Excelling in multiple careers and what can it look like in your business, 9-5, or everything else in between that is a major responsibility in your life? This is something that a lot of my clients come to me for and want to learn specifically from me, because I’m currently running a six-figure coaching business on top of doing a PhD while managing other areas of my life.
Including something which I haven’t yet shared anywhere on Instagram or on the podcast. Actually, my partner and I are also planning for a wedding in February 2022. In a nutshell, there’s a lot going on in my life right now, both in terms of business, career, and personal life. And we’re making it work!
People are often curious how we are “ doing it all” and doing it well. To be honest, I brushed off this question for the longest time because I always thought. I don’t know… I guess l just make it work.
But the more I get this question, the more I decide that if this is clearly what people are seeing in me and it’s what they want to learn from me, then it is my responsibility to sit down and figure out how I did it so I can help others.
That’s how the Cheryl Theory recently came about. Yes. THE Cheryl theory.
Let me first formally introduce you to the Cheryl Theory, and then we’ll explain the components of it or how it can be applied.
The Cheryl Theory is the idea that you can create a successful coaching business and still excel in your career and make time for what matters most by doing the bare minimum in your business, but doing it really really well.
One of my clients recently pointed out to me why she was so intrigued by my message or approach: She knows I’m all about doing the bare minimum, but as a high achiever herself, she was very fascinated by the idea that high achievers could excel in multiple areas of life by doing the bare minimum.
She couldn’t quite wrap her head around both of those things coexisting at once, because she thought they felt contradictory. When she told me this, it made perfect sense.
So many of us identify as high achievers, and more likely than not, we grew up in environments where we were told that there’s a correlation between hard work and success.
More specifically, it’s not just about the quality of your hard work, but we’ve been told repeatedly that it’s the quantity of your hard work. The more hours you study, the more likely you’ll get an A on your test. The more hours you work, the more likely you’ll achieve a specific indicator of success. Especially for those of us who come from immigrant families.
My parents immigrated to North America and they hustled. They didn’t have the money when they first arrived and they sacrificed a lot to relocate to North America.
Like many other immigrants, they were able to rebuild their lives by working hard. And I would argue that for earlier generations, there was a stronger link between how much hard work you put in and how much success you get out of it, over time.
But because so much has changed, both technologically and economically and even through the pandemic, we are starting to see less correlation between the number of hours worked and the level of success achieved. Simply putting in more input doesn’t necessarily equate to higher output.
Here’s a practical example. A lot of young people are getting jobs they want because they’ve been able to build a personal brand on LinkedIn and add value by creating content on the platform.
Some of these individuals may not necessarily have your classic resume of straight As and twenty different extracurricular activities or internships at fancy companies.
Because they’re able to hone their skill of articulating the value they can offer, they’re able to basically do less but get more out of it. This is exactly what happened to one of my clients in early 2020, when I dabbled in personal branding coaching.
One of my clients was a fresh university grad who didn’t really have the best grades or the strongest resume on paper. But she was able to get an awesome job even before graduating because we helped her build her personal brand and get her thoughts and ideas out into the world, through LinkedIn. It’s almost been two years, and she’s been promoted in the company. Incredible.
We are seeing more and more evidence that quality matters just as much, if not more, than quantity. This is the principle I’ve been adopting to multiple areas of my life, especially in my business.
Now, I’m very adamant about doing the fewest number of things possible in my business, but each touchpoint I create in my business has to be my best work. Because for many of us, we have other things going on in our lives besides just our business.
Whether it’s family or relationships or a career or you just want to live your best life, those areas matter. That’s why I firmly believe that we should not be building a business that feels like a second full time job. And this is exactly the belief that underpins The Cheryl Theory.
Where in your life thus far have you seen or you’ve created evidence that you didn’t have to grind or hustle your butt off to create the desired outcome?
It’s important to explore this possibility because if we don’t, many of you listening may believe that having a six-figure business requires working non-stop. You might even think that I’m making things up.
I often hear from other coaches that they’re stressed because they don’t feel like they’re doing enough in their business, and that’s why they’re not getting the results they want.
