3 Ways to Break Through Fear and Be the Leader You Are Meant to Be

“Why would anyone listen to what I have to say?” she asked me during one of our sessions. I couldn’t believe my ears! As a new business owner, my client hadn’t yet achieved the outward success she wanted, even though she appeared strong and accomplished on the outside.

I get it, this has happened to me before too. Sadly, I’ve heard the following doubtful questions numerous times from my clients when it comes to their business, speaking engagements, promotions, awards, etc.:

  • “Why would anyone listen to me?”
  • “Am I ready for that?”
  •  “Why do I deserve this?”

Last weekend at a women’s leadership panel, I brought up “Imposter Syndrome”—which is feeling inadequate, undeserving and/or unqualified despite evident success. This rang true for many in the audience. One woman shared that she understood feeling like an imposter when she recently won an award and during her acceptance speech, she admitted she didn’t believe she had done anything great or groundbreaking to deserve the award.

I’ve seen this scenario play out with even my most successful clients. One client was part of a women’s empowerment event and happened to be the most distinguished speaker there by far. Rather than share tips on how she became successful, she came armed with tons of statistics she thought the audience wanted to hear. Although a few stats are certainly helpful, the audience (including me!) really CRAVED to hear more of her inspiring success story.

So how can you banish imposter syndrome forever? When most afraid, this trick has worked well with myself and with my clients—be proactive! Here are 3 ways you can proactively step up and position yourself as a leader instead of dimming your light:

  1. Ask to speak at an upcoming industry event – even if you think you aren’t qualified/credible enough to speak. When you DO get accepted as a speaker, graciously accept it.
  2. Apply for an Award/Nomination – even if you think you aren’t qualified/worthy to win. When you DO win, graciously accept it.
  3. Pitch an Article or expert media quote – even if you think you aren’t qualified/“expert” enough. When you DO get published, graciously accept it.

And here’s one more special bonus tip:

4. BONUS: Share your story – even if you think you have nothing to offer or no one will care. BE a leader by example, and authenticity and vulnerability are all part of being a true leader. Chances are that someone WILL be inspired by your personal story and how far you’ve come no matter where you are now.

When in doubt, be and do it anyway! And it should go without saying that when friends, colleagues and clients express their own “imposter” symptoms, that we empower them to apply for that position/talk/award anyway.

Have you ever felt like an “imposter?” What is one thing you can do today to proactively step up as the leader you are?

If you need extra help breaking through the fears and saboteurs holding you back or developing your story/identity, sign up for a complimentary Strategy Session (valued at $350) to help you create a clear vision, discover obstacles in your way and feel more energized in your journey. 

Happiness: A Reclamation 

happy

Confession: I used to cringe any time I heard the word “happy” and “happiness.” Everyone wants to be happy, happy, happy with big fake smiles on their faces as they down alcohol or some other substance.

That word seemed overused and superficial. To me it was all about the extrinsic factors that bring momentary or fleeting contentment. After all, getting likes on an Instagram post is a dopamine hit that makes you “happy” in the moment. But those same people are still unhappy and lonely. 

It wasn’t until 2018 that I picked up A Course In Miracles that my view on happiness changed. In the Course, happiness is synonymous with joy, love, peace and oneness. Which is the only thing that exists, in the ultimate state of heaven. But that happiness is not extrinsic, fleeting contentment. That is real, intrinsic happiness that comes from within.  

In 2019, I was attracted to a training program Happy For No Reason, and it really made sense to me that the term happiness could be used for that joy and peace that is not contingent on external factors. 

Now not only do I not cringe at the term, but I want to reclaim its use in superficial measure and educate others on “happy for no reason,” or the intrinsic joy that comes from within.

Would you like to learn how to increase your happiness set point to become more “happy for no reason”? Click here to learn more, or set up a complimentary strategy call with me.

Turn New Year’s Resolutions into Achievable Goals

SMART-goals

Has this happened to you before? You set a few great new year’s resolutions, feel empowered into the first two weeks of the year and then seem to lose momentum by the end of the month. By February you’ve forgotten you even set any resolutions.

Why does this happen? Many of us lose focus and motivation, get distracted by other daily issues or don’t commit to follow through and take action. This can happen both with personal and professional goals.

