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Maybe it's time to "Edit" your dream instead of chucking it.

“We live in a Universe of refinement” - Shaman Durek

I remember when I first heard my teacher, Shaman Durek say this and it really made me ponder our culture of trying to “Get it right.” I’d always saw myself as a “Don’t waste any more time, if it’s not working move on” type of woman and in fact, in the entrepreneur world, this is often the rhetoric.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard sayings like, “Fail often, fail quickly.” Or “Hire slow, fire fast” and other sayings that simply mean, “Don’t waste time refining. Dump and move on”

Fact of the matter is we live in a world and a society that is always working towards, making it happen, grinding, pushing and stressing and if it’s not working we’re told to just give up and try something else.

But what if you’re a passionate soul and you’re not in business just to find the next innovative thing? What about the creative people who’ve maybe had a dream in their spirit that just hasn’t worked out yet but could if they just took one different pivot or looked at it from a different angle?

There’s very little talk of this and quite frankly, I think that you have to do the thing that’s REALLY resonating with your soul….whether that is refining or abandoning altogether.

When I first opened my practice, I definitely had a vision of what I wanted to do and how I wanted it to look, who I wanted to work with and so on.

Some of those visions came true.

Some are still brewing.

Some I let go of because they no longer fit. 

However, one thing that I had to remain open to was shifting and changing my business, my life and my dreams as I changed as a person.

For example, It was never my plan to be a coach. In fact I was SOOO resistant to it, but my business coach at the time saw something in me that changed the entire direction of my life in the best way. I’ll never forget that day. We were in a private session mapping out my next moves in my business when she said this.

“You have a gift for this. You really need to try coaching.”

My response: “Um no. Just...no”

However, I was intrigued by the fact that she’d started out as a health coach and how everything change in the best way as she shifted to money and business coaching instead.

The more she drilled it into my head over the next few weeks, I started to think about it more seriously. It was the Summer of 2012 when I finally surrendered to what she was saying and decided to just give it a try. “What did I have to lose right?”

Come to find out, I loved it. Still do. In fact, it opened my world to a whole other way of being.

My dream got more expansive.

I got a flood of new ideas.

My vision for my business definitely shifted

and overall how I wanted to serve the world.

Had I never listened to her, I wouldn’t be who I am today.

That part of my business has added so much to my life and as this round of my Mastermind wraps up, I am overwhelmed with feelings of gratitude for this experience and REALLY excited about what we have in store for the next round starting in June.

Again, even the decision to create a mastermind wasn’t initially on my desire list and soon became one of the greatest things I’ve ever done or created in my business ever.

However, I’ll keep it real with you, over 2015 I wanted to quit everything. I wanted to stop being a coach, close my legal practice and just sit on an island somewhere. I couldn’t “Do” anymore but as I just allowed myself to “Be” for a bit, I realized my dreams were still in my soul.

I realized that I loved being a lawyer

I love being a coach and helping people see the power within themselves and execute that.

I love consulting with companies on expansion and strategy.  

It was never about reaching some unattainable standard of perfection or trying to “hack” my life so I could work more with less self-care. I believe our journey is really about being and having love and joy in our lives while we are here.

Maybe you’ve had a dream you’ve been holding onto for a really long time.

Maybe you’ve had bouts with wanting to give it up or throw in the towel.

If you are, I say to you: maybe your dream doesn’t need to be thrown away, perhaps it just needs a little editing.  

The Universe may be trying to steer you in a new direction because something wonderful is waiting for you.

If you’ve been thinking about throwing in the towel here’s some questions you may want to ask yourself before you do

  1. Does this dream still bring you joy when you think of it becoming a reality?
  2. Are you just burnt-out and need to take a break? Note: If you’re super-emotional this is NOT the best time to make big business or life decisions.
  3. Are there new opportunities or ideas you’ve been closed to simply because they didn’t fit into the narrow framework of the vision you’ve held?
  4. If you walk away right now...would you feel relief or dread? This is that inner part of yourself as you REALLY sit with your dream.
  5. Do you think you have a shot if you tried just one more time? If the answer is yes, that means that you still feel determination and dedication to the dream.

That being said, the longer you have a dream, the more you have to be open to allowing it to shift and grow. That’s perfect. Editing doesn’t mean you’re giving up, it means you’re opening.

Maybe it’s about a simple: refine & align verses a trash & dash! LOL Find yourself right for where you are, essentially it's the perfect place for transformation.

Now, I’d love to hear from you if you’ve been thinking about throwing out your dream or simply letting it go. Check me out on Instagram, Facebook at @jwilliamsesq or feel free to leave a comment and tell me your story. I’d love to hear!

And if you think someone needs to see this, please share it with them. We help ourselves by helping each other.

Love you Fiercely,

Jo-Ná

P.S. If you are interested in the Mastermind simply add your name click here--> VIP list and I will be sure to let you know when we re-open in June. All my love.

