Sally Ann Miller

The Visibility Challenge: Retrain Your Brain

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Most people think the reason they are struggling in business is because they don’t know the “how”. They want someone to give them the exact strategy or blueprint for success.

However, the real reason entrepreneurs struggle is because they are living on autopilot. Their subconscious thoughts and feelings are driving their actions and results.

This is normal. Marketing your business is a potential “threat” to your brain. Especially to us introverts. And when your brain feels threatened it triggers an automatic response to return you to safety.

The problem is that as long as you are living on autopilot, you keep recreating the same results. Your subconscious programming is literally stopping you from growing… in your business and in your life.

This is why I created the Visibility Challenge. It kicks off on Monday, March 21st 2022. Though you can start the challenge any time. You can also do the challenge whenever you’re struggling in business. It’s guaranteed to kickstart your results.

The Visibility Challenge is simple – all you need to do is make 100 invitations. An invitation is any piece of content that is both helpful and shared publicly. So really, all I’m asking you to do is help people 100 times.

By doing the challenge, you will:

  • Find your voice and refine your message.
  • Train your brain that it’s “safe” to be seen and take up space in the world.
  • Create a volume of helpful content for your audience.
  • Learn how to talk about what you do so people can’t wait to work with you.
  • Have renewed enthusiasm for your business… because challenges are fun!
  • After 100 invitations you WILL make money.

So, what do you think? Are you in?

What you’ll learn on today’s episode:

  • 11 signs you’re operating from subconscious programming
  • The three tools to retrain your brain to feel safe in your business
  • Why doing The Visibility Challenge will transform your results
  • The Visibility Challenge “Rules”:
    1. Make 100 invitations over any time period
    2. Record (and reward) your action using the Challenge Log
    3. Analyze and improve after every 5 invitations using curiosity
    4. Challenge ends when you have made 100 invitations

Featured on this episode:

Transcript

Welcome to Introverts Thriving in Business, the podcast for introverts who enjoy the comfort of her, hate the idea of selling, and want to create a thriving business on their terms. If you’re ready to go from overwhelmed and anxious, to feeling calm and accomplished in your business, then keep listening. I’m your host, Sally Miller.

Welcome back to the podcast. And today, I am going to be sharing with you a challenge I’ve created called The Visibility Challenge. Now, very quickly, if you are listening to this in March of 2022, when this podcast episode goes live, we are actually going to be doing the Visibility Challenge inside the Business Growth Lab. That’s my coaching program. I’d love for you to come join us live. If you would like to find out more about that, go to www.sallyannmiller.com/thelab. And I’ll also put that link in the show notes.

Okay, so why did I create the Visibility Challenge? What’s it all about? To explain that, we need to recap a little. I want to talk first about why most people fail to build a business that creates a positive income, that generates the amount of money they want, they feel fulfilled doing. The reason most people fail is not because they don’t know the how. Most people think that’s what they need. They think they need more strategy. They want the exact blueprint. They want the steps. Listen, I get it, I was that person too.

But once you have a little bit of how a little bit of strategy, the real reason most people fail is because we humans are living on autopilot. The vast majority of the world are living on autopilot 100% of the time. And even once you learn about these concepts, and you learn about how your thoughts create your actions and results, and you start diving into mindset work, even then, for the most part, we still live our lives on autopilot. And there’s a good reason for that. Our brains like to be efficient. It would be exhausting if we had to make a conscious decision about every small thing throughout the day, you know, about brushing our teeth, how to have a shower, feed the dog, make breakfast. Of course, we do all those things on autopilot, and that is beautiful because it’s efficient, and it preserves energy.

However, there are other times when living on autopilot is a problem, especially in growing a business. And that’s what we’re going to talk about on this podcast. So, here’s the deal. When you’re building a business, your brain sees pretty much everything as a possible threat, especially marketing and selling. These are potential threats to your brain. And when your brain is sensing a threat, your automatic response is going to kick in. It’s often called fight or flight response or fight, flight, freeze, fawn. We’ve evolved in order to stay safe, okay? This is perfectly normal and is working as intended.

