CEO Mindset: Being vs. Doing

CEO Mindset: Being vs. Doing

“I’m not showing up as a CEO.”

That’s what my client said this morning as we started our first mindset coaching call. I asked what she meant and she said:

  • She feels stalled, not landing as many new clients as she’d like and not enough of her ideal clients.
  • She feels guilty about charging too much, especially if she’s not working really hard and over-delivering.
  • She’s stretched thin with trying to do “all the things,” and isn’t sure how to most effectively use her time and energy.

Any of that feel eerily familiar? Then ponder this question that I asked her:

Who do you need to be to create the business you want?

If you’re like most people, your first response will be about what you need to do. My client, as an example, answered that she should change her messaging to attract the right people.

I let her talk it out and, eventually, she shifted from the external to the internal, from action to belief, from doing to being.

It became clear she needs to be unapologetically authentic, brave, empathetic, and creative.

When she is, things fall into place. When she isn’t, she falls down the rabbit hole of self-doubt and overwhelm.

The Lesson

When we get laser focused on outcomes, we tend to fixate on actions.

This is why so many business owners think the key to next-level success can be found by taking one more course, learning one more strategy, or hiring one more business coach.

They do everything…and seem to get nowhere.

I’m all for action. After all, it’s easier to act your way into believing than it is to believe your way into acting.

But action for action’s sake is far less effective than when doing is aligned with being.

That means knowing your deeper why and understanding your values. It means getting really clear about who you need to be when you begin to do.

How we feel becomes what we exude and create. If we want the external results to change, we need to start with the internal beliefs.

So before you jump into doing mode on your next big goal, take a beat and ask yourself who you need to be to accomplish it.

If you’re not showing up as a CEO, but aren’t sure how to make the shift from employee to boss mindset, check out my new CEO Shoes course. I’ll coach you through the process.

8 mindset lessons from running a summit

8 mindset lessons from running a summit

In April of 2020, I hosted the New Normal Summit, a free 4-day event with 45 guest experts.

I had the idea for the event on March 17th and it was live 13 days later … and attracted more than 1,000 attendees. The feedback was incredible, with one woman saying it was like “business school on steroids.”

I co-hosted a virtual summit three years ago, but this was the first time I planned one alone. I handled all logistics and marketing myself, and attended every session live.

Hidden inside of the event were some pretty powerful mindset lessons that also apply more broadly to business and life.

1. Leap before you look If I had really considered all of the work involved in putting together this summit, I probably wouldn’t have done it. There were a ton of moving parts (see #2) and it meant a considerable investment of time and energy.

Boy am I glad I took action without thinking it through. The results were so worth the effort, but I might not have realized that if I’d only been focused on the effort.

Take risks. They usually pay off.

2. You can do more than you think First, I put this thing together in less than two weeks. Initial idea to event kickoff in 13 days.

I found and booked the speakers, made the graphics and wrote the messaging, set up Facebook group, promoted the event, fielded emails from speakers and attendees, watched every presentation, interacted with participants, and more.

I did it all by myself without help. Was it a lot? Sure. But I was a bit surprised by how easy it was to do everything because I was so motivated to do it.

Work feels lighter when it’s fueled by passion.

3. Make big asks It wasn’t long ago that I’d only ask a friend to speak in a summit. Now, I have no problem reaching out to anyone, even women I don’t know.

Of the 45 women who spoke in this summit, I only knew 15 prior to the event. People I didn’t know, inlcuding those with large followings, agreed to participate because I asked and because of #s 4 and 5.

Afraid to make big asks? Sign up for my free and learn how.

Get the FREE Gutsy Ask Email Series

4. Community is everything Connection is one of my core values, so I spend a lot of time in various communities. People know that I show up and that I give as much as I take.

Thanks to my strong ties to community, women I knew trusted me enough to recommend me and the summit to women they knew. That opened doors to speakers and brought in many attendees.

“Alone, we can do so little; together, we can do so much.” Helen Keller

5. Do things with heart… … and people will want to be part of it. One reason people wanted to participate in and attend the summit was because they could tell I truly cared.

