How do you introduce yourself at networking? How do you convey your services to others?More importantly how do you make your customers feel?
This is something I have always struggled with in my mentoring service. You can list the benefits like clarity and more time and carefully planned goals. Does that get you excited about the service or give a feeling/emotion, I think not.
I always look at what my client needs from the relationship each time, I need to ensure that their expectations are known and make it clear how I work. After conversations this week I have seen that this is not always the case leaving individuals frustrated with the gap between what the expect and what they receive in the work that is carried out. I am interested in how you ensure that this is clear.
Do you ever find it hard to convey how your client feels when they experience your services? I have been asking my clients for testimonials which helps with recommendations but just lately I have asked differently. I have shared that I find it hard to put the experience into words so that others can understand what it is like to work with me. Today I received the following story that I am truly grateful for and wanted to share with you. I ask that you read to the end as my USP that I have failed to convey is finally getting into words by my clients and I cannot thank them enough for bravely sharing what they feel.
So I ask you to do the same and look forward to hearing your stories.
Angela isn’t simply a rare breed of business mentor, she’s a rare breed of person. Ever since I met her (in 2016), I knew that when the time came, I wanted to work with Angela to help me to make my vision a reality… way over and above any of the typical, ‘find them at every business expo’, ‘dime-a-dozen’ (probably lovely and highly skilled), ‘franchise-esque’, business mentors.
Angela’s portfolio of very happy clients (which now includes me), doesn’t just stem from her extensive and broad ranging industry knowledge, or the battle scars won from her days spent competing (and consistently coming out on top), from within the senior ranks of a highly demanding and highly competitive engineering background… But also from, a) the fact that Angela conveys a level of compassion, sincerity, humanity, warmth & drive that is both endearing and enormously refreshing, b) the fact that it’s immediately apparent that she really, really, really wants to get you across the goal line, and c) prepare yourself… Because Angela has the most frighteningly astute level of intuition that you’re ever likely to come across. Even of you’re not consciously holding anything back from her, she’ll come running in with “Something’s telling me that I really need to say/mention / discuss this” and its relevance and profundity will floor you every time.
Angela, thank you, sincerely. I am so, so looking forward to the road ahead. I’m ready. Let’s do this.
We all want to achieve our vision sooner rather than later. Chances are that with a really big vision we are in it for the long haul. How can you stay the course and drive purposeful action to make your dreams reality?
I have many passions, but my big ‘Why’ of helping to prevent tigers from becoming extinct and my business are interconnected. Supporting tigers and the charities that work for them is not going to be a quick fix. I am not having big fundraising events, I am growing a sustainable business and donating money from selling my book “A business Journey for Tigers”. This way I can contribute long term and consistently to the cause by slowly linking to more and more services and products.
The vision for your business is always woven into your own journey through life. Events and people influence your ‘Why’. The struggles we must negotiate can seem to come in waves that hit us time and again and shape our approach to business and the universe as a whole. My personal journey sustains my vision and boosts my enthusiasm for my work.
One of the defining points in my life was having to leave my engineering company and life long career. During this time, I lost my dad to cancer, had a fall and 4 hernias operated on at once and had major spinal surgery. I kinda think the universe was trying to tell me something! There is one quote that sticks in my mind from this time from the author Robert Tew: “Stop fighting yourself and accept where you are in life. Let this time in your life motivate you to let go of all the things that are holding you back” The idea of my business White Tiger was born out of this time. I started a business from scratch with the aim of supporting and mentoring business leaders to bring Quality into the board room and get it right – this included ISO9001. Helping them to gain new perspectives on what the quality role was within the business, identify the gaps and risks and improve; enabling them to get ready for more sustainable growth. To start with I had no customers, but I did have a vision for what I wanted to achieve to help people in their businesses. Today I mentor those leaders and I am still on the journey…
It’s that warmth I get from making a difference that adds to the drive, linking in to the feeling. I think that this should be added to the destination for any entrepreneurial journey; to be able to share knowledge and help others. When we fan the flames of someone else’s fire we cannot help but get warmed in the process.