Now, this happens because of various reasons. The first reason, our brains have been programmed to act like this. And by the way, this is subconscious. Most of the time, you’re not even aware that it’s happening. The first reason is something I just referred to, and it’s evolution. Our brains have evolved to keep us safe. So, the oldest, the most primal part of your brain has evolved to avoid threats. They are literally seen as dangerous to your life. And your brain wants to avoid any threat; you’re going to go into a response, it might be fighting to get rid of the threat, it might be flying to escape the threat. Perhaps you freeze perhaps so it doesn’t see you or fawning. You want to reduce it, make the threat smaller.

So, evolution is one good reason why our brains do this. But we also have programming that comes from our lived experiences, especially in childhood. This is totally understandable. When we were children, we had less mature brains. And when we felt unsafe as a child, we established ways to protect ourselves. Think about a very small example would be when the teacher calls on you in school, and perhaps you were scared you didn’t know the answer. And yet, all those feelings of anxiety and nerves came up. Your brain didn’t want you to experience that. It felt threatening, and maybe you learn to hide, not be so visible. That’s very common with a lot of introverts. That’s why I came up with the Visibility Challenge. And socialization also has created a lot of subconscious programming.

Listen, it’s no secret that we are inundated with messages in the world – from advertising, from media for news from Hollywood. Our brains, this constant stimulation coming in. We aren’t able to consciously filter it, but all this stimulus is programming us. And a lot of it is negative. We’re being reminded nonstop by media of all the bad things in the world. And our brain is continually trying to help protect us from those bad things, as it were. And like I said, a lot of the time, you’re not even aware of it.

So, bringing this back to the business: here are just some of the signs that you are living on autopilot. And no judgment here. Please don’t use this to judge yourself. We all do these things. It’s completely natural. But one of the signs is procrastination, another is overwhelm or confusion, perfectionism, or one I talked about on a couple of episodes ago on the podcast, imposter syndrome. Maybe it’s also doubting yourself, your business idea, comparisonitis, chasing shiny objects, spinning your wheels, analysis paralysis, buffering, buffering by scrolling on social media and distracting yourself, or over Netflixing or eating or drinking or shopping, self-sabotage. overworking, overdoing. These are all signs, you are living on autopilot, and it’s completely natural. Your brain kicks in and tries to protect you from perceived threats.

So, we’ve established that this is normal, your brain is working as intended. When starting a business is totally human to fear judgment, or failure or rejection. Your primal brain, the oldest part of your brain literally thinks you’re going to die and seeks to protect you by returning you to safety. But this, of course, is a problem when you want to grow and build a business. Because your automatic programming, if it’s driving your actions and results, you’re going to keep recreating the same results over and over again. So however, much money you’ve made in your business so far, if you continue to live on autopilot, that is the result you’re going to keep creating.

All right, so what do we do about this? Well, first of all, here’s what I don’t want you to do. Once you become aware of this, the first thing you don’t want to do is stay in that automatic response, that stress response, that fight or flight or freeze, or fawn response. You don’t want that programming to keep kicking in every time your brain thinks there’s a threat in business, because it’s not a real threat. If you stay in that stress response every time, you’re either going to give up, you’re going to self-sabotage, or you actually experienced physical illness in your business. Your body will actually create physical symptoms or illness to get you out of that situation.

The other thing you don’t want to do is to try and hustle your way through. I am very anti-hustle in business. But it’s extremely tempting to do. And I fall into this trap all the time and have to keep pulling myself out of it. This idea that I can just work my way through this, I can action my way out of it. But this is going to lead to burnout, and to be honest, misery, you’re not going to be happy in your business.

