#282 How to Find Your North Star and Align With What Matters with Jason Ayers
3:00PM Dec 28, 2020
It's like racecar drivers when they're driving. If you don't want to hit the wall, don't focus on the wall, focus on where you want the car to go. Because if you sit there and you stare into the wall while you're telling yourself I don't want to run into it, you're gonna run into it
Welcome to thrive by design, the podcast for ambitious independent jewelry brands, looking to profit from their products, get ready to make more and sell more doing what you love, without spending every single waking minute doing it. Hey, and if you're a creative fashion or product based business, I want to welcome you to the show. I'll be dropping big tips on launching, growing and scaling your business. So you can spend more of your precious time using your creativity to make money. You ready? All right, let's do this.
Welcome to the Thrive by Design podcast, Episode 282. Hey there, it's Tracy Matthews, Chief Visionary Officer of Flourish and Thrive Academy. And I'm here today with the handsome, Jason Ayres. Jason, thanks for being here with me.
Thanks for having me.
Well, I'm excited to have Jason on the show again, for maybe how many times have you been
Just the second time? Maybe just you're doing a lot of stuff for momentum, then.
Yeah, I'm the success and mindset coach for momentum inside Flourish and Thrive Academy.
Yeah. So Jason does a lot of mindset work, a lot of coaching indirectly about marketing and really leveling up to aligning everything that you're doing in your business with what matters most. And so that actually, I've had you on the show again, because we did it in the summer, man, we've recorded it in the car. Ah, that's right. So this is your third time on the show. This is the third time officially. So Jason, why don't you in your words, describe what we're going to be talking about today.
What we're going to be talking about is alignment in your business, on a number of different levels, including what you're doing, what your perspectives are, the direction you're headed in, and the key performance indicators that you're tracking. Basically, we're talking about getting everything moving in the same direction so that you experience a lot less friction and frustration in your business, which is going to allow you to reach your goals a lot faster, and have a lot more fun doing it.
Yeah, well, that is perfect intro for the new year. And if you're frustrated or feeling stuck with your marketing, we are going to be launching off the new year with a brand new challenge called the Marketing Makeover Challenge. We are keeping it tight and right this year. It's a three day challenge, with two bonus trainings at the end. So we're keeping this short. And it starts on January 18. So if you are looking to have more clarity in your marketing by dialing in your brand voice, by doing a better job selling online and really connecting with your audience online, I'd highly recommend that you join us because if you're someone who didn't successfully transition your offline events into online sales strategies, this is for you. And if you haven't started that transition, and you want to really go deep and build a six figure business online. And beyond that, then I would love for you to join us. If you're interested in getting on the waitlist, we are starting that waitlist right now you can head on over to flourishthriveacademy.com/marketingmakeover and right there, you can get on the waitlist and join us in January. All right, Jason. So we've been talking a lot like you've been even helping me with my business and other times when it's been super challenging because we're in a relationship and it's sometimes hard to hear criticism or those types of things from your partner. But it has been for me like insanely helpful to get clear on where I'm going. And so, you know, like most of the people listening to this podcast are creative visionaries, you know, and they have an idea of, of, kind of, or they think they have an idea of where they want to go. But a lot of times we messed that up. So like, what's the first step to kind of getting some clarity on like, where you're going?
I think one of the first steps is to realize that you're going to where you're going because of how it's going to make you feel and as human beings we we kind of talked objective Lee and we have all kinds of logical reasons that we tell other people for what we're doing. But the reality is, we're headed in a certain direction or we want certain things or we want to achieve certain targets because of how we think we're going to feel once we achieve them. So getting clarity on how you want to feel is really one of the first steps towards getting aligned with everything else because that helps you to start to define a North Star, a place where you're going to go to before you define your next North Star. And when you can get everything aligned and moving in that direction towards that North Star, on a number of different levels, from the things that you're doing to the perspectives and beliefs that you have, things are going to get a lot easier in your business. And you're going to experience far less friction and frustration.
