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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!

Looking for your own epic direction?

AA2Check out The Action Academy Retreat an epic retreat for women entrepreneurs–> early bird rate ends July 15, 2015.

 

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This is a guest post by my amazing copywriter and dear friend, Kate Bonnycastle. Kate will also be leading a live session at my upcoming Action Academy Retreat in October!

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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. Please check it out below…

 

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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.

Tweets Made Easy!

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 Lived Wilder, She Said

“I wish I had lived wilder”, 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 lived wilder” 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 lived wilder.” 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 lived wilder, she said. A personal post by @jacmcneil.Tweet this!

 

 

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This is a BRILLIANT guest post by one of my mentors, 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!

TeachNow-Affiliates-Badge-230x205Many 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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The-Ultimate-Guide-to-Dealing-with-Difficult-Client-Conversations-by-Jac-McNeil-and-Krista-Smith

 

I’ve seen far too many of you endure unsatisfying client relationships or stay small in your business because you’re not quite sure how to address certain “sticky” situations in a way that feels safe, confident and kind. You worry that if you’re honest or direct you may disappoint or offend your client.

As entrepreneurs, our reputation is everything so the last thing we want to do is offend our client or damage our reputation in any way. Clear, assertive communication is an important element in any successful business, but how do we balance the needs of our clients with our own needs and goals?

How do we stay true to ourselves and also honour the relationships we care about?

How do we approach sensitive topics with kindness AND assertiveness?

How do we achieve a win-win outcome when we’re seeing things completely differently from our client or colleague?

We’re ready to show you how you can confidently and kindly answer these questions within your own business. That’s why we created this value-packed e-course.

This has been a love-filled collaborative project between myself and my dear friend and colleague Krista Smith, that was born out of our desire to share the tools and skills we’ve both been using successfully in our own business for years while supporting our clients.

AND IT’S FREE!

The e-course begins on February 11th and runs for 7-days. One topic each day for 7-days, straight into your inbox. No Facebook forums. No hoops to jump through. Just good solid value from our business to yours.

THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO DEALING WITH DIFFICULT CONVERSATIONS

Learn how to face the hard-to-have conversations in your business with honesty and grace.

In this FREE E-Course we’re sharing:

  • the 3 biggest mistakes entrepreneurs make when dealing with difficult conversations
  • the 5 things you MUST do before your next difficult conversation
  • how to have a difficult conversation without power plays or show downs
  • how to deal with negative feedback from a client without feeling secretly crushed or broken-hearted
  • tips, scripts and best practices to keep communicating courageously

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 Note: This E-Course begins Feb. 11th; you may already be subscribed if you previously opted-in to hear about the soon-to-be-released Communication Kit.

If you know someone who could benefit from this FREE e-course, please help us spread the word!

A few Tweets to make it easy:

New +FREE e-course for entrepreneurs: The Ultimate Guide to Difficult Conversations via @thekristasmith @jacmcneil Tweet this!

Learn how to have a difficult conversation without power plays or show downs. +FREE E-COURSE! via @jacmcneil Tweet this!

Honest-to-goodness problems AND answers for the way you want to show up in biz. FREE COURSE!!  via @jacmcneil Tweet this!

Learn how to have those difficult convos even when they catch you off guard. FREE E-COURSE! via @jacmcneil Tweet this!

Learn how to find a win-win outcome even when you and a colleague aren’t seeing eye-to-eye. FREE E-COURSE! via @jacmcneil Tweet this!

 

 

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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.

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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!

Tweets Made Easy

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

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I spend a lot of time helping women entrepreneurs navigate the turbulent waters of risk and vulnerability. Over-exposure to vulnerability often shows up as lethargy, burnout or dissonance–a general feeling of “meh”. When we trace the symptoms back to the source we tend to find a pattern of too much vulnerability and not enough respite in between.

Let’s be honest. It takes a lot of emotional energy to put yourself (and your art) out there day after day and the more sensitive you are to the noise and feedback from your outer world, the more you need to pay attention to your own internal rhythms and needs for stillness and calm. I believe in honouring our need for stillness and reflection so much that I even created this highly embraced Retreat Kit.

But what if you’ve been hiding out in stillness for a little too long? What happens when a week of solitude and reflection turns into months of inactivity? What do you do if the business you once loved suddenly feels … boring?

When ambition and purpose are your fuel it can feel damn right unsettling, even scary, to be floating through your business without it.

At least that’s how I’d describe it.

