Change the How, Not the What - Christine Kane

When a client comes to me and says ‘I’ve lost the passion in my business’ they often immediately follow that with the new idea they’re ready to start tomorrow.

And that’s when I, ever so delicately, introduce them to the idea of changing the how, not the what.

If you’re at that place where you’re ready to throw in the towel, it’s likely your mindset, happiness, and excitement have been slowly whittling away. Of course, I don’t want to make you feel like you have to stay stuck, but before you ditch your current business, let’s explore what might be the real issue.

In this episode, I’ll outline 3 places to start changing the HOW in your strategy track, which is the tactics and marketing, sales stuff of your business. Then I’ll give you 3 places to start changing the HOW in your soul track, where all the softer, internal stuff functions, which is something we tend to forget is just as important—and impactful—when you’re running a Soul-Sourced™ Business.

Listen in to remember what’s deep and true about what you do and see if we can ignite that lost spark again.

Episode Transcript

What’s often going on here is that we forget that no matter what new thing you create, you’re going to bring you with you. And this is what I call the, and there I am, again, factor.

Welcome to the Soul-SourcedTM Podcast, unconventional business advice for the highly creative secretly sensitive and wildly ambitious entrepreneur. I’m your host, Christine Kane. Let’s do this.

Welcome back. This is the Soul-SourcedTM Business Podcast, and we are on episode number 11. And the title of this is “Change the How, Not the What”, which is not a good title. No one knows what the hell I’m about to teach here, which is why it’s so cool. You’re listening. It means that you trust me to teach you something worthwhile. And I really appreciate that. This is a good topic though, and it’s relevant for right now when there’s so much change going on at so many levels in our businesses and in our lives.

So I’m going to start this with how this topic is usually presented to me as a coach, many, many, many times an entrepreneur who has had a business for many years will come to me and tell me that they’re no longer happy with their business. Maybe it makes money. Maybe it’s not making enough money, but either way, the upshot is usually that they’ve lost that love and feeling. And some new idea has come to them for a whole new business. And they want me to help them build this whole new business. Like they want to close up shop on their accounting office and now they want to be a coach or they want to stop being a lawyer or a copywriter. And they want to open a plant shop or be a personal chef or whatever feels like their new thing. And while they want me to just drop everything and say, okay, that’s a great idea, we can totally make that happen. I don’t usually start there.

What I normally do is I get curious. I ask questions. And when I ask questions, I usually find some other issues going on that are huge contributors to why they no longer like their business. If they ever did, like, they let themselves get treated like shit by their clients, or they’re not getting paid enough, or they’re frustrated because they’ve had bad luck with employees or they work nights and weekends, or it all started off pretty easy, but now they have to market and marketing and selling just harshes their buzz man. And now it all feels like too much. And they almost always mentioned at some point that this business is no longer their passion. So I’m not saying that their new idea is necessarily a bad idea, but often what’s happening is that someone is looking for an escape hatch and passion becomes the easy go to culprit. You know, I’ve lost my passion and therefore that means I need to change my business. And you need to agree with me.

And this is where I will ever so delicately introduce them to the idea of changing the, how not the what, and the reason I am ever so delicate about it is that people have lost their freaking minds when it comes to the idea of passion. The current messaging around passion seems to sort of go like this. You will start a business. You will post many cool photos of yourself on Instagram. You will reap comment after comment, after comment, and there you will be basking in the glory of your influencer status and all the lives you change because you are so very passionate about every moment of every day, rolling in ecstasy at the sheer brilliance of your life and your work. We’ve turned the idea of passion into never ending swaths of time that are filled with nothing but orgasms and pie.