When I have a conversation with them, more often than not, they haven’t yet mastered what they’re currently doing in their business, and they’re already looking ahead at what else they can add to their to-do list because they don’t believe that what they’re currently doing can get them the results they want.
But because they’re so busy thinking about what’s not working, they don’t have the cognitive energy to take a step back and think about how they can improve what they already have in place. And I get it.
When we see other people having success from doing other things, it’s natural to think that that is THE strategy that will get our business to the next level.
Then we either abandon what we’re currently doing and start from scratch again using the new strategy, or we add that on to everything else we’re already doing. But ultimately, the cycle repeats where you aren’t taking the time to master the existing things you already have in place.
There’s a reason why every strategy exists. It’s because they all work.
But the question is: Are you taking the time to make it work for you?
Because let’s be honest, if you want to become someone who clients actually want to work with, it’s important to become known for the quality of your work.
Whether that means the quality of your coaching, the quality of your client results, the quality of your content, or whatever touch points you have with your clients or audience, make sure each touchpoint is impactful. You don’t need to spread yourself thin to create a deep impact.
When it comes to doing the bare minimum in your business, it all really comes down to:
• Choosing the strategies that you actually want to commit to
• Are you willing to commit to taking relentless action to make those strategies work for your business?
• Are you mastering a few key strategies in your business?
There are three core elements that allowed my business to get to six-figures and now scale to multiple six-figures, even while doing the bare minimum.
Let’s use my business as an example here: The first area I’ve worked on a lot is my identity and mindset as an entrepreneur.
The second area is the structure, which basically means what my plan of action is and how I can set up my environment or systems that will allow me to execute my to-do list.
Third, it’s my commitment to doing the work, which means a commitment to thinking the necessary thoughts so that I can stay committed to taking action.
Let’s take a look into these three components in a bit more detail, and I really hope that this conversation can expand your realm of possibility when it comes to how you might want to run your business.
Because yes, you can push and hustle your way to six-figures or multiple six-figures, but I want to offer you another way of looking at things or another way of doing things.
We have all heard entrepreneurs talk about the importance of mindset in business.
But how often do you intentionally choose thoughts that will help you move forward instead of defaulting to the thoughts that your brain automatically gives you but aren’t helpful at all?
For example, how often are you making business decisions based on your worst experiences in business, rather than choosing to inform your decision based on your best experiences?
Let’s use a concrete example here, how often are you looking at pieces of content that didn’t get any likes, versus looking at content that your client consumed and told you was THE message they needed to hear and that’s why they booked a discovery call with you?
Likewise, how often are you choosing to let your “low engagement” on your Instagram content mean that something is wrong about your business and defaulting to the assumption that your business isn’t going to sign any new clients this month?
Just because you feel like crap, doesn’t mean something is wrong.
If we start to think that something is wrong and change up the strategy or do things from a panicked state of mind, that can affect your results because you aren’t making informed and clear minded decisions.
You aren’t considering the root of the problem which is your thoughts about the situation.
Let’s take it a step further and discuss why we need to be careful with our immediate default thoughts, especially in business. We’re so used to thinking that there’s a limited set of ways of doing things, and that there are supposedly best practices or one right way of doing things.
Many of us have been thought up in a culture where there are “right solutions”, and this makes us risk averse. However, the truth is, there’s no one right answer.
The reason why entrepreneurship is difficult for many people is because they aren’t used to the entrepreneurial way of thinking. Instead, they are desperately trying to find the magic blueprint that will guarantee their business success.
There are multiple, if not infinite ways, to create your own success in entrepreneurship. There are no rulebooks or tick boxes to check off.
If there was a checklist that you simply had to follow and check off, most people would have multiple six-figure businesses by now because many of us have been trained to check off boxes and follow pathways of “success”. But this simply isn’t the case.
That’s why managing your mind is so important. One of the biggest thoughts that coaches and entrepreneurs grapple with is thinking that things aren’t working. This can spiral into other negative thought patterns such as comparisons, shiny object syndrome, and wanting to give up.
