When those feral ducks you’ve been herding get to line up on your carefully constructed wall and joyously quack to the same song sheet, that’s no cacophony. It’s coherence and it’s magic.
Coherence isn’t serendipity. It’s more than right place, right people, right time. It happens as a result of clarity of purpose, focus and energy, courage and constancy.
That’s a formidable list of attributes, but I’ll shoot* one of those ducks if you don’t admit that they’re each evident in every successful person you aspire to. Not ‘I just got lucky’, ‘it was nothing’ or ‘I’m just super-talented, amazing and what else would you expect’ stuff, but hard, sometimes gut-churning endurance. *figuratively speaking.
We don’t get to coherence by tossing a few dice in the air and hoping they’ll all land as sixes. We get there because we’ve sought help to dive deep, work out why we do what we do, had a plan to get from A-Z, the forbearance to see it through and believed in ourselves enough to keep at it.
The success coherence brings isn’t about glamour and glitz. It isn’t Disneyland and a mansion with an ocean view. It’s NOT The Secret. It’s about being in a place of wellbeing, where enough for you and those you love is simply enough. Read Brene Brown‘s book, Daring Greatly, she tells this story well.
When direction is misdirection
Once we hired extremely badly and didn’t fire fast enough. When he’d done with us, our ducks were blasted from the sky and lay strewn, bloodied and shredded.
Here’s the thing. Before we hired him, the poor creatures were already exhausted. They’d been flailing the air looking for the wall to land on, but we kept changing the co-ordinates. Our direction was misdirection. We were as doomed as the ducks.
We weren’t listening
We weren’t listening to our customers. Nor were they listening to us, because if we were talking it came from a place of pain. You simply can’t have deep, intensive listening happening when you’re shredded.
We went back to the drawing board. What we needed now was a new flock of ducks and to rebuild our wall. But to do that we had to take stock of where we’d failed.
We’ve all heard it said that unless you’ve failed you cannot succeed. Depending on the scale of the failure that’s a tough lesson. Or, when you fail you can see it as the precursor to success.
Review and rebuild
We spent some time mulling over those sad little carcasses. Then we buried them and spent a much greater time understanding the value of what we had to offer, for whom and how to manifest it in a way that served.
Empathy. A great thing.
One day, I learned a great thing. It was the notion that to talk about your offer in any framework to anybody, before you had a comprehensive understanding of their deepest issues was greatly disrespectful. I’m not disrespectful, so the idea caught me by the throat.
This was more than asking the right questions and listening deeply. It was about empathy. The ability to truly understand the needs and feelings of another.
Was this to be a saintly exercise? Was it possible to feel empathy for those whose understanding of your services: the scope, the intent, the outcomes, the bill, was so contrary you may as well be speaking a dialect of Swahili. Unless your halo was large and shiny, clearly no.
Something needed to change radically then for empathy to come into play. What changed was alignment.
It started with an exhaustive exercise in deeply understanding who it was I should best work with. There needed to be a filtering process so that both they and I would know when it was a fit. I explored every possible issue a business owner who was the right fit might face, examining each as if it were precious. As it was.
Was my solution a match? Would it align with the belief inherent in my offer? That the intersection of head, heart and the web is a powerful inspiration in the hands of a business owner to build their business and make a difference for others?
When it did, it got a tick and went into the coaching program. So it built. And along with it the wall.
The end (or nearly)
Some of my ducks are still flapping around, but many are landing, even jostling for space.
What I’ve discovered is this, with alignment comes coherence. With coherence, a different way of being.
You work with people you have innate empathy for, like a lot and want to succeed. In turn, they value you, look forward to spending time with you and not surprisingly, you talk the same language.
Seven slow steps to coherence
1. Do courses that teach clarity and purpose. Get a coach. No really, this deep diving is excoriating, it benefits from some hand holding.
2. Brainstorm regularly (rules of a brainstorm here). Feed the results into the mix. Cross check from one to the other.
3. What’s your purpose? Ask ‘why’ ceaselessly, like a child. Curiosity leads to exploration, leads to discovery.
4. Who is your ideal client? This is a work in progress. Read your testimonials, they provide great clues.
5. Consider even the smallest issue your ideal client might have. Check with them. If your offer doesn’t solve it then add it in.
6. Accept it takes patience and perseverance for your ducks to line up. Years even. But you’re never getting today back so enjoy the ride.
7. Blog about it. When you’re certain or uncertain, blogging clarifies. And it builds your clan. (Think fierce, loyal business family).
Are you and your business coherent? Please share it with us if you have.
Another post in the brilliant blogging Word Carnival monthly events. This month’s topic is ‘Better Client Communications. Are we on the same page, talking the same language?”