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If I could take you for coffee…

Most of my work is done over Skype which means I rarely get to meet my amazing clients or the wonderful women who follow my work in-person. Chatting over a screen is practical but certainly not as fun as it would be to meet up on a Sunday morning at my favourite coffee shop and hang out with you face-to-face. I’m picturing laid-back laughter and real moments of intimacy plus a massive hug.

So today, I had fun imagining how I’d finish the sentence “If I could take you for coffee…”

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Here’s what I thought about:

I’d wear: My black leather converse, patched jeans and my signature tee from the Boss of Me Tees Launch Collection. I might throw on a black blazer just to add a little somethin’. What would you wear?

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I’d ask you:

What’s got your attention these days?

Where are you feeling the most creative?

What’s been hard for you lately?

And I’d listen to you with my whole heart.

I’d tell you:

I’ve finally found a rhythm in my work that feeds me at a soul level. The dance between creating, doing and reflecting feels smooth and powerful. When I retrace my steps I can identify three major decisions that helped me get here:

  1. I changed my mindset around money. This involved an Angel Healing Reading and some really emotional inner work that had to do with learning how to RECEIVE. Big lessons, crazy magic and Angels. It was totally worth it.
  2. Which led me to raising my rates (significantly). Which allows me to work with a max of 10 clients at one time. This gives me ample time to dedicate to each client with lots of energy left over to focus on me and my business.
  3. I decided to SHINE. It’s my word of the year and a powerful filter for my everyday decisions big and small.

I’d also share:

How excited I am to be completely redesigning my coaching website. We’ve just landed on a brand vibe and art direction. Next up: headshots. Here’s a little peek at what
I’m moving toward:

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Then, I’d pull out my phone:

…and show you a few pics of my baby girls. Because they’re my everything. Here we are strolling the beach at Grande Greve, Cape Breton on a recent visit to my Dad’s place:

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Then, I’d probably ask you about:

Music, books, podcasts (and shoes, vacations and what you put in your smoothies).

My daughters and I like to dance it out to Wild Things love, love, love those lyrics. I’m also grooving to the new single by local artist Ria Mae -Gold .

If you’re into podcasts, you may want to check out this episode of Being Boss with the beloved Brene.

I recently read Year of Yes by the brilliant and hilarious Shonda Rhimes. She’s so inspiring and so damn real, you can’t help but want her to be your new BFF.

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I’m sure our coffee date would last for hours because we’d have so much to talk about. Maybe some day we will meet in person. I’d totally love that.

In fact, here are a couple of ways we could meet in the flesh this year:

If you’re craving a special get-away, deep inner-work and new allies we could retreat together beside the ocean. Talk about #shinetheory!

Or, if you’re a coach we could grab our cowgirl boots and meet up here to Find Your Fire.

 Retreat with Jac 2016Over to you!

If we could have coffee together what would you want to talk about? What’s got your attention? What are you reading? What might be feeling hard for you? I’d love for you to share in the comments below. xo

Tweets made easy:

If I could take you for coffee… New Post via Jac McNeil.Tweet this!

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When Healers Don’t Walk Their Talk

When Healers Don't Walk Their Talk.

Last year I met Jen Berlingo, a licensed counselor and art therapist who introduced me to a brand new way of thinking about my self-care. It was one of those moments of “when the student is ready, the teacher will appear”. The magic was that Jen hired me to help her create and launch a new course and in the end, the course ended up being exactly what I needed for my own self-growth. Divine wisdom? Of course it was.

Here’s what I know: Women struggle with self-care. Sure, we know better. But for a gazillion reasons (real and imagined) we don’t always do better. It can be especially difficult when healer/helper types are not walking their own talk. Not only do we feel out of integrity with what we advocate for our clients, but we’re also at risk to develop burnout, compassion fatigue, and depending on our profession, even vicarious trauma.

When it comes to self-care…

  • Maybe you come from a long line of martyrs and were taught to believe that self-care is selfish.
  • Maybe you believe that self care is essential but you don’t have the funds or the time to go on a lavish retreat.
  • Maybe you’re doing your best to eat well and move your body but you’re inconsistent at best.
  • Maybe there’s a shit ton of stuff unfolding in your life and business so self-care will just have to wait another day.

Regardless of where you might be on the self-care continuum, I’d love for you to start thinking about the concept of micro-self-careWhat if instead of expensive gym memberships or lavish retreats you could learn how to infuse small, potent doses of self-care into each day?

jenberlingo1In this interview, Jen Berlingo elaborates on the notion of ‘soul space’ and micro self-care. I hope it gives you delicious food for thought. (And don’t miss the contest at the end!)

Jac: Hi Jen! Tell us what you mean by micro-self-care?

Jen: Hi Jac! Thanks for the opportunity to share about this important topic. When I talk about self-care with my friends and colleagues who are helping and healing practitioners, it’s clear that most of us tend to think big when we think of self-care— with things like retreats, vacations, art classes, a regular exercise routine, adequate sleep, social outings, and massages topping the list. These are activities I like to call MACRO-self-care. Sure, all of them sound nourishing and important (and downright drool-worthy,) but the barrier to achieving them on the regular is that they require our time, money, and effort to plan, which are the very things therapists, coaches, and healers say they’re most lacking.

Macro-self-care is wonderful to look forward to, but falls into the #treatyoself category, so simply living a life where we’re counting down the days until they occur isn’t self-caring at all. Pushing through your workdays, giving your all to your clients only to restore when your feet hit the sand on your annual vacation, will not only take a toll on your well-being, but also directly impacts your effectiveness in helping others.

