My Hero invested in me many years ago and changed the course of my life forever as well as the course for others. That’s why I say,
‘If you Believe in Them, Invest in Them’
Be someone’s Hero and the reason for their success.
Having a vision without the proper resources is one of the most restricting feelings you can imagine. Some may have a dream of starting a small business while others are fantasizing about changing the world in some way. There are those who just want to break out of the old and rebuild their lives. The reasons are endless. Motivated people may have education and no platform or others have no education but they have drive and determination Either way, when you are ready to leave your mark and you don’t have the tools, it beats down on you… day after day after day after day.
When I was 21 years old I convinced my husband at the time to open an Auto Body Repair Shop. He was well-trained in a vocational school and very good at his trade. I had the background of administration and sales. We had no clue what we were doing but we knew we wanted to do it. No formal college, not a dime to our name. Just drive and passion.
I kept saying, ‘what have we got to lose.’ Even back then (almost 40 years ago) I knew the gold in being an entrepreneur and even though the businesses may have changed, I never looked back to consider corporate America…ever.
What do you do when you have talent, drive, and desire but little or no money? For us, we called HERO, my father. We asked him to borrow $2000 to rent a warehouse. He agreed and I insisted we had a formal payment plan with interest. I drew it up and he signed it. It felt so official.
We didn’t know what to do after that but we figured it out. We got a line of credit from a really supportive paint supplier who stocked our shop with all our necessary supplies for months. They too invested in us. We purchased a beat-up old desk from the phone company and put up a shed in our 900 sq ft warehouse to use as our office because we didn’t have the money to build a real one. We improvised. We knocked on doors for business. We followed up on every lead we had. We eagerly sat outside our warehouse at the end of every day until we finally got our first customer.
Who do you think was the proudest? YES, my father was proud. He was proud from year one. He, being retired, would come in and help out. Everything from driving cars to dealerships we were doing work for, to sweeping the floor.
He was THAT proud of us.
It took us about 2 years to pay back that $2000. We struggled. We ate fish almost every night that my husband had caught and ran up a department store credit card to buy dog food and necessities. We had a blast!! After all, it was OURS and we got to build something amazing. We had a blast even before the break came when all of a sudden we found that we could afford things. First, we bought a car, then a new boat. THEN we took a cruise to Alaska and bought a bigger home. That all began only 5 years into our launching the business.
Do you think my father took responsibility for our success? You’re damned right he did. I am sure he shared about us with his friends all the time! My ex, Frankie and I still reminisce about those good times. Our friends still share about those times. It was something special.
I share this story with you because imagine if my Hero / father hadn’t invested in us. Where would we be? Working jobs. Yes. Earning a nice income, I’m sure. But what we got from having someone believe in us and growing something from a seed was priceless. Since then I had a lucrative Real Estate career and a wonderful coaching business. And guess what? I help others start new businesses. It’s a gift I want to give everyone who has that passion.
As someone who is approached by many entrepreneur wannabes, the part that frustrates me is when they can’t afford me. I kept my fees the same for 12 years to help. I have had my share of ProBono clients to help out. I have become creative to offer affordable support to those who want it. I created groups at my home for women entrepreneurs to teach them about business. All they paid was $5 and if they didn’t have it, they were invited anyway. I do what I can. Today I would like to go a step further.
I’d like to invite the loved ones of these Superstars to come forward and help them out.
They may have asked you for financial support in the past and you declined or they may be too proud to ask. Either way, if you know your loved one has a passion and is challenged by financial resources, offer them help. They may need schooling, coaching or just someone to encourage them to go forward.
Who Invested in You and Changed Your Life Forever? Who was YOUR Hero?
If someone else invested in you, and gave you a future that wouldn’t have been possible otherwise, then this may be your opportunity to pay it forward. If no one invested in you, this maybe be your opportunity to give to someone what you wish had been given to you and change a life forever, including yours.
If you or someone you know has a loved one who needs a partner to help them move forward don’t ignore a creative mind. We need them. If you don’t know how to help, there are many ways. One is that you can consider my Virtual Partner program. It’s a one on one video call experience where we walk through all phases of their needs. I hung up my coaching title and took on this title because its a less authoritative experience. Still, it has a leadership level of support with resources beyond your imagination. It’s just gentler and more freedom based. It consists of all my years of entrepreneurial wisdom combined with fun, empowerment and motivation.
If you think this is something your loved one would love to have, then let’s talk or just go to my Virtual Partner siteand take a look at some of what I offer. If this is NOT what they need, contact me anyway and I’ll help you find what works for your situation.
