Improving Your Business Experiences, with Colleen Bowler
Published DateAuthorDan Sullivan and Strategic Coach
Associate Coach Colleen Bowler guides entrepreneurs in The Strategic Coach® Program through the same types of challenges and opportunities as she faces in her own business. In this episode, she shares what the coaching experience is like for her and how Strategic Coach® tools and structures have helped her to run her business more effectively.
Here's some of what you'll learn in this episode:
What coaching individuals from a variety of industries allows Colleen to do.
How coaching workshops makes Colleen’s life better.
The type of “magic” that occurs in every one of her workshops.
What you can do that’s far better than blaming.
Some of Colleen’s favorite thinking tools and how she uses them in her business.
Every time something doesn’t go well, you can use the experience to make sure it goes better the next time.
Entrepreneurism isn’t a way of making money, it’s a way of leading a life.
Working with people outside of your industry lets you think outside the box.
You have to take days completely off from work in order to have quality time with your family members.
Strategic Coach tools work equally well, or even better, outside of work.
If you break your future down into quarters, you never have to worry about anything except for the next 90 days.
When there’s a breakdown, rather than making it about the person, making it about the experience means you can all learn from it.
Dan Sullivan: Hi, this is Dan Sullivan. I'd like to welcome you to the Multiplier Mindset Podcast. Today's Free Zone Frontier transformation story is a great friend of ours in Strategic Coach, Colleen Bowler. And Colleen has been a longtime entrepreneurial participant in Strategic Coach and also one of our associate coaches. I really met her just as she was becoming a coach, and she's actually the first coach that we have in The Strategic Coach Program who wasn't coached by me before she came into the Program. She was coached by another one of our coaches, and I remember the day that I met her in Chicago. We had time together and she told a story about what an impact just one of the tools in Strategic Coach had. And it was about Free Days, of actually taking Free Days. And then for the first time in her business career feeling it was not only okay, but it was fabulous to actually just take free time with the people who meant the most to her.
She says, "I feel so fortunate that I had learned how to take Free Days and I could actually spend time with the person who meant the most in my life." And she said, "I just so love these thinking tools in Strategic Coach, not just for my business life, because it's multiplied 10 times, 15 times, but it's really just how it's allowed me to actually enjoy what life is all about. And that is feeling completely free to be with the people who mean the most to me." And I've got letters going back 25, 30 years from six-year-olds, eight-year-olds, 10-year-olds who said, "Thank you for giving us our father back" or "Thank you for giving us our mother back." And I take a lot of pride in the financial success of our clients and it's constant. So if you're coming every quarter and you're saying, what worked about my business and what's not working about my business, and this is my game plan for the next 90 days, the money's always going to increase. The money's always going to be better.
But I think the entrepreneurs very quickly realize that the Freedom of Money that they get from Strategic Coach actually is best spent in giving them Freedom of Time to actually design their lives that the way they want to. And Colleen's story here is just an amazing story. And personally, I feel so fortunate that all the entrepreneurs who come in and have Colleen as their coach, I think they get deeply, deeply, deeply impacted with the message that she has from her own life. Where you really see the growth of Strategic Coach clients, the entrepreneurs, is where they've handled their business so well that it becomes a Self-Managing Company and then becomes a Self-Multiplying Company without them having to be there, which gives them complete freedom to actually design their personal life. Right now when they're really, really successful, they're really, really busy in a way that most people kind of fantasize about having their life after they retire, okay?
And what they realize is that all the tools that work inside of Coach for your business actually work just as well outside. So Free Days, Focus Days, Buffer Days, sets it all up, and then you have Unique Ability Teamwork. So what we notice is that entrepreneurs, when they have the Freedom of Money and Freedom of Time from their business, actually start designing all the relationships in their life so that they're quality relationships and they're long-term relationships and they're friendships for life. They begin being deeply involved in the parts of their community that mean the most to them, and they give very freely of their talents and their time and their money to improve the community that they're in. So first of all, I think that entrepreneurism isn't a way of making money. Entrepreneurism is a way of leading a life. But a lot of entrepreneurs at best only get about half of this right.
And the part that suffers most is the life that they have outside of their business. And my feeling is that because they have such great tools inside their business from Strategic Coach, that there's a natural overflow into their personal life. And their children learn these tools. As married couples, they come to the Couples' Conference, and they design their life every year and check in every year so that all the goals that they originally thought were going to be a lifetime partnership, truly do become a lifetime partnership. Even when the children grow up, the children leave home, they go on with the same enthusiasm and the same excitement with their personal life, with the person who's most important to them in their life. And this is because the tools work equally as well and even better outside of work as they do inside Strategic Coach.