Here’s where I’m hoping to shift the self-care paradigm to help us recognize and practice micro-self-care, which I like to think of as rituals that are simple enough to slip effortlessly and realistically into your schedule, budget, and current energy level. It’s about establishing a rhythm that includes coming back home to yourself intentionally as part of your everyday activities, making it sustainable in that it isn’t a resource drain at all.

Jac: In your experience, what micro self-care techniques tend to have the most impact/value for women healers?

soulspaceseries1Jen: While the expression of each person’s self-care rituals are so unique and varied, in my experience working with other healing arts practitioners, I have noticed the essence of what’s most effective boils down to simplicity and playfulness.

For example, in the SoulSpace Series, I invite participants to sample activities that can be done in the time it takes to turn a doorknob to welcome a client or in one cycle of breath, and the feedback I get is that these are so doable that they stick and become an easy part of the daily rhythm.

While elaborate creative expression usually falls into the macro-self-care category, I’ve seen that bite-sized, fun, imaginative invitations are potent and sustainable. This sort of example includes exercises like picking an oracle card each day and reflecting upon its image or message; or after seeing a client, the practitioner intentionally choosing one art material (maybe a turquoise crayon) and making one simple, expressive mark on a dedicated paper (perhaps a faint circle) in order to exhale what you’ve inhaled during a session.

The trick is to go as deeply as possible while keeping it light.

Jac: Why do you think most of us avoid/ignore micro-self care?

Jen: My answer for this is twofold.

First, I think many of us are likely practicing a bit of micro-self-care already and are not naming it as such or doing it with regularity, thus it isn’t able to be fully received as continued nourishment that effectively prevents burnout.

Secondly (and perhaps most obviously,) we are helpers by nature, which can mean that even if our higher selves “know better,” we are conditioned to put our clients’ needs before our own. Self-care is touted as “selfish” in our culture, and when overtly practiced, is socially met with a “must be nice” attitude by others rather than celebrated. It’s easier to preach self-care to our clients than for us to practice our own; however, modeling this by walking your talk brings you more into your integrity and authenticity, with a beautiful side-effect of increasing your capacity for empathy, compassion, and inspiration in your work.

Jac: What’s your favourite micro-self care technique and why?

Jen: Ooooh, it’s hard to pick a favorite. Right now, I’m personally having a lot of fun with reconnnecting to the earth’s cycles as a way to normalize my longings (i.e.; Of course I feel like hibernating in my PJs and drinking tea all day – I’m an animal, and it’s wintertime!) and as a way to organize setting intentions (i.e.; Noticing the moon cycles and focusing on what I wish to manifest or begin on the new moon, and intentionally letting go of that which I don’t need when the moon is full.)

Along those lines, the next round of the SoulSpace Series begins on the new moon of February 8th — it’s a perfect time to start bringing awareness to our self-care practices.

Win a free spot in the next SoulSpace Series!

Because Jen & Jac care about YOUR self-care, we’re excited to offer you a chance to win a free spot in the next SoulSpace Series course!

image1-19To enter, simply comment below and let us know what your flavour of helping/healing looks like (coach, psychologist, massage therapist, reiki master, yoga instructor etc) and share one self-care intention you have for 2016.

 The winner will be chosen by random number on Wednesday, February 3th at [12pm Pacific] and notified via email, so please be sure to include your correct email address in your entry. Good luck! xo

UPDATE: The winner of the giveaway is Brenda Mailer. Congratulations Brenda!!

The next SoulSpace Series begins Monday, February 8th. The course runs for six weeks, and each self-paced week contains experiential, enlightening, easy self-care rituals you can seamlessly integrate into your healing practice and your day.

jenberlingo1Jen Berlingo is a transpersonal art psychotherapist in private practice in the San Francisco Bay Area, and the creator and guide of the SoulSpace Series, an online program changing the way healing arts practitioners experience self-care. Jen is also a mom, an artist, an empath, a beachcomber, and a stargazer.

 

TWEETS MADE EASY!

 

Meet Art Therapist @jenberlingo & learn about soulspace & micro self-care plus a GIVEAWAY! via @jacmcneil Tweet this!

NEW! When Healers Don’t Walk Their Talk (& a GIVEAWAY) via @jacmcneil Tweet this!

 

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Will You Celebrate With Me?

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On October 7th, 2015 I launched a 2nd business called Boss of Me Tees. It’s an online apparel shop for women entrepreneurs, free spirits and quiet rebels.

Normally, I’d be tempted to spin this post into 10 Things I’ve Learned or find a way to make my story a universal story or share glimpses of my emotional journey so that I might inspire you in some way. At some point, I think I’ll do that. Lord knows I’ve acquired a lot of good gems over the past few months and I’d love to pass those on to you.

But today, I just want to honour the fact that I achieved something special for myself.

In 9 months, I created something (cool) from nothing.

I had a vague idea and I gave myself permission to follow it through from concept to end product. I said yes to hard work, a big financial investment and a steep learning curve.

I’m so proud of myself and of the Boss of Me Tees brand. I feel like I wouldn’t be walking my talk if I pretended otherwise.

If there’s one thing I could invite you to do, it’s this: Stop stepping over your achievements.

Instead, acknowledge the effort and courage it took to create something from nothing. Enjoy the moment before you jump ahead into new markers of success.

