Before You Can Help Others, Help Yourself

Several months ago, I heard Marianne Williamson speak at an event.

I asked her about the idea of combining spirituality with the business side of business.  The legal, insurance, financial and tax parts of business.

Her response was “Do Your Work.”

At the time, I thought she meant that I needed to re-immerse myself in my own spiritual practice.

Looking back now with the benefit of all that has happened since then I realize that the work she was talking about was not what I thought at all.

It wasn’t about more meditation.

The “work” I had to do was my work, the work of LIFT (my signature system for getting the business of your business on a solid foundation) in my own life and business.

I had to start looking at what I wasn’t looking at.  My messy books.  My lack of legal agreements.  Having no business insurance.  Unclear job descriptions.

Little did I know at the time that looking at those things would or could be a spiritual practice.  That doing my own work on my own business would bring up all my old patterns and fears.  It would show me what I really believed, underneath all the words, thoughts and actions.

And it would starkly show me where I wasn’t being true.

As I created my LIFT Foundation System and began to take the steps to do the LIFT work in my own business, a major shift began to happen.

I began to see what I hadn’t been seeing.  I saw exactly why I had given up on the dream and it wasn’t at all what I thought.

I began to see where I was holding back (and holding on too tightly) because of the fear that I didn’t really have what it took.  And I saw that when it came to the business parts of my business (the LIFT parts), I didn’t.

Sure, I had a great business from the outside.  It made lots of money and helped a lot of people.  But peek behind the curtain and there were a lot of shadows.  Drama.  Tears.  A company culture I wasn’t proud of.

As I’ve done my own work on my own business, the dream I had once let go of has been re-ignited and along with it the resources to make it a reality.

Just this week, I brought a CEO into my company.

I chose him as opposed to others I spoke with because he is committed to creating a company culture based on congruence, open communication, and community.  All things I stand for and believe in, but wasn’t really living in my own business.

I didn’t know how.  I was taught to manage and lead from the example of the law firm partners I grew up under.  Poor role models to say the least.

But, I didn’t know any other way to be.  The patterned behavior so ingrained.

It took a commitment to LIFT my business and do my own work on myself and my business to see the truth of what was needed and to admit that it was beyond my own capacity to bring forth.

Hitch will run the day to day operations of the company, lead the team,  carry out the initiatives and cultivate the company culture.

That means I’ll get to do what I do best – dream, create, innovate.  Appear in the media.  Write books.  Teach.  And not spend so much time on the business part of my business – the parts that do not bring me energy and joy.

But, here’s the big secret that so many of us miss.

Before I could attract this level of help, I had to admit I needed it.  I had to face and do those things I didn’t want to look at and didn’t want to do – the LIFT things.

I had to be willing to get the basics in place so he could see I was serious about this business.  And once I became willing to do my own work, it made space for him to show up.

The process we went through to document the agreement governing our relationship alone was eye-opening.  Our line by line open-hearted discussion of the agreement told me he was the right one.

Someone of his caliber, experience and possibility never would have been attracted to come on-board if my books hadn’t been ready, if I hadn’t had a semblance of foundation in place.  My personal expenses completely separate from the business.  My three businesses all with their own entities, balance sheets, bank accounts, and projections.

I wonder … does this apply to you as well?

Not the part about LIFT.  I KNOW that does. You NEED to face the business of your business from a place of empowerment, not fear, head on. (And I can help you do it and make it a whole lot easier.)

I mean the part about needing to do your own work on yourself?  Do you want to help others, but find yourself not serving at the level you wish you were?  It could be because you need to help yourself first.

Maybe you are a marketing consultant/coach without a clear marketing plan.  Or perhaps you are a communications expert with a fuzzy message.  Or a spiritual teacher without a personal practice.

Do your work on yourself and watch what happens.


  1. drmolliemartiWednesday, May 5, 2010 at 4:44 pm 

    Such profound advice: Do your work … I'm grateful for your heartfelt interpretation and application.

    This also has been on my mind. Last week, my husband ran into a client who saw that I had opened the doors to the community. His client asked, “Does your wife really walk her talk?” (Great question) My husband answered, “Yes, most of the time … and this is where accountability comes in.” (Wow. Even better answer!).

    Your post is a powerful invitation to all of us who teach to do our work – walk our talk – and as we put systems and support in place to more consistently and powerfully do what we advise others to do, we not only will make a bigger impact but will be a lot happier.

    Congrats on getting your own house in order, Alexis! Proud of you, Girl! 🙂

  2. alexisneelyWednesday, May 5, 2010 at 9:18 pm 

    Thanks Mollie. 🙂

  3. Michele Pariza WacekFriday, May 7, 2010 at 7:34 pm 

    Hi Alexis,

    Thank you so much for sharing this. I can tell you from personal experience that this is SO true. For years I put my own marketing on the backburner, focusing on my clients and never getting around to properly marketing myself. A couple of years ago I made the shift to marketing myself the way I would a client and my entire business shifted as well. There's no question — you need to do the work.

    Michele PW

  4. Melani WardFriday, May 7, 2010 at 7:38 pm 

    Love this. “Do your work” has been my mantra for the past year. It has brought not only clarity but more peace, fun and freedom into every area of my life.

    It's not always easy and often uncomfortable to commit to this but returning to it opens doors I never would have imagined.

    Congrats on your new CEO!!!


  5. Juliet OberdingFriday, May 7, 2010 at 10:48 pm 

    This was eye opening for me in many ways. You touched on things that I need to face and conquer. Tomorrow is a first step. I meet my future clients, who are the me of 10 years ago, women in the law firm culture with children and ambition to move up while having a life. These women have the same type of leadership we had when we were young associates. So I need to face myself and help her transform into the type of leader we need in the legal profession. I will be doing my own work. Thanks for your inspiration.



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