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I supported over 75 women through my private and group work to turn their terror of speaking in front of groups into fun, and to cultivate and craft their messages for the world to hear. 16 of those women gave phenomenal talks at sold out School for the Well Spoken Woman LIVE events in SF and NYC. These women opened my heart, educated me, and made me a better woman through the process of sharing their wisdom with me.
Despite all the hoorah!, there were things that fell through. Things that fell flat. Things that simply did. not. go. well.
And I’m here today to talk about a few of my major 2012 party fouls and what I’ve learned.
Oh, how I wish I could say I did everything perfectly!!!!
I know…perfect schmerfect. But there is truly a part of me that wishes I could tell you I was A+ all the way through, in this first gangbuster year of my business and my mission.
In the journey of speaking up and getting our messages & our work out into the world, I suspect you will encounter (if you haven’t already) some painful bumps that might look & feel like these. So, please, take my struggle and the hard earned wisdom I’ve earned, and learn from it.
I had heard about people doing major internet launches to fill programs, but I had never done one. It sounded like a really great idea. I went for it and hired a fantastic woman named Nicole Indelicato (aka the founder of Nicole Catania) to plan out my launch for last spring/summer’s Speak Up for Your Business and the School for the Well Spoken Woman LIVE programs.
After a two day intensive with her, I was ready to rock. I hired a launch manager and went to work. WHOA! I had no idea.
I was suddenly in the middle of an ocean of work and deadlines, and I had to just swim! So…I put on my big girl shoes and did it. It was awesome. We got over 150 applications for 30 spots. Women in the programs wrote and delivered the talks of their dreams. Many have gone on to land TEDx engagements, keynotes for Bioneers & major association conferences from a variety of industries, and are giving talks around the world. And here’s the kicker: they are having FUN.
A tremendous achievement. And… the whole she-bang consumed my life.
Now, let me be clear – there’s nothing wrong at all with letting this kind of thing be your big main focus, but when it comes as a detriment to your relationship or your well being…not so good.
Needless to say, my relationship paid a huge toll. (More on this here.)
Sex? Not so much.
Health? I turned to snacking at night to fill the pleasure my body was craving after being so zoned in on my computer and on calls all day.
Sensuality? I was working out, but was not doing the things that my body loved, like dancing and being in nature.
When you are in the midst of doing your big things in the world, be sure to make time to nourish yourself and give time for sensuality and pleasure, whatever form that takes for you.
It will give you energy to keep rockin’, and leave you filled up instead of drained. It will help you to feel naturally “full”, instead of making unnecessary trips to the pantry. It will nourish your relationship with your self and with your partner if you have one, even in the midst of big work sprints. It will keep you sparkling and juicy, rather than haggard and stressed…And that comes across big time in how you show up in the world and your quality of giving & contribution to others.
Thankfully, I had the wisdom to take off for Sedona to bring much more nourishment and nature into my days while I was running the program and working on talks. And I have the incredible Jena LaFlamme to thank for being a life changing coach, teacher and friend to me this last year in this arena of owning and celebrating my pleasure.
I’m currently working on creating and launching a new training video series and training program. This time around, I’ve got LOTS of attention on what makes my body & my heart happy, and that is making a world of difference.
After the School for the Well Spoken Woman LIVE smash-hit events this summer, I received gracious and supportive feedback from a few women in my SF LIVE course that some of the ways in which my live training (before the LIVE event) was run wasn’t up to par with the rest of my work.
My first reaction was total embarrassment and fear.
Oh sh*t. They were totally right.
I nearly could not crawl out of bed for days, I kid you not. The truth: I didn’t budget well enough and I turned pieces of the program over to (a truly awesome) member of my team without proper guidance from me on what quality I expected. She simply did her job. I failed in my leadership on this piece.
I had to dig deep in what I am most committed to and stand for — women unleashing the brilliance of their voices — in order to get out of that bed and learn from this puppy.
That’s the Power of Commitment: It will move you beyond your sh*t to continue to stand up and serve. (Tweet)
As a result of this experience, I’ve learned to bring in expert guidance in various areas of my business. I have since taken on coaching around hiring and managing a team, as well as how to put on epic live trainings. Huge props to Elissa Ashwood, founder of Truly Accomplished, for her insight on managing a team, and to Nathan Patmor, one of the masterminds behind the creation of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and Mamagena’s Mastery Program, for his guidance on creating powerful live education experiences.
I had conversations with several women I admire who run successful, large training programs to get their insight. Turns out, they ALL had similar experiences in the early days of their work. It had me feel a) not alone, b) supported, and c) more intelligent and informed after gleaning their insights on how they grew as a response to growing pains. Moral of the story: talk to your mentors and friends in the field.
I’ve learned that you must hire for values and communicate what you want upfront.
Don’t be worried about people not liking you! This is your vision – be clear and own it and communicate with respect.
After any program or event, sit down with your team and have a pow wow.
While we had a lot of high fives going on for an overall incredible summer of LIVE events, online training, and women left utterly transformed… we also had some intense conversations and learnings about what wasn’t so hot, how to make it all even more stellar next time, and who we need to bring in to take things to the next level.