If you want to build a business that allows you to do the bare minimum number of things, the first step is to embrace a more entrepreneurial way of looking at your options.
Rather than trying to identify the one end-all-be-all roadmap to success, you need to get comfortable with the idea that there are many options available to you. You can choose which path to explore and think of creative ways to start mastering your selected pathways.
There are multiple ways to get to your goal, so it’s important to consider how you are thinking about limiting your possibilities or sabotaging your journey to reach your goals. That’s the first step.
I want to highlight that this is a very multifaceted topic, and that’s why coaching with each individual client inside my coaching programs looks different for everyone.
Everyone struggles with similar yet unique thought patterns that affect their business, and my job as the coach is to help them untangle their thoughts and examine their business and life from different perspectives. Then, I coach them to make the best decisions for themselves, especially in terms of strategy.
It’s crucial to think the necessary thoughts, which will then feed into the next part of the puzzle: taking the necessary action steps.
Creating an environment or systems that allows you to take action refers to everything that’s happening outside of your brain.
To give you a picture of what my action items look like on a weekly basis, here it is:
1) Coaching calls with my clients: I usually have between 8-10 hours of coaching calls every week.
2) Daily Instagram stories: I used to do video on Instagram stories maybe 5-6 times a week, but lately, I’ve reduced it to maybe 2 times a week because I’ve been handling a lot of personal matters that have been taking up a lot of my energy. Therefore, I’ve adjusted my content creation capacity accordingly.
3) I post three times a week on Instagram, and it usually takes me 60 minutes to batch these three carousel posts every week.
4) I post one podcast episode per week. I spend a few hours outlining and recording the episode, and I now outsource the editing to our podcast editor.
On average, when I look at my calendar and time blocks, I spend around 14-16 hours per week on business-related activities. However, it’s important to note that more than half of this time is dedicated to coaching calls.
On average, I spend 6-7 hours per week on content creation, administrative tasks, and other non-client-related activities in my business. Out of these hours, the podcast takes up approximately 4 hours per week.
As you can see, there are very few things on my to-do list. Literally, just four things. It’s simple, and it works for me because I can do each task really well.
Honestly, for Q1 and Q2 of 2022, due to my wedding and travel plans to Canada and Singapore, I might actually reduce the number of hours I spend on the business each week to spend more time with my loved ones.
That’s why I’m taking fewer 1:1 clients moving forward and welcoming more people into the group program. I have been improving my coaching skills in a group setting, and I’m ready to serve more clients in our group programs.
I’m at a point in my business where I have many choices and options because I’ve spent months mastering different skill sets, from content creation to coaching clients to managing my brain so I don’t waste time spinning out.
Because of this, I have options and choices in my business. If I want to do less of something, I can reduce it, and everything will still be fine. That’s why I want to emphasize quality over quantity.
Making action plans and to do lists and planning, these are usually the easy parts of your business. So I want to offer some a few questions to consider:
All in all, this part is easier said than done.
Knowing what to do is not the same as consistently doing it with your best efforts.
So the question is, how often do you fail to follow through on what you say you’re going to do? It’s essential to be brutally honest with yourself about why this is the case and make clear assessments of what you can do differently, both internally and externally.
Lack of implementation doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re lazy or incapable.
I often find that my clients are amazing, talented, and capable individuals.
However, they come to me because they get stuck due to various thoughts that confuse them, make them doubt their strategy, and other mental spirals that affect their execution and implementation within their business.
While we may know what we need to do, actually doing it can be much harder due to mindset issues. This is why thoughts and actions are interconnected.
Commitment to thinking the necessary thoughts and taking action steps is crucial. Let’s face it, we can say we’ll do mindset work, and we can say that we’re confident in our potential.
We can make lists and create a content calendar, but actually thinking the necessary thoughts, believing in what’s possible, and continuing to stay committed, even when our brain tells us it won’t work, we’re failures, or we’ll embarrass ourselves, requires unwavering commitment. We need to continue showing up and providing value even if our last 15 posts didn’t get any likes.
That’s why I’m really adamant about having a short to-do list and a simple business. Because actually thinking the thoughts, doing the work, and staying committed to the process is a big challenge that requires a lot of cognitive effort.