Please be the hero in someone’s life, believe in them, be proud of them, INVEST in them. They are not the only ones who will benefit. YOU too will be rewarded with the fulfilling feeling of making a difference in someone’s life.
Have you heard of this ‘affliction’ called M.B.I., Multiple Business Identities? You’re probably reading this because you either know someone who fits this title or you are in fact the person who does.
As a business coach and a fellow ‘victim’ of M.B.I., I know many people who have it. They either have a job and a business they are building on the side or they literally have several businesses that they run simultaneously. Depending on who the observer is, this could cause the person with M.B.I. to feel shame or as if they are ‘doing something wrong’ because after all, most people focus on one business at a time. (I don’t know how they do it and I don’t want to) So, when I say are you ‘suffering’ from M.B.I. it’s because many who have it are suffering from what they think about it, hear about it or the way they manage it. Not because they have it.
I personally have several business identities of which I am proud of, think of as my ‘babies’ and am building at the same time. Part of the reason I have M.B.I. is that I research online businesses for my clients and I like to provide resources, educated advice and even opportunities when needed. The other reason I have M.B.I. is that I fall in love with great ideas, projects or concepts and I am not willing to let them go just because I already have 10 others.
Multiple Business Identities, while very common, are usually kept secretive due to the fact that most do not want to be distracted by outside influence – hey we are way to busy to be distracted!
Before we go on, let’s find out if you truly suffer from M.B.I. Because while you may ‘think’ you are afflicted, it may just be a passing fancy. A person with TRUE Multiple Business Identity will recognize themselves in one or more of the symptoms.
Symptoms of M.B.I.
If you have several business cards with your name on them and they are all current
If your LinkedIn Profile looks more like a lifelong resume
If you have several Facebook groups/pages and multiple twitter / social media accounts in order to profile all of your businesses.
If you wake up in the morning and say ‘Which business should I work on today?’
If you go to a Networking Group and you hesitate for a moment when someone asks what you do. (trying to figure out which of your business identities best suits the person you are speaking to)
If your coach is telling you to choose ONE business and build only that one, but you don’t know which to choose and your heart tells you not to.
If you are wildly passionate, talented or just plain interested in many things
If your friends and family are worried about you and might even think you have a ‘serious problem’
If you are REALLY taking the ‘you should have multiple streams of income’ statement very seriously.
Causes of M.B.I.
The causes of M.B.I. vary among those afflicted. It occurs mostly with having a particular mindset similar to those listed below.
Inspired by others with M.B.I.
Loves money and wants several platforms for earning
Passionate about so much, not willing to choose
Multitalented and doesn’t see why they have to choose only one
Wants to be a disrupter in the world and doesn’t want to choose (are you seeing a pattern here?)
Doesn’t think living 85 years is enough time to get it all done so they must overlap
So, obviously, the common thread in the cause of M.B.I is the fact that those who have it, want it all, and are not willing to choose.
Treatment for M.B.I.
While there may not be a cure for M.B.I. mostly because those afflicted don’t want to ‘recover’ from it. There is a way to live with it more comfortably.
Stop listening to those who don’t GET YOU! – You won’t change their minds and let’s hope they don’t try to change you.
Unless it’s bothering you, there is nothing wrong. Be proud of your M.B.I.
Know that it’s possible to manage them all and make money
If you are suffering from overwhelm, lack of support, structure or knowledge on how to manage your M.B.I., find a fellow M.B.I.’er who can share their experience, strengths and hopes with you and help make M.B.I. more doable, lucrative and fun.
Final words for those with M.B.I.
While it may not be fully supported in the mainstream, yet, M.B.I. is becoming more and more common among entrepreneurs. Maybe you have M.B.I. or maybe you just need to earn with one business while building another. It can range from having a Main business and a network marketing business to having several of each. I myself manage my consulting business, an e-commerce store, an affiliate marketing business and a few network marking businesses and I have a few more in the pipeline. Whatever your reason, I would like to say, it’s OK. For some, that’s all they need to hear. It’s OK and you are not crazy. (OK, I really don’t know if that’s true)
So my advice to you is to come out of the closet and seek out others with Multiple Business Identities There is nothing to be ashamed of, especially if you are muli-successful!
Fran Asaro is a Virtual Partner bringing humor and companionship to entrepreneurs and multi-preneurs who don’t want to do it alone. Along with a lifelong entrepreneurial bank of resources, wisdom and secrets, having Fran as a Virtual Partner will help provide many levels of support to your personal and professional life
Contact Fran if you’d like to find out more about her and to see if having a Virtual Partner is right for you.
A message from a fellow M.B.I. – After reading this article, a friend/colleague of mine wrote the following comment. I asked her if she’d allow me to post it here and she agreed. I thought it was important enough to profile it and not lose it among any comments.
