I Will Not Be So Gentle in 2014

As every new year begins, I choose a theme for the next 365 days. I have been doing this for 12 years.

Last year was the year of Magic, and it served me and my business so well that I wanted to share a few takeaways with you. I think you will be able to take some useful things from them, too. Then, I will tell you why I’m taking a completely different angle for 2014 – one that’s not so gentle anymore.

But first…

Reflection on The Year of Magic

Last year was The Year of Magic. I chose magic as my theme because I wanted to experience things like: trust, delight, and the unexpected – all elements of magic. (You can see my video about The Year of Magic here.)

Looking back on this past year, I can see how consciously inviting more magic into my life served my business well. Here is some of the particularly useful stuff I learned during The Year of Magic:

By focusing on Trust:  More than once I had to let go and trust – my own mastery as well as the unknown. I let go of a lot of old thinking and beliefs – just consciously decided to let them fall away. It took practice, but it worked. As a result, I got on some stages (virtual and live) that were new and scary for me. I talked more about my work at networking events (I used to deflect and ask a zillion questions about them instead of share what I do).  As a direct result, I am closing out this year at revenues nearly 70% higher than the year before. Trust is awesome. Center_for_authentic_expression_library

By focusing on Delight: As we painted and decorated the new Center for Authentic Expression, I picked colors and artwork that simply brought me delight. I love going into the office! It is a truly creative space for me now. (You can see a picture of the library area here to the right.) I have and continue to create some really awesome stuff for you in this delightful space. You’ll hear more about that in coming months.  I also worked extra hard to use images and stories in my presentations this year that would captivate and delight my audiences. It worked beautifully (see above note about income increase – plus it was really fun)!

By focusing on the Unexpected: Inviting the unexpected simply requires an opening in our minds to things we didn’t plan or even think we’d want – and a bit of glancing around for opportunities.For example, invitations to be a part of TWO beautiful digital magazines this past year was completely unexpected. I was gifted involvement in a class I really LOVE that is helping me elevate my business game quite a bit this next year. Plus, I have had more referrals come my way than ever before – some of them from colleagues who I didn’t even know knew me (the power of getting out there with your message bigger and bolder!).

Everything about The Year of Magic wasn’t all rainbows and sparkly wands, of course.

I struggled to find the right people to help me in my business. Even more, I struggled to learn how to let go enough to make good use of the help I did find. (Still working on that.) I worked hard to launch a course that no one wanted, despite some pretty delightful feedback about the content. In fact, that course launch brought me a beautiful stream of new one-on-one clients, which was quite an unexpected outcome.  Yet, I remain committed to creating classes, workshops and retreats – online and live. I absolutely believe that group learning is incredibly powerful – plus, I am a teacher and facilitator in my soul. This is where my best work magically shows up and the place from which I make the greatest impact – and I miss it.

So, all in all, I am happy with the outcomes of The Year of Magic. It was a beautiful year, full of a whole lot of beautiful work with amazing people (you know who you are and I am so happy that I got to work with YOU.)

It was also a year of immense growth, personally and professionally. There were plenty of learning experiences that, frankly, were exhausting. And yet I’m still standing.

In fact, I am not only still standing – but I am standing straight up and poised. Ready. Activated and leaning way in.

There’s been a shift for me as I close out this past year and head into the next.

The fact is, I am through being so gentle with my work.

The Year of Magic is lovely. It’s glittery and open and inviting of many interpretations. Sprinkle, glow, twirl… isn’t that lovely?

But the time has come for me to Take a Stand.

I am through with the gentle, sparkly commitments of years past. They were good for preparing and nurturing the work – but now it’s time to get a bit big and tough. (Am I scary yet? :) )

It is time for me to Take a Stand for my message – the one that I absolutely know will serve you completely, powerfully, unfailingly in your desire to build a sustainable business doing the work you love.

So, 2014 is the year I Take a Stand for YOU and your life-changing work.

