In early April I returned home from a three-day road trip to Alberta. In just over two months I had led nine evening marketing seminars and eight full-day training seminars. All of this while overseeing the running of ProCoach, creating new program content and maintaining my regular coaching schedule. Everything had gone extremely well, with good attendance and great energy from all involved. But as I dropped my bags on the floor and closed the door behind me, I realized I was truly exhausted.
The next morning I dragged myself into my office and sat down at my desk. Time to deal with the backlog: over a hundred emails, stacks of paperwork, phone calls to be returned and a long list of decisions and unfinished tasks waiting to be prioritized and completed. But instead of getting to work, I began organizing the receipts from my trip. Then a lengthy reply to an email of relatively low significance ate up another chunk of my morning. Finally, I took a moment to reflect and realized I was feeling completely overwhelmed and thus working ineffectively. With my energy so depleted was it any wonder?
As a coach I work regularly with clients who are overwhelmed by the responsibilities and demands of running a business and a life. Now it was my turn to use the techniques I recommend to my clients who are dealing with overwhelm and burnout.
It took a few weeks, but now my batteries are recharged. My energy, clarity and sense of motivation have returned and I am ready to take on the world again.
If you have experienced emotional or physical exhaustion, or extreme stress, make sure your read this issue's Success Tips. They will help you stay on track during those inevitable times when you face overwhelm in either your business or personal life.
Andrew Barber-Starkey, Master Certified Coach.
In This Issue
Free "Secrets of Success" TeleSeminars
Great news! Your friends and associates located across North America now have the opportunity to hear Andrew Barber-Starkey deliver the same powerful Success Principles he presented recently at his sold out evening seminars.
The free "Secrets of Success" TeleSeminars will take place on Wednesday, May 4; Monday, May 9; and Wednesday May 11. They are designed for small business owners, self-employed individuals, sales people and network marketers who live outside the areas where ProCoach holds regular live seminars.
To effortlessly send an email invitation to your far-away friends and colleagues who might enjoy the Secrets of Success TeleSeminars, please click here. If you would like to register yourself or to read more information about the TeleSeminars, click here.
Dealing with Overwhelm
At some point most of us experience the feeling of being overwhelmed. Signs of overwhelm include confusion, a lack of motivation, inefficient prioritizing, self-sabotaging behavior, an inability to apply oneself and stay focused on a particular task, and a decreased attention span.
Here are 3 steps you can take to deal with overwhelm. (Note: These tips can also improve your effectiveness when things are running smoothly!)
||Stop Digging Yourself in Deeper! Be aware of the need to simplify. Stop taking on new tasks - become ruthless about saying no. Keep your office environment organized - a messy work environment makes things worse. Get enough rest, eat well and exercise - the wrong kinds of foods and fatigue also "dig you in deeper".
||Prioritize Take time to step back and look at the big picture. Identify your priorities based on what is most important to you. What is the single most important task for you to handle first? What else has to be handled imminently? List your top three priorities - no more!
||Take one step at a time. Once you have determined the top priority task, narrow your focus. Put everything else aside or off your desk, if possible. Work on that one task only! If it is a major task, break it into smaller mini-steps, and focus only on the first step. Upon completion, focus on the second, etc.
Here are some additional tips:
||Put things away/clean up as you go. Work on tidying your space.
||When overwhelmed, your capacity is reduced. Be patient with yourself and don't expect too much. Self-criticism will only make things worse.
||Ask others to help you. Delegate or outsource wherever possible.
||Pressure due to commitments to others may contribute to a sense of being overwhelmed. Intentionally lower other people's expectations of you. Ask for extensions if required and build in a time buffer on self-imposed deadlines.
||Take time for yourself. A short nap or a few minutes in the sun can change everything.
||Get out into nature. Fresh air and natural surroundings rejuvenate the spirit.
Coaches Note: When I get overwhelmed I almost always eat junk food and stop exercising. Often my first step to get on top of things again is a trip to the gym.
If you are reading this newsletter, you are committed to learning, and are actively accelerating your progress towards success. Your very nature makes it likely that at some point you will take on more than you can handle. When that happens, put these simple tips into practice. Not only will you increase your level of efficiency, you will regenerate your energy, clarity and motivation.
Ask The ProCoach
Question submitted by BH in Los Angeles
"I am a personal coach and have designed a series of workshops on personal empowerment. Feedback from participants has been extremely positive. Given the success of workshops to date, I am considering expanding the number of workshops I offer. Because marketing and sales is not my area of strength, I will need to hire someone to promote and sell the workshops for me. Can you offer any suggestions on how to hook up with someone who has these skills, and what kind of skill set I should be looking for?"
If I had a dollar for every time I have been asked this question, I would be rich! And it's not just coaches who come to me with this question. I get the same question from graphic designers, photographers, massage therapists, speakers and trainers, authors, consultants, artists and a wide range of others. Professionals who are fully engaged in their chosen profession or businesses, but find it extremely difficult to market and sell their services.
