I came across another motivational coaching post asking me: ‘what goals are you crushing this week?’’
Maybe it’s my Scottish-ness or possibly my age, or maybe my too many years of studying mind-cons and how to run them, whatever the cause, these types of posts leave me grumpy.
Step behind the curtain Dorothy and let me introduce you to the great and powerful Oz…
First off, Step 1, the wording is a cunning psychological trick. It uses future visioning to create an associated burst of dopamine. Dopamine is the neurochemical that is released when we reach a goal. The post is designed to give us a good vibe natural chemical shot imaging how great we are in achieving all our goals. (Yeah right, the only goal I’m definitely ensured of achieving this week is going to the toilet – and come to think about it, as I age that may become open to debate)
Now I have no problem with goals per se. Goals are great. I’m all for them. I actively help folks plan and achieve them. But (yep there’s a but) these posts aren’t actually about achieving goals, they are about softening you up to ‘flip’ you.
Once you respond to the click-bait, ‘this week I’m going to whatever’ you are now entering ‘the funnel’ (yes, it is as dark as it sounds’. You have entered Step 2 – you are now classified as a potential lead. Pretty soon you are going to receive a message offering you some free, helpful resource (only for the good of humanity you understand). ‘Cool’, you think ‘free is good’ and you sign up.
Now they have your email. Step 3 – it’s time to qualify you. They want to know are you their type of client? Good question. There’s no point in them wasting their time trying to get you to part you with your cash if you are just passing by. They give you their mini-course/ebook/webinar via which they begin their indoctrination – soon you are thinking ‘I have found my tribe! And ooooh and even better, maybe the solution to my problem’.
Often they will be assuming your pain point (code for what is presenting annoying you hence your current search). Commonly this is: you hate your job, feel the world is a bad place and why don’t we all work together for good, that really you are feeling undervalued and can’t express yourself, and that you have no work/life balance.
Their offering will typically respond to your dissatisfaction by dangling a carrot which says, “this program promises you quick, substantial income generation, more time/freedom/autonomy, and will meet your desire to connect to your inner calling/spirit warrior/world peace/feminine energy.”
If at this point you are thinking ‘hell yeah I want to be my own boss, call my own shots, live my highest destiny, etc etc’ you are now well on the way to buying some gung-ho coaching, entrepreneurial baloney from someone with a background in bugger all and you haven’t taken a breath. You are now daydreaming about a multinational of yoga-tea-pottery hang-outs and jetting around the globe sharing your mission and vision statements, with only a short stop to present for the UN.
The course will follow-up with some daft claims like ‘taking you to market in a month’, or showing you ‘how to get a gizzillion followers on insta-toc without spending any money‘ or I dunno, world domination by next Tuesday.
It’ll have a slick Brunson (Google webinars) 1 page landing page. It’ll show testimonials of people who are ‘crushing it’ (what the hell does that even mean?) headed by this random-someone-who-was-just-like-you who made a fortune by finding this program’s secret sauce (great head shot by the way, nice teeth). Blah blah blah.
You will be saying to yourself as you browse their content ‘I am strong. I am rational. I am able to evaluate quality’ but seriously give it up, once you are on that funnel highway, it’s strategically designed to feed you your wildest self-delusional bullshit – unless you’ve got any business experience, you may as well save yourself the internal battle and just open your wallet up now. Step 4 achieved.
You see the whole conveyor belt is drip feeding your greed, your imagination, your emotions, whilst keeping that dopamine topped up – you will be feeling successful and powerful and you haven’t actually done a bloody thing. The system is designed to make you live it all in your head. Imagine eating chocolate. Hmmm yummy.
But here’s the cold water. Here’s the truth every self-employed person knows – Being an entrepreneur sucks. A lot. And often.
I am not free to be my highest self – my clients are my bosses.
I do not have more time – I live, sleep, and eat work.
I am not sitting on a beach with my laptop – I’m freezing my ass off juggling finances, marketing, networking and learning.
I am certainly not connected to any feminine power – I have to turn hours into income, nothing enlightening about that.
And I am not living my best life – I’m a start up and that means hard, solid graft (I am currently not staring out of my all glass wall in my all white house, staring at the blue azure of the Med, toasting my success).
If you want to build a business great! But get real. It isn’t based on your fantasy future – it’s based on pragmatics – money, time, energy, expertise. Going it alone will ask more of you than you can ever imagine – do you even know how a balance sheet works? Do you have a start-up fund? Do you understand governance? Logistics? Human Resources? And even if you do, and even after you’ve given your all, you are still statistically likely to fail.
It’s not because you a failure, it’s just because start-ups fail more times than not. Ask any entrepreneur who has been going a long time, they’ll tell you, there is no moment where they are ‘there‘. It’s just more and better. Failing repeatedly and hoping like hell you are moving towards success.
Pivot. Compete. Rebrand.
So folks, save yourself the pain. Go out and spend your money on stuff you need. Stuff that adds value to your life. Your health, your kids, holidays. Go buy from providers that make tangibles, not from services that are based on psychobabble and likely fronts for cultish scams. Enjoy the safety and stability that employment offers. Boredom at work is a perk.
But for those asking me ‘what goals are you crushing this week?’ here they are. Are they SMART? Definitely not, but that’s cause I chose self-employment,
Still being in business.
Still being committed to a quality service.
Still bringing my values to the table every day.
Still doing this even though it’s not for the faint hearted.
Still seeing a way forward even though the motivational, coaching cheerleading was shown long ago to be a sham.