Then when I ask this entrepreneur to meander on back into the current passionless business and consider changing the, how that entrepreneur looks at me as if I am robbing her of her future orgasms and pie, which I’m not. So I make them a bargain. And I tell them that since their business it’s, what’s bringing in the cash right now. What if we were to take a span of time and really look at how their business runs, like change the how, and just see if they feel any of that passion again. And if not, then they can decide whether or not to change the what to start their new thing. As a coach, I don’t want to hold anyone down and I don’t want to make them feel like they have to stay stuck in a business. That’s like this big fat, dull, boring shit hole of a place to be.

But what’s often going on here is that we forget that no matter what new thing you create, you’re going to bring you with you. And this is what I call the, “And There I am, Again” factor. The illusion here is that if you change your whole business and start doing something totally different, that you get to leave this messy version of you behind. But the fact is that no matter what business you build, you’re always going to bring you with you. And then the same thing, same thing with romance, with dieting, with any kind of success, we think it’s going to be this thing outside of us that makes us different and better, but amazingly we, and all of our voices and all of the skill sets, we didn’t feel like building and all of the ways we avoid conflict and all of our chaos are the common denominator in all of our circumstances. The parts of ourselves we try to escape, always miraculously show back up. It’s like those birthday candles that won’t blow out, just keeps on coming back up. And that’s why I call it. And there I am again.

So when I was first dreaming of becoming a performing songwriter, I had this deeply held illusion that I would magically become everything that I had projected onto the women musicians that I loved so much. Like I would be a little less like me and a little more like them, but then I did it. You know, I created this thing. I had a full calendar of gigs and I was still me,and I got an agent and I was still me. I got a record deal offer, and I was still me and at some point, I think I was about 30 or 31. And I was like, Oh, everything I accomplish, it’s still. “And there I am.” And it was this weird and subtle illusion that was driving so much. And when I finally woke up to it, it was this huge revelation. But most of us don’t see this. We think that the, what is the problem as in the business is the problem. And if I change the whole business, then I eliminate the problem.

And it’s a little bit like my freshman year in college, I had a roommate who she got a bank account, and then she didn’t keep track of her ATM transactions or her debit card transactions. She forgot to like document the check she was writing and she got totally overwhelmed. And she started getting overdraft notices in the mail from the bank. And then she hated that bank because they were mean, and then she would go get another bank account. Like she would start a whole new bank and she would throw out every piece of documentation from the other bank. She had a new attitude, a new bank, and she started again. And then the same thing would happen. She didn’t document things. She started getting overdraft notices and then she was like, I’m off to another bank. And she did this three or four times, I think. And eventually I was like, um, okay, Leanne, you’re going to run out of banks in Chestnut Hill Massachusetts here.

And it’s a funny story about us 18 and 19 year olds trying to navigate reality and checkbooks. But it’s obvious obviously to us now that it’s not about the bank, it’s not about the, what it’s about the, how you always bring you with you to the next thing, to the next bank, to the next business. And that’s where we land here right now, which is why I want to look at changing the, how, what kinds of things do we explore before someone heaves it all overboard to start a whole new direction.

So if you’ve listened to any of these podcasts, you’ve probably heard my weird little way of seeing a business. And that is that your business has two tracks. One track is the Strategy Track. And this is where all of the tactics and marketing and sales and systems reside. That’s all the stuff you have to do to keep that business operating. But every business also has what I call the Soul Track. And that’s the softer stuff. It’s the internal stuff that we all tend to ignore, or we make it separate, or we pretend that it has no place in a business after all business is hard and that’s all that soft mushy stuff, but it’s real. And the Soul Track really does impact your business. So what I’m going to do here on this episode is I’m going to give you three places to start changing the how in your Soul Track. And I’m going to give you three places to start changing the how in your Strategy Track.

So the three places in the Soul Track all start with the letter A and our first A in the Soul Track is attitude. And that’s the first place we start just plain old attitude. And that is the daily energy we bring to the table or the workbench or the office. And no, this is not where I started barking at you to be more positive or to fix your mindset. Sometimes when someone really believes that they no longer have the passion for their business, it’s taken years of slowly whittling away at their own mindset to reach that place. And during that time, they’ve probably been focusing a lot more on, what’s not working. What’s not going well, what hurts and worst of all, what they’ve done wrong.