So, the solution is to re train your brain and your nervous system for that matter, to feel safe as you grow your business, to feel safe and not have that automatic response kick in. So this is where I came up with the Visibility Challenge. And the Visibility Challenge actually uses three specific tools to achieve this to retrain your brain. And I’m going to tell you what the three tools are. And then I will dive into how to do the Visibility Challenge because it’s really simple. But first, I want you to understand why it works, and why I think it’s so important for you to do this, if in any way you’re struggling to grow your business.

So, tool number one I call redefine success. So, one of the problems we’ve established is your brain is afraid of failure, it’s afraid of failing. And so that’s when this automatic response kicks in to keep you safe in case you might fail. It’s also actually attached to a result. So, another part of the problem that I haven’t talked about yet, is typically when we’re growing our businesses, we’re very attached to signing that next client, to making X amount of money this month. And when we become extremely attached to a result, we actually push away the thing we most want. So, we want to loosen up that attachment. And we also want to teach our brain not to be afraid of failing.

So, the first tool, “Redefine Success,” is all about reducing that fear, and also reducing the attachment to a result. And how this works is we’re going to redefine success as taking action. So just to be really clear, instead of success being: I’ve signed a client, or I’ve made X amount of money. You’re going to teach your brain that it has succeeded, it is good, that’s the result that you want every time you take a particular action. And this can be a very simple action. It could be posting on social media, or sending an email or telling someone about your business. And you’re going to reward your brain, literally give it a reward, every time you take an action. This is how we’re going to retrain your brain, to feel a lot safer to reduce that attachment to a certain result, a certain success result as your brain thinks, and also to get used to feeling that fear.

All right, tool number two, I call “Do it Anyway.” So, here’s the problem that this tool addresses: your brain, as we’ve established is programmed to stop when you experience fear, to get out of that situation no matter what. So, we’re going to reprogram your brain that you can actually feel fear and do action anyway. This one is really important. So you’ve probably heard of the concept of your comfort zone. So, the comfort zone is everything in your daily life that you’re used to doing, your brain has learned, this keeps us safe, it keeps a roof over our head, we have friends, we have support, we have food, etc. And our brain loves to stay inside that comfort zone. But the problem is a successful business that you don’t yet have is outside of that comfort zone. I call this the Opportunity Zone. So, you need to step out of that comfortable area, which means experiencing discomfort in order to create that business, to grow your business.

Now, one thing I want to mention is we don’t want to go way out into what I call the Danger Zone. You don’t want to go so far out. And how far you can step out of your comfort zone will vary from person to person. Part of this exercise, this Visibility Challenge is going to be learning how far you can stretch yourself. What happens is when we go too far out into that danger zone, we actually trigger a shutdown response. Our nervous systems literally are going to shut us down, and you do not want to go there. That is almost a trauma response. So, you’re going to feel the fear, you’re going to see how far you can step outside of that comfort zone, and get used to doing that, teaching your brain that you can actually feel the fear and do it anyway.

And I have a method. I’m not going to reteach it on this episode. But the method is called CALM, C-A-L-M Method, that will help you do this. And if you want to learn that method, you can go back and listen to Episode Three of the podcast is called “Overcome Sales Anxiety and Test Your Idea.” I’ll link to that in the show notes too. So just, if you need a tool to help you do this, if you’ve never practiced stepping out of your comfort zone, the CALM Method is designed to help you do exactly that.

All right, let’s talk about tool number three. This is the third and final tool that the visibility challenge makes use of and I’m calling this “Tap into Curiosity.” So here’s the problem that this tool addresses. Whenever we experience fear, anxiety, uncertainty and any of these negative emotions in our business, then that triggers an automatic response, an automatic learned stress response. So every time the emotion comes up, we’ve learned respond like this.

Now, one solution is to tap into a different emotion. And my go-to emotion is curiosity. The reason I love curiosity is for several reasons, but one I want to point out to you here is it’s accessible. It’s very often, if you’re in anxiety or fear, you want to do the CALM method first or your own method to feel the fear and process it. But it’s very difficult to jump from anxiety or fear, all the way to joy or love or inspiration. Those may feel in accessible to you in that moment.