If we complicate the business with way more action steps and strategies but haven’t even mastered what’s currently in front of us, it will increase stress and overwhelm and interfere with our capacity to really get good at a few key things that will help us start seeing results in our business.
And if you focus only on the action and neglect your thoughts, your results will reflect that. If you don’t believe things are working, your actions are gonna be half assed and not your best quality work.
However, if you try to fix the problem by taking more actions instead of exploring different ways to think about the situation, you may feel even more doubtful, insecure, and uncertain. And if you take action from that state of mind, people can sense it, which may explain why no one seems interested in working with you.
I’m not saying that you’ll get clients and make six figures simply by changing your thoughts. Rather, it’s important to think quality thoughts that will inspire you to take quality action, which will ultimately help you become the kind of coach or entrepreneur that people actually want to work with.
If you want to do the bare minimum in your business, here’s a rundown what to consider:
First, start by questioning your thoughts and becoming aware of unhelpful ones. Use self-coaching and get coached to avoid letting these thoughts take over and run wild in your mind and take action from that energy. Because those low quality actions will lead to low quality results.
Second, when your mind is clear, create the simplest action plan possible, and analyze what’s working and what’s not. You can make assessments and draw conclusions calmly and clearly when your mind is calm.
Otherwise, you’ll likely end up spinning out and think you need to overhaul your entire business and start over, when in fact, it could be very subtle shifts and tweaks you can make to start seeing massive returns.
Consider how you can structure your external surroundings or variables to facilitate implementation. This leads to conversations related to productivity, workflows, systems, taking care of your body, having a support system, and more. Lots of things you can explore when it comes to the strategy side of things.
Finally, commit to thinking the thoughts necessary and doing the necessary action steps. Giving up is easy. Spinning out is easy. How can you proactively manage your thoughts so you can proactively take action on your simple, bare minimum to-do list, start mastering those few key things on your agenda and getting really good at those things, and start seeing big returns from just doing a few key things?
When it comes to entrepreneurship, there is a popular narrative among many coaches that promotes going full-time in your business as the ultimate goal.
While I believe that being a full-time entrepreneur is the right decision for many, it’s important to remember that your life is not solely defined by your business.
No matter how much time you spend on your business, there are other aspects of your life that are important to you, whether it’s your career, your relationships, or your hobbies and experiences.
No matter what those areas are, I want you to choose the areas of focus based on what is important to YOU, not based on what others are telling you to focus on.
When it comes to creating a life, career, and or business that is REALLY aligned with who you are and what you want and what matters to you, there are three things I really believe in:
1) Oftentimes, creating a life that is truly aligned to you and your goals, personality, values, and purpose may NOT necessarily be what your parents or society expects of you. This means you have to stand firm in pursuing what you truly believe in and always take responsibility for your decisions and actions.
2) That also means that it’s okay if people don’t support you in the beginning. When you continue to stay committed to your vision and goals, others will eventually acknowledge that you’re serious about this and may even show support later on.
3) Ultimately, creating an aligned life, career, and business is a choice you have to make. You can continue staying in your comfort zone, or choose to step out of the box and do what you really believe in. There’s no right or wrong. Just make a decision and move forward.
When we were in school or in our careers, we were taught to check the boxes and to perform for the sake of receiving external validation. We had to hit certain benchmarks to feel worthy, accepted, and good enough.
However, in entrepreneurship, you need to validate yourself and stay committed to your purpose, your business, and your service, even if you may not see immediate results.
That’s why it’s so important to commit to working on both the mindset and the strategy. Without both in place, it’s easy to default to thinking that you’re not cut out for entrepreneurship and that you’re not capable of excelling in multiple areas of life.
Take the time now to master both the mindset and the strategy. Work on your self-belief and identity through self-coaching or with the help of a coach who knows how to work with you.
At the same time, don’t overwhelm yourself with the number of things you feel like you have to do. Especially if you want to balance different areas of your life, reduce the quantity of tasks so you can focus on the quality of each one, and let the quality be the driving force behind your business growth.
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