I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase, ‘You are what you eat’, but perhaps you’ve never heard that ‘you are what you think you are’. I want to help you discover how the image you hold of yourself in your mind pretty much controls how you show up in both your life and your business: it’s behind the time you get up in the morning, to the habits you follow, the work you do and the results you get. And you’re going to get some easy techniques you can use every day to become the person you need to be to create success in your business.
Maxwell Maltz, a cosmetic surgeon who coined the term ‘self image’, said that ‘Man does not simply find success or come to failure… he carries their seeds around in his personality and character’. Maltz had found that when people changed the deeply engrained image they had of themselves they were able to transform their results.
So, what image do you hold of yourself as a business owner? Are you carrying around seeds of self-worth or self-doubt? Seeds of momentum and moving forward or seeds of being stuck?
If you are carrying seed of success, you will likely be showing up as someone who refuses to be beaten, someone who doesn’t take no for an answer, you’ll be taking action and even welcoming mistakes as signs of growth. However, if you are carrying seeds of failure then you’ll likely be giving up too easily, maybe not even trying. You’ll be saying things like: ‘what’s the point, it’ll never work out anyway?’, ‘Everything always works against me, why would this be any different?’ You will never get off the ground if this is the image that you are holding of yourself. But the good news is, you can change that image any time..woohoo!
If you’re showing up with the seeds of abundance, you’ll not only be seeing but you’ll be grabbing every opportunity with both hands, you’ll be using what you have to move forward. If on the other hand, you’re carrying seeds of lack you won’t be able to see past the low following on social media, or the bank balance that never quite rises above a certain number. You’ll be highly risk averse and focused on problems rather than solutions. So, e.g. let’s say you’ve just started out on your business journey. You have some following on social media but it’s not great and you’d like more. You’re looking at others and they have thousands of followers while you’re sitting with 200! Now you’re carrying seeds of lack, so all you can see is the low following and not the fact that when you’re at the bottom, the only way is up! With seeds of lack you’ll start to ask: ‘Why do people not like my page?’ ‘What is wrong with me?’ ‘Why are people not supporting my business?’ Then, you’ll do one of a few things
- You’ll give up, say ‘what’s the point, no one is interested anyway?’
- You’ll take action that goes against what you know to be right and start gathering any followers by any means regardless of whether they are your ideal client or not. or
- You’ll plod along trying and trying but never taking your mind off those low numbers that never seem to rise.
Now imagine you’re carrying seeds of abundance instead. You feel grateful for the followers that you do have. There may be fewer of them than you’d like but that’s ok because you know that if you add value, that number will increase. Your focus is not on building the numbers, but on providing value to the numbers you already have because you appreciate them. You are coming from a mindset of serving not getting! Now rather than the ‘why me?’ questions, you’re asking: ‘how can I be of more value?’ ‘what can I do to help those I want to serve? ‘If I had more followers, how would I be acting right now? Now you can only do one thing – provide service and watch your audience grow.
If you have an image of yourself as worthy, then you’ll be showing up with expectancy and when you have expectancy you take action! You create that sales funnel because you expect people to be interested in what you have, you talk about your business (so many women I meet who are starting a business are so secretive, they don’t even tell their nearest and dearest what they are up to in case it doesn’t work out they are expecting to fail before they’ve even started). You say yes to opportunities without fear. But when you have an image of yourself as unworthy of success or prosperity, that shows up as procrastination, constant questioning and trying to be perfect – an impossible dream. You need to strive for action rather than perfection. Once you take action, your ducks will begin to fall into line, not the other way around.
So, I would like you to take some time to think about how you are showing up right now in your business. Are you procrastinating? Are you starting and stopping? Are you holding back? Are you fearing judgement? Are you making bad decisions, or worse, not making any decisions at all? Are you full of motivation for tomorrow: ‘I will get up early’, ‘I will be productive’.. but when the alarm goes off for the 6th time you’re still hitting snooze?
Once you’ve identified how you are showing up you can begin to work back wards to figure out the image you are holding that is keeping you stuck on the hamster wheel. Are you seeing yourself as a successful business owner or as someone who fails at everything they try? Do you have an image of yourself as confident or shy? For years, I had the image of myself as too shy – I didn’t apply for certain jobs, heck I even didn’t apply for university courses I know I would have loved because I had an image of myself as shy. Then I read something that stuck with me – ‘what would you do if you weren’t afraid? If I wasn’t afraid, I wouldn’t be shy. I’d be confident – I changed the image of myself from shy to fearless and that’s when things changed dramatically. I widened my network, I said yes to opportunities that would have petrified me before, I spoke at an event which led to other speaking engagements and I began to put myself out there. I became the type of person who decided to do things because they were scary and not the type of person who hid away from fear. Because of that, I got to do work that I loved, I raised thousands and thousands for charity, I was even awarded an MBE in the 2019 New Year Honours list… Me, the shyest girl I knew was stood in Buckingham Palace chatting to Prince William – how on earth did that happen? It happened because I changed the image of me – my circumstances hadn’t changed, no one forced me to change, I wasn’t suddenly given something to help – I decided who I wanted to be and became her! I had purpose. It all came from inside!
