Ep #96: Invisible Glass Ceilings

I experienced some inspiration this week that led to me deciding that I needed to dedicate an entire episode to a concept I see playing out so often in entrepreneurship. And that concept is invisible glass ceilings. 

You might be familiar with this term, especially if you’ve come from a corporate background. You may have experienced getting to a point in your career where you feel like your title or salary is capped, where the next level feels out of reach, or there might simply be no next step available to you. But this concept I’m talking about today is wildly different in the world of entrepreneurship. 

Join me this week as I explore what invisible glass ceilings mean and how I often see this concept playing out with my clients. I’m showing you how your business growth is truly unlimited in entrepreneurship, how we tend to apply glass ceilings from the corporate world into our businesses, and what you can do today to move beyond your invisible glass ceilings. 

Over the past several weeks, I’ve been creating something special for all of you. It’s an exclusive three-part private podcast series called 3 Vital Shifts Every Life Coach Needs to Rapidly Scale Their Business. I know it’s going to bring a ton of value to you because so many of you listeners are in this process right now, and this is the perfect resource to help you position yourself to make a quantum leap in your business. And to get access, all you need to do is click here!

If you’re ready to build, grow, and scale your business, check out my two programs, The Mastermind and my Million Dollar Mastermind! Enrollment for both of these programs is open, so schedule a call with me by clicking here and I look forward to working with you!

What You’ll Learn:

  • What I mean by invisible glass ceilings.
  • How this concept tends to play out as you’re growing and scaling a business. 
  • What you can do today to move beyond your own invisible glass ceiling. 
  • How this concept is different from the ways we tend to define a glass ceiling.
  • What happens when an invisible glass ceiling is created. 
  • Why you might not be able to see your invisible glass ceilings right now. 

Listen to the Full Episode:


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  Download a Transcript for The Life Coach Business Podcast

You are listening to The Life Coach Business Podcast with Amanda Karlstad episode number 96.

Welcome to The Life Coach Business Podcast, a show for coaches who are ready to up-level their business and take their impact, leadership, and results to a whole new level. If you’re ready to start taking powerful action and become the leader your business needs in order to grow and thrive, this show is for you. I’m your host, Amanda Karlstad, certified life and business coach, and entrepreneurial leadership expert.  Now, let’s get down to business.

Hello and welcome everyone. Welcome to the show. So glad to have you here. I hope you’re doing amazing. I am doing great. We’re actually gearing up for a few days off. We are heading up north here in a couple of days. We are going to go up north for a long weekend. We have an amazing trip planned. We’re actually going to be on a beautiful lake in northern Minnesota. It’s a super clear lake. It’s one of the clearest lakes I’ve ever seen. It’s great for the kids. It’s just great for all the things.

So we have some time planned with friends. I’m sure there’s going to be lots of boating and paddleboarding, canoeing, sailing, swimming. You name it. It’s going to be happening. I can’t wait. It’s going to be so, so much fun. So good to spend some time outdoors and in the water and in nature, and to spend time with everyone. I’m really looking forward to it. So I hope your summer’s going great too wherever you are.

On that note, I’m also gearing up for something else very special. I’m gearing up for the next cohort of The Mastermind, which is going to be starting very soon. This is my foundational business accelerator program where we take coaches who are, in most cases, working with clients on maybe a one on one basis.

So clients that are actively coaching. So they’re already making some money in their business. They’ve already experienced some success in their business. In some cases, quite a bit of success in their business. But they’re at a point where they’re ready to scale. They know that there’s so much more for them and they’re ready to just take things to the next level.

So that’s really what this program is about is helping really take coaches to that next level. So this might be for you if you are looking to move into a more leveraged offer, if you’re looking to take your revenue to a whole new level. The work we do in this program, I always tell my clients. By the end of the program, they really have a great sense of this. The truth is that this is where we’re really laying the foundation for their million dollar business.

So the work that we do in this program, in most cases, is literally million dollar work. I’m so proud of the clients that I have in this program and the work that they do. I’m blown away at the level that they’re able to not only transform their business but who they’re able to become in this process. In fact, the biggest transformation that I will say that I observe in my clients outside of the amazingly extraordinary results that they create in this process is who they become.

