We’re now within the final stretch of 2021. It’s November 2021 and here’s about 60 days left of the year. I’ve been seeing a lot of interesting commentary from fellow coaches about these last two months of the year.
On one hand, a lot of coaches are participating in the narrative of “Okay everyone, it’s time to buckle up and go ALL IN in these last 60 or so days. How are you getting any closer to your goals this year? If you haven’t started or you want to accelerate your success and start 2022 on the right foot, come work with me.”.
Which, basically is a rally for people to get it together and to start taking action by joining their programs.
On the other hand, we see coaches who are the complete opposite and they’re creating the dialogue of “Everyone, yes there is two months left of 2021 but how far have you come so far this year? Let’s stay in THAT energy and there’s no need to double down on the remainder of the year. You’ve already created so much and the January 1 2021 version of you would be so proud of who you are today.”. This group of coaches are a lot more chill about this whole last 60 days of the year.
It’s so interesting to see how these two narratives are so strong during the first few days of November, which was just a few days ago as I’m recording this.
On one hand, we got coaches pushing you to step it up and join their programs, and we got other coaches who are. I’m gonna guess they’re annoyed by the other side for trying to push their programs in that way.
If anyone asks me what my stance on this is… I’m just gonna be over here and be both. I’m going to continue thinking about how to become that next level version of me, while simultaneously relishing in how far I’ve come.
One thing we should all be mindful of is that time is a construct we made up. A 12 month calendar year is something we made up.
While you can totally set annual 2021 goals or quarterly goals or monthly goals, it’s important to not let the start date and end date of your self imposed timeline dictate much of how you feel about your growth.
Whether you’re looking ahead at the remaining 60 days of 2021, or you’re looking at the entire 12 months of 2022, or maybe you just want to look ahead at the next 7 days. Or just today. The next 24 hours. It doesn’t matter. You get to pick your own timeline and decide what you want to do and think about this timeline.
I think it’s not so much a conversation about whether we should be doubling down or appreciating how far we’ve come, because those two things are not mutually exclusive.
But honestly, they’re both relevant and important. Rather, I’d be more curious about whether we are choosing our own timelines or whether we are setting timelines that are actually helpful to us and our businesses.
For example, you can set a goal of creating 10k in the last two months of the year. But what if you create 5k by the end of the year, which is half of the goal you set? Then what? What will you make that mean?
This could set the stage for the rest of this post. Too often we set goals but don’t quite reach the goal or do it within an arbitrary time frame, then we make it mean all sorts of things about ourselves. Is that really helpful to our business? To beat ourselves up on December 31 for not hitting our goals? Probably not.
Looking ahead at whatever number of days or months, that’s not the main issue in my own opinion.
Rather, I need us to first redefine our relationship with goals or success that are based on arbitrary timelines.
More specifically, how can you think about goals or timelines without making it mean anything about you, whether or not you hit your goals in a certain time frame?
That’s exactly what I want to discuss in the post so we can “finish 2021 strong”, or whatever other timeline you want to focus on.
It’s crucial to take time to continuously ground yourself in how far you’ve come.
The version of you from one year ago would be amazed at who you’ve become today and how much you’ve achieved in the past 12 months, or 6 months, or even in just 3 months, 1 month, or 1 week.
How often do we truly reflect on how much we’ve accomplished in a short span of time? I’m sure we’ve all had days where things felt really, really hard, and at the moment, we had no idea how we would get through the day. And yet, here we are. We made it.
Really think about it.
That version of year one year or two or three years ago? Would they ever imagine that today, in the present day, that you’d become who you are today?
Because for me, I know that the version of me a few years ago would never be able to even imagine who I am today, what I’ve created, and what my life looks like.
Even though each of us have our unique life journeys, lived experiences, challenges and hardships that we individually navigate.
I’m very confident that for most of us, our past selves would be so proud to know that we are who we are today.
Younger Cheryl would be so amazed at who I’ve now become.
And the best part? I’m just getting started. And so are you.
