Should you ever Lower Your Standards?

Being successful in your own business is mostly mindset. Mastering Being a Business Owner requires that you cultivate mental toughness.

But you already know this. Running your own business can seem pretty damn challenging. We are always looking for new opportunities, new clients, ways to be more effective, do things better…In the face of all of it, sometimes doubt creeps in and even can take over. No matter who you are, how smart you are, how good you are, it takes courage and heart to move forward.

How do I know this to my core? I talk to people for a living. I listen to people. I listen to what people want and what gets in their way.

Often my role as a Small Business Strategist is to empower business owners in finding a path forward when some of it or all of it becomes too much. I coach people in creating specific actions to move forward. This is critical and necessary. But my role is also to develop people to empower themselves.

Mental toughness is a collection of attributes that allow a person to persevere through difficult circumstances (such as difficult training or difficult competitive situations in games) and emerge without losing confidence.

In order to cultivate mental toughness you have to find ways to empower yourself.

Even if you have a great coach or mentor, loving friends and/or a terrific spouse, you need to cultivate ways to empower yourself. I talk a lot about having practices that cultivate mindset. What I mean by practices is having regular things that you do at specific times.

In addition to practices, you need to always be looking for inspiration in the day to day. Reach out and pull inspiration towards you. Find inspiration all around you.

Take a moment and think of the ways you do this for yourself.

Brilliance, inspiration and a way forward can come from many places. Recently it came from a writer friend telling a story about William Stafford, the poet and how he deals with writing every day…particularly when you don’t feel like it.

An interviewer asked William Stafford: What do you do when you are not so good that day?

When I heard this question, my ears perked up. This is exactly how many of us feel in business. There are days when we are not so good and we know it. There are days that we just don’t feel very powerful or up to the task at hand.

His answer was fascinating. He said: I lower my standards. When I first heard this, I thought: What? Lower my standards? It just doesn’t sound right. I mean after all quality and excellence are important.

He went on: The important thing is to venture your way through language each day and let blame for weak poems go.

Wow. Awesome.

How many times do we keep from taking action because it is not perfect action? How many times do we overthink and overanalyze and end up doing little or nothing?   There is plenty to be said about quality and high standards but the important thing when push comes to shove is action.

Do not let yourself blame a lack of action on anything. Don’t blame that you don’t know how or what would be the best most brilliant action.

Let yourself venture into action today. Let yourself act. Take that step.

If you want to talk to me more about your Small Business Strategy, contact me at

Thank you for the courage that it takes to run your business,



Having it all…It’s time to take on some personal discipline…

Today, I am asking you to put on the Hat of being a Business Owner/The Leader and think from your role as the source of everything in your business. Your job commands that you hold it all and spin many plates at the same time. Most of your efforts go to managing your staff, your clients, managing the business, sales and marketing.

But How are YOU doing?

You know those times when you are really busy at work or maybe you have gotten sick or maybe something else happened and all of a sudden you notice that you stopped taking care of personal well being in some way. Maybe you stopped going to the gym or you are not eating the way you know supports you, getting a regular massage…whatever that is, you have fallen off track. Or perhaps you have been noticing for some time that there is some personal habit you need to change. The need to change something is nagging at you.

It is time for some personal discipline.

Ok, you know this is important for your life but why is it critical to your business?

I had an amazing and wise manager in my late 20’s who taught me something I will never forget. Mollie used to say that there were Six things to “Have it all” in life. Her list was insightful and practical. I thought it was cool at age 27 but I had no concept of its relevance in my fifties. I had no concept of how the list would impact my effectiveness as a business owner, three decades later.

One of the items on the list was: Have some personal discipline.

Have some area where you are bringing forth some personal discipline. And as I discovered for myself, a key to this is that you are taking something on. The key is to be taking something on that has some challenge. You may already be disciplined in many ways. The trick here is to be taking on something that demands your growth, stretches you and ultimately wakes you up. It may be eating a certain way. It may be exercise. It may be meditating. It may be training for a marathon. What matters is that you are taking on having some personal discipline. It doesn’t need to be a list of things. Just one thing makes a BIG difference.

After you make the commitment, a great practice: Be public about what you are taking on. Out yourself. Tell people what you are doing. Among the many benefits of being public is keeping you more accountable when you inevitably start to falter.

Here is what I am taking on: I am taking on a yoga challenge every morning for a month. I have been tolerating shoulder pain and limited range of motion for a while now. I told my chiropractor (months ago…ugh) that I was going to do yoga daily and then I did not take it on. Enough already. Daily sun salutations, Downward Dog and Plank. At least 10 minutes very day no matter how busy I am. No doubt more actions will emerge to take. That is not the point. The point is the discipline. I shared it on FaceBook. I will share it tonight with 30 people my Leadership Program in Minneapolis. I am now on record.