Whaddya say? Will you join me in celebrating what you accomplished this past year? The new website you built; the new program you created and launched; the new e-book you wrote; the retreat you lead; the clients you helped;  and the ideas you believed in. You truly are remarkable and you deserve to be witnessed.

Being an entrepreneur can be lonely and competitive and like we’re always trying to out do ourselves. It’s important to pause long enough to hold up a mirror to our accomplishments –big and small– and remember that they matter. Thank you for taking the time to be a witness to your own journey–and to mine!

In the comments below: I would LOVE for you to share an achievement you’re proud of. What can we celebrate with you?

Want to learn more about my new business? Check out these super soft, Canadian made bamboo tees right here. We’re also on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest.

And.. we’ve also SOLD OUT of our signature I’m The Boss Of Me tee already! Superrr exciting.

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Tweets Made Easy (Thanks for sharing!)

 

Celebrate the ways in which you’ve created something from nothing. via @jacmcneil Tweet this!

Stop stepping over your achievements. Pause long enough to witness your own efforts. via @jacmcneil Tweet this!

Love,

Jac

Credit: All Boss of Me Tees photos taken by the amazing Rebecca Clarke.

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The decision to start a 2nd business came down to this: I have never regretted being brave.

In my life, brave has looked like a lot of different things. Little moments I can barely remember when I said yes instead of no or no instead of yes. And life-transforming moments that I can recall in vivid detail.

 

The summer before I started grade 6, I had been swimming in my friend’s pool all day. Worry free, just being a kid. I was still in my bathing suit when my parents sat my brother and I down to tell us they “wouldn’t be living together anymore”. That’s the kind of news that makes the world go small, time stops. In those brief seconds, when time was frozen, a great calm came over me and I decided that no matter what happened I would be ok. That was a brave moment for an 11 year old.

No regrets.

In the eighth grade, I was walking to a friend’s house after school when I got shoved down by an older girl who wanted to start a fist fight with me. She had her entourage with her and she kept shoving me from behind. Shoving and taunting. I kept walking away. Head down, heart racing with fear. But, something rose up within me and I turned to face her. I yelled as loud as I could “LEAVE ME ALONE!”.  She didn’t. And, her bully-crowd laughed at me, but the point is, in that moment I was as brave as I ever could have been.

No regrets.

When I was in high school I fell in love. I’m talking head over heels in love and for the next 6 years I stayed “in-love” and in an unhealthy relationship–the kind of relationship I hope my two little girls never experience. The day I said “Good-bye. It’s over.” was the bravest of days for me. Heart-breaking, but brave.

No regrets.

At the age of 21, I backpacked alone for 7 months all over Australia, New Zealand and Fiji. Totally brave and absolutely fucking exhilarating.

No regrets.

I found my brave when I healed myself from a nasty eating disorder at the age of 24. Learning to be a loving friend to my body was brave. Dear Body, I still love you.

No regrets.

My list of brave goes on and so does yours.

Healing, loss, big moves, new jobs, self-employment, speaking up, speaking out, taking risks. We all have a long list of brave. And I bet if you took a moment to reflect on your own legacy of brave moments you would also conclude that you’ve never regretted being brave.

So all of this lead me to this logic: I’m a mom of two amazing girls, so, why not be an owner of two amazing businesses?

So here I am! In December of 2014 I was at my favourite little restaurant sitting across from a friend and she asked me “SO, what do you want for 2015?” And I said: “I’d love to have my own t-shirt company.”

It’s taken almost 9 months to bring my idea into the world. I know. I know. 9mos?! This seems to be a pretty common incubation period for babies and businesses!

The learning curve has been steep. This is a completely different business model than anything I’ve ever done before and yet, the biggest obstacle the entire time wasn’t the learning curve, the time, the start-up costs or getting the support. The biggest obstacle was my fear. Fear dressed up as: who do you think you are to…? what if your idea sucks? what if your designs suck? what if you look silly? what if it costs too much? what if it takes up too much time? what if nobody gets it?

For 9 months, I faced an exhausting list of fear-based questions. With every question I found my brave answer: I’m doing it anyway.

Introducing. . . BOSS OF ME TEES!

I’m thrilled to announce that I’m launching a 2nd business called BOSS of ME TEES where I’ll be creating super soft, 100% Canadian made, inspirational tees for women entrepreneurs and free spirits (there’s A LOT of us out there!). YES!! I am STILL coaching and loving every minute of it. JacMcNeil.com isn’t going anywhere!

I’ve made room in my heart (and my calendar) for two businesses. My website should launch in late September 2015 (that’s my goal). In the meantime, please learn more and follow along on my NEW Facebook page and on Instagram. You can also jump on the #BOMTEES LIST at www.bossofmetees.com .

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Words of Affirmation are my Love Language

My work has always been about empowering women and that continues in this new venture. We can be such a source of strength for each other, brimming with deep compassion, understanding, honesty and courage. I’m grateful for the sisterhood I have with my clients, my tribe and the women and girls in my family. I figured that comfy, sexy tees are a great way of getting this love language out there.

If you’re feeling powerful, put it on, go forth, spread words of encouragement wherever you go. And if you’re not feeling powerful, put ‘em on anyway and wear it till it’s true. Whether or not you’re your own boss – you are the boss of you.

I created Boss of Me Tees so you can be unapologetically you – whether that’s powerful, quirky, bossy, profound or sassy. I’m starting with a few designs and a few t-shirt styles that resonate most with me and my right people. My plan is to keep tweaking, improving and expanding for you.

