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Distinctions to accelerate your personal and professional evolution

Becoming Attached to [and Disidentifying from] Our Clients' Outcomes

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One of the CLC3 Apprentices recently asked me a very important question.

He asked about the problem of becoming attached to the outcomes of the client--in other words, “what happens if they do not achieve them? What happens if they do not hold up their end of the bargain [doing homework, reading, etc.], and what does that mean about us? How do I avoid this problem—and the discomfort of it all”.

“And what happens if--even worse, they have already paid in advance in full and it becomes clear they are not keeping up with the milestones that are necessary as sign-posts on the way to their destination we call 'goals' or 'outcomes'? What do we do?”

This is an important question and it has a several-part answer. It is important because it comes up for most coaches and practitioners; at some point you really, really want XYZ for the client. Yes, they must be outcomes the client wants [not outcomes you see they "need" but they do not resonate with] but even still, with their outcomes we get emotionally engaged--we care--and we want them to have XYZ really badly.

Part of the challenge is that we are not responsible for the lives of our clients--we can't be. They would get less out of the process if we were; at best, we would actually be inhibiting their growth if we take on that responsibility. They might blame us; they would take less responsibility for creating the life they want and deserve. It could become the coaches "fault" or for some, the coaching [or whatever you call the process] will be just another thing that did not work for them, etc.

And we created that with our attachment.

So the first part of the answer is to make clear to the client--practically--that we are not responsible for their life; that they are. How do we do this? We write it directly into the client-coach agreement that they "are responsible for the results of their life, business, relationship", etc. And given how some people can be when they are making large life-altering decisions, we review the agreement and then we further clarify and have them initial each paragraph while reviewing it with them to make sure we have done our due diligence as a practitioner in making sure they understand the nature of the relationship is one of trusted adviser--nothing more—and that they understand the agreement in full.

That is the practical aspect.

What about the interpersonal aspect? The actual coaching dynamic? Because you see, to complicate matters if you seem attached [that is you start become emotionally attached to their outcomes, you may engage them in a way that has them polarize, dig in, and resist you--and they start to resist you in ways that will not serve the process overall.

Or worse...

Or worse--they do not do their "homework"--whatever that may be or represent--and they are scared to tell you. In the worse cases they may simply go missing in action. Or they become dishonest.

This is simply another reason I am not a "coach" I am a "Guide" and that approach is something I am careful to embody in every interaction--they do not do their "homework" I communicate to them--with a compassionate smile and a shrug--that I want them to get their outcomes. That I care; and I may even ask them how they best want to be supported. How they want to be held accountable--and I have them design the dynamic.

I have found this softer approach--with nothing for them to resist or push back against--is far more effective than any hard-nosed techniques by far.

Finally [and at times most importantly] is our own development as we, as practitioners, continue our path: who we are is not the results we assist clients in achieving [both positive, amazing over-the-top goals as well as "failures". Who we are is not that.

Those are the results we assist them in producing, to be sure, and we are professionally responsible for that, but who we are is that which is experiencing it all. Who we are is that Witness; that locus of awareness. And as we come from that place, we will be even more effective, they will feel more freedom to expand and grow within that gentle, ever-present embrace. From that place, where universal beauty unfolds, we are reminded why we do what we do--for that expansion. And within that expansion a better, more joyous, more beautiful world awaits us all.

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Why NOT to Use Hypnotic Sales Techniques


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Why NOT to Use "Hypnotic Sales" Techniques:

Often I get asked to teach someone "hypnotic sales" or some variation; anchoring, state association, etc. The idea is that if you associate someone into a positive state, then anchor yourself to that for them, this will be an effective sales technique--even if it has nearly nothing to do with your offering or the functional fit between your prospective client, and their needs with your services.

There are other ideas and approaches about this, but I am going to give just that one example. They are all of that flavor.

These techniques are thought to be very powerful, and some of the most effective techniques available. Which is partly true. They may be in the very short-term sense. They are also a nightmare strategically, in the long-term sense. Not only do I advise against it, I categorically consider them unethical in most situations.

If a prospective client cannot remember how they arrived at the decision to work with you [and as a good measure, if you can not easily remind them in writing over an email] then you are going to have blowback at some point in the future.

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Self-Esteem and the Solo-Preneur | Internal vs. External Locus of Responsibility

Read this sentence to yourself in your mind or out loud:


"My life is the sum total of my own choices; the state of my business is the sum total of my choices".

As you read that and re-read that, what is your experience? Do you feel excitement? Pride? Shame? Do you sense a burden on your shoulders? What does it weigh in your mind? Do you quickly move to insist it is not your "fault". That it was out of your control? That it was this circumstance or that circumstance? That you were "wronged"? Or "unlucky"?

Or do you experience a comforting and/or challenging level of acceptance. A "yup" with a quiet nod of your head?

One thing is for certain-your relationship to that sentence is a good indicator of your level of self-esteem, or your level of healthy egoic development in the positive sense. You see, it is not the big ego that needs defending or asserting in the world; it is the small ego. It is not the big ego that is arrogant, self-righteous, or deflects responsibility and blames others; it is the small, pre-rational, pre-conventional, vengeful, ego-centric ego.

It is a challenging re-frame for most to get their minds around. But just ask yourself this: what kind of ego could achieve a non-dual sense of reality; what kind of ego could be one with all things, moment to moment? A big, huge ego. An ego so large it can be a yes to whatever is arising moment to moment and relate to it, be a part of it. That takes an expanded sense of self. Yet that ego is also diffuse. It is large, but it is flexible. It lacks rigidity. It does not need defending or asserting; it understands its power. As a result, there is nothing to prove to anyone-not even itself.

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On Ego Development | Self Esteem

Your Self Worth is a Settled Matter 

I wrote this to a client in an email and thought it may be useful for others to read:

The mountain we climb in Personal Evolution is a bit like a mirage while hiking/climbing a mountain. You could stop now and camp for the night--or say screw it and go back down the mountainside. You can also see there is a reachable summit. So you choose to go further--yet...when you reach what you thought would be the summit, there is yet another summit that materializes out of the mist. And this goes on forever. There is no omega point except when you choose to simply stop and rest. 

Each of us have that choice every day. For some, we still consciously choose to continue to deepen our depths--and plumb just behind them. There is no end or bottom to the depth, there are only unplumbed depths. For others, they have achieved a high enough peak, that there is no motivation--no real life reason--to climb the next.  And there are others I will not list in the interests of time. I choose--consciously--to evolve further when I should or must--that is when my business or financial or relational results are inhibited by some aspect of myself. Otherwise, I am pretty darned content with where I am at--BUT I still need to have constant attention on where I need to be for others in the context in which I want to move with greater velocity--or frankly, sometimes, ANY velocity.

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