So, starting to shift the how of that business means first. And without shame, seeing the ways you may have brought an imbalance to this business of yours, by focusing so much on what doesn’t work or on what went wrong or on what you’ve done wrong. And to begin to clear this up, you first have to simply embrace the power of your own attitude and thoughts. So you are the core of your business. You are the soul of this thing, and I’m not saying this is easy, and I’m not saying you’re going to kill your business you don’t think positive, that’s a real fear based approach to thinking positive. And all it does is just leave you panicking and freaked out. And it’s like someone shouting at you to just relax when you’re stressed out. And we all know that does not work. So find a way to tune in and remember the value that you have created here, the assets that you have, the happy clients you’ve ever served, the fact that you’ve paid people and an entire economy in your business, whatever it is, find a way to list and to remember the assets, the value of what you do, and then focus on that as much as you can with gentleness and kindness each and every morning before you begin your work.

You guys, we have turned mindset into almost a violent demand that we just think positive. My acupuncturist calls this. He calls it shouted down, doubt, meaning that we are all stuffing our pain. So thoroughly that we’ve forgotten that healing means we get to be organic about this. We can simply recognize that, Oh, I’ve gotten a bit out of balance here. I’ve neglected this garden. I’ve let weeds grow up all over the place. Let me start to cultivate some of the good that’s here. And really remember what’s deep and what’s real and true about what I do. And yes, you absolutely can do this with intention, and also with dignity. The second A in our Soul Track, our second, how is alignment.

And this is really the energy of your own commitment. So some people equate the word, commit with the word trapped, and that can be terrifying. So they avoid being trapped. And they just jump into whatever bright, shiny new idea they have. And their business becomes a of bright, shiny, new ideas that never really go very deep. And it’s the old story of digging a well, and the difference between digging a hundred holes that are one foot deep versus digging one hole that’s a hundred feet deep. My client Wendy has worked with me for many years now. And I don’t think she’ll mind if I share this story here. Cause she has shared it with her with so many people herself. Wendy is a therapist. And in her first year with me, she kept jumping back and forth between business ideas because her practice, which is a pretty sizable healing center with other therapists and practitioners in it, it was getting, she was getting overwhelmed by it and it was getting tedious to her.

And during that year, she never actually fully committed to any one business. And so ultimately at the end of her first year with me, she had a lot of those one foot holes and was not doing well financially. And at this point it is so easy to blame the coach or the training or the other people or whatever. And to her credit, Wendy looked deeply. And what I can tell you, cause I was in the room, she had an enormous amount of emotion and shame because she saw that she wasn’t aligned. She hadn’t committed. Then she was in that elusive search for her passion. And so she signed up to work with me for another year and then she committed. And that next year she quintupled, is that the word for when you five times, five X your business, she quintupled her revenue.

And then she hit six figures. And she’s been at that, uh, at six figures ever since then. And part of what happened was she saw her own patterns of how she had avoided confrontation in her healing center and how she had set things up from that avoidance. And so many insights came along with the creating of that higher income. And it hasn’t been easy. It wasn’t easy at that time, but she has transformed the how and what I can tell you is that she grew a coaching business on the side and she is now in a position to be able to step into that as her new business, because she transformed all the how’s, that weren’t working in the what of her other business. And I’m going to remind you that this wasn’t an overnight process for her. She’s now worked with me for years and steadily grown, but that commitment piece was so worth it when she started that second year.

And I think the commitment thing is big, especially right now, because many people are experiencing that catastrophic feeling of, “my year started off so great, and I was on a roll and then everything changed!” And that little tantrum throwing 14 year old within can just feel so easily like saying screw it. And then just step into that all or nothing mode where now you’ve chosen the nothing side of that coin. And you give up on any vision because all your best laid plans fell through. You become the equivalent of the dieter or who snuck some pretzels on her diet and then decided it’s now all a wash she’s completely screwed up. And she down six blizzards at dairy queen, cause why bother? It’s that all or nothing syndrome. And we might see that we are a little bit there right now because we got off track in our business this year.