Thank you in advance for your support and encouragement–if you think this is something that might resonate, please follow along on Facebook or Instagram so you’ll know when the online store is open! Or jump on the #BOMTEES List right here: www.bossofmetees.com.

I don’t know what will happen. How can anyone truly know at the beginning of a new adventure? But I’m deeply satisfied that I didn’t let my fear decide this one for me.

With Love,
Jac

Sweet Tweets

I’ve never regretted being brave. I bet you haven’t either. @jacmcneil’s story of a 2nd business Tweet this!

Whether or not you’re your own boss– you are the boss of you. BIG NEWS via @jacmcneil Tweet this!

Over to you

Tell me about your brave! I would love to hear where you’ve chosen being brave over your fear. Also…what do you think of Boss of Me TEES? Share your thoughts in the comments below! xo

 

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Brand Brilliance with Lani Bortolotti

Welcome to In Her Element, a series that shines a spotlight on some of the remarkable women entrepreneurs I get to work with. The purpose of this series is to demystify what happens in a Brand Brilliance or Thought Partnership; share inspirational success stories; and to highlight tips and teaching points that might help other women entrepreneurs as they walk along their own path.

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If you’re raising a teen or young adult, you’ll want to meet: LANI BORTOLOTTI!

Lani is an academic and career coach who helps students find and follow their true path. She discovered quickly as a teacher and mother of two that teens need a unique combination of empowering life coaching and honest, realistic career counseling to unlock their potential. In response, she has developed ‘Epic Direction’ – a special coaching program for teens and young adults that delivers career coaching in a format they embrace and enjoy.

When I first met Lani, it was clear she was ready to focus her business and her brand in one clear epic direction. Instead of continuing to offer a wide variety of services that included corporate and career coaching for adults, she was ready to claim her niche with teens and young adults. Her zone of genius was getting diluted with too many offers for too many people. Together, we peeled away the distractions and focused in on the work that she was most called to do in the world. Lani is a true expert at helping young adults choose a path that will keep them challenged, confident and optimistic about the future so that’s what we helped her claim — loud and proud!

Lani says:

Teens don’t really think they have all the answers. A lot of them are struggling whether they show it or not. Struggling with school, choices, and career options. We, as parents, want to help them find their way but sometimes we, as parents, aren’t the perfect folks to do that.

Young adults have many people rooting for them: parents, siblings, teachers, guidance counselors; sometimes advisors, tutors, trainers, and specialists too. But not everyone has someone who will carefully, intentionally, and enthusiastically question them, listen to them, assess them and help them chart their course.”

It has been an absolute delight to partner with Lani and to watch her business and brand evolve into a clear and powerful platform with three NEW amazing signature services and a fantastic new opt-in for her e-letter. This amazing woman claimed her point of view and stepped solidly into her zone of genius. Learn more about Lani here.

This is Lani:

1. What were your top goals when you stepped into your Brand Brilliance Partnership with Jac?

  • I wanted to focus on clearly defining my business. I had been offering career and academic coaching services for many years, but it was never really defined as my niche market.
  • I wanted to figure out who my ideal clients really were.
  • I wanted to understand how I could communicate with my “Right People” that what I was offering them was real and authentic and was of great value to them.
  • I wanted my website to look and feel like me and to speak to my “Right People.”

2. Whenever we bring an outsider into the tender secrets of our business it can feel really vulnerable. When you hired Jac, what were you most worried about?

I was worried that Jac would want me to be doing things that I was not comfortable with or that did not feel authentic or real to me. For example, I was afraid that she would want me to start being pushy or want me to do develop a crazy email marketing campaign that would be too “in your face” for me.   But alas, that did not happen! Her methodology includes asking you what feels right and then moving you forward in that direction.

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3. What impact did your work with Jac have in your business (and life)? 

Differentiation is one of the most important strategic and tactical activities in which businesses must constantly engage in. I now have a clear understanding of what makes my business more unique and valuable. I know what the distinct benefits are that I am offering my clients and it all feels right. 

4. What specifically did you achieve?

  1. I designed a fabulous website that I am proud to promote.
  2. I learned about how to produce content and how to offer it through different sources of social media.
  3. I learned to believe in my business and what I am offering.

5. You’ve done incredible things in the last few months, what’s been your proudest moment?

My proudest moment was when I got to share my new website. I finally felt that everything had fallen into place and the time had come for the big reveal. I felt that everything that I had wanted to say since I began working as a career and academic coach was captured in my new website. The feedback was incredibly positive and supportive.

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6. Based on what you learned about yourself in our time together, what’s had the most impact for you? What ideas or concepts do you find yourself wanting to teach or share with others?

I loved learning about my Archetype and how it should impact my brand positioning. Jac taught me that by evoking one archetype strongly and consistently, you enable potential clients to grasp what you’re all about quickly and instinctively. It was fascinating to learn that my Point of View is centered around helping my clients to become more independent and to find their own unique path. They see me as someone who can help them understand their own uniqueness more fully and explore uncharted territory.

7. As our Brand Brilliance Partnership comes to an end, what are the next challenges you’re facing in your business?

Rolling out an effective social media strategy in order to attract my “Right People.” I want to connect with parents and young adults and let them know that I am here to help them in any way I can. I want them to find a direction in life that is engaging and meaningful and in turn improve our world of work.

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8. What worked for you about Jac’s approach, style, expertise?

As a CTI coach, I know that good coaching provides an environment where issues can be discussed in total confidentiality; where people are heard but never judged.  Trust is quickly developed between the coach and client. Jac saw my business as I see it, created an environment where I could trust her and acted as a mirror for me to reflect on my business and make changes that felt right for me.

