Have you ever thought that you figured out all the necessary steps toward the change you seek?
Have you ever rolled out your plan and then have it immediately backfire, or blow up in your face?
Often in life, however we imagine the future to be, is not quite how it turns out in reality.
People will give you an answer – the opposite of what you expected.
People you thought had your back will leave you exposed.
People you considered loyal will become turncoats in a heart beat.
“Reading the tea leaves” comes from tasseography, which is the practice of telling someone’s fortune by “reading” a splotched or smeared substance. In the middle ages, self-proclaimed clairvoyants would use melted wax or molten metals for the process, but after the tea trade exploded in the 17th century, these leaves from the Far East became the magic material of choice for this Western tradition.
So “it’s in the tea leaves” probably means “it’s meant to be. It’s already been predicted.”
“You can’t fuck with the tea leaves” probably means “you can’t fuck with fate” or “you can’t change your future”.
I think despite what the tea leaves say, you can change your future but you can only control yourself.
You can control what you do, and how you do it, but you cannot predict the responses you will get, the reactions…and that’s OK.
Your response is what’s important. How you regroup and move forward is what’s important.
Don’t be deterred.
Don’t let anyone or anything stop you.
You can’t fuck with the tea leaves but don’t let the tea leaves fuck with you!
The phrase jumped out at me, while reading a newsletter from Reuben Swartz.
“It’s a truism for sales”, he said – the fortune is in the follow up.
No lies there.
Wouldn’t it be great if we just put out one ad, sent one email, made one phone call and then got the order?
Yeah I guess…but what would you be building?
We want to nurture relationships. We don’t want one transaction. We want our customers to not just buy from us once. We want them to buy again and again AND refer others to us.
That happens when we follow up.
Customers may need more time to assess, analyze, and interpret what we have to offer. They need time to get to know us and like us. They need time to decide whether they could trust us. AND they need a way to sample or try what we have to offer with the minimal amount of risk.
This happens when we follow up and follow through on promises made. Whether it’s to send a case study, a white paper, a link to a website with frequently asked questions, to suggest a service provider they could use, to provide them with the number for a reliable plumber, to recommend a book, to provide prices…
But to follow up we need to remember to follow up.
On his decision to close his restaurant, Chiang told Fine Dining Lovers;
I was born in Taiwan and have spent the past 30 years cooking, since I was 13. I feel there’s a part missing – I don’t know much about Asia. I hope I will now have more time to understand my own homeland’s produce and culture, and make Asia proud. Asia shouldn’t only have one André, it should have hundreds of them. Why is there only one Chinese chef on the World’s 50 Best list? There should be more talent and great restaurants. I hope I can pass on my knowledge and do something more for China and Taiwan. I feel I have a responsibility rather than something to prove. Restaurant André has nothing to prove.
Feeling as if something is missing isn’t just for those just starting out…
He closed Restaurant André in 2018
Chiang’s documentary is presented in eight chapters, inspired by Octaphilosophy – his philosophy which includes the following: pure, salt, artisan, south, texture, unique, memory and terroir.
When I’m working with someone, I am always curious about their big ideas, their personal philosophy. I think it is important to have something that guides you forward. It cannot be contrived. It must come from within.
Asia shouldn’t only have one André
I feel like that about the talent here in Trinidad and Tobago. I believe there’s not one else like you but if perhaps accounting is your art, or maybe microbiology, there is room for more than one.
Despite what you’ve been told, you can truly be successful in the world by being WHO YOU ARE at every level. There is no secret to success. It’s your job to figure out what works for you.
No one knows what will work for you.
You can get help but no one will ever be more interested in getting it right than YOU. Being successful in business by being YOU requires you to start looking at EVERY part of who you are, not just the parts related to work. It’s simple but not easy.
I went against all good advice which says that you need to remain consistent in order to be remembered.
Once again I risked you guys forgetting about me.
But here’s the thing: we all have to go through whatever it is we need to go through in order to get to wherever we are going; and that is very personal.
We’d all like an easy paint by numbers because who really wants to think all this shit through?
There really aren’t any hacks or shortcuts. Once we figure things out for ourselves, no one can bullshit us.