From Patricia HartfieldThanks so much Fran Amendola Asaro I read this entire article it was very helpful as a few weeks ago my mom advised me that her friends supposedly see me on FB and won’t do business with me or buy from me cause I’m all over the place. I’m like Really-and it was hurtful in a way as I don’t advertise a lot about my businesses that I’m involved I mainly share Wellness info as a Self-Care Wellness Educator… I’m in doTerra and used to share that but now only use for Personal aspects of things not as a business. I’m in Nikken but I work and share it Part-time something I could not let go and now I’m in training and starting a Skincare and Facial Exercise business. One thing that I have noticed that no matter what businesses I have been plugged into they all have been consistent in ways of Wellness and Fitness is what it all comes down to. Now if I go from Wellness and Fitness to doing jewelry then I can see the complaint but at this point, I don’t. So your article of being an MBI person was well-needed today-one of my dosha’s in Ayurveda is Creativity-and that I can definitely agree with thank you.
This is step 2 to Mastering Time Freedom – A Simple 5 Step Solution to Overwhelm. If you have not yet done step 1 yet, I recommend you begin here.
So, now that you’ve completed your Purge List I hope you are experiencing a sense of relief already. As we discuss Step 2, I would like to preface it by saying that Mastering Time Freedom is a foundation for you to anchor into. You may stick with it as your new way of organizing your life, or you may waiver.
I’m asking that you do all the steps involved, even if you modify them in some way, so you reap the full benefits of the system. Think of it as a recipe that would not taste the same if you left out an ingredient. You might substitute to meet your preferences, however.
So, here is your next step:
Purchase or Download a Week at A Glance Calendar – In order to have a visual of your life, a week at a glance provides more of a perspective than a day and it’s less overwhelming than a month view. Think of the days when you went to your Doctor office and they had a large week at a glance calendar on their desk to schedule appointments. It was a Birdseye view that was efficient and effective. I know this is a simple step, (aren’t you glad) however, in order to be prepared for the next 3 steps you’ll need time to get one ready.
Choose – Decide whether you are going to purchase an inexpensive calendar or download a PDF form or if you have one in your Outlook program (which is what I use) you are ready.
Get Creative – If you don’t like the traditional week at a glance, create one on your wall or on a poster board.
Don’t do anything with it just yet. That’s coming soon.
Tomorrow we begin breathing life into your Time Freedom system. I’m excited, are you?
Ok, this completes day two of the Mastering Time Freedom Series. Feel free to sign up for this blog to receive each step of the series in your inbox. If you are looking for additional support with mastering your time, contact me.
For more information on how I can help you in life and business, learn more about having a Virtual Partner
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Whether you are new to being a business owner or a seasoned professional, you will undoubtedly bump up against those who need or request your services for Free. We all have our philosophy about how to manage Pro Bono clients but sometimes what we want to do and what we actually do are two different actions. Possibly because we are influenced by what others are doing, saying and judging on.
I’ve known and been very grateful for those who have contributed to me in my life when I couldn’t afford them. One of the main reasons I became a business coach was to help people who love what they do SO MUCH that they give their services away to anyone who needs it. That sounds so honorable and yet, many of them were living in lack because of it. How do you tell someone to stop giving stuff away when they love contributing to others? Better yet, how do you suggest to others that the should give their services away and reap personal and professional rewards?
This is why I am writing Pro Bono doesn’t have to be a NO-NO – 9 Ways to benefit when giving your services away. There seems to be a stigma about giving away services. Coaches will often discourage their clients from doing so, possibly because they were doing incorrectly. Building a Pro Bono program into your business can benefit you in many ways. It could actually BUILD your business! Take a look at some of those ways below and choose what feels right for you; but do choose something to avoid the weight of a Pro Bono so that you can enjoy its benefits instead.
1. Set your limits in advance
Whether you feel as though you can give an hour a week or 10, this is up to you. Know your limits and stick to them. If one more request comes in beyond that, put them on a waiting list. This will save you the feeling of overwhelm. You can’t give away all of your business or you won’t make money. If you choose a certain amount of time per week or month, you will feel good about contributing and you will feel in control.
2. Consider it Volunteering
As a busy professional, some of us can’t give back to the community as much as we’d like to. I myself used to volunteer for a minimum of 4 hours every week for years. I don’t get to do that much anymore. However, I certainly feel as though I am giving back by being there for those in need inside my own trade.
3. Document your Pro Bono time
Depending on your business, this could come in handy at tax time. If you put in 100 hours or a certain about of dollars towards free service, having it in writing will help your tax preparer get all the benefits you qualify for. My software program has an option to check that a session is pro bono, so I can just pull a report at the end of the year. It gives me pleasure to look at the year in review besides being a deduction.
