Why you need to start doing customer interviews

I hate the name "customer interview", but I love the process. It's a great way of understanding how you can help people more effectively. If you've ever struggled to sell your work, or selling feels fake and inauthentic, then it's the process for you.

When I first went full-time on my business, I had a vague notion of who I wanted to help and how. I knew that I wanted to help people doing personal development work. I had little idea how my particular skills could do that.

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Is it wrong to make a living helping people?

A friend of mine and I were talking about doing healing work. She said:

"It's not right to benefit from other people's suffering, is it?"

As someone who has made it his business to support people who support, heal and transform others, this made me pause. Is there something fundamentally wrong with helping others for money?

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Underneath it all

Six months ago I quit my nice, stable, well paid job. It felt like that job was killing me. I've since learnt that it wasn't the job which was killing me. It was the need to create something bigger.

After I quit I spent a few months trying out different ideas. I had a rough idea what I wanted to do, but no strong direction. At times it felt like drifting, but it was really an exploration. I'd spent so long doing what other people wanted that I needed the time to reconnect with myself.

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I spoke to personal development pros. Here's twelve things I learnt:

A few weeks ago I interviewed fifteen people who work in personal development. I asked friends, and friends of friends. I met people in cafés, and had Skype calls. I spoke with conventional business coaches. I spoke with creativity coaches and art therapists. I spoke with an energy healer and a shaman. Some of the people I spoke with have been working in the field for years, others for only a few months.

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The body and the mind - a 400 year-long mistake

Imagine you are walking down the street. It's a normal day, and it's just getting dark. Traffic is passing as people head home from work. A large, angry man runs up to you shouting. He's right there, inches from you. His face is red and snarling. He's blaming you. He starts jabbing his finger into your chest.

Does your body feel any reaction when you read that? Do you feel a tension across your shoulders, or the beginnings of a frown? Perhaps your hand or foot is tapping nervously. If you do notice anything, stop reading and take a couple of deep breaths. Feel the breath as it flows in, and as it flows out, let go of any tension you find. So, what happened?

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Matthew BellringerComment
Your goals are making you miserable

You've followed the advice. You've set yourself goals. They're SMART. You keep a list of them which you check regularly. How's that working out?

If you're like most people you don't reach your all your goals. When you do you feel good for a bit, then wonder if that was the right thing to do after all. When you don't reach them you feel bad about letting yourself down.
Both of these things make you miserable. The problem isn't you. The problem is how you're using goals.

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You are over-planning

I've done my time in the Certainty Mines of Planonia. It is a barren, desolate place. I recognise many of you from there. I'm here to tell you that you don't need to toil away any more. The future will be a lot better if you do less planning.

Plans feel productive. There's so much advice out there telling you to have a three month, twelve month, five year plan. Don't be caught without a plan! What will people think?

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