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Home of the Samurai Coaching Dojo blog where Toku McCree, Christina Salerno, and other guest Sensei share their philosophies and practices for deep coaching and honorable enrollment. SUBSCRIBE for updates to be notified of new blog posts, special opportunities just for subscribers, and more!

Poetry Can’t Get You Clients

A few months ago I started writing poetry.

In truth, I’ve been writing poetry all my life, in moments of contemplation, in moments of love, in moments of difficulty poetry, has always been something I’ve turned to.

And yet as I began to write it I had a thought. Who’s going to hire me because I write poetry?

 

I WRITE ABOUT LEADERSHIP

Mostly in the past, I’ve written about leadership, about how to build a coaching business, about how to coach well, or how to live well.

Instead what was coming out of me was meditations on death, reflections on love, questions about what meaning there was to life, and what it’s like to go through pain and heartbreak.

I mean who wants a coach who talks about that stuff?

Don’t we all want a guide with the answers?

Don’t people LIKE my answers?

But on some level that didn’t matter.

I just had poetry pouring out of me. So that’s what I wrote. And because I’m committed to showing my work and being honest about who I am. I shared my poetry.

 

A FUNNY THING HAPPENED

And then a funny thing happened. I got a referral from a former client. It wasn’t a direct referral. This client had a client who wanted to refer their boss to me. Someone very intelligent and powerful. Someone who ‘could win a Nobel prize in the next decade or so.’

On the call, this woman told me: “I’ve been reading your poetry and something about it gave me the feeling that you’d be the perfect person to coach my boss.”

HUH? I thought to myself.

Maybe poetry can get you clients.

 

THE TRUTH

The truth is people long to be themselves, without apology, without exceptions, without limitations.

As leaders and coaches, we can either pretend to be what we think people want to see (which is what is more common than not) or we can be ourselves. Both have the potential for attracting people.

Some people are looking for the illusion of perfection or excellence. Hoping to steal some of the perfect paint and paint it on themselves. But other people are looking to be themselves and if you are willing to be yourself, with courage, humility, and a little humor that will inspire them.

You can attract people using listicles and the answers, it might actually be easier.

Or you can attract people by being willing to be yourself.

The question is what do you want to rely on?

And what do you want to build your leadership and business on? 

My 3 Secrets to Winning the Coaching Adventure Game by Francesca Woltanski

Today we have a special post from our friend and fellow coach Francesca Woltanski. She highlights her experience with the Coaching Adventure Game and tells us how she won! Check it out below.Read more

Coaches Are Selfish

Asking for money is selfish, so is reaching out to someone with an agenda, in fact, most of what you need to do as a coach to be successful is selfish. 

It isn’t true or at least it’s not the whole truth, but that won’t stop you from thinking it’s true. Even if you think far back in the part of your mind where you hide the thoughts that ‘keep you from manifesting what you want.’

THE TRUTH IS you’re better off admitting that you worry about being selfish as a coach, that you feel a bit guilty asking for money, and that you somehow think that generosity is the key to success

AND also sort of resent how generous you ‘have to be’ in order to be ‘successful.’ A resentment largely built on the obligation to be generous in order to be ‘good.’

Seem like a lot?

It is. 

All of this mental chatter arises because of the bind you find yourself in as a coach. Specifically the bind between being Selfish and Generous. A bind which if you can learn to see, can have you be more powerful, successful, and actually more generous than you were before.

So let’s see if we can see it together.

 

Bind 2 – Selfish VS Generous

THE WAY WE THINK OF SELFISHNESS

At some point along your journey, you learned to wrap your desires in innocence. 

It was ok to want to talk to someone . . . if you had no agenda. It was ok to ask someone out . . . if you already knew they liked you. It was ok to ask for money . . . if you were certain you could provide a result. 

 

Your desire came with conditions that made them, ok, good, or acceptable. 

When these conditions were met they achieved the level of generosity or selflessness. You were trustable, kind, thoughtful, and loving. Sometimes you called this authentic instead. 

When these conditions weren’t met you were greedy, needy, and selfish. Sometimes you called this inauthentic or manipulative. 

Once you had these rules you tried to live by them. 

You tried to be a good person and avoid the ‘bad people’. You judged anyone who broke your rules as being selfish. You did this while you watched them make more money, date people you wanted to date, and become more successful than you. 

You did this while being certain that their success was somehow empty or karmically bad and that it was better to be poor, tired, worn out, and secretly resentful so long as you got to be ‘innocent’ ‘generous’ and superior to those other people. 

