This is a common phrase used by coaches and entrepreneurs: “The next level version of you.” (LOL don’t roll your eyes, it’s a serious topic). This phrase is often used in various forms, but the most frequent one I hear is “What will the next level version of you do?”.
This question comes up during goal-setting or decision-making regarding businesses.
For instance, if you are contemplating between two options, say A or B, you may hear individuals ask, “What will that next-level version of me choose to do?” The idea is that by visualizing yourself as your best self, you can identify which option to pursue.
While some people may view the phrase “the next level version of you” as fluffy, it can be a helpful tool for others. Personally, I find it useful for envisioning possibilities, reverse engineering a plan of action, and making decisions quickly.
For example, when setting goals, asking myself “what would the 6 figure or multiple 6 figure version of Cheryl Lau do?” helps me create a plan that aligns with my ideal self.
To which I would say “As a multiple 6 figure entrepreneur, I would definitely be prioritizing exercising and my physical well being because I need my body to be energized and healthy in order to operate my business and show up for my other responsibilities and commitments like my PhD work”.
So in this context, asking myself the question of “what would the next level version of me do” is typically really motivating and usually gives me the push to actually do the things I’m resisting.
And the reason why I want to specifically talk about this kind of overused phrase in the online space is because it has been on my mind a lot lately.
I have been contemplating who I want to become, not only in terms of my business but also in other areas of my life.
Although the event that inspired this line of thinking is not directly related to my business, it prompted me to sit down and reflect deeply.
So I’ve been in a long distance relationship with my boyfriend for four years now.
We’ve been doing long distance for the entire relationship, between Hong Kong and Singapore. Since the covid pandemic started around March 2020, we haven’t seen each other.
The last time we saw each other was February 2020, and as of today, we still haven’t seen each other because of travel restrictions.
There was supposed to be a travel bubble between Singapore and Hong Kong in November, but that got canceled the day before the bubble was supposed to start.
The travel bubble allows you to fly between the two countries without the need for quarantine and you can travel for leisure reasons.
At this moment, only people with valid reasons can enter both places, like if you have a permanent residency or citizenship, or work visa.
But for me and my partner, neither of us can enter the other person’s country because:
1) we don’t have a valid reason for entering the country and also
2) even if we did, we need to do a 14 day quarantine
The travel bubble was supposed to happen in November 2020, but it got canceled. And again, it was supposed to happen in June 2021, but it got canceled too.
Lately, I’ve just been thinking about how I really cannot keep betting on this damn bubble to happen.
I’ve spent way too much cognitive energy thinking about this bubble and I’ve shed way too many tears over it as well.
That’s when I realized that travel HAS to resume in some capacity at some point.
The bubble HAS to happen at some point. I WILL see my boyfriend at some point
The problem isn’t necessarily IF I will see him again, but it’s more so a question of WHEN.
And when I realized that I have no clue when I’ll see my boyfriend again BUT I know I WILL see him again at some point.
That’s when I started thinking, “How can I be the best version of myself while we are still separated?”. That really led me to look at the upcoming period of time before I see him again as an opportunity to literally become that next level version of myself. Literally.
I invite you to join me as I dream. I know it sounds cheesy, but hear me out. How often do we take the time to dream about who we want to become?
I’m not talking about the dreams we have when we’re asleep.
When was the last time you sat down and really thought about who you want to become?
For me, it was at the beginning of the year during my annual planning and goal setting. But since then, my goals have been surface-level and don’t reflect who I truly want to be.
I want to share my thoughts on who I want to become and encourage you to do the same. Let’s give ourselves the time and space to dream and imagine.
I’d love to share some of the ways I envision the next level version of myself acting differently from who I am now. These are changes I commit to working towards. I hope this encourages you to consider who you want to become as well.
When I consider who I want to become in terms of my business, the first thing that comes to mind is being recognized as a thought leader. For me, it’s important that everything I do within my business provides people with something to think about.
I want to offer unique, different, or authentic perspectives in each piece of content I produce, and I want my clients to leave our coaching calls with new insights to reflect on.
Ultimately, I want my thought leadership to be what people remember me for. This is why I am committed to showing up online and creating valuable content consistently.
I believe that my content and my presence online are powerful tools for creating impact.
I see my content as a means of developing my own thought leadership and positioning myself as a thought leader.
This ties in with the name behind my business – Cheryl Theory.
My first business name in 2019 was quarter life project, which was inspired by my then quarter life crisis.
After taking a 6-7 month hiatus from my business, I came back online and restarted my business.
However, in 2020, I didn’t quite feel aligned with the name quarter life project anymore, so I started exploring new names.
I thought it’d make the most sense to just use my first and last name, Cheryl Lau.
