It’s All About Me Because It’s All About You

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.

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24 Comments

  1. Michelle,

    I’m SO glad you’re having so many great insights revealed over the past few days since your event. I’ve been really excited for you but mostly about hearing what you had to share when you got back. I loved your insights. They were helpful for me as a lowly blogger just starting out.

    It’s easy to see someone who’s achieved success online and be envious of their status, expertise, etc…not realizing that it was a decision and 10 years (in your case) of effort in the making. That gives me hope.

    It’s really easy to look for the “magic” pill or to want instant riches online and jump on the bandwagon of whatever fads are out there, but the reality is that business is business and the fundamentals still hold sway whether it’s online or not. Your post was a great reminder of this.
    Steve Rice recently posted… True GreatnessMy Profile

    1. I’m working on a “things I did wrong” post you’ll like, Steve. I could have gotten here a heck of a lot faster if I’d known what I was doing and got help sooner… but yes, it’s been 18 years of designing websites, and 10+ years of actually doing it as a business, blogging seriously for about 2 years.

      And yes, it was all about getting the fundamentals figured out. Once I started to get that in place, it was just a matter of keeping at it and even with holding myself back, and not going after things like I really should have, the fundamentals worked and got me this far. :)
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… What’s Your Excuse?My Profile

  2. Michelle, When I stumbled onto your blog, via Facebook link, I was mesmerized and immediately did a blog post about you and 4 other amazing women. Last week I was thinking: “why doesn’t more people know about her and the information she has to help others achieve their dreams?” I was observing other amazing females stepping out in a big way, being of service to others and making lots of money.

    When I did my blog post that spoke of you as an amazing blogger, I had only been to your blog once, but the quick visit and my intuition told me you had the X factor. We are all connected to the source, your blog post, for me, confirms that.

    You’ve mastered your brilliance and I’m glad you’re stepping into your purpose and getting comfortable with your uncomfortable zone. You’re going to change lives.
    Adalia recently posted… Love is Important: 25 Love AffirmationsMy Profile

    1. I remember. Your blog post is one of the things in my folder I look at for inspiration. :) Thank you for that, Adalia! I appreciate you.
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… Did Plan A Fail? Remember ThisMy Profile

  3. Wow Michelle,
    This is an inspirational post. I could feel your sincerity and authenticity and was deeply touched.
    I feel honored to have met you in person at the OA event and watch you take a step toward “coming out of your shell.” The difference between the first day when we met and the last night before you left, was refreshing.
    Thanks for sharing a piece of yourself here. I’m sure it will touch others tremendously as it touched me.

    You are awesome. And yes, I’m one of those who considered your an authority before we met (and agree with it even more now).
    Thanks.
    Debra
    Debra Jason recently posted… 5 Ways to Deliver Social Proof on Your Sales PageMy Profile

    1. I wrote this one through tears, so it was pretty sincere. And I felt different at the end of the event, so I understand what you mean. I didn’t expect that. But when Stephanie stood at the mic and shared what she did about being an example for her son, that really hit me and started to wake me up. From there it kind of snowballed and I’m still processing it all (as I’d bet a lot of attendees are).

      And thank you. I’m blessed to have connected with you and I can’t wait to see where we both go from here.
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… I Can See it in Others… but Me? What?My Profile

  4. Hi Michelle,

    Loved the inspirational post!

    Hope your trip and the event turned out great- they surely must have! Touching words about the way you and your family have come up to where you are now, with all the dedication, effort, hard work, and of course keeping the hope and faith, which is the most important.

    Your posts do inspire and motivate most of us, and it is always nice to learn from you and your blog.

    Wishing you a bewitching Halloween as well :)
    Harleena Singh recently posted… Throwing a Teen Party for HalloweenMy Profile

    1. Thanks, Harleena. I did have an awesome time. Very challenging, but in a good way. You’re right — keeping the hope and faith in ourselves and in what we’ve got to share with the world makes all the difference.
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… Who Can You Serve Better?My Profile

  5. Michelle,

    Great post! I really appreciate you sharing your insights from the Overnight Authority program. But what I love about your post the most is your personal story! It’s beautiful, touching, and – I’d imagine – one that many people can relate to on many levels. I’m so excited to see you making the decision to “play big”. You are an amazing person, everyone of my clients who has ever worked with you always raves about you. And I can’t wait to see the impact you will have, and the difference you will be making now that you are stepping into those “authority shoes”. ;)

    YOU ROCK!

    1. Adam, thank you for being such an amazing example and challenging us all to get out there and make a difference for ourselves and the world around us.

      The week before the event it felt like everything was kind of falling apart around me but I knew I needed to do whatever I had to do to be there and not let the challenges stop me. Now I know why. I’m so glad it stop me from coming.

      Next goal — coaching with you. I’ll get there!
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… I Can See it in Others… but Me? What?My Profile

  6. Michelle,

    I am so glad that you see how much you can mean to so many people. I know you’re modest, but tough– you really are awesome!