We don’t spend tons of money (money that we really can’t afford to spend) on magic balls and unicorns that instead of delivering us into the promised land, instead takes us further into a forest where we are more confused than ever.
I was burnt out and quite frankly had to take a much needed break.
I was left with a lot of time to think.
Was I making a difference?
Were those who worked with me, getting to where they wanted to go?
Were they able to do the work they were placed on this earth to do, or were they getting bogged down and buried under information overload?
The short answer was “no!”
Too many moving parts.
Too much to learn, understand and assimilate.
What if it were possible to create from the inside out?
Not looking at what anyone else was doing but doing only those things that you felt comfortable doing?
What if you could see clearly your offerings, solutions, and value and make it simple that your clients easily found you and wanted to work with you?
Just saying the word, makes me want to fill my lungs with air and feel the lightness within.
Here’s what else surfaced during thinking time
Are solopreneurs and small business owners really getting the help they need?
We struggle, not just with sales and marketing, but with finances, operations, HR and so much more.
I wondered whether we could be part of a movement where we could truly share our expertise to help each other grow?
Small businesses have always been getting a raw deal.
Solutions are never sustained.
Remember the Small Business Development Corporation?
Well that became the Business Development Corporation – the implementing agency for the Government of Trinidad and Tobago´s policy for enterprise development. The BDC is also the official trade promotion organization of Trinidad and Tobago, assuming the International Business Promotion and Export Certification functions once directed by the Tourism and Industrial Development Company of Trinidad and Tobago Limited, which ceased operation in 2006. The BDC offers an impressive and comprehensive portfolio of solution-driven products and services. We are committed to partnering with medium and large enterprises in the non-energy sector to transform their operations with creative business solutions while providing them with high quality service.
I came across this page for funding; it was first entry in the return search items for “funding small business in Trinidad and Tobago. I can’t say when it was written but I can say that most of the funding links suggested lead to pages that no longer exist!
I decided to create this: The Well-Paid Pro Small Business Evolution
Remember FUBU the American hip hop apparel company? FUBU stands for “For Us, By Us”
My vision is for us to help each other. Not sales pitch each other to death. I mean come together and help each other evolve, transform and grow.
This is not about buying from you because you are part of a group.
This is about doing what we’ve always said at one time or another – elevating how we do business in Trinidad and Tobago.
This is about being profitable through service in a spectacular way!
Let us be an example. Let small businesses lead the way!
I want to tell your stories.
I want to get to know you better.
I want to truly help the solopreneurs and small business owners in Trinidad and Tobago.
Welcome to the evolution!
So Giselle…what if this doesn’t work?
My answer: How will we know if we don’t even try?
We need to look at this evolution through the lens of R&D.
What do I mean by the “lens of R&D?”
I mean the practice of committing to taking an iterative approach to introducing the change we wish to see, with the knowledge that some approaches will fail spectacularly, some will win dramatically, and many will have a minor impact.
What challenges do you face now in your business?
Are you paid well/paid what you’re worth for the services you offer?
Share your answers below.
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Do you sometimes feel as if you know where you’re going and at other times feel so radically inadequate that you’re too embarrassed to say?
Despite having done well on formal tests or perhaps performed poorly and worldly success continues to elude you – I am sure that you have already come to the realization on your own, that those tests have NOTHING to do with who you are.
No personality test or employee assessment to determine whether you should get a raise, can calibrate your uniqueness or comprehend the singular contribution that you are meant to make in the world.
Your imprint on the world is found along a path that only you could walk. It is your unique path.
That feeling that you feel, that you don’t belong, that you’re unsure of your purpose; the feeling that you’re lost or disconnected; this happens because you overlook your path in lieu of a path that on the surface looks more exciting and more rewarding.
Except, traversing the path of another pulls you further away from living your authentic and unique Sacred Autobiography. The further afield you go, the lonelier you will get, and the more disconnected you will feel.
This must not be confused with the unfamiliar feeling you get when you first start to walk your path.
When you first begin to walk your path it would be uncomfortable. It would take getting used to. After all, you’ve been schooled in walking other people’s paths; being like Mike, copying the moves of others.
Mimicking has its place.
Learning new ways and approaches has its place.
