At the age of 62, my dad made a decision to hike to the base camp of Mount Everest. He had traveled the world and hiked to many famous locations, such as Machu Picchu and through the jungles of the Amazon, but this was a whole different ball of wax.
The hike to base camp starts at 9000 feet above sea level, and it climbs to 17,000 feet where base camp is situated. The hike itself requires eight hours of hiking every day for over a week, not to mention the other physical ailments involved such as altitude sickness. This hike is a pretty big deal, especially for someone his age.
When he made the decision to do this, the first step he took was to find an expert to help him. He knew he needed an experienced person to guide him through the process so he could reach his goal. In his research, he came across a gentleman by the name of Gary Gueller. Gary is an one-armed climber that made it to the summit of Everest. But that's not why my dad chose him to be his guide. My dad chose Gary because on average, only 40% of the people who try to climb to Everest base camp, actually make it there. Gary, on the other hand, has a 95% success rate.
For my dad, the decision to work with Gary was a no brainer. He wanted to accomplish a goal and he found someone who could get the results he wanted. When my dad reached out to Gary his mind was made up. He was 100%ready to hire him.
What happened next was not what my Dad expected. After a lengthy conversation about my dad's goals, Gary told my dad that he needed to do a few things before they could work together. He provided my dad with some instructions around training and he said to reach out again in a few months.
My dad got started right away on the training plan. The first few tasks were simple: buy a new pair of hiking boots and wearing them around for a bit to break them in. The training plan slowly goes from walking to break in the boots to actually hiking in the boots for a short amount of time. The amount of time gets longer and longer as the training plan progresses. Eventually the plan involves adding on gear such as carrying water, then carrying a backpack filled with tools and supplies. My Dad did all of it. He spent hours each week walking around Houston, wearing his boots while carrying a backpack.
Several months later, my dad calls back and Gary asks, “How's your training going?” My dad tells him, “It's going great! I've done everything you've asked. I bought new hiking boots and I've been hiking in them.” At this point, Gary agreed to take on my Dad as a client. He helps him finish the training plan and makes arrangements for my Dad’s hike.
Fast forward, at the age of 64, my dad completed his dream and made it to the base camp of Mount Everest.
Why am I telling you all this?
Although I would love to unpack what would inspire a 62 year old man to undergo this type of rigorous adventure and to explore the mental fortitude of a climber who lost an arm and a friend in a climbing accident then went on to climb Mt. Everest twice after an unsuccessful first attempt and then became a coach who helps others achieve this same feat, that is not the focus of this episode.
Today I want to talk about the clever way Gary filters his potential clients to make sure that he only works with people who are ready to work with him. This filter is what guarantees 95% of his client reach their goal. He has a high success rate because he filters out those who are not ready to work with him.
The filter is also how you’ll know if you’re ready to work with a Coach to overcome whatever problem you’re facing in your business.
So what is the filter?
Let’s jump back into the story of my Dad. He reached out to Gary because he wanted to hire him to be his guide as he climbed to the base camp of Mt. Everest.
Gary gave my Dad some specific instructions. He told him to get a new pair of hiking boots and to follow a specific training plan that increased in distance over time. At some point a backpack and other gear were added to the regular walks. After he completed the training plan, he was to give Gary a call.
The training plan is Gary’s filter. When potential clients make the second call he will know immediately how committed they are to their dream. The ones who follow the plan and call back, are truly committed. These are the people that Gary takes on as clients. And 95% of those make it to the Base Camp of Everest.
See, all of us have big, audacious dreams. We all want to make those dreams a reality. But not everyone is committed to doing the unglamorous work required to make those dreams come true.
I see this in my coaching practice all of the time. Most entrepreneurs want to stop their procrastination habit so they can restore momentum in their business and accomplish their goals with ease. This type of transformation requires a lot of inner work and not everyone is ready for it. Especially when it comes to procrastination, most of us want the quick external change we can implement easily. We want to find the productivity hack or the perfect time management system.
What I know that others don’t, is that procrastination is not the problem, it’s the symptom of the problem. If my goal is to help entrepreneurs reach their goals then it’s important that in our coaching session we are working on the actual problem, not the symptom. Many entrepreneurs think they’re ready for the change, but unfortunately, not everyone is.
Because of this, I’ve created my own filter. Before I take on a client, we start out with a Business Breakthrough Session. On this session, we talk about where they are now and what they want to accomplish. We look at where they are stuck. Procrastination comes in many forms so we have to discern if they know what they should be doing but aren’t doing it, if they are stuck at a decision point, or if they are overwhelmed and can’t decide what to do next. Throughout the session, I use my intuition to uncover what is the source of the problem. Then I help to bring the real problem into their awareness. Awareness is the critical part of the session. We can’t solve a problem if we aren’t aware of the problem.
At the end of the Breakthrough Session, we come up with a simple action plan. It’s something they can implement right away that helps them gain a better understanding of what came up during our session.
I follow up with them a week later to see how it’s going. The follow up conversation tells me if they are truly mentally ready to solve the real problem or if they only want to work on improving the symptom of the problem. I’ll know right away if they are looking for a quick fix.
Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely can help them set goals, make a plan, be more productive, and manage their time better. I do that with all of my clients. But to only help them with an external transformation makes them dependent on me to provide accountability and solutions.
My goal for my clients is for them to find their own independent motivation. This requires them to do some work to make an internal transformation. I’m thrilled to be their guide as they do it. The truth is, not everybody wants to do the work for an internal transformation. For those who don’t, I’m simply not the right coach to work with them.
The take away assignments that are created during my Breakthrough Session helps both of us know if we are the right fit to work together. Quite frankly, it’s a filter for both of us.
To be fair, I have many times found myself facing a similar filter process when working with a coach. A spiritual mentor gave me a list of 12 easy tasks to complete in 12 weeks before I could work with her. Even though I had waited many months to get on her calendar, and what she asked me to do wasn’t particularly hard or time consuming, I was surprised to find myself tempted to put them off.
Recently, I had a session with an Intuitive Business Coach who also gave me a small task to complete before our next session. It was fascinating for me to realize that I was hoping there would be a quick fix for me and I was disappointed when it wasn’t.
I also know that the disappointment and resistance are my clues that there’s more than meets the eye and that I should lean into the discomfort if I want to get long lasting results.
As you consider working with a coach in any aspect of your business, I invite you to tune in to see if you are ready. Is there a filter that can help you assess your commitment to solving the problem? If not, you can ask yourself questions such as, “How willing am I to do the things that feel hard if it means the problem is no longer a problem?” and “What is my level of commitment to doing whatever it takes for this problem to be removed from my life?” Even a simple question such as, “Is this the right solution for me and my situation?” can go a long way to developing awareness around your readiness.
Being an entrepreneur means we will always be confronted with our own mental and emotional limitations. Those limitations will show up in our business eventually. We are tasked with being bold enough to confront those limitations so that we can fulfill our potential. So I ask you, are you up for the challenge?
Danielle's message is spot on with achieving goals. Not only does she practice what she preaches, but she's your guide to help YOU achieve the best version of yourself! A must listen!
Grow a biz & feel good! Danielle is really skilled at bringing both the actionable steps plus the mindset work so we can feel good as we grow our businesses while being present for our families. I look forward to listening every week!