We are literally just scratching the surface of our potential as coaches and entrepreneurs, and we’re literally just getting started in terms of creating the income and impact we’re meant to make in this world and the lifestyle we are building. This is seriously just the beginning.
When it comes to finishing the year strong, or starting off a new year or new quarter or new month on a strong note, we really need to acknowledge what we’ve done thus far and not negate the amount of effort, even if it seems super small.
Because the question then becomes, small compared to who? Who’s to say that our progress or growth or achievements is small? Who’s to judge? And, also, to whom are we comparing to? And why?
Because as coaches and entrepreneurs, it’s so easy to fall into the spiral of looking at other coaches or entrepreneurs in our industry, and comparing their success to ours and making other people’s success mean something about how we ourselves are lacking.
Here’s where I’d like to offer something for us to think about, besides the typical advice of “don’t compare someone else’s stage 10 with your stage 3” , which is definitely a valid perspective. But let’s go beyond that…
How can we use comparisons in a helpful way?
Comparisons are just thoughts. And you can choose to think a more helpful thought.
For example, rather than looking at someone and thinking they’re better than us and that we’re not capable, how can we leverage comparisons as a way to better ourselves?
I’ve found that when I personally compare myself with others, it’s not because that person triggers me. But it’s because I’m making their success mean that I’m lacking in some way. That they have some sort of IT factor that I don’t have, or that I make it mean that their circumstances or business has certain advantages that I don’t have.
When I confronted my own ego and worked on coaching myself through these thoughts, I started to see that just because my colleague achieved this amazing win, doesn’t mean that I’m lacking in any way. Not at all. I’m completely whole and enough, just as I am.
When I can shift my thoughts and energy, that’s when I can start to look at others’ success in a more helpful light and help me think about how I can better myself, rather than using comparisons as a way to blame and shame myself and thinking that I shouldn’t even be comparing myself in the first place. And feeling ashamed of myself for feeling this way about other people.
This leads to a second perspective we can consider, which is: why can’t comparisons and genuinely supporting others coexist? They aren’t mutually exclusive.
You can look to others from a helpful headspace and use comparisons in a helpful way to better yourself, while still genuinely liking your colleagues and genuinely being happy for them.
These things can occur simultaneously and it wouldn’t be a problem unless we make it a problem. This is where managing our minds is so important.
When we are busy thinking about what others have that we don’t, we lose sight of what we already do have and we forget our own unique thought leadership, our strengths, the specific reasons why our clients resonate with us, and overall we dim our own light.
That’s exactly why it’s so relevant for us to stay grounded in how much we’ve grown and to focus on what we bring to the industry.
What’s our unique thought leadership? What skill sets do we offer to our clients? What is our unique approach to working with clients? How can I tap into my own creativity and create content that stands out?
But if we’re so busy being salty about others and making their success mean something about us and what we’re supposedly lacking, it’s a lot harder to tap into our own unique thought leadership and brilliance. As a result, it becomes a lot harder for us to stand out and grow our business.
A lot of people will tell themselves that looking at others serves as a benchmark or reference for them to see if they’re moving in the right direction. That’s where I would question the quality of your “research process” or “research methods”.
First, you’re choosing to look at just a few data points, because what I find is that coaches tend to compare themselves to a few particular peers in their niche or industry, rather than comparing with every single coach or entrepreneur in the industry.
More likely than not, you’re looking at very biased data points. Meaning, you’re selectively choosing to compare yourself with a few of your colleagues who most likely have entirely different circumstances or business journeys than you.
And even if you somehow manage to find a colleague in your industry who more or less has very identical circumstances or businesses as you, why does it matter? Why does their success matter? How does it influence your business potential and growth?
A secondary argument that tends to come up is wanting to look at those few people because you want to know what the averages are or patterns to expect. And I would respond with, “We don’t need to look at these surface level “averages”. Because the truth is, even if we look at just a few particular peers in your industry or at the entire industry, you’re looking at a supposedly representative sample of people.
Either way, you don’t know what type of mindset work people have been doing behind the scenes. You might not even know what strategies they are implementing behind the scenes.
You’re only seeing the surface level, front facing marketing messages that they are selectively choosing to showcase on Instagram.
