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There’s a lot of noise in the self-help industry.
In a world full of digital “live your best life” messaging, overnight-success coaches, and curated ads that speak to every fear in our heads, how do we practice discernment?
While I have connected with masterful teachers, mentors, and experts who helped me step into “next-level living,” I have also encountered (and invested in) some talented marketers and digital geniuses who sold something they didn’t or couldn’t deliver on.
I have been promised results with specific formulas that were a flop. I invested in a $15,000 coaching program that I later learned was never tested, and the people leading it didn’t have the experience they claimed. I once purchased a one-on-one coaching package that ended up being a bait and switch when they decided to turn it into a group coaching program after buying it for the one-to-one allure.
Then there have been experiences with service providers who didn’t fulfill their end of the contract, like a virtual assistant who disappeared after taking my money, and a website package I invested in that was delivered incomplete and pretty much broken.
I could list many instances like this. On the contrary, I have also found some diamonds in the rough. They may have taken a bit of effort to find, but they are out there.
I am working with a mentor right now, in fact, who I found on an Instagram scrolling spree. After searching through hashtags and hashtags of perfectly designed profiles, and silently watched a few potential mentors from a distance, I finally messaged someone who seemed to be doing good things with all heart.
I crafted a message purposely not using his name to see if he would use mine in return. It read, “Hey there! I am looking for a brand strategist to help me bring my multi-passionate endeavors and creations under one umbrella. I am looking for one-one work and not a course.”
He responded the same day with, “Hey Gina, fantastic to meet you. I have two options…” He continued to explain my options, I filled out a questionnaire, and I hopped on the phone with someone from his team to make sure we were a good fit.
After consulting the intelligence of the moon phases and making sure Mercury wasn’t retrograding (because it’s what I do), I signed up pretty much immediately. It wasn’t the first time I had made such an investment, but it was the first time in a long time that it felt right and that I gave myself space to take it all in.
I am still working with this coach, and he and his team have hands down been the best people I have ever invested in. They show up, go above and beyond, listen, and they prove time and time again they really f*cking care. I give gratitude for them every day, and sometimes tears well up as I do because I realize what a rare gift they are.
On reflection, I can look at all of these situations with appreciation and be thankful for their lessons.
The good, the bad, the ugly, and the dishonest have all taught me something.
The bait and switch and falsely promoted offers, have taught me a great deal about trusting myself more and how not to show up for others in my own life and practice.
Full disclosure, I am in what some people may refer to as the self-help industry, though more in the spiritual niche. I help empathic people and intuitive-driven entrepreneurs embody who they were born to be, using tools such as Feng Shui, Energy Medicine, Energy Codes®, and Angel Communication.
I have studied my field for 17 years, this is my 10th year of practice, and I’ve supported myself by doing this work for six years, full time. I do not consider myself even close to mastery level, and I appreciate there is always more to learn. At the same time, I am proud of the practice that I have created—the community that has joined together, people advancing in beautiful ways, and growth that brings more peace.
The challenging encounters I have experienced have allowed me to have an intimate dance with the most valued quality that I saw lacking: integrity. Each false promise brought me closer to what a kind, morally correct, and honest business looks like and highlighted an essential feature I notice is lacking in many digital spaces: genuine care.
May the following tips be as helpful to others as they have been to me.
5 Ways to Get (or give) “Real Deal” support on the slippery slopes of Self-Help.
1. Seek mentors who provide practical value and focus on service, and strive to do the same for others.
I ask myself one question every day before 8.00 a.m: “What can I do to help someone today?” I see many businesses pretending like they want to help, but an underlying stream of energy in their advertising speaks otherwise. When I watched my coach from a distance, his shares blew me away. I learned so much from him by silently watching that I could only imagine what value a one-on-one conversation would provide.
2. Seek mentors who care to know, use it, and say your name properly, and strive to do the same for others.
I have a thing about knowing names, spelling them accurately, and saying them correctly. The thing I noticed immediately in my coach’s response to my initial message was that he opened with, “Hi Gina.” He was the only person out of 12 who used my name, and it spoke volumes to me. Those two words proved care and attention to detail. Every other response was, “Hi there,” “Hey, how’s it going,” or something close to it. As self-help icon, Dale Carnegie wrote, “Remember a name and call it easily and you have paid a subtle and very effective compliment.”
3. Seek mentors who do what they say they are going to do and strive to do the same for others.
Integrity is my number one value, so it is a priority for me, but I think it is pretty safe to say it is a value we should all put first. When we say we will do something and don’t do it, we break trust. We have to deliver what we promise. There’s no going back on our word, period. One of the things I am blown away by in my current mentor relationship is that this team does not stop until they deliver what they say they will.
4. Seek mentors who listen to your wants, needs, desires, hopes, and wishes, and strive to do the same for others.
Will we be able to honor all of these all of the time? No. But we can try by doing it for even one person a day versus no one. When having conversations with my mentor or anyone on his team, I feel so heard, which helps me feel seen. I have said no to a few concepts they have provided, and there has never been any pushback. Only responses full of understanding and more inquiry, followed up with an attempt to reach more clarity.
5. Seek mentors who help guide you to your solutions and strive to do the same for others.
This one may be my most vital lesson. I have learned that no one will provide me with my answers. They can only help me to discover them. And those that have tried to make me think they have the answers or a magic solution never do. Or at least they haven’t yet. When I first started working with my mentor and his team, we must have spent three to four hours deep diving into who I am and my values, all in an effort so that they can help guide me to my answers throughout our time spent. It’s full of empowerment!
I am not inferring that I am a master or have all of the answers. I do not, and I am still learning a ton about who I am and will always strive to be more in integrity and do better in business.
Whether you’re a mentor, mentee, business owner, coach, or healer, revisit these five points here and there, if inspired to join me. ~ Gina Nicole