The number one tip our guests give to aspiring entrepreneurs is to get a mentor early on. The trouble is that good coaches are not inexpensive – and a lot of times a coach will cover overarching strategy or mindset – but not actual implementation. Then, people see some success but don’t keep the support. Without the accountability they suffer.
Our guest today in Mary Lyn Miller. Mary Lyn has been a coach for 25 years and in this interview she gives some very valuable tips on how entrepreneurs can get the help and mentoring they need without breaking the bank. She also shows how people can find their core essence – so they are doing the work they are best at – and creating a team to really support them. Would you like to see that in your business? Read on…
Meredith: Mary Lyn, you are a long time coach . . .
Mary Lyn: A long, long time coach, yes.
Meredith: Well no, I mean, no no no. What I mean by that is, a lot of people have been in the coaching business for like, three years or less.
Mary Lyn: Right.
Meredith: And you’ve been around a little longer than that.
Mary Lyn: A little longer, over 25 years.
Meredith: And so, what do you think is sort of the biggest problem right now in the coaching industry as far as people getting results that last.
Mary Lyn: It took me a long time to embrace coaching because when I started, coaching was for basketball. You know? There was no such thing as a life coach. No one had ever heard of such a thing. I started by helping people. And I was considered a consultant, because I didn’t know what else to call myself. And so I can’t speak specifically to the coaching industry. But I can tell you from my experience in working, literally, with thousands of people all over the world at this point, that one of the biggest problems is that people don’t have the consistency that they need to really be as effective as they could be. Coaching is kind of a spot thing. We do a six week program or a four week program, or you know, even a six month program. But then it ends. Then it all ends and you hope that it’s all going to take. And I think that it’s really important, especially for new entrepreneurs and old entrepreneurs like myself, to have the consistency to be able to keep action-oriented and to become accountable. And I think there is a lack of accountability with a lot of people. Even though they know what to do, it’s hard to get it done.
Meredith: Well, I think that’s the same with maintaining change . . .
Mary Lyn: Yes.
Meredith: . . . in any area of your life, because I know that if you talk to somebody who has lost a ton of weight, they’ll say to you, the hardest part is actually maintaining it. Because once you’ve lost the weight, all your support systems go away.
And so this is sort of the same thing with entrepreneurs. Especially when you start, you tend to gather a lot of support around you, right? Because you’re learning. And you’re like, “Oh I need to get a coach, I need to get a good virtual assistant, I need all these people on my team.” But then once things start to kind of simmer, then you let that support system go away. And then all of a sudden things maybe aren’t working as well for you . . .
Can you give us a couple hints about what might be happening in somebody’s business to make them feel like maybe they need some more support again.
Mary Lyn: One of the things that people complain about is they just have so much to do. They’re overwhelmed. They don’t have enough time. They’re stressed. And it’s because they’re trying to manage everything themselves, And they’re not bouncing any ideas off of anybody about, “Is this really something that’s gonna get me closer to my goals? Is this really something that’s appropriate for me to do, or should I be delegating it to somebody?” Which is something that does not occur to a lot of entrepreneurs. It’s just like, “I have a whole lot to do, and I have to do it all myself.” And so, the overwhelm and the frustration are big reasons, you know, big things that we hear about.
Another thing is that people start a business because they have a passion for something. “I want to help people accomplish a certain goal. I want to make a difference in the world.” And they’re really really fired up. But what happens to them is that instead of going and using the two or three really magnificent gifts and passions they have, they start doing database entry. They start doing the administration. They start trying to figure out how to do their own website. They start doing things that are very contrary to who they are. And that’s certainly part of what we do. We identify people’s top passions and skills. And that’s all they’re allowed to focus on; everything else is delegated. In some form or another, you let go of everything else. Because, every time your energy is drained, you are losing money.
Meredith: Well, and I would even add to that Mary Lyn, as somebody who is perfectly capable of doing my own website, or whatever. I find that I delve into all of that stuff when I’m procrastinating.
Mary Lyn: Yes!
Meredith: Like, it really has taken my own mastermind to call me on that and say, “Meredith, why are you spending all of this time cutting and pasting stuff into a table?”
Mary Lyn: [laughs]
Meredith: And it’s like, well, it’s just meditation to me. [laughs] It’s a way for me not to think about it too much. And so yeah, that’s a good lesson for the audience, is that really, you need to focus on your brilliance. And that, you know, I don’t even know what percentage it would be. Maybe you could pipe in with what you think. But I would say that maybe the five percent of your business where you truly shine, that’s where you should be.