Because here is what I know to be true, at the very core of my being:

There are real people out there right now, looking for you and the beautiful way you are meant to serve their lives. The problem is – they don’t know you exist. And if they do know you exist, they have no idea how absolutely life-changing your gifts will be for them, because you aren’t yet saying it big, bold and clearly – everywhere – in a way that calls their name.

The thing is, there IS MAGIC to magnetizing clients and building a business you love. That magic is this:

**You become a leading authority in your area of expertise.**

You speak, you publish, you share your radically clear message with confidence, in your distinctive voice. You stand out, you become known as the person to come to for your particular expertise.

YOU. You ARE the expert. You DO change lives with your beautiful work. Now, it’s time you become known for this, so your right people can find you with ease.

For me, 2014 is all about teaching you exactly HOW to become the leading authority in your area of expertise.

So take a deep belly breath and don’t think one more second about how you are going to get there. Just rest and replenish, because if you step into this opportunity, this year is going to be ah-mazing for you – and for all of those beautiful souls who’ve been waiting for you to show them what you’ve got!

Happy 2014 to you!

I love that we’re in this together.

Let’s start today, right here. What do you take a stand for in 2014? What do you know for sure, at the core of your being, that you want to say to your right people? Share below, will you? We’ll all hold the intention with you!

The Simple Steps to Set Up Your Business to Magnetize Clients

howtosetupyourbusinesstomagnetizeclientsWhen I decided to go into business for myself five years ago, I went to the bookstore to find a book on how to start a consulting business. Isn’t that what we all used to do – go to the bookstore when we had a great new idea? Or maybe even the library? (I went there, too, but I do love a brand new, all-mine book so much.)

I bought that “How to start a consulting business” book – along with a few other gems that I found in the entrepreneurial inspiration section. Those books took me on a heck of an unexpected adventure. They introduced me to the possibilities of online business, of virtual coaching and self-study programs, of branding and “expert status” and so much more. It was delicious, learning so much rich new stuff. I became a scientist with my own new business lab.

Your Expression Élan Could Mean Love at First Sight (Part 3)

lookingwithinIn the last article in this series, we explored the three parts to Expression Élan. And, I told you I’d share some tips on how to reveal your three words. After all, this is an archaeological process designed to help you get lazer-focused on your core expression style – the one that will most naturally and powerfully attract clients you love.

This process is going to require that you listen and give yourself recognition for your most awesome qualities, so give yourself time and space for it.

The facilitated Expression Élan process that we would do together (if you were coaching with me) is a deeper, collaborative dive, so this initial self-study question process is quite different from that. But, the process outlined below will help you reveal some pretty powerful words that I know will serve you and your business building desires powerfully. So, take the time to do this.

Process for approaching your Expression Élan
(the modified, DIY version)

Step 1

Close your eyes and think back to the last time you were in a conversation with a group of people that you enjoyed a great deal. This could be at work or in your personal life. You felt awesome about your contributions and the conversation was flowing easily.

Notice, as you remember this conversation, how you were being (what you were feeling, what you were saying, the ways you imagine you were being received by others in the group). What words would you use to describe the way you were communicating in this conversation? Remember, this conversation is feeling fabulous to you, so these descriptors are going to be complimentary to you. They are going to represent the ways in which you were contributing to the goodness of this exchange. Give yourself a little time for this part.

Step 2

Write those words down on a piece of paper. They might be words like; funny, thoughtful, insightful, smart, open – whatever words come to you. Don’t limit yourself and don’t close yourself off with judgment. When you are doing this part, don’t think too much…just put your pen to paper and write. This is a brainstorming exercise.

Step 3

Now, go to the thesaurus and look each of those words up (I love to use www.visualthesaurus.com). Dig around in there.  Go layers deep with words until you land on a set of words that feels true to you. The words should also make you want to be more of the qualities that word represents.

Don’t be afraid to get creative during this part of the process. Use big paper with paints or crayons. Lean into the essence of words. Say them out loud and see how it feels. It’s okay to make up new words too. Look for colors and images of things you think represent who you are as well.  I’m not talking about just any images…I mean the kind that make your heart chakra light up (or simply make you want to do a spontaneous jig.)  The important thing is that you make it beautiful and make it your own.