Whether your goal is to finally follow your passion and mission, gain more clients, write a book, turn a hobby into a business, or any other personal or professional goal, the following tips can help you become more successful in fulfilling your goals this year:

  1. Set S.M.A.R.T. Goals For The Year! Visualize your ideal life in all areas, including Mission, Business, Finances, Health and Lifestyle. I challenge my clients to choose one or two stretchhhhh goals over the next year and make it their mission to accomplish them. The trick is to make your goals S.M.A.R.T.: specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-based. For example, a S.M.A.R.T. goal for your business may be to earn $10,000 more per month in revenue by December 31st. Vague goals are harder to carry through to completion.
  2. Write Down Your Goals! Playing off of that old saying, think “In sight, in mind!” Write down your goals on your fridge, computer, flash cards, journal, vision board, or some other written or visual format that works for you. Make sure to review your goals at least once every day! For example, write down your ideal client or account you’d like to land and make sure you see it every day. Keeping your goals top of mind will help you to reach them.
  3. Create a Plan for Action For Major Goals! Write down your plan for action, broken down into major task items along with deadlines. If this feels overwhelming, start with just the first month or week. Schedule these deadlines in your calendar or agenda in advance. For example, suppose you’d like to obtain 5 new recurring clients this month. Write down the major tasks to accomplish this such as: Week 1, research and make a list of potential leads; Week 2, contact each lead; Week 3, set up follow-up calls or meetings; Week 4, provide quotes to interested leads, etc. Then of course, make sure you actually do each action item, or refine the plan as necessary.
  4. Find Support or Accountability Partners: Share your major goals with a mentor, friend, Master Mind group, your partner or family members you trust. Tell only those people who won’t be judgmental, who will hold you accountable for your actions, who will keep you on track and support you when you start to lose motivation. Having accountability partners provides you the support you need, making it easier to follow through on your goals.
  5. Work On Mindset: A very important part of ensuring you actually follow through on all your goals is to work on your mindset. That means that you become aware of any self-limiting beliefs, thoughts, habits, decisions, patterns and actions and make sure you have empowering ones. We usually need to ELEVATE our mindset to reach these goals, especially the stretch goals. It takes a lot of self awareness to identify our self-limiting beliefs and patterns (clues including procrastination, anxiety, sickness) and to act in spite of them. The best accountability partners can also help you spot these disempowering beliefs and help you move past them. If you need extra help or want to do it faster, hire a coach trained to help you with all of these steps to accomplish your goals.

Setting goals that are S.M.A.R.T., writing them down and reviewing them every day, following a plan for action, finding others to support you, and identifying self-limiting patterns, are all powerful ways to accomplish your goals.

If you wish to gain more clarity, direction and work toward a plan for action to accomplish your goals in 2020, I can help; sign up for a Clarity Call

May this be your best year yet! Here’s to your success in 2020!

*For more guidance discovering your mission, getting unstuck, feeling more passion and joy, or whatever your soul is desiring at this time, I’m offering new year coaching specials through the end of the month. If you or anyone you know needs that extra push, now is a great time to start! You can also set up a complimentary Clarity Call where we’ll help you gain clarity and put you on the right path to achieving your goals. Either way, you’ll find a ton of value in this call. 

Start With the End in Mind…

Stephanie
Below is a beautiful post from my friend Stephanie D. Riggs, who works with elderly and hospice patients.
I’m reminded of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, and reading the section on thinking of the end in mind, literally changed my life. It was one of the first times I pondered this concept of values, mission, purpose, legacy. A couple of years later I resigned from the corporate world and have pursuing my mission since, and helping others do so as well.
When you reflect on the possibility of dying tomorrow or in a month or in a year, it puts everything into perspective. The first time I realized my own mortality, I was 30 and the thought of potentially dying spurred me to write my first book in just 3 weeks. It was divinely inspired and I just kept writing until I finished!
What am I here for? I knew a book could be part of leaving my legacy. That was a precursor to my company and method Mission Based Branding.
Who are you called to be? What are you called to do? Read on…
・・・
Repost by Stephanie D. Riggs: When I ask my hospice patients about their regrets there’s never mention of frustration over not being the skinniest or prettiest, or wishing they had more money, fame or status. Instead, these are the top 5 regrets of the dying:
1) I wish I had the courage to live a life true to myself instead of the expectations others had of me.
2) I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.
3) I wish I had the courage to express my feelings more often.
4) I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends even with the distance and the passing of the years.
5) I wish that I had let myself be happier- because happiness IS a choice.
Everyday, take a moment to sit at your deathbed and see what your dying self has to say about your Life. Is there anything that needs to change? ✨
Do you know there’s something more to your life, but you’re just not sure what that is? Would you like to step up, step into your mission and share your message with the world Now (or eventually)?  If so, schedule a Discovery Call  with me and I can help you gain clarity. To your mission! -Alexandra

M is for Mission-Based

blue target iconA couple of weeks ago I wrote an article about turning resolutions into achievable goals.

