Why worksheets are not terrible.

worksheets | kourtney thomas fitness

I am the first person to admit that I don’t respond well to people telling me what to do. Often, that results in me slamming an imaginary door in person’s face, yelling, “YOU DON’T KNOW ME!” at them inside my head. (I’ve never read it, but I’ve been told I’m a Rebel and a Questioner, according to Gretchen Rubin’s The Four Tendencies, and I’d call that pretty accurate.)

When it comes to business stuff, especially online business stuff, I have been known to use the phrase, “FUCK FUNNELS.” A lot. Like, maybe weekly. Oddly, fucking funnels come up in conversation really, really frequently.

I may have mentioned it a few times since the beginning of the year, but I’m really focused on business growth this year. I want to increase my business, and toward the end of 2017, I decided an appropriate way to do that for the place I’m at right now was to hire a business/marketing/expansion/public relations coach of some sort.

So, I sought out some referrals from people who had used various coaches and had good experiences. I got in touch with said coaches. Had discovery calls with said coaches. Got plenty of feedback and information from said coaches. Thought about each unique approach suggested from said coaches.

It’s been an interesting process, to say the least. As I began to have these calls with people, I had to sit down with myself and really get at least some level of understanding of what “growth” and “increase my business” really looks like and means to me. Then I had to determine how to communicate that with another person in a way that made sense.

That was fairly easy for me, because it all comes down to increasing my income to a certain level that will allow my husband to scale back his work and income, and us to move to Colorado sooner. I mean, I’ve never tried to hide the fact that Kourtney Thomas Fitness is 100% a lifestyle business.

And that little spiel about increasing my income so we can move to Colorado ASAP got a little chuckle from every coach I talked to. Like, oh, haha, that’s cute. But it’s honestly what my goals are tied to in reality. From there, I was able to work backwards from what that has to look like to determine in real numbers what the “growth” and “increase” look like in actual business, clients, products, numbers, and dollars. This may be a lifestyle business, but it’s still a business. To me, the two things will always be closely tied and grounded. The lifestyle part keeps me inspired and excited and dreaming big, the business part keeps me focused and working diligently and consistently.

Anyway, a cool part of this process has been finding out that I’m in a really great spot already. According to trusted professionals, I’m doing a lot of things right and running a pretty kickass business. There is opportunity for growth, but it’s because I’ve already found the spark and built a little fire. Now I just need one of those blower things to come in and fan the flame.

But the truly fascinating part of the process has been discovering what I have the most resistance to and working through it. This is the part where I first responded with, “FUCK YOUR STUPID FUNNELS,” and then had to eat my words.

Though, to be clear, I do hate funnels and I do not focus on them. People are smart, and they know when they’re being funneled. I prefer to have a nice conversation with you and let you make your own decisions.

I digress.

Thankfully, the resistance wasn’t too much about funnels, because I made clear with every consultation that I was not interested, and would not participate, in building funnels as the mode of growth. It’s not who I am, it’s not what I do. Luckily, they all understood.

Surprisingly, where I saw the most resistance, and then had the biggest revelations, was around working through who my audience is, their pain points, how I am best equipped to solve those problems, and ultimately, what I do and how to tell that story – basically, Marketing 101. I had no desire to put in the work to do this for a really, really long time. It felt forced, and as I mentioned earlier, I do not like feeling forced. I do not like boxes, and I certainly do not like forcing other people into them either. I’ve done well without this stuff so far, why do I need to fill in these blanks? I run just fine on instinct.

Lucky for me, I have some trusted mentors who I can bounce stuff off of from time to time. They’re pretty great about suggesting things when appropriate, and just listening when I need that instead. In this case, I was discussing this whole hiring a coach idea and process with a friend, and she ended up mentioning she could share some worksheets with me, gently hinting that perhaps it would be worthwhile to explore doing some of this work on my own, maybe I didn’t need to buy a course or a coach just yet. You know, a tender nudge to say, yeah, you got this. But also, there’s more to it.

I sat on the damn worksheets for three months. I told you, I don’t like being told what to do.

But over a few months, and with every coach, group, and mentor I spoke with, a few things became apparent: 1) I have something really great, and while I don’t need to make it into something else, I do need to get it in front of more people. 2) I don’t have to follow any systems (or funnels) and I can still grow and accomplish my goals. 3) I was wasting time talking myself in circles and slamming imaginary doors, and not taking any action. So, getting to know myself and my business a little better would benefit me, while supporting #1 and #2.

That last one finally sold me on doing the stupid worksheets.

I blocked some time each day for one week and completed the worksheets – all 50-something pages of them. I made lots of notes. I reflected. And in the end, I came out feeling resolved and inspired. I didn’t feel like I was forced to conform to a system, and I didn’t feel like anyone was telling me what to do. In fact, I felt a clarity that I hadn’t had in a long time, and like I had more opportunity and options than I realized.

Worksheets. Ugh. Who knew?!

Turns out, I did. I just wasn’t willing to take a dose of my own medicine without fighting the spoon for a minute. In the end, I love learning these kinds of lessons. I’m always going to do things my way, in a way that feels good to me, and completely within my integrity. But I’m not immune to needing support, to asking for help, and to admitting when I was wrong about the impact something can have.

Yes, there is a lot that I can find out for myself, a lot that I can do. But there is equally as much that I can learn from others, if I continue to push myself beyond that mentally slammed door. Sometimes, as with these worksheets, it’s opening up to the perfect combination of both of those things. I didn’t have to take anything as gospel, but I did take away new information because I allowed it to lead me and acknowledged the importance of this foundational work and its process.

Where does that leave me? Certainly not buying up webinars on how to build funnels and a six-figure business. I will, however, be exploring specific coaching support in areas that will help me play to my strengths, which I learned from the worksheet process. I will also continue to seek out my people (Hi! That’s you!), who I got an even clearer picture of from the worksheet process. And I will be out there telling my story with more confidence and clarity than ever.

Where does that leave us? Same place we’ve always been. Me out here with you just sharing what’s really going on behind the scenes, because I’m no different than you. I struggle with all the same internal and external challenges, personally and professionally.

And as you’ve just read, I struggle too to take the steps and do the things I know are good for me – even when I’m good at guiding others down this road. So when I gently suggest that something like Build Your Big Life Coaching (ahem, worksheets, ahem) might be something to look into, I understand your resistance. I understand you might sit on it for a while. I understand you may have just thrown your mental door shut in my face. But I also want you to understand that that resistance might be coming up for a reason, and it could be worth pausing to think about.

I’m not going to funnel you. Just putting it out there. If you need a worksheet, I’ve got you.

BYBL Coaching registration will be open from March 7-March 25, 2018. The first worksheets will be delivered March 26. Get signed up for first access to limited spots here.

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