So this whole, can I tell them why this kind of came up. So Jason, I had this a couple of breakdowns or meltdowns is the best way to put it. And I like being vulnerable on the show. So I don't mind sharing that. And part of those meltdowns came around, like, you know, this year, through a lot of us through a loop in the beginning of the year, I spent the first six months of the year trying to like, catch up, I felt like the entire year and I was like, Okay, what is the audience need? What How can I help people in our community in the best, most proactive way to help them navigate COVID and everything that was happening down with lockdowns and shows and retail orders being cancelled, and wholesale orders being cancelled and all those things. And so that kind of like it put me off kilter to like what my original goal was this year. And I've had this vision of actually working in my business quite a bit less like right now, because we are slightly short staffed, and there's some other things going on. I've been working sometimes 60 or 70 hours a week, writing content, because we're down writers and all these other things. Whereas like, my goal at the beginning of the year was to like really limit my working time in the business. And I say working time, because I'm always working, because I'm strategizing to limit that to really like 10 to 20 hours a week so that I could spend more time doing the creative visioning work that I really enjoy. And that also every visionary actually really needs to be spending time on because if you're not spending time on strategy, then other things start to suffer in your business. So this is how this whole conversation started. He's been working on helping me and he started drawing some diagrams on the board a couple of days, or a couple of months ago, I guess it is now about how I was kind of operating in my business and how that was kind of preventing me from actually reaching that North Star which the North Star for me was to feel more creative. I would you say that that's kind of like, the direction I'm going in is like to feel more creative so that I can kind of watch these other projects that I'm interested in doing.
I think I think what you were aiming at is creating enough space. So that feeling of having the the space to be creative. Rather than that feeling of being so pressured by everything that's on your plate, and everything that you have to do to where you're feeling like you don't have time to express that creativity, or you don't have time to do what you're naturally equipped to do and talented to do in a way that makes you feel amazing. And all of those things pressing on you, we're preventing that from really happening.
Yeah, that's true. So let's kind of dive in to some of these topics. What do you see like the biggest problems like? or How can you start to identify when people are out of alignment with where they're going? Because they're not kind of focusing on that feeling?
Well, one of the first things that I look for is good direction. So I like directionality instead of judgment and morality. So where are you going? Where do you want to go? And why do you want to go there? How do you think you're going to feel when you get there? And what I often find is that people are very well equipped, and ready to tell me what they don't want. But when I say no, I'm not asking what you don't want. I'm asking what you do want, what do you what are you moving towards instead of what are you moving away from because one of the challenges is, nature hates a vacuum. And if you're trying to move away from something, you're essentially moving away from the absence of something or you're moving away from a vacuum. And because nature hates a vacuum, our mind tends to delete negatives. So if you say I don't want for example, a lot of people say I don't want to be like my parents. And they repeat that thing to themselves thousands and thousands of times over the course of their life, and then they wake up one day, and they're like, Oh my gosh, why am I exactly like my parents? I'm exactly like my parents. And that's because the subconscious mind has been deleting the negatives, because it hates a vacuum.
Can you explain explain what that means? Cuz I didn't really understand it.
Sure. So. So what you're essentially saying is I let's say in the case of parents, I don't want to be like my parents. The subconscious mind just deletes don't. Because what is that? What is don't be like your parents. It's essentially something other than your parents. But it's completely undefined.
So it's a vacuum waiting to be filled with what you actually want to be like? So rather than saying, here's this empty container that I'd rather be, define what you want to be so so you know, what kind of an adult do you want to be? Or if you're running away from like, Oh my gosh, I don't want to have a business that looks like X, Y, and Z. That's really an empty container. Yeah, you're telling your mind? I don't want it. So the mind uses conservation of energy. And instead of filling that container itself, it just says it's just going to be easier to delete the don't.
Whatever you're trying to move away from, and then you end up moving towards it. So essentially, what you focus on is what you get. And if you're focused on something that's not you're actually going to get it.
It's, that's true.
Yeah, it's kind of tricky. It's like racecar drivers when they're driving. If you don't want to hit the wall, don't focus on the wall, focus on where you want the car to go. Because if you sit there and you stare into the wall, while you're telling yourself, I don't want to run into it, you're gonna run into it, right? it's gonna take you,
yeah, and then you'll get in a fiery inferno,
right, which, you know, could be symbolic of how life for your business could end up if you're focused on what you don't want. So rather than running away from something, let's define what you want to run towards. Let's define that, that ideal business or that ideal life that you truly want. And let's give it shape and form. So that you have something that you can actually aim at that your mind is, you know, your conscious mind. And your subconscious mind can fixate upon and move you in that direction, both consciously. And with the enormous power of your subconscious.