So this container really allows them to step into their highest version and helps them become the leader that their business really needs. So I talk all the time about the fact that the level of results will only be driven by you as the leader of your business. So your level of growth as the business owner is what will ultimately drive your business growth.

I’m just so proud of my clients, I’m so proud of the process that I’ve created, and I’ve honed over the last few years. It’s really at a point, I have to tell you. I really believe that this is the most comprehensive program for coaches that truly helps them set the stage for their million dollar business. So we are welcoming just amazing clients into this program. I am so excited to work with them. Beautiful, beautiful clients.

I want to invite you. If you are looking to go that next level and you know you need that higher level of support, you know you need a real expert when it comes to business strategy. You’re not interested in the latest Instagram tactics, right? Then I want to encourage you to apply. This is a higher level program with a higher level strategy, a much higher level of support.

You can do that by going to amandakarlstadcoaching.com/the-mastermind. We’ll link that up in the show notes as well. There’s going to be a short application there. From there, you’ll also have the opportunity to set up a call. In that call, we’re going to go over your goals. We’ll talk about what’s possible for you in the next six to 12 months. Really talk about a strategy to get you there. So, again, that’s amandakarlstadcoaching.com/the-mastermind.

I want to encourage you to apply sooner rather than later for a few reasons. First of all, spots are limited in the program because of the high level of support that I offer. So know that this is a small group container. So there is the group coaching component, but there’s also a one on one component with this. So every client does get one on one access and essentially full access to me throughout this program. So because of that reason, there are limited spots in this program. They are filling up.

I also want you to know that I’ve got some very special things that are planned for this cohort that I’m so excited about. Some next level training, some next level added masterclasses and bonuses that are going to help clients go to the next level.

So if you’re in a place where you know you need a higher level of guidance, you know you need a higher level of support, and quite frankly you’re done playing amateur with this and you want to play at a pro level. Then you really do need a level of expertise, and you really do need a higher level of support. I’m really proud that I’ve created this program with that in mind where we will build the foundation and the systems in your business that will help you not only create success right now but also truly set you up for long-term success and sustainability.

So go ahead. Go to amandakarlstadcoaching.com/the-mastermind. You can apply there. We’re going to get you on your way to build your capacity, your ability to think at a much higher level. To think like a real CEO. To build your identity for that next level version of yourself that has the capacity to lead your business to that level.

So, again, this is a very high touch, very high support container that combines both high level mindset and high level business strategy. I do this for a very specific reason so that my clients are supported holistically. The results that my clients are able to achieve in this process really speak for themselves and are truly mind blowing. I want to invite you into this opportunity as well. So check out the show notes. Amandakarlstadcoaching.com/the-mastermind. You can link to it there. I will look forward to seeing you soon.

All right. One last thing. I have another very special gift for all of you. So if you haven’t already, I announced last week in last week’s episode that I have a very special invitation for all of you. So if you’re listening to this right now and you haven’t yet, I want to invite you to access my exclusive private podcast series. It’s called The Three Vital Shifts Every Life Coach Needs to Scale Their Business. What this is it’s a private exclusive podcast series that I developed to really help you take the next steps in terms of scaling your business and really know what those next steps are.

So this series is only available through a private link. So you’re not able to access it through the normal feed here. In order to access that, again you’ll have to go to amandakarlstadcoaching.com/3-vitalshiftspodacst-to. We’ll also link that up in the show notes.

So I know this series is going to help you tremendously. I’ve been getting amazing feedback from so many of you already as you have downloaded it, as you’ve listened to it, as you’ve printed out the workbook. There’s a companion workbook as well to help guide you through the exercises in the series. So I know it’s going to be full of value, full of huge breakthroughs for you. I want to invite you to download that today and get access to that today.

All right. Let’s dive into today’s topic. Today I want to talk to you all about a concept I termed the invisible ceiling. This is something I had talked about in one of my very early podcast episodes. I alluded to this. Recently I got some inspiration that I needed to dedicate an entire episode to this concept.

So I want to start out by talking first about what I mean when I say invisible glass ceiling. I want to talk about how this tends to play out as you are growing and scaling a business. I also want to talk to you about some things that you’re going to be able to do today to help really move yourself beyond your own invisible glass ceiling.