You’ll know you have a great set of words when they light you up… when they push the edges of your own brilliance.

Step 4

If it feels good to you, see if you can choose which of those words fits into each category – soul, personality and verb. But that part isn’t required to start applying your three words immediately. When I do the facilitated process with my clients, I guide them into those three categories through the deeper-dig discussion. But for the purposes of this self-study exercise, just put these new words of yours to use! You are going to love the clarity they bring to your expression.

Your Expression Élan really will become a powerful guiding light in your business and your life. Use these words to stop more fully into your authentic expression. Commit to being more of them – infusing these qualities in your writing, speaking and networking.

This modified do-it-yourself version will give you a really good idea of how powerful just three words can be in feeling confident and clear as you express your work in the world. Spend real time on this and have fun! If you find that you want a partner in the process and really want to do the deeper, collaborative work to reveal your full Expression Élan, I’m here to help. Feel free to contact me at or learn more about it here http://www.michellebarryfranco.com/your-expression-elan/.

Your Expression Élan Could Mean Love at First Sight (Part 2)

Expression ElanLast week I told you Expression Élan is the three words that you choose as reflections of your most authentic, powerful expression. It is your best resource for your distinctive, memorable self-expression and business communication.  Your business name, tagline, website look and feel, and product and service titles—as well as your Hello Intro (more on that coming soon)—will all be way more interesting when you apply your Expression Élan deliberately throughout them. These three words act as guiding lights for decisions about word choice, brand colors and even what you will wear at your next speaking event. You will be amazed how clear and easy everything is once you reveal your three words.  Your Right Client will be drawn directly to you. But why three words? What am I talking about?

Your Expression Élan is a combination of:

  • your Soul Word
  • your Personality Word
  • your Verb/Action Word

Your Soul Word makes up the substance of your style and often resonates most with your internal experience of yourself.

Your Personality Word is experienced often by those around you and people may describe it as part of your personality.

Your Verb represents your primary mode of action in the world, your way of being.

Together, they work like this:

Soul Descriptor = Internal Experience

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Personality Descriptor = Noticed by Others/Outward Expression

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Verb = What you do, your consistent action play

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Expression Élan

Now that you know what you’re trying to excavate, you may be wondering how in the world to do it. I know from getting to work with many individual business owners on core messaging and brand style that landing on how we want to express ourselves in business is really tricky and frustrating for so many.  Good news – in next week’s article, I’ll share my sure-fire process with you.

Until next week, you can read testimonials and learn more here http://www.michellebarryfranco.com/your-expression-elan/.

 

 

Your Expression Élan Could Mean Love at First Sight (Part 1)

ExpressionElan-button-150x150At some point, you’ve probably seen an ad or website for Coca-Cola. Have you ever noticed how you feel when you see the logo/colors?  In an instant you get a sense of what the company is about…classic, iconic, family-oriented. They use a traditional font and color scheme that tells you they’ve been around for a while, they keep their website and products simple, and they post information like recipes and contests that are meant for families to share. Their message is strong and clear. Can you say the same?

If each of us could explore and understand ourselves and our message as well as Coca-Cola, success is eminent. Your Right Client will be able to identify exactly what you do and who you are in an instant…and they will decide if they have fallen in love with you or not. That’s right! Love (or lack there of) at first site does exist.  It’s human nature to determine whether or not we like someone or something within 7 seconds of experiencing it/them using our 5 senses. Identifying your natural style of expression and allowing it to shine through is what I call your Expression Élan.   It is three words that you choose as reflections of your most authentic, powerful expression. It is your best resource for your self-expression and business communication.

From the language you choose in your marketing materials and business planning to the colors and images you associate with your brand, your Expression Élan will provide the zing that makes your business exciting and intriguing to your potential clients. I’ll talk more about what each word should represent and how to reveal it in next week’s blog.

In the meantime, If you want to read the excited stories of those who’ve revealed their Expression Elans, you can do that here http://www.michellebarryfranco.com/your-expression-elan/.