Last year, I significantly changed my business model. For years, I had been feverishly chipping away at creating a niche for myself as a wellness-based inspirational performer. Using my TEDxTalk as a springboard, my sparkly hula hoop and I were on often the road together, spinning a message of empowerment and engagement to all of those who would listen (and pay).
The trouble was that I had ignored my overriding purpose of helping others become more productive in favor of my feeding my passion for hoopdance. The result was less-than-stellar business growth; people saw me only as the "hoop lady", not the badass businesswoman that I truly am.
As a result of receiving some tough-as-nails tough-love from one of the speaking industry's most successful female keynote speakers last Fall, I ditched my hoop (professionally at least, she is still alive and well in my personal life) and started all over again...again.
Have you ever started all over again, seemingly from the beginning? Whether it is a career change, moving to a brand new city, or going through a relationship transition (which I also went through at the same time), those types of fresh starts can be rough emotionally when you don't know exactly where to begin. For me, I knew that I needed to expand my offering, but I didn't really know in what direction to go. Leadership? I've done it. Sales? Sure! Team building? Absolutely! Service. Uh-huh. I've done it all. Even with so many options ahead of me, I was still stuck on what made me different -- what was the ONE thing that I could offer up to organizations and their teams that would fundamentally make a difference? A dear friend and speaking colleague gave me the answer the other day. When she kept prodding me with the tough questions, "What do you really do for companies? How do you help them?", I couldn't really articulate it in a clear, powerful, compelling way. It all came out as mushy business gobbledygook, a la "I partner with companies and their people to make more money by changing their language, changing their thoughts, and changing their actions, etc." Blah blah blah. It was empty. It all sounded good, but there wasn't ME in it.
Then, she said outright, "That's a bunch of crap. What do you REALLY do?"
After harrumphing for a bit, I muttered, "I help people to keep going."
She said, "BINGO! You are all about resilience. You are the Poster Child for Resilience. You never give up. You get stuff done NO MATTER WHAT. You never take 'no' for an answer. You don't have a Plan B because you don't need one."
Now, THAT sounded like me. I've had dozens of jobs over my lifetime, and each one of them were valuable stepping stones to something even better. In the midst of nasty personal pain, seemingly insurmountable challenges, and completely unreasonable job expectations, I just keep on going. Finding Demo's Dory is my spirit animal. I figure out a way to get around the problem. Even when I get thrown face-first into abject fear, soul-crushing failure, and public embarrassment, I never stop. EVER.
And that is why I succeed.
Thanks to that conversation with my friend, the Divine Miz D, I am now crystal-freaking-clear on who I am and what I offer. I help people keep going when they are ready to give up, and I teach them tools of resilience that I have learned since I was five years-old, watching my mom scrape a living together when she wanted to give up a thousand times. As a result, I no longer struggle with the sales discussion because my solutions are in my bones. I could teach it in my sleep. I know how to help in tough situations, whether it's in sales, leadership, or at home.
I am at peace. (Insert calm, smiley exhale here.)
If you have been struggling with what direction to take your business, maybe it's time to ask a trusted colleague who will tell you the truth and not let you get away with spouting a bunch of blah-blah-blah platitudes that don't really align with who you are. When it is so close to us, sometimes we have a hard time seeing it for ourselves.
Maybe, just maybe, the clarity that you are seeking is right in front of you. When you have that, you will be unstoppable.