13 ways you’re holding yourself back from your heart-based business

Many of my readers and clients look up to Oprah Winfrey and see her as a role model for their lives and businesses.

Being wealthy, famous, influential, spiritual and bringing joy and healing to people’s lives all at once? Sign me up, you might say!

So how exactly do you add a dash of Oprah to your heart–based business?

A business centered around a public figure looks very different from the regular corporation we’ve all worked for.

The “regular” corporation creates products and services to serve a market demand. The corner of Street X and Avenue Y could use a deli? Done. There’s an opportunity to market organic vegetables to the posh mom community of this town? You got it.

Stuff exists because people have a need that can be filled. This is how those miracle entrepreneurship stories begin. Someone creates something to fill her own needs. In that process, a eureka moment happens — she realizes that many others need the same thing. A business is born.

But what if your business centers around your own heart, and doesn’t necessarily fill any “need” in particular, other than yours?

If you’re a healer, an artist, a teacher, a coach, or someone that would be a public figure, you’ll know that there’s no formula for structuring your business. Everything you create is first inspired by your heart, and your heart is pretty much the only navigational device you have.

Looking at traditional businesses, watching CNBC or listening to speakers talk about their jobs offer no insight or examples on how to develop a heart–based business.

Except, there is. And that is the celebrity business.

In the celebrity business, your heart is the commander. Your name is your brand. Your face is your brand. And both have lots of equity and communication muscle.

Savvy celebrities with multi–million or billion dollar net worths know this. Oprah has said that her heart is her brand. Jay–Z says, “I’m not a businessman. I’m a business, man.”

What these moguls know is that they are their business. He or she rises and falls with it.

And if your business is who you are, holding yourself back means holding your business and income back.

Or, if you don’t love and accept all of who you are, that’s a problem. How you think of yourself is how you think of your business. Whatever you feel deep down — inadequacy, unconfidence or desperation — that’s energetically splashed across everything you put out. I have a former client who writes really bold and persuasive sales copy and says all of the right things. Except, all I pick up is a sense of competitiveness and a feeling of life’s not fair.

“Traditional” business school will teach you how to assess a market opportunity, create a product or service that meets a specifically defined demographic, determine the potential profits and losses, create a tailored marketing plan, and so on and so (boring) forth.

In a heart–based business, all the work centers around you, who you are, and your own personal development. Dysfunctional people can support a traditional business and work there for years and decades, never resolving their dysfunction, because the business is not about them.

But only the most emotionally healthy people can grow a heart–centered business because this structure requires you to be abundantly happy, secure and accepting of who you are.

Your business is not the summation of your PDFs, contact list, coaching programs or phone sessions.

Your business is you.

Let me help you look at 13 different ways we hold ourselves back in our heart–based businesses:

1. Focusing on what you do, rather than who you are.
All of us (myself included) uses taglines to describe what we do, instead of who we are. We’ll say, “I’m a healer” or “I’m a coach” or “I’m an author.” Guess what — this only says what we do but tells nothing about about who we are.

We need to find ways to communicate who we are.

Here’s an analogy: Let’s pretend for a moment that you are a car. Saying what you do sounds like this: “Hello! I’m a car. A vehicle. An automobile. A transportation device. A metal box. I help people get to where they want to go. Do you have a dream or a destination? I can get you there. Want a free test drive? Check me out!”

Saying who she is as a car sounds like this:

• “Built for the unwritten road” — Volvo(Safety and certainty)
• “The best or nothing” — Mercedes–Benz(Superiority)
• “Like a Rock” — Chevrolet (Durability)
• “The relentless pursuit of perfection.” — Lexus(Not there yet, but worthy)
• “The Ultimate Driving Machine” — BMW(Performance)
• “Zoom, Zoom, Zoom” — Mazda(Fun)

The advertising slogans above don’t tell you she is a car (we already know). But it captures the spirit of who she is. By looking at these words, you can get a sense for her passion, her purpose, her reason for being, her point of distinction from the rest.

What are yours?

While we may not be writing ourselves an advertising slogan, we can also pinpoint our distinction by using archetypes to describe who we are. Take a look at the ones Caroline Myss came up with here.

2. Allowing others to tell you what you should do
Your business emanates from your heart and only yours. How could anyone else possibly know what’s inside your heart? No family member, friend, coach or peer can tell you about the conversations you have with your heart, or what kind of relationship you have with your dreams. No one else can write your story except you.

3. Not taking care of yourself
I’m so guilty of this! When you are your business, how healthy and energetic you are is how your business will be too. If you are only working at 50% energetic capacity, so is your business. Don’t allow stress, distractions and drama to drain you and thereby your business.

4. Not examining and releasing your fears
The fears you carry within you will be the fears carried without you, on the outside in your business. Businesses and projects that serve, touch and heal others have very high vibrations — and that high vibration starts with you. Examine and release the fears so that your business can do its best work.

5. Depriving yourself from having the right tools
Does your business desperately need a website, a new logo or a facelift, but you’re putting that off? Translated into human terms, that’s sort of like withholding nutritional food, vitamins, sleep, clothes, friends and music from yourself. Don’t deprive your business of the nutritional elements she needs to survive and thrive.

