This Belief is Blocking You From Leading

Dear Reluctant Leader,

The more I grow in my faith, leadership, and business, the more I realize it’s not really about the strategies, or the step-by-step action plan.  Growth depends on the strength of your mindset, and whether your beliefs are limiting or empowering.  

Your thoughts -> actions -> habits -> results, so if we want anything to happen, we have to tackle the BELIEFS around leadership.  As Christian women, we tend to struggle with some common ones that truly hold us back from greatness.  As your coach, I’m here to make sure you can win the battle in your MIND, so you can win the battle in BUSINESS.  

Beliefs can be categorized into limiting beliefs (ones that prevent you from taking action), and empowering beliefs (ones that push you to take more action).  

The most common limiting belief I hear from a lady leader feels called to do something is great is this:

“Why ME?”

It’s a question with a hint of self-doubt, comparison, or perfectionism.  

What you’re really wondering is:  Who am I to do this?  Do I have what it takes to get to the next level?  

I get it.  It’s scary when you’re starting something new to feel like you’re capable and confident enough to do it well.  

But the thing I want you to realize is that God has equipped you with experiences, expertise, and specific strengths that led you to where you are today.  If you’re waiting for someone else to step up, the “perfect timing”, or knowing all the pieces before you start, then you’ll be waiting for a long time.  

So instead, let’s turn that limiting belief into an empowering one, and ask yourself, “WHY me?”  

What are your personal stories of when you overcame a struggle or an obstacle?  
Because this can help you relate and inspire people to change.

What are specific knowledge and skills that you have that people love to learn about?
Because this is your expertise you’re developed so you can teach others about it.  

What is your unique point of view, or opinion on important matters?
Because this is your voice you can use to be an advocate for causes you believe in.  

What’s your bigger vision and purpose that fuels you?  
Because this is a stepping stone to even bigger and better things.  

It’s your turn to lead.  

It doesn’t matter if you have one person, or one thousand people to influence, it’s your choice to start where you are, with who you are.  You’ll continue to learn, change, and adapt, but make sure you equip yourself with a strong mindset of growth so you can take your business to the next level.  

As always, I’d love to hear from you -- what limiting belief do you need to let go of?  What empowering one would you like to adapt instead?  Let me know in the comments below!  

How to Make Confident Decisions

Dear leader who has a big decision to make,

You may be feeling overwhelmed at the moment because you have a big decision to make that could potentially change your business life and affect the people you’re leading.  Maybe it’s choosing who to hire as your next team member, how you want to expand your services, or even what work/life balance would look like in this season.  The weight of this decision feels like a heavy burden on your shoulders because you want to make to right choice out of options that all seem to good, but not perfect.  

Stop.  Take a deep breath.  You’re capable of making decisions with confidence.

In today’s letter, I wanted to share with you some tips that will walk you through clearing out the mental clutter when it comes to making those big choices.  Leadership decision making may be a little bit messy, uncomfortable, and certainly not black and white, but learning these tips can make the process much more empowering.  

1. Get clear on your vision and values.  

Your vision and your values determine the direction of your life and business.  Your vision is “What do you want?” and your values describe “Why do you want it?”  When you’re facing with a decision, it helps to go back to basics to remind ourselves these vital planning questions.  Sometimes it’s hard to make those big decisions because we’ve forgotten our vision and values, or they have shifted and evolved over time.  Once we’re clear on the big picture of where you’re going, we have a target that can help us make decisions to help us get there.  

Remember: Your direction can help filter your decisions.  

2. Reveal the real reason for your resistance.  

Big decisions often requires us to change, and change can be a scary thing.  If you’re facing a bit of resistance, I would encourage you to lean in to figure out what the real reason is behind it.  Fear could be the culprit.  You want to choose to leave your day job to pursue your business full-time, but fear is telling you to play it safe and secure.  Or, you no longer want to offer in-person workshops but feel some resistance because you don’t want to let your clients down.  Sometimes we know in our gut what decision needs to be made but something is holding us back.  When we can name exactly what that is, we can shine a light on it and allow yourself the freedom to move forward.     

3. Alignment > Agreement.  

If you’re still feeling stuck, you can reach out to a trusted friend, coach, or mentor for their input.  These people can help you process through your decision and help you see things from a clear point of view, with your best interests in mind.  

Once you’ve made the decision for yourself, it’s time to take action, and let people know.  If there’s a team member, client, or colleague that your decision affects, then it’s your responsibility to communicate it.  If that’s the case, remind people of your overall vision and how this decision aligns to it.  Other people may not agree with your choice, but they can at least respect it.  