Following my own advice, I set a goal for myself to close 5 new clients in January. 2 weeks in, I had taken lots of steps in the article, started getting tons of leads and even got a couple of new clients.

But I discovered something very interesting. Although my leads were soaring and I started getting prospects really interested in working with me, many were not my ideal clients. Although I could technically offer what they were looking for, there were enough differences in each type of client that I would have to dedicate extra time, energy and resources to working with all of them. I would be all over the place.

They were not my ideal clients because they weren’t in line with my mission and how I can best serve humanity.  

So I was stuck having to make a decision: do I close these clients who I’m not super passionate about working with and potentially not deliver my best and be drained working with them?

No. You see, this is not a sustainable business model.

It is true that many times we must follow one path that doesn’t feel like it’s fulfilling our mission, but that provides us income to survive and certain skills we need to strengthen and prepare ourselves to continue fulfilling our mission.

I have a client who is an attorney entrepreneur who was doing mindless freelance work, when I helped her get clear about her mission and path about a year ago. We were both really excited, and she had and still has so much potential. A month after our Mission M.A.P. session, I did a follow-up with her in which she told me she replaced her freelance work by becoming an independent agent in a completely different industry. She still wanted to pursue her mission, but needed to gain some stable income first and couldn’t do the mindless legal work anymore.

Recently I spoke to her and she told me that looking back, she was just not confident in her abilities and her competency back then to go all-in with her mission. Over the last year she has built her network, learned how to be a salesperson and gained other valuable skills that are going to be important once she goes all in into her mission-driven business. Very importantly, she was clear that the job she’s in now is not her forever career.

A sustainable business is not one in which you close whatever clients are low hanging fruit just to get a check. That is survival. There is no strategy to that. Looking back over the last 7 years, I realized I went through periods of this. This is a recipe for burnout, not success.

You can have 1 or 2 clients or business avenues like this to build a financial foundation, parallel to building a sustainable business model with your ideal, mission-based clients.

Remember knowing who you want to work with (your target clients) and how you can best serve them (unique value proposition/client offering), is part of the Mission-Based Business & Branding process.

So to add to the previous article, make sure you create S.M.M.A.R.T. goals: Specific, Measurable, Mission-Based, Attainable, Relevant and Time-Bound.

Has this ever happened to you? Share in the comments below.

 

*For more guidance clarifying your mission,  creating your brand, setting business goals, and creating plans for action to achieve your goals, I’m offering new year coaching specials through the end of the month. If you or anyone you know needs that extra push, now is a great time to start! You can also set up a complimentary Discovery Call with me to learn about the Mission Based Branding and Business Method and see if it’s right for you.

Screw Credibility as a Motivator

credibility2This week in my year-end reflection, I looked back on my business and my entire 15-year career with clarity and compassion. I realized that at varying times I’ve toggled between being in growth/learning mode or being in contribution mode as motivation in my career. [Note these are part of the 6 human needs according to Tony Robbins — lower ego needs: Certainty, Variety, Significance and Love; higher spiritual needs: Growth and Contribution]. Although I’ve tried, rarely have I ever been motivated fully by both Growth and Contribution at the same time.

Another thing I noticed is that at times I was motivated by attaining Credibility. I’m referring to the titles, the degrees, the certifications, the courses, you name it. There’s a big difference between gaining all those notches on your belt out of a genuine passion for knowledge — or out of a need to feel important or better about yourself (aka Significance). Or because you believe you’re not enough (limiting belief).

Whenever I focused on gaining Credibility for myself or my business, I plateaued or eventually faltered. It’s because I wasn’t fully creating with passion and purpose; I wasn’t fully focused on serving others, rather my own ego. Not surprisingly, although there may have been some learning, it rarely resulted in much expansion and growth.