This is certainly not a new concept, but some don’t think to ask for a trade of service. If the person requesting your services for free can help you in some way, then by all means, ask them if they are willing. Bartering can cover a wide variety of areas in which to reciprocate. Where have you been looking for support? Do you need someone to help with your business needs, run errands, babysit, cook a meal, make phone calls, or create marketing material? Maybe this person can write a blog for you or post your social media. Take a look at areas where you can use some help. Make a list and keep it handy for when you speak with someone who you may want to trade with. It’s very important to think ahead on how you will measure this trade. Will it be dollar for dollar of services rendered or hour for hour? For instance, if your hourly rate is $100 and the services you are requesting would cost you $20 hr., then you might agree to their 5 hours to your 1 hour of work. The choice is yours, but you will need to agree on it beforehand.
5. Tweak your terms
The terms you decide on will vary from person to person, also, you will become aware of what works for you and what doesn’t. These are your services you are giving away for FREE, make sure it serves you as well (in your heart or logistically). Review your Pro Bono terms occasionally and tweak them as you go.
6. Create a referral opportunity
If you would like to offer a way for your Pro Bono client to pay you, you can ask them to refer you. This can be a generic request that they refer you as they see fit or you can offer them something more concrete such as one hour of your service for every referral. I, myself had one client who I worked with for years and never paid a dime. I am reaping thousands of dollars per year on her referrals alone.
7. Donate or Pay what you can
If you have a PayPal business account you can create a donate button and place it on your website. Ask your Pro Bono Client to donate money when they have it or ask them to pay what they can when they can. Many people don’t want to ask for free service. They really need or want it but simply can’t afford it. This can help them feel better about the arrangement. I met a chiropractor in Fort Lauderdale who had an open-door policy. No insurance, no appointments. Just come in and get adjusted. There was a black box at the doorway for those who had money to pay what they can. There were many times I had to ignore the black box on my way out because I simply did not have the funds. Later, I would send him a check for a few hundred dollars when I did have it. I was so grateful for his services.
8. Marketing Blast
This is where the gold lies in Pro Bono work. In exchange for your services, request that your client does one or more of the following.
Write a testimonial – There is nothing like a good testimonial from a satisfied client. Post them on your website and use them in marketing material. Make sure they permit you to share it.
Video Testimonial – Extra credit for this one. Have them record themselves giving a testimonial for you. You can then gather your video testimonials and use them to help prospect for other clients.
Social Media Blast – Ask your Pro Bono client to blast about you on social media. Make sure to help them with what to post. You may want to give them material or suggest what you prefer gets posted. If this is an official agreement, determine beforehand how many times and what social media platform they will be sharing on. Most will be happy to oblige.
Become a fan– Ask your client if they could become a fan of your online marketing. What this means is, have them ‘like’ and comment on your posts, ‘like’ your blog, subscribe to your blog, re-blog it and share it. If they are really eager to support you, they can write an article about you and send it to local or online news.
9. Make it official
Lastly, create a written agreement of what terms and conditions this arrangement will have. Outline each item. You will both feel better about the exchange especially when there are no mix-ups during your time together.
Most people are willing to contribute to you if you just ask. It will take something on your part to know when to ‘benefit’ from your Pro Bono work and when not to. Remember this, there will be those situations where just giving and not looking for anything in return is rewarding enough. This list is not for those moments. Use the information above to help create balance when it’s not there. There is nothing wrong with an exchange of energy between two parties. Allow yourself to be contributed to as well.
Conversely, if you are someone looking for services that you simply cannot afford, consider taking the information above and find a way to present a request to your professional. One that creates a win/win situation. Allow them the right to say no for whatever reason and keep looking.
Did you enjoy this article? I would love to know your thoughts. Did it help you? Do you have other ideas that you’d like to share? Please comment below and share this with others. Let’s help one another and still benefit.
Fran Asaro is a Life and Business Coach and founder of Thrive Any Way. Helping people systematize and automate their business and create an online presence. Find out more about how she helps entrepreneurs as a Virtual PartnerFor questions Contact Fran Asaro or to schedule an appointment
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Many people are stuck when it comes to their To Do List, and could become immediately UNSTUCK if they only had a partner to accomplish their goals with. Let’s face it, something magical happens when you have support from someone who genuinely cares that you succeed. Don’t you agree? If you think this is you, then stop beating yourself up and start honoring the need to have a partner in accomplishing your goals. Contact Fran for more information.
