This guest blog post has been submitted by Richard Lannon of BraveWorld. We all “hit the wall” every once in awhile as we trudge through proposals and follow-up calls to clients, but check out these strategies to help keep yourself sane.
At the Global Speakers Summit international conference last December, I had some heart-to-heart discussions with my peers. A common theme was the roller coaster ride (emotional ups and downs) that speakers, trainers, coaches and consultants go through.
I have been reflecting on those conversations and thinking about some of the options for independent professionals to keep their wits about them in the ever-changing world of the solopreneur.
After 25 years in the consulting business, I can honestly say there will always be a challenge involving the ups and downs of the business. So what can be done about it?
Here are 10 tips for 2014:
1) Recognize what you can control and what you cannot control
This is important. So much of what we do is out of our control – clients buy when they have a need or a pain, or when they are ready to buy.
Never, ever fall into what is called the “puppy dog trap.” Being needy, jumping all over the place and seeking attention at every turn. Client sense it and shy away from puppy dogs.
3) Apply the TFAR formula
What you THINK is how you FEEL, what you FEEL is how you ACT, and what you ACT is the RESULTS you get. Find ways to shift the person inside you.
4) Count your blessings
This is an important one and something we often forget to do. I often challenge clients to write down 10 things they are thankful for prior to our working together. Counting your blessings changes your perspective.
5) Read your great evaluations
Establish an inventory of “You Rock!” evaluations. Edit out the one percent of people who never have anything nice to say about anything or anybody. Turn the good ones into a book that is about you and your abilities. Add pictures of the great people you have hung out with. Add a few memorable statements. Now you have your very own You Rock Book. From time to time, read it. It will actually make you feel better about yourself. You may gain valuable insight into areas where you should your business.
6) Create Your Life Balance Wheel
Everyone should have one of these. Know what is important to you. It is way too easy to second-guess yourself. Take the time to ensure you are on the right service path for you. Life Balance comes in many shapes and sizes. Make sure it is your own customized model and that it is not influenced by outside forces. What is important to you should be uniquely yours – not what someone else says is important.
7) Lean Away
Some of the best advice I ever received was in the winter of 2004. The former CIO of Canadian Pacific Ships and I were hanging out and discussing transitions. He said that when he left CP Ships, his wife told him that before moving on to his next career phase he should take some time off. This holds true for starting new or anew, changing a topic or moving into a new market. Step back and take a break. The solution is in the pause.
8) Take care of yourself or there will be nothing left
Consider what you feed your mind, your body and your spirit. We all have heard this before. Read and watch good things, eat well and work out, and take care of your human soul. It is important that you find out what works for you in terms of taking care of yourself and then finding a way to do it. It is a process like anything else. Interestingly, whatever you do here will become part of your business through a natural evolution. Good or bad, it just will be.
9) Have a support group
Years ago, my company organized peer support training and groups for entrepreneurs. It was part of a business training program. During that time I learned that independent professionals, business people and entrepreneurs cannot do it alone. Professional membership in CAPS has its privileges, one being peer support and peer programming. Consider what you need and ask.
10) Choose your friends wisely as they can make you or break you
That is a Dad-ism. Right from my dad, to me, to my kids and now to you. Who you choose to hang out with will have an impact on your business. Make wise choices.
These are my top 10 tips to consider for keeping yourself sane in the independent professional world. These come from years of being involved in the business and having served many different client types across many different industries. The consulting business is full of peaks and valleys. That is normal. The challenge for professionals who speak is to ensure we take care of ourselves and those around us. Try practicing some of these tips and see how you improve your the roller coaster ride of our consulting business and the speaking profession.