Control or Concede
Picture the scene; you are ready to do the victory dance across the finishing line. Your dream is within your grasp. You look up to discover another hurdle and it will take that bit longer than you had anticipated to get to where you had pinned your hopes. Then a voice inside you says; “be patient you are doing this”. Sometimes that voice is not strong enough to dispel the hit squad of demoralising thoughts and discouraging feelings. These pauses in our business are sometimes the hardest to deal with. How do we de-stress from this and ease the journey? Every response we make to people and events, whether it’s out of habit or consciously thought out, is a choice. A choice to take ownership of our actions or to place blame on someone else. It’s our choice to decide who is in control of our lives.
Either you run the day, or it runs you.
When we are in victim mode we perceive our circumstances to be controlled by external forces, we give ourselves permission to not apply ourselves and move forward. We allow ourselves to give in to self-pity and pessimism. We don’t grow, mature or learn from our actions and mistakes, even though we know that to be an effective leader and entrepreneur we must do the opposite.
I could have chosen to stay in victim mode when I had surgery on my damaged back. I was broken but not beaten. I chose to fight for what I wanted, however small. I connected deeply to my ‘Why’ – what was driving me to get off the morphine the very first day I used it? The answer, my family and all I had planned for my life – nothing was going to stop me!
A great example of how the end goal and vision can help is my great physios at Frenchay hospitals that that helped me for a whole year. They asked me “what was it that I really wanted to get back to doing?” I wanted to play football and games with my children and get back to one of my loves, bodyboarding with them too. So the physios connected my vision to the exercises and even had me going up and down the ward dribbling a football to regain my balance and strength. Led on an inflatable ball doing swimming actions and even though some may of been standard exercise to me they were linked to where I wanted to go. Recovery is a frustrating journey small steps, slowly getting stronger wanting to run before you can walk but hitting a set back if you do. Everything in my toolbox helped me then and is still helping me now.
One of my best pieces of advice was that we must invest in continuous growth, recognise and be aware of what pushes our buttons – what starts us on the decent into victim mode? Be very clear about what this looks like and get armed with the tools to get out of it. This is why I am writing this blog, we have amazingly powerful minds that can control how we feel we just need help to access this. Try this object displacement exercise:
Take any two objects. Hold one in your hand and focus on the worst experience of your life, feel that emotion and what it does to your body. Now put that object down and pick up the second. This time imagine one of the happiest proudest moments of your life, feel that elation run through you for a minute. Now place both objects in front of you and realise how quickly you were able to go into and control those feelings. What happens if you pick up both objects now, you cannot feel both emotions at the same time can you? We can choose what to focus on through vision and experiences.
To make the shift we must take time to pause, reflect and ask ourselves in each situation we face:
“What is my ideal outcome?”
“What is the intention behind my response?”
I guarantee that most situations that you face where someone has reacted badly to you is not about you at all. What they are going through, bad experiences that relate to the event or even what they face ahead of them will be impacting the judgement they have made in their response.
Who are we blaming for the things that happen to us? What are we turning to for ‘rescue’?
Something I try and do for my clients is to keep the fire burning even when it’s raining. The lovely part of my job is that I hold that safe space and believe unconditionally in them until they are able to do it with the same faith and trust. As I touched on earlier I believe this to be the ultimate goal of each part of your journey, not just to get there but to be able to pass your experience and understanding on to help others.
If we so desire, we can inspire the lives of many long after our physical presence is gone. What legacy do you want to leave?
We are all allowed these doubting moments, time to grieve maybe or reflect. What we need to do to keep the balance for a healthy mind and to not let those moments become a bad day, week, month or even year. In fact I recommend getting to know these feelings well, all too often we avoid them and ‘keep busy’ but then we don’t get to the bottom of what’s causing those deep feelings. We tend to anchor onto something to blame because it’s easier and quicker; just pin it on something and move on.
So, what do I have in my toolbox that helps me overcome them? The secret is to have a toolbox full of many solutions to help with the steps and stages of moving beyond the doubt. I want to share some of my toolkit and hope it makes a difference to you and inspires you to come up with your own.
