the Oprah effect

Photo of me with attendees at a speaking engagement.

Have you ever heard of the “Oprah effect?” It’s what happens when you’re a small company and Oprah or some other big-name person/company mentions you and suddenly you blow up and everyone wants to order your product or pay for your services.

One of the most compelling stories I heard about this was from a woman who had a brand new t-shirt company. She had only printed a few t-shirts with a hand press and sent a few to Ellen’s team on a whim. Then Ellen mentioned her t-shirts on the Ellen Degeneres show. 

Suddenly she went from one person making t-shirts in her extra bedroom to thousands of orders. Her business essentially exploded in a good kinda way…

But it almost exploded her life, too. And not the good kind of kaboom. 

She’d just had a baby when she started the t-shirt company and it was actually only in its infancy. She hadn’t taken the time to actually think about what she wanted the structure or values of her company to be, nor what sort of expectations, boundaries and procedures would make it most efficient.

Now, she had a massive company without the appropriate boundaries in place. 

And it almost tanked her. 

She was able to recover, thankfully, but not after suffering and working 24/7 for weeks on end to make up all the orders that had come in. I can’t even imagine the kind of hell it must have been to do that WHILE caring for a newborn.

That prompts today’s question for you: If Ellen, Oprah, or any other “big name” were to mention YOU and your career/business were to blow up tomorrow, could you honestly say you currently have the exact boundaries you’d need to play at THAT level?  

And if your answer is ‘no’ (which it is for 99% of the women I work with) OR you think, “well hold on, I’m not there YET, I’m still growing, so that’s not something I need to worry about right now,” you’d be wrong. 

My client Angie would’ve confirmed that with you.

Oprah didn’t mention her, and she certainly didn’t submit herself for anything like that. But a big industry name DID mention her in his newsletter one day. He had hired her for a small project and loved her work. So now he was proclaiming her to be “the best” all over his media channels.

Suddenly Angie went from being a “best-kept secret” to the person EVERYONE wanted to work with. She seized the opportunity, raised her rates and quickly had a fully booked practice. She was so excited and felt like she’d hit the jackpot!

But then the problems started. 

The clients were draining her beyond belief. They were difficult to work with. Expected her to be available 24/7 just because her prices were higher than the norm (her prices were higher because she was worth it)! She even had a few clients who argued with her over her suggestions.

Dealing with these kinds of clients was draining her and making her lose her love for what she did. It made her question everything.

She even reached the point where she thought that the only way to solve the problem was to change all of her messaging. Surely, there must be something wrong with her messaging if clients who seemed super healthy when she vetted them suddenly became boundary monsters a few months into her work with them?

She was JUST about to hire someone to work on her marketing message when she stumbled across one of my posts. We got on the phone and in just 15 minutes I knew exactly what was wrong.

It wasn’t her message, it was her Boundary Capacity.

Angie kept attracting her mother into her business. Angie’s relationship with her mother was pretty strained and had been most of her life. She’d grown up experiencing some pretty erratic behavior from her mother, who was constantly dropping her when she was a kid (energetically and emotionally). Her mother was demanding and never respected her boundaries.

She told me, “Lisa, I wasn’t allowed to have boundaries around my mom as a kid. It wasn’t even a thing I was taught. It was her way or the highway.”

Her nervous system didn’t know any other kind of dynamic. And she had never grown her capacity for boundaries to the level where she needed it to be now in her business. 

She confessed, “If I set boundaries with my current clients, I have this feeling they’re going to go ballistic like my mother does when I set boundaries with her. So I don’t set them, because I’m afraid of the reaction, I’m afraid they’ll stop paying and it will tank my business.”

This was a circular, unsustainable situation. As long as she kept attracting the archetype of her mother in the form of her clients, she’d never achieve the success she wanted.

We worked on her Boundary Capacity over a few hours and she went on her way. A few weeks later she sent me this update:

  • She’d emailed her new policies and boundaries to her current clients. One got furious and demanded to be let out of their contract. She was able to see this as a “good riddance” situation instead of thinking it was the end of the world. She fired the client and two days later a NEW client with the energetic vibe she WANTED to attract came in and replaced the unhealthy client.
  • She had time to herself for the first time in years
  • She stopped feeling sick to her stomach every time she had to get on the phone with her boundary-less clients.
  • Some clients emailed her back to say they were deeply inspired by her new boundaries and policies and RENEWED to work with her again BECAUSE OF IT.
  • She opened up a new group program and had filled it with new, amazing clients she was excited to work with.

The last thing she said to me was this: 

“Lisa, you have no idea how priceless this boundary capacity work has been for me. I felt like I was drowning before. And I was beating myself up because I was thinking ‘You should be grateful that you have so many people wanting to work with you, why are you complaining?’ But now that I’ve expanded my boundary capacity I know I will NEVER attract THAT type of client ever again. I know that the significant revenue increase I had this past month was because of how my energy shifted after the capacity work.”

So what about you?

Even if your situation isn’t exactly like Angie’s, do YOU ever feel sick to your stomach knowing you have a certain client coming up? Or feel that way when you step into a meeting with your boss and know he’s going to ignore your ideas or email you at 10pm at night expecting a reply?

Do you ever think to yourself, “I should be grateful for this business or job, so why am I resenting it and feeling drained/unexcited by it anymore?”

Or do you keep getting that client who makes you do ALL the heavy lifting, or never does the homework you give them, or who asks you for your opinion only to swat it away? 

ALL of those issues are Boundary Capacity issues. And no strategy in the world is going to help you stop attracting people like this to your work or your life.

Only capacity work will.  

Because strategy can’t help you uncover the unique dynamics that make you recreate these patterns in your life.

That’s exactly why I opened up my NEW virtual Boundary Capacity retreat.  

From the comfort of your own home, in just a few hours, you will experience a MAJOR shift in how you hold your boundaries, get clear on the exact boundaries you need to set for your next level and STOP feeling confused about what your boundaries should be or afraid to set them.

Our first retreat is coming up in JUST A WEEK! And spots are filling.

Our last SIX virtual capacity retreats sold out. So don’t miss it.

I purposely keep these retreats small so you get plenty of time for 1:1 attention within the group and lots of coaching. Plus there’s time for your own hot seat as well.  

The price is a steal compared to the benefits you’ll receive and you’ll leave with a significant shift in your boundary capacity. (Check out the testimonials from women who have attended before below.)

Want to learn more and grab one of the few spots left?



In love & capacity,

PS: Here are the testimonials I promised you: 

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