The next time you’re faced with a big (or small) decision, remember that you always have a choice to make the best one, given all of the information you know.  The more you make decisions according to what you value, the more confident you become as a leader.  

Let me know in the comments below, which tip did you find the most helpful?

With joy, 

signature-small.png

Learning to Trust Yourself Again

Dear leaders, 

To the woman who has a big, God-given dream, but not quite sure how to make it happen.  

To the creative entrepreneur who has all the knowledge, the degrees, and the experience to be fully equipped for the next chapter of your life and business, but still unsure what the next steps are.   

To lady who’s brave enough to start over again to chase after what she really wants.  

This letter is for you.  

If I could sit across the coffee table from you, look you in those jaded yet hopeful eyes, and tell you one piece of encouragement, it would be this: 

Trust yourself.  

Trust that your ideas matter and they have meaning.  Trust that you’re not crazy for wanting to change, grow, or pivot your business, and that this is the start of something new.  Trust that you don’t have to do it like everyone else is doing, and that you can lean into your own instincts to show you the way.  Trust that you have the ability to learn what you need to, the capacity to expand your definition of what’s possible, and the choice to do it in a way that feels true to you.  

It seems so simple, but why is it so hard?  

Because just like in every other relationship, trust is built over time.  And just like in other relationships, trust can be broken in an instant and hard to recover.  

It may be hard to trust yourself because…

You’ve made mistakes in the past and are giving yourself a hard time.  
You know what you want, but every time you go after it, it cost you something personal.  
You’ve grown and evolved so much and became a different person, that you need some time to reconnect with what makes you you.  

If that’s the case, then here’s what you can try….build trust with yourself, as if you were building trust with your best friend.  

Just like when you’re meeting a new friend and ask about their interests….you can ask yourself “What do you want?” and “Why do you want it?” 

Just like when you give grace to your daughter for making a silly mistake….you can extend yourself some grace too when you’re attempting something new.  

Just like when you love others unconditionally…you can start to listen to your instincts instead of looking to others for approval or advice.  

It just takes some intentionality, but you can do it.  

Choose to get clear on your intent, give yourself grace, and trust yourself again.  

With joy, 

5 Lessons I Learned From Growing a Business & Growing a Baby

Dear leaders, 

    In this week’s episode, I wanted to share a personal blog about the lessons that I learned about growing a business and growing a baby (at the same time).  So for those of you who don’t know me, I’m Shi Chen, and I’m a leadership and success coach for women entrepreneurs who want to get their big idea into the world and make a difference in the lives or those who need them most.  I started out my career as an educator and recognized the power of personalized coaching for professional growth, so I transitioned from teaching into coaching and have been empowering women to be entrepreneurial leaders ever since.  

Then, last May I found out that I’m pregnant with my first child!  So as I was growing my coaching business online, there was also the beautiful curve ball of learning how to grow life as well.  When I reflect back on this time, I realize that there are so many similarities in leading a growing companion and a growing family, that I wanted to share some of those insights with you. 

Lesson #1: Focus on what matters in the season you’re in.  

When I first started my business, I made the mistake of spending a lot of time, money, and energy on more "advanced" strategies, rather than what matters in the beginning: getting clear on my niche, connecting and marketing to prospects, and laying a foundation of growing my expertise.  Similar to my first trimester of pregnancy, where the focus is on "surviving", getting enough rest, eating healthy and exercising.  I imagine once the baby comes, my focus will also be on establishing trust with my daughter by connecting, bonding, and delivering what she needs, even before she can clearly communicate what that may be.  With each season (every 90 days), I can re-prioritize what to focus on so I can create momentum, and also let go of any guilt or feelings that I need to do it all. 

Lesson #2: Plan and do what you can, and be flexible with actually happens.  

I'm definitely a planner at heart, so I feel much better when I set aside specific steps and strategies to implement.  However, in business and baby-ing, there are many unknowns and things outside of your control, so I'm learned to create a framework of plans but be flexible with what actually happens.  For example, when planning my maternity leave, I was specific about which responsibilities to keep, and which to let go of, but again, it all depends on what kind of baby we will get, if she'll be really fussy or easy-going.  (By the time this is published--we will know for sure!) 

Lesson #3: Getting Support and Accountability are key!

You can "have it all", but you can't do it all yourself.  Support and accountability are key to saving you time, energy, and sanity!  Some people may see asking for help as a weakness, but that's not true!  I'm learning that by delegating tasks and responsibilities to people, you're empowering THEM to use their gifts to serve you as you let go of the things that you don't need to be doing. 