Toolbox 1 – Reflect & celebrate
Sometimes we can get so hung up on the past that we cannot get out of our own way, especially if something didn’t work out as we hoped. The past has no power to stop you achieving your vision or being present in the now to act. It is our grievances with the past, emotional baggage and old thought patterns, that stops us in our tracks. Recognise these, change your mindset, retrain your old thought patterns and you will achieve your goals. We can sometimes forget to celebrate, not from an ego perspective, but from a self love and gratitude perspective. We can fail to celebrate all that we have achieved on our journey, failing to look back down the mountain at the height we have climbed. When we look at what we have achieved and overcome, then what is in front of us can diminish in comparison. I believe the universe does not give us anything we cannot handle. If we fail to tackle the stones placed in our path head on and learn, the lesson will get bigger until we take note and change.
Being constantly crazy busy and moving from one project to another is seen as a show of success. If we don’t take time to pause and celebrate the success of a project or stage in our business, we rob our souls spiritually and of motivation further down the line. This doesn’t mean a post on social media either, it is something personal with and for us to pause and reflect on what our achievement.
The other purpose of this is to calibrate our internal sat nav to accommodate our shifting expectations. We will not always want the same thing even if our overall purpose doesn’t change. Imagine a pilot flying over a picturesque lake in the mountains and telling his crew about how he used to fish in the lake dreaming of one day becoming a pilot. Now he sits there wishing he had more time to be sitting fishing in the lake again. Over time and as our life situation changes, we will have different requirements and desires. This must align with your business as it is the vehicle to deliver the life we want to live.
ACTION – Pick some moments, experiences and achievements and be ready to relive them at will; write them down. Sometimes it helps to have an object in the toolbox that you associate with the memory.
Toolbox 2 – Revisit your ‘Why’ & your purpose
Having a clear and detailed picture of your vision is important, and as you reach each milestone. Reflecting and celebrating checking in with yourself and your purpose can help to refocus you, check the thermostat occasionally. How detailed is your vision? Can you smell the flowers you’ve planted or hear the sounds of the place you are visiting? Have you picked out what you are wearing to that award ceremony? It’s ok to daydream and we need to emotionally go there and be that person every day, then act as if it’s already happening around us. The emotional connection sends the energy and vibrations out into the universe to attract this into your life. These 2 steps in themselves will start to elevate things and raise our energy. What can you use in your toolbox to help you visualise?
Try creating a vision board or dream board, make this very visible e.g. your screen saver.
Set yourself reminders on your phone, use it for your vision statement which is already in the past tense because it is already there. For example I have a phone alarm that reads, I am so very grateful that I am able to touch and help the lives of 100 people a month.
Set an alarm for a 5min visualisation every morning where you visit your vision, as Mike Dooley says get physical and shout out a big Woo Hoo if you need to!
Toolbox 3 – Positive mental anchors
Just as we grow in confidence when things go well, we can deflate when things are not going as expected and our self-worth can drop. Fear and worry can creep in based on assumptions not on fact. Fear can come from a lack of control when we don’t know how to overcome a situation. In these moments we are often living in our emotional brain rather than our logical brain making rational thought difficult. At times like this we need to harness our thinking process to an anchor, a fact we know to be true. Can you write down some facts, quotes that you can say that you know to be true and that will inspire you? Ask yourself what is the outcome of giving up your vision? It may give temporary relief from the stress, but what a void to fill in your life. Remember that emotion; now compare it to the emotion tied to your vision. Reflect on a saying that particularly resonates with you, ones that I like are “out of pressure comes a diamond” or, “not all storms come to disrupt some come to clear your path”. Sometimes just to pause and step back and ask a question like “Is this frustration I am feeling enough to derail my vision and am I going to choose to let it? Hell no! Why would you give up something you have fought for and are so aligned with?
ACTION – Write out some facts or inspirational cards and keep them handy. Make a board or picture for your phone lack screen. This could be facts about you or quotes from friends or inspirational people.
Here are some more“Perfect as the wing of a bird may be, it will never enable the bird to fly if unsupported by the air. Facts are the air of science. Without them a man of science can never rise.”or “Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.” or “It always seems impossible until it’s done.” You get the drift, whatever works and it maybe that this element doesn’t suit you – not every toolbox tip with suite everyone and that’s ok.
Toolbox 4 – Who can you follow or look up to?
