toward improving your self-care. Maybe you set a New Year’s resolution or intention. But you’re just not feeling that successful. Doesn’t seem fair.

Real self-care can be slippery. You may have fallen into one of these common self-care traps. (Don’t worry. It’s not like the commercial. Even if you’ve fallen you’ll be able to get up.)Trapped

 

  1. Random Acts of Self-care

 

A mani-pedi. A day at the spa. A luxurious morning in bed with your favorite book and beverage. A quiet walk in the woods. A week of vacation.

If these activities feed your soul, then bring them on baby.

The problem comes with confusing random acts of self-care with the ongoing self-care practice you MUST have in order to sustain yourself.

Random acts of self-care are fun. They feel good and fill you up. But they won’t sustain you for the long haul. Short-term solutions get you short-term results.

Don’t get me wrong. All of these things can be part of your self-care plan. Don’t throw them out if you love them. Just know they don’t automatically equal a self-care practice.

  1. Template approach

You see something that works. Your bestie drops 15 pounds from her recent diet. You hear about a celebrity that lost her baby weight while doing zumba six days a week. Your boss, who looks 20 years younger than her age and manages to stay oh, so Zen-like all the time, talks about the wonders of her morning kale smoothie.

So you try the diet, shake your booty at a zumba class, and drink your weight in green smoothies. Problem is the diet leaves you feeling deprived, you don’t like dancing, and you despise kale.

Putting on someone else’s self-care, be it a diet plan, a fitness regime, or a week at a spa might work for awhile.

But only for a while. You’ll find yourself dumping the regime and often feeling like a failure. It worked for them. Why not you?

Because, beautiful, you’re not THEM.

  1. Discipline, deprivation, and hard work

You “know” you need to knuckle down, to “get with the program.” Your brain figures out the “solution” to your overwhelm, clutter, anxiety, or food cravings. The problem is you forget to check in with the rest of you.

You might need some discipline in your self-care program. It might even feel like work sometimes. But without some of the other key ingredients like pleasure and joy, your plan will collapse in on itself.

  1. Wake up call

Whether your wakeup call sounds like a tiny child knocking at your door or a bulldozer running into your home, something gets your attention. A series of colds, a call from the doctor suggesting you come in for more tests, a bounced check, a foreclosure, a diagnosis of a scary disease, a divorce, ten pounds that you don’t recognize…

You pay attention. You attack the problem. Make big changes. Get great results. But too often once the high blood sugar stabilizes, the new relationship appears, or those mystery pounds go away you fall right back to pre-wakeup call habits. And with those habits you get pre-wakeup call results.

A wake up call can be powerful. But if the wake up call is your only call to self-care, your solutions won’t last.

  1. That Still, Small Voice

You listen to your inner guidance. And because it sounds so wise you follow its directions.

Do you want to know a secret? That wise voice may come from your brain. To create a sustainable approach you must listen to more than your big, beautiful brain.

You have a wealth of wisdom. Everyone I work with is surprised by the wisdom they bring forth. And that wisdom helps create your plan.

And how about another secret? Your inner wisdom may give you conflicting advice. Part of you needs to rest. Another part needs to run. Which part do you listen to? In order to arrive at a solution that feels good and is sustainable you must listen to the whole of you. Your head may say you should go out for a run today. But your body feels fatigued because you are fighting off a cold. The best solution for you, the one that will give you the most vitality and balance, isn’t necessarily the first one that comes to mind.

  1. Rinse and Repeat

It’s not that you’ve never tended to your loveliness. It’s not that you’ve never eaten a healthy meal or moved your body in ways that delighted you.

You’ve probably even had moments of flow with your self-care. Moments where everything was bright and beautiful. You knew what to do.

So you do the same thing that worked before only now it’s not working.

You are not the same. Different you, different plan needed.

Be not discouraged!

You just haven’t learned the hows of crafting YOUR sustainable self-care plan. I’m not saying you can create THE PLAN for your self-care for the rest of your life. Who you are today is different than who you’ll be tomorrow or in six months or 30 years. And because of that your self-care plan will shift and grow. (In fact, trying to stay the course with your self-care is a common self-care trap.)

Why Are You Making a Big Deal Out of This?

Self-care is at the heart of a life well lived. Purpose offers you reason for being. If you want to live a well life, a life with meaning written all over its face then you will need to tend to you, the purveyor of that big life purpose.