An easy way to identify the image you hold is to explore how you use 2 very important little words: I am! We use these words so many times every day without ever realising the absolute weight of them: ‘I am stupid’, ‘I am too old’, I am so bad with self-control, I am too shy, I’m this, I’m that.
Your mind believes whatever you tell it and ‘I am’ is it’s most important instruction. The more you repeat those instructions the deeper they become engrained in your personality and character… you act out your ‘I ams’ because it is physically impossible for you not to! These ‘I ams’ are the seeds that Maxwell Matz talked about that control every part of how you are.
Take a moment to think of all the I ams you use everyday. Write them out. Be honest and I’ll bet it’s a long list!
It’s important to remember that everyone has self-doubt some-times, everyone questions their abilities and everyone has an irrational self image at times, we wouldn’t be human if we didn’t. So this is not an opportunity for you to beat yourself up, it’s a chance for you to learn about yourself and to tear down years of conditioning so that you can be who you want to be! Be glad that you have now identified your areas of improvement because now you can start building a new image that allows you to become the person you need to be to succeed in your business and in your life.
So, how do you know what image you need to have and how do you put it into practice?
It took years of repeated self-talk to build the image that you hold now, you’re not going to change it overnight. It’s going to take time, effort, repetition and persistence. Your inner self is going to fight because the image you have now is strong and it doesn’t want to go anywhere but, with the will to be who you need to be to make your business a success, you will do it!
So, lets take that first step. Take some time to imagine and really see yourself in 12 months from now as if you have already achieved your goal. You’re in business and things are going amazing. You have the time and financial freedom you want. Your business is exactly as you want it to be. Let everything go and really work on imagining it.
How would this version of you be different? Would she make more courageous decisions? Would she be running her business instead of having her business run her? Is she saying yes to opportunities before she knows how? How does she dress? How does she show up every day? What habits does she have? Does she look after herself? What type of people does she surround herself with?
How does she invest in herself and her personal and business growth? What support and help does she go out there and get? How does she go all in on her business rather than dabbling at the side-lines? She knows it makes sense to have other people help up level her business because she is only one person. Not only can she not do everything herself but there will be somethings she’s just not good at and doesn’t want to learn, how does she make sure she isn’t wasting her time trying to do the things she will never be good at rather than using her strengths to grow her mighty business. How does it feel to be her? (This one’s the biggy)
Now that you have an image of this new version of you, here’s the big question: How can you be her now?
OK, so you don’t have her budget YET, you’re not quite her YET but how can you replicate the feeling of being her now? What small things can you do every day that she would do? Like, she would have a schedule, she would make time for her business every single day! How can you do that? She would make decisions quickly! How can you practice making quick decisions (practice with small every day decisions)? She would get help, she’d talk over her ideas! How can you access support? She would call herself a business-woman, an entrepreneur, a business owner! How could you describe you now?
When I first started out with coaching & consultancy, I thought the me of the future wouldn’t work from the kitchen table – she’d have an office. The me in the future would invest in a mentor to hold her accountable because she wouldn’t hesitate to invest in herself with complete faith that it would be worth it. The me I wanted to be would have art in her office, art by female artists, other women making their way in business. She would surround herself with like-minded people and with people who shared a vision for growth, who wouldn’t settle for things as they are!
Luckily, I had a spare room – my everything room, literally all the stuff in my house that has no-where in particular to be, was in this room…it still is, but I got it re organised and bought a desk, chair and shelving, and there it was my own little office. I loved it because it was mine and it felt like I had work to do! My budget didn’t quite stretch to an original art piece but I could afford a framed print of an original so up it went. It still sits on my desk as a reminder of not just the business woman I am becoming still but the business woman I am! I invested in a mentorship programme that had a payment plan, the old me would never have spent the amount of money I did, but this was a new me! I worked it out and the payment plan was manageable. When it was finished, I invested in another programme to up-level my skills in my area of expertise and joined a network for entrepreneurial women who were on the same wave length as me. Friends and family mean well, but they are not always the best people to talk to when it comes to up levelling to a new you.
I stopped umming and ahhing when people asked me what I did for a living and confidently asserted myself as the owner of an empowerment initiative to help female entrepreneurs move out of their own way to create the business they wanted. I told the word I am an entrepreneur because entrepreneurs make good decisions, they aren’t afraid to make mistakes and they would have no problem sharing their vision with the world and that’s how I wanted to be.
Once I started doing that, I got so much clarity around the future for me and my business and you can have that too. You can make money doing something that you love. You just have to first see yourself as the person you want to be.
Which version of you do you want to be? Become her on purpose!
This blog is based on module 2 of the Get Set GO audio programme. Get access to the full programme free right here.