Capes are cool. They are majestic. They flutter and flow which is almost as good as sparkling and shining. If you're a superhero, it might be part of your required uniform. But capes don't hold any power.
Batman and Superman wear capes, but their capes aren't part of their powers. When they are walking around as Clark and Bruce, they leave their capes at home. Are they still superheros when they are dressed as the average man?
Wonder Woman and Spiderman don't wear capes, and who would deny their classification as superheroes? Little Red Riding Hood got her name from her cape, but I don't think I've ever seen her on a superhero list. I'm not sure she even attends Comic-Con.
When I wrote this card, I kept picturing a woman in a t-shirt and cropped khaki pants with a cape laying on the ground next to her. She wore the cape for a while, and maybe sporting it gave her more confidence at first. Maybe it even acted as a security blanket or a shield. But over time, it became a hindrance.
She didn't have time to take it to the cleaners. It got caught up in everything. It was a production to drape it over the back of her seat to avoid wrinkles every time she got into her car. Eventually it just had to go.
And when she let it go, she realized she didn't need it at all. She was strong enough to handle anything that came her way. Her superpowers were within her - not on her. She was a superhero no matter what she wore.
You can wear a cape if you want to. And if you do, wear it gloriously. But if you don't want to, know that not all superheroes need a cape.
She used to wear the whole ensemble but stopped when it became too high maintenance. The mask made her hair frizz, the unitard gave her a wedgie and the cape kept getting caught in doors. Even though she doesn't dress the part, she still has her powers. Not all superheroes need a cape. (The back of Superhero from the She is . . . Collection.)
Celebrate every day,
If you are a leader or a coach, you know that the level of fear someone has is inversely related to the level of risk she is willing to take. Decrease her fear factor, and she'll increase her risk-taking. Here are things you can do to help someone overcome fear and take more risks:
1. Show her that you believe in her (or at least believe that she won't die).
You don't have to tell her which one you believe in. Tell her she can do it. If she is afraid to invite someone to join her team, remind of the reasons why someone would want to join her team or point out that you invited her and you're still alive to talk about.
2. Empower her.
"Knowledge is power" might be a cliché , but it is true. No one wants to do something for the first time blindly. But if she knows what to expect, how it works and how it usually ends up, she'll have a little more confidence. Give her a formula for what to say. Role play with her. Teach her to overcome the obstacles she might face.
3. Take baby steps.
If she's afraid to recruit, break down the recruiting process into baby steps. Go over her list of potential recruits with her. Talk about how each one would benefit from being on her team. Give her the words to say to invite someone to an opportunity event. Give her an outline to do an opportunity coffee chat. Share your training guide with her. As she completes each step, she'll gain confidence and be ready for the next one.
4. Lead her.
Your shadow can be a safe place to learn. Take her with you to an opportunity chat, and afterwards point out the key things you said and how you overcame objections.
5. Celebrate her journey.
Acknowledge each risk she takes. Picking up the phone might be no big deal to you, but she might find it easier to do practically anything else. So when she makes the first phone call, celebrate it. When she does it again, celebrate it. Celebrate it until she does it fearlessly. And then celebrate the next thing that she does.
Eventually she'll realize that she is fearless.
She eats raw cookie dough by the bowlful and then immediately goes swimming. She's logged at least a quarter mile running with scissors, and she drinks regularly from a hose. Once she walked into a brand new hair salon and told the stylist to do whatever he wanted. She is fearless. (The story on the back of the greeting card Fearless from the She is . . . Collection.)
Celebrate every day,
Your direct sales team might be skilled at setting goals, but you might need to teach them how to pursue their goals. Setting a goal of earning a certain amount of money or promoting to a new title doesn't mean she knows how to achieve it.
If you are on the edge of a cliff, and you want to move forward, you can either fly or fall. So when you reach the edge of your dream or goal, you can either jump and fly or give up and fall.
As a leader, you might need to teach your team how to fly. Modeling it isn't enough because they only observe your flight. They see your arms out and your head up. You look like Superman to them.
They didn't see how you got there. Even if your journeys started around the same time, and you were pacing beside each other at the beginning, they missed it. They were so busy trying to navigate their own way, that they didn't take in the details of what you were doing. And the reality is that unless someone specifically showed you, you probably didn't take in the details of what you were doing either.
Stand up. Literally, get out of your seat and stand up. I bet you took a breath, leaned forward, put your head up and powered down through your legs and pushed. You've been getting out of chairs so long now that you don't even think about how you do it. You just do it. It's called muscle memory.
