How To Ask For Support & Get It
Shirin was very focused on her dream and worked with us to plan various tours and album releases. This video is just before her Asia tour in the summer of 2014. Like all business owners she knew she had to keep herself motivated no matter what happens and like many businesses the music industry can be an emotional rollercoaster. With this in mind she started working with us to gain her clarity of what she wanted and what she needed in terms of support to stay motivated. Continue reading How To Ask For Support & Get It
What Is The Difference Between Target Market and Ideal Client?
One of the most important lessons I have learned on my journey as a business owner is the importance of having absolute clarity.
And things change so it is important to check in regularly and double check you have clarity of what you want? Why you want it? Who you want it for? When you want it? Where you want it? And even how you want it?
Today I want to invite you to think about your ideal client and drill down a little more. Your ideal client will make being in business easier and you will find it much easier to manage your diary. Continue reading What Is The Difference Between Target Market and Ideal Client?
A Tribute To My Mum
Today is the 10th Mother’s Day without you.
I remember when I was a child and even as an adult I would write you vial letters when I was in pain because I had no other way of speaking to be heard. I remember sneaking the letters under your pillow when I was cross with you and didn’t know how to tell you that I was hurting without being seen and heard as naughty or rude.
Then day by day as you slipped away, we sat and talked to the early hours and gradually we began to have the confidence to have those conversations face to face that we had avoided for so many years.
I will always be grateful for that day as we held hands and you asked me what was the matter?
You said I had ‘That face on’ the one apparently I always have when I am upset.
At first I said there was nothing wrong. I didn’t want to make a fuss, my upset seemed selfish and insignificant under the circumstances, for heaven sake you were dying.
But you insisted and slowly the courage grew inside and I had to know before you were gone.
I remember the words catching in my throat. It was difficult to talk without crying. I was worried about how I worded it – I didn’t want you to feel bad or think I was complaining and I wrestled for sometime to get the words out.
I then said “I don’t understand, last night you called us all to the hospital – all being my Dad, my brother and my sister. You passed a ring to Carl and said this is for you, you passed a ring to Linda and said that was for her and then you passed me a ring for my daughter Paige and said that was for her. And you didn’t pass me a ring”
As the final words came out the tears trickled down my face because this was not the first time I had felt excluded and left out. I had never known what I had done wrong and why I never felt loved. I had always tried so hard to be good and not break the rules but it never seemed to gain me the response I expected.
Then you held my had mum and said “Sheryl don’t be daft you’re the oldest you get my wedding ring – I just had to organise the others as it was not as obvious”
In that moment I learned that my mum had always loved me and that how I interpreted and judged behaviour without having the courage to ask and be curious had often caused me to feel unloved, different and excluded.
As I sat and reflected about the past few weeks – I remembered the night of the rings in more detail and now my attention is not on what didn’t happen but what did happen
I had arrived after the rest of my family. My sister was sat to the right holding my mum’s hand and my brother sat to her left holding her other hand and my dad was stood behind my sister. When I arrived I was invited to sit on the chair at the foot of the bed. I felt miles away and it was like I was watching a family I was not part of. The image was representative of how I felt many times before. The oldest of 3 i had often watched the unit of 4 and not quite felt like I belonged.
Then something weird, amazing and life changing happened. (Although it was several months later before I would remember it)
My mum who by now is bed bound with her spine and lungs riddled with cancer and day by day her morphine is being increased says to my brother and sister to move around one to let me in.
My mum continued to time and shift us around one by one for the rest of the evening, gently encouraging everyone to take turns. (it makes me smile because our power groups are very much based on every one having an equal amount of time to speak – mum you are my inspiration)
Then I saw and heard the fair rule that had always been evident in our childhood. Mum had always had a strong fair rule, she had always given us all exactly the same amount of money for Christmas and birthdays and the same amount of school trips because she was determined we would never feel excluded and now around the hospital bed she was giving us a fair amount of time.
So why is it that I felt excluded and why did I grow up thinking I wasn’t good enough?
Why did she have to die before I could feel in my heart the love that was always there.
I remember saying “I know I am loved and yet I never feel loved, why is that?
Well mum you will be pleased to know that in those 10 years since you have been gone I have spent those years learning about how we listen.