But on Instagram, all the username variations of Cheryl Lau were already taken.
That’s when I remember when I created my first ever Instagram handle back in 2013, it was @cheryltheory. Back in high school, I thought that I’d have a theory one day.
It was a joke back then, but then, for some reason in 2020, I felt like that was still possible.
One day I’ll create and be known for my own thing. Something about the name Cheryl Theory really resonated with me once again, so I decided to change my business name to Cheryl Theory.
Since changing the business name to Cheryl Theory, I’ve developed my own unique ideas in the business coaching industry.
I actually believe I have been stepping into the role of a thought leader in the coaching space.
I believe in developing our own thought leadership because I believe each of us has the potential to build our entire business and brand based on our original ideas.
If you were to ask a six-figure coach or entrepreneur how they achieved success, I doubt many would say they got there by following someone else’s blueprint step by step.
That’s why, when I work with my clients, developing and creating their own thought leadership is one of the first things we work on.
This is crucial for helping them sign consistent high-ticket clients or reach their first $5k months, for example.
I believe that that next level version of me is known as a thought leader.
I firmly believe that each of us already possesses a unique form of thought leadership, and that we can further develop and hone in on it.
We all have the potential to become thought leaders in our respective niches.
When I envision my next level self, she is even bolder and unapologetic about her ideas.
I’m committed to sharing my honest perspectives with more people, because I know it can help them. This is what the next level holds for me.
I’d like to offer a six-month coaching program instead of a four-month program.
After working with many clients, at this point in my business, and helping them sign consistent high ticket clients, sign their first paying clients, hit their first 5k months, and more, I know that a six month container is the optimal program length especially for those who are at the earlier stages of their journey.
If they haven’t signed any paying clients or they haven’t yet signed any high ticket clients, I’ve found that my clients do even better when we work beyond the four months.
I noticed that when clients choose to extend our time together, their results are even better.
That said, I also have many clients who are able to create amazing results in just four months or less. That’s 100% possible.
The reason why I believe a six month container is what the next level version of me would offer is because I know that six months is really necessary for us to lay down both the strategic foundations as well as helping the client build up their mindset foundations and their confidence and strengthen their identity as an entrepreneur.
Some clients also feel really pressured to get results in four months, which can happen.
However, I want to offload that pressure a bit by offering a six month container instead.
I don’t want my clients to feel rushed to create results. I want them to really operate from a clear headspace because that’s how we can create the best results in their businesses.
When clients feel stressed about their timelines, it can create unnecessary pressure that prevents them from showing up as their best selves for their clients, audiences, and business in general.
Starting in August 2021, my 1:1 program will transition from a four-month program, into a six-month program.
This means that the investment and the way the program is structured, such as the number of sessions, will also be updated to reflect the new six-month structure.
The reason why I specifically say that the next level version of me would offer a six-month program is because I actually was having resistance towards doing this for several months.
I was having a bit of mind drama around whether people want a six month program.
Do they think it’s too slow? What about other coaches offering three-month programs , would they think that 6 months is too slow?
When I got clear on why I wanted to transition from a four month to six month program, which is purely to benefit the client, I knew that this is something I will commit to.
If I know that a six month program will create even better transformations and results for my clients, I’m willing to get over my own limiting beliefs and offer it.
I’m confident that I can help my clients make back their investment, because I definitely have clients who make back their investment and more.
Also, I know that once my clients start coaching with me, many of them actually want to extend our time together because they see how much my coaching has helped them both strategy and mindset wise.
From that energy, I know that the next level version of me will offer six month containers instead of four, and that’s exactly what I’m going to do.
If there’s anything I’ve learned from this Covid pandemic, it’s that there are more important goals than monetary goals.
You need to rest and take care of yourself on the inside.
Literally take care of your brain and your mind.
Give yourself time to work through your thoughts and feelings, then move forward.
This is something I’ve been more intentional about than ever, but I still think there is massive room for improvement.
I visualize the next level version of me as someone who is really intentional about the thoughts I think and also very diligent about self coaching.
As I self-coached myself this year, one thing became evident to me: the more I coach myself through situations, whether they’re related to business or not, the better equipped I am to coach my clients through similar situations, even if they’re not exact replicas of my own experiences.
Both self coaching and getting coached have had a tremendous impact on my own business as well as mindset.
That’s why I truly believe that the next level version of me is very proactive with creating time for self coaching on a weekly, if not, daily basis.
At the same time, the next level version of me is someone who actively chooses my thoughts.
It’s easy to fall into the trap of negative thinking and spiral inside your own mind. However, I firmly believe that there is always another way of looking at things or thinking about them.
Your thoughts are optional; you can always choose to replace them with another thought that serves you better.
Two people can have completely different points of view about the same situation.