And by the way, living a life of purpose IS self-care.

A sustainable life of purpose requires focus, energy, enthusiasm, and wellness to pull off. You get that from self-care that’s a regular and integrated part of you life. You need an approach that you can endure. Not one that keeps falling down and skinning its knees. Not one that you bury in the backyard because it quits breathing.

If you’re ready to have the vitality and wellness you need to live your BIG dream then sign up for a no-obligation, no-cost chat. I’d love to help you find your way.

 

Don’t Give Up on Your Dream

For some time I’ve wanted to make a contribution to my community on Christmas day. I found offerings that happen around the holiday, but not on the 25th.

So I gave up.

One Woman

But this year my friend Kristel posted on Facebook that she was going to distribute stuff to the homeless on Christmas day. All by herself. She had the impulse and she was acting on it. A quick post to her page and I was in!

Kristel had decided to make something happen and that something quickly became bigger than just her. Even as we cleaned out our coat closets and shopped for food and personal items others offered to help.

Five of us put together 30 kits and organized bags of donated sweaters, coats, and personal care items. Lifesource the local health food store, gave me a gift card so I could get appropriate food. My friend Katherine bought food, sterno, and personal care items. Other friends of Kristel’s jumped on board. Her co-workers contributed.

 Project Burrito

Helping the homeless

Sharon & Theresa helping the homeless

I also learned of Kathy and her Project Burrito. She and her group of volunteers cook breakfast burritos and distribute clothes, hand warmers, and other needed items to the homeless on Christmas morning. Kristel’s posse, now seven people, joined up with about 15 other volunteers at 8 in the morning under the Marion Street bridge, a place near the local men’s mission and a park frequented by the homeless.

Since most of the volunteers stood behind the tables laden with donations helping to keep the tables neat, replenishing the items, or serving coffee or burritos I decided to mingle among the homeless.

After saying Merry Christmas I’d ask them if there was anything in particular that they were looking for and then help them find it. One man I spoke with was elated to find a belt. Another wanted candles (he was happy with the sterno) for heat and light. My partner saw a man setting on a bench in the adjacent park, a big smile on his face, putting on his pair of new socks. A gentleman with twinkly blue eyes simply smiled and said, “This IS Christmas.”

My Takeaway

I help people live their purpose. Sometimes that means getting clearer about what their purpose is. Sometimes it means helping people figure out how to take action, to get rid of what’s blocking them. And other times it’s about finding a way to take care of themselves in a way that supports their purpose rather than sabotages it.

For me the message in this experience was that one person, like my friend Kristel or Kathy the burrito lady, can make a huge difference by acting on their desire to help.

I’m taking that realization into the New Year as I plot my course for the coming year.

If you’re like a lot of people you’re at least thinking about how you want 2015 to be different. You might be putting together intentions or a plan for the coming year.

Your Dream?

I invite you to include something that you feel inspired to do as you look ahead. Maybe your idea has seemed too big. Maybe you hit a roadblock when you started. And maybe you worry about what others will think. I encourage you to move past the things that get in your way.

 

  1. First name and claim it. Share your idea with one of your cheerleaders. You can share it here. Wouldn’t that be a great, bold step? I’ll cheer you on.

 

  1. Next decide on a baby step. One little step. Commit to it here and you’ll be that much closer to your dream.

 

Kathy told me that the Christmas morning group served 75 burritos, 120 cups of coffee, and gave away 20-25 gift bags and backpacks with personal items, food, and/or clothing. One man told me there was nothing he needed. He was happy simply to have wandered into the event and been part of it.

So what about your idea? What can you accomplish?

Trusting the Plan

You need a plan, right? But here’s the deal. If you get too attached to “your” plan rather than the “bigger” plan (call it courtroomGod’s or the universe’s or divine order…) you can actually make things harder.

Maybe I should speak for me. When I get too attached to “my” plan and forget that there’s a larger plan I make things harder and decidedly less fun for myself. Do you find this to be true too?

The Jury Summons
Monday I showed up at the courthouse for jury duty. I don’t know what it is about Marion County, Oregon where I live, but they love to send me jury summons. I know people who never get called. But I get one every cycle. Maybe because I show up and I don’t tell them things that make them think I’m a whacko. (Seriously, if you want to get out of jury duty tell them you would kill anyone who abused your child. Yep, that means you won’t get picked.)

