Back in 2011, one afternoon, I remember sitting in the gorgeous 6 bedroom, glass roof to floor, cedar bush home on 20 acres I was living in with 3 friends at the time, meditating, on one of those body centred days where, when you tune into your womb, the voice of inner feminine wisdom is FAR louder on those days than the voice in your head. I still have the notebook in storage somewhere where I wrote during that meditation “you are here to help heal the battle of the sexes and bring men and women back into their true power, to relate with each other with greater love. Add into the mix one additional meditation a couple of years on and that also became about helping Leaders to do that and be able to unleash the full potential and shine in their leadership. There have been A LOT of strip me bare the core, heal, own and grow moments since. Fast forward though to today, and wether I’m consciously intending to do that or not in work, some friends and I recently had a laugh about the trail of love i've left while housesitting. No literally, I was doing the maths recently, and couldn’t help but notice over 50% of the people I’ve lived with or housesitted for over the last year and a half, have got into a major new relationship or had a big breakthrough in their existing one, right after I was there. What are the odds of that do you think?
As someone who grew up and went to uni playing lead roles in musical love stories, as someone who’s job was recreating grand gestures of love on a massive scale in front of hundreds of people, one might argue that desire had been in my blood a LONG time. So it’s in that spirit, as well as the spirit of empowering the Wellness community that I write this today.
Now, I’ve been feeling this admittedly for a while, but needed some time, post craziness of major run of events recently, to step back and take a look across the lay of the leadership landscape, plus do a whole bunch of research on what’s going on in the Wellness industry and other service based industries to confirm this before I dared to say anything about what I’d been feeling and observing this year. But with the deepest love, here is what I see. (And I’m totally open to other leaders helping me expand this perception.)
There is a lot of world wide focus, rightly so, right now on righting the wrongs of exploitations of power and abuse and bringing the equality most of us desire to the world we live in, equality that UN Women hope will be a reality by 2090. BUT, we have to be REALLY careful, NOT to generalise and not to keep internalising these struggles to the Wellness Industry as a whole.
Because, sisters, brothers, the actual reality now, is that over two thirds of the Wellness Industry is female. Over 70% of the healthcare sector is made up of female staff. Over 70% of the senior management level in the healthcare sector is female. Yes, only 4% of the top level are CEO’s in healthcare, so the CEO concern is still the case. But, while according to the ABS, only around 35% of small business owners (CEO’S of their own businesses) are women, in the Wellness industry, there are MANY more female sole practitioners/business owners than male. According to the International Coaching Federation 2016 study, two thirds of the people seeking small business coaching are female. And I can tell you, after a year running events for one of the Wellness Industry leaders, the gender balance at events is still higher in female attendees, BUT it’s evening up with a far greater percentage of men attending these events and enrolling in high level industry training. So what does that alone tell you? Through numbers and presence alone, we women have a whole lot of power they we may not have fully realised we have yet.
While I would still like to be able to create a little inter-business industry statistical information to get the specific data on this, as I look at some of the major training organisations to the Wellness, Coaching and Service Based Business Sectors, at a basic glance, I can tell you this,
in the Australian Wellness/Coaching/Service based business space, the proportions of of each gender graduating out of particular levels of the non gender specific systems measuring success is evening up now. If you add in the female only programs, it could actually very likely TOO be higher in favour of women.
It’s a little hard to tell though, because some of the variables needed to truly accurately measure "success" though, like what is success defined as for each organisation….for some it’s 45K a year, for some the benchmark is 120K a year, in others it’s 7 figures, in some it’s 6 figures, widely vary. And which region do we go by/include? If we’re going to get on top of REALLY creating world wide change on this, we HAVE to keep sharing and work together on this to keep getting the best snapshot of the picture that is.
But, at a glance, 2 things are obvious looking at the data. The old 5% success rate after 5 years stat I think is inaccurate. There are many small business studies saying there’s a 50% continuity rate after 5 years, over 70% success rate after 7 years, so how does that work? Which industries are included in that? Who is represented is sample, relative to who I’m looking at right now? I need time to go back and do a Masters just to get to the bottom of these questions. But the second thing that is obvious is this alone….
thSisters, if you are holding onto the notion that we are in some way at a collective disadvantage in the Western Wellness space, it's time to let that go.
