Stay Bold. Even If the Doves Cry.

B-Prince-DeathBy now, you’ve probably heard the news that the artist Prince has passed away at 57. Reports are that he died due to flu complications (sounds crazy, right?).
I’m shocked and saddened. But why?
See, Prince defined the soundtrack to my youth. I was not a “super fan” by any stretch (Leaving that to my bestie, Becky) but his music accompanied my young big dreams, inner wildness, and joy.
I, like you, rolled my eyes when he changed his name to a symbol decades ago and enjoyed mocking his new, “formerly known as Prince” moniker. Seriously, how ridiculous, I thought. But man, I didn’t care what he called himself when I rocked along to “Kiss” or lip-synched “When Doves Cry” into my hairbrush. The rhythm and funk moved me, as it did so many others. And “Purple Rain” is as epic a rock ballad as they get.
Some folks felt a loss when Bowie passed, and while I admired his creativity, that loss didn’t cut as close to home as this one. It feels like our planet is losing many of it’s creative geniuses all at the same time.
At a time when some politicians vilify diversity, it is comforting to know these renegades are around. Daring, pushing, zagging while everyone else zigs.
Our world desperately needs these voices. Who wants a world made of plain vanilla (no disrespect to tasty vanilla bean ice cream) when we should be living in color?
That’s where you come in.
Keep dreaming. Keep daring. Keep pushing the boundaries, in loud or quiet ways. We don’t all have to be Lady Gaga meat dresses to make a difference. But never, ever make your creative vision small. Don’t hide your message or brand just because it’s “different.”
Whether you are a leadership expert, life coach, designer, writer, speaker, consultant, or store owner, embrace your uniqueness. The world needs your color now more than ever.
I mourn the loss of this creative voice, whether I always agreed with him or not. And I pray my son does not have to live in a world too afraid to embrace more Bowie’s or Prince’s or…..YOU. Heck, I pray I don’t have to live in a world without such color and life, either.
Rock on

Are you a coach, consultant or contractor? Why you need to be clear.


The other day, I was talking to a fellow business consultant about our worlds. A friend had connected us as “two power women” which I was pretty honored by and this woman, for sure had the power gene in spades and I instantly fell in love with her over the phone. She was bold, fierce and knew exactly what her value was in the market. Confidence (not to be confused with arrogance, my friends) is sexy.

She admired the way I’ve packaged up my consulting versus my coaching offerings, which led us to commiserate about how people confuse the terms consultant, coach and contractor.

Such misunderstanding forced me to tactfully point out to a really difficult CEO many years ago that he was paying me to be a consultant, not a contractor. He wanted to go down a path that was in stark contrast to our team’s findings and experience, and so we parted ways.

So what’s the diff? Keep in mind these are not legal definitions for tax purposes, but thoughts on how to be mindful of positioning yourself:

A consultant is an advisor. She researches and uses specific tools and processes to recommend a strategy or course of action. You are paying for that recommendation. Whether you choose to reject or implement it is up to you, and part of the contract should state how much back and forth or “tweaking” is done to that recommendation. It also means a consultant may or may not choose to continue working with a client on a strategy they feel is the wrong direction. Some consultants will go on to implement the plan they come up with for you, but some do not. For my clients, I offer discussion and tweaking of my SLICE package while we’re engaged on the project. After that, they can do with it what they want. It’s not an endless loop.

A contractor is someone you hire to do a specific task based on their expertise but ultimately, your orders. They implement an existing plan or activity. Run these campaigns. Manage my Twitter account. Create the flyer with this copy. They are very valuable and while many contractors call themselves this from a legal/tax standpoint, and offer both strategic advice and implementation, the understood business arrangement is that “you do what I say” and he or she is essentially an order-taker.

A coach is a mentor, a guide, a sanity-checker, a sounding board. Someone who can offer a framework to talk through your specific ideas and plans and then you, as the client, are responsible for taking action or not. The onus is on the client to come prepared with an agenda, discussion points, key questions they want to hash out. A coach does not necessarily produce deliverables for you unless that is the arrangement or they choose to share a tool, article, or perhaps, research something for you. But like a psychotherapist, there are no “action items” for the coach after each session.

If you offer professional services, be mindful of how you position yourself. Your title is a branding decision. I call myself a “Brand Strategist” to really drive home that if you need someone to create a detailed tactical marketing plan and execute it, I’m not your girl.

Your job title defines your brand position. Make a smart choice to ensure the right expectation of your work. (Tweet this!)

Look through your website. What do you call yourself? What could this lead prospects to believe you do or do not provide? Are you finding yourself constantly re-hashing your core competencies? The problem could lie in your job title or messaging.

Good news is that I can help! If you’re struggling to position your offerings or clearly articulate what you do and why you’re different I’ve got so much more to share with you. Check out MOMENTUM Pro to learn more!

Image Credit: Erin Berzel Photography, via Flickr