So where I came up with this concept was as I’ve been coaching my clients. As most of you know, I work with coaches. Entrepreneurs who are growing and scaling their businesses to at least those high six figures ultimately seven figures and beyond. One thing I’ve noticed with every single client I’ve worked with is they start to set what I call an invisible glass ceiling on themselves.

Typically when I think about glass cleaning and how we normally talk about glass ceilings, right, we usually talk about it in the context of a corporate job. Like I’ve reached a glass ceiling where I am. I don’t have any more room to grow. I’ve gotten to a place in my career where I might feel a bit stuck because I’ve gotten to a level where I’ve wanted to get to but now, I’m stuck in that way, right? That next step seems maybe too out of reach or in some cases maybe there isn’t even a next step.

So that’s usually how we think of glass ceilings. So it could mean a certain salary. It could mean reaching a certain job where you’re kept, right? That might be in terms of salary or responsibility or other types of things.

The invisible glass ceiling that I’m talking about here is different from how I think we tend to define a glass ceiling. The invisible glass ceiling that I’m talking about here as an entrepreneur are those limits. They are the limitations that we tend to impose upon ourselves that are based solely on our thoughts. That are based on our circumstances that we have in our life and in our business. What happens is that we assign meaning to these circumstances, which ultimately limit our potential. That limit our self-concept, and limit what we believe we’re capable of.

What happens is that ultimately this limits the level of growth that we experience in our business. It also impacts the overall impact that we can make in the world. Why this is different than how we normally think about a glass ceiling in the normal context is because as an entrepreneur, as a coach who is growing and scaling a business, the truth is that there are no caps in this industry. There are no caps on titles. There are no salary caps.

There is no box in terms of hitting certain performance goals, right? I think about delivering performance reviews back in my corporate days where you deliver a performance review. Depending on where the employee or team member fell, it would be within the box, right?  So here it’s so different, right? In the world of entrepreneurship, your business growth potential is truly unlimited.

Here’s what tends to happen. What happens is that I see, and this is very much the case. That this is a subconscious thing. We tend to put a version of these same types of glass ceilings on ourselves, on our business. The reason I know this is because I’ve experienced this myself, especially early on as I was launching my business. When I look back at that time, I can see just how limited my perspective really was. How I was operating within an invisible glass ceiling or underneath this invisible glass ceiling that I had put on my business, that I had put on myself.

Here’s what I want to tell you is the good news with all of this. The truth is that with these invisible glass ceilings, the truth is that they don’t really exist. In fact, the only place that they exist is in your mind. For most of you when you’re in a position where you’re experiencing an invisible glass ceiling, even if you’re conscious of this or not, what happens is we believe it to be true. It feels like a fact. Again, I know this because not only have I experienced this myself, but I’ve coached so many of my clients through this as well.

So let me give you an example of what I mean by this. So one example that I see that comes up very often when I’m coaching clients is the idea that their business has to look a certain way. I will tell you all, I think this is extremely common in the coaching industry.

What tends to happen is that there tends to be a belief or an idea that based on what someone else has done, right, that someone else’s business that they’re looking to, there’s this sense, there’s this thought that they too have to build essentially the same type of business. Right? They have to create a similar business model. That they feel a sense of pressure to build their business in a way so that it looks like everybody else’s.

I think a great example of this that tends to come up really often is when coaches start to look beyond the one on one model. So when they’re at a point where they’re ready to move into maybe a group program or maybe they’re not even quite at that point yet, but they’re thinking about the program that they want to create in the future. What happens is that by default, so often I see coaches that think about and box themselves into the certain models that they’re already seeing out in the market that are already being done. Okay?

Now the problem with that is that what someone else is doing or what someone else has built. Yes, while it might be very successful for someone else, that doesn’t always equate to their business. Right? It doesn’t always equate to the clients they work with. That may not be the best model that serves their clients, serves their business.

I see this happen a lot. We kind of take these models and we take these examples that we see. We just try to apply them to our own business, but we’re not really thinking through the logistics. We’re not really thinking through the details and the reality of structuring your business in a certain type of way. So it’s not really understanding what the reality is of delivering a program like that. Okay?