And We Wait
Day one was about waiting. And more waiting. The guy in the jury assembly room said he’s never had a group in the assembly room so long. They finally moved us into a courtroom for jury selection after 3 ½ hours. I figured I’d be out by lunchtime.

By 2:00 they finally dismissed those who wouldn’t be on the jury. But unfortunately they’d called my name for this 3-day trial.

I spent the lunch hour cancelling my Tuesday class and rescheduled my coaching and massage appointments for the next couple of days. Not excited about the prospect of listening to stories of meth, abuse, and identity theft, but I didn’t see a way out.

A Reframe
Two of my friends who are attorneys gave me a more positive spin. One said, “Important and powerful work.” The other said how lucky I was to serve and how lucky we are to have the justice system we have in the U.S. I felt less cranky.

Day one ended with a bit of education about our job and we were dismissed. Really? I’m thinking we should get started, but hey, they weren’t asking for my input.

And More Waiting
Day two we were to be there no later than 8:25 with an 8:30 start time. By 9 we’d been brought into the courtroom and then back into the waiting area. False start. And the waiting continued.

About 10 we went back in, heard opening arguments. Well, for a little while. We did get exercise as when there was an objection they would parade us back into the waiting room.
And then we got a “10-15 minute” morning break that lasted for an hour. Finally we got to listen to a witness. It was getting exciting now. Well, not really exciting. Mostly sad. Some people lead really sad, dark lives.

By noon, part way into the prosecutors questioning of witness one, we were dismissed for lunch. Again, I’m thinking really? We just got started.

Back at 1:15 we waited some more. Now I’m getting stressed. With 17 charges against the defendant and six more witnesses I couldn’t see how this was going to be over by Wednesday afternoon. Especially with the frequent breaks.

If we had just been facing loss of income and productive time it would have been stressful, but because the system felt so inefficient with all the waiting and breaks (and I abhor inefficiency) my stress level rose. Every time I felt my mind wandering to whether I should go ahead and cancel my Thursday yoga class and appointments I would take a deep breath, relax my shoulders, and feel better. For a few minutes.

A Bigger Plan
Finally I stopped reading and felt into what I was supposed to learn. I’d been reading a chapter about resistance. Interesting choice, huh? I realized the more I resisted what was happening, the worse I felt. When I finally surrendered and affirmed to myself that I was supported and just not aware of the divine plan I relaxed.

At 4:00, about ½ later, they called the jury back in to the courtroom. We’d been waiting since post lunchtime. Finishing by Wednesday afternoon seemed highly unlikely. The judge announced that because one of the witnesses was unable to testify due to a health issue they were declaring a mistrial and we were dismissed. Just like that I was free.

My Takeaways:
1. Any stress or issues I have are peanuts. Really not significant. I have physical and mental health, a loving family and friends, freedom, and financial abundance.
2. I am supported. When I get out of my own way, magic happens.

I send light and love to the victim, defendant, their children and families. Oh, and the judge, attorneys, and deputy. Those people work hard. Blessings to them all.

If you see me struggling you have permission to suggest I surrender to the divine.

And how about you? Are there places where surrendering to something larger would serve you? Do you ever block your success and health by trying to control things? I so appreciate the comments and feedback you send me. Really helps to know I’m not writing into the void. Would love it if you would share here too.

Calling in Clarity: Cool Tool #4

basilYou need to make a business decision or write copy for your website or create some class content or… But first you need clarity and it ain’t showing up. The harder you try, the more clarity refuses to cooperate and the more stressed you become.

 Mr. Basil at Your Service

You need to meet my friend. His official name is Ocimum basilicum, but you can call him basil. Mr. Basil will grab ahold of your lapels and gently shake you awake. He’ll help you focus, clearing out mental fatigue and low-lying clouds while lifting your spirits.

 Warning: This Essential Oil May Improve Your Life

 You know how on the drug ads you get a list of side effects like “may cause sudden death or extreme unpopularity?” Well, aromatherapy can also cause “side effects” too. They just happen to be mostly positive.

 So while you’re clearing out mental debris, basil essential oil may also erase your stress headache, including migraines. You might find your allergies or other respiratory problems such as sinus infections or asthma improving.