 

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Brand Expansion gone wrong. What we all can learn from "Shea Moisture"

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Brand Expansion gone wrong. What we all can learn from "Shea Moisture"

I’ve had my hair natural since I was 22 years old and I’ve had locs since 2003. Back then, I had to drive several hours to Detroit and purchase some of Miss Jessie’s curl pudding from my newly chopped tresses from a guy who sold it in his trunk after going to New York to stock up and sale to his dry-haired mid-western black women customers.

I remember when "Carol’s Daughter" was an obscure natural hair care brand made in the kitchen of the Brooklyn brownstone and only mentioned in Erykah Badu songs.

So needless to say, seeing the amazing expansion of natural hair care products over the past decade has been MORE than a relief to my psyche and my hair. Scouring natural hair blogs is now a thing of the past and most women with natural hair have an array of ways to experiment with their hair and figure out what works for them.

One of the most popular brands, Shea Moisture ("Shea"), started as a black-owned family company that grew in popularity with its base being women like me; Curly, Kinky-haired or loc’ed black women looking for the best and most natural products for their hair.

Founded in 1991, Shea Moisture has built up a reputation among its consumers as the “go-to” brand over other popular staples like "Carol’s Daughter" or "Dark and Lovely."

That being said, many women in their fan base were concerned over their recent decision to acquire investment dollars for their expansion by corporate investors, fearing that the quality of the products would go down (like they tend to do when larger companies acquire or invest in smaller businesses). However, what they didn’t expect was something even more alarming.

In an effort to expand their customer base, Shea’s recent campaign ad featured 4 women. One racially-ambiguous, softly-coiled haired woman and 3 white women. The customer base that made Shea Moisture a house-hold name amongst the natural hair community (i.e. women who look like me or have hair like mine) were absent completely.

As a result, they have been in a public relations nightmare for several days with bloggers doing bad reviews of the campaign, thousands of messages on their Facebook page, a twitter fire-storm and now national media like CNN and AdWeek are getting involved (just Google it).

Honestly, from the perspective of black woman who has faithfully supported their products over the years, I definitely wasn’t happy to see my fellow constituents absent from their ads and I felt the collective “ouch” from that community.

As an objective businesswoman who has worked with companies and individuals on their brand expansion, I understand WHAT they were trying to do, albeit executed poorly. Essentially it appears they wanted more market share, increased profits and to expand their audience.

There are many reasons for this. Perhaps they now have huge loans to pay off given the recent investments in their company, a desire to assure their corporate investors so they won’t pull dollars. Maybe they desire to expand their product line to expose even more people to Shea butter and other natural ingredients and increase knowledge that there are healthy alternatives for hair and skincare that don’t involve harsh chemicals that damage our bodies. Who knows?

I don’t think that any of their objectives are wrong from a business standpoint. BUUUTTTT...the execution is where they screwed up.

Here are 3 Mistakes that Shea Moisture made that you can learn from and use as you expand your own brand:

Mistake #1Abandoning your core market – Listen, we all want to grow and expand, make more profits, reach wider audiences and expand our visions. However, they didn’t INCLUDE their core market into the expansion. This could have easily been fixed if they would have simply added their core demographic to the commercial along with the market they wanted to expand to. They may have had a few grumbles from some people but they wouldn’t have pissed off the entire consumer base that made them famous while simultaneously increasing the sales of their competition. (Hello United Airlines!) Now they appear disloyal to their customers. Bad move.

Mistake #2: Bad Surprise - Generally, many people don’t like change or surprises. Don’t believe the hype. Expansion also causes major contraction and that backlash they didn’t prepare for. Now, when you expand your brand, it’s incredibly important to warn your core audience BEFORE you move in a different direction. This was a surprise to their market and a BAD one. You’re not Beyoncé. The element of surprise doesn’t work if you’re doing a complete 180 shift or you're outside of your market in a way that your core isn’t prepared for. Give people the time to adjust to the new changes you’re making by letting them know before you make them. That way they know you’re taking them with you verses leaving them behind.

 Mistake #3: Core audience missing from the decision room - You can’t make such a huge shift without having your core audience as a part of the decisions. This could have prevented the marketing disaster if they simply had a kinky or curly - haired, black woman in the room. She could've easily scanned the ad for herself and gave them a few tips about the campaign. Naturally, as humans we look for reliability and familiarity. I can guarantee their core consumers didn’t sign off on that ad. Trust.

Now, I don’t want you to think that pivots aren’t a part of business or that you won’t be able to expand out of fear of losing your profits. You just have to be strategic and bring your people with you. Don’t drop them like a hot potato because you want a bigger audience.

Remember: Loyalty, Alert, and Input. These 3 things will keep you on the right side of your audience as you grow and expand beyond your core.

Now tell me, what did you learn from the Shea Moisture debacle? Are you planning a brand expansion? Leave a comment or hit me up on Instagram or Facebook and let me know.

Also, if you know anyone who’s thinking of moving in a different direction in their business, send this to them. We learn and grow through sharing with each other.

Love You Fiercely,

Jo-Ná

P.S. If you are interested in knowing more my Business & Life Mastermind when we reopen in June, be sure to hop on the VIP list and I’ll send you all the deets. Much love boo.

 

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