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The Fail Plan Ep: 022

Hey friends,

Welcome to Episode 22, Your Fail Plan. 

Ok, I hope that you haven’t clicked away at that word “fail”. I’ve had clients that say “Oh no really? A fail plan. I don’t want to look at that.” Then we go through it they relax and say “wow, that’s so helpful”.

I know most of us are “gold star” students. We want to do a great job, we want to be successful, have a waitlist of amazing coaching clients and know that we’re making a real measurable difference in our world.

Maybe you’ve got a touch of the perfectionist about you? Don’t worry, you’re welcome here perfectionista! 

The perfectionists among us squirm when we hear that word “fail”. You notice that I’m using the word “us”, yes, I’m part of that perfectionist clan too.

I’m recording this episode on a gorgeous sunny winter day. Here in Vancouver, it usually rains like crazy and at this time of the year sunset is between 4:30 and 5 pm. It’s not my favourite time of the year because I like daylight. But we’re doing ok right now. So many people experience seasonal affective disorder or SAD. We get bummed out, and some experience depression because of the lack of sunlight. I haven’t yet, but I might buy a full spectrum light for our little household. What about you? Do you miss the sun too?

So, let’s dive in and talk about a “fail plan”.

The first thing a fail plan is not. It’s not your back up plan for if coaching doesn’t work. I’m not saying have a second job lined up just in case.

I’m not suggesting you are a failure or that you are going to fail in becoming a coach, attracting clients, having an amazing business that you love.

Not at all.

I believe that you can and will get paying clients – that’s why I show up every week for you on this podcast. 

A fail plan is an approach you will use for when something doesn’t work the way you want. It’s going to happen, so let’s get prepared in a way that is helpful, supportive, and realistic.  

A fail plan is a contingency plan, that you create now and keep it on hand for when you need it.

Maybe you set a goal and don’t hit it. Maybe a new client quits partway through their coaching engagement. Maybe you start writing a blog and no one reads it….ever. 

Whatever the fail is big or small.

A fail plan is made up of four parts

Part Number One: What went well

No matter what the result it can’t have been a complete failure. You get to train your mind, so it is not the doomsday machine. This is what I mean when something happens, a client quits, or their payment is rejected our mind automatically goes to the all or nothing scenario. It wants to exaggerate and say things like “this is never going to work” “I’m never going to make it as a coach” I don’t know why I even bother” “No one will ever want to coach with me” Your mind loves to exaggerate and so it helps to train our brain that our thoughts are optional and not an all or nothing scenario. Not every single thing is bad. In part one we decide that something (it may only be a tiny thing) but something has gone well. And then you find it.

You might say something like, ok well that just terrible, what can I find that went well. What went well here?

On reflection, you may realize that you dared to try something new. Or maybe you learned a lot about how you want to run your business, for example, maybe you set a new boundary all payments are due before coaching. You’ll never make that mistake again and have to chase past due invoices. Or maybe it’s that you’ve learned that sometimes people quit. It’s disappointing, and they are missing out on the growth you know you can help them with. But it’s their life and they get to choose. 

Part one of your fail plan is to find something, at least one thing, that went well or that you learned. 

 Part Number Two: Be willing to feel any emotion

Our thoughts are optional, and our thoughts fuel our emotions. This is easier when you understand the emotion is caused by your thoughts.

We have a huge range of emotions, they are felt, physically felt in our body. Some feel heavy, some tight, some are airy and expansive. But they are truly a physical sensation. Most of us, me included weren’t taught or encourage to feel our emotions so we’re used to numbing them and avoiding them. We’ve got an unhealthy fear of our feelings. We give the feeling power, and we don’t trust ourselves to experience.

When you are willing to feel any emotion and you know that each emotion is kind of like a wave on the ocean. It comes and goes, sometimes the wave is a tiny ripple other times it feels like a tidal wave. But it comes and goes… it never stays forever. Your never happy forever, just like you’re never angry forever.