As a leader, you've taken off to the next level so many times that you don't notice the jump. Jump and fly to a promotion. Jump and fly to a trip. Jump and fly to a bigger team, an incentive, a steady paycheck. Jumping is so natural that you've forgotten that it's the scariest part.
Jumping is the scariest part! Your feet haven't left the ground yet. You can still back out. There are probably a zillion people on the edge with you.
When people don't jump, they fall. Think of the jump as the flight plan.
- Where are you going?
- When will you get there?
- What do you need to take with you?
- Who is your co-pilot and/or ground control?
So if you want to teach someone to fly, prepare her for the jump.
- What is the goal?
- What is the deadline?
- Does she need a script, accountability, practice, etc.?
- When should she check in with you and/or when should you step in to help?
The first time you jumped, your team didn't see you suck in your breath, bend your knees and throw energy into your feet so that you could push against everything that was holding you in place. And now, your jump might be so graceful, that they don't notice it.
Give your team a flight plan. Teach them that they have to jump in order to fly.
She stood on the edge and waited. Nothing. She inched out until her toes dangled, closed her eyes and held her breath. Nothing. She threw her arms out, arched her back and lifted her face. Still nothing. Finally, she bent her knees, pushed off with her feet and flew. She had to jump in order to fly. (The story on the back of the Flying Lessons greeting card.)
Celebrate every day,
When I was in junior high, I took home economics. Half of the year we learned how to cook, and the other half of the year we learned how to sew. Everyone made a simple smock top. The pattern was basically a rectangle with short, boxy sleeves. We could pick our own fabric, but even a Lily Pulitzer fabric wasn't going to make this top cute. One-style-fit-all.
So on the day that we all had to wear our projects, I wore it. I wore it the one obligatory time, but I never wore it again. I didn't like it. I didn't feel good in it. I didn't look good in it.
That day I walked the halls of my junior high feeling blah. If dry shampoo was a thing back then, it would have been a dry-shampoo day. I took comfort in the fact that every other girl in my class, at least the ones who followed directions, also felt blah. Until I realized that not everyone was acting appropriately blah.
Some girls actually seemed to be rocking their smocks. Their smocks weren't sewn better than mine. I got an "A" on mine. I ripped out that top stitching around the yoke a gazillion times before it was exactly a presser foot distance all the way around it. Their smocks weren't made from better material than mine. I liked the material I choose. So what was the difference?
Looking back, I think the difference was they wore their smocks with confidence. Maybe they were proud of their accomplishment and what they learned along the way. Maybe they thought they looked good in it. Maybe confidence was something they always wore and it was amplified when our clothes were uniform.
Each of those girls who rocked her smock knew something I didn't know back then. Each of them knew how to own her style, and it turned out confidence fit her perfectly.
She noticed other people seem to wear it effortlessly. At first she thought they were probably the same people who could put on a pair of skinny jeans without it being a workout. But then she realized that those who wore it well were all shapes and sizes, so she decided she would try it on too. Turned out confidence fit her perfectly. (the back of Perfect Fit from the She is . . . Collection)
Celebrate every day,
Everyone has a little voice in her head that gives her confidence and courage. The problem is that it is often difficult to hear that voice, but you can help that quiet voice be heard.
The thoughts in your head are like a band. Not a good band. More like an elementary concert band or a newly-formed garage band. They compete with each other rather than compliment and harmonize. Each wants to be heard. Each would rather be a soloist.
Your brain can only think one thought at a time. The voices in your head are constantly putting on a concert. Each one is vying for its solo. Regret, Disappointment, Failure and Doubt are like the loud, obnoxious rockers who just scream and call it art. Courage is the sweet but strong voice. It's the Karen Carpenter of the group.
It's hard to focus in on Courage's voice, but I believe it is constantly singing. If it wasn't, I'm not sure we'd be able to drive on a freeway, try anything new or even eat fast food. It tells us that we can do it. We won't die.
I'm not sure if you can make Courage's voice louder, but you can listen for it more often. Pause before a big decision or a big step. Search for her voice. It's there. The more you do it, the more you'll hear it.
You can help someone else hear Courage's voice above the rest of the noise by mimicking what Courage says. "You can do it." "You got this." "You've done it before." "I believe in you." "Let's start with the first step." Statements like these can't be one-hit-wonders. They have to be played on repeat to cancel out everything else.
Use Courage's words often. Speak them. Text them. Write them. Sing them. Eventually they will be heard even though Courage whispers.