The event was fueled by my desire to help others during this difficult time. It wasn’t a list-building effort, there were no sales pitches, and I nor anyone else were paid.

We built this summit out of love and generosity. Anything done with integrity and gratitude is sure to be well received.

Passion is contagious.

6. People are waiting for leaders When COVID-19 reached our country, everyone wanted to do something to help. So, I stepped up and took the lead.

When people learned the summit would help others, they quickly said yes. They wanted to help, and were just waiting for someone to show them how.

This sentiment translates into all areas of business and life. You may be surprised to discover how many people (customers, collaborators, family) are hoping you’ll take the lead.

Someone needs to lead. Why not you?

7. Simplify, simplify, simplify A virtual summit can be an elaborate event with a lengthy sales page, special tech for hosting, loads of graphics.

It can be all of that … or it can be simple. I chose simple. No sales page, Facebook for hosting, just one copy/paste graphic.

We often avoid doing big things because they seem too, well, BIG. But maybe they don’t need to be—if only we can allow ourselves to be okay with good enough (see #8).

Less is more—if doing less allows you to actually get it done.

8. Let go of perfection and expectation If need everything to be perfect before you take action, you’ll never take action. And if you’re tied to an outcome, anything other than your expectation will be a disappointment.

Perfection isn’t possible; it’s just a fancy form of self-sabotage. It’s a form of control, as is clinging to expectations and outcomes.

It may seem counter-intuitive, but let go of control and you’ll accomplish more than you ever thought possible. Even better, you’ll have a heck of a lot more fun doing it.

“Don’t sacrifice the good to chase the perfect.” Emily Ley

How to Ask for What You Want and Need

How to Ask for What You Want and Need

Asking for what you want and need can be difficult. But during the Coronavirus outbreak and recession it is causing, it’s more important than ever to care for yourself (and that means making asks of others). In this episode, I share a few tips for more confidently asking for what you want and need.

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My Favorite Mindset Practices (to keep calm during Coronavirus and recession)

My Favorite Mindset Practices (to keep calm during Coronavirus and recession)

How do I stay calm during the storm that is Coronavirus (or COVID 19)? Even while my bank account gets smaller thanks to the recession its causing? And even as the next few months promise to get worse before they get better?

Here are the two mindset practices that I use (and teach my coaching clients) that save me from diving off the deep end. My hope is that they may also help you avoid falling too deep into fear.

First, I tell you about my daily mindset practice. I do this in the shower because it’s the only time I know I’ll get to myself each day, but you can do it any time. You just need 5-10 mins. of quiet. You’ll ask yourself three questions:

    • 1. What am I feeling? What issues are coming up for me right now? Where am I feeling resentment, frustration, fear? On what thoughts do I keep spinning?
    • 2. What are the facts? What do I know to be true? It’s amazing how often when I ask my clients about facts that they start citing feelings and beliefs, not facts. I’ll end up homeless is not a fact. My bank account is at $100 is a fact.
    • 3. What’s my choice here? Here’s the hard truth: You only have control over your reactions. You can’t control circumstances like coronavirus, and you can’t control others (like my husband being sick right now). You can only control how you react to those things. So, what choice are you going to make.
    • This process is designed to take you from a reactionary state to a proactive state.
  • Second, I share my morning routine that I’ve more recently implemented (after fighting a morning routine forever). You could do it at any time, but I do find it powerful as a way to start your day in the right frame of mind.
    • 10 mins. of meditation
    • Say the Prayer of St. Francis aloud (and I’m NOT religious)
    • Send healing thoughts to others in need (this is very woo-woo for me, but I like how it makes me feel)
    • Ask myself 4 questions:
      • How can I show gratitude today?
      • How can I live into my values today?
      • What’s one thing I can do to move, even incrementally, closer to my goal today?
      • How can I show myself love today?
5 Business & Mindset Tips for Dealing with Coronavirus and Recession

5 Business & Mindset Tips for Dealing with Coronavirus and Recession

I started my own business in 2005 in a strong economy. Then came the Great Recession of 2008. I was completely unprepared. In 2008, I made $110k. In 2009, I made $14k.