(Notice I say collectively, because, as a female colleague said yesterday, yes there are still individual examples of male leaders thinking they’re serving the feminine in how they’re working…. But they're not listening to the feedback of the many women outside their system can see a mile away they’re off base when they have a particular IDEA of what they think the feminine IS that blocks the actual feminine being able to be present with them. And when they will throw out of the way an empowered woman or whole age groups of women who (wether with love and the desire to help them better serve, or heated words for repeatedly not being heard) questions that perception or why they're not being included, while pointing out what they ACTUALLY need, maybe something is up in terms of holistically representing the FULL spectrum of leadership needs of women as well as people of all genders. (And i shouldn't have to be making a point on a public blog instead of them being willing to have an adult conversation to get that, with it descending into personal offence taken, you have no idea how sad that makes me when our personal wounds kill our professional engagement. At the same time as there are male leaders, female leaders absolutely EXCELLING at this that we can all be learning from their example. ) But my point is I’m a thousand percent behind women or men voicing their concerns in those case by case instances until such guy, girls, people actually get the download, do the healing they need to and adjust tact accordingly to what the market is actually asking for and how we can collectively all work together to provide sections of that support, myself included. But I think we need to be careful to see these as case by case examples, not generalise to ALL leaders and all people when those things happen. Sound fair?
I am completely behind all of us finding ways to co-create a pathway to having women and men stepping into equal power at the top level of companies, if and where the women actually want it. In my conversations with Wellness women in the last several years too though, i've found many women are all for that, but in my experience, some Mums for a time, some older female practitioners and younger ones still learning the senior management game, when you talk to them though sisters, actually DON’T want CEO-ship for themselves, Right now at least, they’re happy for a man to do the CEO thing, even if they want to see their sisters do the CEO thing. Or they’re happy to multi-role it, playing one senior role in a company they believe in, while they CEO their own separate business. Sorry if that pisses some of you off. But at the same time, it’s what actual women are actually telling me they want, and I think we need to be really careful about dealing with things on a case by case basis for each woman and man, and not project our hopes, perceptions and agendas about collective equality onto THEIR journeys, when it may not be their path at this time to pursue Leadership Equality. But meet them in what they actually need and want. And stay open to the fact that some amongst us will support those women, and others of us want to simultaneously support the highest level leaders too. Each to their unique purpose within this human puzzle of life. Nobody's way is "right" or "wrong." It just IS. Granted though, some women in the world DON'T have the freedom the Western Wellness market has to make those choices.
But if we sisters think in the Western Wellness Space we are collectively at a disadvantage, I hope that this blog serves to show you that it’s time to let that one go, because in truth, the women actually hold the power of presence and numbers in the Wellness Landscape. And all year, I’ve been watching groups of women, give feedback together to male and female coaches/trainers/CEO’s and them taking it on and adjusting accordingly. That’s exactly what we sisters asked for. Bless! It happened! Shall we celebrate, if you haven't already given thanks?
More than that, on Facebook alone, sisters, please take a moment some time today and take a look at the gorgeous profile pictures of all the men in this industry as well as the women and look at how those faces have changed over the last few years. See the healthy masculine fire, passion, love and service, the healthy, empowered warrior energy in all those photos, on all those faces. Feel the love of all these men, who did the work we said was necessary in the world and who are standing there waiting to love and support us….if we could just now see them. And let that energy in.
Because you know what? That energy is a mirror as well, of what we need to acknowledge already exists inside us, and take into our insides to finish the healing in ourselves too. So that we can, as another sister put it this week, and as I said back in June/July,
put down our swords and armour. As the war actually already ended….yet women are still fighting on the battlefield of gender war in this industry already won. We need to now stop and integrate the present reality AND look at how we can now be mindful of NOT falling back into the old habits of war, but instead continue to relate with love. Then, in fact, we actually perhaps now in THIS industry, could be a little more proactive, to be fair in the equality stakes, in supporting the brothers all genders too, as we continue to grow ourselves.
