This weekend I was in Philadelphia to be a part of #ReinventionWeekend with my friend Melinda Emerson. Melinda, who is known as @SmallBizLady, is a powerhouse of business experience and support systems for entrepreneurs and small business owners. I was privileged to be a part of her panel of experts during the conference. Each of our participants were encouraged to share their stories, to introduce themselves when near a microphone and to engage in learning and sharing with each other.
Stories are powerful. Most of us do not truly realize how powerful what we tell others and the words we tell ourselves are. I heard stories of courage of beginning a businesss after a career was downsized. I heard individuals share how they stepped up to the plate when circumstances beyond their control changed their lives. I heard tale after tale of bravery, of creativity, of steadfast efforts and beyond over the top efforts. Each of the stories shared involved hope deferred, Olympian style effort and ongoing courage. However, often those stories shared came from a perspective of “not enoughness” “imperfection” and “failure”. As the stories were shared, often shoulders hunched, eyes and voices tones were more subdued.
Expert panelist, six experts came to spend two days pouring their experience, their knowledge and their personal support to the individuals. However, it was apparent that the perspective of a few of the attendees was “I’ve got to have help” when the purpose of the program was to engage support, encouragement, education and to do the work to learn new methods of engaging success. You see if we’re so busy telling our story of frustration, of failure, of hopelessness, like the drowning man who fights their rescuer, we may drown when help was directly before us. Each of us make mistakes in business. Each business owner faces unexpected and at times unfair setbacks. Many of the most successful business experts in the room recanted how their first, second, and sometimes fourth business failures helped them to learn what mattered. I often share with my clients that
It’s not just rhetoric. If we are to learn, if we are to be teachable, we have to begin by affirming to ourselves and others we can and that we will choose to learn to be successful. When I stumble, fail or have to postphone success on a goal I often tell myself “I just haven’t learned that yet” sung to the tune of “I just haven’t met her yet.” by Michael Buble’. It takes courage to try, to fail, to get up and try again using what you learned, or seeking knowledge to not repeat the experience. Our stories are important. I know I personally am not the person I was when I failed a goal the first time, the third time or even last week that was important to me in business. However I could have forever talked about the unfairness, the bitterness of the loss, or the anger of having put in so much effort with a less than stellar result. However the story I prefer to tell myself is that in my ignorance and eagerness I had not understood some vital foundational parts of my business and now I am thankful the experience happened early in my entrepreneurial days, so that the loss was recovered and I learned a valuable lesson. I speak more kindly to myself as I share no one I had known had owned a business online, so it was not surprising that I would make ignorant mistakes. We seldom can overcome what we are unaware of in our lives. We rarely move forward if we are consistently looking down or to our past.
This weekend at #ReinventionWeekend I was affirmed in just how important it is to seek community in your business. To listen and to explore other perspectives of the processes of business. To have cohorts who are authentic and honest about their experiences and who share not only the mountaintop experiences, but encourage each other through the hardships. My breakout group was so articulate and caring. The stories shared were quickly reframed to uphold the truth of the individual’s experience: that courage was present, that hardships were over come, that restarting differently was not only brave, but the willingness to seek assistance, conversation and new perspectives a highly respected trait.
What stories are you telling yourself? What parameters do you place on how you frame your story. You see, each time we retell or history we can either affirm failure or amplify that we’re teachable, we’re learning and we are moving forward towards our goals. The remarkable tie that bound all of the presentors was one unique trait…they have all failed in some way, but instead of focusing on their shortcomings, they have focused forward on becoming the learner, learning from their experiences and accepting that the only person who can own their success is themselves.
Reinvention Weekend was in Philadelphia last weekend, it’s an annual event with Melinda Emerson and her amazing team, but more than a weekend, reinvention is a way of life. How can you leverage the lessons of your present and past to create your future. THAT, is truly the story to leverage building your best life. Let’s beginning telling ourselves and others about this day, and build upon our past with possibilities and perspective to go forward.
To find out more about the distinguished panel experts, each offer superb resources for small business owners :
Melinda Emerson Http://howtosucceedasyourownboss.com
Barry Moltz http://barrymoltz.com
Barbara Pender http://youtsocialsage.com
Hajj Flemings http://hajjflemings.com
Sulaiman Rahman http://uppn.com
Misty Young http://MistyYoung.com
and find additional resources from me at http://basicsmatter.com