On making and (deflecting) big decisions - Christine Kane

When we ask someone to make decisions for us, we render ourselves powerless and not so subtly shift any responsibility or blame from ourselves to whoever told us to do the thing that did or didn’t work out. It’s our way of avoiding discomfort and alleviates our need to know the answer ourselves.

Thing is, the uncomfortable phase of making any decision is vital for internal growth. That’s how you build confidence to take ownership of your business and your life. So, let’s figure out how to stop relying on others’ opinions of what you should do and start leaning into your internal knowing and authority as a Soul-Sourced™ entrepreneur.

In this episode, you’ll hear a conversation I had with my friend Kathy when I belittled my work as a musician and a business coach in comparison to her noble career as a defense attorney, and what she helped me understand about the power of our natural strengths and unique abilities. 

I’ll also share the story of when I was called the worst salesperson ever. I’ll dig into where this person’s cutting comment came from and how accusing me of not working hard enough to get her business ended up helping her make her own choice.

Listen in to learn how to separate others’ opinions from your intuition and confidently make decisions that are best for you.

Episode Transcript

There is absolutely no way to know if a decision to do something is going to work out until you do it.

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.

Hey everyone, and welcome. This is episode number 20 of the Soul-SourcedTM Business Podcast, and I’m going to go ahead and let you know that I have a cat named Finnegan. And every time I sit down to do a podcast, Finnegan goes and finds his sparkle ball, and then he comes up and he wants me to play fetch with him. And today is no exception. So we do have that going on in the background, and sometimes I will play fetch until he is happy and exhausted. But today I haven’t done that. And so you may hear some background noises as he brings the sparkle ball back up to me, in spite of the fact that I threw it very far away.

Our second strike for this podcast is I am recording this prior to the election and you will be listening to it after the election. And I have been sitting here kind of obsessing thinking I should have some like cool fix it, answer kind of thing, but I don’t, and I don’t know what will happen. And I know that some people will feel some way. Some people will feel another way. And I know each of us throughout this year of uncertainty and all kinds of changes, often feel the pressure of wanting to have the answer. We want to know things. But one thing that is stunningly clear to each of us is how little we do know and how little our plans ultimately work in the end. But one thing I do know that I can anchor you back to and, and I can anchor myself back to, is the power that we each have to step into each day from a place of clarity, from a place of truth, from a place of service in whatever that looks like for you.

And I know, um, some of us might just feel helpless or hands tied, or we watch the many, many emotions that are coming up for people and, and we just want to change it all and fix it all. And I’ll just share one conversation I had with my friend Kathy long ago. My friend Kathy, is this amazing woman. She is an attorney for the state and she is assigned to some of the toughest cases out there. And she is a defense attorney for criminal cases, and it’s really hard work. And there was one point where she was sharing with me, one of the stories of the people she was defending. And actually, she has shared a lot of the backgrounds that she sees in a lot of the, the work that she does. And almost always, when she does this, I end up crying.

But I said to Kathy at one point, I feel like you do this amazing work out there, and that it makes me feel like I should go off and try to, you know, create some sort of mother Teresa mission in my own life because you do this amazing work for people who really are hurting. And I said, I’m coaching people to be better in their business. And before that I was a songwriter and I stood on stage and got clapped at, and Kathy said, the reason you’re not doing this is because you would not be good at this. And we all have this super power. We all have our unique abilities. And she said that she knew from the start, this was what she wanted to do. She is literally living into her purpose on a daily basis and knows that, and really senses that even when it’s hard. And so, I am going to own that and hand that off to you as well, knowing that our power is in what our strengths are, what our natural gifts are and who we are and what we want to be doing and what we’re best suited to be doing.

And with that said, what I’m going to say as part of my joy of coaching, people who run their own businesses is teaching them how to show up more powerfully with more clarity, with more integrity, authenticity, while using their business as the backdrop for that, because business can be a very highly charged thing. And a lot of times it can be easy to either fight and be aggressive and really, really in some ways hurt yourself by doing that, or it can be to just collapse and say, screw it. I don’t even want to have an intention. This isn’t working out. And there’s kind of a victimy thing that we can do as well. And I love the power that can really come to somebody when they really step into who they are. And they really serve from that place. And they do all of their strategy from that Soul Track. And they own that.