9. What are your top tips for hiring a Thought Partner or Coach?

Coaching is like dancing—you have to feel comfortable and trust the person you are with. You need to be in the moment and enjoy the process. You need to listen to the music in your own heart and most importantly, have fun!

Lani Bortolotti is an academic and career coach who helps young adults find and follow their true career path. She developed ‘Epic Direction’ – a special coaching program for teens and young adults that delivers career coaching in a format they embrace and enjoy. Learn more about Lani here and follow her on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

Over to You!

What questions do you have for Lani about her work coaching teens and young adults or about her journey to finding and claiming her brand brilliance? We’d love to hear from you.

Tweets Made Easy

Raising a teen? Meet Lani Bortolotti. She’s helping young adults find their epic direction via @jacmcneil.Tweet this!

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This is a guest post by my amazing copywriter and dear friend, Kate Bonnycastle

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Juliet: “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose / By any other name would smell as sweet.” Romeo and Juliet (II, ii, 1-2)

Sorry Bill. It’s the 21st century. Business is complicated. It’s a global market. When it comes to selling your products and services – it’s about way more than smelling sweet.

Entrepreneurs are always trying to describe what they do – in 30 seconds, elevator pitches, bottom lining, and other shortcuts that successfully tell the story of why we do what we do for whom, and why it means so much to us.

So when it comes time to give your e-course, webinar, retreat, service, offer, program or package a name – that name needs to work very, very hard.

Especially when you’re providing services. Your unique offer doesn’t come in a wine bottle, a cookie tin, or a hardcover. There’s no packaging to hint at the particular type of magic and wonder you’re offering.

It takes a good, long think to come up with that spot-on name for your service offering. You want the name to do, essentially, three very important things: Convey your promise, reveal who you are, and appeal to whom you help.

Make a promise.

The name you choose needs to say more about your offer than just what it is. It needs to make a promise about what to expect, how the experience will feel, and the positive change that will occur. Jac McNeil and Krista Smith have invited me to offer up some naming tips at their October Action Academy Retreat – which is a name chock-full of promise itself. With the word ‘retreat’ you already know that it’s special, different, apart from your daily life. You may imagine luxurious surroundings (you’d be right), a deliciously quiet, natural environment (yup) and a cherished amount of time to focus on your business and yourself (hear hear!) ‘Academy’ conveys higher learning. The promise is that even the most seasoned entrepreneur will come away with valuable learning and real aha moments. And you also know that it’s not going to be a sit-back-and-listen lecture series. Have you met these women? It will be vibrant, energetic, and powerful. It will be active, interactive and rev you up for continued action. So much promise in those three words!

Reveal who you are.

The name also needs to fit you, your brand, how you work and why. If your business personality is smart, quick and feisty – like Krista Smith – you want to find names that fit. For example, Krista offers her clients a few different bursts of technology support. ‘Activation Experiences’ quickly identify, solve and remove the barrier that’s keeping a business back. Software School, BrandAlign and Income ID are three punchy titles that get to the point with the power and verve of their creator.

Appeal to your tribe.

Most of all, you want a name that turns people on – on a subconscious, emotional level. And oh, by ‘people’, I mean the RIGHT people. The people who are actually going to benefit, learn, grow from and love what you’re offering. That name needs to speak loudly to them. One of the things I love about Jac’s Brand Brilliance is that it’s like a dinnertime bell for strong entrepreneurs. Savvy business owners value brand strength. Masters of their craft want to go beyond great and reach brilliance. Plus, just the sound of ‘Brilliance’ has a twirl, a thrill, a shiny sparkle to it that rings out to women entrepreneurs.

That’s a lot of responsibility heaped onto a tiny title! Of course, you’ll get a chance to describe your services further on your website, social posts, blogs etc. But when you nail the name of an offer – when it conveys your promise, sounds just like you and rings with the truth of your right people – it’s a delectable hint of all the magic that’s in store.

Kate is a Nova Scotia-based copywriter who adds pop and personality to business writing of all kinds. She works with self-employed Coaches, Healers, Creatives and Game-changers who crave powerful copy, served up with love. Connect with her on Facebook  or Twitter!

Over to you!

When it comes to naming your next offer, product or program what challenges are you facing? What questions do you have for Kate? Please leave a comment below–we’d love to hear from you.

Tweets Made Easy

What’s in a Name? Learn how to come up with that spot-on name for your next offer w/copywriter @bonnykatecastle. Tweet this!

Want to name your next offer? Learn the 3 most important things your name MUST do via @bonnykatecastle.Tweet this!

Kate will be leading a live naming session at our upcoming business retreat! There’s only one week left at earlybird rates.

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Being unapologetically me in my business means showing up online when I’m feeling it (not faking it). It means showing up when I have something I’m excited to share. And to trust that this will be enough for my right people. (So far it has been.)

I use to worry that I wasn’t doing a good job at marketing or that my community would be disappointed in me if I wasn’t blogging every two weeks or showing up daily in social media. But the more work I did to understand myself and to understand my preferences for communicating online, the more freedom and permission I felt to be me and not some made-up-marketing-version of myself.

I’m an INFP. Which means that I have very strong preferences for how and why I do things. I see this play out in my business consistently and powerfully. I build amazing 1:1 relationships. I shine at in-person retreats. I can write beautifully when I feel emotionally connected to the story. My intuition is my super power and I’m incredibly creative when I’m not bogged down in a routine or tight schedule. I’m not bragging. I’m owning my good stuff, putting the spotlight there, strategically leveraging my strengths so I can have a successful business.

