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After ten years, this happened…

When my daughter Isabel was four years old, I took her with me to my hairdresser, John, for a “mommy daughter” day – getting haircuts together and a treat on our way home.

Everything was going swimmingly until she got out of the chair. “Mommy,” she whispered to me, with tears in her eyes, “he cut it so short!”  Indeed, he had. It looked completely endearing to me and my hairdresser, but she was mortified.  I realized why she hated it so much when I took her to pre-school on Monday.  Every other girl in the class had long hair.  She cowered in the corner with her hood over her head and no amount of mommy love could console her.

She didn’t cut her hair for another ten years.

By the time she was 14, it was almost to her knees. It was beautiful and flowing, and was the object of much admiration. The only problem was she could never wear it out of a braid because it would become an unruly rat’s nest. Untangling it took nearly an hour in the shower.  When I encouraged her to cut it, she resisted. It bolstered her confidence in herself and was part of her identity in her social scene.

 Then, just after her 15th birthday, she suddenly announced that she was ready to cut it.  Eagerly, I scheduled John to come to my house (yes, the same man who had cut it all those years ago!) and she invited her friends over. Watching John’s scissors slice through that mane of hair was both terrifying and exhilarating.  He cut off a full 28 inches of hair while her friends’ squeals filled the room.   Afterwards she couldn’t contain her exuberance.  Since then she has radiated joy and confidence in her choice.  She no longer feels defined by that one feature of her looks and she loves the ease that it affords her.

While relieved and grateful that she cut her hair, I’m not surprised that she feels as happy as she does with the result. This aligns with the second step to creating abundance, which is to “Give Wholeheartedly.”  (Click here to watch a short video about all three steps.)

While we often think of “giving” as referring to the giving of gifts, money, time, or even something like business referrals, this type of giving falls in the category of “letting go” or “releasing.” By letting go of her hair, Isabel not only let something go that she was tolerating (taking care of that hair!) but also a long ago hurt.

If you’re feeling stuck at all in your business, take a look around to see what you might be tolerating and ready to let go of. It could be a project that you no longer care about, clients that don’t serve you any more, books you never plan to read, to-do’s you’re never going to do… the list goes on. Don’t let a decision made years ago for reasons you barely remember linger. It can get in your way every day, much like my daughter’s hair when she used the dishwasher. Yes, after she leaned over to put a dish in, her hair would often get caught in the door as she shut it.

We don’t realize how much we are weighed down by extraneous objects, old wounds, regrets, or even future expectations that never get fulfilled. By letting go, you’re opening up space for something new:  new clients who appreciate you, space in your office or home, the ability to focus on what you really want to do.  Once you give away or let go of these items, you’ll experience a surge in your energy and enthusiasm and feel lighter and freer.  I encourage you to get started today.


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Want to grow your business? Make mistakes.

My daughter came home crying last week.

She recently got her first job, picking up a neighborhood boy once a week from his after school program, taking him to his swim class and then home.

The first two weeks things went very smoothly and I was proud of her. But last week she messed up.  First, she texted me to say that she was “taking a detour” after school and would be late getting home.  As it turned out, she had forgotten when she was supposed to pick him up. She arrived 45 minutes late, and he missed his swim class.   She was supposed to take him to the doctor’s after the swim class. She not only got off at the wrong subway stop, but also walked in the opposite direction from the doctor’s office.  In the end, they had to take a cab, an expense for the Mom.

“I took him the wrong way!  My literal job is to make sure he doesn’t do that!” she exclaimed through her tears.  The tears were mostly of embarrassment, but also from a sense of failure.

How I relate to the embarrassment of screwing up!  As an entrepreneur, it feels like I fail somehow every day.  And every mistake stings.