So this is where really aligning and committing could be a deep thing for you. Our third A in the Soul Track, is awareness and awareness is the willingness to know yourself as a business owner. So for instance, if you are an all or nothing person, or if you’re like Wendy and you have a pattern where you tend to avoid discomfort or maybe you’re intolerant of mistakes, or you’re a perfectionist or whatever might show up that stops you in your tracks, this is good stuff. It’s the self awareness factor. And when you can spot your patterns, they become just that. They’re just patterns. And they’re the ways we trip ourselves up by clinging too tightly or judging too harshly, or comparing yourself to that Instagram influencer, who seems to do nothing but have sex and make sushi. These are just patterns and old thoughts. And we make them the truth. Understanding who you are and having some level of compassion for these many little train wrecks within will go a long way to releasing them and avoiding them won’t.

So let’s now enter the strategy track. We’re going to take a look at three areas here now as well. And when it comes to changing the how in your Strategy Track this a little more tedious because you’re, you’re gonna be unraveling, these things one by one. The three areas we’re going to focus on here are three P’s. All right, we’re going to start with the first three, which is pricing.

So one of the first things I ask a client who wants to jump ship on her business and seems to hate everything about it is, okay, let’s take this person that you’re complaining about, this customer you have. What if they were paying you $25,000 instead of 75 an hour or whatever it might be, would you feel a little better about your business if that were the case? And when I do this, by the way, I’m not telling them to change their pricing that dramatically, I’m just sort of seeing where the friction is.

And almost always, they just kind of like, uhhhh, well, yeah, they, they answer me, yes. And their whole body sort of like is like, duh. So what that points to is that it’s worth taking the time to review your pricing strategies. So I can’t fix your pricing strategies here in a podcast because it all depends on just how deep your resistance is to honoring yourself enough, to charge what you’re worth, to stop charging dollars for hours and hours for dollars, or at the very least, to review the value of what you do and the results you offer and set your prices based on that. It’s a big step.

And that brings us to our second P, the second how of your business and that is processes. And this is all the little processes that make your business more streamlined. And since we started talking about pricing, one such process that you can check on is something as simple as how you pay yourself. Do you have a business bank account? Do you pay yourself a regular paycheck? Do you pay yourself enough? Do your processes, do what I call, show the money, where to go do your processes, show the money where to go? If you’ve ever heard me teach my webinar on the laws of money, then you know that one of those laws is that money likes systems. So to that end, you have to kind of tell money what to do and how to behave in your business.

And I’m not going to go into that here, but it starts with choosing an amount that you get paid and creating a process for that to happen. Many of us pay ourselves way too little or worse. We have no system at all for how we pay ourselves. And so when I say money like systems, that means that money follows the system or process you set up. And by the way, you guys, if you want a really great book to start with in terms of what to pay yourself, how to pay yourself and how money flows in your business, I’m going to do a shout out here to Mike Michalowicz. His book is called “Profit First”, and it is a phenomenal book. I can’t recommend it enough for you people out there, all of us entrepreneurs, we need it. It’s a great book.

So onto other processes. Other processes that we have in our business include the customer path and how your clients find you, how you onboard those clients, how they get scheduled and how you work with them. So it’s not so chaotic. And that includes automating anything that can be automated from your welcome letter, to the scheduling, to reminder emails and this way you’re not reinventing the wheel and doing tedious stuff that you dread doing every time you have a new customer.

And this makes me think of my client, Jen, who is a corporate trainer and an executive coach in her first three months, working with me. She literally took every step from my training on the sales process and she implemented it and she automated it because her entire M.O. had been that she would go to these events. She would come home with a handful of leads, and these are people interested in working with her. And she would spend days and even weeks in, in her whole followup process that she hadn’t even thought about what it was. And she would end up dreading all the calls, all the back and forth, trying to get people on the phone, building their proposal, and then following up after that.