 Basil oil comes in several varieties. You want to buy a brand that lists the Latin name so you know what you’re getting. The common name on the label might say basil or sweet basil. Some aromatherapy companies sell a variety that contains more of a particular chemical constituent in it. Then the label will read sweet basil “linalool” or just basil linalool. And BTW-don’t expect the essential oil to smell like the herb you use in cooking.

 You also might find Mr. Basil’s cousin for sale, holy basil or Ociumum sanctum. Although she has some of the same properties, she definitely has her own personality and aroma.  Like the Mr. she’s also helpful with your stress and banishing headaches.

 How to use

The best way to make basil’s acquaintance is to breath in the oil. Sniff it right from the bottle. And remember, as with anything related to your health, it’s your health and your responsibility. If you’re sensitive to scents, take your time greeting basil. That way you can pay attention to your reaction.

 Do you use basil oil? Interested in trying it?  Please share your thoughts here.

Beyond Random Acts of Marketing

Your business is up and running, but you need some cash coming in. Whether you’re experiencing a slow down in your business or this is a new venture, you’re ready for some clients/customers.

coin toss

So you print some business cards. You hand them out and post them on a few bulletin boards. Then you get a call from a publication offering “special rates” and bragging about the benefits of becoming an advertiser with them. What the heck, you sign up.

You pick up a competitor’s brochure. Hmmm. Maybe you should have a brochure too. You notice that one business offers a discount. Another provides a free class. Maybe you should try those too.

Strategy, huh?

You’ve got no strategy for your small business marketing. Imagine if you ate this way. You see someone eating a burger, so you grab a burger. You’re your friend mentions Pad Thai, so Pad Thai it is. A granola bar in your desk drawer. An apple on the counter. A kid eating a doughnut. A commercial for a pizza…

Is That a Problem?

If you ate that way you’d have a stomachache by the end of the day. But what about your business? What’s the problem with having no strategy for your marketing plan?

I’m glad you asked. You’ve actually got two problems. First problem is the source of your random acts. Your second problem is your lack of results.

Random acts come from:

1. Fear and anxiety: Ever feel desperate to make your business a success? Maybe you need to pay the bills. Some food on the table would be nice too.

Or maybe you feel attached to being successful. This is your dream. You’ve invested time, money, and YOU into this venture. What if it doesn’t work out or doesn’t bring the kind of return you’d planned on? Maybe others are counting on you; your family, friends, clients, investors…

The problem is that when you’re operating from this viewpoint you’re living in the limbic part of your brain. That’s the primitive part associated with fight versus flight. From that place you’re not resourceful. You can’t access the creative part of you. You also can’t access the part of your brain that makes good decisions for marketing. You’re in survival mode.

Not only is it bad news for you, your clients/customers will actually be driven away by the energy of fear. Some will be aware that they feel fear or anxiety from you. Others will pick up on subtle clues like the tone of your voice or your body language. Either way it’s not the kind of results you were hoping for.

The universal law of attraction says that what we focus on is what we get. When we’re in limbic mode trying to hustle business anyway we can, our fear attracts the poverty we’re trying to avoid.

2. Habit: Solopreneurs and corporations alike suffer from the “We’ve always done it this way” problem. Habits serve us in that we don’t have to recreate everything everyday. But just because I’ve always paid for a yellow pages ad for the past 20 years doesn’t mean it serves my business today.

3. Monkey see, monkey do: If you don’t have a marketing strategy lined up, it’s easy to pay attention to what others are doing and then grab something from their menu for your meal. What works (or doesn’t work for them) may not work for you.

4. Mistaken beliefs: Sometimes we hold beliefs that aren’t really true. Beliefs like “Doing something’s better than doing nothing.” Or “The more marketing options I try, the more I enhance my chances of succeeding.”

If these beliefs sound familiar you might want to spend some time examining them to see if they 1) are true and 2) support your success.

5. Lack of clarity: If you don’t have clarity it’s hard to develop a plan to reach…what was that you were trying to reach? Oh, yeah, you’re not sure.

To achieve clarity you will need to spend some time focusing on what you want. You will have to shift to the part of your brain that allows daydreaming and creativity. Sometimes the supportive ear of a coach or friend can help as well.

Opposite of random

Creating a marketing strategy that draws on your strengths, manages your challenges, takes into account your target market, your budget, and your beliefs and leaves you juice to provide service through your business takes some time. But the results will be worth it.

I’d love to hear about your random (and not so random acts of marketing.) Join in the conversation here.