I help consultants build their business as an expert. The strange thing is, that 80% of my time is spent helping people do a mental reset. For example, getting past psychological barriers, fears, self sabotage, doubt, lack of confidence, distractions and sense of defeat. This happens even to highly successful people in their fields.
The High Pressure of Being “A Expert”
Say you hang up a shingle as an expert. Maybe you are going to consult, coach, speak, train, or write on your area of expertise. That’s when the pressure begins.
- You need to stay on the leading edge of your field. You can’t just stay with old information.
- Your clients generally want miracles in record time.
- If you’ve had a job, you suddenly have no secure pay check, no benefits.
- A good deal of your time must now be spent on just getting the business. Unless your expertise is marketing and sales, then it’s a whole other skill set to learn.
The good news is that you can do a mental reset in an instant to release that pressure. This allows you to find better solutions for the constant pressures. For example, you can develop a habit of asking yourself the right question at the right time.
How to Change Your State of Mind in an Instant
Here’s how I formulated a question that can change your state in an instance. I had just come out of a 5-day silent meditation retreat. It was a Buddhist Vipassana retreat where you sit or walk in meditation in silence, for 5 days. I thought I’d never be able to handle it. I only went because several of my friends were going. It ended up being one of the best experiences I’ve ever had. Everything changed profoundly in the weeks following.
For example, soon after the retreat, I had to speak at a high profile event in Los Angeles. Usually I’d go into overwhelm with all the details of preparation and getting myself there. In this case, I was flying in just before the event, and the traffic was bad, the security line at the airport long and there was a big chance of missing my flight. Normally, I would be in a panicked state of mind and just stay stuck in the line feeling helpless– getting more and more worked up. This time, strangely enough, I was calm and collected inside. In fact, I took the risk of getting out of line and asking a security person “Can I go through the Fast track line?” He agreed, and I got through in record time.
I even have time to buy a bag of cashews. I found a place in the departure lounge and put the cashews down on the little table between two seats and then responded to some text messages. Now the weird thing is, a few minutes later the woman beside me picked up my bag of cashews, opened them and started to eat a few. I looked over at her. She smiled and offered me some. Normally, I would’ve reacted and said something to her, but instead I just smiled back and I took a few cashews. Then she had some more, then offered me more. We both sat munching our cashews, in silence, until they were all gone. Then as we were boarding the airplane, we started chatting. I don’t normally chat to people in line, but she’d stolen my cashews and I was curious what kind of person she was. She asked what I do and seemed very interested. Long story short, she ended up connecting me to a group who hired me not just once but many times over—a huge contract.
Here’s the biggest irony. As I was getting settled into my seat, I opened my carry on bag and there was my bag of cashews. I’m so glad I wasn’t reactive with her. I often find that a peaceful state of mind magnetizes good things to me.
A few weeks later, the inner peace faded away and traffic, deadlines and misunderstandings got the better of me again. I wondered how I could access that state without having to do another 5-day silent retreat. I discovered a small, deceptively simple practice that makes a huge difference for me and others.
The Top Mistake Even Highly Resourceful People Make
In studying people over the years, I realized that the top mistake most people make when it comes to managing their own mind, is to focus on what they don’t want. They’ll mull on that, pay attention to that, catastrophize about that. Rarely, however, are they clear on what they DO want instead. For example, at the airport I would usually be playing out scenarios in my mind about missing my flight, being late for my speaking engagement, and the negative fall out from all of that.
In those kinds of situations, I now ask myself “What is the result I want to create here?” and let my imagination go wild. I’m getting to my flight on time, making it to my engagement in plenty of time, with everything going smoothly. Does it always happen that way? No. But it happens more often that way when I ask that questions and mentally rehearse how I want it to go. I believe that’s because your brain then scans for solutions. It makes me more likely to find a way to get through the Fast Track Lane. It makes me more likely to strike up a conversation with the stealer of my cashews. I know that seems obvious, but when I’m operating from my survival brain, I don’t think of solutions like that. In our research, we find that even the most resourceful people, forget to do the obvious solutions if they’re agitated.
How to Stop Spending Too Much Time Solving Other People’s Problems
Many consultants, because of their nature, spend too much time solving problems for others when they should step back and ask a question instead. For example,“What is the result you want to create? Come back to me when you have the answer to that question.”
That’s when people usually figure out the solution themselves. This made the consultant’s life easier, empowered the person more, and meant solutions came quicker. Try it with the people who report to you, clients, family members or even with yourself. When you find yourself worrying, lost in negativity ask yourself “What is the result I want to create here?”
What are your “Mental Reset” habits?
To learn more about quick tools to break yourself free of bad habits of mind, check out The Art of Mindset Mastery free online training HERE.
For more information on how to get COACHING help to grow your expert business, CLICK HERE.