Tuesday, July 10, 2018

The Critics

I would like to share a personal experience about "reviews", "critics" & "trolls" (as I understand them). Also I would like to discuss the bravery of putting yourself out there for rejection.
Today someone told me about a nasty comment on my Facebook page, while searching for it I found one on another page I am an admin on, the person was being hateful to someone who used to work for me. I promptly hid them both (they were of the crazy kind) and went on about my business not giving it to much thought.
I am reviewed on Facebook, have a public page on Instagram, have 3 meditations on Insight Timer, have a published book out there (most reviews on Amazon), and my work on Yoga Alliance (my business accreditation home) has a "Student Review" Page. So in the past 5 years I've been reviewed about 3000 or more times, mostly good but a few nasty ones, and a few with helpful feedback. The mean one's hurt but now a days I actually have become thicker skinned. Here is how I deal with it. This video by Brene Brown helped me greatly.
1. Putting yourself out there opens you up to critics. You can't ever and I mean ever please everyone. There is a saying that says "You can be the juiciest peach in all the world and someone won't like peaches". Truth.
2. People are often jealous. Often people will see you do something and it magnifies their insecurities. Who knows why or how but it does and there are those who by being happy for others they feel it takes away somehow from their own worth. That has nothing to do with you. Miserable people try to make others miserable.
3. What's the worst that can happen. I used to think "God blessed me with the ability to say "What's the worst that can happen? They aren't going to kill me". However the more I put myself out there, the more work I did, the more public I became, I found people more than willing to tell me how to do my job and it often really hurt. Sometimes it was helpful such as a dear friend and student who told me to quit apologizing. Actually several people told me this, it was very helpful. Was I a bit mortified? Yes, a little but I survived and it helped me over come it.
On several occasions people gave my business a bad rating based on a problem they had with one of my contractors, never giving me the option to fix it before they went public. *That happens a lot to business owners. I survived all of it and continued to thrive.
4. Consider the source and have some self compassion. A few years back I had a student who for whatever reason latched on to one of my teachers and decided the best way to handle that was to berate me. I was going through a horrible court battle with my ex that had been on in court for years, raising four kids by myself and my now husband (whom I was dating) had to have open heart surgery. I wasn't my chipper self. I was quite and did my job but charismatic I was not and somehow she wanted me to be charismatic like this other teacher and I'm just me and at that time "me" was struggling. Her hatefulness was like salt on an open wound.
5. The people in the cheap seats..ignore them. They aren't putting themselves out there like you are. They live in fear or laziness or whatever, but they don't know how brave you are. They don't realize the fear you face in putting your work out there and sharing it with the world. They aren't brave, they are weak and weak people hide behind a mask or a screen and try to bring those who are brave down.
6. Ask yourself the question "Is this true?". So I will often say "Is this feedback helpful and true?" If the answer is yes then I make a change. For instance on Insight Timer two people out of 600 reviews told me my audio could be improved so I purchased a new microphone and sound screen because I knew they were right.
When someone said on my Facebook page today "OMFG get lost"..well that's just a sour and miserable person. So I thought "Wow, what a miserable person" and got on with my life. Hide that stuff on your feed, get rid of the mean people if you can block them.
7. It only takes one yes. In some cases, not necessarily reviews but putting yourself out there to be published or to present you are going to be rejected. And I mean you are going to be rejected a lot! This is normal. Let me say it again this is normal. I have applied to countless events and was rejected and even asked "Who do you know associated with this event?". I got the picture right there. It was about who you knew. This year after 18 years in business I got a lot more of "YES". Please read this carefully, in 18 years I tried and tried and finally I got a book published, I spoke at a large and respected conference, I got the great job, I was interviewed on a well know podcast, I was featured on a well known app. Things started clicking but you know what? Just the other day I got rejected, one of my articles got rejected by a magazine. I was able to laugh about it because I know 90% of the time it's rejection and 10% acceptance on this end. Then when you get out there 90% of the time it's acceptance by your audience and 10 % rejection.
8. Find your people. Literally all of the people I am close to are business owners. They are publishers, writers, teachers, and own brick and mortar businesses and they are as human as you and I. We talk about the ups and downs, we share the mean thing someone says on our Facebook page and the rejections and we encourage each other. We say "Me too, but you know it only takes one person to say Yes." Find your people. Join a group of like minded people. Take someone in your field to lunch. Join online business groups to find support. Reach out and ask for help.
9. Keep being brave. Put yourself out there. If you feel passionate about something it is likely a God given gift. It is likely your purpose. That passion comes from somewhere. So keep being brave.
10. Ignore it. I used to want to respond to every comment good or bad and it's hard to do at a certain point. My recent Insight Timer meditation had over 600 reviews and a 4.5 rating which is great for this app. I read a few of the reviews and stopped. You don't have to read every single one, you can send out a general "Thank you" but you don't have to allow the negativity in. At some point when people are buying your work and you are making a living at it, it's okay to quit reading all the reviews. It's also okay to stop doing surveys. Yes you heard me right. I ask people to please share any positives they have with the world (whatever format is asking their opinion such as Facebook or Yoga Alliance) and please if you have a problem or need me to help send me an email or give me a call. I quit doing surveys because overall 1 our of 20 complained. Once you build a circle of friends and trusted business confidants you can trust they will tell you what you need to change or fix.
One of my dear teachers who is in the top of our field once told me (our group) in a training that he quit doing surveys because he was so sensitive to the negative ones. He was in his mid 70's and at the top of our field, he is very well respected. His openness and vulnerability gave me permission to accept myself more and to know that we are all human, even those of us who put ourselves in the public arena.