One day the voices inside her head got together and formed a rock band. Regret is on lead vocals and keyboard. Failure strums guitar. Fear pounds the drums while Doubt plays bass. They all take turns drowning each other out on vocals while Courage stands off to the side with a tambourine and appears to lip sync. But when she listens carefully, she realizes that Courage isn't silent. Courage whispers. (from the back of Courage from the She is . . . Collection)
Celebrate every day,
Like it or not, how you present yourself matters, and first impressions are based on appearance. If you look polished and put-together, people will have the expectation that you are polished and put-together. If you look messy, people will assume that you are a mess.
Put some time into your appearance so that you look like what you aspire to be. But don't just do it to make a good first impression. Do it for yourself. Impress yourself. How you look affects how you feel. How you feel influences how you act. Your actions have an impact on your success.
Let's talk about shoes. The good news about shoes is that size is totally out of your control (so size doesn't matter) and you can find something cute in every price range. It is just as acceptable to wear a different pair everyday as it is to wear the same pair for a month.
Some shoes will make you taller. Some will allow you to walk faster, and some will make you feel more confident. If they fit well, you might not even think about what's on your feet all day. If they don't, it might consume your thoughts. You can plan your outfit around your shoes or find the perfect pair to finish off your look.
Many shoes are designed with performance in mind. Cleats allow a soccer player to maneuver with great agility without falling. Clogs provide comfort and support to chefs who spend most of their days standing. Fins help scuba divers swim faster and farther than they could without them.
When you look at the ladder you want to climb, what are the best shoes to help you go from rung to rung? Pick a pair that matches what you aspire to be when you get to the top. Shoes don't have prerequisites. You don't have to earn a style. Dress-up. Dress-up a rung or two. Find a shoe that is going to allow you to literally put your best foot forward.
She needed something sturdy and comfortable but also fabulous and stylish. At last she found the perfect pair for the job. She slid into them, stepped up on the first rung and started confidently on her way, knowing that the ladder of success is best climbed in cute shoes. (The back of Cute Shoes from the She is . . . Collection.)
Celebrate every day,
Just because you are a solopreneur doesn't mean you have to run your business by yourself. You can surround yourself with people who are going to challenge you and cheer for you.
If you do it on your own, you can learn the mechanics of what you need to know from the internet. You can motivate yourself, stay focused on your goal and work until it is accomplished. Then you can celebrate by yourself. Sounds unfun.
But if you create a tribe, a squad, a posse or just a group, I bet you will not only have a better chance of reaching your goal, but the whole process will be more fun and you'll probably get some unexpected benefits.
When you're forming your tribe, squad, posse or group, be selective. When you spend a significant enough time with them (the amount of time a big goal requires), you become like them. You will bring out similar qualities in each other.
Smart people will challenge you and unleash your creative problem-solving skills. Positive people will inspire hope and possibilities when you need encouragement. People with perseverance will motivate you and prevent you from quitting. And people who are negative will try to keep you stagnant.
Everyone in your tribe, squad, posse or group can work on her own goals. You don't have to have a shared project. One person’s success isn’t dependent on someone else’s. But something magic happens when you mesh your energy.
Check in with each other. Bring your problems to the group for their input. Cheer each other on along the way, and celebrate together.
You can shine on your own, but you’ll shine brightest when you surround yourself with sparkly friends.
Wearing a sequined top gets her noticed. If she and a few friends are decked out in glitter, they become a traffic hazard, blinding motorists with their brilliance. When a gaggle of them cover themselves in bling, they can be spotted from the space station. She shines brightest when she surrounds herself with sparkly friends. (The story on the back of Shine Bright from the She is . . . Collection).
Celebrate every day,
You have to reserve success ahead of time. The best way to do this is to define what success looks like. Setting a goal does this. When your goal is achieved, you are successful.
If you don't feel successful, it might be because you haven't staked your claim on success by knowing that it looks like for you. You might be comparing yourself to other people. Or your timeline for your goal isn't long enough.
Things that are coveted and valuable are often reserved and planned. There are lots of vacation choices, but if you want to go on a particular cruise during a definite week, you have to reserve it. You'll probably even start planning out the details of the trip, what you'll pack and how you'll pay for it shortly after you reserve it.
Likewise, things that are mediocre don't need to be claimed because they are easily obtained. You can eat at any fast food joint whenever you want to, but if you want a meal at a Michelin Star restaurant, you have to book it months in advance to get a seat.
The more important the goal, the more specific the claim should be. If you want to have a successful business, you have to define what that means. Is it determined by how much money you'll make? If so, you'll need an exact number because "a lot" isn't measurable.