But before I knew much about being an INFP I use to think there was something wrong with me because I couldn’t quite “get it together” like my peers when it came to showing up consistently online. I spent a lot of time trying to force something that was never going to be sustainable. I spent even more time judging myself for it.

Accepting myself and owning my strengths has been an important part of my own journey as a woman entrepreneur and I imagine that right now you are somewhere on that journey too.

Here’s what I absolutely know to be true:

There’s nothing wrong with me. I don’t suck because content marketing isn’t my jam.

And, if online marketing isn’t your jam…you don’t suck either.

We all need to be unapologetically ourselves. Which means first understanding who we are and what makes us tick. When we know how and why we do things a certain way we can leverage those strengths in our business and let go of trying to be or do something that isn’t right for us.

Online business is exciting and rich because it openly welcomes ALL personality types. Each of us has a natural preference for how we like to show up online, regardless, of how many times we’re told that we need to do it differently. We will only ever thrive when we do what feels most natural to us.

So please, listen to your instincts. Trust yourself. Be more you in your business.

If you’re not exactly sure how to leverage your natural preferences within your business then please know that I’d LOVE to help. This summer, I have space for two more 1:1 clients. If you’re feeling a tug that a supportive coaching partnership could be the exact right next step for you, please reach out.

**I’d love to hear what you think so please leave me a comment below.

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What to do if online marketing isn’t your jam (first, stop apologizing) via @jacmcneil Tweet this!

@jacmcneil takes a stand for you to be unapologetically YOU in your business. Tweet this!

With love,

Jac

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“I wish I had been more wild and wooly”, she said, holding my gaze before she closed her eyes again. It was two days before she passed away. I sat there on the edge of her hospital bed holding her hand in my hand, stroking her forehead with the other one. I still remember how soft her skin was and how fuzzy her hair felt. She always had a perm.

In the days before her death, she was in and out of wakefulness. In her lucid moments she would repeat “I love you. I love you.” I would squeeze her hand and say those words back to her as many times as I could before I choked up. I made sure she could feel me beside her.

Her hospital room was intimately filled with her children and grandchildren. Each one of us had begun the grieving process wanting to find peace with what was about to happen. Each one of us secretly feeling like we were her favourite. Coveting all the private moments we had had with her over the years, wondering how we’d ever get along without her.

As I watched over her, I wondered what her mind was doing as her body prepared to transition from this world. I decided that whenever she closed her eyes she was able to travel through the memories of her life, scanning each one, re-living her choices and experiences. I believed she was taking stock of her big, beautiful life.

And possibly, “I wish I had been more wild and wooly” was her conclusion.

Margaret was my grandmother. She was 95 and a half when she left this world. Today marks the one year anniversary of her passing.

I’ve wanted to write about her for a long time. But, how do you put into words the magnitude of love you have for someone? I still don’t know.

People talk about legacy. About leaving a mark on the world.

What I know for sure is that my grandmother left a legacy. She showed me how to impact lives in a way that really makes a difference. She modelled love in every aspect of her being.

Margaret taught me that the most important thing you can do for someone is believe in them. I watched her acknowledge the beauty in people until they could see it in themselves. She showed me that physical touch, hugs, rocking and snuggling are the most nurturing things you can do for a child. And that a hot water bottle, flannel sheets and a hot cup of tea can make anyone feel better. And when your kids are driving you crazy just pull them in close and hug them a little tighter.

My grandmother was a magical person to me. I miss her presence in my life every single day.

When I struggle as a mom I ask myself “What would Gram do?”

When I feel self-doubt or question my own worthiness I hear her say: “I wish I had been more wild and wooly.” And then, I’m not so scared anymore.

Dear Gram, it’s been a year of firsts without you. I’d give anything to eat your pancakes today.

I love you.

I love you.

I love you.

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Thank you for reading this very personal post. I hope that some of Margaret’s love and magic reaches your heart today.

If you’d like to leave a comment below, you know I’d love to hear your thoughts.

And, if this touches you in some way please share: I wish I had been more wild & wooly, she said. A personal post by @jacmcneil.Tweet this!

 

 

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This is a BRILLIANT guest post by the wise and lovely Jennifer Louden! Please read through to the end to learn about a special offer for those who are interested in moving Beyond 1:1 services and into a business model of teaching 1:many.

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When Jac asked me to talk about my favorite ways to get feedback for my courses and retreats, I’ll admit my first thought was, “Do we have to talk about that?” Because feedback used to be such a painful topic for me.

I would ask for feedback because I wanted confirmation that I was:

a) Doing a near perfect job teaching,

and 

b) I was reaching everybody and, yes, changing their lives.

Step back with me for a moment, dear reader, and check in – what is underneath your desire to gather feedback? I’ll bet you have more emotionally mature reasons than I had and yet asking yourself:

Why am I asking for feedback?

What kind of feedback do I want?

Whom am I asking?  

will change your feedback game. Right away, you challenge the myth that all feedback is useful when in fact, feedback is not universally necessary or useful. Too many of us ask for it because we think we should or we use it as a way to bludgeon ourselves into doing better or as a reason to quit.

Instead, use feedback to further your own teaching goals and keep your learning growing. It’s about your desires and goals, rather than looking for a stamp of universal approval or anybodys approval for that matter.