Colleen Bowler: The one thing that I love about Coach and going to my workshops is I get to be in my workshop with people from all different industries. Yes, there are some in financial services, but sitting next to a neurosurgeon or someone in real estate or food manufacturing, I get to spend the day with people in other industries that allow me to think outside the box. So when I come into Coach, I'm with a bunch of entrepreneurs who have the same issues as I do in running a business, and it really doesn't matter what business we're in, and it just gives me a lot of different ideas that I would never have with a bunch of wonderful financial services people. There have been many times, which is kind of odd because I'm a coach, but there are many times that I don't want to go to my own workshop.
Things are overwhelming, it's very, very busy, or I'm just not in a great frame of mind, but I call it BIC, butt in chair. I know for myself and for my team and my family, as long as my butt's in the chair in my workshop, my life moves forward, which means my team's life moves forward, my client's life move forward, and my family moves forward. I don't really know the ingredients, but the magic of the day with all the other entrepreneurs in the room, the inspiration, the ideas, no matter how I'm feeling, whether I've done my homework or not done my homework, whatever, as long as my butt's in the chair, my life is so much better by the end of the day. It's just magic. I just can't imagine my life without it, without that quarterly look outside of my business into what I really want to have happen in my life and happen for my clients and my team.
We've had so many people that took a couple months off or took a year off and come back, they've gained weight, things are out of control, and I fear for myself because I think that would happen as well. They're so excited about being back and being with this group of people. I mean, really, where else can you find such a innovative, forward-thinking, inspiring group of people who really want to grow and that you get to be with those people every quarter? As a business owner, the tools are very much a part of what we do, just to keep us in focus on our thinking and when we have something that we want to put together. So coming into your workshop, no matter what you're working on, the tools that we utilize during the day, we're able to go back right into our teams and help them utilize them in their everyday life.
So there are things like The Experience Transformer that we use weekly in our group to help really take any experience that we know about, good or bad, and take it to the next level. Whether it is an Experience Transformer about that I've been out of the office and doing an Experience Transformer on what worked and what didn't work when I was out of the office. So each time I leave, it gets better and better and better when I'm out of the office. Doing an Experience Transformer on the quarter, what happened the last quarter, we always do an Experience Transformer on what happened the last year. There are situations that happen in the firm when there are breakdowns, and rather than making it about the person, The Experience Transformer makes it about the experience and that we can all learn from it. And normally, once again, we find that it's a miscommunication or something that happened with the process.
And rather than focus on blaming, we focus on making it a better and richer experience the next time. So we use it for client events, all different kinds of things that happen in the practice on a regular basis. The other tool that I love is Free, Focus, and Buffer Days, because until I put that into my life, I worked every day. So I started in Coach when Addison was 11, and when he was a senior in high school, we went on his spring break trip. We went to New York and we went to all the movies, we walked everywhere. We spent four and a half days there of just immersing ourself in New York City. And on the plane ride home, he looked at me and he said, "Mom, do you realize that you didn't even know where the business center was? You didn't do any work."
This was in the middle of March. And I was just laughing. I was like, "Yeah." He goes, "This is just great. You've just become amazing with this Coach stuff." So we were laughing. Then two weeks later, I was in an automobile accident and almost died. And somebody said to me, "What was going through your mind?" And I said, "Really, it was spring break. And that Addison's last- if I had died, his last thoughts, our time together, would have been on a trip where it was all about having a great time." And that would've never happened before when I first started in Coach. And so that we really had that time together and that I was really present. And I think Free, Focus, and Buffer Days really does that for all of us in Coach, helps us really be present.
Dan Sullivan: Probably about 20 times a quarter, when I'm coaching my workshop, I hear comments made that Colleen made that no matter how she's feeling about going to the Strategic Coach workshop, and she says, "I don't really want to spend the day, and it's a hassle. I have a lot to do." But she forces herself, as she so eloquently put it, to put her butt in the seat and actually arrive and actually sit down and go through the day. Invariably, people who have a similar experience that Colleen expresses here, they come up to me and they said, "I am so happy I came. Everything that was confusing is clear. Everything that was complicated is getting simple. I was really dreading the next 90 days, and now I'm excited about the next 90 days, and 10 of the problems that I thought were big problems of only three of them are worth actually focusing on. Seven of them have just disappeared during the day."
We have a concept in Strategic Coach of calling The Moving Future, that your future is really clear, confident, and energizing for about 90 days at a time. The world changes in 90 days. What you thought you were really excited about, you kind of have run low on gas in the tank. So coming back every 90 days and giving yourself a totally clear picture, leaving behind the things that you achieved and the things you didn't achieve and starting fresh. And just that habit, lifetime habit- And that's why we always ask our entrepreneurs to think in terms of 25 years, which you break down into 100 quarters, and you don't have to worry about anything except the next 90 days. Come back, review, check out the 25-year goals, and go back out for another 90 days. I do that. Babs does that. Everybody in our Strategic Coach company does that. And it just works. It's a Moving Future. It's not a fixed future.