Chapter 19 of my First book: Finding MY Mojo (persevering on the career, oops, business front)
CHAPTER 19: Finding MY Mojo (persevering on the career, oops, business front)
This is a picture of me on stage, professional speaking for the first time.
It took courage. Not to mention, a lot of practice.
Courage comes from self-confidence.
And, as I was about to find out, that Self-Confidence,
is related to following through on our commitments to ourselves.
But, next time around, someone remind me,
to NOT commit to hauling a 100-pound barbell on stage. 😊
“Courage is being scared to death, but saddling up anyway” – John Wayne
January 2016: Coaching 101. Oh! Oh! Not again. Lost again.
In a previous chapter, I told you about the time when one of the partners of the program that I was looking into becoming the program director of, spent 1 hour explaining the program concept to me, and it was basically, in one ear, and out the other. Well, I felt like I was back in front of him again now, except that this was about 5 years later, and this was my first coaching class. Yes coaching. One of my potential service offerings, that I had yet to even try. Yikes. Comfort zone, where are you?
Coaching is not advising. Come again? I have been advising people for the past 20 plus years and now you just want me to bite my tongue when it comes to providing advice? The agenda belongs to the Coachee. Are you serious? So, what am I supposed to do? My coaching style? Is that the same thing as my elevator pitch? Yikes. Here I was, at 50 years of age, feeling like I was back in school again. Feeling lost. Learning things for the first time. Not again!
Well, you know what? Things were different now. After the initial shock wore off, I soon realized that I was picking up on a lot of the concepts very quickly. I was gaining my confidence more rapidly than I had previously done, when learning something new. I soon realized that, all of my prior experiences in my life, were actually helping me learn new ones. How cool was that! Although the coaching that I had done with my previous employers was different than this type of coaching, some of the learnings and experiences helped me to apply the new approach. And this new learning curve, and the feeling of confidence that went with it, was not just applicable to my service offerings, it applied to other parts of my business as well.
I soon realized that setting up the programs within my former employer’s organization were similar to setting up a business of my own. Many of the processes and tools were similar, less complex in my case, but similar. Talk about cutting down on the learning curve. Talk about a confidence boost. It turns out that I was somewhat of a quasi-intrapreneur when I was in my role at my former employer, and that was helping me out now, now that I was a quasi-entrepreneur.
Now I understand what people mean when they suggest that we try to gain as much exposure to as many things as we can, because those things, a.k.a. experiences, may well benefit us in the future. Now I understand what people mean when they suggest that we don’t feel badly when we change paths on the career or business front. That those experiences are not wasted, but will often come in handy in some other way in the future. Well, I was experiencing that first hand, in both launching my business, and in exploring and developing my capabilities in my service offerings. How cool is that!
So, to that end, my new definition of change now includes learning new things, while at the same time, leveraging my learnings of the past, in order to learn and grow even faster. Wow. New experiences. Trying new things on for size. Bring it on!
April 2016: A cocktail with no booze. Are you serious?
Mention the word business development and the word COCKTAIL will often come up in short order. As previously mentioned, I was now starting to feel more comfortable meeting new people. I was now starting to feel more comfortable attending events where these new people tend to congregate, including cocktails.
Although I was now feeling more comfortable at cocktails, I was still relying a little too much on some friends of mine in those days. And those friends of mine were the cocktails themselves, the ones of the alcoholic variety a.k.a. my liquid courage. But this cocktail was going to be my test. This was the first cocktail that I was attending since I had decided to stop drinking more than 2 drinks on any one occasion.
Well, long story short. Not only did I enjoy the evening, I had so much fun connecting with people that I was the last to leave. I shut the place down. The hosts will probably order more San Pellegrino next time. Not only did I get to connect with a lot of former colleagues, and get to meet some new people, I actually remember what I said to them. I was actually present during our conversations. It turned out, that learning new things about people, and sharing ideas with them, gave me as much of a buzz, as the booz had in the past. How cool is that!
June 2016: Storyteller Dave Part 1: The writer: MY first blog. Just do it. Push the button.
Well, it was fast becoming time to write up or shut up. More like write something up or shut up i.e. stop telling everyone that I was a writer (a.k.a. Storyteller). My inner critic kept reminding me, back then, that, although I prominently mentioned that writing was one of my service offerings, I had yet to write anything. While he was at it, he reminded me that I had tried to write articles and POV’s (Points Of View) in some of my former roles and that I had not enjoyed the experience. None of my writings had ever even seen the light of day. They ended up in the graveyard of my c:drive, in some unmarked grave (a.k.a. folder). So, what was I thinking here? Coaching? O.K. Professional Speaking? Maybe. Writing? Are you serious? What’s with that? You can’t write. At least nothing that anyone in their right mind would want to read. Besides, everyone is so busy these days.
Well, that was around the time that my inner coach also decided to weigh in on things and he suggested that I just give it a try. “Just do it, Dave! Make the theory real”. All right. Fair enough, I thought, and so, that is what I decided to do. As my first blog, I would pick something that was not too radical. Searching for soulmates and dealing with clinical depression would have to wait. I decided to take the safe path and write about dream Jobs. I would come up with a top 5 List of the criteria for a dream job and then I would post it on linked-in.