I’m emerging from an incredibly busy year. In 2014, I signed on so many 1:1 clients that I stopped making time to market my work. I went radio silent on my blog. I neglected my e-letter subscribers. I rarely showed up in social media. (Gawd, social media can be a real drainer sometimes.)

I became so insulated with an over-focus on my clients that I actually lost my ambition, my drive, my marketing mojo.

What you need to know is that I LOVE my clients. I am genuinely attached to who they are and I care deeply about their growth and happiness. But over time, my actual client work became the only thing I loved about my business.

I created an imbalance that left me with only enough energy and enthusiasm to focus on my clients. I became jaded when it came to anything marketing related. I recognize that in part, that had to do with helping my clients market their business which ultimately drained the creativity and excitement I had for my own.

Let’s just say that 2014 offered me a lot of “lessons learned”. Thank you, 2014.

Hello, 2015.

In December, I made it a priority to do some intentional soul searching. I called on my closest peers and confidantes and talked openly about my fears. I was looking for questions and answers. I wanted to know who else was feeling like this and what the hell they did to fix it.  At the heart of my gigantic feeling of “meh” around marketing and connecting online was a real need to stoke that fire that already lived within me. To re-connect with what I love about my own business. To be willing to slow down on the number of clients I work with so that I can create a more robust and balanced approach to running my own business.

Today, I’d love to share a few things I’ve done to intentionally stoke my own inner fire and breathe life and love back into my business. Each of these actions are renewing my own sense of excitement and possibility. I hope they help you too.

Here are 5 easy, effective and fun ideas to help you fall back in love with your business:

1. Do what’s fun even if it has nothing to do with your business.

I joined my all-time favourite sport: Muay Thai. It’s the real-deal kickboxing where you wear gloves and wraps and throw knees, elbows, punches and kicks. I met a new friend who I adore. I feel empowered, challenged and strong. My favourite compliment is when my partner tells me that my roundhouse kick is so strong it rattles her brain. Seriously, that stuff is fun to me.

Having fun outside my business has helped to lift the “meh”. It reminded me that life is about waaaaaay more than my business. I started seeing the parallels between the mindset of training in an intense sport and the mindset of an entrepreneur. I  remembered that at the heart of what I do is a belief that we are all strong, capable and full of personal power.

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2. Keep talking about what you’re feeling without trying to shift it.

For months I would strike up conversations with clients, friends and peers around the topic of ambition. I stayed curious about what I was experiencing. I asked for other’s insights, experiences and perspectives and I observed my own behaviours and thought patterns.

I stayed more attached to naming what I was feeling rather than trying to shift it. I think giving myself permission to be in it rather than push out of it actually helped it run its course. In fact, the idea of “This too shall pass” rings true for me.

3. Don’t make it about you.

I decided that instead of focusing on how I could make myself fall back in love with marketing that I’d try the opposite. I thought, what if I got out of my own way by making this about my community and not about me? As soon as the idea of being generous crossed my mind I felt a spark of excitement. All I can say is follow the spark!

I created an easy way to give back to my e-letter subscribers by creating a simple “Ten-in-Ten” Draw. Once a week for ten weeks I’ll draw a name from the list of entries to either receive a free copy of my Digital Retreat Kit or a free 45 minute Vision & Strategy Session (in total, I’ll be giving away five of each item). The first draw happens this week. The response has been so heart-warming I may do something like this to kick-off every new year.

Not on my list? No problem. Sign-up and follow the entry directions in my next e-letter.

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4. Get involved with a project or person who DOES have a lot of energy and enthusiasm for their biz.

I was invited to take part in the #Fearlessin15 Challenge which is a free offer and looks like a lot of fun. I loved their exuberance and professionalism in making the Ask and it seems like another fun way to re-engage with my work without having the pressure of it being my own program. This is an up and coming business that offers another perspective on building a thriving business as a woman. I plan to engage in their photo contest and soak up the excitement they have for their own project.

I don’t think we need to be fearless, but I do think we need to be brave and believe in ourselves.

Note – as part of my involvement in this free challenge I’m automatically given an affiliate link to their upcoming course Boss School for anyone who may want to check it out. I haven’t done their program so I can’t speak to it personally.

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5. Follow the whacky out-of-the-box idea that just won’t leave your brain.

I’ve had an idea for months that has nothing directly to do with business coaching. In fact it’s a product idea. It’s too early for me to share any details. It feels like it needs some more protecting before I “out it” to the world. What I can say is that I have hired someone to research the product and I’m creating a plan to bring into the world. I promise that as soon as I have a solid idea of exactly what I’m doing I’ll be shouting it from the roof tops.