Practicing winning strategies has its place.
But the delivery, the offering, is distinctly yours. It’s like hearing a riff and knowing immediately that it’s Santana as in his customized guitar and chords from his 1999 “Maria, Maria” sampled in DJ Khaled’s single “Wild Thoughts,” featuring Rihanna and Bryson Tiller.
Walking your path takes practice. The more you walk your path, the more your path emerges, evolves, becomes. With each step your path will deepen, become more defined, not only to you but to others who need to walk with you as you teach and share what you came here to do.
Whenyou walk your path, marketing becomes easier for you. The more defined and entrenched your path, the more you embody your journey in totality, the easier it becomes for those who need you the most to find you.
Once you live your unique story, you will no longer feel desperate to live in someone else’s life, or follow someone else’s path.
If you’re feeling jealous, if you’re feeling unhappy, perhaps you’ve been traveling along a path not meant for you.
Course correcting starts with awareness. It starts with observing not just what you do, but how you feel. It starts with examining your proclivities. What can you engage in for hours and feel no stress or desire to stop? What is your tendency in certain situations: to problem solve, to map out a process, to provide comfort? To make a heavy situation lighter to bear by being funny? In all instances in your life, you can find clues to the path your soul yearns to be on.
Making sure you’re on your path and living out your Sacred Autobiography is important to the world.
We need you to be out of struggle and living larger and on purpose so that you can be an inspiration to others who want to rise up too as they begin walking their paths. We want to program future generations that they are good enough, can live the way they want to live and that they can use their creative minds to manifest all the wealth, resources and support needed to make their unique difference in the world!
Regardless of what you are able to envision – see yourself in some future – nothing actually comes to being until you believe.
If there is doubt, you don’t believe.
You might think it’s possible but you just don’t believe it’s possible for you.
I recognized this recently in my own life. I believe possibility for everyone else but myself.
It’s difficult to believe, without evidence. If it’s happened, then it could happen. If it never happened – how do we believe?
I recently looked at two docuseries o Netflix: Naomi Osaka and Colin Kaepernick’s ‘Colin in black and white.
I keep thinking about them both and about belief. Naomi’s belief about being able to win saw her eventually beating Serena Williams. Colin was great at baseball but wanted to play football. Despite not many believing in him and everything around him playing football, looking terribly bleak, he believed in himself.
This is the challenge: to believe without evidence that you can. There is no history. Only imagination. We can never cede creative control to anyone else.
I’m currently reading ‘Untamed’ by Glennon Doyle. Because I describe myself as a recovering people pleaser this line spoke to me:
I lost myself when I learned how to please.
In one of the chapters, she talks about Alicia Keys who decided at one point that she was going to discontinue wearing makeup. At an event following this statement, someone ‘caught’ her and called her out on putting on lipstick. Her response “I will do what the fuck I want!”
We can make our rules.
We can break our rules.
We can do whatever works for us, no apologies.
Glennon says “maybe we are all fire-wrapped in skin trying to look cool”.
We are all walking around with light buried within, desperate to fit in when what we need to do is freakin’ explode with all our goodness.
Before belief comes imagination and here’s an important question to contemplate:
How can we begin to live from our imagination instead of our indoctrination?
Things will fall apart when we choose to live authentically. The old house needs to come down before the new one can be constructed. We need to start telling our truth even if it makes every one in the room uncomfortable.
Question and reexamine your beliefs. Why are you so afraid? What can you do today to start living a new story.
Give yourself the gift of fifteen minutes a day visualizing what you wish to have happen. Make no excuses. Accept no limitations. If you can see it, then you start to feel it, the next thing you know you will believe, and that’s when dreams start coming true.
Last night I watched a four part series on Amazon Prime called LulaRich.
It chronicles the unraveling of LuLaRoe. Known for their buttery soft leggings, the infamous multi-level marketing company went viral promising young mothers a work-from-home salvation. LuLaRoe’s eccentric founders recruited an astonishing army of independent retailers to peddle its increasingly bizarre and defective clothing products…until it all went wrong.
What was interesting to me was the number of women who bought into the promise but were served a nightmare.
Everyone loved the idea of having a business where they didn’t have to leave their homes or their children. Then they started to love how easy it was for them to earn money.