 

THE TRICK

Here’s the trick, you try to be good for the same selfish reasons that other people try to be successful. 

No one is perfectly un-self-interested. Or at least not very many people. 

 – You do actually have an agenda when you reach out to someone you’d like to coach. 

 – You do actually benefit when someone hires you as a coach. 

 – You do actually feel good about yourself when you make more money than other people around you. 

 

You like to win, even if the way you imagine winning is by winning the ‘right’ way and not the ‘wrong’ way. But all too often you use the rightness of how to win as an excuse for why you’re not winning at all. 

 

THE BIND

You see that’s the bind you’re in. The things you need to do in order to change people’s lives, to run a successful coaching business, to do ‘the work’ you worship like some sort of ancient god, requires you to be a bit selfish. 

Or maybe I should say it requires you to own the selfishness you actually have. 

 

Here’s the truth:

  • My clients pay my rent. 
  • When they pay me I get to buy stuff I like. 
  • If they pay me more I get to buy more stuff. 

 

Here’s more of the truth:

  • What my clients pay me DOESN’T go to their rent. 
  • They get to buy LESS stuff they like. 
  • If they pay me more, they get to buy EVEN LESS stuff they like. 

 

When someone hires you, in a way you win and they lose. 

Yes, yes I know your mind doesn’t like this. You probably have so trained yourself to avoid this fact and hide it from your clients that the mentioning of it feels deeply uncomfortable. 

Unless you’ve learned to wrap your desire in another form of innocence called justification. 

Which is where you’re so clear you benefit others that paying you is a privilege. 

Please, please get over yourself. 

 

MORE TRUTH:

  • You are not a charity. 
  • You are not a perfect solution. 
  • You are not the answer to anything. 
  • And paying you carries NO inherent significance or value. 

 

HOW IT WORKS

The truth is if this wasn’t true coaching wouldn’t work. 

If clients paid coaches with monopoly money or energetic units or something else without real value COACHING WOULDN’T WORK. If client’s give up some of the opportunity to buy stuff they like, paying you wouldn’t mean anything to them. 

As the great Steve Chandler says, Money is a stand-in for commitment. You can complain about it, whine about it, not like it, but in our world, in the time we live in, money is the most powerful unit of commitment we have. 

 

THE EXCHANGE

That’s the secret to this bind. You think that SELFISH and GENEROUS stand on two sides of a line. When in fact selfish and generous can either stand-alone or be cozied up with one another. 

You can be selfish in your generosity, putting forth no real opportunity to commit and doing it so you can feel ‘good’ about how generous you are. 

You can be purely selfish and think only of yourself, justifying that you ‘deserve’ what you’re getting. 

You can be purely generous, truly giving from your heart and expecting nothing in return.

And MOST importantly you can be generous in your selfishness. 

 

You can be clear that you get something out of giving something. 

You can own the dark side of giving, of coaching, of offering a space for transformation. 

You can free your clients and the receivers of your gifts from the obligation to make you feel ok about the benefit you’re receiving.  

 

THE ESCAPE

This is the escape to this bind. To OWN your selfishness. NOT by avoiding it and pretending it isn’t there. NOT by justifying it and deciding people paying you is a privilege you’re allowing them. But by acknowledging that having someone pay you for anything means you get something. 

If you own it, if it becomes your responsibility to be with the desire and impact of your inherent and unavoidable selfishness, then you can be free and even more so your clients can be free. 

 

Selling them coaching can be purely about what would serve them. 

You can sit in the place of really wanting to work with them, while choosing to be fully unattached to them hiring you. You can have clear sales goals and numbers you need to hit and then create the money you declare you’re out to create, in order to live the life you want to live, while magically and simultaneously showing up with tremendous generosity and compassion with every person you talk to. 

The pathway to purity is to get down in this human muck with the rest of us. 

 

Love, 

Toku

 

PS This is a part 2 of a 3 part series about the binds coaches find themselves in. 

You can read part 1 here – https://samuraicoachingdojo.com/compromising-too-much/

Part 3 will be about the bind of flow and structure. 

Thanks for reading this and thanks for being a coach. If you got something from this or you think I’m an idiot, shoot me an email/message or drop a comment below and let me know. 

Am I Compromising Too Much?

From time to time every coach gets caught in one of three binds. In some ways, these binds are completely made up by us, in another way they align with the way the humans have always created the world. 