Yes, you can totally flop as a teacher and facilitator – I certainly have and no doubt will again – and feedback can be a crucial way to improve what isn’t working or to reach a particular audience more effectively. But only if we allow it in from a place of ‘this isn’t the truth and this doesn’t determine my future: it’s just an opinion. I decide what I do with it.’

Okay? Good!

Then here are some practical tips for how to gather feedback:

1 –Eliciting feedback

Don’t wait until the end of a course or retreat but gather throughout – at the end of each section, each day, each circle, halfway through a one-hour webinar. This helps your participants learn.

We don’t learn until we reflect, so by asking your students, “What has had heart and meaning for you in this section?” or “What has been most valuable for you so far?” their learning has a better chance of sticking. And the benefit for you? You capture their juiciest insights before they fade. These can then, with permission, be turned into sales page testimonials.

During TeachNow, I offer an incentive with a feedback deadline to encourage them to make the effort to reflect.

Also, by asking throughout the course or midway in a shorter offer, you avoid the “got to go” or “I’m tired” that happens at the end, leaving you with no idea how your teaching landed – which can leave you feeling blah.

2-Interview three of your just right students 

It never ceases to amaze me how much more I learn about what works – and doesn’t – when I am willing to get on the phone with students that I love working with and ask lots of questions. I make notes and record (you can use a free conference service or buy a digital recorder that works via Skype). Be willing to keep asking the same questions in different ways, like:

What has had lasting value for you?

Whats different?

What was your biggest hesitation about working with me?

What isnt as hard for you now?

What have you done since the class ended? What arent you doing anymore? 

What was your favorite exercise / section / part?

Follow your intuition and let yourself be a nosy reporter, and be patient. It takes people awhile to get to their best insights. You just might be amazed.

3-Handling negative comments

Remind yourself that they aren’t the truth, they are someone’s opinion. The feedback is as much about the person giving it as it is about your teaching. Perhaps ask a friend to be with you when you read the negative comments or to help you process them.

Ask yourself:

Is this person my just right student? 

Is this who I want to serve?

Are they ever going to connect with me or my material?

Do I agree with any of part of their comment, even if it stings?

Can I remember that I am not my work?

Am I getting this type of feedback from more than one person?

It’s also always worth remembering the growth mindset vs. the fixed mindset when encountering feedback. The growth mindset basically believes, “goodie, room for improvement, and boy, don’t I love a challenge!” vs. “I can never do this, I’m a fake, and now I’ve been found out.”

Growth mindset or not, it’s still just an opinion and there will always be people you cannot please or reach. Trust me on that!

4-Make a simple, clear plan for how you will implement any feedback you agree with 

Name the steps you will actually take and when, instead of leaving the feedback in the vague ‘someday I’ll do something with it’ place or the ‘hang over my head because I should do it but have no intentions of doing it ever’ energy draining place. Make a plan, keep it simple, and delete the rest. For example:

A post-it note by your computer reminding you to pause more often and speak slower

Recording an additional audio about marketing (I did that for the last round of TeachNow when I got feedback from two students who wanted more nitty-gritty marketing help)

Interview graphic designers to create better designed collateral materials for your handouts

5-Dont forget to ask yourself 

Plan some time for your own reflection soon after teaching: What did you love? What worked best for you? What would you like to try next time? Give yourself ten minutes to free write or have a session with a teacher friend where he or she listens to you and makes notes, then reflects back to you what was heard. Because in the end, it really is your own intuition and heart that will lead the truest way to teaching with presence and love.

OVER TO YOU!

In the comments below, please share a takeaway or tip that stood out to you and cement your own learning. Thanks for reading and thanks to Jac for having me!

Jennifer Louden is a personal growth pioneer who helped launch the self-care movement with her first book, The Woman’s Comfort Book. She’s the author of 7 additional books on well-being and whole living and has been teaching retreats and leading workshops since 1992 and creating vibrant on-line communities and innovative learning experiences since 2000. Her current course, TeachNow, was created to help

>>SPECIAL OFFER + TEACHNOW!

Many of the women entrepreneurs I work with are in the process of moving from a 1:1 business model into a 1:many business model that leverages their ability to teach many participants at one time. In addition to the work we do together, I always recommend the course TeachNow.

For me, it’s the one course that has helped me grow my business the most even though it isn’t a business course. I highly recommend this course both for it’s rich practical application but also because Jen Louden does such a killer job of modelling vulnerability and confidence at the same time.

For any one who signs up for this course through my proud affiliate link I will happily give you a 45 minute 1:1 Strategy Session with me (via Skype) focused on a new offer, course or program you want to get out into the world by teaching 1:many.

LEARN MORE ABOUT TEACHNOW IN THIS FREE WEBINAR!

If you have any questions about my experience in TeachNow, please feel free to leave a comment below or private message me through my contact form.

Here’s to you and Teaching NOW!

xo Jac

TWEETS MADE EASY

Teaching a course or program? Learn 5 brilliant ways to get feedback that’s meaningful by @jenlouden via @jacmcneil. Tweet this!

Finally, a way to gather *meaningful* feedback for courses & retreats by @jenlouden via @jacmcneil. Tweet this!

When it comes to gathering meaningful feedback don’t forget to ask yourself (+ more tips) by @jenlouden via @jacmcneil. Tweet this!

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Brand Brilliance with Lisa Chandler

Welcome to In Her Element, a series that shines a spotlight on some of the remarkable women entrepreneurs I get to work with. The purpose of this series is to demystify what happens in a Thought Partnership or Brand Brilliance Experience, share inspirational success stories; and to highlight tips and teaching points that might help other women entrepreneurs as they walk along their own path.