Yeah, so like, step number one, focus on what you want. So if you want to have like, a solid six, or multiple six figure revenue stream in your business, then focus on stating that instead of stating that, you don't want, you know, to be doing a bunch of in person shows all the time.
Right, right. Or I don't want to be a failure, right? Yeah, I don't want my business to go bankrupt. Or I don't want to have a bunch of employees that I have to manage that I can't stand or I don't want to be working 80 hours in my business, like all of those things are the just take the word don't out of them. And that's what you just programmed your subconscious mind to focus on it. So let's figure out what to do want. And let's figure it figure it out, based on the emotional state that you think it'll create, right? So when you say I want to create a six figure business, why? How do you think that's going to make you feel? Or even a seven figure business or a seven figure business? How is it going to make you feel, what experiences is that going to facilitate or help you create, that are going to lead you to a place where you feel like you're going to have a better life in terms of the level of happiness or joy, or the lack of frustration that you're going to experience? Alright, so how's that gonna help you move towards those feelings that you want to achieve?
Yeah, so I love that because it really kind of dials into your why, like, why you're in business. And for me, when I think of that, you know, because, like, I definitely, you know, I'm always striving to have like, businesses that are doing like a million or more, depending on the type of business that I'm running. And part of the reason for that is not I mean, I do actually, like, want to feel wealthy and abundant, so that I'm not gonna lie about that. But the other part of that is really about, I know myself so well, that there's certain things that I don't want to do. So I want to be bringing in the income so that I can actually hire people, and to really be supporting our economy with like, employment for other people to be supporting men and women who are creative. And you know, want to be buying into bigger vision of making change in the world with our creativity. So there's a lot of like, underlying reasons there.
So let's take that, for example. Yeah, you want to hire a bunch of people to do certain roles within the business that you don't want to do. Right. So that you can fill in the blank for me,
So that I can focus on the things that I do want to do, for instance, like spending most of my time, like, motivating people speaking on stage, writing books, starting my mastermind, all those things.
Okay. So that's, that's a collection of things that you do want to do. Why do you want to do them? How do you think you're going to feel when you do those things?
Well, it's going to make me feel like I'm making a difference in people's lives. And that, that I'm showing up for like, my bigger purpose in this world. It's also helping me align with like being more creative and that ideal that I have with everything that I do, or and I'm getting off the ground and creatives around the world.
What I heard was contribution. Yeah, purpose. Giving, essentially, how do you how do you feel when you're doing those things when you've done those things in the past, have you felt
Like happy, fulfilled, creative, like those are feelings.
Yeah. So those are really the targets that we're aiming at. Right is creating happiness, creating fulfillment, a sense of contentment, like peace, knowing that you're doing what you were put here to do, for example, which allows you to kind of relax into that. So those are the those are the emotional targets that we're trying to hit. The irony is, there are probably a number of ways to hit those targets in addition to business. So if you want to feel more happiness, and you're thinking, gosh, the only way that I can feel feel more happiest once I hit seven figures, for example, I challenge you to think what other ways can you feel happy, right? Not to say that you shouldn't go after that seven figure target, which you should? Because it's, it's something that's come up for you, but how else can you feel happy on the journey there? Right, what else can you build in to create happiness?
And we work on that? I mean, hanging out with you.
Right. So it's one of those things, for example, if you right now are in a place is probably not for you, if you're in a car if you're driving a any kind of vehicle or anything else. But if you're in a place where you can just put your hand out in front of you to where your palm is facing back at you. As human beings, we very often tend to think when I just get here, here being whatever the target is that's out there in front of you that your palm is representing, I'll be happy. Now the challenge is very often when you stand up and start walking, don't pull your hand toward yourself, just hold it out there, right. And that's what we do. As human beings, we're always aiming towards these targets, of reaching this point, where we feel like everything is going to be okay. And one of the things we need to work on is how do we build in a sense of contentment, and a sense of those emotions that we want to experience along the journey?
Yes, that's my friend, Shannon Finn always says it's not about the destination. It's about the journey. I mean, a lot of people say that, but like, at the end of the day, it is really important.