I have developed my skills and I would have loved the conversations we could have now.
I know we get to talk now through my letters and my writing but I would do anything right now to hold you in my arms and tell you how much I love and value you the lessons you taught me.
Thank you for sharing with me before you went
As we talked mum said “She was sorry she hadn’t ever asked me about my work, my career or my business.” She explained that she was jealous and she had convinced herself that the ‘right’ thing to do was be at home with the family and yet she had wanted to work.
Due to dyslexia and lack of confidence in her own handwriting she had avoided applying for work that required an application form. That in itself prevented her from doing more of what she loved and it prevented this world from tuning into her full potential.
That information made sense of so many conversations – I now understand that when I felt criticised you were challenging me to do more than you because you saw me as better than you and yet I saw you better than me.
I now understand why you were so insistent on making me practice my handwriting over and over and to walk with books on my head to keep my posture. It wasn’t because you were disappointed in me but because you were disappotinted you had not had that kind of support in your life. You wanted me to do more. You saw my potential before I did.
And when you asked if I had heard Paige read recently you were not judging me for being a poor parent you would just worried and wanted to be sure she got the help she deserved.
I had put you on a pedestal and constantly felt like I had failed as a mother. I measured myself against you.
I had failed to keep my marriage together and you had Dad were married for 40 years.
I had always worked full time as a single mum and married mum and it felt like you had dedicated your life to us.
I felt guilty because I didn’t listen to my children read as often as I thought you did with us.
All I had ever wanted was to make you proud and be a good mum.
I will always be grateful for those last few days when I finally had the chance to ask you how you did it all. It was such a relief to discover that most of the fun things I remembered were only carried out during the school holidays.
I had been killing myself trying to be the all singing all dancing mum gluing, sticking and baking as many nights as possible. Always feeling a failure if I was exhausted and couldn’t be bothered.
I was instantly able to take the pressure of myself as a mum and enjoy the moments I did have.
Your last day
We smiled and held hands, by now the morphine dose was quite high, it was like you were a little drunk and as the nurse articulately washed your hair you had no choice but to allow someone to take care of you. You chuckled like a little girl and said “I feel like the queen”
You were excited to be going to the Hospice tomorrow and looking forward to your first cigarette in weeks and what I learned in that moment is that the dream of what can be was as powerful as the experience itself.
You never made it to the hospice that night you slipped away and yet knowing there was something to look forward to I believe that made your last day better.
I am still so impressed that you pushed on past Dawn’s birthday (29th Nov) to ensure you didn’t die on that day and you knew you couldn’t die on Carl’s (5th Dec) and even though I said it was okay to let go on my birthday you didn’t listen to me. Instead on the 30th November you let go.
Even in death you were thinking of the impact of your actions on others.
Mum I will always wish you and I had known about these listening skills sooner and that I had been able to convey to you while you were alive just how much I love you and the difference you made to me. I will always wish I could have shared with you the power of trusting that all as it should be and that worrying about what might be or wasn’t takes away the moments we have right now.
That last night together motivates me daily to do my best work and live my best life – always remembering that I add value both at home and work and therefore both require my equal attention.
I know you live on in me.
I know you push me every day to get this book written and to sell more places for my events because you also know that without these skills I would and did for some years repeat the same patterns with your grand-daughter Paige.
I know if you had been here to support us, Paige probably would have made the transition through teens without the need to self-harm when she did not have the words to express her fear.
You would have listened to her without the guilt I carried in my heart.
You would have done what you always did and I did not always appreciate.
It isn’t fair
I realise now that you always had the intention to love and treat us fairly. I thought fair meant treating us the same which probably came about because that is what you often said.
You gave us the same amount of time around the bed, you gave us the same amount of money for birthdays and Christmas’s and you sent us on the same amount of school holidays.
I now know that fair now does not always mean the same and that life is shit sometimes and things change and it isn’t fair that you had to die before I learned to feel the power of your love.
As I write my first book I find myself connected to you in a way I never thought possible. The first 90,000 words were all the things I never told you about how I felt because I didn’t know how to tell you I was unhappy without making you unhappy or cross. The final book will be a tribute to you and what I hear now about our relationship now that I have eradicated the drama from my story.
Today I know you would be proud of me and it breaks my heart you had to die before I could hear your love and feel our connection.