Surrounding yourself with like-minded people reminds you that you are not alone in your quest, others are experiencing the same thing. This is one of the reasons business networking is so popular. There may be someone there who can support your vision, or you may have an author or speaker whose work inspires you. Who do you know that has walked the path you travel in and succeeded, can you follow them and read about their journey? Even better can you interview them?
They say we become like the top 5 people we surround ourselves with so choose wisely, make sure that the energy you surround yourself with is positive. We all know someone that we could call a mood hoover – try to limit your exposure, especially when you are feeling delicate or facing challenge.
ACTION – Make a list of people and material to follow and read that inspire you, have a book that you can pick up when you need it. Make a list of people that pick you up, who can you call for coffee when you need to hit that emergency button or your low enthusiasm or energy warning light starts flashing.
Toolbox 5 – Positive activities
There will always be something we do that we just know will pick us up and re-energise us, maybe just walking in nature or going to watch a good movie. The quickest way to deal with your negative focus is to focus on someone or something else. Become an expert in encouraging others, lifting spirits, sharing visions. Deposit kindness into their lives. It may not get you closer to your vision, but it will get them on their way and help your self-knowledge. You could also re-read testimonials or letters from clients, read some of your material or projects that have been well received. Exercise and fresh air stimulate fresh thinking and grounds us, even better bare footed so maybe a walk along the beach. A change of scenery from where the emotion crept in will also help your thought processes. Pay someone a visit and have that coffee and conversation you have been planning, talk to a stranger in a coffee shop I do.
ACTION – Take the ideas above and have a list of positive mental activities ready that you can go and do. Is there a place you could go that would get you stirred up and dreaming? Maybe just visiting the plan to get there or travel.
Toolbox 6 – Review and plan for action
Recommit to your plan. Map out the activities you need to undertake to get where you need to be. Are you allocating appropriate time? Reviewing our project plan can give us confidence that we haven’t been side-tracked or shed light on any veering off the path. It can also reignite us with our vision and we become immersed in it again.
ACTION – Set yourself regular times to review your plan and keep yourself on track, keep it live. 90 day, monthly, do what works for you and always have the vision that drives it. For example, imagine you are reading an article written about you or your business at the end of the month, what would it be saying that would have you jumping for joy? Now make that plan and watch out for shiny object syndrome! (see my post on the ideas car park)
I definitely know when I have not planned the way I should, instead of getting up and flying through what I need to do I sit and procrastinate or hesitate. It also has an amazing effect on my mood when I plan correctly and I will explain why. I am not a big fan of ‘Eat that Frog’ the book because I believe we all work differently; for me I have small tasks listed by my CRM that I can tick off quickly first. You know that feeling when you are on fire, flying through your to-do list and striking through everything? Imagine starting your day like that every day and knowing that each little action has been reverse engineered from your big goal – do them and you cannot fail. I hope you get the picture, it’s not always easy to spend lots of time planning but for me the result and feeling I get after the preparation is what gives me the discipline to do it.
Have you given it your best? Then that is good enough, keep going step by step and don’t be hard on yourself as you are taking action. But what if the answer is no? If we know there is more and we chose not to do it then that is different and we need to be accountable with ourselves and check in. Ensure we are not in victim mode looking outside; but instead holding ourselves to task and realising why we were not motivated to do it. What are your priorities right now?
Be aware also that sometimes it’s not a pause or challenge that stops us in our tracks it’s the opposite. Rapid growth, moving too fast, burn out and no balance – these can all make us lose that relationship with life and our business. It becomes a different animal that is not so much fun anymore. As I said earlier don’t associate being busy with success in whatever form that is, choose balance; success could be being able to take a day off the do something fun with your children or a spontaneous trip – you choose what the life you want to lead looks like, then do not lose site of it.
This is one of the reasons why White Tiger exists as a business and why I wrote my book; because I could see this happening in others. People missing out on children growing up, relationships failing, just not happy even though they had wealth to choose whatever pathe they desired. I want to give back time, hope, faith and headspace to people so that they can do what they love and love what they do once again. Now that is a big vision and I believe and trust in it with all my heart.
A FINAL WORD – Repeat after me and celebrate these empowering beliefs!