Recently I emailed someone who had signed up for my 5-Day Abundance Challenge to encourage her to start working on the lessons, only to realize that I had emailed the wrong person.  I have been known to double book appointments, lose track of emails, forget to follow up and even completely blank on whole conversations.  I have overlooked billing a monthly coaching fee, which meant I had to sheepishly call my client and explain that she now owes me for two months.  I’ve made mistakes on emails that go out to thousands of people. The list goes on and on.

Frankly, these screw-ups are for me the hardest part of being an entrepreneur.   I battle with the aspiration to do it all “perfectly,” which just isn’t possible.

After the flow of my daughter’s tears lessened, we talked about what she could do to make things right; specifically, what to say to the Mom and how.

1. First, apologize. Ordinarily, I’m not a big fan of apologizing. I believe we over apologize in life. Many times we don’t really mean “I’m sorry,“ we mean “Please bear with me.“ or “Oops! I didn’t mean to do that.“ or “Pardon me.” Watch yourself for a few days and see how often you apologize for small things that you really don’t need to be sorry for!

There is value, though, in acknowledging to the other person that you realize you made a mistake, and owning up to your part in any bad consequences. Isabel had already said “sorry” quite a few times to the Mom, but I encouraged her to be more specific, saying “I realize I did not live up to my commitment and I am sorry for that.”

2. Offer reparation. In the 25+ years I have been in business as an entrepreneur, I have learned that if someone is unhappy with my service, it’s helpful to offer a way to make up for it. For me, it could be in the form of an extra coaching session or two. About half of the time, the gesture alone is enough to make people happy, and they don’t even take me up on it. In Isabel’s case, I suggested that she let the Mom know that she didn’t have to pay Isabel for the day.

3. Then make a commitment to the future. I tell clients that they need not live forever in the shadow of a “failure”. Forgive yourself and focus on what’s next. I counseled Isabel to say, “You can count on me to be on time moving forward.” This is the most important part because it’s how you rebuild trust. Of course, that trust will stick only if you live up to your words.

I believe that making mistakes is a crucial part of growing your business.  Being an entrepreneur is inherently risky, so if you’re not making mistakes, it means you’re not taking risks.  Every action can seem magnified in importance when your business is on the line. But in all my years of coaching I’ve yet to see a mistake that my client didn’t recover from. Business is remarkably resilient.  Isabel was afraid she’d lose the job. In the end, the Mom stuck with her and insisted on paying her for that day.

Knowing this doesn’t necessarily make it any less stressful.  But if you follow these three steps, you can move past your breakdown, learn from the experience, and continue to express your brilliance.

Tired of working so hard to make your business a success?  Want to make more money and get more clients with ease?  Take my free 5 Day Abundance Challenge and leverage the power of my proven three step system for creating abundance.  Sign up today!


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I just assumed I would be 40 and divorced

Happy Anniversary to me!  That’s right, I’ve been married to my husband Jon for 21 years as of last week.  That’s a pretty big accomplishment in and of itself, but given my family history, it’s even more astonishing.

My parents divorced when I was just 10 years old.  Not only that, but every other adult female in my mother’s family was divorced.  I grew up surrounded by women who were “done wrong” in some way or another by a man.

I had no role models for relationship.  My mother outright told me, “You can’t trust men.”  (Actually, she said “You can’t trust SHORT men.”  My dad is about 5’6”.)

When I imagined what my life would be like when I was in my 40s, I literally pictured myself as a divorced single mom.  I simply didn’t know how to maintain a long term, loving relationship.  Therefore, I didn’t think it was even possible.  The framework I lived in was “you can’t trust men” and I brought that idea with me to every relationship.  No surprises that the men I attracted were, you guessed it, untrustworthy.

Then in my late 20s I participated in an exercise during a workshop that explored trust.  We did a mingle where we went up other participants and said either “I trust you”, “I don’t trust you”, or “I don’t know if I trust you.”  After the exercise the trainer asked us a series of questions.  One of them was, “How many of you said “I don’t trust you” to all the men?”  My hand shot up in the air.  I must have attracted his attention with my enthusiasm because he looked right at me and said, “Is that true?  You can’t trust all men?”