Once you determine how much "a lot" is, you have to set a timeline. The timeline should be based on where you are starting and the resources you have to complete it. Someone who has been consistently working her business, has a good foundation and has available hours and help will have a much shorter timeline for the same goal than someone who has a new side hustle.
Make next year different. Get first dibs on everything you want. Don't settle.
Here are two simple steps to do that.
- Define success by setting a specific goal.
- Determine the timeline for success by assessing where you are starting and what you have to work with.
She isn't going to let it happen again. Being stuck in the way back on road trips because she always forgets to call shotgun is bad enough. Even worse is missing out on the last cupcake because someone licked it first. And although she is pretty sure there is enough to go around, she is officially calling dibs on a big piece of success. (The story on the back of the card Dibs.)
Celebrate every day,
Set your goal. Plan. Redesign your plan. Overcome obstacles. Figure it out. Do it. Celebrate.
Every goal is accomplished the same way. Every goal will have obstacles and setbacks. Every plan will need to be adjusted. Every achieved goal needs to be celebrated. I think people skip the celebration too often, and I wonder if the celebration was planned when the goal was set, if more goals would be achieved.
The celebration doesn't need to be a big grandiose thing. Getting caught up on your laundry doesn't mean you have to throw yourself a party, but now that your clothes aren't all over the floor, there might be room for dancing. So your celebration might be a quick dance party or it might be getting to wear your favorite shirt again.
You can, and you should, plan your own celebration. When you plan the reward at the end of the goal, it gives you something to reach for when you have to regroup. The celebration puts punctuation on the goal. You can move on to the next one with more confidence and with a better formula for what works.
You can, and you should, celebrate someone else's achievements. The celebration level can match the size of the goal. Say "woo hoo" for someone's empty laundry bin. Write "woo hoo" in a handwritten note for a promotion or anniversary. Clink glasses for a milestone achievement.
Celebrate in layers. Start with the spoken word, and then add the written word for a bigger goal. Add a gift or an event for the next goal level. And never underestimate the power of cake.
When I was a leader. we used to have cake for every promotion at our team meetings.The person promoting got to pick the flavor and take home the leftovers. The more often we did it, the less leftovers there were because some people came because they knew there would be cake. I didn't care if that's why they came. I was going to feed them with training while they were there.
The story on the back of Did It from the She is . . . Collection
She set her goal, mapped out her strategy and planned a victory celebration which may or may not include cake. At first, everything was going so smoothly she was afraid she might reach her goal before she made a decision about cake. But eventually the setbacks came, and after working through them, cake was a definite. In fact, sometimes the only reason she didn't quit was because cake was at stake. When the day finally came that she reached her goal, she celebrated with a cake that said "she did it."
Celebrate every day,
You have to leave your comfort zone to grow. Your comfort zone might be cozy and nice, but eventually it will get stale and boring. This greeting card from My Heart Beats will encourage someone to leave her comfort zone.
When we lived in a rural area, we had a large backyard. It was bordered by a neighbor, woods and an open field. When we got our Labrador, we needed to figure out how to keep her contained. It would have been very expensive to put up a physical fence, so we went with the invisible fence option.
When the fence was installed, they her collar on her and had her walk across the fencing. She yelped, they put her back in the yard, and she never tried to cross it again. She loved to wander all over the yard and smell stuff. She'd chase a ball as many times as someone would throw it or until it was thrown beyond the fence. When deer strolled through the yard, she would run after them but always stopped short of the property line.
Out of curiosity, I held her collar and walked across the fence. That system is no joke. I felt like I was going to have a heart attack. If I knew that pain was on the other side of my yard, I wouldn't leave it either.
But what my dog didn't know is that the pain is temporary. It only happened for a moment. The moment she crossed the line. The pain stopped as soon as she turned back OR as soon as she kept going. If she would have moved forward, she would have been able to experience wonderful smells of the open field. She probably would have found delicious treats under the neighbor's swing set. She may have even discovered the river on the other side of the woods and all the wonders that it holds for a Labrador.
The good news for you is that leaving your comfort zone probably won't require a heart-attack-inducing pain. Oh, there will be pain, but you won't die. And the even better news is that every time you leave, your comfort zone gets bigger and bigger and the pain gets smaller and smaller. You might have good stuff in your backyard, but I promise you that you will discover a whole new world the more you venture out.
The story on the back of the She is . . . Comfort Zone Card.
What used to feel cozy and familiar now felt stifling and dull. Yet each time she stepped beyond her boundaries, her heart pounded through her chest. At first it was from fear, but the more she ventured out, the more she realized the pounding was actually from the thrill of new adventures. Exciting things happen outside her comfort zone.
Celebrate every day,