What’s Your Rooftop Message?

Here’s the cold, hard truth:

You can sign up for the premium, fancy-pants email provider (after spending a hundred hours comparing the options), create the most gorgeous website imaginable (after spending hundreds of hours planning, tweaking, and revamping) and implement the highest powered shopping cart available (after spending hundreds of hours figuring out how to put it in place, use it and make it work with your other systems) – but if you don’t have this, nothing will work.

You’ve got to know, with radical clarity, what you want to SAY.

Yes, your Right Clients matter (a ton.)

Yes, your online home must be inviting and inspire action.

Yes, you’ve got to keep providing value to your community so they can learn to trust you and look to you for help.

Yes, you need systems for purchasing your services and products.

Do all of that. But not until you have…

Radical Clarity of your Rooftop Message.rooftopsbyrobotB

This may surprise you, but this is one of the most common barriers to successful business, especially for those of us who are building a business with a powerful message at the core (which everyone should be doing).

Go check in on your own message, real quick, will you?

Imagine you have a rooftop and you are standing on it (safely). You have a large gathering of just the right people below you (more on that in an upcoming post) and they are waiting to hear what you have to say to make their lives better.

What would you say to them? Start like this:

“Listen up! You must hear this! What you absolutely MUST know to make your lives better is…”

Then you finish out that sentence with what you know from your expertise to be true. What you “know for sure”, like Oprah does in every issue of “O” magazine.

That’s your Rooftop Message.

It’s your “Must Say”. It’s the thing you are here to serve with, the way you change lives. It’s why you built your business – because people must resolve this thing in their lives to live the big, beautiful life they deserve.

Your Rooftop Message is not:

  • how they do this thing
  • your reasons for believing it
  • the services you provide
  • how you help

(Those all come later and with lots more detail.)

Your Rooftop Message is a simple statement that declares what you believe will profoundly change the lives of those who need your services.

Here’s mine: Authentic powerful self-expression is the path to successful, satisfying business, personal peace and, ultimately world peace.

Gimme a Rooftop - I’m all over it!

Unlike the hundreds of hours you will (or have) spent on email systems, shopping carts and website design, you probably only really need 20 minutes (maybe five, if you’ve done any work at all on this) to get this really clear. It’s required work for you to make a real impact in others’ lives.

Got your Rooftop Message clear already? Looking to shift it, make it more powerful? Let’s hear it and we can celebrate it together or work on it as you wish. Share in the comments.

Thank you to Robot B on flickr for the rooftop image.


[Video] The One Word Theme New Year Planning Tool

Happy New Year! (tomorrow.)

You may know that I choose one word every year as a theme for the year ahead. Last year’s word was Beauty. In many ways, it was a year made more beautiful by my commitment to that theme (amidst some very intense personal growth and, well, struggle.) I plan to write out a review of the year, with the theme of beauty as a thread, in the weeks to come. But for today, we are moving forward! In this video, I reveal my One Word Theme for 2013. I do this in hopes it will serve as an example for another way you might like to think about your own year ahead.

Since it’s a bit long, here are some time markers you can  use to pick sections to watch/listen to, depending on your interests:

  • 28 seconds: Where I acknowledge that the words on my shirt are backward
  • 57 seconds: Why I choose a one word theme & what this has to do with YOU
  • 1 minute, 57 seconds: My One Word Theme for 2013, Revealed – and the elements of it applied to the year to come
  • 2 minutes, 26 seconds: About trust
  • 3 minutes, 14 seconds: The moment of Delight
  • 3 minutes, 45 seconds: Summary of the applied theme
  • 3 minutes, 56 seconds: My favorite Part
  • 4 minutes, 28 seconds: Questions for you – and an invitation to write or call me

Now, here’s the video. I hope it serves you. Please share thoughts, themes, and reflections in the comments or by email with me! I’d so love to hear from you.

2012 is The Year of Beauty

Field of daisies by Phil RoederAs you may know, every year since around 2002, I declare a theme for the new year. I use this theme to guide my decisions throughout the year. Different from a resolution, the theme is not a single, measurable goal. There is no black and white indication that I failed or succeeded at the theme. Instead, it is a guiding light – a sort of North Star – that I call upon at a given moment to help me decide. Last year was The Year of the Table. You can read my reflections on how I feel that theme served me here. Overall, I enjoyed the theme and it influenced my life in a number of lasting and very positive ways. You’ll also read in that reflection that it didn’t resolve all difficulties for me (not by a long shot – 2011 was an intense year) – that is not the goal of a theme. The goal of the theme is to serve as a reference point to support living the life I intend. With that in mind, I am really happy that I chose The Year of the Table as a guide for 2011.

Here are a few more themes from previous years:

The Year of the Body
The Year of the Mind
The Year of Letting Go (these themes are from before I began blogging and sharing my themes online)
The Year of Sleep (one of my less well-served themes, though it did help me focus on sleep far better the next year)

Every year, it gets more difficult to name the year’s theme

You can see that here in this heady exploration of theme-making for 2010. Maybe it’s because the easy themes have already been used. Maybe it’s because the more I realize how powerful my theme can be for me (and I really have found it to be an incredible guide for my decisions), the more I want to choose a theme that serves my highest goals for my life overall.

There are many ways to set a theme

In the years since I began using themes to guide my year, I have learned about others who use words to guide their years. Chris Brogan chooses Three Words. His process seems cool and useful and I particularly love the words and descriptions he chose this year. Without really calling it that, my friend and extraordinary organizing consultant One Organized Girl (aka Brenna Peyton) has chosen a box of crayons to guide her year.