This means we are benchmarking ourselves against data that’s not necessarily accurate, relevant or reflective of the work of the person or persons you’re comparing yourself to.
Why not just compare the problems you’re currently solving now versus the problems you were solving a year ago? Why not compare the quality of your content today versus the quality of your content 6 months ago?
Why not compare the quality of your thoughts and decision making skills and CEO planning skills compared to when you first started your business?
That’s a benchmark that you have a solid understanding of. And I would argue that the past version of you is the only quality data you have access to. That is also the only data that indicates that you are indeed growing and moving forward in your business.
When you’re thinking about how to finish your year, quarter, month, or even week strong, give yourself some credit and acknowledgement that you’ve created so much, both internally and externally.
Because the past version of you would be so damn proud, excited, or even relieved to know that the version of you today is exactly where you are right now.
But if we spend so much time hating our present selves, telling ourselves that we aren’t doing good enough. That our business is behind. That others are better than us. How would that past version of us feel? That would be so discouraging. How can you ever win? Seriously.
That’s why I’m a firm believer that we need to not just celebrate our wins, but really, acknowledge our efforts and know that we are doing our best. We are working hard and we never gave up on our goals and what we’re meant to do through our businesses.
Now we have managed our minds about ourselves and what we’ve created in our own business, this is where things get fun.
There’s two ways I like to look at planning ahead for the next chapter of my business, whether that’s next year, 2022, or the next quarter or even the next month.
I like to think about who I want to become. Literally. Who do I want to become? Who is that next level version of Cheryl Lau and how can I create the time and space to become this person?
Next, how can I operate from the “I got nothing to lose” energy?
This is something I coined myself, because this is the exact mindset that helped me scale to consistent five-figure months in my business and I attribute this mindset to helping me scale to six-figures and now scaling to multiple six.
I created a framework recently for my clients, called the Simple 2×2 Method, which serves as a reference for making decisions and planning ahead in your business.
The 2×2 Method helps you think about your business in terms of:
1) What your BUSINESS needs from you, and
2) What your IDEAL CLIENTS need from you.
Specifically, what do you need to do and think in order to be the DREAM CEO for your DREAM BUSINESS?
Likewise, what do you need to do and think in order to be the DREAM COACH for your DREAM CLIENTS?
This means you need to have both an action plan AND a belief plan, which is a list of things you need to do and implement on, and a list of thoughts and beliefs you will stay committed to believing and thinking, even when your brain tells you that it’s not going to work.
Inside my private client portal that all of my clients get access to, we have a workshop completely dedicated to the 2×2 Method and it has been revolutionary for my clients and the way they think about their business.
I shared my own 2×2 Method with them, including my own belief plan and action plan when it comes to showing up for my business and showing up for my business.
We looked at both the strategy and the mindset behind my business in different areas, such as content strategy, marketing and sales, balancing other areas of life in addition to my business, and so on.
This workshop provided my clients with a brand new way for thinking about their business and planning for their business, and this is exactly what I do in my own business as well.
Here’s an actionable tip for you:
Think about the action plan and the belief plan that you need in place in order to be the BEST entrepreneur or CEO for your BUSINESS, as well as the action plan and belief plan that you need in order to be the BEST coach, content creator, and/or marketer for your IDEAL CLIENTS.
After you have visualized who is that next level version of you that you want to become, then it really comes down to becoming that person and creating the time and space to become them.
If you choose to explore this concept using the 2×2 Method, then this is where you need to commit to the action plan and the belief plan you create for yourself.
For myself, I have found that when I start to operate from the place of “I got nothing to lose”, that’s when I’m actually able to execute on the action plan and belief plan and see my business trajectory literally skyrocket.
Back in 2020, around September to November 2020, I started really thinking about my business from the place of I literally have nothing to lose.
If I have nothing to lose, then what do I want to do? What do I want to think? Who do I want to become? How do I want to show up?
