Last week was a big one for me.
I participated in a two-day conference with Ali Brown, a self-made multi-millionaire who works with women entrepreneurs. I did this because I wanted to learn more about the challenges and strategies at that level and to be with a peer group of women who want what I want — to make a bigger difference, break the mold and lead the way.
The attendance at this conference, Repower, was limited to only 35 entrepreneurs with high six- or seven-figure businesses. FYI, only 2 percent of all women-owned businesses have revenues of $1 million or more, so you know there were a lot of smart, successful women in the room.
I decided to invest in Repower for my leadership development because I realized that I’m not someone who is just here to build a business. I want to have an impact on the world — in a big way. And this was my first step to really own that.
Many of my clients are incredible leaders who also want to make a big difference. So, in that spirit, I want to share my takeaways. Hopefully, this will get you thinking about a next step for you.
Trust your gut
You should know that, going into this event, I had been in the thick of trying to implement a strategy for my business, one that I thought I had to, to take my company to the next level. It has been so frustrating and has sucked the life out of me for months now. No wonder I just couldn’t seem to get it over the goal line.
For those of you who know me well, you know that I am a go-getter and get things done fast, especially when I know it’s the right thing to do. I initially thought my hesitation was because I was entering unchartered waters, but now I realize that it was the wrong approach for me and my business.
If you keep resisting to something in a big way, pay attention. I fell into the trap of ignoring my resistance and rationalizing my approach. My advice to you: Get out of your head and listen to your gut, that intuition that you have developed over a lifetime.
Break the mold
One of the reasons I stuck to the wrong strategy for so long is that I overemphasized other people’s definitions of success, the models that seem to be working in the marketplace. In fact, I did it so much that I discounted my 20+ years of experience developing business strategies, restructuring operations and developing strong leaders. In retrospect, what was I thinking?
Well, I now know that I was simply overthinking. Just because many others have grown their businesses using one model, it doesn’t mean that I have to. This is my golden opportunity to shake things up and do it another way, and stand out from the pack.
It’s easy to get caught up in how others define success or how something “should” be done. Next time that happens for you, ask yourself whether it’s time to break the mold, solve the problem in a new way and be a thought leader. (If you need to get back in touch with your own "true north," try the vision exercise from last week's post.)
Go where your energy is
As I mentioned, the past few months have felt heavy despite the fact that I really love what I do. I get unbelievable gratification from helping high-performing leaders bring out their best, especially knowing how one leader affects so many lives. I realize now that what gives me the most energy is being part of that ripple effect.
I have decided that I will pour myself into where my energy is and put aside all the “should’s” in my head that suck the life out of me. There’s something exhilarating about pursuing a strategy that plays to my passion and strengths — and, by the way, makes more sense for my company!
Surround yourself with the right people
I have wanted to challenge myself to do more and have a bigger impact for a while. I now know that I needed some validation, motivation and inspiration to do that. So, one of the most valuable aspects of the Ali Brown event was meeting the amazing women in attendance. Although we’ve gone our separate ways and live in different parts of the country, I know they will continue to challenge my thinking and give me the support I need from a place of understanding.
I strongly encourage you to make sure you have that kind of support for yourself in your leadership development. Shake things up a bit, go outside your industry and the people you have had in your circle for a while. It is so worth the investment.
As you think about where you are today in your life and career, remember to invest in what’s going to help you take things one step further. Check out the Leadership EDGE SeriesSM or my book — Show Up. Step Up. Step Out. — to get you started. And remember that small steps can lead to big results.