So, for me, 2012 is The Year of Beauty.

This theme could be misconstrued. In fact, my fashionista 7-year-old daughter’s bright-eyed response to my new theme reminded me that “beauty” is often in reference to physical qualities (in her case, she hopes it means we will be filling our home with more make up, curling irons and – her all-time favorite – more shampoo and conditioner sets. And, just for the record, she does not wear make up – much to her frustration – but she loves to draw faces on paper then use real make up to design their eyes, lips and cheeks.)

What I mean by beauty is this: In 2012, I will ask myself when faced with a decision, “How can I choose something that brings more beauty into my life through this experience?”

I arrived at this theme in a workshop through One House of Peace on Consciously Setting Intention for 2012. I was close to my theme, thinking along the lines of well-being and presence. As the day neared an end, I noticed that all of my intentions could be distilled to a desire for peace and beauty in my surroundings and in my inner world.

I arrived at this new “paradigm for 2012″ in that workshop: I am surrounded by beauty, inside and out.

And that is my North Star for 2012. That is my guiding light, my lens for making decisions, my theme.

I am surrounded by beauty, inside and out.

What about you? What is guiding your Big Vision – or Deepest Desire – for 2012? I’d sure love to hear.

Reflections on 2011 – The Year of the Table

It’s that time of year, when many of us hole up a bit (amidst lots of gathering and mingling) to reflect on the year passing and plan for the year arriving. Alas, it is that time for me, too. This is my summary of The Year of the Table.

I choose a theme each year as a personal and professional focal point for channeling my overall message in the world. One of the many fascinating things about being a messenger (one who has a distinct message they are working hard to share in the world) is that, when you really pay attention, the message takes on so many forms in day to day life. 

As you read, consider the ways your own last year served your message for the world.

The Year of the Table took on an expression that really surprised me in some ways, and yet felt completely “on path”, too.

Primary is the fact that we moved our table all the way across the country! As I look back on my hopes and dreams for 2011′s Year of the Table, I have to say it’s gone quite nicely, for all of its unexpected adventures. We shared about 85% of our dinners together at a table (it would have been much higher, except for my husband’s travel in the first half.) This is up from about 70%, I’m guessing. We used to feed our kids earlier and eat after they went to bed. This gathering to eat together each night has served our family beautifully as we share stories from our day and table games each night, enjoying greater connection than before.We’ve eaten healthier (less take out, more cooking), set the table nicely more often (but not as often as I would love), and shared meals with friends and extended family even more. Good on our family for The Year of the Table.

As for business, collaborations definitely increased in 2011. 

As I mentioned, I’ve been working on a couple of cool collaborative projects. One of them is a book for which I authored a chapter along with other extraordinary coaches from my brilliant coaching school, The Baraka Institute. I look forward to sharing that book with you in early 2012. Watch for it.

The Year of the Table invited me to connect with some wonderful people with whom I will be partnering in 2012. In that way, the business application of my 2011 theme was also a grand success.

While I am genuinely pleased with 2011, there are some things I want to do different in 2012.

For example, I will never promise not to change my website again – as I did in that blog post a year ago. That’s just silliness. Things change. Ideas evolve. My website will be changing again. It’s all in service of being a better messenger and serving other messengers more effectively. This is something that I learned in collaboration with my really smart business coach (Year of the Table = collaboration!) and continue to embrace as I move into this next year. I have a strong value on congruency and when I make proclamations, I can get stuck on sticking to them (a very sticky and stuckedness situation.) I am going to ease up on that kind of rigidness in the coming year.

A couple of life-changing experiences this past year brought me insight into serious blocks in my own growth and self-expression. It’s amazing what the Universe brings to you to help you wake up, to help me wake up. I am grateful for that, though it’s been pretty tough to get through parts of that wake up. I’ll share more about those – and most importantly, what I hope you might be able to take from those lessons along with me – as the year ventures forth. For now, I am still moving through the waves of this learning and am not quite ready to put “pen to paper” on them yet. The important thing is, in ways brand new…

I’m more awake now.

And I’ll never quite be asleep in the same way again. That’s the thing about growing: once you know, you can’t go back. My theme for 2012 will have a lot to do with this evolution. Stay tuned for more on my 2012 theme in the coming days.

Meantime, may you find time to look inward at your year’s lessons – and plenty of time to reach outward to embrace the beauty of Right Now.

What did 2011 bring you in service of your message and mission in the world? I’d love to hear in the comments, via email or any way you are willing to share.

Thank you, zeevveez, for this dually appropriate image of a fork (year of the table!) reflection (a reflective blog post.)

Working Retreat Vlog – How do I afford a working retreat?

For some of us the vision of a retreat includes massage tables nestled under giant banana trees. I’m in for that for sure!

However – though that’s an awesome plan for getting away from it all – that’s not the only way to have a retreat. By definition, a retreat simply means to pull away from regular life (or the situation at hand.) A working retreat means, then, to pull away from regular life to do some work. While the inclusion of a massage table (and accompanying brilliant massage therapist) under tropical foliage is pretty much empirically both relaxing and thrilling, it isn’t exactly what I mean by a working retreat.

And therefore, you don’t need to hop a plane to a tropical island in order to experience the fabulous productivity and rejuvenation that can come from a working retreat.

Listen to this video for some tips on how you can afford a working retreat, no matter how small your budget. And please, if you have your own ideas for affordable and awesome working retreat spots – share them with us!