At that point in my business, I really truly felt like I had nothing to lose. Back then, I had a so-called drought in my business where I didn’t sign a new client for months. I was also adjusting to my new life as a PhD student. I saw a dip in my business. This is where a lot of people would freak out if they don’t make any new sales for a few months.
Rather than letting this spin me out, I decided that at this point, I literally have got nothing to lose. If that’s the case, what do I want to do and think? Who do I want to become? Because whatever I choose to do or think or become, I literally don’t have anything to “lose”.
That completely changed the way I showed up in my business and for my ideal clients.
Because from that moment on when I decided I was going to show up as if I have nothing to lose, I decided that I’m going to give so much value to people for free, through my content, even if I don’t sign any new clients for another 3 months or longer.
I already wasn’t signing clients so I had nothing else to lose but I have so, so much I wanted to talk about. So many ideas I wanted to share. So many ways I want to push myself creatively in my content.
Even if my amazing free content doesn’t lead to people joining my program, I’m ok with that. There was no longer pressure that held me back. By operating from the energy of “I got nothing to lose”, I was able to release so much pressure that most people would normally place on their business.
They feel like they have to sign new clients or get applications to their programs or else that means things aren’t working. They feel like they have to get views on their Instagram stories or likes and comments or engagement on their content or else that means their content isn’t working.
But for me, at the point in my business when I truly felt like I had nothing to lose, I operated from a place of serving and creating my best content, for free. I had no expectations anymore. All I wanted to do was give, because I had nothing to lose.
For those few months, I focused on:
1) Creating the best free content possible. This was also the reason why I launched my podcast in October 2020. I took the time to hone in on my unique thought leadership and started leveling up as a content creator. I had so much value I wanted to share via my Instagram content and my podcast
2) I worked really hard on myself and my mindset, both inside and outside of business. I had nothing to lose at that point, so I took the time to better myself and the way I think. Around September 2020, I signed up with a coach who really knows how to coach my unique brain, and I started implementing self coaching into my life and business.Working on myself have been life changing to say the least.
3) I also worked on the non business parts of my life. I showed up in my career and PhD. I showed up in my relationships with people in my life. I showed up for my own physical and mental health. Again, I had nothing to lose, so I may as well spend some time working on my life!
The incredible thing that blew my mind was by December 2020, I created my first ever 10k month. And another in January 2021. As of this post in November 2021, I’m on track to create 100k in 12 months. I’m very confident that by the end of this month, we would have created 100k in the past twelve months, from December 2020 to November 2021.
All this would not have happened if I was so focused on where my next client is and thinking that I’m so behind. Thinking that others are way ahead of me, other business coaches are better than me and I wasn’t good enough compared to them.
None of the results I have created thus far in my business would have happened if my brain was consumed with thoughts like that.
Because I really deeply embodied the energy of having nothing to lose, I was able to implement my action plan and belief plan to the fullest. I believe that’s how my business suddenly skyrocketed really, really quickly.
It’s November 7 2021 today. One year ago, today, November 7 2020, I was in that so-called drought in my business. That version of me exactly one year ago? I would not have imagined I would create 100k in 12 months alone.
I had an inkling that at some point I might create 100k total in my business, but I legit thought it would be still quite far away. At that time, I was ok with that. I have nothing to lose.
November 2020 Cheryl would be so proud and so amazed at November 2021 Cheryl.
My life looks drastically different, both in the business and outside of the business.
To the version of me back in November 2020 , I’m truly living my dream life. And the best part? I am literally just getting started.
I want all of us to really ground ourselves in a few things.
First, recognizing and acknowledging how far you’ve come, and going all in into becoming the next level version of you. Both of these are relevant and necessary for your business. They’re not mutually exclusive.
Second, that past version of you would seriously be so happy to know that today, this current version of you, is literally already that dream version of yourself that past version of you was dreaming of. Seriously. Please don’t ever discount your progress and growth and wins.
Finally, that “I got nothing to lose” energy could change the entire trajectory of your business. I highly recommend leaning into that energy and start taking the action and thinking the thoughts that your business and ideal clients need you to do and think. This is how I firmly believe we can “finish the year strong” and enter 2022 as an even better version of ourselves.
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