I’ve even spouted “increased Credibility” as a benefit of using some of my branding and positioning services; and that’s okay, but it’s not necessary. I know many mission-driven entrepreneurs who chase the next certification because they don’t believe they’re good enough right now to be trusted, reputable and taken seriously to gain clients. No judgment — I’ve been there too!

This is actually a form of self sabotage, because really, when are you credible enough? There’s the 10,000 expertise hours Tipping-Point theory according to Gladwell. But why spend years of your life to try to perfect a talent you were born with or experience acquired on your life journey?

Because my traditional understanding of success meant acquiring degrees and climbing up the corporate ladder, I was truly humbled when I first became an entrepreneur and saw others who were extraordinarily successful with no degree, no certifications and just a passion and mission to grow and contribute through business.

Needing all those graduate degrees, certifications and rolodex of contacts only serves your ego and not your clients. Sure, they may want to see a degree or license to intellectually validate their decision to work with you, but really your experience, learnings and most importantly your desire and passion to help them is what most serves them.

Of course, there are always some ego needs to fill. But if you want to be successful as a Missionpreneur, screw the credibility factor as a motivator and focus on your clients and doing what you’re passionate about, serving others and growing for your sake and the sake of who you are serving.

After channeling this message in my meditation today, I took a risk and started honing a new skill in my branding and business coaching business. It is not something I can necessarily flaunt my titles and degrees to show how “credible” I am. And yet, I know that it will serve others in a huge way.

Takeaway: You don’t need all the degrees and titles to start or have a successful business. You can help others no matter where you are in the process or how many certifications you have or don’t have. You may not see it right away, but find the way that best serves others where you’re at right now!

If you’re still stuck and need some guidance making it through murky waters, set up a time to chat with me for a complimentary clarity call: calendly.com/alexandrafigueredo!

You’re not alone

man despairToday is #WorldMentalHealthDay

Many people may see me as an overly happy, smiley and positive person. My sisters would get so annoyed with me as a kid because I would laugh and sing incessantly. I have family members that still call me “Sunshine,” “Isadora Duncan”(the ballerina), and the list goes on. Most of my life, I’ve been generally pretty happy, smiley and emotionally stable.

But as soon as I became an entrepreneur, things changed dramatically. Without the constant of a paycheck every 2 weeks, my already sensitive nature turned into hot mess emotional. I’ve never had a panic attack or cried uncontrollably until I became an entrepreneur. Some days I still cry multiple times a day.

At first I was really scared because I thought something was wrong with me. I’ve gone to therapy and done other holistic treatments like hypnosis and emotional freedom techniques (EFT/tapping).

“So how do you stay so happy and smiley?”, I get asked all the time.

Over the years I’ve been able to take advantage of these emotions and use them as invaluable feedback.

One thing I do is write, journal, jot down my thoughts and feelings–and if I start crying, get angry or pout, I go with it. I don’t try to hide them, suppress them, judge them, get angry or shame myself.

99% of the time, I feel instantly better after going through this process.

But I am not happy and smiley all the time. It is because I go through this exercise of allowing myself to feel my feelings and emotions and cry that I am able to release those, move on and feel more at peace and joyful.

And if you ever feel this way, know you’re not alone. I’m here for you if you ever want to talk or share your thoughts and feelings.

What do you do to manage your stress and emotions?

Love, peace, joy and occasional tears to you!

About Alexandra Figueredo:

Alexandra’s mission is to inspire, empower and support you to #BeTheMission! She is Founder & CEO of Latina Founders and Mission Based Branding Institute communications agency and training platform for impact businesses and entrepreneurs. This reformed banker turned “Missionpreneur” is also a speaker, author, writer, arts and culture lover, traveler (5 continents and counting!) and citizen of the world! Follow her musings at @OnAMissionAlex.

Ladies: We need you to step up!

Ladies: We need you to step up!

LADIES, here’s a little PSA:

When you get asked to speak, DO IT!

When you get asked to be interviewed, DO IT!

When you get asked to be a leader, DO IT!

When you get asked to write an article, DO IT!

When you have to opportunity to ask to do all of the above, DO IT, DO IT, DO IT!

The only people who should turn down any of these opportunities are those whose schedules are blowing up with invitations and you have the luxury to choose.

air force leaders

I cringe every time I see a speaker docket overwhelmingly (or only) comprised of men. It frustrates me when I read articles written by white men in national publications talking about issues specific to women or minority groups.