Think about all of your amazing projects and ideasjust sitting there stagnant on your mental shelf …. you know, that digital product you want to create or those social media ads you want to put together. Maybe you want to organize and systematize your business or home but never get started. What do you think it’s costing you to have those tasks just SIT?
Now, imagine if you started completing them one by one…. comfortably, with a partner who will stay with you until they are DONE! How would that feel? You’d probably feel a huge relief from guilt and stress, right? You may also feel a long needed sense of pride of accomplishment. Yes, you can take a deep breath and feel it! Contact Fran for more information.
Just know that you are not alone in needing support, or this program would not exist. When people find out that they are not procrastinators, but in fact they just do better with a partner, they feel as though they honored a real need and took affirmative action. The results of finally having completed projects are the proof! It’s similar to when someone finds out they have dyslexia and instead of beating themselves up, they realize that they just need to do things a little different.
It’s About Having a Brainstorming and Motivational Confidant, Even if you Have an Admin or Virtual Assistant.
If you are looking to relax into the wisdom of another, where you can feel the ease of sharing the burden, then Project Partnering may be a good fit for you. It’s a wonderful experience to know there is another leader to fall back on. Someone you can call ‘partner, without devoting 50% of your profits to. Choose well; someone who will do it WITH you and not FORyou. Savvy, successful people know when to hire a professional to accomplish what they need.
As a life and business coachfor many years, I find that my clients often do much better with ‘hand holding’ while tackling projects. I really love it when we get on an interactive screen-sharing call as we make progress completing their website or even creating an online store together. The real-time conversation has us both on the same page, getting the job done much faster and with more ease. Most times I take the wheel as you direct, interact or just oversee the project, but we could always reverse the role if you want me to support you being the driver.
There are limitless projects we can do together from programming phones, setting up electronics, minor computer tweaking, launching a social media contest to creating marketing plans. Heck, I’ve even been on a call where I supported a client while he cleaned out his storage unit. (you know who you are!). Contact Fran for more information.
So what are you looking to accomplish? What’s been gnawing at you for way too long?
Do you need someone to sit with you while you complete a project?
Would you like me to create graphics while you supervise?
Are you interested in opening an online store and it’s just too overwhelming to do alone?
How about learning to schedule all your social media so you do it once and let it run itself?
Does the idea of having someone to brainstorm with about the future of your business or life sound appealing?
Get creative if you want to. We can get your contact management system started, design a logo or write a blog. The point is, you just don’t have to do it alone any more!
It’s interactive, fun and productive as we collaborate on accomplishing your goals. Since you get to participate in the experience, you reap the reward of a completed task.
Oh, by the way, these interactive calls are casual, light and even fun! Come as you are to your computer. We sign in together, share a screen and start working on the project at hand. At the end of each call, plan to feel a sense of accomplishment, partnership and motivation to keep going! Contact Fran for more information.
To get started all you need to do is Contact Fran for more information and download your access to Zoom – a free screen sharing program. We can record our sessions for your future reference.
Purchase your Project Partner call today!
Let’s start out with a complimentary conversation to discuss your needs. OK?
To set up your complimentary conversation, here are your options:
How a fun-loving, social, woman entrepreneur found out that she’d rather be alone
Watch the video below to learn about introversion
In a MILLION YEARS –
I would never have guessed that me, the outgoing, fun-loving, party giving, free-spirited me, was in fact an introvert! It will probably surprise the heck out of my family and friends to learn about this as well. Yes, I am coming out of the introverts closet right here and now.
I’ve been an ‘out there’ kind of person since I was about 19 years old. I was the one my ex-husband would push forward into any party situation proudly encouraging the words ‘Go get ’em Fran’. I was the one who was a successful sales person and entrepreneur. I have a mouth for goodness sake. One that has gotten me into a boat-load of trouble and one that has helped me find great success. I can’t be shy! Oh, but wait! Being and introvert doesn’t necessarily mean that you are shy! Even though it says that you are in the dictionary. It also means that you are a person whose attention and interests are directed toward your own thoughts and feelings rather than external things. And you can be considered or perceived as reserved or shy.
The introvert who opened my eyes!
My weekly workshop for women entrepreneurs was a very interactive group (to say the least) There was a lot of sharing, fun and self-expression. We had over 200 women who were members of the group with a weekly turn out of about 15 – 20 women. We had our regulars who became the pillars of the group welcoming the new and supporting each other passionately. There were the one-timers who might not have felt a connection and they never returned. Hey, we weren’t for everyone. Then there were those who came more than once. Enough so that I would learn more about them. They would participate a bit and their faces started to become familiar. If I noticed that those women weren’t coming, I would occasionally give them a call to encourage them to return. There was this one woman who I really liked. She was very quiet and sat in the background mostly. She spoke with a level of gentleness and wisdom coupled with confidence and intentionality. She didn’t say much unless we addressed her, but when she did, she had no problem sharing something poignant. I started noticing that she was coming to group less and less. A call here and there would bring her in for another time. On the last time she didn’t show, I sent her an email telling her that I missed her being in group. She responded with a few well thought out words along with the video below. ‘The Power of Introverts’ By Susan Cain.
