This time last year, I set my reading goal on Goodreads. Somewhere around a book a week seemed like a reasonable stretch. This morning, I realized that I read 70 books against my target of 50. Thinking about my goal for 2020, my instant reaction was, “Next year, I’ll go for 100!”

It made me laugh. It wasn’t the villainous, “Bwaahahaha!” cackle of an evil villain (or genius mouse) vowing to take over the world. It was more of a head-shaking, ironic chuckle.

I thought, “This is exactly how struggling companies set sales goals.”

Chances are pretty good that you’ve worked in a company where a future target was set at an arbitrary point somewhere above the previous number.

“We did $700,000 in 2019. Next year we will book ONE MILLION DOLLARS!” (Bwaahahaha!)

Here’s the thing: $1M might be the right number. 100 books might the right number. The problem is the process of establishing and supporting that goal. Perhaps this will sound truly crazy to a few of you (and it should), but there are a LOT of businesses out there that set sales goals based solely on a wish to do more than they did last year. In some cases, it’s more than they didn’t do last year.

Relating this back to my book goal, there’s a lot more to consider:

  • Did I really read more than a book every week on a consistent basis, or were there critical factors that allowed (or forced) me to read a lot more during specific weeks?
  • Looking ahead at 2020, what do I already have planned that could impact the goal?
  • How was the experience of reading 70 books? Did it feel stressful or energizing? How did it impact the people around me and my life (i.e. culture) in general? Positives? Negatives?
  • Pressured to read more, would I tackle books without enough consideration, or be afraid of giving away those that weren’t right for me? What are the other potential pitfalls? What values and guidelines will I use to stay focused on what’s important?
  • Can I read 100 books next year with my current resources? Do I have enough time? Are there other things I will need to shift or delegate? Do I have the right budget, i.e. for extra Audible credits, more books, better headset, etc?
  • How will I stay on track with my goal in a way that holds me accountable, while giving me energy and support to do more?
  • How scalable and sustainable is this? What I should start to do or think about now to help me with longer-term goals?

But wait, there’s more. Whether or not you’ve already set your sales goal for 2020, let’s talk. Even if the number is set, I can give you some tips on how to ensure you have the right mindset, message, and methods to get there. Click here to book a helpful conversation or email

After more than six years in business, I started considering a branding shift within Charlene Ignites, LLC. There were two major goals:  1) Better speak to my ideal target clients in both messaging and aesthetic  2) Better differentiate my personal brand from the growing company brand. Still, I struggled to find the inspiration until participating in an intense personal development retreat. You can read even more details of the story here.

A Spark of Inspiration

Upon returning from the retreat, I described a powerful firewalking experience to one of my clients. With an expression of bewilderment, he remarked, “That must have been terrifying and painful.”

“Actually,” I replied with a shrug, “It was surprisingly fun and easy.”

On the spot, I described my personal firewalking experience in ten steps:

  1. Get your mind right.
  2. Listen to your expert guide.
  3. Ensure you have the right materials.
  4. Proclaim your intentions with clarity, confidence, and conviction.
  5. Believe in the science.
  6. Walk, don’t rush, and don’t stop until you are fully through the finish line.
  7. Use the love and support all around you to make the experience better.
  8. Focus your attention on the receiver.
  9. Wipe your feet, and clear away any little annoying tidbits.
  10. Celebrate!

My client looked at me, chuckled slightly, and said, “Ya know…. That sounds a lot like how you’ve been teaching us to sell.”

The Light Bulb Moment

It was an epiphany! He was right on. My mission is all about helping business builders who see sales as difficult, a little scary, and kinda painful. Many of them would rather walk on flaming hot coals than make 100 cold calls. Yet, they want the growth. They want the transformation. They are ready to take the leap of faith to learn the mindset, message, and method that will take them to the next level.

While the Firewalk Sales System is prescriptive in many ways, it is also perceptive. Human beings are complicated. Selling effectively so your ideal clients can buy confidently can’t be done by a script. It’s an art as much as a science. Done well, it can even feel a little like magic.

Just like the firewalk.

Let’s put the art, science, magic to work for you. Schedule your free, helpful consultation this week.


