Monthly Archives: March 2018

Three Little Words

The words we use either encourage us to be creative and optimistic or they shut us down, give us a smaller view of possibilities, and weaken us.

The words we use define our personal reality to ourselves as well as to others, and they have a very real effect on what we allow ourselves to think. The words we use are the way we tell ourselves what we deserve from life.


Have this ever been said to you? “This is a good idea, but –”

Get it? When I said “This is a good idea” you were probably sorting for some time when you got complimented on an idea.

Then I said “but –” and you had to cringe a little.

We’ve all been taught that no matter what someone says, if they add a “but –” we know to brace ourselves, here comes the little twist that takes away most of the meaning from the beginning of the sentence.

Happens all the time, doesn’t it? I mean, I know that you and I would NEVER do that to others, yet people sure do it to us on a constant basis.

And what’s even more interesting, people do it to themselves! Just listen the next time a discussion comes up about what someone wants, for example:

“I’d like to lose weight, but –”

“I’d like a promotion, but –”

“We could go see your parents on Saturday, but –”

Interesting, huh? What follows “but” is almost always either something that wipes out a compliment, or an excuse for why people can’t get what they want.

So here’s a little tip for you. What happens to these sentences if we substitute “and” for “but”?

“This is a good idea, and –” Sounds like the idea may even be accepted, doesn’t it?

“I’d like to lose weight, and –” And here’s how I’m going to do it!

“I’d like a promotion, and –” And this is how I’m going to get it and why I’m worth it.

“We could go see your parents on Saturday, and –” And we can have dinner by the river on the way home, or we can stop at the new shop you wanted to see on the way there, or whatever alternative comes to mind.

“But” limits possibilities, and tells you what’s wrong and WHY you can’t do something. “And” includes more choices, and leads to thoughts of HOW you will do something.

They are the languages of two different worlds, two different ways of life.

Which world’s language do you prefer??

Which leads us to the next “little word.”


The problem with “why” is that it leads to “because.”

When you ask “why?” You are almost demanding a story that will explain “why” things are as they are. And you’ll answer that question with a story of why things are that way, whether they are really like that or not!

“Why are people such rude drivers?” — Because if I accept the assumption that “all people are rude drivers” I can complain and whine and be miserable instead of just dealing with the reality that some people don’t handle traffic pressures very well.

“I just don’t understand why you would want that –” — Because if you agree to explain why you want that and I don’t want you to have it and you can’t persuade me to accept your choices I get to control you.

“Why can’t I get a break?” — Because I already decided that I will never get a break, so I must be a loser.

The question “why” is useful to two year olds, and perhaps detectives on a case or scientists in the lab.

Not so much for adults.

You want to know what’s an even more useful word for most of us, most of the time?

The word is “how.” As in, “How can I create a break for myself?”

Or, “How can I best deal with a rude driver when I encounter one?”

Or, “How can what I want have any impact on you, and what can I do to ease that?”

Again, two different words from two different outlooks. “Why” invites you to accept whatever the stated reality is, and then demands that you make up a story that explains it.

Probably a waste of time, unless you get your jollies making up stories about unimportant stuff. “Why” turns our view to the past, looking for causes and for people to blame.

On the other hand, “How” is an action word. It looks to the future. “How” can I get what I want?” Or, “How can I mesh my desires with another person’s desires?”

Good question. And it leads you in a direction of action. And actions are the stuff of life.

Okay, here’s the next “bad boy” little word that shuts down thinking.


“I should have done it differently.”

“You should do it like they do.”

“What should I do?”

I want to express a big caution about this word because it comes so often from childish assumptions. We all have a parent’s voice in our heads, treating us like we’re still wearing diapers. And this word is surely a parent’s word, telling us what we “should” do.

“Should” and even worse, “should have” will make you miserable. They are the words of dissatisfaction and helplessness and regret and guilt.

Try this. “I could” instead of “I should.” Or “I want” or “I choose”. Even if you add the same ending, you get more power — more ADULT power, from saying “I could do it differently next time” or, “I want to be on time” Instead of “I should be on time” or “I shouldn’t be late”.

Think about the words you use — both to others and more importantly, to yourself.

Especially these three thought-stopping little words.



Dictate Outcomes, Not Processes

Have you ever asked your team to do something, even told them exactly how to accomplish it, only to have them blow it and not do what you asked?  You don’t get the result you want, they end up frustrated, and no one is happy?

Yeah, that’s a pretty common scenario.

You see, as an entrepreneur, in the early days, odds are good you wore many hats. You did all the tasks by yourself and developed your own way of doing things. Click To Tweet

Maybe you started out as an expert in other areas, or maybe you taught yourself. Either way, you’ve done the job and know how you want it done.


Let me share another possibility.

You tell your team what you want done, and, this time, instead of telling them how you want it done, you tell them why you want it done. You share with them the big picture. You let them know what you’ll be doing with what they create and why it’s important that you have it.

You let them go and see what they accomplish. You trust your team. You know you chose them to be on your team for a reason, and you are going to allow them the space to show you what they can do.

They come back a couple days later, on deadline, with the finished product. It looks different than you expected it to. Instead of reacting to that, you ask them about it. You allow them to tell you what they’ve done and why.