And she realized that she was in fact reinventing the wheel every single time. When she took the tedious time to create and build a process, even though it took her first three months to set it up well, she ultimately shaved weeks off of her time each year and got more clients made more money because the work was easy to do once she had a process in place. And that’s the gift of setting up processes, is it cleans up your energy as well.

So our third, how the third P is people. And when you consider people, you’re going to start with clients and customers, and really look through the filter of are these, the ideal clients who have the problems that you solve and want the results that you deliver and are willing to do the work that you need them to do and have the mindset that lets you flourish in your business and serve them.

And if not, if you don’t have clients like this, then spend time getting clear on what is your ideal client look like and review how you’ve ended up with clients who aren’t ideal. So you don’t keep repeating that same pattern. And then you also want to review the people who work for you, and that would be your team. And it’s very helpful to look at your team like they are your internal clients and customers, only now they’re on the inside of your business. And with that said, looking back at processes, you would have looking for, you know, look for those internal processes for how you work with your team and how you set up meetings and how you set expectations. But when we look at the people who work for you more often than not, the entrepreneurs who start to lose the passion are tolerating people on their team who are no longer a match for their business, but they don’t want to deal with the discomfort of letting people go or having to rehire.

It’s like that. It’s like that Carrie Fisher line from when Harry met Sally, when, when Sally breaks up with her boyfriend and Carrie Fisher goes, “but you guys were a couple, you had someone to go places with, you had a date on national holidays”. There’s this underlying belief that it’s better to have someone who’s not the right fit than to have no one at all, which is not true. That person who is not the right fit will drain the life out of you in your business. So ask yourself if you’re tolerating less than what you need in order to make your business work. And if this rings true for you, that means it’s time to get clear on who you need and take time to hire the right people. And there are of course, other people in your life and in your business that are worth looking at like peers, colleagues, partners, and even friends and coaches, and anyone who supports you.

If you are settling or tolerating, any kind of drain, then that how can be a major contributor to the problems in your what. And like I said, until we each get clear on these and lean in and deal and be a leader for our happiness and dare I say our passion, we will always run to find a bright, shiny something when things don’t feel good anymore, when really it’s us, who has allowed these things to stop supporting us. And that’s what it looks like to really look at changing the how, instead of the what, and what I tell my clients is that the gift of doing this is that when it does come time to change the what, when you become like Wendy, and you can set up a whole new business, you’ve created so many new skillsets and so much clarity that you build a business on a really strong foundation based on your experience. And that is magnificent. It’s really, really fun when you realize that you have broken through a lot of your own limitations.

Okay, So here’s the good news. The good news is that you now know what it means to change the how and not the what. And you can apply this in any area of your life. It’s very exciting. And if you really want to get this anchored into you, go teach it to someone else and tell them what you learned. Or you can just share this episode with them and make it easier on yourself. And the other good news is that you listened to this morning’s bird feeding session outside my window, way out there in the background. And now I can hear the cicadas are starting up. So thank you for that. This is what it means to work from home and record your podcast from home.

And I live in the woods and that’s just how it is. But the bad news is that this is over, this went so fast. It was really, really fun to teach you today. And so here’s where you do whatever it is you haven’t done. You can subscribe to this podcast. You could leave me a five star review if you feel so compelled and you can also go to amazon.com and get my book on presale. It’s out November 17th of 2020, and it is called The Soul-SourcedTM Entrepreneur. And yes, there are sections in that book that cover all of these hows in your business. And especially when it comes to the Strategy Track, I courageously take you where no one has taken you before we go into the mindsets and obstacles that can tend to hold you back in these three P’s that I just walked you through in the how of your business. So thank you. Thank you. Thank you for listening and for being out there and I will see you next week.