However, curiosity, I find is a much easier emotion to tap into, to move into. And it’s so powerful. I talk about this in my coaching program all the time. It’s called Business Growth Lab for a reason. I like to teach my students to slow down and get curious. It’s as if we’re scientists in a laboratory and everything we do in business is just an experiment. We’re collecting data. And that’s what the Visibility Challenge is all about. It’s just becoming curious, running a lot of experiments and collecting data and seeing what results happen.

So, you’ll want to get curious about two things. You want to get curious about your actual actions, your strategy, which actions are working, which are not working, but also your brain. This is an opportunity to watch yourself as you step out of your comfort zone to learn those automatic responses. Do you tend to go into fight or flight or freeze or fawn? What are your patterns, your automatic learned patterns that your brain goes to when you’re feeling unsafe? You know, you can have compassion as well as curiosity—I love compassion—to understand how these patterns once served you, certainly in childhood, and maybe they still are serving you to some extent, because of course, your brain thinks it’s protecting you from a threat, okay? It’s not a real threat. Growing your business isn’t really threatening, but your brain thinks it is.

All right, so let’s pull this all together, and talk about what exactly is the Visibility Challenge? And how can you do it. So, the challenge uses all three tools to retrain your brain. One, redefine success, two, do it anyway, and three, tap into curiosity. And here’s what I want you to do. I want you to make 100 invitations in your business. Now I’m going to tell you exactly what an invitation is. But really, it’s just helping people, helping your audience. So I want to help people 100 times. That’s it. Not too scary, really.

So why do the Visibility Challenge? I actually started this challenge a little bit early, because I wanted to test it out before teaching it to my group members and teaching it to you. And originally, the whole idea behind the Visibility Challenge was simply to train your brain to feel safe, as you’re marketing and selling. And it absolutely does that, that’s the number one reason. But through doing this challenge myself, I discovered so many other incredible benefits, and I want to share them with you.

So first of all, you’ll find that you become less frantic and frenzied in your business. You’re going to experience a lot more joy, basically. The more you start sharing from yourself from your truth, you feel calmer in your business. Another very practical reason for do this is it’s going to help you find your voice and refine your message, you’re going to really learn how to talk to your audience in a way that’s more engaging that they react to, and also how to talk about what you do so people actually want to buy.

And listen, by the time you’ve done 100 invitations, you will have created a huge volume of helpful content for your audience. And that is going to result in sales and money. I don’t want you to fixate on that result. That is a byproduct that’s highly desirable. But remember, a big part of this is about training your brain to reward action and not the result. But that absolutely is a result that will happen. And lastly, I personally think challengers are a lot of fun. And by doing the challenge, you’re going to have renewed enthusiasm to work in your business.

All right, so what is an invitation? I’ve said the challenge is really simply make 100 invitations in your business. So, my definition of an invitation is simply this: It’s any piece of content, so it could be written, it could be spoken, it could be talking to someone in real life, that is both helpful and shared publicly. What I mean by shared publicly is other humans must see or hear it.

So, let’s talk about the helpful part. What is helpful content? Back in, I think, it was episode two, when I talked about how to find your business idea. I talked about this concept of understanding who you help and how you help them, or what outcome do you help them achieve? You know, is it to lose certain amount of weight? Or is it to make a certain amount of money in their business? Or is it to feel happier or better in their life? Okay, whatever the outcome is helpful content is anything, it could be small, it could be big, that just brings them one step closer to that outcome to the transformation they want, that you help them get.

So, I’m going to give you some examples. It could be an invitation to opt in to your email list to get some helpful freebie, helpful download that will help them get that outcome. Maybe it’s just an invitation to implement a tip or tool or a strategy that you share. It could be as simple as inviting people to feel understood and realize they’re not all alone. It could be as simple as posting something inspirational because just feeling that you’re not alone and that you are understood, it does move you closer to the transform you want.