It was only with pending death either of us had the courage and the conviction to calm our internal fears and listen with compassion in our hearts.
You gave me purpose
Today I spend my time sharing with others practical tools to hear, understand and value the relationships that support them to work, learn and love at their very best.
I know you are watching over us and you are very proud of us all. I know you would love the way the women in our family our now pulling together and supporting each other in the way only women can and that I have finally learned how to enjoy family gatherings and find my place.
I know you will be glad that I have friends that I lean on and I don’t try and do it all myself and I know you will be happy that we appreciate the men in our lives for supporting us in their own unique way.
I know that you will be smiling that Carl kept his promise and didn’t let Dad turn into a grumpy old man. I know you will be happy that he has remarried and has found love again because without love what do we truly have.
Happy Mother’s Day Mum – I love you with all my heart and today in your memory I will do my best work and keep my heart open to every opportunity to change the way the world listens
For those interested I had 12th and 13th March in my diary for a Do, Delegate or Ditch retreat.
Due to being busy writing the book I forgot to market it. My mum’s birthday is the 10th March and so Mark, Liam and I have decided it would be wrong not to open our home and heart up that weekend and share with you the tools that can and will transform the way you hear those that matter to your success and happiness.
Please check this link for more information about Do Delegate or Ditch a 60 day programme that helps you make sense of why you have not been able to make good decisions all of the time and what needs to happen to work, learn and love at your best.
We normally ask you to invest £797 for this 60 day package but for this week only the package is just £597 and £100 per person will be donated to Southern Domestic Abuse Service – because sometimes you have to stop listening and get out and they do such a great job supporting people in our local area to make that brave leap.
Don’t let money get in the way – we can take payments in instalments.Talk to us now.
About the Author – Sheryl Andrews – The Strength and Solution Detective
Sheryl Andrews, Founder of Step by Step Listening, is well known for her fast speaking and her passion to make things happen. But what many of you may not know is that in private behind closed doors she was also no stranger to lapses in self belief and an overwhelming sense of not being good enough.
That was until she conquered her sensitivity to criticism and her fear of not being liked.
Today, Sheryl runs safe to speak retreats where you can develop resources and skills to gain clarity of what you want and confidence to speak and be heard.
Don’t know how call her now….+44(0)1329 286648
Follow Step By Step Listening on Social Media
Please do send me a personal message as I don’t say yes to everyone that sends me a connection or friend request.
Are You Struggling To Please Everyone In Your Life?
Hard To Explain Niggles
Although I am talking about my holiday in this article it also relates to business.
As you read about my experience, I encourage you to think about recent conversations and frustrations and notice any patterns.
Take time to consider how you could apply these questions and methods of developing clarity, confidence and change at work and home.
Do you answer questions honestly? Continue reading Hard To Explain Niggles
Case Study – Erica Dent (August 2010 – Dec 2012)
Communication Training For Trainers
About Erica – Enjoy Discovering Wine
Erica Dent’s is an award winning wine trainer who found her passion for wine in 1995 when she moved to New Zealand, which led to her completing a one-year, full-time Polytechnic course in viticulture and vilification. The college has its own vineyards and winery, so the course followed a complete annual cycle of the vine, starting with pruning through to bottling and labelling the wine a year later. She also gained work experience at other vineyards and wineries in New Zealand.
Why did you start working with Step by Step Listening?
I met Sheryl at a Solent Women in Business networking meeting in November 2009 and in March 2010 I attended a taster session. This is when I realised that I quite liked the business of ‘listening to myself’ instead of asking everyone else for the answers. I knew straight away I needed to get going and booked a one-to-one with Sheryl.
During this first session I discovered that I had a [metaphorical] brick wall which I kept coming up against and, therefore, couldn’t get past it to move my business on. It was as simple as having the realisation that I had this brick wall, which represented my fears in business, and that I needed to work on getting past it.
I was new to the area and struggling to gain clientele. I noticed that whenever I even just ‘thought’ about selling, it created a knot in my stomach, this was a feeling of great discomfort one that I am now familiar with when I am mentally not comfortable with an aspect of my business.
This was my first of many very productive sessions with Step by Step Listening , in fact, in that first one-to-one session, the wall completely disappeared!
