Carma Spence, The Own Your Awesome in Business and Life Coach, is fiercely committed to guiding women entrepreneurs to achieve confidence, clarity and self-awareness so they can have the creative, authentic and profitable business they dream of and live the life they deserve. If you are looking for a proven professional who can guide you to address the self-doubt, self-sabotage and second-guessing that keeps you stuck, you’ve come to the right place. With 20+ years experience in marketing communications and public relations, natural intuitive skills and certification in using some of the most effective transformational coaching tools available, my mission and commitment is to unleash the inner power every woman entrepreneur possesses so they can boldly go out into the world, transforming the fabric of people’s lives in meaningful and positive ways.
Carma: I work with savvy, intelligent, entrepreneurial women — or women who want to become entrepreneurs — to help them make that shift… and part of it is because I did it the wrong way.
I became an entrepreneur kicking and screaming. I wanted my weekly or bi-weekly paycheck (as you get higher up, they pay you less often but they pay you more). I was part of the dot com thing when half of the great dot coms just fell apart, and that’s when I started building my own business. I actually started as a freelance writer, because I had been a writer for 20+ years, and it has continuously morphed. The problem was I had no clear plan because I was kind of thrust out into the entrepreneurial world, having no idea what it was I was meant to do or who I was meant to serve. I ended up being in this constant desperation mode, and the thing is, clients smell that desperation.
And so it was year after year after year of struggle — trying to get a job and trying to be an entrepreneur, and just kind of failing miserably the whole time — until I finally got in alignment with myself. I kind of fell into the web design business because I was building my own websites and I have a natural knack for making things look pretty, so that seemed like a good thing. People liked what I was doing with my websites, so they started hiring me to do their websites, and so I sort of fell into that business even though it wasn’t my true passion. While that business was going well enough to pay the bills and the rent, it gave me time to start really delving into who I was, what I was on this planet for, and who I was truly meant to serve.
It was that crazy business that really wasn’t the perfect fit which actually gave me the leeway and the breathing room to come up with the business I’m currently working on, which is life and business coaching. I’m using the lessons I learned during all those “fun” years of struggle to help other women entrepreneurs or executives who want to become entrepreneurs, to not go through that.
Meredith: Right. One of the things we say to people is that sometimes you didn’t have a choice — you kind of got upended. The equivalent is staying at your paying job while you develop your passion. You basically did that, but as a freelancer. There’s a difference between your freelance business, which is basically doing whatever you did before, and your true passion business, which is doing what’s in your heart and bringing that heart brilliance to life.
It’s interesting to hear you say that, because that is a very valid path, and a path that people go on quite often. What do you think is the biggest lesson that you learned, that you teach people in your coaching practice not to do?
Carma: Be clear, and do not approach your business from a position of desperation. Do everything you can to get out of desperate mode before you talk to other people, because no matter how hard you try to pretend you’re not desperate, they smell it. You need to get your mindset, your body, the whole thing, into a place of, “In this moment, I’m not desperate. Now, I can be of service to you.” When you are of service to whomever you’re talking with, they feel that. They feel that your heart’s in it and you’re not just trying to pry money out of their wallet.
Meredith: But what if you are desperate?
Carma: You can still find that space within you, because I still have my moments where suddenly I’m like, “Oh, I just really want to do this.” You step out of that, and you think of the other person. “I am of service.”
Jasper: Especially when you first start out, that’s the bit where you tend to be most desperate, isn’t it, because you know you have to get this thing going? You may have left a good paying job because you wanted to do something more passionate, but then you don’t necessarily have the same income to start with, so it’s very difficult not to be desperate when you first start out.
Carma: Yes, and I have discovered little tips and tricks that can, at least for the moment, get you outside of that.
My favorite one I learned from Dr. Amy Cuddy. She has a TED talk that you can find on YouTube, where she talks about body language. Her research found that if you sit or stand in a power stance (think of Wonder Woman!) with your hands on your hips or anything that puts your body in the alpha position, and you hold that position for two minutes, it literally changes your body chemistry, making you more confident. In the research, they found that people who held a power stance for two minutes before they went into a job interview did better than people who held a less powerful stance for two minutes. I’ve sort of commandeered that information and made standing in a power stance for two minutes every morning part of my routine. When I do that, I’ve found I’m in a much better space throughout that day than on the days where I’m in a hurry and I can’t fit that two minutes in.
Jasper: It’s interesting you should say that, because I’ve actually seen a very similar sort of stance, but it’s the one where you have your legs spread apart and your arms out straight – called “the star position” – and that’s supposed to be really powerful in terms of drawing energy into you.
Carma: Exactly. Basically a power stance is one where your body is saying “I have power.” It doesn’t matter what your mind is saying in the moment. There are lots of different ways you can do it, but basically what you’re doing is you’re giving yourself confidence from the outside in. There are other ways to do it, but that one is one of my favorites because I’ve actually done that work with clients. I say, “Okay, I’m hearing in your voice that you’re feeling a little weak right now. Why don’t you take the next two minutes, stand in a power stance, and then let’s talk again.” We’ll wait two minutes, and they’ll be feeling weird. Sometimes when I’m doing it, my arms will fall asleep, which is always interesting. Then I ask them the exact same things I asked them before the two minutes, and their voice is different.
Jasper: The weakness comes from the mind anyway, doesn’t it? So it’s getting you out of the mind and into the physical that is the power aspect of it.
Carma: Yes, definitely.
Meredith: Other than the desperation thing, what do you think are the biggest blocks women entrepreneurs face as they start their journeys?
Carma: There’s a lot of stuff out there. Women in North America, in general, tend to devalue themselves. I don’t know if the same applies outside the U.S. There was another research study done where a man and a woman look at the same job description. The man looks at it, sees that he has three of the 10 qualities that are asked for, and he thinks, “Oh, I’ve got this job. I’m perfect for it.” The woman looks at it, sees that she has nine of the 10 qualities, and thinks, “Oh, I’m missing that one. I’d better not even apply.” We want it all, or we don’t think we’re good enough, and I know a lot of that has to do with enculturation. What I push myself to do and what I push clients to do is be okay with where you are, and constantly push your envelope, because you will surprise yourself. You’re probably better than you think you are.
Favorite Book: Goddess in Every Woman by Jean Shinoda Bolen
Favorite Resource: The Myers Briggs Test
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An award-winning editor with more than 20 years experience in marketing, public relations and science communication, Carma is a multi-dimensional entrepreneur, science fiction writer and poet. Her mission and commitment is to unleash the inner power every woman entrepreneur possesses so they can boldly go out into the world, transforming the fabric of people’s lives in meaningful and positive ways.
Carma at Unstoppable Gala 2012 After earning a master’s degree from the University of Maryland College Park in Journalism (from the number one public relations program in the nation, according to U.S. News & World Report), Carma developed a career as a corporate science writer. Her ability to understand high-level science (she holds a bachelor’s degree in Biology) and translate it for a lay audience, coupled with her marketing and public relations training, enabled her to help employers such as City of Hope National Medical Center, Blue Shield of California and the National Human Genome Research Institute gain local and national exposure, and improve customer and employee communications.
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