Well, and one of the reasons for that is once you reach that destination, then what? Yeah, we see this with a lot of Hollywood actors, for example, and people who've reached the pinnacle of their career, where they really haven't thought about what's next, or what they can do after that. And they feel this huge sense of melancholy. And like emptiness and despair, because they get there. And they say, Is this it? Yeah. Because they thought that reaching that point, would be what made them happy. When the reality is, we're usually a lot happier when we're just in a mode of expansion and growth.
So step number two is to like, try to invoke those feelings along the way, because it is a journey, not a destination,
Right? It's it's finding ways to build them in because they'll serve as fuel. And we don't always want to be coming from a place of lack. Right? Where we're just operating because there's something that we feel is missing.
So what are the the big things that you see when you work with people or talk to people who are kind of like, lost, because I know you've helped a lot of our friends, and stuff like that to kind of get refocused and back on track. And you do this with your private clients, too. So let's talk about the reasons why people get out of alignment and like, what are some of the symptoms of that?
Well, it can get a little complex. But there, there are some things that come up with quite a bit of frequency. And one of those things is, they feel like they want something but they've created almost a trap, like a logical trap or a perspective trap that prevents them from experiencing it. So for example, someone will say, you know, I really want to do this, but I'm just not sure that I can trust myself. And when I asked, Well, what can you not trust yourself with? And they'll say, well, well, to get it right. You know, I just I'm not sure I can trust myself to get it right. And it's kind of funny, because I'll often come back and say, well, you're absolutely right. You can't trust yourself to get it right the first time. But what you can trust yourself to do is to learn from that first time, and then make another decision, and then do it again. And there. There's this almost finality that they have decisions they're making there, that when people get frozen up, and that's what we're talking about here in this example is people who want to do something they want to they want to build, they want to create something, they want to launch something, they want to make something but there's this tremendous amount of fear regarding getting it right and that can be related to judgment. They feel like if they don't get it right, that they're going to have some kind of social rejection. But but more often than not, it's just the minds way of thinking that decisions are final and very few decisions are final, unless you're skydiving. And you know, or taking off in a rocket, right? And more often than not, you know, there's, there's not going to be this case where you make a decision. And then right after you make it, somebody pours, you know, epoxy resin over you, and you're stuck in all time. And then everybody gets to walk by and say, Oh, my gosh, just see this person, they made a bad decision. Right? It's got a kind of the voice inside your head that we'll talk about a little later. But it's this, you know, it's this finale. And the reality is, tell me about people, you know, who have made decisions in business that didn't work out and how that just completely ended everything. My guess is you really can't remember very many, right? I mean, there are a few.
Yeah, there's some I mean, it happens sometimes. But like, usually when that kind of thing happens, it's just like it was, you know, that was the wrong person or the wrong fit. And it's like that was actually the gift that you got out of the thing is that it's the universe showed you or the situation showed you that it's time to move on or to change path.
Right? Right, you know, may have just been a pivot point. And the universe is essentially a perfect teacher, it will give you the feedback that you need, if you're listening, and if you're paying attention. And it's it's such a perfect teacher that if you're not listening, it will just continue to escalate the price or the consequences of the pain that you feel until you notice that sign and you start paying attention. And then you sit back and say, Hmm, I wonder what this is trying to tell me. And you get the lesson.
Yeah, so this, this next step about this is really all about taking imperfect action and not worrying about making mistakes. Because if you make a mistake, you could just make another choice or another decision. That and and to trust yourself, right,
your job is not to make the perfect decision. Your job is just to keep making decisions.
Yes. Yeah. Cuz if you make a mistake, and you just make another decision after that,
Make another make another decision. You know, this, this thing that's built into our culture about perfection is really kind of a it's a it's a pernicious thing. And it's, I don't think it serves us very well. And very often, especially people who are really worried about judgment and being judged, or who are really questioning their abilities, and they have yet to create that confidence, that they tend to say, well, I'm a perfectionist, you know, my problem is, I'm a perfectionist. And when we dig into that, we often find that perfection is just a way to avoid putting something out there and finding out, right, it's like, I'm going to continue to work on this, because by doing that, I'm going to remain safe. Right, because as long as I put it out there, nobody can reject it, I can't find out if it's right or wrong. I can't find out if people want it, you know, and, and I would just encourage you, it's not about perfection. And it's not even about avoiding judgment. It's just about movement. It's about directionality. It's about putting that piece out there, finding out what happens, you're taking on that, that new thing that you want to do, and seeing, seeing what happens and realizing that, in reality, you're probably the only one who's really watching you with that level of intensity. And you're probably your toughest critic. And maybe it's time instead of criticizing yourself to just get curious about what's going to happen. So just put it out there. See what happens. If you don't get the result you're looking for make a different decision.