And more than anything, I learned that your clients and the people you serve are the very BEST people to help you grow your work in the world. Relentlessly seek their ideas on how you can refine and grow your work, and how you can take what you do higher. They are brilliant. A mission cannot be grown alone. It takes a tribe. (Tweet)
As a result of all this hard earned wisdom, I put on a highly successful Public Speaking Soiree beta program in San Francisco a few weeks ago with glowing reviews. I nearly cried when one women wrote that it was “one of the best seminars I’ve ever had the privilege of attending.” And another that it “was informative, enjoyable and just beautiful. It was how a workshop should be!” Why did it turn out this way? Clear vision. Awesome team collaboration and communication. And stellar project management.
I’ve been around the block enough to know that the next edges of growth and transformation in my work are coming. But now I have a knowing deep inside that this mission – and my team’s & my own commitment to it – is on fire and will grow no matter what.
So, my piece of wisdom for you, take it or leave it, is to take all feedback and reflection as a total gift. Check in. See if it’s true, and if it is, use it to take your work and your message higher in the world.
And above all… be kind and patient with yourself. This is how we all – individuals and businesses – learn and evolve.
I had early signs from the get-go of not having a great vibe with a particular participant in one of my courses last year, and ended up spending a lot of energy managing that one relationship, when I could have been putting that energy into so many other realms of the program, the participants and my work. It was draining and stressful for both of us.
It’s totally fine when someone isn’t a fit for your work, and when you aren’t a fit for them. Sometimes you and that person can’t know until they are actually in your program or working with you.
My friend Nathan gave me great advice when I came to him troubled by this situation. Here’s what he advised: when a program begins and enrollment is complete, look in the first few days or weeks for the 10% of the people who are not a fit — the ones who are in a state of constant dissatisfaction – and then ask them to leave the program. Give them all their money back.
No harm done and no one in the wrong…but simply just not a good fit. It’s pure energy management. You’ll end up saving all that energy (that you would have spent struggling with them) on the rest of the program and participants…the ones for whom the flow and structure of your course works. By all means, be sure to get ideas for refinement and improvement on the course from all participants, but let go of the ones you just intuitively know aren’t a right match.
You’ll feel much happier and satisfied. They’ll feel much happier and satisfied. And the energy of the group will be enhanced.
Bless and release.
And above all – don’t blame them and don’t take it personally.
I did this. The weekend of my SF LIVE event…I got my period the morning the in-person training began, two days before the LIVE event. I felt utterly exhausted and low energy that entire weekend. My back ached. I had to drum up reserves of energy from who knows where in order to guide and facilitate not only the training of 8 women but also host a huge live production. My personal level of juice was pretty low.
Two weeks later, I put on the NYC LIVE event. I had a total ball! The weekend training was tons of fun. The event was a joy for me. I felt full of energy, juice and excitement to connect with people.
And yes, I was ovulating.
Now, this isn’t always going to be possible, because awesome opportunities may come your way that happen during the time you are menstruating. So if you do have your period during times when you are speaking publicly or leading some kind of big event, be sure to be extra gentle with yourself and crank up the level of self care and inwardness your system may be craving.
However, as much as you can swing it:: Don’t put on major events when you have your period! Don’t schedule speaking engagements or big social gatherings that require you to be “outward” during the time you are menstruating. Holy cow. This is just so huge.
Schedule your life and your work according to your hormonal flow, or “seasons.” My team now has my moon cycle in our shared calendar, as well as my fiancé. We’re planning life & biz with this in mind…
Here’s a simple breakdown of this: Winter is the time of your menstruation, an inward time, perfect for planning, visioning, etc. Spring is the week after when you come out again like a little spring chicken, ready to engage with the world. Summer is your time for full on play, connection, and being out in the world. During the next week, your Fall ,you begin to go a bit inward, which makes it a great time for more energy-inward things like planning and writing.
Alisa Vitti of FloLiving is a dear friend and a woman who has taught me about this (and I completely forgot to follow this counsel this summer for these events). Check out her work. It’ll change your life.
I also had a great reminder of this from my client Jessica Drummond who supports girls & their moms in learning about their hormonal flow and how to schedule their lives based on this knowledge and gave a great talk at the NYC LIVE event this summer.
True fact: the world needs your wisdom and insight. We just can’t get enough of it. We are hungry, starving, aching, longing for the wisdom you are here to bring. (Click here to read my Manifesto: “To All The Women Of This World With Something To Say”)
I almost forgot this fact, and it’s taken me months to write this post, even though I have known deep inside that I must. For my soul. For you. For the forward progress of my work in the world.
Keeping our wisdom locked within, because of some pent up embarrassment about where it came from, can make us sick. Slow us down. Breed confusion and indecision. It can make us suffer.
And ultimately, it can keep us from the depth of contribution our souls long to create.
Sharing your wisdom is healing balm for the soul. It leaves the world a better place. It turns your struggle into contribution. It allows who you are and your work in the world to evolve.
May my life experience benefit you in some way as you venture forth this year to bring your voice, your message, & your work to the world.
We need it.
Don’t let your party-fouls hold you up. They’re part of the process.
Keep bringin’ it.