The emotion is no reflection on you or on who you are, it’s a sensation.

Notice too that I said to be willing. It’s not that you have to feel every emotion or get burdened with them, you just need to have the willingness to feel them.

This willingness in and of itself is powerful. When you are willing to feel any emotion, you will have so much more courage and be able to create just about any result you want because you’ll be willing to try again.

 Part Number Three: Be kind. Part of a fail plan is to make a deal with yourself. 

Agree to have your own back and refuse to beat yourself up. This is demonstrating and deciding to have self-acceptance and treat yourself as you would a good friend.

Give yourself the same compassion and the benefit of the doubt that you so easily offer to others. 

We are used to being mean to ourselves if anyone heard how you speak to yourself how would you feel? Would you feel a little embarrassed that you were so nasty to yourself? It’s worth noticing.

Some people think this is a difficult step, to learn to practice self-acceptance but it is a decision. That’s it. A decision that you make with yourself and then you practice that decision every day until it becomes a habit.

You don’t need to be perfect at self-acceptance, you just want to start taking small steps. That’s where the big growth is.

What do I mean by this? Well, if you decide “that’s it! I’m going to accept myself and be kind to myself” and you draw the line in the sand. The next time you eavesdrop on your thinking, and you notice that you’re saying mean judgmental things to yourself, all you need to do is simply remind yourself, “ah nothing has gone wrong here. It’s just a habit pattern that my brain is used to running. I remember now, I’m no longer being mean to myself” and then move on.

I know that sounds like I may have simplified it too much. But truthfully, it’s the only way. 

Our brain wants us to think it’s complicated because it doesn’t want to expend the energy and create a new habit. You don’t have to get caught in the never-ending story loop of judging yourself harshly for judging yourself. 

When you catch some negative self-talk, mentally take a step to the side, become the observer, and remind yourself. “it’s just my mind doing what it does, nothing has gone wrong here. I’m learning a new habit; we don’t speak like that anymore” 


Part Number Four: Decide in advance

Finally, part number four is to decide ahead of time how you will think and feel if you don’t hit the goal or if you make a mistake.

By choosing a few helpful thoughts and feelings that you have deliberately chosen and then writing them down so you can refer to them anytime you will use the pre-frontal cortex portion of your brain. This is the executive thinking part of the brain, using this will help you make your best decisions, these are the decisions where you are looking out for your long term best self.

Choose a few thoughts you will consciously read and choose the next time there’s a mess. Thoughts about yourself, your business, goals, what’s possible, and who you are growing into.

 Deciding ahead of time means you’re creating a new standard for how you treat yourself. 

Here are some examples. 

Maybe you want to feel neutral, compassionate, disappointed, determined or calm.

You are the best person to choose the thoughts that work for you. To get you started here are some ideas:

I can figure this out

I’m learning a lot

I won't’ stop until this is done

This is just the beginning

Next time I’ll….

You know what? I’m proud of myself.

No matter what, I’ll be ok

Hey, before we wrap it up! I want to tell you about a gift I offer to all my listeners. It’s my free resource library, an online vault filled with content I created to help you grow and become a coach. I call it The Coaches Online Business Academy and here’s how it works. 

When you sign up for your free account, you get immediate access to all of my free resources and yeah there’s a lot of them, and it keeps growing every month! You can dive into my ‘narrow down your niche’ quiz. Then jump into the 5-day video training to kickstart your coaching business. There are a whole bunch of PDF guides and checklists. Including 147 proven coaching niches, a checklist for what you need to know as a brand-new coach and ideas for where to find paying clients ….plus more.  

Like I said, each month I add more free resources and you’ll get notified as soon as I load them. It makes me happy to share this with you. It’s one of the ways I support my community and support the growth of coaching. 

All you have to do is go to the episode description or the show notes and click on the link to sign up today. And that’s it. 

I’ll talk to you next week.

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