That's awesome. I'm gonna say awesome information, Jason, but it is the truth. Well, so the next thing I want to like kind of ask you about because you give me feedback on this all the time is that a lot of times people make their businesses so complicated, that they instead of just focusing on the one thing that's working, or the few things that are working, they keep trying to throw more wrenches into the framework. So what's your take on this? And how does that kind of move us out of alignment?
You know, I think complexity versus simplicity. It's really interesting. And I what, just my experience and my observation. I wouldn't say this is a hard and fast rule. But what I'm what I'm noticing is that humans tend to move towards complexity. And I think that's partially based upon this inbuilt fear that so many of us have of not being good enough. And if you feel like you know, some part of you is not good enough, then it almost feels awkward or weird. When the solution is easy. Right? And like what can't be that easy, like people are not going to value it if it's that easy. Or people think that I'm going really need to work hard, for example, for this to be valuable, or it's going to have to be hard work. How many times have you heard work hard, and you'll be successful. I don't know who came up with that. But it was probably someone who was running a coal mine, for example, or someone who wanted their workers to work really hard, right? Maybe physically hard. But the reality is, your customers, your clients, that people that are looking for a certain feeling, by buying from you. And by enjoying your creations, they don't really care how hard you worked. They care about the feeling that they're going to get, they care about the transformation from how they feel right now, to how they think they're going to feel after they buy from you, after they purchase what you have to offer. And I'm sure very few of them have said, Well, have you put 120 hours into this piece? Because we haven't put 120 hours into it? I really don't think it's worth. I mean, nobody cares, right? It's completely crazy to think that way. And yet, we're like, oh, my gosh, I better work really hard, you know, and
Voices are coming out. Yeah, and you might pull the pirate,
We make a whole bunch of noises. But But the reality is, it's the transformation that you're that you're selling, it's the result, it's the feeling that you're selling. And the simpler that you can get there. And the faster that you can get there, the better. Right, even in the in the realm of ideas. The more complex the idea, very often the less the person understands it. That's explaining it right. And, and it takes time to simplify. Yep. So very often, we start off and we're like, oh, my gosh, I think we needed all these things. And you're doing all these things. And then you just start to observe by creating some space and you go to this observer space, and you're like, you know, I'm not really sure we need to do that part. Or we can do that part a lot easier. And then you start to simplify down. So there there is this natural progression where you're starting out by not knowing, right, so you're, you're guessing you're doing all these things. And over time, you're able to simplify, but I would really encourage you, if you're in that space of feeling like maybe you're not worthy, or that your stuff is not good enough to stop thinking about yourself and start thinking about how your client or how your customer wants to feel, and realize that that's what they care about. They care far less about the amount of work that you're putting into it.
Exactly. And you know, what I think about like, I just designed her earrings for a customer. And she loved them. I loved what I designed for her. So I made another prayer for me. And like, we were talking about feelings, it's like, you know, when I think about, there's two things here, like when I was redesigning my jewelry business after 2008. And going for some a much simpler, less, and I say less risky, it's not, it's not easier to get customers necessarily, but it is less risky in a way because you know, the overhead and everything to run that business is super low. But like when I was starting to like really tap into the feelings that I wanted my customers to have, was it to feel confident, beautiful, like fashionable, sexy, like all these things, because that's really what you're selling. It's not necessarily that you're selling jewelry or product. It's that feeling that confidence that you're giving that customer but also like moving into that much simpler in a way business model like literally like my business was like so much more profitable. And as we're going through this, we're doing a complete refresh of our Laying the Foundation program right now, which we're going to be announcing in January. And I'm super excited about that. And one of the key things that we spoke with with our content team is helping us with the rewrite and everything is like we want to make the everything that we're doing in this super straightforward so that you can use this program as a reference tool, so you know exactly where to go. Like for instance, if you need to write, rewrite your about page, it's not like you're looking for some nuanced title or name like in in the court, the concept or the content. And that's a little bit of a sidebar, but also, like exciting for those of you who are laying the foundation, students are thinking about it, program is getting even better. So I kind of want to tie this all together. So we talked about thinking of outcomes and focusing on what you do want and aligning things in your business in a simpler way. Like for people who are feeling a little bit frustrated right now or out of alignment, what are some steps that they can take to actually get focused back on the right track and in the right direction?