Throughout the series there are many red flags, most of which were highlighted in this Rolling Stones article by Elizabeth Yuko.
Changing the refund policy after they knowingly delivered less than acceptable merchandise
The leadership established themselves as untouchable, infallible and owed obedience
“These people at the top are portrayed as near godlike figures. They are enlightened beings, and the epitome of good people, just trying to help you,” MLM and pyramid scheme expert Robert FitzPatrick says in the documentary. “That’s the culture of a cult.”
Mark’s theory of financial success:
Onboarding costs ranging from $5,000 to $10,000 were financially out of reach for many prospective LuLaRoe consultants, but that was spun as a small price to pay for the independence and prestige of owning your own business, and being able to do it while staying home with your kids. According to several former sales reps and full-time employees interviewed in the series, company leadership encouraged women to do whatever it took to get the money they needed to turn their dream into a reality — including opening new credit cards, taking out loans, even selling their breast milk.
Mark and DeAnne Stidham weren’t content influencing just some aspects of LuLaRoe members’ lives — according to the docuseries, they wanted total control, to the point where their consultants were entirely financially dependent on the company.
As former sales reps explain, once they had a successful business up and running, the company made it clear that their next goal should be “retiring” their husbands. That’s not a euphemism for getting rid of them so the women could run off to form a matriarchal society where all waistbands are elastic. The idea, on the surface, is to provide your husband with the financial freedom to quit his job, so he can stay at home and help you grow your business. What it really means is that women should step back from the business they worked so hard to build, and relinquish all control to their husbands.
At that stage, the household would be entirely dependent on LuLaRoe as its sole source of income, likely being in such extreme debt that walking away wasn’t a possibility. This is strikingly similar to the cult-leader tactic of making members so reliant on the group that they believe they have no other viable options.
For many women, it didn’t feel right but they kept going more and more into debt to sustain an external appearance that they were successful. In the end, women lost their husbands, their homes, their cars and their dignity.
Usually if it’s too good to be true you need to pay attention.
It is never a good idea to invest with debt and a promise that you will make back the money. Be wise.
We love to chase what seems easy. We love how it looks – the glamour – the cars, the clothes, the credit cards…but you really have no idea do you, what is going on in someone’s life.
If you can look at the series I encourage you to do so. Lots of learning, many a-has and a cautionary tale in four parts.
You need to ensure that you are managing your own destiny. That you understand how things work. That you don’t get caught up in the pomp and celebration and join in pretending it’s OK even though your gut is telling you otherwise.
Your success track is based on you. Not anyone else’s model and certainly you don’t want to be promised independence but are really being served reliance.
You may have been brushing over this question for a long time. Even if you haven’t put it into words to form the question, you have had a feeling…a knowing…that all is not right in your world.
On the outside, you look OK and feel OK but you know that you are not OK.
You long to create a life around finding solutions to the things that really piss you off. Sometimes you feel that only you can see the injustice, the pain, the unfairness. You want it to stop for you. You also want it to stop for others.
And why you?
Why do you even care?
You face self-doubt and indulge in self-deprecation daily. Why do you beat up on yourself so much? Why are you so angry with who you are?
Perhaps your anger has a message.
Perhaps now is the time for you to invest in you. In your message. In fulfilling your purpose, even though you can’t articulate that perfectly right now.
Your life is a paradox of sorts.
You want help but struggle to ask for the help you need.
You want to use up all of you – your gifts and talents and strengths – but you don’t know how to do that and not sure that you can actually be yourself in this crazy world. What would happen to your safety if you were to step outside of this predefined set of steps that are supposedly leading to the success you’re yet to experience?
And if you actually act on your foolishness (yeah, right now you aren’t even respectful of the idea that you have and that it’s legitimate AND viable), how are you going to earn enough to support you?
Despite being surrounded by folks you call good friends, and a loving family who supports you through thick and thin, you feel alone.
Are you saying “yes” to things for the wrong reasons and at the end of your giving you feel depleted and low energy?
If you’re anything like me, you’ve been at this personal growth thing for a long time yet you remain in a twilight zone. You see your destination but you can’t seem to break past the barrier because you can’t even identify what that barrier is!