I stopped everything I was doing and watched the video. My body started vibrating all over. I watched it again. And again. Not only did I now realize why this woman wasn’t coming to group (I so appreciated her poetic way of sharing it with me) but I was now sitting with information that would change the rest of my life. I saw myself in so many of the scenarios of her talk. Working alone, loving my own company, being more creative and happy in my own quiet space. The things that my extrovert friends would tease me about. ‘Come out and play Fran’. ‘Come to dinner with us Fran’. ‘Come away with us Fran’. No, No and NO! I was almost always a No. But it was often a painful No. As I began enjoying my own company more and more, I began wondering if something was wrong with me. Was I a workaholic, anti-social, agoraphobic? Even though I knew I wasn’t any of those (OK, maybe I work too much) I could never explain why I didn’t want to schedule anything. After all, I love people. I want them in my life. But apparently only as a spice. Not a main course.
BALANCE, BALANCE, BALANCE
Another thing I learned in the video is that most people have a little bit of introvert and a little bit of extrovert in them. Apparently that’s called Ambivert. Some of us might lean towards one or the other but if they share traits of both, that’s supposedly ‘healthy’. I am apparently leaning towards introversion right now but who knows, I may be on the upside of a sine wave and round back to the wild and crazy social version of myself. Or not!
What I will continue to do is proudly nurture this realization not only for myself but for my clients who up until now may not have understood why they didn’t quite fit in the world of entrepreneurship. I have already begun helping them find quiet businesses that suit the introvert in them. It’s a rewarding experience for sure to help them find their purposeful place.
I have to tell you, it feels really good now that I have words to describe why I am the way I am. Hopefully people will not take it personally when I don’t show up for all their invitations. I might even send them this video to help them understand. Maybe a few of them will see an introvert in themselves and my hope is that they don’t resist it but start honoring that. You never know!
A Story to help Women Entrepreneurs who are lost and disillusioned. Before reading, I would like to invite you to listen from a particular place. A place where you can either see yourself and gain strength from it or a place where you think of someone who is struggling and will pass it along to support them. It’s a bit lengthy. So, take your time – you deserve it.
2 1/2 years ago I ran away from home. Just for the record, I am a grown woman – and I lived alone at the time. What could possibly have caused me to pack up and walk away from a wonderful life filled with great friends and family. Why would I run away from a prolific community of women that I created and adored. What could have been so confronting that I nearly abandoned the career that touched my soul and help me touch others? Maybe things weren’t as great at I thought…
I am a life-long entrepreneur. I started an auto body repair shop with my ex-husband at 21 years old. We borrowed $2000 to open it and years later when I left it was generating almost $1 million per year. I loved creating that business from scratch and honoring our dream. We achieved a level of success that was rare for kids our age. Following my divorce I became a Realtor. After years of struggling to build something worth while, I found myself in the top 6% of my company in the world. Who knew? I loved building my business to a success, making my own rules as I went along. I took incredible pride in creating 2 successful businesses while following my own path.
I was not romanced by the money these businesses produced as much as I was haunted by the need to do something that felt deeply purposeful to me. The intense pull to become a life coach had been in my consciousness for many years. Even before I knew there was a name for it. Somewhat jokingly, my sister says I had been a coach since I was 3. People of all ages would come to me for inspiration and wise words. Sometimes I thought ‘Why me’? But to be honest, I fully embraced my gift of soothing others. It fit like a glove.
I threw my hat over the proverbial wall
After years of staying in a less than rewarding real estate career, I semi-courageously threw my hat over the wall and dove head first into the unknown. I became a Coach. I named my company Thrive Any Way because similar to my own life lessons, I wanted to help others Thrive beyond their limiting situations and thoughts.
I was on cloud 9 if you could imagine. Here I was, doing what I had longed to do for so many years. I was getting paid to do what I passionately loved and was quite effective at. I was successful very quickly. I created women’s groups and I volunteered my time teaching self-esteem to domestic violence victims. I was so in my groove that I would cry from joy and content. Somehow I magnetically attracted all the clients I needed with minimal effort and I was on my way to a very comfortable lifestyle. I decided since I now had a mobile business that could live anywhere so I moved from my home of 36 years in South Florida and relocated to Stuart, Florida, where I knew no one (for a short time). I sunk my teeth into my new town and met so many incredible people. I redesigned my business to be more face to face so that I could work with local groups and individuals. I had this vision for a few years and it was finally manifested. I couldn’t be happier!