So what I want you to see here is because of the thought, because of the belief that so and so other coach, insert name, has had success with a business like this or with this niche even or with this particular business model that it is the only way for them too to be successful. The truth is that the way that business is structured, it might not be in alignment with you, right. It might not be in alignment or in the best interests of your clients or of you as the business owner, as the coach.

So I want to give you an example of this. So an example that comes to me pretty regularly is the idea to offer a smaller more entry type group program. Usually this falls somewhere in the 1K or 2K range, right? What comes up a lot is there’s this idea of wanting to provide lifetime access to this type of program. I’m not saying that this is a bad model, okay, but what needs to be considered with this model is that if you want to offer lifetime coaching support then you have to clearly think about what that actually looks like, right?

So what that means is as the business scales and as more and more clients are entering into the program, which is a great thing. The reality is that that is going to greatly increase also the need and the manpower to support those clients, right? So, again, this can be a great model, right. In a lot of ways this can be a great model. Before you make a decision to offer something like lifetime access in a program, you have to consider as the CEO of your business what that means in terms of your resources. What that means in terms of how are you going to deliver that service? How are you going to manage a program like that?

So there’s a lot of things when you have a program like that that are going to need to happen behind the scenes. There is going to need to be staff. Not only coaches but support staff to handle client needs and things like community support.

The other thing that I think is really important to understand with this is that you’re going to need to ensure that you have a rock solid marketing funnel in place. Because if you don’t and you’re providing lifetime coaching support to clients, you have to make sure that you’re able to be profitable with the volume of clients that are coming in on the frontend that is going to allow you to offer that level of support on the backend. Okay?

So I want you to understand the reality here. With this type of program, again, I’m just using this program as an example. I know some of you listening may be considering a model like this. Some of you may be considering a different model. I’m just using this as an example. When you have a program like this, you’re also going to need a higher level program to help a certain percentage of clients to move into that higher level and go even deeper through the process. Not only to serve them, but also to create more revenue in your business.

So the business model that you decide to use, that you decide to create in your business. By the way, this is a really important topic. I did an entire podcast episode on this. This was episode number 71: Why Your Business Model Matters As A Coach. So I highly recommend that you go back and listen to that episode if you haven’t already. Your business model is a really important decision. Again, this is just one example of some of the considerations that you’re going to need to make as you scale your practice.

So for those of you who are in this place right now where you’re ready to scale, where you are thinking about offering maybe a group program, right? Or maybe it’s a course. Maybe it’s a membership. There’s lots of different models there to choose from. What’s important is that you really also understand the nuances of these business models. That you really understand the role of these business models in your overall business. That’s really important.

In fact, I did an entire master class on this in my mastermind program. I’ve taught all of my clients in all of my programs actually in regard to just this topic. So it’s a deep dive into the different coaching business models and the progression of these models in a coaching business. Also where each of these models really fit in in the ecosystem of the business. That’s really important to understand. The truth is that I think there is not a lot of education about this out there.

So it’s a really in-depth dive that really has opened up a whole new perspective for my clients. Whenever I deliver that training, whenever clients go through that, they’re really blown away because it’s such a different perspective on business.

So what I want to offer to all of you here is that these invisible glass ceilings because they come from a place, a lot of times, where you may be looking to someone else, right? You’re looking to others. They might be coming from a place of thinking that you have to structure things, for instance, in a certain way because someone else has had success doing it. Again, I want to tell you in some cases it might make sense, right. In others and in a lot of cases, it doesn’t.

What’s really important to understand is that if you’re in this place right now is that you start to examine your thoughts. That you really understand your thought process behind why you’re deciding to do something, or why you’re moving in that direction, or why you think you should do something. I want you to make sure that it’s based on what makes sense for your business and your clients and for the sustainability for your business. It’s not just to copy on what someone else is doing.

So when you compare yourself to someone else, when you compare yourself with someone else who might be farther ahead in the process, who has totally different factors at play. And you start basing your decisions based on what you think you should do versus doing the work to find out what’s in most alignment for you, this is just one form of an invisible glass ceiling. It’s that act of creating a limitation on yourself based on how you think and how you believe. Ultimately not giving yourself permission to actually listen to your own thoughts, to see your own ideas, to operate from a place of alignment.