I suspect that you probably get signs and nudges daily to go in a particular direction, yet you ignore them. Self trust is a big issue but forget that for a moment. Simply follow the clues you get daily. Pay attention. I remember someone describing them as Godwinks. This is the real test of your faith. I know because I have been limiting myself for a very long time. Including not writing here on my blog because I felt I really had nothing new to share.
Today’s message is clear.
You HAVE to invest in yourself!
You need to stop selling yourself short. (Want to begin to figure out your specialness? Click here). You have that thing that’s gnawing at your insides, that only you can do.
Today is your sign to begin, or continue but by all means – don’t stop…don’t quit. There are people waiting on your solution, your perspective, your help. You cannot disappoint. It is imperative that you act NOW!
Business owners have always been frustrated with potential clients. Why can’t they just see, or hear our advertisement, pick up the phone, call us, and order?
Oh if it were so simple!
When we conduct focus groups, they tell us that “yes!” we will definitely be interested in this service, want to buy this product; yet in reality, once the launch happens, we feel as if we are pushing rope, trying to effect action.
To be clear: this is not a post about anti-vaxxers nor is it a post about vaccines. This is a sales and marketing post, but I do want you to see, that whenever something is new – service, product, or vaccine in this case, we will always have early adopters, and those of us that need more information, before we make a decision.
We no longer live in a time where people follow expert advice blindly. The democratisation of information allows individuals to take personal responsibility for their lives, including their health. Each individual decides what feels safe, and what they can absolutely live with.
In fact, we have encouraged this. We ask people to compare two products, read labels, examine ingredients, mull over specs, compare apples to apples etc, and be generally diligent. Our potential buyers’ hesitancy and by extension, vaccine hesitancy is par for the course. It is however not the end of the world.
One of the greatest risks to the long-term success of any product or service is overpromising the benefits while understating uncertainty. When we are making our product or service recommendations, we need to offer clear information about why we are different, what are our strengths and what are our limitations. The reality is we all have limitations. Similarly those who recommend vaccines — whether against covid19 or other vaccine-preventable diseases — must offer clear information about the differences among vaccines, including their varied strengths and limitations.
This is an important step in empowering consumers and reducing hesitancy especially in the case of the covid19 vaccine, where our lives might literally depend on it.
So what does it look like to be a buyer or sceptic?*
I’m feeling insecure. I’m not sure I know how to detect which of the finalists is the genius, and which is just good. I’ve exhausted my abilities to make technical distinctions.
I’m feeling threatened. This is my area of responsibility, and even though intellectually I know I need outside expertise, emotionally it’s not comfortable to put my affairs in the hands of others.
I’m taking a personal risk. By putting my affairs in the hands of someone else, I risk losing control.
I’m impatient. I didn’t call in someone at the first sign of symptoms (or opportunity). I’ve been thinking about this for a while.
I’m worried. By the very fact of suggesting improvements or changes, these people going to be implying that I haven’t been doing it right up till now. Are these people going to be on my side?
I’m exposed. Whoever I hire, I’m going to have to reveal some proprietary secrets, not all of which are flattering. I will have to undress.
I’m feeling ignorant, and don’t like the feeling. I don’t know if I’ve got a simple problem or a complex one. I’m not sure I can trust them to be honest about that: it’s in their interest to convince me its complex.
I’m sceptical. I’ve been burned before by these kinds of people. You get a lot of promises: How do I know whose promise I should buy?
I’m concerned that they either can’t or won’t take the time to understand what makes my situation special. They’ll try to sell me what they’ve got rather than what I need.
I’m suspicious. Will they be those typical professionals who are hard to get hold of, who are patronising, who leave you out of the loop, who befuddle you with jargon, who don’t explain what they’re doing or why, who …, who …., who …? In short, will these people deal with me in the way I want to be dealt with?
It is tempting to be dismissive about those hesitant to buy from us. Be honest. We sometimes look at our potential customers with disdain. “They just don’t know better. Dey go ketch they backside with company C.” Yet dismissing those who are hesitant as ignorant ignores the complex ways in which people weigh information before making a decision to buy.