From Perfection to a disheartening realization
I chose to focus my coaching career on Women Entrepreneurs. After all, I was one, and had a load of experience to share. I began a weekly women’s group to teach entrepreneurship. I charged $5 to attend, but really, anyone could come. The group grew organically and flourished with the most amazingly talented women. I couldn’t have dreamed up something this big! I can’t tell you how much fun it was, and how I was in my element just sharing my failures and successes in order to shorten the path of others. I loved helping women get through the challenges that come with being in business. The fears, the emotional ride, the keeping it all together and of course, the balance. I also taught the standards like marketing, communication and how to structure a business that suited their desired lifestyle. It was such a pleasant and rewarding experience for all of us.
However, eventually the ‘business’ of helping women entrepreneurs thrive caught on and the industry became saturated with opportunity to have more. Books, programs and mega coaching became the trend. The days of personalized, private coaching became a secondary option to mass training.
I began to observe a pattern that became troubling for me. As I watched women enthusiastically jump into entrepreneurship, somewhere along the line they didn’t look satisfied. I observed these women running around (literally and figuratively) chasing success. Off they went to seminar after seminar, networking groups, masterminds, luncheons and purchasing product after product. All in hopes of ‘making it’. Now these are all good things in and of themselves and even quite fun to a point. I’ve purchased products and even created some of my own. But eventually it becomes overkill. These women were exhausting to watch and be around. They didn’t come across as successful, just needy. They spent more time distracted by something outside themselves then in their business. Suddenly, ‘there’ seemed better than ‘here’ and the conversations always lead to another ‘thing’ that was going to save them, make them, help them. I stood back and watched and was completely saddened. I knew only too well the vicious cycle they were on and am so grateful that when I got caught up in a similar circle, someone dear to me pointed it out and I have been mindful of what I choose to expose myself to ever since.
Disillusionment kills the spirit
I’m sure many people face the evolution of their chosen career and have to make a choice of whether to conform or not. I can change with the times like it’s nobody’s business, but I became disillusioned by what was happening to my beautiful industry. The very one that took my breath away just a few years earlier. I became so confused. Did I now hate coaching or did I hate what happened to it? It suddenly became a numbers game and who were the losers? Those that needed heartfelt partnership and got generalized support.
I tried to go with it. I tried to do it the new way. The more I did, the less joy I felt and the less I wanted to be here. I went through so many internal thoughts. ‘Maybe I’m not really a coach, maybe what I am is something else and I am in the wrong career’. ‘Have I become a dinosaur? Like the one I talk to my clients about; where I am not up to the times?’ These and many other thoughts began to kill my spirit and love for my work. All I wanted to do was help women pace themselves so that they could have a more balanced life. Women NEED a balanced life with family, friends, me-time and partner time. I wanted to help them do business like a woman. And for those who started a business late in life, I wanted to help them do age appropriate business and not like a 20 year old.
The Conscious Capitalist leaves home
I love to make lots of money. I love stuff. I was trained at a very young age to make lots of money. When I was 18 I worked in phone sales. I made $1000 per week in the late 70’s. That was about 5 times a normal income at the time. Sales training became part of my education throughout my life and I was very successful because of it. I don’t know if it’s my age talking or the line or work that I am in, but one day I realized I needed to throw all my sales training out the window and begin to connect with people on a different level. Breaking old patterns of sales techniques became one of the toughest things I have ever had to do. To this day even though I connect to my clients on a very deep level, I feel like my marketing comes across like a used car salesmen. (no offense, just a visual)
With my disillusionment about my career and my inability to convey myself effectively to those who would genuinely benefit from my gifts, I stepped away from my life and business. I didn’t know that at the time exactly, but in retrospect, I was.
An indefinite Good-Bye
There were a series of events leading up to my running away. I stopped magnetically drawing clients to me while in my state of unknowing. I didn’t quite understand what was happening but at some level I didn’t want to keep up a lie, pretending I belonged in this same space that I created. Ironically, the beautiful home I rented for 3 years was no longer available. I now look at that as a blessing since money became scarce. I felt like a woman without a purpose. I wasn’t unhappy, just lost in a passion without a home. Since it was the heart of the tourist season and difficult to find a home, I decided to go stay with a friend for a while who lived a few hours away. I didn’t know it would turn out to be a long while.