    I have a client whose business is philanthropic and has challenges allowing herself to be paid enough for her work. I finally convinced her that unless she permitted herself to receive, she wouldn’t be able to continue to offer her services, and so many people who need what she uniquely can offer will be deprived.

    Even priests get paid by the flock they serve.

    You are a high priestess of blogging and social media! Your flock is happy to support you so you can be here for us :-)

    So try not to be too embarrassed the next time i plug you!!

    xo
    Lisa
    Lisa Rothstein recently posted… Top 3 tips for entrepreneursMy Profile

  7. An absolutely wonderful post, Michelle! You brought back several memories of when my own kids were young and how I felt. I’d say I wish knew then what I know now, but realize I’m supposed to be where I’m at today. (I have a story about getting to this post that is incredible but will write about that later today.)

    You knew too, it was time again to get to Adam’s live event. When I first met you two years ago, I thought you were an expert (authority) then. I think everyone else is so much further down the path than me. Not true, of course.

    We are not alone in our thoughts and feelings — that is one of the messages I’ve been called to carry to those who are ready to listen. You have a message, too …. and I think you just found it.

    So happy to know you, privileged to call you friend, love that we share a photo with Joe’s Crab Shack bibs on. :-)

    See you in the blog world and beyond, my dear.

    1. That was a great dinner — now I’m craving crab again, PeggyLee.

      And you are definitely an authority and so great at how you help others.
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… What’s Your Biggest Question About Driving Traffic to Your Blog?My Profile

  8. Michelle,

    Thank you so much for your courage in being honest! You continue to be an inspiration to me and other small business owners. Please keep being “real” and sharing – there are others just like me that will continue to believe in you, promote you to our “masses” ;) and celebrate your triumphs

    Congratulations on where you are now and where faith will surely bring you in the future.

    Betsy

    1. Thank you, Betsy. I appreciate you.
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… Why You MUST Have Information FiltersMy Profile

  9. (Hey, Michele – first time in weeks I didn’t have any trouble opening your website!!) Brilliant post — The lesson about stepping up in order to help others is something that has been drilled in my head for the last six months or so..and I finally get it, too! You are an expert and an authority….no need to hold back …go for it and “SHINE” like Marianne Williamson says, “Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do.” It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we’re liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
    Julie Henderson recently posted… YOU CAN ACHIEVE ANYTHINGMy Profile

    1. Always nice when technology decides to cooperate. LOL Marianne Williamson rocks. <3
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… What’s Your Biggest Question About Driving Traffic to Your Blog?My Profile

  10. I truly love your quote “I’m allowing others to stay stuck where I was” because that is the exact reason I DON’T stop coaching, and growing, and volunteering. I DON’T want others to live in an abusive marriage, or in a marriage that is miserable for them. A marriage can be one’s greatest sense of happiness and also one’s greatest sense of dispair, which affects all other areas of one’s life.

    Think about it, when your marriage is on the rocks, isn’t everything else sort of put on hold? That’s no life and that’s why I love to continue to push forward.

    Michelle, for the last 2 weeks I’ve been asking myself what exactly is your mission with your business? Are you more of a blogger with great articles that give lots of valuable information and how to’s or are you support for the websites you host and the dummies like me who can install a plug in but not know how to set it up?

    Congratulations to you and all of your achievements during the event. You should be SO proud of yourself. Like I said in a comment the other day, you are THAT person!

    1. Rhonda, thank you for reaching out to help others in that situation and being there to support them. You’re changing lives.
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… Create Cool Videos Without Being in Front of the CameraMy Profile

  11. I just came across a quote that relates to this post, so I thought I’d share: “Your business isn’t about you – – it’s about the needs and desires of your customers. And at the same time, it’s totally about you – – about what you can uniquely offer to the people you want to serve. If you can learn to keep both of these in your head at the same time, you’ll do brilliantly.” ~ Sonia Simone (CMO of Copyblogger Media & Co-Creator of Teaching Sells).

    I’ve been in a process of becoming all I can be for those I serve as well and I could really relate to a lot of what you wrote. I’m also coming out of hiding :). Thanks for this post, Michelle.
    Leanne Chesser recently posted… Build a Foundation for Financial FreedomMy Profile

    1. That’s perfect. She said in about 50 words what took me 1,000 or so… ;)
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… What’s Your Biggest Question About Driving Traffic to Your Blog?My Profile

  12. I was thinking about you when I saw this the other day. Not because you suck, but because if you want to succeed you have to do things you aren’t good at (yet).

    http://pinterest.com/pin/135248795029899193/
    Amethyst Mahoney recently posted… ReTweet to WinMy Profile

    1. Absolutely true, Amethyst. We’ve got to start somewhere! :)
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… What’s Your Biggest Question About Driving Traffic to Your Blog?My Profile

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