Similarly, blaming conspiracy theories for a growing distrust of vaccines, because refusing a lifesaving technology, particularly during a pandemic that is poised to kill, seems irrational but dismissing those who are hesitant as ignorant or anti-science ignores the complex ways in which individuals and families are weighing information and trying to make decisions that feel safe and relevant to them.
It won’t harm to revisit Stephen Covey’s fifth habit from the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, still relevant even after 30 years: Seek first to understand, then to be understood.
We must first understand our customers – truly understand, not pay lip service to – and then communicate addressing all of their concerns.
Like most people, we seek first to be understood; we want to get our point across. And in doing so, may ignore the customer completely. Fact is, we listen with the intent to reply, not to understand and so don’t hear when we are given valuable pieces of information that can help us deliver a more aligned product or service.
Don’t promote a narrative that everything you do is effective and essential. Give your potential customers all the information they need so they can make what feels like an informed choice. Doing so should make it easy to assure them that working with you is both effective and necessary, and accept that there are some things they still don’t know and uncertainty is par for the course.
*Source: David H Maister, Managing the Professional Service Firm, 1993
I, like many others, have been watching the Olympic games and with that, the advertisements that support me being able to view the games from the comfort of my home.
There are advertisements for new cars, investment propositions and guidance on how to transact business online with ease.
This got me thinking about goals.
There is so much about what’s available and what are some of the requirements needed BEFORE we get those things (down payments, credit approvals) etc. But we’re left to figure out the “how” and that’s when setting goals can become depressing.
We’ve been involved in goal setting from our childhoods to present day. First it was about successfully completing an exam to transition from primary to secondary school. Then the exams to transition from there into the world of work or to pursue a tertiary education. After that it was all about getting a good job and being paid well so that we could finance our new home, cars and of course yearly vacations.
Does it ever end?
Is it that you’ll wake up one day and say, “I’ve arrived!”? When is it that you will actually feel successful? When will you reach that ultimate goal you keep working towards?
Justin Kruger, CEO and Founder of Project Helping asks – What if goal setting is a lose-lose proposition?
Think about any goal you’ve set. When you reached that goal, did it change your life? Did you become happier for having reached it? Inevitably, we set goals with the idea that when we achieve that goal, when we get that thing, or accomplish that goal we will make it and finally be happy. However, one of two things typically happens.
We either reach our goal, only to find that nothing has changed and so we feel the need to set yet another goal.
Or, we don’t reach our goal at all and instead gain the inevitable feeling of failure and loss.
In either case, what was truly accomplished?
Justin had been living with a mental health challenge, but no one close to him knew that he was struggling.
When he started Project Helping, he didn’t do it with the goal to grow it to a certain size. He didn’t do it to raise “$X” or help “X” number of people.
His intention was to provide people with the same experience – the same “ah-ha” moment he gained, and to feel what he did the first time he volunteered. If he could do just that – it would be incredible.
Be a great Dad. I have little ones and they are amazing. Exhausting, but amazing. I don’t have a preconceived notion of what my kids should accomplish or be, I want them to be happy, kind, and work hard. That’s it. Everything I do it to help show them how to find their passion in life and live in that passion. Nothing more.
Be a great husband. My wife is the best person I know. I don’t have a goal of being married for “X” number of years. At this point, I don’t have any concept to what a “good” marriage or what a “bad” marriage is. If I do everything I can, every day to be the best husband I can be, the rest will work itself out.
I want to continue to help as many people as we can at Project Helping. Every decision that I and we make is with that mission in mind. How can we help more people and make sure we are around for a long time to deliver our innovative solution to anyone and everyone who needs our help?
Those are my goals. I love working towards them a little more every day. I will never “reach” those goals, but I will also never NOT reach those goals (yes, that’s a double negative). That’s the beauty of it. I have strong guideposts that I am adamant about working towards and they are all I need to make every decision I will need to make in my life.
Think about your goals.
Think about how you are setting them and why you are setting them.
What is it that you want?
I feel that when we are able to reframe our goals, we get to enjoy the process and like I also say, if you focus on the process, the results happen.
I’d love to talk to you more about what’s happening in your life and which goals seem elusive to you. If you want to chat, get in touch by clicking here. Would love to hear from you!