At some point or another, most high-achieving women have experienced burnout. Burnout is more than stress – it is excessive stress over a period of time that creates the conditions where the results that once came so naturally are almost impossible to come by. It is that sense of dread of burning the candles at both ends and not making any progress. It is that no-win guilt about never quite achieving that illusive work/life balance.
Most people who struggle with burnout don’t talk about it out of fear of being perceived as weak. But it is time to let science come in and bust that myth. Gender experts Louann Brizendine’s (author of “The Female Brain”) and Alison Armstrong have completely shifted my understanding of burnout so that I can appreciate the hidden gifts of burnout as well as create strategies for avoiding burnout in the future.
Here’s three insights from them that illustrate why burnout is actually...
How many times this week have you been asked, “How are you?” and have responded with all too familiar, “Busy!”
Whatever happened to the pat answer, “Fine?”
Our culture has become ridiculously busy and as a consequence many of us suffer from what can be referred to as an addiction to busyness.
We may FEEL time poor and stressed out. But here’s the kicker. For many of us, we are not too busy simply because we feel societal pressure or need better time management. It is because we are addicted to being busy. Like all addicts, we are not crazy about the effects on our health, performance and well-being. But we like the “high” that being busy gives us.
Let me share with you four reasons why this addiction, this “too busy addiction”, is so powerful and even better than crack.
1. There’s a feel good chemical hit when we get stuff done.
On the outside we feel that we are “at our best” when...
When I first officially launched my business and first significant website in 2010, I was thrilled when I immediately saw all of my hard work and investment pay off. I was amazed when people from all around the world that I did not know asked for my consulting help…all because they found me on my website. No one was more surprised than me when I landed my first 6-figure gig with a company in the UK, with a client I never even met in person. I can literally trace $500K in revenue to leads generated strictly through my website.
But (and here’s the big but!) I got a ton of “constructive” feedback on my website on everything from the photo on my home page (“You look too much like a party girl”) to the language I used in my value proposition (“I still don’t know what you do…”) And so I made changes. Big Mistake! Huge!
The result of me taking action on the “constructive feedback”: My organic search...
This week I met with three aspiring consultants who are very passionate about parlaying their experience to help companies create healthy work environments and engaged employees. They almost fell out their chairs when I told them that I am starting to see that employee engagement is actually unethical.
What I DON'T mean when I say this is that companies should not strive to have work environments free from unethical business practices and abusive and inconsiderate leaders who make their employees lives miserable. Providing safe work conditions, equitable pay and reasonable management should be considered “cover charges” for the privilege of hiring others to work for you.
What I think might be bordering on unethical is how organizations have shifted from employee satisfaction to employee engagement and how engagement goals might completely jack up our limbic systems. Let me explain.
Back in the early 2000’s, instead of measuring employee satisfaction (which is to...
Too many consultants tank their success because they do not clearly understand the difference between consulting vs. leading. Consulting is a defined role that is distinct from leadership. A consultant is one who helps a leader by framing the problems that the leader is accountable for solving. Consultants frame the challenges and help provide a roadmap for resolution of challenges. Leaders oversee the implementation of solutions and ensure sustainability.
The first key of being an effective consultant is learning how to position your expertise in a way that enhances leadership and organizational capacity. When you don't fully appreciate the value you create as a consultant (and how you should be positioned) you inevitable fall into the "pair of hands trap" (where you simply offer and deliver what a client asks of your) or the "surrogate leadership trap" (where you you do the leader's work for them.)
When you know the differences between leading and consulting, you will be...
“Because relationships are mutual, partners share a single fate; no action benefits one and harms the other.” (Lewis, Amini and Lannon)
Have you ever read a book that you know will change your life? I think my understanding of who I am and what I do as a consultant, mother, friend and partner will be forever changed as result of reading the book, “The General Theory of Love” by Thomas Lewis, M.D., Fari Amini, M.D and Richard Lannon, M.D.
This book explains love from a scientific and neurological point of view. Basically our experience of love does not live in the thinking, neocortex part of our brains. It lives in our limbic brain, which holds and stores our emotions, memories and our ingrained responses. Contrary to what we might believe, people don’t change as a result of simply encountering and assimilating information in the thinking part of our brains. Change happens at the limbic level as a result of limbic resonance.
When I was at Disney, we...
Your marketing efforts have paid off. All of your activities on social media and doing speeches worked. You created a proposal, negotiated and renegotiated with your client and the deal is done.
And now you’re wondering what to do now.
Just like your clients have processes in place to ensure consistently high customer service, you have to do the same. This consulting process is what I call the “Consulting Engagement Cycle.” It is not an exact formula you need to follow but a guideline that helps you ensure that you can deliver excellence every time, with every client.
There are five steps in the Consulting Engagement Cycle:
Step 1: Establish Winning Partnerships
Sales is not what you get through in order to get to the work. It is actually the first step in your consulting delivery. During contracting, you and your client come to an agreement on the business objectives at hand and how the two of you will partner together to achieve those objectives. This phase of...
If you are interested in leaving your current job for the potential of running your own consulting practice, there is only one thing you need. You may think you need a lot of money in the bank and a "rolodex" of potential clients and referrals. While those things are important, they are not nearly as important as your wholehearted commitment to the adventure of running your own consulting practice. In my experience, there is a direct correlation between the most successful consultants and their ability to commit fully to their practice and making it a success.
There is a big difference between having a yearning to start your own consulting practice and actually making the decision to leave the comfort and security of your day job for the unknown world of entrepreneurship.
The fear of the unknown is to be expected. There are many sources of help to overcome these type of predicable fears but there is only one response if you are going to be truly successful as a consultant: Again, by...
Most consultants get anxiety attacks when it comes to talking about money with potential clients.
While it is important for you to address your own underlying issues for why it is hard for you to ask for equitable compensation for your worth, have you considered the significance to YOUR client that you do ask for your worth?
If you are a consultant, you are a change agent. Your proposal reflects so much more than simply an offer for work in exchange for fees. It is in fact the moment of truth for a client who is considering making an important change. When you stand in and ask for your worth, you are not just putting yourself in a position to make money. You are providing your client an opportunity to put their money where their mouths are for something that have deemed important.
So, let me share with you why your client NEEDS you to ask for your worth:
If you struggle with determining how to set a price for your consulting services, don’t worry you are not alone. It’s a real challenge for those of us who get paid for our knowledge and insight to come up with the EXACT RIGHT AMOUNT TO CHARGE that both honors our expertise and is fair and reasonable to our clients.
To help you master the art and science of pricing consulting services, let me share with you 5 Guiding Principles:
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