How a Mindset Shift from Fear to Love Transformed My Business

love mindset

I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold, service was joy.

– Rabindranath Tagore

I was recently telling a friend of mine a story about a potential coaching client I’d spent over six hours with before making him an official offer of a coaching programme. I explained how he’d told me he needed to think about it. It had been nearly a month since our last conversation, and I’d heard nothing.

“Leah, you need to be careful. So many people out there in the service industry get taken advantage of. They do hours and hours of work for free and never get paid. You ought to be charging up front.”

Just a couple of days later, that potential client emailed me, asked me how to pay, and immediately deposited the money into my account.

And a few days after that, another potential client I’d spent time with for free over four months earlier, sent an inquiry about a new coaching/hiking programme I was running. A few days later, she was signed up.

Fear and Scarcity

For a long time, I held the same beliefs as my friend. I believed that, given half the chance, people would take advantage. Back then, I was reluctant to spend too much time with someone before I had their cash in the bank. When I first ventured into the world of self-employment and started my coaching practice, I lived in a constant state of fear. What if I can’t get this potential client to sign up? What if another coach steals my clients? What if I can’t get this? What if I can’t get that?

Get. Get. Get. Me. Me. Me.

Anchored in this place of fear and scarcity, building a business was not only a constant struggle, but it just didn’t feel good. I’d left the corporate world and gone in to coaching with a deep desire to help others achieve their potential, and to do work that felt meaningful and purposeful. So far, it really wasn’t feeling so great.

A Shift to Service and Love

I used to think there was only one way to build a successful business – to sell, to market, and to convince people to buy. Hardly surprising given the number of messages we’re fed online each day about marketing, selling, and how to get more people to ‘buy’ our products. Perhaps this works for some businesses and for some entrepreneurs, but I quickly learned that, if this was the way it had to be done, I was going to have a really hard time.

Everything felt wrong to me. All I wanted to do was help people live better lives.

Thankfully, I discovered the work of coaches like Steve Chandler, Rich Litvin, and John Morgan. These coaches had created hugely successful coaching practices, but built on a purity of service that struck a chord deep within me. Finally I saw a way that I could exist in this world without having to compromise on my core values.

Learning about how they’d built their successful businesses on a foundation of deep service and love, and eventually enrolling with John as his coaching apprentice, my mindset has gradually shifted from one of ‘get’ to one of ‘give’.

And in stark contrast to what my friend believed about the danger of spending too much time with people for free, I’ve found that by concentrating on serving people in the most powerful and loving way I can, my business has become increasingly more, not less successful.

 Top Tips for Moving from Fear to Love in Business

1. Stop asking yourself what you can get from people and instead start asking yourself how you can serve them.

2. Help people. Serve them. Help them and serve them more powerfully than anyone has ever done before. Leave them gobsmacked by your willingness to serve.

3. If you’re starting out and you’re still building your business, stop refusing to work for free or at low rates. You say you love what you do? That it’s your purpose and passion? And yet you’d still rather not do it at all than do it for free? That’s ludicrous. Get out there and do your thing!

4. Stop buying into the story that you can’t trust people and that everyone is out to get you. If I’d continued to buy into this story, my life would be miserable. And if that’s what you’re looking for, it’s probably what you’ll get.

5. Stop seeing everyone else as the enemy and as competition. Business will never be joyful if you’re living in fear that one client signing up with someone else means one less client for you. There is enough for everyone. And besides, we are all unique individuals, but we are all part of the whole. As human beings, it is our duty to help and support each other.

Ultimately, I believe it’s my friend who ought to be a little cautious. By buying in to the stories of fear and lack we’re bombarded with every day through the various streams of media, I believe he’s missing out on a far more joyful experience of life.

Love and service. That’s what creates a successful business.

Could you benefit from making a shift from fear to service and love in your own business?

Photo by Sibel

37 thoughts on “How a Mindset Shift from Fear to Love Transformed My Business”

  1. Sensational! An inspiring story. What you have described is a recipe for living an authentic and purposeful existence – giving and receiving joy in all you do. What more can – or should – we aspire to than that?!

    Thank you.

    1. Thank you M. Catlett! I do believe there’s a real shift beginning to happen as more and more people strive for more purpose driven lives.

  2. Christine McGruder

    This was AWESOME!! Thank you for reminding us all why we started a business in the first place – it is all about serving others – monetary rewards will follow. Printing it out as a reminder. :)

    1. Ha ha – thanks Christine! Yes, so easy to get caught up in the ‘business’ of doing business and forget what’s really at the heart of it all. I do believe money flows to us through service so if I put my focus there (whilst remembering I’m AM still running a business) good things happen. Much love.

  3. Beautiful! I’ve always worked on the basis of service and know that what I give comes back to me in so many ways. Sure there’s been some learning curves along the way, and not listening to the fear voices from other people shake my faith has been one of them; but I really wanted to say how much I agree with you Leah. Living fearlessly and in collaboration with everyone, even if others see them as the competition reaps so many rewards. Thank you for a lovely read, it’s nice to know that people like you are in the world Leah.

    1. Thank you, Cat. Thanks for leaving a comment and I’m really glad you enjoyed the post. It definitely works better for me not to look at others as competition – it’s a horrible way to live and to run a business. I really do believe there’s enough for everyone.

