Want To Be One Of Those People?

You know — the ones who make it all look so easy.

Perhaps she’s a friend or colleague of yours.

She has a business, like you do, and charges even higher rates… for work that’s far less impactful.

She’s always booked with a handful of high-paying clients, a growing list of people waiting to hire her, and a calendar that’s surprisingly open.

She has a family, like you do, but doesn’t seem to be “juggling.”

She’s thrown away her to-do list, and yet she gets more done than anyone you know.

Every week she has time to hang with friends, go to yoga class, have a date with her hubby, and play with the kids… yet, she never looks frazzled.

She loves her work, like you do, but she’s not afraid to leave it for a few weeks and take a vacation at the shore. (Wait, that was last year. This year she’s doing Tuscany.)

Unlike most successful people you know, she doesn’t seem to be pushing herself to the brink of exhaustion.

She’s a certain age, like you are, but she doesn’t look it. She must be getting 8 hours at night. And you’d sleep like that, too, if you could just shut off your brain.

How the heck does she do it?

You should probably envy her. But you don’t.

You admire her.

It’s like in When Harry Met Sally — “You want what she’s having!”

Well, guess what. You can have it too.
It’s called freedom.

Once you learn what she knows about how your mind really works, limiting thoughts and time-sucking distractions will be a thing of the past.

You’ll charge much more than you already do and get it.

Your confidence will soar just like hers. No more second-guessing.

You’ll have fun, creative, money-making ideas and implement them as easily as she does.

You’ll function on a higher level in every area of your life. You’ll get things done, habitually “go for it,” and the success and fulfillment you covet will naturally fall into place.

You’ll enjoy more time for yourself and your family, and your business will still thrive. (Translation: you’ll be working far less and earning much more.)

Stress will be largely irrelevant, just as it is for her.

To have what she has — Freedom has to come first, or all bets are off.

That’s why I created Freedom First Living, to show you how.

Interested? Start Here

  • Transforming Your Business Starts with This…

    [ Warning: This post may seem like a non-sequitur. Don’t make the mistake of blowing this off. When I saw the truth this post points to, I began booking clients at fees more than 10-20x higher than ever before. My stress levels plummeted. And I started finding solutions to problems with so much less effort, it almost felt unfair. This is truly game-changing stuff. One more thing, the story about the binoculars is a metaphor. No binoculars are needed for your life to change. ]

    Imagine a world where from almost the moment you’re born, you’re indoctrinated into a strange culture. Everyone carries a pair of binoculars with them at all times, and during waking hours, peers through the very large lenses to observe the goings-on around them.

    As soon as you were old enough to carry them for yourself, you received your very own pair. You were giddy with excitement to be just like the adults.

    Your loved ones showed you how to hold the binoculars and adjust the focus. They corrected you when you weren’t doing it quite right. They described what they saw and coached you to see the same things.

    Pretty soon you saw it too. Over time, it became second nature. You never questioned what you saw because everyone else was seeing it too. The news. Friends at school. Your teachers.

    They always validated your seeing, so it never occurred to you to question it. Why would you?

    Then one day you crossed paths with someone completely different. This person approached you with a sense of ease and confidence that quite frankly, you’d never seen before. After staring for what seemed like an eternity but in reality was a few seconds tops, he said, “You know you’re holding your binoculars backwards. You’re supposed to look through the small lenses, not the big ones. That way you can see minute details of things. Hasn’t anyone ever told you that before?”

    You did a double-take. What you heard was so unexpected, you weren’t sure it had actually happened.

    “Did you just say I’m holding these binoculars backwards?”

    This guy was clearly off his rocker. How could everyone else be wrong?

    But he was unfazed. In fact, he reached into his shirt pocket and pulled out a piece of paper and showed it to you.

    “What’s this?” you asked.

    “It’s the owner’s manual for the binos. Look, here. See, you’re supposed to look through the small end.”

    You were stunned. How could this be? You were convinced the world you’d been observing was exactly the way you thought. In a matter of seconds, you realized your life wasn’t what it seemed. In fact, your whole life you’d been misled.

    But how is this possible? Why didn’t anyone else read the manual?