Mary Lyn: Yeah!
Meredith: You know, the rest of it, you really do need to find somebody else, who that’s in their five percent, to do it for you.
Mary Lyn: Well yes, and I’m a believer that when you are,withholding your gifts from the world, that’s not a good thing. But most of all, on top of that, you are not allowing somebody who has the gift to do some of these things that you are not . . . maybe this is not in your top echelon of things to do. You are depriving them of the opportunity to do it. And so, it starts to become a circular kind of thing.
Jasper: Yeah, I guess it’s the same as depriving somebody of a job of cleaning your house for you, so you can actually go and do the stuff that you love doing.
Mary Lyn: Well, yeah. And if you happen to be a man or a woman who is supporting children and you need that money, and you’re a top notch house cleaner, you better believe that that is a deprivation.
Jasper: Yeah, totally. So, how does your process help people make that a reality?
Mary Lyn: Okay. The way that we work, is that when people first come to use we do an assessment. And we do a thing called Core Essence. And Core Essence is, “Let’s strip you down and see what’s at the core; the things that really inspire you, the things that really motivated you. What are you covering up? What are you submerging because you’re trying to work so hard? Or, you have a job, or whatever it is. Let’s get underneath all that and really find out what drives you.”
And, once we identify that . . . I mean, we do this very quickly. And people are just like . . . that’s why people just leave here just like, “Oh my god, this is so cool!” You know, “I can figure out who I am!” But of course, keeping it is something else. That’s the tricky part. So the first part of our process really helps them to set a path, and we help them develop initial strategy. That’s the coaching part.
Then what happens is, of course, they leave the office. They go home. They go home and people say things to them like, “What? You’re not going to make money doing that! Oh my god! We need to get some money in the household.” Because people don’t always support what we want to do, you know? On one hand we do get support. But in another, our success is often very threatening to other people. I always tell people, your best support system is not your family and friends. They have agenda for you. And so, you need to be with people whose only agenda is that you succeed, doing whatever you want. I don’t care how crazy it is. I don’t care how off the block. I don’t care that you want to help children in Uganda and how impractical it seems to somebody else. If that’s what you want to do, we’re going to help you get there.
And so we have these teams. And the teams are on the phone, we work with people all over the world. They pay a small membership fee and they have access to groups that are facilitated by very, very well-trained coaches. And they make a commitment every two weeks. Every team meets every two weeks. You can be a part of one team, or several teams. And you get to brainstorm. You get to come to the call and say “I don’t know what I’m doing. I’m feeling so stuck.” And everybody will chime in and say, “Oh here’s an idea! Oh, you need this? I know somebody who does that.” So that it helps to keep people unstuck. People do get stuck but they don’t get stuck for long.
The new year is fast approaching and If you are seriously thinking of making the leap from your corporate job in 2015 and making a living on your own terms through entrepreneurship then Mary Lyn’s top tips are probably the most important thing you will listen to as you contemplate how you are going to make that work for you.
- Figure out what excites you
- Pick 2 or 3 ways you like to express yourself – is that writing, speaking, social media etc
- Adopt a delegating state of mind
- Get used to being uncomfortable
- Going from W2 to 1099 is a huge lifestyle change
- Success is a team sport – you need support – your own thoughts got you to where you are now – you need new thinking.
Offer to P2P listeners
Readers can download Mary Lyn’s ebook “90 Day Magic” http://findyourdirection.com/magic – and if you email Mary Lyn at – email@example.com – she will also give you a free half hour coaching session.
Mary Lyn Miller is a pioneer coach and author specializing in Career and Entrepreneurial Development, Transition, and Masterminding. She is the CEO of “Fired Up for Success Mentoring and Masterminding” and the author of “The 8 Myths of Making a Living (and the Truth of Making a Life).
In presenting the concept of collaborative groups and facilitated mastermind teams, she has partnered with the Anderson School of Business at UCLA, the Los Angeles County Office of Education, the Veterans Administration, and the Small Business Administration and their the federally funded Small Business Development Centers.
On a personal note, she is a former Fortune 500 executive and cancer survivor, which is why she started her business and her story was published in the best seller, “Chicken Soup for the Soul: 101 Stories of Cancer Survivors.”
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