Capes are cool. They are majestic. They flutter and flow which is almost as good as sparkling and shining. If you're a superhero, it might be part of your required uniform. But capes don't hold any power.
Batman and Superman wear capes, but their capes aren't part of their powers. When they are walking around as Clark and Bruce, they leave their capes at home. Are they still superheros when they are dressed as the average man?
Wonder Woman and Spiderman don't wear capes, and who would deny their classification as superheroes? Little Red Riding Hood got her name from her cape, but I don't think I've ever seen her on a superhero list. I'm not sure she even attends Comic-Con.
When I wrote this card, I kept picturing a woman in a t-shirt and cropped khaki pants with a cape laying on the ground next to her. She wore the cape for a while, and maybe sporting it gave her more confidence at first. Maybe it even acted as a security blanket or a shield. But over time, it became a hindrance.
She didn't have time to take it to the cleaners. It got caught up in everything. It was a production to drape it over the back of her seat to avoid wrinkles every time she got into her car. Eventually it just had to go.
And when she let it go, she realized she didn't need it at all. She was strong enough to handle anything that came her way. Her superpowers were within her - not on her. She was a superhero no matter what she wore.
You can wear a cape if you want to. And if you do, wear it gloriously. But if you don't want to, know that not all superheroes need a cape.
She used to wear the whole ensemble but stopped when it became too high maintenance. The mask made her hair frizz, the unitard gave her a wedgie and the cape kept getting caught in doors. Even though she doesn't dress the part, she still has her powers. Not all superheroes need a cape. (The back of Superhero from the She is . . . Collection.)
Celebrate every day,
If you are a leader or a coach, you know that the level of fear someone has is inversely related to the level of risk she is willing to take. Decrease her fear factor, and she'll increase her risk-taking. Here are things you can do to help someone overcome fear and take more risks:
1. Show her that you believe in her (or at least believe that she won't die).
You don't have to tell her which one you believe in. Tell her she can do it. If she is afraid to invite someone to join her team, remind of the reasons why someone would want to join her team or point out that you invited her and you're still alive to talk about.
2. Empower her.
"Knowledge is power" might be a cliché , but it is true. No one wants to do something for the first time blindly. But if she knows what to expect, how it works and how it usually ends up, she'll have a little more confidence. Give her a formula for what to say. Role play with her. Teach her to overcome the obstacles she might face.
3. Take baby steps.
If she's afraid to recruit, break down the recruiting process into baby steps. Go over her list of potential recruits with her. Talk about how each one would benefit from being on her team. Give her the words to say to invite someone to an opportunity event. Give her an outline to do an opportunity coffee chat. Share your training guide with her. As she completes each step, she'll gain confidence and be ready for the next one.
4. Lead her.
Your shadow can be a safe place to learn. Take her with you to an opportunity chat, and afterwards point out the key things you said and how you overcame objections.
5. Celebrate her journey.
Acknowledge each risk she takes. Picking up the phone might be no big deal to you, but she might find it easier to do practically anything else. So when she makes the first phone call, celebrate it. When she does it again, celebrate it. Celebrate it until she does it fearlessly. And then celebrate the next thing that she does.
Eventually she'll realize that she is fearless.
She eats raw cookie dough by the bowlful and then immediately goes swimming. She's logged at least a quarter mile running with scissors, and she drinks regularly from a hose. Once she walked into a brand new hair salon and told the stylist to do whatever he wanted. She is fearless. (The story on the back of the greeting card Fearless from the She is . . . Collection.)
Celebrate every day,
Your direct sales team might be skilled at setting goals, but you might need to teach them how to pursue their goals. Setting a goal of earning a certain amount of money or promoting to a new title doesn't mean she knows how to achieve it.
If you are on the edge of a cliff, and you want to move forward, you can either fly or fall. So when you reach the edge of your dream or goal, you can either jump and fly or give up and fall.
As a leader, you might need to teach your team how to fly. Modeling it isn't enough because they only observe your flight. They see your arms out and your head up. You look like Superman to them.
They didn't see how you got there. Even if your journeys started around the same time, and you were pacing beside each other at the beginning, they missed it. They were so busy trying to navigate their own way, that they didn't take in the details of what you were doing. And the reality is that unless someone specifically showed you, you probably didn't take in the details of what you were doing either.
Stand up. Literally, get out of your seat and stand up. I bet you took a breath, leaned forward, put your head up and powered down through your legs and pushed. You've been getting out of chairs so long now that you don't even think about how you do it. You just do it. It's called muscle memory.
As a leader, you've taken off to the next level so many times that you don't notice the jump. Jump and fly to a promotion. Jump and fly to a trip. Jump and fly to a bigger team, an incentive, a steady paycheck. Jumping is so natural that you've forgotten that it's the scariest part.