I AM AMAZING
I CAN ACHIEVE ANYTHING I SET MY MIND TO
POSITIVITY IS A CHOICE
I CELEBRATE ALL THAT IS ME
I AM PREPARED AND READY TO SUCCEED
I AM ENOUGH
THERE IS ENOUGH FOR EVERYONE IN THIS WORLD
THE UNIVERSE IS ALWAYS WORKING IN MY FAVOUR
MONEY IS ENERGY AND COMES EASILY TO ME
Keep adding to this list, see if you can get to 100!!
Are you suffering from a little stress or overwhelm at the moment? How do you stop yourself going into the doldrums and affecting your health? Here are some tips to get you motivated and working through stuff today.
STOP/PAUSE/BREATHE – Yes I know it’s the last thing you want to do right now. The wheels mustn’t stop turning gotta keep everything moving along. You need to connect with your breath and yourself, check in on you and what’s going on, learn to create that calmness and mindfulness for a moment.
If you are worried about something ask yourself “Is it mine?” Are you fretting over something to which you have no control? If yes then let it go it is not your journey, if you cannot change an an outcome by your actions then it is ill focused action. Focus where you can make a difference.
When we just have too much to get done and no time there are various options. You can put more hours in but this is a short term / emergency option and probably the route to overwhelm and exhaustion.The biggest one we tend to ignore is to ask for help, put a brave face on. Another person may not always be able to give time or take a load off but you will get another perspective and friendly support. If you have a team effective delegation is key and this can be an issue for some to let go of responsibility to others. Paying another individual or company is always an option, but what if the only option you see is just you?
We sometimes need to learn to accept that we can only do what we can do, if we have got ourselves into this position the question is why so that we can focus on take steps to ensure we do not let it happen again. The problem is when you are in this state it is not easy to get clarity and plan solutions. We therefore need to lift ourselves up with a mixture of quick wins and feel good prioritised actions.
Quick wins (easy actions to close out quickly) could be a way of helping but cannot take away the larger stuff that is looming over you. Therefore I believe you need to tackle some of each. Choose a couple of things that you can complete easily and quickly; when you start to tick things off your list you will be motivated to carry on because of the feeling it gives you to strike them off the list.
Next ask yourself what one task will make a real difference to the situation and make me feel great if I complete it? Again feel into it and get emotionally attached to the vision of you successfully reaching your goal.
Now focus on this one thing and one thing only and keep at it until it’s done, no distractions. When your done make sure you celebrate, feel good about your achievement. Then pause, breath and repeat.
You can vocalise what you are focusing on to another, then you have an added accountability reason to pursue the action. I practiced all of this today and shared my goal with someone I met networking, told them to ask me next time we spoke. I have now had the most focused session on my book instead of dipping in and out of things that need to be done.
One thing to add is that a to do list is isn’t time bound we may have an expectation of when t will be completed, like a weekly task list. Usually there is no information of how long each item will take us, so how do we expect to know if the list is achievable by the end of the week? Lists like this set us up to fail at our own targets and cause overwhelm, I teach my clients a simple planning process that removes lists and uses other methods to qualify tasks and write action plans that work, are achievable and simply get things done. If you need help with planning or need some mentoring to get you where you need to be, feel free to email me and we can have a complimentary hour chat to go through your current challenges and start you on your way – firstname.lastname@example.org
Ok so your interesting in using a mentor how do start the right way so that you and your mentor understand your relationship needs. One thing to ensure is that you build your relationship first so that you feel comfortable sharing personal experiences and feelings. Secondly be aware of the difference between a mentoring and coaching to find the right person for you. Think outside the box to, a mentor can be found in many places like a close friend, a business club, work colleague or professional mentor.
Now it may be a fine line and there are so many unique businesses out there today that it can sometimes be difficult to spot what is for you, let’s look at what I feel the subtle differences are before we look at starting out with a mentor. I once saw a very good statement distinguishing the two: ‘Mentoring is relational while coaching is functional’.
The dictionary definition is ‘someone who trains you to accomplish a task or goal’ or ‘someone who teaches people to improve at a skill or sport’ also ‘helping them to prepare for something’.