Erica worked with Step by Step Listening for 2 ½ years taking her from sole trader to small business owner. We still keep in touch today and have become really good friends. Nowadays her team and husband are able to ask her the questions and she doesn’t ‘need’ our space because she has created her own. Over the two years Erica attended power group sessions for planning and decision making, one to one sessions for really drilling down and group learning sessions to practice and improve your listening and questioning technique plus a team day to help the team create a team vision for the company.
What difference has working with Step by Step Listening made?
- I am less tired and I am managing my time more effectively
- I have more fun as I am not so stressed
- I get more reward from my hard work, which makes it even more worthwhile
- I often hear myself using the questions in my head which helps me to get the answers more quickly
- I have recognise sooner what is working, so I waste less time on what is not working
- Financially it is working well, meaning less unwanted pressure
- My client base has considerably increased
- I have employed two staff and find using the questions really helps me manage them better
- As a team we are all working to our strengths, seeing results, and more importantly having fun!
As a result of the sessions I was pro-active to recruit someone to do the sales. I now have someone who finds sales easy and loves it; for me working at my best is teaching and building the business, not selling. I have since found that I enjoy having coffee and talking to people about Enjoy Discovering Wine’s offerings and building relationships, but I am not comfortable at the initial making contact.
You can really have fun in business when you know how you work at your best. When you know what you are great at, then you can employ the right people around you to compliment and do the stuff you are not so good at.
Despite initial doubts about the questions, Andy, my husband, now uses his own version of them which still works for us. We ask the questions to resolve differences and make decisions, such as which car to buy, whose turn it is to cook dinner etc., in much less time than before.
Why do you keep coming to your monthly session even though business is so great?
Erica said, “It is a space to clarify my thinking, so if something has cropped up in business, it gives me space to think about what ‘I’ would like to have happen, and even when everything seems all okay I always, always have a da dahhh! moment, you know those moments of revelation when you go, oh yeah that’s it.”
I am now a team of three and we have trebled the business. I can now separate work and life a little more, although that probably will never really happen, I love working. I am less tired, work is more rewarding and it is so much more fun.
Who would you recommend to work with Step by Step Listening?
Erica said, “I would recommend anybody and everybody to just give it a try and give it a good try, experience the different ways of listening, and learn a little bit about the questions that make the difference. If you want to run your business on your terms, in your own unique way, and with confidence then, this process is for you.”
“If you want overnight answers by being told by others what to do, then this is probably not the right way for you. The sessions are all about you understanding ‘your’ thinking and having the confidence in your own decisions. The one-to-one sessions are more intense and you get more extreme focus on you and your business only; whereas the Power Groups allow you to gain some insight into how others are having similar challenges and achievements, while you work on your own stuff at the same time. It is a very supportive and encouraging environment to be able to work in, being with other business owners, but still having intense focus on your own business.”
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BNI Is So Painful!
I joined BNI October 2012 having moaned and groaned about it for several years prior. My inner critic was definitely not on board when I visited a chapter in 2009. The critic was saying, “it is too strict, too formal and too whatever.”
Now 2 years on I have been the Chapter Director among a number of other roles at BNI Uplands I even met the Founder Ivan Misner at the BNI conference in 2013 and yet has it been easy? No it has been painful, truly painful.
Your Weaknesses Can Also Be Your Strengths?
The more curious I become about the response I get to my own behaviour, the more I realised that my weaknesses are also my strengths.
Consider for a moment a weakness of yours and now consider when is that a strength. Continue reading Your Weaknesses Can Also Be Your Strengths?
What Is Stopping You Asking For Help?
I was struggling with a tedious and mundain Excel spreadsheet that required copying and pasting information into columns, but the original information didn’t start out in columns.
You get the jist! Sounds simple but complicated all at once – and I would have stuck it out with all 450 entries, until I suddenly thought “what would I like to have happen?” Continue reading What Is Stopping You Asking For Help?
I Am Now More Confident & More Relaxed
At home – I was juggling many aspects of my life (all of them?!) to make them work better for me.
At work – I had a little income but also a lot of anxiety over bringing in income through my business. I lacked confidence in how to make it happen.
Personally – I was fighting the employed/self employed argument with myself and generally battling with the decisions I had made. Continue reading I Am Now More Confident & More Relaxed