Call it what you will — self improvement, personal development, self discovery, life long learning or any of the other names we use in the life & business coaching world — at the end of the day, aren’t we all just trying to live better, be more productive members of society, and contribute to the consciousness of humankind in a positive way?
We are all traveling this wondrous journey of life, and I believe that we’re simply going about it in the best way we know how.
Typically, somewhere along the way, we begin to realize that others are traveling with us. Some are ahead of us on the path, some are behind us and some are traveling right beside us. Sometimes individually and sometimes collectively, we strive to move forward, beginning one baby step at a time.
If we’re smart, we also begin to avail ourselves of the knowledge and experience of others, gathered together as resources and tools we collect and share. It is in this spirit of growth and experiential sharing that I have chosen my role as a creativity coach.
As our lights shine brighter, almost magically, so will those whose lives we touch.
As I consider all the ways that I have learned and now share lessons with the women drawn into my circle of influence, I realize that these resources and the way they are shared can be categorized in simple groups.
Self Help Library
Self Help is often defined as “the act of improving oneself without the assistance of others”. So, a self help library is full of books, audios, imagery and home-study courses that support your individualized learning and growth, at your own pace, without feedback or interpretation from others.
My journey of self-mastery began with a self-help library. Looking back, I realize now that the first addition to my library was Leo Buscaglia’s, Love. Later, my mother introduced me to the author, SARK, and her colorful, playful books about womanhood and living a vibrant life. Titles like Succulent Wild Woman were among those added to my collection. Then came Meditations for Women Who Do Too Much, by Anne Wilson Schaef, Louise Hay’s, You Can Heal Your Life, followed closely by Melody Beattie’s, The Language of Letting Go. Next came books about entrepreneurship like The E-Myth, by Michael Gerber, Mark Victor Hansen’s The One Minute Millionaire and Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich. Recent additions include Conversations with God, by Neale Donald Walsch, A New Beginning I by Jerry & Esther Hicks and Shakti Gawain’s Creative Visualization, among others. The list is endless and growing and I am always happy to lend.
Every morning I begin my day with what I like to call “Affirmative Reading”. I pick from my expansive self help library depending on my current needs. Sometimes I need to be lifted up, sometimes I want to question and reflect, and sometimes I want to simply be reminded of lessons I’ve learned. Always, my intention is simply to pause, reflect and continue to grow.
When I made the choice to branch out from my long-time career in hospitality and become an entrepreneur, home-study courses became a vital part of my self development process. In my busy life I found it easiest to devour new home-study material without the constraints of an organized classroom or workshop schedule.
Though I had managed a number of businesses successfully, being in business for myself was new to me, so I had lots to learn. Home study courses — workbooks and/or self-guided audio programs– were economical, too. I love that I can work these programs on my own time. And the best part is, I have the workbooks added to my self help library to refer back to over and over when I need a refresher. Those workbooks were created by some of the biggest names in the woman’s personal & business development world. My library includes, among others: Ali Brown’s “Boost Business with Your Own Ezine”, Elizabeth Potts Weinstein’s “The Money Tree System”, “Creating Powerful Sales Pages” by Laura West, “Prospects to Profits” by Heather Dominick of EnergyRich and Sandy Grason’s “Mastermind to Manifest”.
All of these valuable tools continue to be relevant to me and the growth of my business through personal development. I often go back to re-work chapters in these workbooks. My signature programs, The 12 Baby Steps Foundation Formula and The Art of Journaling to Grow Your Business have evolved from my interpretation and combination of many of the lessons I learned through these home study courses, fused with my personal experience. Having these tools available to me is invaluable.
Support Groups and Masterminds
Napoleon Hill, author of Think and Grow Rich, published in 1937, first defined the mastermind as a “coordination of knowledge and effort, in a spirit of harmony, between two or more people, for the attainment of a definite purpose.” Commissioned by Andrew Carnegie to study the nation’s most successful men of that time, Napoleon Hill discovered that they all participated in some form of group support. He believed that a phenomenon of mystical evolution occurred among the group where a “third, invisible, intangible force”, grew to be a power shared by the members. With clear focus on their intentions, what Napoleon Hill called “definiteness of purpose”, the mastermind members would reach success.