This is really, really common. What will happen when an invisible glass ceiling is created is that it tends to stifle the creativity. It stifles the potential. It, in many cases, is why. Right now if you feel like you’re doing everything but you’re not getting the results that you most want, it may be because you have an invisible glass ceiling somewhere. Because it doesn’t allow for your brilliance, for your most aligned work to be birthed into the world.

I want you all to really think about that and consider that for yourself, for where you’re at right now in your business and how you’re approaching your business. I want you to ask yourself how you’ve created an invisible glass ceiling right now. What limitations have you unconsciously created that you can see the result of?

Here’s the thing. When I see a client or as I observe some of you with these invisible glass ceilings, it’s because in most cases you’re unable to see it because you’re too in it. It’s like the saying, “You can’t see the forest through the trees.” Meaning sometimes you’re just too in it, right? You’re too in the business. You can’t see objectively outside of it.

This is why in my experience and in my opinion, if you’re trying to grow and scale a business no matter what type of business it is, getting coached and putting yourself in an environment where you have the opportunity to be coached through things like this is paramount. Where you have a coach that can spot your blind spots. It’s essential.

I will tell you all. This has been consistent throughout my journey of building my own business. I have always had a coach and I will always have a coach so that I’m always working on my mindset, my strategy, my energy. I will also tell you this. I also take the responsibility of coaching myself every single day. That’s one of the reasons that I’ve created the results that I have, and I’ve done it in a very accelerated pace. It’s because I’m constantly working through and addressing whatever needs to be addressed, and that’s very important to me. Because I want to be able to show up as the best coach that I can be, as the best business owner that I can be.

So the first step here is to become aware. To understand that no matter how often, no matter how consistently you might be doing the work that there’s always going to be limitations. That there always will be limitations that inevitably will be created as a result of these invisible glass ceilings.

Let’s talk for a minute about why this happens. I think it’s important to understand that these invisible glass ceilings that we create come from how we choose to perceive, how we choose to respond to the circumstances in our life. So, for example again, if you’re a coach and you’re in this process of growing your business. Let’s say that you’ve had some initial success in your business. You’re working with clients on a one on one basis. You’re confident in your ability as a coach, and you’re really at a place where you’re looking to take things to the next level. That’s usually the type of coaches that I work with.

Depending on what you’ve observed up until this point, depending on what you’ve chosen to focus on up until this point, depending on what has resonated with you up until this point is going to dictate how you’re likely thinking about your next steps in terms of scaling. Just by sheer thinking about these things, there’s going to inevitably be some form of invisible glass ceiling that you’re going to create as a result of your thoughts.

So I want you to consider what I just said. In the example that I provided earlier. For example, let’s say that all you’ve seen, all you’ve been aware of is one particular business model. Maybe you’ve been told that you have to do things a certain way, right? Again, the example I used I use because it’s just a very common one that I see in the coaching industry.

What happens is because you’ve only been exposed to maybe one or two certain ways to do things, and this might be the way even that you’ve been coached. Maybe you’ve been in a container like this yourself. The truth is that maybe there are so many ways as a coach that you can structure your programs. There are so many ways that depending on what type of client you work with and what problem you’re solving, there are so many different ways that you can structure these things.

In some cases, you might need to try some things before you’re able to settle on what services your client best and what serves your business most. It might take a little while for you to understand what energetically works best for you. Because the truth is that this will always be an evolution.

Part of dismantling that invisible glass ceiling that you’ve given yourself is first seeing it for what it is, but then also giving yourself permission to go beyond that ceiling. To expand your vision for what’s possible. To give yourself permission to see beyond the invisible glass ceiling. To discover what is in most alignment for you, what is most aligned for your clients. Then give yourself the permission to go after it unapologetically with conviction and carve your own path.

All right my friends. I hope you have an amazing week. I’ll talk to you all very soon. Take care. Bye, bye.

Thank you for listening to this episode of The Life Coach Business Podcast. If you want to learn more about how to build, grow, and scale your business and accelerate your results visit amandakarlstadcoaching.com.


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