My point is that we can’t force ourselves to be excited about something we’ve done for a long time but we can follow the bread crumbs toward that new and whacky, out-of-the-box-idea that just won’t leave our brain (or our heart) alone.

Let’s Connect in the Comments!

Gosh, I really shared a lot here. I’d love to know who else has been feeling bored, unambitious or even falling out-of-love with their business. Let me know where you’re at and if any of my ideas resonate. I’d love to hear from you!

Tweets Made Easy:

What to do if you’re feeling bored, unambitious or even losing your passion for your business. via @jacmcneil Tweet this!

How to fall in love with your business again. via @jacmcneil Tweet this!

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communication kit

My client said to me yesterday: “I think it’s me. I’m just too sensitive.”

She was seriously contemplating throwing in the towel. Too many sticky situations and unpleasant client relationships had taken their toll.

Have you ever wondered if this self-employment Thing just isn’t worth the emotional hassle?

Too many self-employed women endure unsatisfying client relationships or stay small in their business because they don’t know how to address certain situations without disappointing themselves or their clients. They struggle with how to communicate what they want because they worry they might offend someone or damage their reputation in some way.

Instead, they decide to suck it up and just get through it. They default  to martyrdom. And after a while, the resentment creeps in.

I don’t want you to suck it up and I definitely don’t want you opting out of self-employment because you think you’re too damn sensitive.

The problem isn’t your sensitivity. In fact, you’re the perfect amount of sensitive.

The problem is that your communication toolbox is missing a few important tools. It’s as simple as that.

That’s why we made THE COMMUNICATION KIT for you.

It’s a collaboration between me and the amazing Krista Smith and it was born out of our desire to bring to the forefront the skills we’ve been using successfully in our own businesses for years while supporting our clients.

But what is it exactly?

It’s a downloadable self-guided resource kit that includes six stand alone modules dedicated to the most common sticky situations we face in our business. We’ve included easy to follow frameworks, effective scripts, best practices, and practical applications for navigating those bumpy business relationships.

We think it’s the answer you’ve been waiting for. And it’s coming soon!

communication kitInterested in learning more? Please pop over to our Communication Kit Launch Page and leave your email. You’ll be the first to receive the details and special pricing.

Please Spread the Word

We’d LOVE for you to share this with your own tribe of supportive women entrepreneurs–heaven knows we could all use a hand addressing some of this icky stuff without getting derailed or depleted.

A few tweets to make it easy (and thank you!)

The problem isn’t your sensitivity. In fact, you’re the perfect amount of sensitive. via @JacMcNeil Tweet this!

How to get unstuck from sticky situations especially if you’re the sensitive type. via @JacMcNeil Tweet this!

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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; 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 Alaskan Medevac Helicopter Pilot, Coach & TEDx Speaker: LORENA KNAPP!

Lorena is a medevac helicopter pilot and accountability coach. Helping people achieve their dreams has always been her personal go-go juice. First it was the students in her elementary school classroom, then the adults she taught to fly helicopters. But when she transitioned from teacher to helicopter pilot she had to overcome some major resistance – both internal (her inner critic) and external (people around her saying she couldn’t succeed). Her work as an accountability coach has expanded from mentoring female aviators around the world to working with all kinds of people who are ready to expand their comfort zone, make important changes, and live a bigger life.

When I first met Lorena I was totally ‘wowed’ — I mean come on— a female medevac helicopter pilot from Alaska? That’s pretty badass. Then, I watched her Tedx talk and felt completely inspired. This woman has a gift and a personal story that reaches far and wide. I loved the challenge of supporting her to build a business that expresses her creativity and heart even though she has a full-time job she LOVES and has no plans to leave it. People say we have the same time in the day as Beyonce. I say, we have the same time in the day as Lorena Knapp. So get your ass moving.

It has been an absolute delight to partner with Lorena and watch her business and brand evolve into a clear and powerful platform with an updated 1:1 and group offer. This inspiring woman claimed her point of view and stepped solidly into her zone of genius. Learn more about Lorena here.

Meet Lorena:

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

I’ve always had a passion for helping others achieve their dreams. It is my personal go-go juice this has been expressed in various ways throughout my life. First it was in my career as a teacher, then it was when I mentored others, and now it is with my dream job of flying a medevac helicopter pilot in Alaska.

Several years ago I had a life-changing experience that further crystallized the importance of not waiting until “someday” to pursue your dreams. (You can hear more about this in my TEDx talk).

