In ‘Reach Your Ideal Client’, the thing I most often advise participants to do is to rest, digest and observe. Why? In our culture the pressure to manifest and perform pushes us along so hard that we ignore the rest of the creative cycle.
Typically we only really feel like we’re getting somewhere when we’re actively producing the stuff that someone else can see, but nothing good can be created without rest and recovery, dreaming it up, allowing it to manifest and editing it. I wanted to give you a peek behind the curtain to see how I followed the flow to create an online course.
What does the cycle look like?
There are four phases to the cycle which correspond to the seasons –
Winter to go within – the resting phase
Spring initiating – the imagining phase
Summer manifestation – the doing phase
Autumnal discerning – the editing phase
Then back into winter again – to rest once more
There were loads of times when I was totally frustrated with my lack of progress with Reach Your Ideal Client and felt the course would never get out there, but I was lucky, I had this model of the creative cycle to keep me on track. What I found was that by working out where I was in the cycle and trusting in the seasonal flow of energy, I could let go and allow the cycle to move me rather than pushing against the flow.
This is how I followed the flow to create an online course.
Winter to go within
Blogging for Therapists launched in autumn 2015 and after the initial buzz and rush of students interest trailed off. I knew that the course was solid because of the results the students were getting, but something had to change. From the outside it looked like nothing was happening, but on the inside I had some letting go to do. Letting go of the marketing, of feeling that it had to change, that I hadn’t got it right. I could just put Blogging for Therapists down on my virtual shelf and rest. Phew. It was such a relief!
Was to rest, go within and wait for the ideas to emerge and just let go of all expectations.
At times I felt lost and like nothing was happening, that Blogging for Therapists had failed, but I knew this was part of ‘lying fallow’ where the land is left for a season to regenerate and recover.
Spring for initiating
Wondering what if…
At the turn of the year, the tender shoots of spring were emerging signaling the start of the initiate phase of my business cycle. I started to get excited. Looking back at my experience of how I built my massage practice I could see how the turning point came when I focussed down on what I was really good at and used ideal client modeling to direct and streamline my marketing. I started to wonder how I could share this with my peers so therapists could relax about promoting themselves, see more of their ideal clients and loads more people could be healed. I asked therapists what they needed, started making notes, reflecting on my experience and researching ways of helping therapists find the answers they needed.
Was to allow these new ideas to emerge and protect them without acting on them.
I found I gave myself a really hard time; my engines were revving away but I wasn’t quite ready. SO frustrating! I remember feeling stuck and miserable because the material wouldn’t come quick enough. But really, it just wasn’t ready!
Summer for manifestation
I remember this phase really clearly because the manifestation of the material for the course just tumbled out of me non-stop in the middle of the school holidays! Having felt stuck in for so long, I was finally in the summer of my business cycle and the material for the courses was created and uploaded to my site.
The creation of the sales pages and marketing for the course also came within this phase, all scheduled up and ready for the pre-launch push. Promotion really needs the open-hearted, engaged energy that comes with summer.
Go go go!!! Create the material then go out into the world and tell everyone about it.
I was totally riding your wave and having a great time, but there was so much more involved than I had thought, I did feel kind of overwhelmed at times. There was so much to do that it was quite easy to lose focus and get distracted by tasks that weren’t essential.
Autumn for discerning
This was a very nervy time for me, the course was all set up and I invited a select few therapists to work through the course and give me feedback on what was working and what need to change. I asked them to look at the actual material, the packages, price points, the descriptions the whole shebang. I was quaking in my boots. Luckily the feedback was pretty good, and where things needed to change, I understood why and that the course would be better and more successful for it.
To discern what was working and what was not.
Once I’d shelved my ego and found the courage to ask people to test the courses, it was interesting how clear the information was and how things could work much better. Where I got stuck was in actually making the changes! Having moved out of the manifestation of summer, I wasn’t really so much into actually following through! I had to have some stern words with myself here and got on with it though; my testers are people of excellent discernment and I knew their feedback was key.
Winter to go within, again
With this launch, winter came back at the point when I pressed the launch buttons at midday on Saturday 1st October. At this point, there was nothing to do. Nothing to tweak. I could just let go of getting anything right at all! It was absolute bliss, I could really retreat back inside myself after the marathon of being ‘out there’ and rest.
Do nothing, drift along.
As the questions and participants came in, I felt the pull to get active again and fiddle around with the courses. But it wasn’t the time for that; I just had to let go and send my baby out into the world without me!
More creative cycles
You’ll notice that this cycle wasn’t the end of the story, in fact there is a whole other cycle driving the running and teaching part of the course too. Interacting with the participants in our Facebook group, supporting them by email and preparing and presenting the live Q and A’s has a whole other cycle to it, which is continuing into December.
In real life, this is only one of 100’s of cycles operating in my life, I’m in
- Late autum winter in the northern hemisphere
- Menopause, the autumn of my life cycle
- The summer of my massage career
- My children and 10 and 12 and bring spring-like qualities to my life
- New projects are bubbling away inside (too early to share them!)
- The daily circadian cycle
- Every massage session
- Each workshop
- Every blog post
- Every breath cycle…
You get the picture.
Let alone the other creative projects I have on the boil or wintering their way into the light. While each cycle is distinct, they all impact each other subtle ways.
Where are you in the creative cycle?
In your career as a whole?
Looking at your current classes, therapies and/or products?
I’d love to hear where you are at right now, if you’d like to share, post in the comments below. If you’re feeling stuck you can check out the infographic and see what the tasks are and what to beware of in the phase you’re in.
This creative cycle was created and developed by Alexandra Pope and if you feel interested you can delve into your own creative cycles at the workshops run by Red School.