That’s my biggest take away from Adam Urbanski‘s Overnight Authority Event. I think. There have been a lot and they keep hitting me at weird times (like when I sat in the Seattle airport in tears realizing this one–and yes, I got weird looks, but I have bright pink hair right now so I get those looks anyway and I’m okay with it).
Of course, I gained tons of new marketing and positioning knowledge and all that. I’ve got a binder full of awesome strategies, tools, and step by step plans, and several notebooks full of notes. But somehow the biggest breakthroughs for me at events seem to be *kaboom* lightening strikes of “well that was right in front of your face, so get it already!”
You might be wondering why I’d attend an event called Overnight Authority. Either I’m totally conceited, on a power trip, wanting to become an authority (it’s okay, you can think that if you’d like) or I’ve got a skewed view of myself (had some people tell me I was already an authority and didn’t need the event–ha!–every small business owner or entrepreneur needs any event Adam is offering if they can possibly get there).
But which is it? Somewhere in the middle I suppose. A tiny voice inside me kept pushing me to step out more (or maybe it was my coach’s voice) and when I heard about this event and the teleclass series that preceded it, I knew I needed to be there. I am coming to terms with the fact that many see me as an authority. That’s pretty scary for me. It means I’d better be bringing my “A game” with everything I do. Part of that is continuing to learn from the best so I can get better. Because…
It’s all about ME.
It’s about how much personal growth I’m willing to do. It’s about how willing I am to get out of my comfort zone. Am I willing to have a big mission and go after it? Am I willing to be VERY uncomfortable?
I’m realizing that becoming an authority is really just about stepping into that position, being willing to get out into the spotlight and lead. I’ve been taking baby steps in that direction for the last two years but it’s time to leap. It doesn’t mean I’ll have all the answers (I don’t) or that I’ll never screw up (I will).
After 18 years doing what I do, I’ve got an awful lot of the answers and I get a lot of things right. In less than a minute earlier today I solved a tech problem that had wasted a fair amount of a friend’s time. Why don’t I step up with that more?
If I stay afraid and refuse to grow because I might fail or someone might not like me, I can’t help more people, and I certainly can’t be an authority at the level I need to be to make the difference I want to make.
I’ve not been really moving forward because I’ve been holding myself back. But my fears are almost irrelevant because…
Here I need to stop and tell you about the moment I decided to really build a business. I’ve never shared this publicly before.
It was about 10 years ago. I’d been working a little bit here and there, mostly bartering my web design for baby things and had a little “hobby” business. My first little one had grown into an adorable, rambunctious toddler and he, my husband, and I were living in an apartment in rural Tennessee. My husband was putting his heart into pastoring a very small church and we were living basically day to day on faith.
There I was, sitting on the kitchen floor, sobbing while I hugged a crying toddler. He was hungry. All we had left to eat in the house was a box of macaroni and cheese and a few packages of ramen noodles. It was in that moment that I promised myself I’d figure out how to build a business and work from home so that we’d never, ever be in that situation again. (The same day two huge boxes of groceries showed up on our doorstep from an online friend I’d never met who had no idea the situation we were in. I learned about faith.)
With a lot of determination, long nights, God’s grace, my husband’s support and patience, and many mistakes along the way, I’ve built a successful business. I started out with only my laptop computer and hope. I didn’t have an advertising budget. I didn’t know what marketing meant. I had no college education or business experience. My only real paid jobs had been waitress, barista, and drugstore checkout girl. But I was determined to make it work and I kept trying. There have even been times over the last 10 years that our family has made the decision to live solely on my business income for various reasons. And I was excited and felt so blessed that we had that option.
When I tell you that you can build a business from nothing, I know you can because I have.
In a perfect world, no parent would have to experience the helpless feeling of not knowing how they’ll feed their child or keep the electric turned on. But many do. And by sharing what I’ve learned I can help more parents get out of that situation, or avoid that situation completely, by building businesses to help support their families. I can help more parents stay home with their children and feel a little less stressed by the burden of supporting their families in a tough economic time.
So how dare I keep playing small and hiding in my own little corner when there are other mothers where I was 10 years ago, holding their children, wondering what the future holds, and waiting for someone to show them how they can create a business that empowers them?
It’s really all about YOU.
There I was, crying in the Seattle airport because it hit me like a ton of bricks that by not showing up in a bigger way, I’m not making the difference I could be for those I could reach. I’m allowing others to stay stuck where I was. No matter how scared I might be, helping those who I can help is more important. On some level I knew this, but it hit me in a very deep way this time.
Especially realizing that for each life I can touch and support, that life can touch and support others… and on it goes.
I blogged about a little bit this the other day when I talked about breaking through confidence blocks. It’s sort of the theme I’m facing this month. Yesterday two emails hit my inbox with notes that got me all teary and just pushed the point even further into my brain that it’s really about whether I can step up to help you.
So how can it both be all about ME and all about YOU?
Here’s something that clarified it for me. At the event I gave a testimonial for InfusionSoft. I was petrified.
It was one of those funny series of events that led to it. My roommate saw their exhibit table. Asked me if I knew anything about them. Being the admirer I am of all things automated and brilliant I launched into what could have been perceived as one of those late night infomercials (“But wait, there’s more! It’s got your lists, your cart, your followup all in one place.”) She chatted with the InfusionSoft rep about it and mentioned me, which led to an introduction followed by a request to share my thoughts with the room as someone not paid or affiliated with them beyond my obvious crush on their software. I chalked the immediate rapid heartbeat up to too much Starbucks and said, “Sure!”
Then I fired off a “HELP!” email to my coach and a friend, and panicked. What would I say? What if my voice didn’t work at all? What if… yes, my mind ran through all sorts of scenarios of what could go wrong from the silly (dropping the microphone or stuttering would not be the end of the world) to the insane (I didn’t faint, I didn’t suddenly lose all ability to speak, and California didn’t have an earthquake while I was talking either).
Given my serious aversion to getting in front of 100+ people, what motivated me to say yes? I’ve seen their software and watched their responses to customers over the past few years and not only is their software amazing, but I believe their company is among the few good guys out there. They understand what’s needed and they care. There isn’t anything else on the market like what they’re offering. It’s not for everyone and it’s not cheap, but when you’re ready for it, you can’t beat it. And trust me, I’ve worked with dozens of the other options. Many of the people in the crowd at the event were at that level that they’re ready for it. And if I can say something that would help someone move forward to a better solution for their business, I realized that’s apparently what it takes to make me get over myself.
Because while it’s all about me growing, it’s really all about you finding the help you need and the fact that I can be part of the solution that helps you build a business that empowers and supports you and your family, and helps you reach out and change the world in whatever ways you’re led to do.
One thing Adam said at the event that I’ve got written in big capital letters in my notes: when your why becomes important enough you’ll make it happen. Mine just did.
What’s your why?
Your business is the same as mine in this way…
…it’s all about YOU and it’s all about your CLIENTS at the same time.
Because to make it all about them, you’ve got to make it all about you and be who you need to be for them.
So if you’ve been hiding, or if you see me hiding again, here’s our reminder to get out from underneath the desk or behind the curtain and just go help people in a bigger way.
Everyone of us has the potential to touch lives. But it’s only potential until we take action and make things happen.