Also, in my third trimester, I was diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes, meaning I had to be more strict with my diet (goodbye, carbs) and exercise.  I had to take my blood sugars 4 times and day, submit it to my doctor, and go to get monitored by a doctors 2x/weeks.  At first, it was a bit annoying but it was a lesson in accountability of having my husband and professional doctor's care about my health and my baby's health.  Around the same time, I had extra support and accountability for my business with the help of a coach, Mastermind, and accountability buddy.  They helped me to stay on track towards my goals as it aligns to my life and business. 

Lesson #4: Confidence comes with practice, but you already have a lot of (business savvy and maternal) instincts. 

When I first started out as a coach, I was confident in my coaching skills but felt like I had a lot of learn when it came to business and marketing.  The more I learned from mentors and implemented, the more I realized that it's not that difficult and that I have a a lot of natural marketing instincts (you know, from being a consumer for all of my life).  I think the same goes for being a mom -- yes, there's a learning curve, but you're equipped with natural maternal instincts and you already have what it takes to be a great mom if you listen to that intuition and follow-through with what's best for your child. 

Lesson #5: People will give you a lot of advice and what worked for them.  Decide what factors are important to you, take what you need, and do what’s best for you situation.  

A funny thing I ran into, is that as soon as people found out I started a business, or was pregnant, people would get excited and give me advice (well, most of the time I asked for it).  The key is to learn how to glean wisdom from their experience, and discern what would work best for you and your specific situation.  For example, when it came to maternity leave -- some people would advise to take 3 months completely off, while others would say to go back to work in a few days.  For me, I had to decide what maternity leave would look like for my situation, which meant keeping my 1:1 client load but taking a step back on administrative and marketing tasks. 

All in all, I wouldn’t change anything for the lessons that I’ve learned as a leader and a mom. 
Tell me what you’ve learning about growing a business and a baby! 

If you found this letter helpful, please share it with your friends.  If you’d like more insight into turning your ideas into action so you can create a successful business and intentional life, then subscribe to the “Letters For Leaders” and receive your free “Vision Into Action” workbook.  

With Joy,

Do I Step Up or Step Back?

Dear Shi, 

My plate has been so full lately between balancing my full-time job at a large non-profit, my side hustle as a photographer, and I’m also engaged to be married in the Fall!  I have big leadership responsibilities in each of these areas, and everything in my life is good, but not necessarily great.  I’ve been feeling the desire to take a step back in my leadership position at my job, but there’s no one to step up if I leave.  I like my side hustle, but it’s not enough to bring in the income I need.  My relationship is important and stepping into a new season and am not sure how to best prepare for that either.  I’d love your thoughts on my situation! 

Sincerely,
Katie


Dear Katie, 

Sounds like you do have a lot on your plate, but all very exciting things happening at one time.  I love that your desire is not just to be good, but you have the standard to be great.  In order to pursue that kind of excellence, we can’t really do everything at the same time, but choose to focus on growing or changing one area and channeling our energy in that. 

So today, we’re going to talk about when to step up to move forward in this area as a leader, and when to step back to let this area go so you can refocus on something else. 

When to Step Up

  • When you’re facing a new season of change that will challenge you to grow 
  • When it’s important aspect of your life where you need to focus to set a new normal or firm foundation 
  • When there are people who have a need that you know you’re meant to fill 

When to Step Back

  • When you sense the need to prune: cutting down the leaves that are taking up energy but not producing fruit.
  • When you know there’s someone else that may be better equipped for the job, look for those emerging leaders! 
  • When you need to take a time of rest and rejuvenation so you’re refreshed with a renewed perspective 

Ultimately, it’s your decision to decide what you’d like to focus on in this season, and then the rest go.  You’ll be surprised that you’ll get stronger in the areas you choose to step up, and allow others to shine in the areas you choose you step back. 

If you choose to step up, what kind of support do you need to set yourself up for success? 

If you need to step back, who can you pass the torch to in order to set them up for success?  

Throughout this time, discern what may be the next best step for you, and go do it!  The changes may not happen overnight, but be okay with just taking baby steps to lead an intentional life. 

Your Action Step: 

  1. Decide which area of your business or life you’d like to focus on.  
  2. Choose whether to step up or step back. 
  3. Create a plan of action to get the support you need to so you can set yourself (and others) up for success.  

I’d love to know — what transition are you facing in your business and life?  How are you preparing for it?  Join the Authentic Brand Leaders Facebook Group and let us know! 

If you found this letter helpful, please share it with your friends.  If you’d like more insight into turning your ideas into action so you can create a successful business and intentional life, then subscribe to the “Letters For Leaders” and receive your free “Vision Into Action” workbook.  

With Joy,

signature small.png