Those two things I’ve found, don’t need to be separate and (sorry, I'm going to vent again for a moment) maybe we need to revise the Coaching/Counselling ethical codes driving us apart that say that they do, that imply that we can’t possibly serve the other gender while we’re healing, ones that drove me to separate over the last few years, while I HEALED. But in hindsight, and reflecting with colleagues this last few days, I think we all agreed have actually created another kind of pain and separation and struggle that WAS needed for healing and growth but in another way, maybe wasn’t needed and maybe made things harder than they had to be, for me and others during the last few years. And so admittedly now, to be in integrity with the intention I mentioned to you when I started writing this today about HEALING the battle of the sexes, I’ve recently been changing my online presence across the net and am presently considering both re-writing my book outline (which was, when i started it a year ago, going to be a women leaders shine in owning your voice and embracing your full leader potential manual, but now I’m not so sure if i need to expand it to non gender specific…need expert input and some male perspective on this one) and reconsidering my branding and groups too, to BE true to what is really needed here in this industry and in me also serving aspiring leaders and present leaders beyond it.
The main takeaway from all this whole blog though, after this collective Wellness Industry journey and the many individual empowerment journeys that have made it up,
we’ve already dreamed up and LIVED the gender equality answer the rest of the world still sorely needs!
So if we can finish getting it that we have, THEN sisters (and brothers) THEN WE as the world leaders who’ve done it, can take this example, this template out into the world and teach the women and men in the other industries how to embody this level of self love and empowerment and create the greater equality they are still fighting for. To help them heal the gender war and relate with each other well as equals in the spirit of love. Just take a moment to breathe that in and really feel that. These are exciting times of change we lives in. How do you feel called to connect and be of service, or not, in this shift?
Are you someone who uses Facebook to connect with clients in your service based business? Do you want to learn how to get better at connecting with and converting potential prospects? But also relating much better with the ones that you already have? Are a lot of your potential clients female and you want to know how to better serve your present and future clients, in a heart centred, soulful and yet commercially intelligent way? Then read on my friend. This one is for you.
But I'm about to tell you something that's maybe going to hurt....just a little. So brace yourself...are you ready? In a marketplace that is over 2/3 women, you may need to be open to reforming just a few of the million dollar marketing practices you've been told are the shiz or that you're watching the big guys send to your mailing list right now. Before you copy verbatim, I want you to consider this. if you relentlessly message your Facebook or your mailing list a few times a day, 5 days a week, sure, if they know you have value to give and social proof and they already know you enough to trust you, they might still click into one of those messages and contact you to buy for the benefit of what you have in the short term. But let me let you in on a little secret about how high value women, in fact nearly all conscious women (and many men) are viewing you doing it. Mining your mailing lists and Facebook contact lists relentlessly like this to pan the gold, any gold, any where you can get it, is in the market's heads, like the service based equivalent of big business fucking up the earth mining it for minerals without much regard for the long term consequences, over short term profits and supply. It's like the guys cutting down all the trees in the amazon for timber in their head. Sorry to break it to you, but underneath, they're labelling you THAT girl or guy. (I know this, because the last several years, out of 20 years CRM total) i've listened to thousands of service based clients tell me so. BUT, most of them wont tell you that on the phone or to your face at your live event....because they a) don't want to upset you and b) have an agenda of what they want from you in the short term, so they're prepared to forego speaking so they can make more money and live your shared values out in the world . OR they just never come near you in the first place (hey maybe they never WERE your perfect client?)
Over the long term, is that how any of us wants to be perceived in the industry? Like the girl at the bar, that guy is hitting on one too many times, then you offer, like the awesome friend you are, to go pull her out or pretend to be her girl or man for 5mins until that guy gets the hint? The more he advances, the more she pulls away....e.g. your response and open rates drop, so the harder you push and then the more new leads you need to make up for the ones dropping off. Sure, it's a great short term strategy. On a bigger picture view for a second though, what happens in the long term in a few years when you've pumped the entire business and personal development industry dry of leads by exceeding the rate by which new people are coming in? And they now know you as? Has anyone thought about that yet? I could give you exactly the strategy you'll need for that moment. BUT i'd prefer to give you one that will help you start so much better, NOW, before we all have to clean up all the mine shafts in the ground people keep falling in 5 years down the track when the grass has grown over, partially.
Would you like me to share with you a few secrets instead, that might cost you a bit more time and effort in you or someone else doing it in the interim, but help you land the high value female clients you REALLY want AND honour the kind of business relationships you REALLY want to build over the long term?
