First she was a lawyer. Then she went back to school to be a therapist. And now, Nancy Linnerooth has made a few adjustments to finally settle into a career that leaves her happy and inspired.
Linnerooth is a business and career coach with a special expertise in helping entrepreneurs and independent professionals blast through the obstacles blocking their success. It's all about helping already-well people improve themselves by learning how to stay on track, and hurdle over the inevitable stumbling blocks.
Particularly when it comes to self-imposed obstacles—often rooted in long-held beliefs about what defines success and an individual's perception of him- or herself—Linnerooth offers guidance and specific strategies to help professionals first identify, and then blast through, those difficulties.
How to know if you have a block
You might not always realize you have a block until you review your behavior in business, paying particular attention to any patterns that may exist, Linnerooth says.
For example, you might routinely let some of your duties slide. Maybe you miss deadlines, or you avoid networking, even when you know it's important.
"A real big sign that you've got one of these blocks is that you have a repeat pattern of doing something that undercuts you or sabotages you, or you're not doing the things you know you need to [in order] to succeed," she says.
Solution 1: The buddy system
The tried-and-true solution is to find a coach or buddy to provide you encouragement, support and, most importantly, accountability.
Set up regular meetings—say, weekly or biweekly—with another business owner or friend. Talk about what you accomplished since your last meeting, what you didn't and what got in the way. Discuss what you'd like to accomplish before you get together next and outline the steps you need to take to get there.
Reward yourselves when you nail your goals, and provide supportive motivation when you don't. But make it a partnership.
"You really need an outside human being to make it work," Linnerooth says.
Solution 2: Take your power back
When people don't follow through, Linnerooth says, she's noticed they're focusing on what they should do, or what they're supposed to do—"and whenever they tell themselves that, they want to run, they want to go play, they want to do anything else."
To combat that attitude, Linnerooth tells her clients there's nothing they have to do.
"You don't even have to pay taxes," she says. "Of course, if you don't, you'll probably go to jail, but you don't have to do it. So stop telling yourself you have to do anything. Instead, what you say, and you say it out loud, is 'I choose to.'"
That shift helps you feel more empowered and in control, Linnerooth says. Adopt that sentiment, and say it aloud.
Solution 3: Scrap your To-Do list for a Done list
Many times, Linnerooth says, her clients attack themselves for things they haven't gotten done.
"It's very difficult to stop beating yourself up," she says. "But what you do is, instead of focusing on what you haven't done—which is leading to that negative self-talk—start focusing on what you have accomplished."
Stop keeping track of everything you need to accomplish on a to-do list, and instead list off the tasks you've completed.
"When you do that, you get a boost of energy," she says. "'Look what I've accomplished; I can do more.' And that's what people end up doing when they have a Done list." (Get more tips on to-do lists.)
Solution 4: Flip your sentences around
"I got a couple sections of the report written, but I was supposed to do the whole thing."
If someone tells Linnerooth something like that, she tells them to stop right there. She asks them to switch the sentence around, putting the negative first.
"And they'll say, 'I didn't complete the report but I did write the first two sections,' and they'll look up at me, and physically they've changed," she says. "They're holding themselves up higher, they're looking more energized." (Get more tips on how to reset your brain.)
Solution 5: Find the upside to the downside
Linnerooth likens this one to the two-headed llama from the Dr. Doolittle story. One of its heads wants to go toward a delicious bushel, but the other head is pulling in the opposite direction. The llama can't go anywhere.
"I see that with clients a lot," she says. "[They] really want to succeed and have [something] done…And then they don't do it. And then they're looking around for reasons why they're such a loser and why they don't do it."
But what underlies that issue, she says, is some deeply rooted, fundamental belief that's blocking progress. For these people, there is virtually always something they gain by skirting success, even if only psychologically.
For example, a person might feel like the friends they have lunch with once a week, the ones who like to get together and complain about how bad things are, wouldn't understand. Or maybe a Debbie-Downer family member would mock that success.
But once you identify that trigger—which, Linnerooth says, is often clearly off-base or nonsensical, when you finally get a grasp on what it is—you can conquer it. (Get more tips on how to train yourself to be more successful.)
Solution 6: Feel the pressure
There are accu-pressure points on the body, Linnerooth says, that help soothe, calm and release these negative emotional beliefs.
"I had a client who, she would freak out—no one could see it, but inside of her—she would be in a meeting and as soon as things would get really heated, and different people were talking, she'd lose the conversation and she'd get really wound up," says Linnerooth. So she shared an accu-pressure technique for overcoming that anxiety:
Take your thumb and rub it in a circular motion on the side of your index finger, near the base of the fingernail. That gentle massage sends a calming message to the brain. (Get tips on office ergonomics.)
Photo credit: flickr/stuartpilbrow