My question for you, is what are you taking on? What is calling to you to put back in or newly take on?

Whatever you choose, go for it and watch the benefits impact how you run your business. I could describe to you many ways this will impact your business in a positive way. I don’t think I need to do so. The wisdom of it speaks for itself.   I am going to leave the ball in your court to discover this for yourself. The real power in Mollie’s wisdom is to experience it in your own life and business.

I would love it if you share with me what you are taking on in the comments or on FaceBook.

Thank you for the courage that it takes to grow your business,


Let your light shine and SPEAK Your value.

What is letting your Light shine and what does it have to do with speaking our value? I think effectively speaking your value IS letting your light shine.

Likely you are  familiar with this from Marianne Williamson:

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
― Marianne WilliamsonA Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of “A Course in Miracles”

What do you hear in that quote?

Whatever you hear, I am taking the case you are on board with being: Brilliant, Gorgeous, Talented and Fabulous…Like the quote.

I am going to give you a Key that is at the core of Speaking your value.

Before you even open your mouth, consider you have a barrier to letting your light shine.

It is your baggage around sales.

Consider IF your view is anything other than- I embrace sales and commit to being highly skilled, that there are some limits.

Let’s examine your relationship with Sales.

What do you think of selling and sales people? What do you SAY about salespeople and selling?

What are your real thoughts?

What do think when I say:

I feel like I am being sold to?  or   That person was sooo sales-y

Or Sales people are….Manipulative or Annoying or Obnoxious or Only in it for themselves

Let’s face it. Sales has a crappy connotation culturally but more importantly as a business person, you probably have bought into some of that. And it colors your ability to sell.

It’s hard to let your light shine when you are selling trying not to be a salesperson. It  is constraining…and it is a little crazy making.

And here is the bigger point: You can’t afford that thinking. Literally. It is costing you money. It is costing you getting the word out about YOU. And YOU CAN’T let your light shine if you hold onto that thinking.

Be willing to define on your own terms and be a GREAT Sales person. Commit to Mastering the craft of sales.

Write a new script for who you are as a Sales person

Here is a possible script:

You all got into business to make a difference, to make a contribution. More sales means you work with more people and you get to make your mark in the world.

Sales are what you Need to make a difference.

I have a saying: Sales is the blood of your business. To be vital in your business, just like your body, you need to have the blood flowing.

So, steal my script or write one of your own. One that leaves you freed up to speak your value to more people.

Speak your Value from this place, Create the Sales Results you want with more of your Light Shining in the World.

Thank you for the courage it takes to grow your business,






Want to LOVE your Sales Conversations and make more Sales? Ask Better Questions


Do you want to be Someone who is engaging and has Sales Conversations that draw you in? Real exchanges that feel valuable and relevant?

You know those people.  They get conversation flowing and doesn’t seem all Sales-y? You actually feel like problems are understood and the person selling actually cares about you.

Well, that is not an accident. Those great sales people have trained themselves to be that way and…You can be that way too.

A BIG piece of the puzzle is in how you ask questions.

Great salespeople ask better questions.

It is time to do some real thinking and develop some GREAT questions that fit your sales process.

When people ask me about what kinds of questions to ask, I talk about…

Open ended questions

The simplest way to think of them is they are questions that do not end up with Yes or No.

For example, Instead of asking:  Did you like your last supplier? ask: What didn’t you like about your last supplier?

They are Why, What, How questions

  • What do you want?
  • Why do you want that?
  • How come you don’t think you have it yet?
  • What’s going to happen if you don’t get the thing you want?

These questions require people to think.

These questions create a perception that you understood them better and that you care about what is important to them.

And another key piece is the control of the conversation stays with the seller. You show up as competent in your field. You show up as a leader.

Want great questions that have worked for me?  Try these two that that bring the inevitable effect to the present.

2 Great questions:

  • How will you be personally impacted if this problem is not solved?
  • 12 months from now and You still have the same situation, what would that be like for you?

I am offering you a challenge.

Come up with at least 2 GREAT questions that fit your Sales process. AND practice these questions in your very next Sales conversation.

Let me know in the comments what you came up with or if you want to talk more about this. Or click here to contact me and I can work with you in a single session to really nail this for you.

If you take me up on this, I can promise you that you will be more excited and inspired to have your next sales conversation.

Thank you for the courage it takes to grow your business,



What is the ONE skill that will Make or Break your success?


In my business community we talk a LOT about our websites, brand, clicks, likes, tweets, posts,webinars and more… Most of you know this stuff is all part of your marketing strategy and integral to your success.  