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Meet the Prince Edward Islander, Single Mama (by choice) and Coach Extraordinaire – Lisa Chandler!

Lisa’s coaching style has been compared to “a business suit with a silk blouse underneath.” This has less to do with how she actually dresses (t-shirt, yoga pants and sand between her toes when possible) than how she helps with all the things that need to be buttoned down in business (policies, processes, systems) and all the things that need to be woken up (big dreams about what’s possible, new product innovation, and how the work gets done).

I first met Lisa for coffee as she was passing through to lead a workshop. I was instantly attracted to her down-to-earth presence mixed with her laser sharp business mind. Such a wonderful combination. Lisa is the first female ENTJ (for you Myers Briggs aficionados!) that I have ever worked with and I loved how our partnership unfolded. She’s not only an experienced leadership coach, she also has a personal story that I find incredibly inspiring. She chose to have a child on her own and then, after years of working in fast-paced Montreal, she relocated herself and her sweet daughter, Lali, back to her home town in Prince Edward Island to be close to her family.

It has been an absolute delight to partner with Lisa and to be her sounding board and confidante as she reshaped her brand and brought a new website and service into the world. Most people know about beautiful Prince Edward Island because of Anne of Green Gables–well I’d say that Lisa Chandler is putting this sweet Island back on the map. Learn more about Lisa here.

This is Lisa:

1. What were your top goals when you stepped into your Thought Partnership with Jac?

I was singularly focussed on revamping my Chandler Coaches website which I had outgrown. Before hiring Jac as my Thought Partner, I had been going in circles on my own, struggling with my purpose and strategy for the site.

 

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2. Whenever we bring an outsider into the tender secrets of our business it can feel really vulnerable. When you hired Jac, what were you most worried about?

When I think back, I would say it was the cost. As I coach myself, I truly believe in coaching but somehow when it came to coaching for my website, I paused as I was reluctant to spend $ on top of the web design and programming costs. Once I realized I would get web strategy with Jac, the investment felt worth it.

3. What impact did your work with Jac have in your business (and life)? 

Jac was the partner I needed when I was feeling like an isolated entrepreneur. We had the good fortune of sharing a coffee face to face in June of 2014 thanks to a coaching friend who introduced us. I had no intention of hiring a coach that day but as Jac sat across from me asking me some tough and caring questions, I realized she was the partner I was missing for my web work.

4. What specifically did you achieve?

The end result is a great new site www.chandlercoaches.com! It represents me and my coaching business so well. It doesn’t look like what I originally had in mind and yet it reflects me so well. The site doesn’t feel like I am marketing myself in an uncomfortable way. Instead, it tells a concise story about who my ideal clients are, what they get when they coach with me and what I am about. It also makes it easy for my ideal people to figure out how to work with me.

Beyond the site, my thought partnership with Jac helped me be courageous about business development pursuits and helped me refine content for a few group coaching sessions I led.

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5. You’ve done incredible things in the last few months, what’s been your proudest moment?

Completing my site was a proud moment BUT I am more delighted that I met a wonderful guy last fall. While it may not seem linked, I believe that feeling more settled and inspired in my business has helped me turn my attention to matters of the heart.

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6. Based on what you learned about yourself in our time together, what’s had the most impact for you? What ideas or concepts do you find yourself wanting to teach or share with others?

For the longest time, I have worked with my own clients to help them identify their right clients and to become crystal clear about their own brand. My work with Jac hammered home for me how important this work is. I loved her methods and her energy. I also loved how Jac took a strong stand on issues that came up for me as this pushed me to process my thoughts to come up with better answers.

7. As our Thought Partnership comes to an end, what are the next challenges you’re facing in your business?

It’s been a few months since Jac and I wrapped up our coaching. As time passes, it is becoming more and more apparent that I would love to partner with others to create great programs versus working alone. I delight in my clients’ accomplishments and feel privileged to be brought in to their business worlds. I know that partnering with others would help me bring greater innovation and inspiration. One of my goals for 2015 is to be on the lookout for how I can create partnerships in my business.

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8. What worked for you about Jac’s approach, style, expertise?

Jac is playful, spunky and fun. She can also be methodical, strategic and goal oriented. That ability to dance between fun and focus really worked for me.

9. What are your top tips for hiring a Thought Partner or Coach?

As a coach who has hired a number of coaches, my best advice is to be open to being coached and the coaching process. My second piece of advice is to trust your gut. If what you read about the coach feels like what you need at the time and you have a good connection when you first meet, dive in. It is up to you to make the investment worth it.

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Lisa Chandler coaches established entrepreneurs & professionals (i.e. lawyers, accountants, consultants) in Atlantic Canada and all over North America. She helps them grow their businesses on their own terms: for freedom, financial rewards and meaning. Sometimes her clients need a sounding board, a champion to stretch them, or a confidante to talk through tough decisions. Other times, they need structure, skills and accountability around how to develop business. Lisa’s clients love how she dances between challenge and support to help them achieve strong business results. Find Lisa at her site or on LinkedIn.

Let’s Connect in the Comments

Many of us are struggling with making big decisions and managing competing priorities–kids, business–even moving. I think Lisa is such a wonderful example of how it is possible, and she shows us that when you really want something, challenges can be met and overcome. What struck you about Lisa’s story? We’d love to hear from you in the comments!

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Meet the Business Coach putting Prince Edward Island back on the map! @ChandlerCoaches via @JacMcNeil. Tweet this!

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