You can’t get free of these binds really, they will show up in one form or another as long as you’re a coach and have a business. But by understanding them and learning to see them you can choose how you want to be with them, rather than secretly being trapped by them. 

Over the next three posts, I’m going to break down the three binds and share how you can notice how you’re caught. 

If you’d like to see an example of how I work with these binds you can watch the first episode of Coaching Dojo Live – where I coach the amazing  Sarah Mastriani-Levi

https://www.facebook.com/toku.mccree/videos/10157291104952374/

 

Bind 1 – Compromise VS Stand

The world is always asking us to compromise, to be realistic, to lower our standards, to give in and give up. Anytime you take a stand you immediately invite polarization, criticism, fear, admiration, and resistance. 

As a coach, this shows up in a bunch of places: your fees, the kinds of clients you work with, even your investments in programs or coaches. 

But the first place it usually arises if with your fee. There’s often a sense for coaches that if they keep their fees low, they will sign more clients. And keeping your fees low or lowering them will often create some results. 

Every one of your clients has a context of affordability they live into. And if you lower your fees you get closer to the level they feel ‘comfortable’ with. You also have a context of worth you live into and the lower your fees are the easier it is for you to believe that you’re offering something of value to the world. 

*The problem is that the more you compromise the more you start to believe compromise is the answer.* 

So much so that you begin to ignore what you need to survive. 

You miss the opportunity to provide your clients with a real barrier to commitment that would have they confront their fears, self-doubt, and resistance. Basically, all the things they need in order to actually change their lives and show up to life differently.

This is why compromise is a dead-end road that leads nowhere and why coaches that do it so often either feel a sense of constant dissatisfaction or spiritual bypass as they struggle to pay their rent. Maybe, after all, you were just made to struggle? How heroic? 

 

THE ESCAPE

The escape out of this bind is to simply take a stand. To set your rates and learn how to create the commitment required to get there. To be clear on the clients you will and won’t work with and be with the breakdown of not knowing anyone like that. 

The irony of this is, that when you do take a stand, it’s easy to think standing is the answer and become rigid and arrogant. You’re WORTH your fee, your clients are saying no because they don’t BELIEVE in themselves enough. 

So again you find yourself in the bind. The escape is to soften, to let go of the need to stand as an answer, and to allow yourself to be more flexible and compromise from time to time. 

 

Neither end of this bind is the answer. The key is to notice where you are and try to not get stuck at either end. 

If you’re a new coach you likely need the medicine of stand. If you’re an experienced coach you may need the medicine of compromise. Both have something to offer. 

Again slow down and let go of the idea that either compromise or stand will solve all of your problems. If you tend to compromise learn to stand, if you feel rigid and arrogant learn to soften. 

And if you need help, let me know. I’ve worked with dozens of coaches with these binds and helped them find something that worked for them. 

The next bind is Selfish VS Generous keep an eye out for that post soon. 

Boundaries, Love, And Why I Blocked My Ex On Facebook Part 2

So why didn’t I trust her?

 

Sure there were moments where I thought she wasn’t fair to me. Sure, I worry about how she’ll paint our relationship when she talks about it, but generally, I experienced her as a kind and loving person. 

 

She cherished me and let me go. 

I wanted to cherish her and let her go as well. 

 

I realized that if I trusted her to take care of herself and to feel the love I had as I set my boundaries, there really wasn’t anything to be scared of. I could block her on Facebook, and she would figure out I did it because I loved her and myself. Because I trusted her to be at peace with my choice and what was right with me. 

 

And this is the 2nd lesson I learned about boundaries:

 

LESSON #2 – YOU DON’T JUST SET BOUNDARIES WHEN YOU DON’T TRUST SOMEONE ELSE. YOU SET BOUNDARIES WHEN YOU CHOOSE TO TRUST SOMEONE FULLY, IMPLICITLY, AND WITH LOVE

 

When you trust someone, to take care of themselves, to be with your no, to find peace inside themselves, to be complete, to love you, setting boundaries is easy. For most of my life, I didn’t’ set boundaries because I was afraid I’d be rejected and abandoned. 

 

I thought the fewer boundaries, the better. And when I did set boundaries, they often had a flavor of anger, push back, or spite. But this process has slowly taught me that offering a boundary to someone you care about, perhaps even without explanation, is one of the most powerful gestures of trust you can offer

 

In truth, I have no idea how my former partner will take me blocking her. It’s at least 6 months before we can connect again. She may have or be thinking all of the things I was scared of. She may not even notice I blocked her at all. 