I am sure you are well aware that a high percentage of self-employed entrepreneurs and small business owners fail. Those who do stay in business often face financial difficulties year after year. The primary reason for business failure is a lack of targeted, effective marketing.
Your product is empowerment workshops, which are a direct reflection of you and your knowledge. As such, you are essentially marketing yourself. Before you can hire someone else to sell what you do, you must personally develop the marketing template, language, and strategies that work for your product. If you do not have a proven sales methodology in place, the chances of a sales person succeeding are extremely small.
If there is a single skill that can be labeled the most important for your financial success and business sustainability, it would undoubtedly be the ability to promote and market yourself. And here is the good news. It is a learnable skill, and something we focus on in the ProCoach Success System. This quarter all of our members are working diligently to improve their sales and marketing skills.
The first step involves a commitment on your part. You must confront your discomfort and make a decision that you are going to learn this vital skill. Next, you need to become fascinated with the sales process and learn everything you can about it. The third and final step is to practice and work on improving your sales and marketing abilities. Once you have mastered selling the seminars yourself and your business is booming, it would then make sense to hire an additional salesperson.
Do you have a coaching question? Send it to . The ProCoach will answer one stimulating question each month.
Spotlight on Lynn Adam - Calgary, AB
ProCoach: Tell us about your business.
Lynn: My husband, Ron, and I, run a high-end relocation and property management company in Calgary. We started the relocation business about five years ago. Two years ago we moved into property management when we purchased a company with a real estate brokerage license. Our clients are very exclusive, mostly corporations from across North America relocating staff to Calgary.
ProCoach: What was the hardest part of your startup?
Lynn: I had no idea how much work was required to start a successful business! The long hours we put in, and the energy - both physically and emotionally - we invested, were beyond anything I had imagined. The learning curve was huge, and at first we worked 24/7 to get things going. It was very draining.
The year following the purchase of the property management business was all about establishing systems, developing our skills, and learning the do's and don'ts of this highly regulated industry. In the second year we focused on getting the website and database up and running. We also worked on the development of job descriptions and the subsequent hiring of new members for our team. We are now in our third year and have brought on some excellent people. Of course the learning curve continues, but thankfully we are feeling on top of, rather than underneath, the business.
ProCoach: How has the ProCoach Success System helped you?
Lynn: I think the results speak for themselves. I have been delighted with the speed and consistency with which the company has evolved, and ProCoach has definitely contributed to that. Having a long-term vision and creating an action plan for implementation has made a significant difference. Instead of fighting fires, we have been able to move ahead strategically and consistently.
On a personal level, the program has also enabled me to keep my life in balance. I love what I do which makes it easy for me to spend too much time at work. Because the system requires me to track my Freedom Days I can see when I am getting out of balance.
I have also scaled down my over-achieving tendencies. I was almost killing myself trying to do too much; my expectations were way too high! I have finally mastered the habit of lowering my expectations and actually over-achieving my goals. I thank ProCoach for that!
ProCoach: What is it about the ProCoach System that works so well for you?
Lynn: One thing is that it helps me gain clarity. It's hard to implement a plan unless you know where you are going. Spending a full day away from the business four times a year, working on the big picture, learning new skills, and hearing what other people do, has been extremely valuable. At each Quarterly Seminar it seems like the fog clears temporarily and I can re-establish my sense of direction. Then I get back to the office, and over time the fog rolls in again. At that point I feel fortunate to have the Quarterly Plan and Weekly Workbook to keep me on track until the next Quarterly Seminar.
I also find there is a wonderful synergy created by being part of a group who are on the same path. For example, when we first put our web site up, ProCoach members provided us with excellent feedback and suggestions for improving the site.
ProCoach: Is there anything else you'd like to say?
Lynn: Well, I love the Laser Coaching. It's amazing how talking to Andrew for just 15 minutes can turn an obstacle into an opportunity. I've also noticed that the Success Factor lessons always seem to arrive at exactly the right time for me. The current Success Factor, on sales and marketing, is right on target for me at this time.
ProCoach: What is in the future for you and your business?
Lynn: Things are going very well, and we hope to sustain our progress. My role is to continue positioning our company as the only relocation and management option for corporate Calgary. Ron and I have started working on an exit strategy. If business growth continues at the current rate, it is likely we can sell the company and achieve financial independence in the next five years. I am looking forward to that!
ProCoach: Thank you for sharing your success story with our readers Lynn. It is always inspiring to hear from a member like you who is getting such great results with the ProCoach Success System.
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Andrew Barber-Starkey is a Master Certified Coach residing in Vancouver, Canada. His coaching program, the ProCoach Success System, is designed for entrepreneurs, small-business owners, self-employed and commissioned sales people who want to double their income while simultaneously doubling their time off within 3 years.
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