To your surprise, they actually gave you exactly what you asked for. They just did it their way.

And, as you look at the finished product you realize, what they gave you is better than what you had in mind. They found new ways of presenting the information. They used tools you aren’t familiar with. They provided some additional data that you can use as you grow and scale.

They were aware of tools and techniques that you weren’t. Maybe it wasn’t available when you were doing the work, or maybe they just know different routes to get there.

Either way, you got a much better result by letting them know what you need and what you want to do with it than you ever could have by dictating how it gets done.

You did your homework when you hired your team. You researched them, interviewed them, you sorted for people who had the qualities you need on your team and the skills you need for their position.

Now it’s time to let them shine.

Here are 4 steps to delegating the outcome without dictating the process:


  • Focus on the outcome, not the process. Make sure you explain what outcome you are looking for. Give them the why instead of the how.
  • Ask them if they have any questions before beginning work on the task. Let them tell you what else they need to effectively do what you’re asking them. Give them the chance to get everything they need up front so they don’t do something wrong or incompletely.
  • Clearly convey the format you would like the final product to come in. Whether it’s a spreadsheet, a completed PDF, a calendar or some other format, be very clear about what you would like to see as the deliverable.
  • Stop yourself before you go too far. Pay attention to your language. If you notice yourself saying things like “you can do it this way” or “first go here” or something similar, you are falling into old habits. Keep focused on the outcome, not the process.


By giving your team the room to excel, you are allowing them, and your business, the highest chance for success. Even if you can decide on the exact process for every task, is that really where your time is best spent? Is that where your business needs you to direct your energy?

Probably not.

Your business needs you operating in your area of genius. And your team needs to be allowed to operate in theirs. By giving your team the room to deliver exactly what you ask of them you make room for your business to grow and scale. And you never know…you just might be surprised!

No, your niche isn’t special

One of the most common reasons I hear for unsuccessful marketing results is “Our niche is different.”

I’m going to share something with you, something that may tick you off. But you need to hear it.

No, your niche isn’t different.

Before you click off this article, let me explain what I mean by that.

Your audience’s challenges might be different. Your niche’s needs might be unique. Your niche might struggle with things others don’t understand.

But, your niche is not different.

It is still filled with people. People who respond as people to your emails, your ads, and your marketing messages.

Whether you market via email, social media, search ads, direct mail, or other methods, you are still marketing to people. Click To Tweet

And regardless of the industry, your people buy based on feelings. Fear, hope, sadness, happiness…we all experience feelings and make decisions based on those.

Let me share an example or two.

Let’s say you are a success coach. You help busy female entrepreneurs build businesses that allow them to share their voice with the world.

You will want to identify your audience’s key pain, find their dreams, and discover what their journey will likely be.

Your marketing will need to reflect that journey. You’ll want to talk to them at different points along their journey. Your message will change depending on the point in the journey you are attempting to reach them.

You will reach out to them frequently enough to make sure they hear the message, and not so frequently that they get frustrated with you. You want to stay top of mind and build a perceived relationship with them so they will trust that you can help them build the business of their dreams.

Now, let’s say you have a local restaurant. You serve amazing American cuisine in a 50’s style family diner.

Your marketing will need to reflect that style. You’ll want to reach your ideal customers at various points in their lives as well. You’ll want to make people aware of your restaurant. You want them to think about you and even crave your food.

When they are getting ready for dinner and are making their plans to go out, you want them to think of you. You want to make appealing offers that make their mouths water at the moment they are choosing their dinner destination.

You’ll want to be in front of them frequently enough to keep your restaurant top of mind, but not so frequently that you annoy them into boycotting you.  You want to stay top of mind and build a perceived relationship with them so they will trust that you will provide them a great meal at a fair price that they and their guests will enjoy.

Let’s look at one more scenario. Let’s say you are in the business of helping people make money. Whether it’s business opportunities, internet marketing or affiliate marketing, you help people go from struggling to pay the bills to having enough money to live the lifestyle of their dreams.

Your audience may be a bit more cynical, having been burned by opportunities in the past that have never panned out. They are cautious of sales letters, and believe most of what they read is a bunch of hype without much substance.

You will want to talk to people at different points along their journey. You’re messaging will need to reach people at the beginning of their journey, when they are frustrated and even a bit angry, as well as toward the end of their journey, when they believe there is a solution and are making their decision about who to buy into.

Your messaging will need to be consistent throughout their journey, reaching them at multiple points along the way. You want to stay top of mind and build a perceived relationship with them so they will trust that you can help them when they are ready to make a decision.

Notice the common thread?

You want to stay top of mind and build a perceived relationship with them so they will trust you. Click To Tweet

This is what your marketing is designed to do, regardless of your industry. And the way you do this is the same across industries as well.

You stay top of mind by being consistent in your messaging and reaching your ideal clients/customers when they are listening. You build a perceived relationship and trust by demonstrating that you mean what you say, being consistent in your messaging, and sharing your life with them.

When you are able to do these things with consistency and transparency, you will notice increases in your subscriber base, customer base, and client loyalty. Regardless of your industry or niche, always remember you are still talking to people about their hopes and fears. And that doesn’t change.