What I learnt this week… it’s all worth it!

It feels somehow appropriate to be writing the 20th weekly roundup on a Sunday afternoon, sitting in a buzzing cafe in Basel, Switzerland after 5 amazing days off. It proves that all I’ve been working for and towards is achievable and that it’s actually not that difficult to build your life the way you want it.

But first let’s look at the beginning of this week. It has been really hectic and a bit stressful as I had multiple projects getting close to a launch, a few meetings and networking events, plus lots of client work.

The value of honesty

Over the past week, I thought several times about the value of honesty in building strong business relationships.

The first time was after a phone call with a new connection which could over time turn into something more.

At first, the call was a bit intense. I was asked some tricky questions about my business and the way I work with my clients. In a way, I was asked to ‘pitch’ myself, explain quickly and clearly what it is I do and what benefits it has for my clients. To be honest, I struggled a lot! I’m not used to doing ‘elevator pitches’ or selling myself over a 15-min phone call.

After 20 minutes or so, when we got to the next steps and follow-up stage, I received some really honest feedback about my ‘pitch’ (it wasn’t really flattering). In return, I openly explained that this isn’t the way I work. I’m not interested in working with people who only want to know how much it will cost them and what ROI they should expect. I don’t work with people looking for quick wins and don’t look at social media as a strategic investment for their business.

Do you know what happened? Honesty breeds honesty! Based on our really open and truthful exchange of opinions, we got to know each other more and were in a better position to figure out if we are ‘good fit’ to work together in the future. We’ve connected and gained a deeper respect for each other. Maybe we won’t ever be in a client-provider relationship, but we’ll definitely stay business friends!

The second situation was the exact opposite!

Roughly a week after a follow-up meeting with a current client, I received an email requesting the cancellation of our contract. I was really surprised given that we spent over an hour talking next steps, service improvements, new content, short-term and long-term plans.

After the meeting, I spent some extra time writing down all notes, making an action plan and updating processes for my collaborators involved in this project.

Instead of an honest and open conversation, I was deceived and I wasted a ton of my precious time doing something that wasn’t necessary (or appreciated). I don’t mind when clients leave – that’s the circle of business. Some people stay in our lives longer while others simply pass by. I also know that certain conversations can be really uncomfortable – especially when you need to let people go. You might feel guilty or responsible/ashamed for taking their business away (especially if you had a good business relationship so far), but nothing is worse than deceiving your business partner.

What’s the lesson?

If you’re not happy with someone’s services – tell them! Don’t let them believe that everything is fine and then wonder what went wrong when you decide to leave. Open conversation can lead to a stronger business relationship even if you don’t work together directly.

I always say that I can handle anything – any truth! As long as I know where I stand, I can deal with it!

Feeling enlightened

My short week wasn’t filled with just work.

I’m lucky and really grateful that I have some truly amazing people in my life with whom I can have enlightening discussions about belief and religion, life and purpose and feel absolutely in tune with the universe. At the same time, there are people with whom I can simply sit in silence and enjoy being present.

The second half of my week was much calmer and spiritual. After pushing through Monday till Wednesday to get everything done, I went off to Switzerland on Thursday. It was challenging to get 5 days worth of work done in 3 (and a bit), but I knew that the reward would be worth it!

While walking through mountains (it was my first time on a peak over 2k) I couldn’t stop smiling. It was cold, it was windy, there was snow and ice around, the trail was rocky and slippery. I had the most exhilarating feeling! I was feeling grateful and excited. 2017 has been an amazing year (the best so far) and I feel even better about 2018!

Being alone (and enjoying it)

I love meeting new people, networking, connecting with amazing entrepreneurs and listening to their stories, but sometimes I want to be alone. To make sure I balance my busy social life I regularly plan ‘alone time’ – weekend alone with a book or a short trip away to get some headspace.

This weekend was planned exactly for that!

I was thinking a lot about my self-image, about my relationship with myself and my relationship with people. Recently I’ve become more aware of all the negative self-talk that often happens in my head. I’m realising all the limiting self-beliefs that I keep repeating to myself that stop me from getting what I want (and reaching my potential).

It’s really refreshing and encouraging to be able to see a different picture and step outside of my limited view of the world.

Podcast Corner

I thought that for this weekly roundup I’d look at the top 3 podcasts that I’ve been listening to over the past week (on a weekly basis I usually listen to 5-10 podcast episodes).

FOMOfanz podcast by Brian Fanzo – ep. 052, Art of Making a Strategic Ask

If there’s one person that taught me loads about running a business, building a personal brand, social media and communication in general, it’s Brian Fanzo! I love the way he’s engaging on social media and his content. This particular episode was really inspiring because he explained how to build relationships with different audiences/influencers and how to think strategically about social media!

Soulful PR podcast with Janet Murray – ep. 197, How to build a thriving online community

Nowadays, I talk more and more about the importance of building a community around your business and how to use social media to do so. I loved this episode of Soulful PR podcast where Janet and Emily Quinton talked about building strong relationships online and focusing on the long-term growth and success.

Mind Your Business Podcast by James Wedmore – ep. 113, Clear your mind

Following my theme for the week(end), I was really excited about this episode of the Mind Your Business podcast. I know that I often struggle with overwhelm, having lots of clutter in my head, insane multitasking (jumping from one task to another) and sleepless nights as my brain can’t stop working. As James describes in this episode, having a ‘brain dump’ place and time is really helpful to keep your mind clear (and efficient). He shares some really good tips on apps and strategies to declutter and organise our thoughts.

Honorable mention – The Andrew and Pete Show

Even though I finished listening to this podcast earlier this month, it’s definitely worth mentioning and there’s no other audio show like this one! Plus it’s also available on YouTube in video format which adds completely different dimension to its content!

Which podcasts have YOU listened to recently? Let me know in comments or tweet me at @lenkakopp.