All my love and I wish you the very best. Courtney Butler Robinson

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Asking for Help & Getting It.

This information really could be for anyone, however I generally address yoga teachers and yoga business owners since this is the field I service. One thing that happens to me on a weekly basis is someone ask me for help. I actually love helping others and it makes me so happy when someone actually gets what they need and it improves their life and they tell me about it. It makes me feel useful.
On the other hand one thing that really frustrates me and it is becoming a real struggle is people calling and asking me for favors that create a lot of work for me.

Here are some tips (and examples I deal with) on how to promote yourself and your career that are actually more likely to get you what you want and be beneficial to the other person as well. Consider the fact that when you ask for help one of two things need to happen.
1. You need to also be benefiting the person you are requesting help from.
2. You need to benefiting someone else in the process and let it be known your goal to help someone else by being helped yourself.

See below for an explanation.

Examples of request I get and when and how I am willing to help.

  1. A call to put a link of my website. It generally goes like this "Did you know yoga is good for xyz, and we offer this service. Could you put our link on your website?" Well "No", I would have nothing but links clogging up my web page. What would work is this "Hello, my name is xyz and I offer this service ______. We see that you are a professional in your field and would love to work with you. Would you be interested in having us submit a blog post and if it meets your standards would you please post it on your blog page. We will then share it with our clients via email and social media. Hope to have the pleasure of working with you."
  2. People ask me to have meetings all the time and give me examples of their work then ask me to promote them. I simply do not have time to do this. I have a busy life and business and can barely keep up with my marketing plan. My goal is to support my family through my work so I need to promote my business, however if it's a win win I'm happy to help. Here is what does work. "Hello my name is ____________, I am a yoga teacher specializing in __________. I hear you are the go to person for yoga in this area and I am offering such and such. I would love to give you a free ticket to my event and if you will share it with your clients I will gladly share your events on my page as well with my clients." By the way it would be good if you attended the persons class, buy and read the book, read over the webpage etc... before you meet with them. I actually had a person ask me to promote them on a day of my big workshop in the same town. Had they read my webpage or looked at my social media they would have known this and probably thought better of it. 
  3. If someone is already my student and has spent countless hours training with me and spent money to work with me then I am going to promote their work because it is dear to my heart to help those people. I do not mind doing this. If someone calls me looking for a restorative yoga teacher and my student has a passion for this I am going to promote them. If you are my student and reading this know that I don't mind helping you, especially if your request takes me 15 minutes or less to handle. If you have not been a client of mine and you want to work with me please read my book, my blog, my web page or look at my You Tube Channel for the answers you are looking for and if you want to work with me give me a call or email me and we can book a consult. My rates are very reasonable. 
  4. Can you help me plan a retreat? Did you go to school with me or are you already a client of mine ? If so yes I can spend about 15 to 30 minutes giving you some pointers. No worry, no cost, I am happy to help you because you are already a client of mine and I appreciate you choosing to work with me. Do you need additional help? Then please book a call with me for a consult and I will give you a detailed plan. OR even better,  I wrote a book on the subject and you can buy it for $14.99. If you need more after that then book an appointment and we can build a detailed plan. I know the cost of my time will save the person more than they spend with me. I've spent a ton of time and money honing my skills and I love to help people be successful.