Jumping is the scariest part! Your feet haven't left the ground yet. You can still back out. There are probably a zillion people on the edge with you.
When people don't jump, they fall. Think of the jump as the flight plan.
- Where are you going?
- When will you get there?
- What do you need to take with you?
- Who is your co-pilot and/or ground control?
So if you want to teach someone to fly, prepare her for the jump.
- What is the goal?
- What is the deadline?
- Does she need a script, accountability, practice, etc.?
- When should she check in with you and/or when should you step in to help?
The first time you jumped, your team didn't see you suck in your breath, bend your knees and throw energy into your feet so that you could push against everything that was holding you in place. And now, your jump might be so graceful, that they don't notice it.
Give your team a flight plan. Teach them that they have to jump in order to fly.
She stood on the edge and waited. Nothing. She inched out until her toes dangled, closed her eyes and held her breath. Nothing. She threw her arms out, arched her back and lifted her face. Still nothing. Finally, she bent her knees, pushed off with her feet and flew. She had to jump in order to fly. (The story on the back of the Flying Lessons greeting card.)
Celebrate every day,
When I was in junior high, I took home economics. Half of the year we learned how to cook, and the other half of the year we learned how to sew. Everyone made a simple smock top. The pattern was basically a rectangle with short, boxy sleeves. We could pick our own fabric, but even a Lily Pulitzer fabric wasn't going to make this top cute. One-style-fit-all.
So on the day that we all had to wear our projects, I wore it. I wore it the one obligatory time, but I never wore it again. I didn't like it. I didn't feel good in it. I didn't look good in it.
That day I walked the halls of my junior high feeling blah. If dry shampoo was a thing back then, it would have been a dry-shampoo day. I took comfort in the fact that every other girl in my class, at least the ones who followed directions, also felt blah. Until I realized that not everyone was acting appropriately blah.
Some girls actually seemed to be rocking their smocks. Their smocks weren't sewn better than mine. I got an "A" on mine. I ripped out that top stitching around the yoke a gazillion times before it was exactly a presser foot distance all the way around it. Their smocks weren't made from better material than mine. I liked the material I choose. So what was the difference?
Looking back, I think the difference was they wore their smocks with confidence. Maybe they were proud of their accomplishment and what they learned along the way. Maybe they thought they looked good in it. Maybe confidence was something they always wore and it was amplified when our clothes were uniform.
Each of those girls who rocked her smock knew something I didn't know back then. Each of them knew how to own her style, and it turned out confidence fit her perfectly.
She noticed other people seem to wear it effortlessly. At first she thought they were probably the same people who could put on a pair of skinny jeans without it being a workout. But then she realized that those who wore it well were all shapes and sizes, so she decided she would try it on too. Turned out confidence fit her perfectly. (the back of Perfect Fit from the She is . . . Collection)
Celebrate every day,
Everyone has a little voice in her head that gives her confidence and courage. The problem is that it is often difficult to hear that voice, but you can help that quiet voice be heard.
The thoughts in your head are like a band. Not a good band. More like an elementary concert band or a newly-formed garage band. They compete with each other rather than compliment and harmonize. Each wants to be heard. Each would rather be a soloist.
Your brain can only think one thought at a time. The voices in your head are constantly putting on a concert. Each one is vying for its solo. Regret, Disappointment, Failure and Doubt are like the loud, obnoxious rockers who just scream and call it art. Courage is the sweet but strong voice. It's the Karen Carpenter of the group.
It's hard to focus in on Courage's voice, but I believe it is constantly singing. If it wasn't, I'm not sure we'd be able to drive on a freeway, try anything new or even eat fast food. It tells us that we can do it. We won't die.
I'm not sure if you can make Courage's voice louder, but you can listen for it more often. Pause before a big decision or a big step. Search for her voice. It's there. The more you do it, the more you'll hear it.
You can help someone else hear Courage's voice above the rest of the noise by mimicking what Courage says. "You can do it." "You got this." "You've done it before." "I believe in you." "Let's start with the first step." Statements like these can't be one-hit-wonders. They have to be played on repeat to cancel out everything else.
Use Courage's words often. Speak them. Text them. Write them. Sing them. Eventually they will be heard even though Courage whispers.
One day the voices inside her head got together and formed a rock band. Regret is on lead vocals and keyboard. Failure strums guitar. Fear pounds the drums while Doubt plays bass. They all take turns drowning each other out on vocals while Courage stands off to the side with a tambourine and appears to lip sync. But when she listens carefully, she realizes that Courage isn't silent. Courage whispers. (from the back of Courage from the She is . . . Collection)
Celebrate every day,