    The man didn’t miss a beat. Clearly he was ready to answer before you’d even asked the question. “Legend has it that long ago someone came to the conclusion that they didn’t need a manual. They believed they were smart enough to figure things out for themselves so they threw it away. Since then, the wrong technique has been passed down for generations with no one ever questioning it.

    But one day this enigmatic man had found the manual. He followed its instructions and noticed how comfortable and natural it was to look through the small end. It wasn’t that it was impossible to enjoy looking through the big lens, it was just so much clearer and simpler to make sense of things this way. No more straining the eyes. No more pounding headaches. He never went back.

    From that point forward, neither did you. You flipped your binoculars around and life was never the same. Who knew that life would look so different?


    Here’s the thing — we’ve been misled too. We’ve been taught that life happens to us. That we feel the way we feel because of our circumstances. Other people make us happy or mad or jealous or frustrated or worried. And if we don’t like the way we feel, we need to change something, either in our thinking, our behavior, or in the world around us (a new job, a bigger house, you get the idea).

    Everyone around us reinforces these ideas. It’s what I call a “Freedom Someday” reality. When everything’s going well, you get to be okay, even if it’s only a matter of time before something else happens, right? Your only hope is to accumulate enough money and time so you can finally relax.

    But just like in our metaphor, that’s not how life really works.

    We’re already free. We just don’t realize it. Like Mr. Mystery in the story, Freedom First Living is here to point out the Truth.

    No matter how bad things are or how worrisome your thoughts are right now, your essential well-being, peace of mind, and happiness is guaranteed. It’s only ever a thought away. You can have all the money and time in the world and have no freedom because you don’t realize where freedom really resides.

    Freedom resides in you. It’s been there at birth and waits for you in every moment. The only reason we don’t experience it is we get lost in our heads.

    Our circumstances don’t make us feel the way we do. Our thinking does. Our momentary state of mind influences what we conclude about what happens to us, and that becomes our experience.

    Our whole life is what we believed about what happened, not what actually happened. But what we believe isn’t permanent. As soon as you see what’s really going on, it changes.

    Transforming yourself and your business starts with seeing things differently. You have an opportunity to flip the binoculars around. And when you do, you’ll notice things you never would have. You’ll see more clearly so you make the most of every opportunity. You’ll let things go you never would have. You’ll filter out the impurities (thoughts that don’t serve you) and let the clean (i.e., productive) ones pass through.

    Will you still pick up the binoculars the wrong way from time to time? Probably. But you’ll notice it much faster. And you’ll adjust in a fraction of the time. The difference it’ll make for your business will astound you.

    And as a side bonus, it won’t bug you as much when others still look through the wrong end because you’ll see it’s just an innocent mistake. One you used to make too.

    The Big Takeaway:

    Life is not what it seems. Our experience happens exclusively in our minds, via Thought influenced by our temporary State of Mind. To radically transform personally and professionally requires nothing more than a deep understanding of the Truth of this subtle phenomena. That is Freedom First Living in a nutshell.

    Be sure to read next week’s blog — we’ll pick up this discussion and talk about what Real Freedom is and what it means for your business (Hint: bigger profits, more fun, better clients, the end of stress and indecision, deep confidence). If you want more of that, you can’t afford to miss it.

  • How to Permanently Beat the Fears that Hold You Back

    “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”

    Pretty profound, right? After all, it’s an infamous quote, made famous by one of our greatest presidents, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

    It can’t possibly be wrong, or can it?

    Here’s the problem with this quote — it misleads us into believing that fear is something to avoid or be afraid of. Yet, fear can be a powerful contributor to our success if we see it for what it really is.

    • Perhaps there’s a challenging conversation you need to have with your business partner, and you’ve been avoiding it for fear of how she might react.
    • Perhaps you know your business would move forward much faster if you accepted an offer to deliver a keynote speech to an audience full of your ideal clients, but you’re terrified of speaking to such a large group.
    • Maybe you want to raise your fees, but fear losing many of your current clients.
    • Could it be the reason you’re procrastinating proposing a joint venture to someone you admire is because you’re afraid they’ll reject you?
    • Is there a client that’s sucking the life out of you, but you’re afraid to fire him because he’s been with you for years?