 

But the choice felt right to me. 

 

I want to get back to where I can be truly happy for her. Where I can see her radiant on Facebook and be so grateful she shared that radiance with me. Where I can see her with someone else and know that she’s created new love in part from the lessons of love we learned from one another. 

 

I know my next partner will have a lot to thank her for. 

 

And I know that blocking her now. Allowing that little jolt to fade, giving myself the space to be alone, to find joy in solitude and singleness, will help me get there. 

 

I trust her. To walk her own path. And to find a way to honor the path we walked together. And I trust myself. To set boundaries and discover what those boundaries are here to teach me. 

 

FINAL THOUGHTS

 

My wish for you as you read this is that you find a way to practice with your own sacred boundaries. To offer them as a gift to those you love, even when they don’t totally understand, even when you don’t ‘think you need them.’ 

 

The practice of boundaries can be like this, not aggressive or aversive, but loving and kind in so many ways. 

You Don’t Need A More Productive Way To Produce Suffering

Dear Future Client,

You became a coach because you thought in some way it was the answer. Maybe at this point, you don’t even remember what the question was anymore.

For me, the question was about finding purpose in life, doing work that mattered, having a sense of freedom, and making enough money so my father would be proud of me. Despite the fact that he says he proud of me all the time. But I may be luckier than you in that.

And yet here you are, a few months or years into your coaching journey and you still haven’t arrived yet. Maybe you make the $10k months every Facebook group I get invited to raves about, or maybe you’re close, maybe you even make more than that.

And yet you haven’t arrived. You don’t feel free. You don’t feel successful. You keep looking over your own Facebook wall into someone else’s life who seems to have it sorted out. Maybe you even think I have it all sorted out.

You portray an image of success that covers over a subtle form of self-doubt. You don’t really know if you’re a good coach. You find yourself frustrated with your clients. Tired after a day of sessions. Feeling both free to do incredible work and trapped by the incredible work you do.

So you go out and hire someone to improve your deal flow, to get you more clients on linked in, promote your product to a broader audience, and help you with Facebook ads.

But the truth is you don’t need a more efficient way to produce suffering. You don’t need a better system to help you find again what you’ve already found.

Please stop hiring experts and gurus and people who have the answers.

Instead, it’s time to look at the very heart of why you suffer. To discover the parts of yourself you’ve stepped over on the way to success.

Sure I can help you get better at sales, sure I can help you figure out how to hire a better assistant, sure I can help you develop some basic systems to put your attention more on what you want to do.

But all of these things require you to let go of who you think you are as a coach and entrepreneur. They mean flying in the face of the scrappy do it yourself, figure it out, hire it out identity.

That’s something they never tell you about, the existential crises of being an entrepreneur.

So when you’re ready, I’m here. When you’re ready to let go of a more productive way to produce suffering and find the leader inside of you, the one who can create something truly unique to the world.

When you’re ready to stop looking for answers and find yourself instead.
I’d love to talk to you.

Not because I have any answers, but because I love looking.
With people who are committed to curiosity.

Love,
Toku

Boundaries, Love, And Why I Blocked My Ex On Facebook

 

Boundaries are the distance at which I can love you and me simultaneously. – Prentis Hemphi

Last week I decided to block my ex on Facebook.

She didn’t do anything wrong, she didn’t start dating someone else (or if she did I don’t know about it), and I’m not mad at her. I blocked her because I love her, and I love myself as well.

I’m going to my best to explain why I did it, what I learned about myself, and hopefully, you’ll learn something about how to love yourself and others in the process.


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Things I Don’t Understand About My Coaching

There’s something compelling about reflecting on your work and what you’re creating with your life. You probably know the answers you always give at cocktail parties or events by heart, but if you dig deeper into the nature of your work, you may find things about it you don’t understand. In being with those questions, you may discover something totally new about your work and life that creates more wisdom and love. Read more

YOU DIDN’T NOTICE

 

You may think your life was handled until the past week. You may now be discovering that there are places in your life that are out of integrity, that can’t manage some pressure or change. Nothing to beat yourself up about, but an incredible opportunity to learn. 

 


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SURVIVAL BEGETS SURVIVAL

I was talking with a client recently about why people are buying so much toilet paper. I meant it seems crazy, right? Hand sanitizer makes sense. Maybe even rice and beans, but TP? 

But it actually reveals something significant about human nature. 

 

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