A high value woman values herself. She values her time. She wants to give you the absolute best of herself and all she has to give to the right people, who can meet her back and she's truly aligned with. But she has standards. There is a standard first up of how she expects to be approached. She expects that you'll obey social conventions of getting to know you and politeness. She expects that, when you walk up to the front door of either her house, her business, or her inbox, you do so with some degree of honour and respect and gratitude for the time she's about to give you. And just like dating, you need to NOT lead with you BUT FIRST GIVE A SHIT FIRST ABOUT HER. Wether it's you personally doing the messaging, or a team member you employ on your behalf, how can you show that you're actually taking an interest in her in ALL of the initial contact communications you send out? Or call with?
Firstly, how did they come to you? Did they just join your group, select attendance at an event of yours, or friend you? Are they on your mailing list? What common ground do you have with them in terms of what their profile says? If this is a contact you have little prior FB or LinkedIn connection engagement with make sure you remind them straight up what your common ground above is, do your homework on their profile so that you know exactly what it is about them and what their profile says they're doing that you love and could potentially support them with. How can you connect with them in a way that establishes common ground and a common purpose? How can you show gratitude, interest in and support them to better do what they do?
Plus, are they REALLY are new contact? Or are they in your salesforce or infusionsoft already, or in your excel spreadsheets for past contact, attendance, past downloading or participating in a webinar you ran already? Are you in a group together too? If you've met her before, it's super important that you or your team do your best to KNOW about it when you make contact now.
DO sum up any part of that, in no more than a few sentences TOPS if you're on FB (because you want to be brief to get return engagement, or if you give it all away up front, you block the need to HAVE a conversation). There's an expectation you might deliver a bit more of your professional grounding and be clear in your intentions and how you can help if you're on LinkedIn. But again, you're aiming to start a dialogue, not do all the speaking BEFORE they've had a chance to respond in conversation. And in that conversation, be prepared to focus first on them until you KNOW what to offer them AND be prepared with something of value to give them, WHEN the conversational moment is right.
A world class customer service person, with a world class system of tracking engagement has systems too for checking past engagements quickly, and world class systems for making sure EVERYONE in the chain of delivery GETS the relevant info INTO those systems, so that anyone who makes future contact knows AND targets their personalised messages and calls accordingly. if you want to show this potential future prospect you genuinely care, just like if you were dating and wanting to make the best possible first impression, DO think, and have your team think about how they can implement any of this into your existing practices.
This way above, honestly, and in holding the intention of wanting to genuinely be of service to the RIGHT, soulfully aligned people, I get an over 90% response and engagement and conversation rate, based on genuine, authentic, basic human communication skills, relationship building principles and respecting the rules of social convention. Using million dollar marketing gurus strategies that just cut to the chase, I noticed i got only about a 40-60% response rate (depending on location) and an equal amount of unfriending or restricting contact in response for one client i tried them with this year, who didn't listen when i told them the script wouldn't work long term in their favour.
Moral of the story, no matter HOW technologically advanced we get, we should NEVER, NEVER give up or let go of the importance and need for one on one human connection and intimacy in the human service based industry and it's well worth it to pay a little bit up front for someone to start your relationships on the right foot. Connection + continuity + consistency + repeated contact = conversion. And unless you particularly WANT to become the Gina Reinhart or the Telstra or top 4 Banks of the Business, Personal Development, Human Service Based industry (full speed to you if you do.) is that how we really WANT this industry to become? And is that the kind of leader you really aspire to be? What kind DO you aspire to be? How DO you want your business to be perceived and to be known for?
Say you love and value your present and future high value clients by getting you and your team A+++ hella good at relationship building and communication. It's how you can express your love and your commitment to the amazing standard of service i know you REALLY want to delver and testament to the amazing Leader and awesome person i know you REALLY are. This too is how we take a stand for keep the heart and soul in human service based business.
Until next time, have fun, take care.
Need a hand with better connecting with and converting your clients to long term clients and collaborators within your business, or ensuring your client engagement platforms better reflect the love and care you have in all that you do?