Similarly, two people can have identical circumstances, but one may choose to feel like a victim to their circumstances, while the other may choose to be proactive and take steps to change the situation.
Although it’s easy to default to negative thinking such as worrying, stressing, feeling hopeless, feeling like a victim, feeling doubtful, or discouraged, and thinking thoughts that don’t serve us, I firmly believe that we can always choose to think a thought that serves us better and helps us move forward with the right mindset and actions.
There is alway another way. You can always choose.
I can definitely picture the next level version of me as someone who really takes care of my mental and emotional wellbeing by:
1) creating time and space for me to think, reflect, feel, process and dream
2) to self coach and/or get coached
3) remaining intentional about the thoughts I think
The next level version of me would prioritize moving my body and doing more things physically, such as exercising and stretching.
Whether that looks like joining a regular exercise class, getting a personal trainer or simply staying committed to going for a run, I don’t necessarily have a preference.
I am certain that the next level version of myself will prioritize caring for my body because it is the vehicle that allows me to create income and impact, and show up in every single area of my life.
Right now, my primary form of exercise is going for a run at night. I started this around late February this year.
Some weeks, I’d stay consistent and run 2 or 3 times that week.
Other weeks, I wouldn’t go either because I’m drained from the day, I have a client call at night, it’s raining, or because I just don’t feel like it.
Although I don’t necessarily think the lack of discipline is much of an issue here, I do want to explore more ways of moving my body.
I think the reason why I imagine the next level version of me as someone who does something besides what I’m currently doing , which is running, is because I really want to push myself out of my comfort zone.
I also really want to make more friends locally here in Hong Kong.
The truth is, I actually know very little people here, and I only recently started becoming more proactive with making new friends in Hong Kong as of May/June this year.
I would really love to join some workout classes or basically go to a gym mostly because I want to meet new people.
When I go for a run at night, I go alone. It’s a very solitary form of exercise for me and I also don’t know anyone who lives near me.
I think if I were to start going to a gym or join workout classes, that would help me with my intention of moving my body more and also pushing me out of my bubble to hopefully meet some new friends along the way. That’s what I can definitely imagine the next level version of me doing.
Furthermore, the next level version of myself would optimize my time to ensure that I’m extremely focused during work hours.
This means minimizing distractions to accomplish more in less time.
I think clients and followers perceive me as super productive and on top of everything.
I acknowledge that I have room for improvement in my concentration and focus. While I do meet deadlines and value commitment, one of my areas for improvement is my concentration and focus.
I find that I lose focus very easily and I typically struggle with getting into flow.
When I do work on my laptop, I often find myself going to Instagram on either my laptop browser or on my phone. I would check any notifications that come up almost instantly.
I would constantly switch back and forth between songs on YouTube because I usually work with music playing.
According to the screen time feature or screen time app on my phone, I spend too much time on my phone every day.
It’s so ridiculous that I don’t even want to share it! Haha! That’s how abysmal it is.
That said, I still do get things done in a timely manner, and I attribute this to not trying to perfect things.
That’s why I often have typos in my content. I don’t overthink. I type whatever comes to mind and that’s good enough. For most things in my business, good enough really is good enough.
Even though I set aside a 60-minute time block to work on something and I only spend around 40 minutes actually doing work, I will get it done during that time block.
However, that’s exactly where I want to improve. If I can fully maximize the entire 60 minutes, that means I can get even more done in the time I originally blocked out.
The next level version of myself will prioritize discipline and minimize distractions during work hours.
I would be disciplined during my time blocks or working hours. If I say I’m going to focus during this time, I will focus and make the most out of that time.
To help me stay focused and committed to deep work, I am currently researching concepts like deep work and tools that will help me stay focused.
I am also exploring ways to spend less time on my phone, especially during work hours, as I tend to passively scroll through social media.
I acknowledge that I need to be more mindful of my bad habits and implement tweaks to improve my efficiency, such as turning off social media notifications.
Now you know that these are some of the things the next level version of Cheryl Lau would become, embody and do.
Take some time and really just think about what that next level version of you would be. What would you do?
This question often gets a bad rep in the online coaching space because it’s thrown around so often.
There was a period of time when I’d roll my eyes whenever I heard coaches talk about oh what would the next level version of you do in their Instagram post.
But when I really took the time to think about that question, I was able to let myself really dream and reflect.
Because the truth is, many of us don’t really make time to simply dream.
Sure, maybe we have arbitrary goals that we set simply because it’s a goal that other entrepreneurs are setting for themselves, like 100k or 10k months.
When was the last time you really dreamed for yourself, without any limitations, right?
I hope this encourages you to also, take some time to dream, as cheesy as that sounds, and really just think about what you truly want for your life and business.
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