It could be helping them accept where they are right now and becoming inspired to make a change in their life. Or it could be something bigger like an invitation to come to a workshop where you help them create a bigger change in their life, or an event or a webinar or challenge. It could be an invitation to book a consult with you, where you explore how you can help them, or at the end of the day, it can also be an invitation to buy something that will create the full result they want.

See how there’s a huge range of invitations, and you get to define it how you want? So, what are the rules of the Visibility Challenge? I’ll put these in the show notes, super simple, just four worlds. Rule number one, make 100 invitations over any time period. I recommend you do this over anywhere from 30 days to 90 days. Don’t take too long over this. I want you to keep going, keep practicing, okay, so make 100 invitations.

Number two, record your action somewhere. I want you to check off 100 invitations. Now, I do have a download that I will make available to you that gives you a challenge log and gives you these rules, and also gives you a series of prompts to really help you. I’ll link to that in the show notes. But you can make a reward chart. Remember when you were a kid, or perhaps you have children and you’ve used reward charts, okay, you want to check off 100 numbers or 100 things to reward your brain, to teach your brain to create the habit of action is good—not result, but action is good. So, number two is record your action using the challenge log or your own challenge log, if you want to create a reward chart.

Number three is to analyze your results. So, after every five invitations, tap into curiosity and analyze, how are you feeling? What happened? Are people engaging? But do this with curiosity, not self-judgment. And number four, the challenge ends when you have made 100 invitations. That is it. It’s so simple. So I’m going to finish by sharing some tips for you when you’re making invitations so you can really get the most out of this challenge.

My first tip is share from your heart. Use this as an opportunity to inject more of you and who you are into your business and the way you talk to your audience. Be willing to experiment, get vulnerable, and also have fun doing this. Now, when you’re feeling fear or doubt, because you’re pushing yourself out of your comfort zone, remember, use the CALM method, or another method to help you and help your nervous system soothe your nervous system as you do things that feel uncomfortable to you.

Remember to always use curiosity, not self-judgment when you’re analyzing your results. And something else I really want to encourage is don’t spend a lot of time doing this. It can take you one or two minutes if you’re posting on social media, no more than five minutes per post. This is about undoing perfectionism as well. No overthinking this. No urge to edit yourself. Talk from your heart, share your truth. Speak to your people. They are going to respond to that.

So where do you make an invitation? I mentioned this earlier briefly. But just to be clear, you can do this in email, you can do this on any social media platform. You could do this by posting on a blog, recording podcast, recording videos, maybe on YouTube or live videos. You can do this by having live events, you can do this in person, just talking to people, okay? You get to decide where you want to make invitations.

All right, guys, that is the Visibility Challenge. Now, if you’re listening to this in March, the month that this goes live, then I would love to invite you to come do the challenge live inside Business Growth Lab with me. I will put a link in the shownotes. Or you can go to www.sallyannmiller.com/thelab. I am still doing the challenge. I’m doing it alongside you. I’ll be posting weekly encouragement and doing some extra training inside our private group. You’ll get to share your progress with others, get coaching and support, and basically have fun doing this together. Now of course you can also do this on your own. I want to encourage everybody to give the Visibility Challenge ago because I know is going to transform the results you’re creating in your business. I’ll see you next time.

If you’re ready to thrive in business, I want to invite you to join Business Growth Lab. This is my group program where I teach you the exact process I and my students have used to grow profitable businesses we love. When you join the lab, you get lifetime access to everything you need to grow a six-figure business: the training, expert coaching, accountability, and community. The approach we take is scientific. We don’t dabble in business, and we don’t waste time. You’ll create your business on a solid foundation, using proven methods. To join, go to www.sallyannmiller.com/thelab. We’ll see you inside.

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