Inspired by similar men, the world’s largest mastermind group, the 12 Step Recovery group of Alcoholics Anonymous, was founded by Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob Watson in 1935. Today you can find communities of like-minded colleagues meeting regularly with the intention of supporting recovery from substance and behavior addictions in every community.
Other support groups exist to provide guidance around shared life experiences, like survival through the impact of cancer and other illnesses or death of a loved one.
In the business community, we have expanded the original concept. Now, instead of a group coming together to support a united, singular purpose, we bring together individuals with similar intentions to share their visions for the future and work toward specific goals. As the supportive group members provide feedback, resources and accountability to each other, the mastermind serves to up-level everyone’s performance collectively.
The Beyond Baby Steps Stepping UP Mastermind is one such group. As a creative entrepreneur coach I could see that my clients would benefit from having a group available to help them succeed. The exchange of ideas and the feedback each member receives is a valuable resource. Members may serve as accountability partners which helps them stay focused. Most importantly, the group is inspirational, encouraging each member to step up, outside of her comfort zone, and to achieve higher and higher goals.
One-on-One Private Creative Life & Business Coaching Support
No matter what it is you are trying to master, finding the right coach is certainly part of a tried and true success formula. We easily recognize the words and the value of “coach” and “coaching” in the world of sports. So why then, is it so hard for us to recognize the value of coaching in business and in life? I’ve learned that I cannot push myself to be my very best all by myself. The truth is, I let myself slide and I give up too easily when no one is looking. When I am working with my coaches, I step up because I know they are holding me accountable. And I know they are going to be there to support me if and when I stumble along an uncharted path.
I hired my first coach almost 10 years ago. She helped me to begin to connect to the parts of me I had allowed to become dormant over the years. As my awareness grew, I pushed myself to continue to open up to new possibilities in my life only because I knew that my coach was there to support me. I was scared and uncomfortable, but I trusted that she would be there to help me work through whatever might come up, and together we began to create a new reality for me, and to address those things that were holding me back. She encouraged me to ask and answer difficulty questions, to have the internal dialogue, that eventually led to me choosing my current path, to be a coach myself.
Wherever you are on your business and life path, private, one-on-one coaching will enhance your ability to make the changes in your life you say you are ready to make. When you build a trusting coaching relationship you gain confidence to take action on the things that your Inner Wisdom is suggesting to you, and to stretch outside of your comfort zone. This is a recipe for success.
Trusted Advisors, Family and Friends
Along the way, I have found that there are times when I need to learn, interpret and reflect alone, and there are times when I should, and do, reach out to those around me. Trusted advisors, family and friends provide a unique source of inspiration, support and encouragement, especially when they have similar personal experiences. In my past, I avoided reaching out to use these valuable resources because I was afraid to seem uncertain or unsure of my direction.
How wrong I was to not allow them the opportunity to share the guidance they would so willingly make available!
Recently, while researching the many reasons why small businesses fail, I learned that one of the reasons for those failures is that the business owners did not reach out to contacts who could have helped. So, the next time you are faced with a decision to make, where multiple points of view would be helpful, share it with someone close to you. Their input and perspective will be invaluable.
Each of these practices and support tools are available to you at any time. All you have to do is reach out to connect to the people around you who have experience and knowledge with these self-mastery tools. Recommendations are always easy to come by when you ask for support. The tools you chose will be entirely individual in nature. It doesn’t matter which one or ones you pick. Your self-mastery success will be determined not so much by the tool you use, but simply by the fact that you use one.
Take inspired action today and reach out to connect to at least one source of support. Then, little by little, build your toolkit until you know that you have everything you need at your disposal to be the very best you can be!
Be deliberate. Be persistent. And never, never, never give up on your dreams.
If you are interested in learning more about The 12 Baby Steps Coaching Programs, visit my.12babysteps.com or contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. And if you’re still not sure if coaching is for you, I would love to answer your questions in a complimentary 30 minute discovery session. Simply send me an email to let me know you are interested in learning more and we’ll schedule the perfect time to chat via phone, OK?