Letting Go of Your Past Can Transform Your Future
While attending a convention of fellow speakers and consultants, I reconnected with a colleague whom I hadn’t seen in two years. Sandy ran up to me and said, “Emily, will you have time to catch up with me? I want to share the incredible changes in my life and business.” Wow! With an intriguing greeting like that, I figured no time like the present. We sat down with cups of coffee.
First, a little background. Sandy is a talented technology expert who fearlessly speaks to large non-technology audiences on complicated topics ‘ and actually gets them to understand computers and programs. She’s equally as effective doing one-on-one coaching with clients. In my early business years, Sandy spent hours getting me up and running with ACT! the contact management system designed to help users stay connected with prospects and clients. Ironically, even with her proficiency Sandy didn’t use ACT! to the extent her clients did. One day I asked her why. “I hate prospecting,” she said. “I hate putting myself out there to be rejected.”
In spite of that, Sandy’s business grew through word-of-mouth and referrals. She continued to resist what she considered “shameless self-promotion.” No matter how hard I worked to convince her that when you’re good and have something valuable to offer, people want to know about you and what you do. Nothing would change her mind. Given that history, I couldn’t imagine what Sandy was going to share with me.
Sandy told me that two years ago she attended her twenty-fifth high school reunion. It’s the first reunion she ever attended. High school was not a great time in her life. She felt like an outcast and didn’t have any solid friendships. Then an amazing thing happened at the reunion.
Sandy said she went out of curiosity, with no expectations of having a good time. She just needed to go. Well, she had a life-changing experience. Instead of finding classmates unfriendly the way she remembered them, they were warm and interested in her life today. As with most reunions, conversations turn to reminiscing about the past. It turns out that what Sandy remembered, and has been holding onto for twenty-five years, was entirely different from what her classmates remembered. Where she viewed herself as an unpopular outcast, she learned many people were actually in awe of her mind and skills. They thought she was stand-offish and not friendly.
Sandy put it to me this way. “I’ve been living my life afraid to reach out to people who might reject me. It was just so painful back then. That’s why I’ve never marketed myself or my business. What a shock it is to realize I read it all wrong. I’ve been worried about what others think my whole life. Since that reunion, I’ve given myself permission to be myself. If people don’t want to associate with me, so be it. But I know I have something to offer.”
Sandy went on to tell me that she’s started a Women’s Business Organization chapter in her city and joined a networking leads club. Her goal in both is to share her knowledge and connect people. With those altruistic objectives, I told her she’s sure to have even greater personal and business success.
When Sandy and I wrapped up our conversation, she was ten feet off the ground. Her parting words were, “Don’t I look lighter without all that baggage?” Indeed she did.
Emily Huling Selling Strategies, Inc. P.O. Box 200 Terrell, NC 28682
Phone: 888-309-8802 Fax: 888-309-7355