And with that said, what I want to do today is I want to read a section from my book. The book’s going to be coming out in less, I think it’s in a week, at this point, and I’m going to read a section that’s called, “Just Tell Me What To Do.” And I’ll set you up with this. This isn’t a part of the book that’s on decisions and decisions is the last section of the book, because this is where the rubber meets the road for most of us is in the decisions we make. And this whole segment is on one of the most challenging things I have to experience as a coach. And that is when somebody very unconsciously does not know the power of her own choices and her own clarity. And even when something goes wrong or doesn’t work out the way she wants to be able to then step back up and re-decide and re intend.

And instead, people don’t want to face that process and so they hand their power over to somebody else. And in many cases it is a coach or it is a doctor, or it is, you know, somebody else who seems to know more than you. And we tend to ignore our own wisdom. And so this is a segment on making choices and stepping out of that mode of letting the world, anyone outside of you, rule your life. And like I said, this is called. Just tell me what to do. And I’m going to start and I’ll do some commentary on it, too, as well, because you’ll be able to get the audio of the book eventually here, it’ll be going up probably the week after it goes live.

Confession, I hate selling when my clients start working with me, many of them feel the same way. So they’re relieved to discover that we are bonded on this issue, but then I disappoint them because I also love selling. I love that the sales transaction more than anything else brings our stuff to the surface. It lays it bare and forces us to deal with it. While selling can and often does use manipulative tactics and ridiculous pushy language, a sale can also be done with relentless clarity and stellar communication and detachment. No matter the approach, selling is ultimately about decision, and decision by definition, lands us, whether seller or prospect, in the arena of uncertainty. It’s uncomfortable. Being the one selling is an especially vulnerable spot. That’s cause rejection looms large, and even more cringe-worthy, you become privy to the decision-making process when you, or your service or the thing being decided upon. In that empty, quiet, you witness all the ways, someone who was undeniably and excited to sign up just minutes before now, begins to squirm, trying to avoid the decision.

They tell you their spouse won’t let them do it. They say they totally do it, but their biggest client just cut back. And the money isn’t there. They’ll get irritated or angry, or they’ll make a derisive snorting noise when you reveal your pricing. They’ll tell you they need to check their Oracle cards, or someone might grab you by the arm at your own event and accuse you of being the worst salesperson they ever met, which happened to me. In this scenario, the arm grabbing accuser was an esthetician named Peggy. During the event, I’d opened the doors to my year-long Mastermind. And though Peggy wanted to work with me, the investment to sign up wasn’t cheap. So all that stuff that comes up when we’re faced with a decision, well, 10X it when the money’s involved. Even those who are ready to take the leap, get terrified.

I’ve seen people crying and sweating as they sign on the dotted line. And those who aren’t sure what to do, like Peggy, often express that uncertainty by getting pissed, and I mean pissed at me for making an offer at all. And then some simply just freeze. What they’re all facing here, is a decision and their reactions are about much more than the money. Any decision carries with it, a whole host of consequences, internal as well as external. They worry that they don’t have the strength or the clarity to manage these uncertain elements. If I choose this will I fail? Will I hurt someone? If I do this new thing, will I be uncomfortable? Will I end up a bag lady? So our egos come to the rescue and they find all kinds of ways to help us avoid these scary questions and challenges. They find ways for us to avoid making a decision altogether, a powerless mantra.

So back to Peggy. Now, Peggy had already asked me a whole lot of questions. She had talked with my clients. She had grilled my team of coaches several times over and she still couldn’t make a decision. And that’s when she grabbed me. I was about to step on stage to teach the final session of the event, and Peggy blew back her bangs, and she looked down at me and said, something’s wrong here, You know that? Either you’re subtly rejecting me or you’re the worst salesperson I ever met. It was meant to sting. And it did. But I took a deep breath and I kept quiet and I let Peggy continue. I mean, you’re not even trying all that hard to get me to be your client here. I’m asking you to tell me what to do.

So there are times when someone is simply scared to believe in themselves. And in these cases, quote, unquote, closing a sale, is a matter of taking their hand and guiding them over that line. So you help them do that. Sure. You can use the strategies you’ve learned from Zig or Cialdini or even the late and legendary Dan Kennedy, who in this case would probably say that Peggy is going to spend her money somewhere, so it might as well be with me, so close the sale and be done with it, right? Yeah. Okay. Sometimes I can do that, but the right phrasing and cool tactics can also be a disservice to someone. And from what Peggy had told me, she had been closed and sold and converted and pushed into so many programs out there that she needed something different this time. She needed to change how she made decisions. Namely, she needed to actually make one, on her own without me being yet another person who just tells her what to do.