On the heels of that, my grandmother and brother died and I divorced (and then had to short sell my house) all in 6 months.

It was A LOT. Not a global pandemic like Coronavirus (COVID-19), but certainly an upended of my life as I knew it.

I learned a lot in that time and the years that followed, and I thought it might be helpful to share that with others who have not yet faced this type of business challenge. Here are 5 business and mindset tips to help you personally and professionally as we navigate this unique challenge.

1. Feel your feelings and take care of yourself

  • An event this big and potentially difficult is traumatic for anyone. It can also trigger unresolved trauma from childhood or adulthood, which only compounds the feelings.
  • In some cases, advice like “count your blessings”, “enjoy time with your children” is fine. But for many people, they don’t help or can make things worse. Trauma isn’t something you can easily think or talk yourself out of.
  • Allow yourself the space to feel what comes up. Don’t beat yourself up or do what you “should.” It’s okay not to push or be super productive or be grateful for this time.
  • Don’t surround yourself with people who tell you to “get over it” “work harder” or not let your “scarcity mindset” or fears get the best of you. Your feelings are real. Your fears are real. Your situation is real. Honor it and yourself. Do what you need to to protect yourself and your family.
  • Quiet the news and social media if you need to.
  • Also, do what you can to care for yourself. With our families home and not a lot of alone time these days, it can be tough to do. But self-care is more important now than ever. Find ways to take time for yourself to feel your feelings and do whatever you think is self-care (there’s no one-size-fits-all prescription for self-care either).


2. Ask for help

  • Asking for help is hard for so many of us, especially for women who tend to be cast int the role of caregiver, putting everyone else’s needs ahead of their own. Learn how to ask for what you want and need in my free email series, Gutsy Ask Challenge
  • Where can you find community when you are stuck in your house? Now is the time to have as many virtual coffee chats as you can. You need to talk to other adults and other business owners who get what you’re experience. You’re not in this alone! Most of us are, or will be, struggling.
  • Start a mastermind if you don’t already have one. Get a trusted group of peers with whom you can share the scary feelings. People who get it and can affirm your feelings for you. 
  • If you realize you have old trauma that’s being triggered, seek out help from a mental health professional. Therapists everywhere are now offering tele-therapy so you can get help from the safety of your home. Don’t try to “push through” and end up far worse by the end of this time.


3. Act like a CEO

  • I went far too long treating my business like a hobby, even though it was my full-time job and I made a full-time living.
  • My experience through the recession taught me that it’s so important to set your business up like a business (and this current crisis is definitely reaffirming that).
  • If you haven’t already, at minimum you should”
    • Set up an LLC and EIN
    • Separate your business and personal finances
    • These steps are to protect your personal life from your business. If ever you’re sued, or if you default on business loans, etc., you can protect your personal finances
    • I cannot recommend using the Profit First accounting method enough.
    • Implementing it allowed me to finally be ahead on taxes, and has now given me a cushion to help weather this storm.
  • Create an operations manual to get your business organized. It not only helps you have everything in one place, it also will better position you to put the gas back on when things improve. You can hire help and more quickly put them to work.
  • Diversify your client base (fuck niching) and income streams for the future; I have writing work (with several types of clients), 1:1 coaching (and 2 offers within that, a 6-mo. package and a low-cost monthly accountability program), courses, digital downloads, affiliate income, and ads income on the blog
  • Track your data: It’s easy to spiral from “I’m not making enough money right now” to “I’m a loser.” This is particularly true when we rely only on our bank account and our feelings to assess our success.
    • The cure is to track more metrics in your business so you can use factual data to assess your progress. Sales may be down, but perhaps you’re growing your email list or appearing on more podcasts—or any number of other things that might later result in sales. Revenues may be down, but perhaps your actual profits are up, or you are getting more repeat clients. Knowing *all* of your numbers will paint a more complete picture of the ways you’re growing and improving, even if actual sales are down.
    • Also, you can use this real data to be aware of your specific feast-famine cycle. If year after year, work slows down every holiday or every summer, you can be better prepared for them, financially and emotionally.
  • The truth is, you may not be able to work for a while. This can be a good time to do big-picture thinking and planning. Thinking about how you may want to shift your business in light of all that’s happened, what you to do on the other side of this crisis. This is something I recommend doing once a quarter anyway, but for those of us who put it on the back burner, now can be a good time to sit down with pen to paper and have a CEO Day. There are loads of free resources you can hunt down online for this, or I have a $10 20+ page workbook you can get 