Well, things went well at first. I wrote it. I found a picture. I figured out, after some trial and error, how to post something on LinkedIn and then I locked and loaded it all in the template. I was ready to push the “publish” button when my inner critic decided to re-appear. “Don’t do it Dave. Everyone on the planet will see it! This is not your area of expertise! You have not researched this enough! Etc.” Then my inner coach would jump in and just tell me to hit the button. “Don’t listen to him Dave. Hit the button! Hit the publish button!” They just kept duking it out, until finally, I just did it. I posted my first blog. And guess what? I did not die. I did not get any nasty comments. No one challenged my ideas, then again, how could they, they were my ideas. Did I get hundreds of likes and comments and clients from that post? No. But wow. Did it ever feel good! I enjoyed it so much that I could hardly wait to post my second one.
For my second blog, I thought that I would try and inspire others to make some changes to their habits in order to lead healthier lives. I could not think of anything that was making a bigger contribution to giving me all that extra energy that I had, back in those days. So, I decided to write a blog on the Top 5 ways that I was able to lose 100 pounds of body fat. Well, guess who showed up again? My inner critic. “Your blogs are way too long. No one will read them!”. Humm. He might have a point here (I even googled it, and he was right, mine were much longer than the average) but I was enjoying the writing, and my approach, so I decided to continue with what I now refer to as my long-winded rants, and I did.
I could always summarize my blogs later, and provide a link to the more detailed blog, but for now, I was writing them for me. I was writing them for me and I would soon find out, I was writing for some others who also liked my style, my style of sharing just about everything, and not holding much back. An approach that scared me a bit at first. I was sharing some pretty personal stuff. What would my family and friends and colleagues think? What would the world think? After all, once I posted them, I was sharing them with the world. Yikes. Inner Coach, I hope that you have steered me in the right direction. Yikes.
Well I got some feedback on that front pretty early on. I was driving my then 11-year old son to camp and I mentioned that I had posted my blog on eating healthier the previous day. Without batting an eye lash, he asked if he could borrow my cell phone and then he looked it up and he read it. “Not bad Dad. I will give you a 9 out of 10. I am deducting 1 point because you mentioned your son in the blog but you did not mention my name”. Not bad feedback on my second blog, if I do say so myself. And, for those of you who have not yet met my son, he has quite the memory, so whenever I am tempted to cheat on the nutrition front, he reminds me of that blog and that I might want to consider a healthier choice. Keeping me honest! How cool is that!
Oh! And, regarding the length of my blogs, here is some feedback from one of my first blog readers:
“Dave, very nice job on the “Let’s Talk” blog. First, that is BY FAR the longest blog post I have ever read. But it is engaging and keeps you moving with an interesting short quip style. It is likely also the most honest and intimate blog I have ever read. Glad to see how much you are loving your new role/purpose in life…”
Talk about words of encouragement. Take that! inner critic!
April 2017: Storyteller Dave, Part 2: The motivational speaker. Under the glare of the spotlights
O.k. So it had been a year since I had started blogging and my book was starting to take shape. It even seemed like I was writing a book every time I corresponded with a client or contact. I enjoyed sharing and storytelling that much! It seemed like the writing was moving along nicely. It was now time to tackle the professional speaking. That one was a little scarier. It is one thing to push a “publish” button. Quite another, to get up in front of a live audience. Yikes. How do I pull the trigger on that one?
Well I got my chance. The local chapter of the professional speaking organization that I had recently joined, sent out an email looking for 8 volunteers to go up and speak in front of a live audience, for 7 minutes. Well, the minute that the newly forged “Captain Courageous” saw that email, he immediately hit the reply button and volunteered. He responded so quickly that neither his inner coach nor his inner critic could get a word in edgewise. How cool is that! I guess he was starting to get into the habit of taking on things that would have once been outside of his comfort zone.
If you would like to see how he did, just take a peek on my website, in the motivational speaker section. Was I perfect? No. Did I bring the house down? No. Did I inspire anyone and/or everyone in the room to live a healthier lifestyle, the topic of my speech? Who knows? That is their decision and not mine. I did my best. I put my best foot forward and, despite not even being able to see my audience because of the glare of the spotlights, I did my best, but, best of all, I just did it. I followed through with my self-commitment. Captain Courageous just got up there and did it. How cool is that!
So, What did I learn?
How did I make change EASYer on myself 😊 (or not ☹)
Self-Confidence begets Courage? Or, is it, Courage begets Self-Confidence? Kind of a chicken or egg thing. I had been spending so much time out of my comfort zone, trying new things during this period of my journey of self-transformation, that I can’t remember which came first, but I do know that one fed off of the other. Well, here is another piece of the puzzle to ponder. My coach brought it up recently during a group discussion on ways of making it EASYer on oneself in developing SELF-ESTEEM. Self-esteem, sounds pretty similar to self-confidence, so I was all ears. One way of doing it, apparently, is following through with our commitments to ourselves. Supposedly, there is a lot of research backing up the importance of that one. Interesting concept. Following through with our commitments to ourselves.
Following through sounds a lot like perseverance, the way in which I was trying to find my Mojo. It also blends in well with my “just doing it” a.k.a. “just trying it out” a.k.a. “just trying it on for size” approach. After all, in order to try something out in the first place, it takes a personal commitment to do so. And a little courage as well. Oh no! back to the chicken and egg thing. Oh well. At least they are all related, so back to my original lesson learned. Just give it a try! Take the plunge! That is where it all seems to start.
That was all about me. What about YOU?What are you doing to make your journey of change EASYer on YOU? 😊 (or not ☹)
Looking at making some of your theories real?
Well, what’s stopping you?
LOOKING FOR SUPPORT FOR YOUR JOURNEY?