And I hear it all the time, sometimes from clients who are confused about a strategy sometimes from potential clients like Peggy, you don’t just tell me what to do. And we’ve all made that request of a mentor or a parent or partner or friend. And in fact, the terrain of business coaching is littered with exhausted entrepreneurs who were told what to do, and I’m doing air quotes there around what to do. It’s just easier, right? You know, it’s easier to be told what to do. And it’s easier to tell people what to do. Working through the complexities of our own insides is hard. And sometimes it hurts and whatever we choose is on us. And that’s a lot of responsibility. So handing the reigns to someone else, is a relief, but only in the moment. That’s because in the long run, just tell me what to do is a powerless mantra.

As with intention and power and interpretation, whenever we look to someone or something outside of ourselves to make our decisions, we walk out on our business. We shrink ourselves, we shrink our role and our ownership. We withdraw our spirit from that arena. And your decision is going to need your spirit if it’s going to do its best for your business. So I signaled to the A.V. team to keep the music rolling. I chose to delay the module so I could sit down with Peggy one last time. And here’s what I said to her. I said, Peggy, this is not rejection. I think this mastermind could be a great experience for you. You’ve seen for yourself, the high value of our content, and the high touch of our coaches. But if I tell you what to do, I rob you.

If you look around at the people who’ve signed up, some of them are terrified. Some are crying. They’re having hard conversations with their spouses and they’re uncomfortable, but this is a powerful part of the process. As much as I want to fix it and make it not be hard or promise them a million bucks tomorrow, I don’t. Maybe that makes me a terrible salesperson, but I won’t tell them or you what to do. I don’t want to remove the internal growth and confidence that comes from deciding yes or no for yourself. And that’s when Peggy’s face sank. And that’s when she got up. And as she walked away, she turned around and she told me that I just lost myself a pretty damn good client. And I’ll tell you what you guys, I was just really happy that she finally made a decision.

And the next section here is called “The One Word Wisdom Killer.” And it’s funny cause I was already talking about Kathy, but Kathy makes a cameo appearance here in this section as well. She’s been a good friend of mine for a long time. Back when I was a musician on the road, somewhere in the Midwest, I was up late one night in my hotel room, and I caught an MTV video that featured an electric guitar player in a vast wheat field, surrounded by a cadre of women clad in nothing but plastic thongs. And I got a great idea for a song, but the next day, it no longer felt like a great idea. So I called my Kathy and I explained about the video and my song idea. And I shared a list of reasons why my idea was boring. And then I asked her if I should just give up on the idea and while I was at it, if I should just give up on everything else too, I tossed in that extra part just in case.

And after a long pause, Kathy said, I’ll tell you what Christine, you write the song, and then we’ll decide if it’s good. So what Kathy did here was she smashed my “should” to pieces. And then she handed the decision back to me. And I’m going to just say that I’m referring to the last chapter here, which, you know, you obviously don’t know yet, but you already know this from the last chapter, but it bears repeating. There is absolutely no way to know if a decision to do something is going to work out until you do it. In fact, there may be 10 good reasons It’s not going to work, and “should” has no bearing on any of it. As a coach, when I hear the word should, I see a big red flag. It’s one more way to get someone to tell you what to do.

Should I have speakers at my event? Or, should I hire a project manager? Or, should I start a podcast? When a client starts a question with that word, I know that something, responsibility, action, clarity, power is being avoided. The answer to “should I?” Is not ever a yes or no. Though way too many business coaches feel the pressure to have quick, easy answers. So they rely on their opinions about speakers at events and hiring project managers or starting podcasts. “Should” is often just procrastination by inquiry. As in, should I write this song? Tossing should into the decision-making mix is also a convenient and socially acceptable way to shut down a deeper exploration of the issues at hand, thereby killing off real wisdom.

And this is where we get to the section called the “Two Word Wisdom Bringer”. More often than not, the best answer to should I, is it depends. It depends guides the navigation. It requires us to dig a little deeper to understand the situation and all the parameters involved. On the surface, that sucks, because it is so much easier to fire off a quick answer and be done with it. Yes, you should. You absolutely should. Next Caller please.

But in reality, it depends, is the only way for us to get to the best decision. If we are facing the truth here, and we are, should is nothing more than tell me what to do in disguise. It’s just another attempt to get the go-ahead from someone or something outside of ourselves, another way to avoid the decision. And this is not to say that we never ask others for their thoughts or their experiences or their opinions when we’re making a decision. But what matters here is the energy we bring to the table when we ask for that input. It pays to look at how you ask. So let’s say you’re struggling with a decision, and let’s say, you’re sharing that struggle with a friend. And you tell her the direction you’re thinking of taking, and then you add some kind of typical self-deprecating finisher, like oh, is that The stupidest thing you’ve ever heard? As I did in not so many words with Cathy.