Businessman on a ski slope

In my experience, both struggle and success in sales comes down to three things:

  1. Mindset
  2. Message
  3. Method

Business builders often initially come to me for help with their message because they know I am obsessed with sales emails. Inevitably, we spend a fair bit of time on mindset as well. Once we clear the head trash, it’s pretty remarkable to see how much easier it is to communicate with prospects and clients. The message works better and feels better for everyone involved.

Method Means Process
When I talk about the third thing, our work revolves around the conduits and methods of communication. This includes the sales process from creating interest to closing a deal. People want to know exactly when they should be emailing, calling, and sending postcards or event invitations. How often should they reach out? What’s the best timing? Where does the sales effort and the investment in marketing fit together?

All of those questions make me sing. (Sometimes literally, if you’ve seen some of my recent talks.) I especially love seeing the light dawn as a client figures out how much easier it is to do things in a more systematic, proven, and trackable way. It creates a level of clarity and ease that allows them to actually enjoy the process and love their business again.

You know you don’t have the method step figured out if you feel overwhelmed and/or a little like you are just doing a bunch of stuff to see what sticks. You may be unsure about exactly how, where, and when the next sale is coming in. Furthermore, you’re not 100% certain what you can do to impact sales results with any certainty.

So, you send a bunch of emails, cross your fingers, and hope you’ll get a fantastic response. However, the replies are few, and you’re not sure why. Even people who seem interested at first have a way of disappearing into a black hole. Just the thought of making cold calls is nausea-inducing. Maybe even downright terrifying.

Life on the Slopes
Listening to business builders describe all of these things reminds me of going downhill skiing when I was a kid. I live in New Hampshire where there are lots of great ski mountains. If you’re reading this from someplace like Colorado or Utah, picture your mountains. Then, make them shorter, steeper, and covered in a sheet of ice. That’s skiing in a state where the official motto is “Live Free or Die.” For reals.

The first few times my parents took me to the slopes, I pretty much just barreled down the mountain. I gritted my teeth and held my breath, hoping not to crash into anything or anyone.  The whole way down, I repeated a useful mantra such as, “Oh crap. Oh crap. I’m gonna die. Oh crap.”

If I got to the bottom of the mountain without hurting myself, I celebrated. But not for long… because then it was time to freeze my arse off on the chairlift so I could go back up and do it again. Each time, I secretly worried that I might repeat the famous “agony of defeat” scene, and perhaps take someone else out with me.  Since lift tickets and ski equipment are expensive, there was no quitting allowed. Beyond parental wrath, the only thing that kept me from taking off my Rossignols mid-run and staging a mountainside coup d’état, was the promise of eventual hot chocolate and chili in a bread bowl.

Then, I started taking lessons. My first ski instructor was named Kim. She wore the ski resort’s signature red ski suit with reflective racing stripes up the sides. Spilling from under her ski mask, she had about a kajillion adorable freckles. Kim was cool. Without treating me like I was an idiot or a five-year-old (‘cuz I was nine…. and a half ), she taught me how to use my skis and poles. I learned to make my legs go into “pizza” to slow down and “french fries” to speed up.

In later lessons, I learned more about when and how to shift my weight, how to read the conditions and adjust accordingly. Eventually, I figured out that skiing is supposed to be fun. It’s not supposed to be terrifying. Who knew?  I learned to take a break, look around, enjoy the scenery, and maybe even talk to the other people on the slope.

Sales Process Puts You in Control
Method gives you a solid sales process that puts you in control. It allows you to use the tools you’ve invested in more effectively. It’s about getting to your goal and knowing exactly how got there. It’s the key to getting the same positive result in a repeatable, scalable, and sustainable way.

If you want to see an example process that outlines various sales outreach methods on a timeline, let me know.


More than anything else, I want you to know that building your business shouldn’t be painful. Fixing your mindset, message, and method ensures that not only do you grow revenue, but that you enjoy doing it. Look forward to every run, maximize your investment, take in the scenery, and more fully engage with everyone you meet along the way.

Think you might need help with your sales process? Let’s chat! I always offer a free, helpful consultation.