So we have support, training and guidance, all good stuff. I believe that there are definitely a lot of good people that cross over the border between coaching and mentoring and as I say wear many hats. My personal opinion at the extreme end of the coaching spectrum I see is often following a program of knowledge, or even a program set out for you to reach an end goal. The coach has practical tools and techniques or building blocks to use to help you achieve what you need and will hold you accountable to those predefined actions. Driving you to take action for results, your choice is to do or not to do! But what happens when you have other stuff going on in your life not related to the goal that you are being coached towards? I see many different outcomes when this happens.
So where do I see the opposite end of the spectrum in the mentoring role?
If we look at the dictionary definition for a mentor we find ‘an experienced and trusted advisor’ and ‘someone who gives you advice over a period of time’. You can say that it is to teach, support and give guidance, as would any coach. My feedback from clients is that I am a positive influence that inspires them and I would hope that when you pick a coach that this is true also.
Where I feel the difference lies is in the deep personal connection, helping you recognise the path or journey you are on both personally and in business and to clarify the vision you want to achieve. I am always looking at the person on a deeper level and spiritual connection the relationship has to be a good fit for both parties. As I said in my first blog a mentor teaches you to tune into your passion, strengths and core belief system, helping you to shine in the way only you can. Focusing on a mentoree’s total development.
A mentor will stretch you to just beyond your comfort level, not in excess so as to create stress and overwhelm but enable you to reach a potential beyond what you see yourself capable of. This is always where the magic happens! It is being able to recognise that what works for one will not work for another there is no system or course to follow it is all about your journey. ‘Instead of a bag of tools it’s just an empty bag of magic’ as one of my clients said.
My definition of a business mentor is “someone who strikes a balance between expert business advice and the empathy with the individuals personal journey and mindset; getting them personally ready for each step. It is a professional relationship where resources, knowledge and networks are shared to enhance the mentee’s professional and personal growth.”
So how can we make sure that both parties are happy from the outset?
1) Clarify in your head what you want out of the relationship
As best you can write down your expectations and the extent you want that person to play a part in your life. I always say imagine a newspaper article about you in 6 months time what would it be saying? What would you be celebrating and how? Is there anything that you need specific help with?
For example industry knowledge, networking, business skills planning and visualisong. Setting some objectives will ensure that you are clear to your mentor and they understand your personal and professional needs, helping them see if you are a good fit for them.
2) Make absolutely clear the commitment you are both giving
Once you’ve found someone who agrees to be your mentor, make sure you can give the same commitment and share the same passion for your goals and expectations. Your mentor is investing in your future also and needs to be excited by the prospect of working with you. Discuss and establish a regular meeting and/or update schedule.
3) Make a draft plan to start off the work.
At the start there will be a lot of work around establishing where you are and building on what you want to achieve. If you have done your homework and established some preliminary goals/objectives make a list of topics that you would like to cover, areas you might like to discuss. These will prove to be great conversation starters and help you get into the new routine.
4) Talk about your skills.
What knowledge, skills, networks and abilities possessed by you and your mentor are going to benefit you most in achieving your current objectives.
5) Who will initiate the interaction?
Please be clear who is going to do the coordinating and organising, don’t wait for the other to ring being polite.
6) How will you know things are working?
Set up some parameters that you both agree to measure how things are progressing, define what success looks and feels like.
7) How do you handle conflict and feedback?
What would move you to terminate the relationship? A difficult one but an understanding that needs to be clear. It is important to understand that a mentor role is to give advice, but you are responsible for whether you take that advice or not and how you apply knowledge that is passed across. Your mentor must be ready for this; which is why I always say that a family member is not the wisest choice as a mentor. Choose your mentor wisely you do not want someone that is trying to produce a clone! You need to be receptive to constructive feedback on both sides.
8) Maintain confidentiality
The sessions are between you and your mentor, have an agreement in place to maintain that.
My final word is please honor your commitment, mentoring is a demanding job and responsibility so be appreciative of the time you are given Be timely in your responses and show up. Expect support not miracles, we do not solve all problems but the most valuable quality we offer is a different perspective and an eagerly listening sounding board. Why not come and talk to us about it www.white-tiger.co.uk/services/mentoring