    Fear’s a killer, isn’t it? It can stop you from doing what you really want to or know you need to do. Or maybe even worse, it can cause you to play small. To over-think things. To deliver an I’d-like-to-dig-a-hole-and-crawl-in-and-hide-I’m-so-embarrassed performance.

    Fear’s a killer, isn’t it? It can stop you from doing what you really want to or know you need to do. Or maybe even worse, it can cause you to play small. To over-think things. To deliver an I’d-like-to-dig-a-hole-and-crawl-in-and-hide-I’m-so-embarrassed performance.

    That’s precisely why Roosevelt uttered the quote.

    But let me ask you this — Are you afraid of a barometer or a thermometer? What about a tire pressure gauge? I’m guessing (actually more like hoping) you said No.

    Why would anyone be afraid of a device that provides a useful measure of something that allows us to live life more effectively?

    So why then should we be afraid of fear when it serves exactly the same purpose?

    Fear provides us with a useful measure of the quality of our thinking in the moment.

    That’s something that didn’t occur to me for 45 years of my life. And it kept me stuck. Really stuck. My fear of selling almost caused me to give up on the work I know I was born to do, (you can read the full story in the Freedom First Manifesto) and it was all an innocent misunderstanding.

    I thought the fear was telling me something about me (essentially that I was a coward). I thought it was telling me to stop before I made a fool of myself.

    Then I saw the truth about how our minds work, and everything changed.

    Fear is an emotion like any other. Its purpose…to show us that our thoughts aren’t worth paying attention to right now.

    When we fail to see that, it makes sense that we’d try to make the fear go away. We want to feel better right?

    Of course we do.

    What do we do to alleviate the fear? We think harder and harder about what’s making us afraid. We try things, like distracting ourselves, trying not to think about it, or perhaps a technique like tapping or taking deep breaths. But the truth is, we see the fear as real so it never loses its power over us.

    If the fear looks real, why would we let it go?

    But by not letting the fear-based thoughts simply pass by, we essentially build a dam in the “River of Thought.” We completely block the flow and keep ourselves stuck. And of course, the fear only gets bigger.

    The dam we build in our minds keeps the flow of new thinking at bay.

    When we finally see that the fearful thoughts are a reflection of our state of mind, not the cause, we’re truly free.

    When we finally see the fearful thoughts won’t really matter if we let them pass by, we’ll send them on their merry way. No fuss, no muss. And that’s when the floodgates will swing open, and a surge of freedom and fresh thinking will pour forth.

    The Big Takeaway

    Fear is neither telling you to stop nor go. It’s telling you where your state of mind is. What the quality of your thinking is. Knowing that, what you do or don’t do becomes a much more straightforward proposition. What would you do if you weren’t afraid?

  • How to Stop Hearing NO to Your Sales Offers

    Has this ever happened to you? It sure has happened to me.

    And when it did I felt like I needed a shower just to be okay again. It’s almost embarrassing to admit.

    You’ve had several great conversations with a potential client. You’re sure they’re an ideal prospect because they really need your help. They love talking to you. You feel a real sense of rapport.

    You’ve given them several hours of your time, and you’ve truly demonstrated your value and expertise. You just know the clients is going to say “Yes,” so you start mentally spending the proceeds from the sale.

    New shoes? Check. Trip to Bermuda. Checkeroo. Set aside money for Junior’s college fund. Check and double-check.

    Then you present what you think is a compelling offer to work together, and it goes… Drumroll, please… Absolutely nowhere.

    Your enthusiasm plummets faster than the air being let out of a balloon. It’s like getting “gonged” on the old Gong Show (you have to have been alive in the ‘70s to get that reference). Not a pretty picture, is it?

    It can be so frustrating when you know you’re great at what you do but you don’t have the results to show for it.

    This is one of the biggest challenges I see with clients who want to make dramatic shifts in the level of clients they serve and the fees they charge.

    If you want to master selling to the high-level clients and put an end to the “They-love-you-and-take-tons-of-your-precious-time-but-don’t-hire-you” Blues, here are 3 critical skills you need to master:

    1) Screening Out Unqualified Clients

    Think of it this way — no one is responsible for you spending hours and hours wooing a potential client except you. When you up-level the standard of clients you serve and the fees that go with that service, you have to up-level your game too.