Is your organic Facebook posting really reflecting what you want people to know about your business? I got a great reminder recently when I'd seen an ad for gorgeous leggings I was going to come back to on Facebook and then Facebook searched for the company later during non business hours.....couldn't find it via search, and was just a little, well not surprised, rather maybe, concerned for the young ladies who's selfies organically showed up in the search field when i searched for leggings...very few of the businesses selling leggings though. Power to women everywhere however we choose to express our sensuality. But with some of the content that came up, it got me thinking about 3 things:
# 1 # 1 it's a reminder to reflect upon who is your target market? What appeals to your target market and how you can reflect being of service to that market in your organic posts?
#2 what is your bigger picture WHY for your target market, what do you REALLY want most for them? To look cute-butt selfie hot in leggings? To service a function of comfort, practicality and durability in the wearing? Would you be a brand that takes a stand for women's wellness and empowerment, for example? How can you make your photos and content reflect your values and be your living embodiment of exactly that? (Hint: Imitating softcore porn images is getting old in a culture growingly against the sexploitation of people in general may not get an audience of women on board for the long term with a product or service. Taking a stand for something to do with women's wellness or positive body image or empowerment for example, may just help them not only serve countless thousands more people, and have a lot more business success in a world of women and people hungry for healthy messages about positive body image, wellness and empowered sensuality/sexuality. So bless this experience of being a reminder to know what you stand for and BE the living embodiment of that, as best as one humanly can. Finally,
# 3) It's also a timely reminder for our Facebook business sharing and marketing, to just be mindful of what photos/content you organically post on your wall and if that's really what you want coming up in the search field when people Facebook search you, your business or keywords? Or is that one photo maybe for your inner circles only? Or potential partners only? According to my wisest Facebook oracles, your boosted/paid for posts and advertisements are displayed elsewhere, but NOT in the organic FB content search when people look for you...so make sure you make the organic posts you DO post count for your biz...they are still relevant...and will still be found.
p.s. for the record, don't be surprised, if at some point a photo of me in those cute leggings shows up in MY Facebook marketing, but it will be of me having fun and just being....to me i think that's infinitely sexier than taking a porn imitation selfie with my mouth half open or a rear shot doggy style of my box gap, on display for the world to see. She gets saved for those with an equal degree of deep love and respect for what makes her sacred.
Until next time, have fun, take care.
Do you have an important message you'd like to share with much more of the world in 2018? Do you need a hand with capturing the essence of what you stand for, building your Business and branding and getting past your blocks to putting yourself out there more in 2018? Do you have a Wise Sage, Business and Leadership Mentor on board yet for 2018?
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Surely I had been given these gifts I loved so much for some reason, some purpose. But at the time, minus the art therapy, the counselling, the coaching, the Thoughtleadership and Wellness Leadership lenses through which I now view the world, I just couldn't see it. And so I had one of the absolute darkest, dark night of the soul moments in the years not long after that. But then in the midst of that, found my way onto the community services and the private practice and then, after many cumulative years Health, Wellness, Emergency Services, RTO and corporate experience, the business and leadership coaching and mentoring path many of you now know me on today.
Seventeen years later, rather than playing characters on video or stages, I'm speaking as ME on videos, Webinars, I've spoken on stage at my share of industry events, networking evenings, at my own events and I rarely say no to an opportunity to sing something I love with people I love. And have to concede I'd still always consider getting out of my idea of how life should be done to consider something that's aligned and purposeful. Though that being said, right now, ALL my energy is pouring into building the momentum of my offerings supporting Leaders. But the point is, last few years, funny how things still came around to constantly business mentoring and chatting to clients who were also wanting support to own THEIR voice and courageously put it on a video or to put themselves front and centre at their own events or at a golden speaking opportunity they'd been offered. Funny how those early pieces sometimes combine later with other bits of our puzzle in whole new ways more perfect than we could've at first imagined.
Sometimes life (or we) have a grander plan, and a longer term plan for ourselves, than we can see for the trees in the moment. But it's always there. And even if you miss one of the entry paths into the magical Forrest of your destiny, who's to say that you haven't planted multiple means, multiple additional paths leading forward or back towards the experience you came here to have, the purpose you came here to (co-)create with whoever is there and feels to do it with you, ready or not, when they show up in your world to journey with you? Bless them when they do. How can you re-adjust the plan to embrace them when they do? When it's right, there'll always be a way that works for both of you.
Nat talks about Self Expression, Heart Centred Communication and Lifestyle for Leaders.