Well, I think one of the most useful approaches is once you clearly identified, what you want to move towards that North Star because of how you think it's going to make you feel to then start to look at your your world essentially, through different lenses or through different perspective. So one perspective might be, okay, the the projects that we have within the company, are they all moving in that direction? And if they're not, why are you doing them? You can look at it from a financial perspective, the investments that we're making or the investments that I'm making into the business or into myself, are they moving me closer to that North Star?
So I want to stop you from it. Because that thing about the projects, I think, is really important, because a lot of times people spend so much time on stuff that's not actually moving them in that direction. You've called me out on that many, many times.
Well, and very often, the reason for that, the reason why you won't have it aligned is because either you'll lose sight of that North Star, or because you won't have it clearly defined. So very often, one of the things that we have to do is to get to the point where it's like, Okay, what are you really trying to do here? What are you really aiming at. And if the person doesn't have clarity about that, then they're going to different days, they're going to have different things they feel like they need to work on, and they're not going to have a reference point, you really need a reference point against which you can gauge everything else. So one of the things that I do with visionary alignment is we create that North Star, so then we can say, you know, does this task or this target or this expense? Or does this project move you closer to that Northstar? And if it doesn't, why are you doing it?
Right, and, and then that brings in another perspective that we can look at, which are your perspectives and your beliefs. And when you're looking at that North Star, and what's going to have to be done to get there, asking yourself, do I have any beliefs? Are there any parts of me that feel a lot of friction? heading in this direction? And have you ever you know, for example, have you ever heard somebody say, Well, part of me wants to go, you know, to this show, but another part of me just wants to stay home? The reality is we have different parts. And those different parts are just different stories that we've created over time growing up, to keep us safe. Right, so in our lives events happen, we then try to explain those events to ourselves. And then out of that, we usually create a system of rules. But because we have all these different events happening, we have all these different sets of rules that we've come up with, and all these different stories that we've come up with. And that's where you create this conflict, you're like, oh, part of me wants to, but part of me doesn't want to, or part of me really wants to hit that, that target or hit that North Star. But another part of me is really afraid of what's going to happen when I get there. Right. So that that misalignment creates a ton of friction, because you're literally internally being pulled in different directions.
Exactly. Well, Jason, thank you for being on the show today. You're welcome. This was awesome. And as you mentioned, you know, part of our goal in 2021 is to help all the members of our community and the listeners of the Thrive by Design podcast, to focus on the things that are actually moving you closer to where you're going in your business, how you want to feel, and that North Star alignment. So if you want to get your marketing aligned with what your actual bigger picture goals are for your business this year, I'd love to invite you to join us for the Marketing Make Over Challenge just for jewelry designers and creative product makers. It's starting January 18. And we have our waitlist open now And trust me, it is going to be so worth a couple days of diving deep in to your marketing strategy because we're going to help you dial into your brand voice and to use that through everything else that you're doing in your marketing. Plus, we're wrapping it up with one of my favorite master classes that you are going to love. So if you'd like to get on the waitlist for that head on over toflourishthriveacademy.com/marketingmakeover This is Tracy Matthews, signing off. Until next time, Jason, thanks again for being here.
You're welcome. And I hope everybody jumps on the challenge so that they can align their marketing with the marketing that actually works right now in the marketplace.
Exactly. Happy New Year. Everyone have a good one.
Thank you so much for listening to today's episode. It's my mission to help 1000s of creative businesses inside and outside the jewelry space use their creativity to make money. Make sure that you're subscribed to thrive by design on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, and wherever podcasts are played. And we'd love to hear what you think. Please rate and review the show and if you're inspired, please share this with your friends. Cheers to seeing you flourish and thrive.