The person you’ve asked rather than being able to focus on your decision, now has to deal with the question you presented. Is that the stupidest thing they’ve ever heard? Which is dramatic and negative and has nothing at all to do with the options you’re trying to sort through. When it comes to asking for other people’s input, your energy must be clear and your motive, one of perspective gathering, versus looking for a way out. If your energy is tentative, should I or dismissive, I would suck at that right? Or outright avoidant. Tell me what to do. The person you’re asking is now dealing with your energy and trying to fulfill that need. They might not be able to articulate it, but in the absence of your clarity, they will give you theirs, tossing their opinions into the mix often without considering you or your intention or your context.

And by the way, I did indeed write that song. It was called “No Such Thing As Girls Like That.” And it became hands down the most popular song at my shows.

And I’m going to leave you there because the chapter then closes with a tool, because the book has a whole lot of tools in it, and you’re going to be able to download those if you want them, but they’re in the book as well. But it’s a tool called “The Decision Filter” and it’s really designed to help you bring at first, the left brain into the process. And what I said right before I do it, I’m not going to walk you through that whole tool because that would just get tedious. But it says that the truth is with any decision you face, you know, your context and intention better than anyone. So sure there are people with more certifications, more experience in your field, and bigger bottom lines. But when it comes to your business, you bring the real wisdom to the table. You are the wise thinker.

To make decisions that advance your intention. It helps to see yourself that way. You need to allow your wisdom to be the main driver of your decisions, no matter how many options you solicit. And that is hard. I know. And so that’s where the tool, The Decision Filter comes in, which is a series of questions that guides you through the context of your decision. And so I will just leave you with that.

And if you want to go get the book, it is available on pre-sale and we are doing a really special thing right now. I was going to do where if you bought two copies of the book, you could come to my CLiCK Retreat, but then I’m going to just be transparent here, I could not make the messaging on that work. It felt too pushy. It felt like too much. And so we’ve taken it to where if you buy one copy of the book, we are going to let you come to the CLiCK Retreat, more details on that are coming, including all the dates, everything will be sent to you. Uh, once you know, I’ll be talking about it on this podcast, but CLiCK is a retreat that is very much designed for the Strategy and the Soul Track of the entrepreneur. So if you have a small business, if you have a bigger business, we’re going to be walking through the strategies like your marketing and your selling and your pricing and your packages and how you set up your business. But we’re also going to be talking about the mindset behind each one. Cause marketing, for instance, a lot of people think of marketing as just, what do I do on Facebook? Or what do I say on my blog and marketing is a lot more about the Soul Track than we know it’s about understanding your messaging. And it’s about understanding something. I call The Foundation Five.

And so we’re going to be navigating The Foundation Five, and it’s going to be a real, like, roll up your sleeves and do the work there. It’s all going to be virtual. You don’t have to travel. You don’t have to wear a mask. And we’re all going to be doing the work sort of in the virtual room, going into breakout sessions. And then also looking at some of the mindset blocks that come up around it. So if you want the book, if you want The Decision Filter, you can go grab the book now, and anyone who does a pre-order gets a ticket to CLiCK. We’ll let you know how all of that’s going to happen as well.

And for now, I simply want to say, all of this is really about trying to re-anchor you to the power that you have. And the “just tell me what to do” is that temptation to make the outside world and all the externals more powerful and bigger than you. And that is just simply not the case. We each and every one of us have our own levels of power and clarity and ways that we impact this world, no matter what politics are going on, no matter what else is going on in the world. And I just want to keep people aware of that because it is all too easy to hide or to avoid, or to get lost in the myriad feelings that each of us have about things and feelings and opinions and all that stuff, where they are, they are valid, but they are not the dictators of your life.

They are not the rulers of your daily actions. And I say that as somebody who truly has a lot of empathy for people who deal with a lot of those feelings and emotions about everything. And so I hope that in some way, this could be a reminder to you, no matter what has happened politically, no matter what has happened socially in, in our world this week, that you are able to remember who you are and what you are about and what truly matters to you and step forth with that sense of your own power to serve. And Finnegan agrees with me, and I will leave you with that.

Thanks everyone. I really appreciate you listening and being a part of my work in the world.