4. Keep planting seeds.

  • I want to again reiterate what I said earlier. Do what’s right for you. Don’t feel pressured to be productive or to become a thought leader if that’s not where your head is at.
  • If, however, you truly want to do something during this time to be productive, then these ideas are for you.
  • Also, it’s OKAY to want to be doing something right now. That’s 100% where I’m at. That’s why I’m doing this today. It’s why I’ve put together a free summit in a week (I’ll tell you about that in a minute).
  • A slow time—even if it’s one we didn’t choose and that is very scary—is an ideal time to plant seeds that will later help your business grow.
  • Write that content you’ve been sitting on; now is when to get your blogs and opt ins and courses together or upgraded; and optimize it for SEO while you’re at it
  • Launch the podcast, YT channel, or FB group
  • Pin the heck out of existing content
  • Keep in touch with your customers/prospects via email


5. Don’t make big decisions—yet.

  • Don’t make big decisions on your worst (or your best) day. Those decisions are based on feelings, not facts. They are rooted in the story you’re telling yourself, and one that will very likely change. Feelings aren’t facts! Take a break and, when you feel more even keeled, analyze the facts before doing something rash like changing your business model or quitting.
  • If it comes to it, and it’s possible, there is no shame in getting a bridge job.
  • It’s easy to panic right now. But also, there is so much that is outside of our control.
  • I’m looking at our bank account dwindling. I’m looking at ZERO new work/sales coming my way. I have moments of panic and fear, but thanks to all of my mindset work, I am mostly remaining pretty calm. And believe me, that’s saying a lot, because I suffer from pretty intense anxiety (and this situation is quite a trigger for me).
It’s Okay to Feel How You Feel

It’s Okay to Feel How You Feel

Yes, this is (sort of) about COVID-19. BUT … I promise it’s not remotely political and it’s not meant to use this pandemic as a selling tool for my business (ick!).

Right now, you just can’t avoid hearing about COVID-19. Even if you don’t watch TV news, listen to the radio, or scroll social media … you’ll hear about it when you pay for gas or visit the grocery. Everyone is talking about it.

I’m not here to add to the noise.

As a mindset coach, though, I do want to share one thing with you: You’re allowed to feel how you feel—about coronavirus (or anything else).

There is no “right” or “wrong” to think or feel. You may feel pressure from your government, society, friends, family to “calm down” or to “stop being so calm.” Others may tell you how you should behave right now, or mock you if you don’t do what they deem appropriate.

If you need it, here’s your permission to trust your own mind and heart.

Do you feel a bit panicked and want to stock up on supplies? Permission granted.

Do you want to block out the noise and focus instead on washing your hands? Permission granted.

Yes, it’s wise to listen to people who know more than you about a topic (in this case, medical experts). Yes, it’s generally a good idea to follow best practices (what those medical experts advise).

But none of that means you need to be like Aunt Sally and hoard toilet paper if you don’t think that’s necessary. And it doesn’t mean you should be embarrassed to stay home for the next two weeks just because your dad says that’s ridiculous.

Whether it’s COVID-19, who you vote for, how you raise your kids, what you do with your business, the way you wear your hair, or any other damn thing, you are allowed to do what’s right for you. Period.

Anyone who judges you or tries to shame, guilt, embarrass you over your choices is simply projecting their own baggage onto you.

As we all continue to navigate this interesting time in our history, follow your heart, trust your gut, and do what’s right for you.

PS: I want to reinforce that it’s wise to listen to experts in any situation, but it’s critical during a health crisis when lives are at stake. No one should flagrantly disregard CDC advice or advisories to do whatever they want. That’s irresponsible and potentially dangerous. But, you don’t have to hide in a bunker if that’s not the requirement, nor do you need to feel badly if you want to retreat to a bunker right now.