  5.  My student has severe pain in this area and I want to help them. Are you my student, client? Have you spent time working with me in the past and paid me to train you? Absolutely, you want to help someone else I will help you help them as long as we can figure it out in a reasonable time frame. Do you know me but are not my student? Is this going to take more than 10 minutes? If so then please book a phone call with me to do a consult. 
  6. Would you come talk to my group about xyz for free? I spent enough money on training to pay for 6 years of college and have worked countless hours to do what I do. If you want me to take time out of my day there is a fee, on the rare occasion that I can volunteer my time like this it is going to be for a cause I truly believe in and or I have no one else I can send you. I'm often going to send you one of my student teachers who is working in the field you are requesting because they are building a career and it would benefit them. I recently was asked to speak to a group that is likely not going to be able to afford even to pay me a small fee,  because it is a cause dear to my heart I said yes. 

The bottom line. When you are asking for help think about the other person. This is their career. They are making a living doing this. If you want to be on their podcast how are you going to promote them? If you want them to promote you how can you help them. If you want them to come speak to your group tell them what you have budgeted for this.  If you are are afraid you don't have the money to pay then ask them how much they charge. Be considerate of their time and consider if you were being asked to help someone what you would feel good about.

Hope this helps you be successful in asking for help.


Thursday, July 5, 2018

Hosting Yoga Events

Hosting Yoga Workshops, Retreats and Events

Are you a yoga teacher who wants to start offering workshops but you are not sure how? Would you like to offer a weekend retreat to your students but don't know where to begin?

I've spent countless hours on the phone over the years assisting others in doing just this. In 2007 I started with a series of small workshops on certain topics like yoga for sciatica and yoga for foot pain. These were quite successful. From there I grew organically opening a school, then gaining the knowledge to host larger events like retreats. At the same time as I was working on my career in the field of yoga I was also working about twenty hours a week in the field of sustainability. At that time I was Vice President of a group called the Beautification Commission. We had grant money to do work to clean up our environment in my local community. That work led to me helping and leading organization of large community events that often attracted upwards of 7000 people. We rented large spaces, found sponsors, made schedules, attended other events and generally did all the things you do with event planning. After about 5 years of doing this I gained enough skills to put on day events, then weekend retreats.

Why am I telling you this? Because I have spent a large part of my career hosting successful yoga events and have made many mistakes and had many successes which I have learned so much from. I love to help others be successful, being of service makes me happy.
I've published a 24 page e book that is in the form of a download. The e book contains links to assist you in your journey as well and a list of other resources.

To order this book for only $14.99  go to http://www.balanceyogaandwellness.com/how-to-host-yoga-events-booklet.html

5 Tips from the book
1. Start your search for a location a year to six months prior to your event if you can.
2. You will need to have the down money for a deposit. 
3. You will not be able to please every persons dietary needs.  Have a back up plan (I give tips for this in the book). 
4. Pick a place with plenty of room for all the yoga mats. Look at floor space carefully. 
5. Put in place a detailed financial policy and keep your options limited on pricing to avoid bookkeeping headaches.