Now not only do I get to fly over a landscape that is as stunning as a Planet Earth video, I help transport people to medical attention so they have more tomorrows. My job is great in that much like being a firefighter, I’m able to do other things while I’m at work as long I’m able to get the helicopter up and off the ground within ten minutes.

My side business as an accountability coach is incredibly rewarding and a creative outlet that helps provide balance to my highly technical job. It is also one more way for me to help people achieve their dreams and create their own “Big Life.”

I hired Jac to help me wade though my own overwhelm, get focused and streamline my business. I had been doing okay on my own but I was ready to take things to the next level. I know how a really great coach can help people move through their fear and limiting beliefs and achieve greater results with greater ease.

I have no intention of giving up my day job so I wanted to meld my side business to fit within my time constraints and the seasonal fluctuations in my flying schedule. I wanted to feel good about what I was doing and know I was doing it well.

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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 create something new, it feels fragile and unable to stand up to harsh criticism. My business was just over a year old and even with my skills as a navigator in the air, I often felt lost as an entrepreneur. I was worried that Jac wouldn’t understand my time constraints and would want me to do more. I didn’t want to “do” more, I wanted to work smarter and more strategically.

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

Working with Jac helped me better understand myself and how I show up (and hide!) in relation to my business. Jac offered insight into how my personality type might excel at things while also struggle with others. She helped me understand that I will always have more ideas than time to implement the ideas which gives my inner critic an endless supply of material to berate me about.

Understanding my primary archetypes was enlightening and I had so much fun with the exercise that I shared it with my family and friends. This helped me customize my website copy to ensure I was attracting my “right people,” the people that I would best be able to help and enjoy working with the most.

I know people often look at my job as a medevac pilot and think, “wow she’s badass.” Don’t get my wrong, I love flying and even today when I watch another helicopter fly overhead I think, How freakin’ cool is it that I get to fly every day? but my “regular girl” archetype has me feel like I’m just a normal person. My regular girl helps me create a sense of “we’re in this together” with my clients while my ruler archetype has a lot of wisdom and experience to offer has me be a more effective coach.

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4. What specifically did you achieve?

As a result of working with Jac I’ve completely redesigned my website in a way that resonates with me and my clients. She helped me accentuate what makes me different in regards to other coaches. To excel in my career, I’ve had to learn a lot about managing resistance (both internal and external). I’m able to share these insights along with an intuitive ability to assess how to help a client navigate their own obstacles to meeting their goals. We updated my group coaching, (Big Life Accountability Support Team) and one on one program (Big Life 1:1 Support Sessions) to highlight some of my specific strengths as a coach.

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

Often when we look around online it is easy to compare ourselves to others and notice where we are coming up short. Jac helped me let go of comparing and create my own “conditions of enoughness” in relation to what I do for my business each today. As a result, the panicky feeling of overwhelm has left (okay, mostly left) and I’m able to feel more at ease. This is success.

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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?

Each of us has an inner wisdom that can guide us (if we listen) to make choices that nurture and fulfill us. Stripping away the protective layers we create to hide and play safe allows others to really connect with who we are and gives others permission to be more fully themselves.

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

I’ve learned to see my business as constantly evolving and that things are never quite “finished” in relation to it. Where I am now is exactly the right spot at exactly the right time and there is know where to “get to.” Based on past results, I know I will be completely delighted and surprised by what develops in the future.

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

Jac is adept at distilling what is on your mind into a concrete thought or actionable step. One of the things I love about working with Jac is they way she is able to blend the intuitive with the practical. Her prompting about “What feels right?” helped me tap into my own inner wisdom. She always comes from a place of what is best for the client, knowing that what works well for the client works well for her business.

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

Make sure that you fit well together. The partnership should challenge you but feel fun and enjoyable all at the same time. I wasn’t sure I was ready for a coach when I first considered working with Jac but she kept bubbling up in my consciousness. I needed someone else who really got me and what I wanted to achieve and help me wade through my own overwhelm and figure out how to move forward.

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Lorena is a medevac helicopter pilot and accountability coach. She helps others determine, implement, and accomplish the action steps needed to achieve their dreams. Her online coaching programs provide weekly support and guidance to tackle the limiting beliefs and resistance that prevents people from doing the things they’ve always wanted to do. You can follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

Let’s Connect in the Comments

Have you ever struggled with having two passions and wondered how you could give attention to both? What struck you about Lorena’s story? We’d love to hear from you in the comments!

Tweets Made Easy

Success story! Meet the Medevac Helicopter Pilot & Accountability Coach @bigstatebiglife via @JacMcNeil. Tweet this!

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