You need to tend to a lot of this if you really want to be a success. If you don’t know how to do your online marketing, you can delegate that to someone else and many of you do.

I hear a LOT of focus on Marketing activity out there as the answer to  your success and rightly so because it is sooooo important. I myself have been learning so much lately about online marketing  ( and still am learning…)

But do you know the ONE SKILL SET you must personally develop that will make or break your success??

Sales skill.  That’s the one.

When I recently gave a talk on sales and said this, a very sharp entrepreneur shot up his hand:

But that seems contrary to the advice I have gotten…which says that you will never be good at all parts of the business and you should delegate the parts you are not good at.

My answer:  

That is true about everything but Sales. Master Sales first. Then you can hire someone to sell for you.

You don’t have to do the Sales but you must personally be very good at it.

I tell my clients that is the one thing you must personally master BEFORE you delegate.  

What do I mean by Sales skill?

Here are some of my most important questions for you to assess your skill:

Can you talk about your service or product?

Do you know how to listen for what is important to your customer?

Do you say too much or too little?

Do you have an effective sales process?

Are the sales actions you must take clear to you and are they effective?  

Do you know how to generate leads?

Can you talk about price and fees with confidence?

Can you close the sale?                                                                                                                                                    

…and managing others to do all this is yet another core competency.

In answering these questions for yourself, where do you need to grow?  What do you need to develop?

In Mastering the Five Hats of Being a Business Owner, I am almost always working on Sales and Sales process with my clients.

I work on the questions above and more.  But BEFORE I start, there is something to check out first:

Have you committed to being a MASTER of Sales?

Sales is the blood of your business. If you don’t have the blood flowing, where is the business?

If Sales are not flowing, you must be able to get them flowing again.  

You must also know how to manage others in sales and to do this you have to have some mastery yourself.

I listened to one of my all time favorite and most successful clients speak at an event  last month about what he learned and implemented from my coaching early on as a CEO.  He said I taught him how to sell and how to start up his company by generating sales.  He went on to be outrageously successful at generating investment money to grow his business (like $20 Million in investment money) but the foundation of it all was his core competency in Sales. And he grew his business from Sales- closing one sale at a time.  He grew to be proud of his ability.  In the beginning all he wanted was to raise money and then hire someone to sell for him.  

Here is the really GREAT news in all of this:  You can always ELEVATE your sales skill.  No matter where you are, you are not limited to that skill level.

Masters know they are always mastering the next level.

If you want to talk further about Sales skill and Process, Book a deeply discounted session with me to work on elevating any of the following:

Can you talk about your service or product?

Do you know how to listen for what is important to your customer?

Do you say too much or too little?

Do you have an effective sales process?

Are the sales actions you must take clear to you and are they effective?  

Do you know how to generate leads?

Can you talk about price and fees with confidence?

Can you close the sale?

…and managing others to do any of the above.

We can dive right in and make a real difference in one session for…only $25 (a $125 value.)  

All you have to do is schedule a time with me by clicking on my schedule. Reserve a 45-minute time slot and put in the subject line:  $25 Sales Skill session.


And we will go right to work on Mastering your Sales skill and Process.

I leave you with my love and appreciation for the courage it takes to grow your business.


What IF you don’t know what you want?


Here we are the first week in January and what if you don’t know what you want?


It may seem like every other entrepreneur is bursting with certainty. They are launching websites, developing new marketing strategies, or snapping into action in some aspect of their business with renewed vigor and passion.

Continue reading “What IF you don’t know what you want?”

Stop trying to get MOTIVATED. (Part 2 of Bringing in your year… there is still time!)



In this blog series, I am covering Three Strategies to BRING IN YOUR YEAR and to create the BEST year EVER in 2016.


Our 1st strategy was all about how to let go of REGRET and create a list of what you really want and actually will do by 12/31/15.


From the last blog conversation, you have a good start- clarity about your goals and intentions to BRING in your YEAR.


You have a list of things you really want to have happen between now and the end of the year. Things you are serious about. It will take something to do it. These things won’t just happen. And, this is a great start.


That brings us to Strategy #2:

Continue reading “Stop trying to get MOTIVATED. (Part 2 of Bringing in your year… there is still time!)”

Bring in your Year, There is still Time!


Welcome to my first blog post! This is super exciting for me…but that’s about me. My intention here is to provide something for YOU. So, let’s get started…


Today I talk about something that will soon be (like in January) a hot topic in your business: Planning and specifically Year-end Planning or what I call Bringing in Your Year. You may be good at it or not, you may love it or dread it…wherever you are, this post is for YOU.

Continue reading “Bring in your Year, There is still Time!”