  4. Thank you for your words of encouragement. I am at the beginning of a journey to figure out how to do something I love while being able to pay the bills. I am absolutely miserable in my career right now( day job in bookkeeping) and am searching for what my heart would be happy doing. I have been getting caught up in what could I get from this but I like the perspective of what can I give to be helpful to someone else. My heart longs to be a help for sure. So thank you again. :o)

    1. Hi Emily,
      Nice to ‘meet’ you. Yes, when it comes to making money through something you love, the key is to know or create your passion and look to see how you can do that in some way in service to others. For me, money has to do with impact. The greater the impact I’m having in the world, the more powerfully I am serving, the more money will flow to me. Do you have any starting points for your search? Much love, Leah.

      1. Hi nice to “meet” you as well. I am spinning my wheels at the moment to be honest. I have been checking out a few blogs that are geared towards making a change. I have been reading a few books that have me inspired but I am just missing that one key element to get going….. Courage :o). My one desire would to be a help to someone in some capacity. That is pretty vague, but I am still gonna keep hope alive and keep searching for what that is.

  5. This is a lesson I believed in my other self-employed job, but had forgotten in a new self-employed venture. I desperately needed this reminder. Thank you, Leah.

      1. Thanks for asking, Leah. I’m doing more freelance writing and have also started a blog as fun place for other writers to fight their creative monsters together. Best of luck to you.

  6. Leah thank you so much. Something interesting happens when one reduces the cost of an product to the lowest common denominator. I wanted to sell my books and offered a one hour team talk on customer service for the price of the book per person. I got a mix of small bits of business and they resulted in consultancy and recruitment. Plus they were sme’s and really valued my input. And I discovered a new niche. It’s always about the passion and the money follows.

    1. Hi Carol,
      Yes, I think it’s so easy to get lost in our need for ‘immediate gratification’ that we forget that there’s a much longer term picture in everything we do. Treat people well, serve them and sometime, maybe in a totally different way, that will flow back to you.

  7. Love and service. Two golden words. I will weave them into my thoughts. Not just for business, but, these ought to be behaviors in everything that we do.

  8. Thank you Leah, thank you so much for sharing and uplifting with this article. It came at the right time when my life is mostly crippled with fear and disappointment. Thanks to your inspiring story, l now know what to do with thoughts of fear and lack that keep leaking into my mind.

  9. Thanks for this FEAR has been the topic of conversation and thoughts this week. My philosophy is to offer free to be of service. Thanks for this

  10. Hello Leah, what an awesome post! I’ve known so much simple common senses in Chinese like “get” to “give” you’ve written, but it’s the really time that I realised I have to do the same thing that thinking carefully about my job, my life. And your post remind me some new industry in China, that’s really helpful of you, THANK YOU!(Forgive my poor English @-@ )

  11. Thank you for your honesty. It is both, an abundant universe, and a scarce universe. The question is, which path do you choose? “If you don’t like something change it; if you can’t change it, change the way you think about it.” ~Mary Engelbreit

    1. Thank you, Chas. Yes, it’s all about the choices we make. The way we see and think our world, creates our reality. Choice is a powerful thing although we often forget that we have it.

  12. Abundance and giving value are such key components of success. If you think about, selflessly devoting yourself to actually providing value for customers and clients is MORE selfish, since it produces better results for you! It’s just icing on the cake that it’s win/win and the client gets more from it all as well :)

    1. Hi Chad! Yes! Being selfish is a service! This is a paradox I’ve been learning lately in business. Sometimes the way to serve more powerfully is to be selfish – sometimes take me a while to get my head around these things! Your website is coming soon. WHEN is it coming? Thanks for leaving a comment!

      1. It’s a philosophical enigma! By serving others we in turn serve ourselves, so wherein lies the true motivation? Suppose all we can do is just keep offering value while we figure that out :P

        It’ll be coming in the next two months I’d say, absolute maximum three. Possibly one, haha! Difficult to pinpoint but I’m moving my focus to guest blogging and networking now so it all depends on when the timing is right.

        No problem Leah! Thanks for your reply :)

        1. Hey Chad! Yes, I think keeping going whilst figuring that out sounds like a pretty good plan:-) Good luck with getting your site launched – very exciting! Not sure if you’ve already had websites/blogs before, but starting mine definitely changed my life so I hope it goes really well for you. Have a great weekend!

    2. Hi Chad! Yes! Being selfish is a service! This is a paradox I’ve been learning lately in business. Sometimes the way to serve more powerfully is to be selfish – sometimes take me a while to get my head around these things! Your website is coming soon. WHEN is it coming? Thanks for leaving a comment!

  13. Hi Leah,
    Wow, this is just what I needed to read right now. I started out with great ideals and then got a bit bogged down in all the details. The past week or so I have been doing some soul searching and I am back on the path of service. Your article is so timely! Thank you!

  14. Leah I am working with a private firm that is into services industry. Not much while ago I started taking freelancing projects however, I am facing difficulties as to how to charge and how to be upfront while speaking money. I am not really a persons who can negotiate well and the reason why I often get paid a smaller amount then what actually should have gotten.I have read your post Yes we can keep into mind to serve others but don’t you agree that main purpose behind any business is make money.

  15. Leah, I enjoyed reading your post. I love your encouragement for professionals to really do what they love with no excuses. I agree it is mindset to know that their labor will be fruitful. Kudos!

  16. Hi,

    I so get — I just want to help them. That’s all I really want to do. Yet it seems that I somehow have to attract them, convert them, and then do it.

    I’m going to print this blog, and keep it at bay. I’ve worked on them, but stuff comes back from time to time.

    I worked on the fear this week with my spiritual teacher. as soon as I got off the phone, I had a client paying at a rate that I’d never been able to ask (or get) for before.

    Also, I’ve been thinking all day about how to get known as a weight loss coach. “Pay what you want..” is what I’m going to do for the rest of the year. Scary premise — I’ll work on it.

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