Before I left, my women’s group gave me an emotional sendoff. A party that still touches my heart with testimonials and loads of love. I walked away with such inner conflict. I loved them but I didn’t love who I was for them. I knew deep in my heart I had more to give. I resented the amount of hours I put into creating a group that didn’t light me up any more or speak to the new version of me that I had to offer. I didn’t know how to make that transition right there in front of them. So, leaving helped. But it also scared the daylights out of me. Was I ever going to come home? Would I reconnect with my group? What would my new version of life look like?
Opposition thwarts Growth
How many of us try to honor our path to healing or growth but others don’t support us in that? We take so much longer to get there while trying to dodge the opposition, right? There I was in Ocala, Florida, staying with a dear friend and his father. I thought it was going to be for a few weeks, a month at the most, before I went back home. I had no idea how lost I really was. I would sit in front of my computer day in and day out doing what I normally do. Working. Working. Learning. Creating. For what? I couldn’t tap into my groove. Did I lose it? All I know is that I kept my coaching business to a minimum with a few select clients while I immersed myself in meditation, self inquiry and a lot of rest to try to figure it all out.
For many years I felt a pull to spend time in a monastery to clear myself for a new beginning. I could never make that commitment because I have pets and didn’t want to leave them for a long period of time. I decided to look at this experience as a quasi monastery. I was in a beautiful home on a lake. I had very little distraction and I had a lot of time to rethink my life. This could really work.
Then the opposition began trickling in. I didn’t have to let it in, but I did. ‘What’s wrong?’ , ‘When are you coming home’? ‘What are you working on?’ ‘How could someone so smart be having such a tough time’, ‘What’s taking so long?’
I was in a very cushy environment. I could have just focused on what I was there to do and nothing else. But no! I allowed my own ‘make wrong’ thoughts and those of others to steer me towards putting out less than authentic versions of me. Who was I to have the luxury of not working, dammit. ‘Fran, put something out there so people know you are alive’. So I did. and it felt uncomfortable. It wasn’t necessarily the wrong material. It was the wrong timing. I was in healing and recreating mode. I needed to honor whatever time required. The problem was that I couldn’t soothe those who were concerned about me. I couldn’t convey that this was a ‘good’ time. I couldn’t convey it to myself either.
Part Two of my Journey – My Teacher appears
This story would be a book if I shared every detail of my experience. I will eventually share between the lines, but not today. After a year and a half in Ocala, where I felt I was complete with the experience of being there but still had no idea what that meant for my future, I got a phone call from friends of 30 years. They invited me to come stay with them in Raleigh, NC for a priceless exchange of energy. One of them being that I was going to be living with my most influential teacher ever. How perfect can things get?
Living with a teacher you absolutely adore is not always comfortable. I found out that I am not always coachable! Go figure! But after staying for a year, so much was absorbed and I hope retained. While I am still processing an enormous amount, I realize that the path I was on and bucking was not the issue but the resistance towards it was. I have resisted who I am for my community. I have resisted the magnitude of my gifts and the amount of women who truly need what I have to offer. I resisted that the pace and the way I want to do business does not make me a dinosaur and that I AM in fact a coach. Not only did all of this shift my life, but it makes me excited to share it with other women looking to find themselves in their life and business. While I still love to teach the facets of entrepreneurship, my passion is to clear the space for it to happen with ease and joy. That truly lights me up!
The Gentler Me Emerges
One of the areas of focus with my teacher was to develop the left side of my brain. I lived in a self-created bubble – as a Pollyanna. I was quite proud of the life where I avoided all negativity and adversity. But apparently great leaders don’t live in bubbles. They manage adversity. So I was intensely exposed to so much male energy that I thought I would die! I watched the news, politics, sci-fi and technology shows. I signed up for computer programming, math classes and purchased an electronics starter kit. I even went to a ham radio festival! Most importantly, I became a successful gamer who shoots and uses a sword (yes there were tears when I killed my first alien). With gaming I learned to buck up in challenging situations. I learned to defend myself instead of run away. I learned I am so much stronger than I allowed myself to be because I thought it would take away the gentle part of me that I loved and put forward.
At first I was so upset with the initial invasion of my male side. However, I was comforted from the very beginning that building my left brain would not create a more masculine Fran. So, while I plan to continue stimulating my left side, I am proud to say that I feel more gentle and loving than ever. I will now be bringing both sides of me to a situation and I feel more prepared to support a balanced life. I am eternally grateful to the man who brought me to tears because of my resistance to being WHOLE!
As I approach the end of this part of my journey I am not clear as to what’s next. Apparently I still have a few more miles to go. What I do know is that I will embrace the unknown much better and I will pass along what I know to those who see themselves in this experience.
My message for you today is this: You don’t have to run away to connect to your inner home.