We need more female leaders and experts. We need more minority women to step up and serve. We need you!

If you don’t do it for yourself, do it to serve as a role model for your kids, other women, aspiring leaders and your community.

What is one leadership opportunity you’d love to have?

This week I challenge you to either ask for it directly or find someone who can refer you to the appropriate channels.

Oh, and then I want to hear about it! Share with us in the comments.

Much success to you!

About Alexandra Figueredo:

Alexandra’s mission is to inspire, empower and support you to #BeTheMission! She is Founder & CEO of Latina Founders and Mission Based Branding Institute communications agency and training platform for impact businesses and entrepreneurs. This reformed banker turned “Missionpreneur” is also a speaker, author, writer, arts and culture lover, traveler (5 continents and counting!) and citizen of the world! Follow her musings at @OnAMissionAlex.

Don’t Give Up Your Weekends Working

When I was a kid, I remember a family member talking about how terrible it was to be in entertainment or hospitality because “then you’d give up your weekends working.” I think we were either talking about being performers or restaurant owners or both, but deep down I think it was a way to dissuade me from becoming Gloria Estefan!

Well, it stuck. What a shitty view to put on a young person. Do you see how we unknowingly self-sabotage ourselves sometimes based on other people’s screwed-up belief systems?

Subconsciously this taught me two things:

1) You shouldn’t follow your passion

2) You can’t work on the weekend and enjoy your weekend at the same time

Gloriaestefan_ahoyI enjoy food and singing, so I have no doubt I could have been a successful performer AND restaurant owner like Gloria Estefan. Instead I studied finance and became a banker because that was the “right thing to do.” It was safe. It was boring. And eventually I became dissatisfied and unfulfilled.

It’s not surprising that I struggled financially when I finally became an entrepreneur following my passion and working in something I enjoyed (at all hours of the week and weekend) because of underlying belief systems including that damned weekend killer.

But so many times I’ve proven that statement wrong. For example, I worked as a publicist for theaters and entertainment venues in the evenings and weekends and loved it!

Today I love working with Missionpreneurs.

This week, after long days of work, I’ve spent extra time in the evenings coaching mission-driven startups who are pitching their businesses this Thursday at a pitch competition at Venture Cafe Miami (@VentureCafeMia). Even though I’m doing it pro-bono, I enjoy it, I’m excited about it, I love helping them and I feel invested in their success. It doesn’t feel like “work” (and in this case, I’m not even getting paid).

I’ve often asked my clients and colleagues, what would you do if earning income were not necessary. After the usual “travel for a year,” most people want to do what they love and contribute. For me, I’d be doing what I’ve done today AND tonight — mentoring, empowering and supporting other mission-driven entrepreneurs and leaders.

Follow your passion and do what you enjoy even if you have to work during the evening, during the weekend, during lunch breaks, during your mani and pedi, or giving the mani and pedi…

This is your life.

If it makes you feel good, you certainly shouldn’t live your life by someone else’s standards.

By the way, it isn’t too late to course-correct and start on that path now. I did it at around 30. You can do it at any age.

Shoot, now may even be the right time to become the next Estefan.

 

Do you have a problem working evenings or weekends? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Alexandra’s mission is to inspire, empower and support you to #BeTheMission! She is Founder & CEO of Latina Founders and Mission Based Branding Institute communications agency and training platform for impact businesses and entrepreneurs. This reformed banker turned “Missionpreneur” is also a speaker, author, writer, arts and culture lover, traveler (5 continents and counting!) and citizen of the world! Follow her musings at @OnAMissionAlex.

Pitch With Passion and Purpose

Last week I shared a bit about my story with sharing my message–the traumatizing experience I had, the stage fright that overcame me for over a decade, and my fight to come back from the fear, and do it anyway!

I gave a fun and insightful workshop at Venture Cafe Miami and I plan to do more work in this area.

Attached is my presentation in PDF format, which you are welcome to read and use. Please note, all the processes in this presentation are my own and may not be reproduced or represented with my prior written approval.

Mission Pitch With Impact Front Cover

Click here: Pitch for Impact

If you would like to have a personalized pitch session with me and/or with your team, please contact me at Alexandra@MissionBasedBranding.com to arrange a time to discuss.