6. Comparing yourself to others
No two heart–based businesses will ever look the same, because no two hearts in this world are alike. Be proud of the fact that no one else can be like you. You wouldn’t want anyone else to be like you, so why would you want to be anybody else?

7. Following the crowd
Consumers pick up their wallets looking to buy what’s unique and sweeps us off of our feet. Every trend started somewhere within someone else’s heart. By following the crowd or the industry, you’re actually following someone else’s heart, not yours.

8. Allowing inadequacy to hold you back
Many of the world’s most success businesspeople don’t have college degrees, yet they are able to go above and beyond those who have achieved the highest education. Why? They were not exposed to academia. You see, academia serves to stifle innovation and promote “shoulds” and herd thinking. The more you study those teachings, the more you will end up following someone else. Create with a clean slate. You can always hire specialists to fill in the gaps.

When you study, study the success mindset from multimillionaires or billionaires. Learn not only from the richest people in the world, but also those who are the happiest.

9. Allowing past failures to cloud hope
There was a time I allowed my failures to wreck my self–confidence so much, it took a few years to build it back. Don’t be like me. See failures and your pain as a gift. Let it tell you what you need to learn. Don’t let failures cloud your hope or taint your perception of the future. If you keep writing your story, you won’t be stuck on the chapter where you failed.

10. Not loving all of who you are
Heart–based businesses don’t take off until the entrepreneur finally loves and fully accepts who she is, flaws, weaknesses, fears, failures and all. An entrepreneur who loves and also loathes herself is a business that is made of the same makeup. A self–loathing business is a terrible business to be in!

11. Not acting on your ideas
Do you get lots of ideas for blog posts, programs, products and services, yet rarely act on them? Spirit and our Higher Selves inspire us through our hearts. If we never/hardly act on the inspirations that come through, your heart–based business will feel empty, lost and quiet. Don’t let great ideas pass you by or allow your passion to fizzle. Strike while the inspiration is hot. If you are great at starting things but not completing them, find a specialist to take what you’ve got to the finish line.

12. Working with people you don’t like
One of the things I learned about cultivating an abundant mindset is that we don’t have to take every client that walks through the door. We have the authority to choose who we want to work with, and that will not hurt us or our business in the way we’d expect. Denying the wrong clients keeps you and your business healthy and joyful for people who are the right clients. When you work with people you don’t like, you’re damaging your own energy and mood for the great clients, and you’re making yourself less available for them too.

13. Being who you are only part–time
I was at a business luncheon yesterday as a +1 and I wasn’t really there to do business. I didn’t have my game face on and when people asked me what I did for a living, I fumbled for words! Being an unskilled empath is part of the reason, but mostly, it’s because I mentally checked out from who I am.

That’s when you know you are not yet your business — when you have to prepare yourself up and figuratively walk onstage and offstage.

It’s not that you need to put your face on or have your elevator pitch on queue at all times. It’s not that you need to think about your business 24/7/365.

It’s that you don’t need to “flip” into business or sales mode. It’s just one mode — you — all the time.

All your sales requires of you is to be exactly who you are in your natural, constant state.

People who are their business don’t have this identity problem because their business happens to be exactly who they are.

Who you are deep down inside is always the same. But the stuff you do is ever–changing. Look at Brad Pitt — he’s a furniture designer now!

Cultivate yourself as a person and soul first; your business follows in tandem. Plenty of people throw themselves into a profession without first examining their heart or who they are. Once that job or business is lost, they suffer from an identity crisis: they don’t know who they are outside of what they do.

In the comment section below, tell me about yourself and who you are. What does your heart call you to do? How would you describe who you are? I’d love to hear from you.

Hi, I’m Ana Coeur

I teach entrepreneurs how to create their business straight from their soul. I offer a complete Intuitive Business Suite to help you create, design, write and sell all from your intuition. Here’s the services you can take advantage of to empower your business: Intuitive Web & Brand Design, Intuitive Copywriting and Intuitive Selling. If there’s anything I can help you with, I would love to hear about it! You may email me at anaatintuitivepicture.com

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  • July 13, 2013

    Hi Anni,

    Wonderfully written. I am glad to know I am on the right path. Your writing is another confirmation that what I feel I am doing, is right. Thank you for your insight.

  • July 15, 2013

    These words ring true in all aspects of life. I am constantly discovering and working toward accepting my true and full self along. But in developing a business that is entirely outside the box, I am identifying my business with my personality struggling to be satisfied with how to move forward. You’ve composed beautiful words to live by. Thank you!

  • July 18, 2013

    Great post, a lot of what you said here resonated with me and some points were a wake up call. Thanks for sharing x

  • July 19, 2013

    Really thoughtful piece and very timely.

    I’ve just created and launched my Life Dreaming site and at nearly 54, it’s the culmination of a lifes work with individuals and communities.

    I love what you wrote about being truly yourself – perfectly imperfect – authentic and as truthful as possible.

    People don’t need to see pretend perfection.

    They want and deserve to see the true you – sharing learning and passion and living whatever you define as an adventurous life.

    Lots of very practical advice in your post and thank you.


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