That was the moment when I realized that as long as I believed that men were not trustworthy like it was the “truth” I was destined for a failed marriage.  Challenging that belief and then eventually shifting it to “Men are trustworthy and available to me” paved the way for me to create a relationship with Jon.

That was just the tip of the iceberg in understanding just how many beliefs I had that were limiting me in my life.  In my business, ideas such as “The only way to succeed is to work day and night” and “You have to know someone to get a break” and “Being successful requires discipline and I’m not disciplined” created hidden barriers that all but stopped me.  Only by challenging each one was I able to create a successful business (which by the way, I started with my husband the year we were married!)

Sometimes our beliefs become so hardened and “real” to us that it is difficult to see it any other way.  If you become aware of a belief that is limiting you, you can begin to shift it by asking the simple question “Is this true?” Most times you’ll be able to see that the answer is no.  If you’re not sure of the answer or it still feels true to you, look around for evidence that defies your belief.  By seeking it out, you’ll loosen the hold that the belief has on you.  In my case, I looked for couples that were happy in their marriage and had been together a long time.  Once I started looking, I found a lot more of them than I expected.

I know that people usually don’t pay much attention to anniversaries unless they’re a “big” one, but I celebrate each year that I’m married as a miracle.  Shout out to my husband Jon for being on the journey with me and being that trustworthy man who showed up at the right time.

 

Don’t miss what might be your last opportunity to attend the Abundance Breakthrough Course on Sept. 22 – 24 in NYC. We’ll uncover and bust up those limiting beliefs you have about what it takes to create the life of your dreams – and make it happen now! See link for details. 


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Grandmothers swatting flies

I’m trying to get some work done here. Really I am.  And this damn fly just won’t leave me alone.  There’s a whole huge screened-in back porch here, and he just won’t stop flying next to me, literally, right in my face.

I don’t want to or have to kill him. I mean, I could.  It’s a skill that I learned from my father, how to kill flies by clapping your hands just above where they are going to fly, unsuspecting, upwards.  I can get them almost every time. Continue reading


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Who cares if they don’t like my singing?

Recently I threw my husband a 50th birthday party and when it came time to sing Happy Birthday I was encouraged to say a few words. I laughed and said, “I’ll bet you never imagined growing up that the word “ukulele” would figure so prominently in your life!”

Then again, I never imagined that either, until three years ago when I picked it up for the first time. Now playing the ukulele has become an almost daily occurrence. I regularly go busking in Central Park as part of the duo Ukulicious and played at the Morgan Library last spring with my bluegrass group the Westside Irregulars (a paid gig!). And now I’m broadcasting “Your Guide to Love, Life, and the Ukulele” on Periscope, saying a few words on a theme of the day and Continue reading


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The Curse of the Airfare

I don’t know when time started to speed up, but in the past few years I’ve noticed that once school begins in September, the events start coming fast and furious.  Just as we finally get settled into a routine for school, it’s time to start thinking about what costumes my kids want to wear for Halloween.  And if Halloween is here, well then Thanksgiving and Christmas can’t be far behind. Continue reading


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Does a bear care?

Last week, while my sister and I were having breakfast at my country house, a bear walked across my lawn.  The movement in the bushes initially caught my eye, and at first I thought it was a deer.  Then it stepped boldly and assuredly onto the open lawn, where it traipsed along seemingly without concern towards the woods on the other side.  “Oh my God!” I breathed to Ruth Anne, “That’s a bear!”  I jumped up and grabbed my camera, pulling off the lens cap and dropping it all in one motion.  As the lens cap hit the wooden floor with a “chink,” the bear, which was at least 100 feet away, looked up in our direction.  Yikes!  Then, deciding he was in no immediate danger, he continued on his journey towards the woods.  With a racing heart, I took a series of photos from the relative safety of our screened in porch. Continue reading