    You can use a well-designed pre-consultation questionnaire to help you identify clients that meet your criteria for working together.

    You can use language on your website designed to scare off unqualified prospects, for example, if they can’t commit the time or energy it will take to truly solve the problem.

    Heck, you can even charge a fee for initial consultations that gets waived if they retain you.

    The bottom line is, you need to let potential clients know early on in the process what the financial commitment is to work with you. This can be either a fee range or a minimum fee. If they don’t have the resources to hire you, no matter how much they need it and would love working with you, you need to find that out long before you present an offer. It can be as simple as:

    “Based on what you’ve told me so far, my sense is you’d be looking at an investment of between $5,000-$15,000 to solve this problem permanently. Before we go any further, I wanted to share that with you so there are no surprises down the road. Do you still want to flesh this out in more detail?”

    2) Identify the Client’s Real Sense of Urgency

    You simply can’t be “floopy” when leading the sale to its rightful conclusion. Notice I said rightful conclusion. That includes the client saying No. Maybe it’s not the right timing. Maybe it’s not a good fit. Whatever the case, honor that No is always a valid response.

    But before you accept an initial No and move on, ask yourself, “Have I identified the client’s real sense of urgency?”

    Just because you’re having a great conversation and the client seems to really like what you’re saying and needs the solution you provide, doesn’t mean they’re willing to pay your fee. The problem might be you’re not talking about the thing that’s really keeping them up at night, and if they knew you could help with that, they’d be engaging with you right now.

    If you’re hearing No frequently, this is one of the biggest reasons why. Stop over-selling your products and/or services. Redirect the conversation to find the thing that would benefit them the most. When you discover the problems your clients most want solved, you’ll be much closer to landing a new client.

    3) Exhibiting Leadership and Professional Self-Esteem

    To me, this is far and away the most important. Without it, #1 and #2 are far less likely to happen on any kind of consistent basis.

    What this means is every single step of the sales process, including Needs Discovery, requires you to direct the process. You have to exude a sense of “I’ve-got-this” confidence. You can’t waiver at signs of resistance from the client. You can’t allow the doubts, insecurities, and “Oh, sh** — it’s happening again” thoughts to get to you. They’re normal. And they’re not meaningful. It’s safe to ignore them.

    Lead the process. Say you’re an attorney working in trademarks and intellectual property. You’ve met with a client and assessed their needs. To move to the next phase, you might say:

    “Here’s what needs to happen next if you’re serious about protecting your IP and fully leveraging it. We’ll need to set up a follow-up meeting where I’ll share several options for moving forward. Based on what we’ve discussed, it’s likely to range between $10-20,000 with an initial retainer of $3,500 to get started. Is this something you’d like to pursue?”

    If a question is asked or a concern is raised (notice I didn’t say objection), this is a great opportunity to further engage the client and win their trust. Clients have every right to ask questions. Welcome them. Praise them for asking such insightful questions. Then ask questions of your own.

    “Tell me more about your concern.”

    “Why is that important for you?”

    “What will solving this enable you to do? How much is that worth to your company’s annual growth?”

    The specific questions aren’t the point. The point is to stay out of your head. Ignore thoughts about yourself and the sale, and pay attention to the ones about the client’s situation. Seek to understand what’s important to them and why.

    There are an infinite number of scenarios that can arise. There’s no point memorizing how to handle them. The best thing you can do is allow your mind to stay unburdened and notice what’s called for in the moment.

    Sales requires a top-notch inner and outer-game. Get coaching on sales from someone who understands and is great at both. It’ll move you forward faster than anything else I know.

    If you have a specific scenario that’s tripped you up in the past or are struggling with a sale right now, leave a comment below and I’ll be happy to address it.

    Here are the big takeaways:

    Stop making offers to unqualified potential clients. Identify them early and direct them to the best resource for where they are right now.

    Take the lead on every aspect of the sales process by simply stating what the next step is and what you need them to do. Always ask if they would like to take that step before proceeding.

    And finally, make sure you are talking with a client about a truly urgent problem that they’d be willing to invest money to resolve — because there’s a real return on investment for them, i.e. a cost savings, increase in revenue, new market opportunity, or some other intangible benefit they value highly.