Shhh.....Your Inner Voice is Trying to Tell You Something (The Results of Taking Imperfect Action)
Last week I wrote a post about my experience at the World Domination Summit, many of the key lessons I learned there, and how thankful I am that I made that investment in myself. I also mentioned that the reason I even ended up there in the first place, was because of a course I took with Scott Dinsmore called, How To Connect With Anyone. I just love how one good thing leads to another :) I've been doing a lot of reflecting on all of this, and decided that I needed to do a bit of a prequel for you. You know, like when they make a movie and then later, they decide they need to tell the back-story in a little more detail. Think 'Star Wars: The Phantom Menace' (Return of the Jedi), or 'Puss in Boots' (Shrek 2). You see, I realized that the events leading up to me attending WDS and having the experience of a lifetime, actually all started the moment I decided to sign up for an online course I knew nothing about. Just like I wrote about last week, I took Imperfect Action, even though I had no idea what the end result would be.
Rewind about 18 months from today....
I was sitting at my workstation in 'cubicle nation', eating lunch at my desk and surfing the web (I DID say it was lunch time). I was looking for some inspiration, which was, and still is, something I do often. But back then, I did it because even though I had made a fairly recent and welcome career change, I knew that this would not be the last stop on my journey. There was still more I wanted, and so, I was searching. On a previous quest, I had come across a site called Live Your Legend, created by a guy named Scott Dinsmore. At first, I took a cursory glance. Then I found myself revisiting the site because something about what was being said, and how it was being delivered, struck me. So, there I was, clicking back to this site, when I noticed an announcement about an upcoming course called, 'How To Connect With Anyone'.
Hmmmm..."Interesting name for a course," I thought, "It's probably all about networking....ick". But I clicked on the button anyway and do you know why? It's alright, I didn't either at the time - something just compelled me to do it. I guess, I was curious....at least, my inner voice was very curious, because it was the one who told me to do it. As I think back on this, I can almost hear it saying, "Don't ask questions, just do it." So I did. I read the course description and the price (which although it seemed pretty fair for what was being offered, I felt we couldn't afford at the time). Then my inner voice piped up again. "You must do this," it said in a very matter of fact tone. "Are you insane?!" I shot back. (Under my breath of course...I WAS sitting in cubicle nation remember). But despite my protest, I found myself taking out my credit card and reserving my spot.
I have since learned, you should NEVER argue with your inner voice, because if I had talked myself out of signing up, I am convinced that the last 18 months would have looked very different than they ended up. I'm sure of it. Making the decision to sign up for this course was 'a defining moment' as they say. If I had let my doubts overpower what my inner self knew was the right thing for me to do, I would have missed out on a ton of stuff, like going to The World Domination Summit for one. Aside from the trip to WDS (which is a pretty freaking big deal), I also would have missed out on a bunch of other life changing stuff. No, I am not using that phrase lightly, I mean it. Other than the obvious stuff, like great resources, information and lessons from people who have, 'been there, done that' and are totally willing to share their expertise, the three main things I personally got from the CWA course (as it's affectionately known 'on the inside') were:
Genuine connection with an amazing, supportive, like-minded community of people from all over the world.
This happened largely through the forums and the mastermind group. In fact, my accountability/mastermind group still meets online regularly and we have become genuine, soul soothing, friends. Four of us actually got to meet in person at WDS this year!! In addition, there are face to face meet-ups that people organize all over the world. We had one in Portland when I was there and it was literally like walking into a room of about 150 people who you already knew, even though you had never seen them in person before. Scott actually likes to say, "Everyone is a potential friend you just haven't met yet." I now know firsthand what he means by that!
This 'connecting with a like-minded/hearted community' thing was huge for me as it allowed me to see how many other people share my values and vision. As my tag line implies, I come from a small town. There are tons of great people here for sure (it's largely why I still live here), but they don't all necessarily 'get me' on a deeper level....if you know what I mean. So having the chance to communicate and share with people who do, makes me sooooo happy and also makes me realize that maybe I'm not as 'out there' as I was starting to think! In fact, a bonus side effect of all of this was that I became less timid about reaching out to local acquaintances, or old friends who I suspected still had something in common....and my circle of support grew even more!
I should note here that my willingness to fully participate in the community and the course, made all the difference. If I had decided to sit on the sidelines and be half hearted about it, I don't think my experience would have been the same. Like Dee Williams says (see last week's post), participation is essential!
A different perspective on 'networking'...blech.
Here's what's cool. Scott, I was happy to learn, shares my feelings about what we traditionally think of as 'networking'....It's kinda cheesy, awkward and contrived (my words, not Scott's). Connecting, as I have come to realize, is more about the bigger picture. It's not about making superficial contacts with people who might want to buy what you're selling, support your campaign, or give you a job. All of those things are entirely possible as a result of joining the CWA family, but that's NOT why people are there. Notice how I used the word family in that previous sentence? That's what I'm driving at here – CWA really is like one big extended family of people who want you to succeed, and have your back!
The chance to get to know myself better, and to move towards a life I really want to be living.
As the weeks and lessons went on, and the connections and friendships grew, I started learning more about who I really am and what I really wanted out of life. Trust me, I am no stranger to 'self-development', but this was a whole different level....definitely not something you could get from reading a book, or taking a weekend workshop. I started to become more aware of my strengths, interests and desires, and to contemplate how I could use them in a helpful, satisfying way. Long story short, one night in yoga class, I did a forward fold and BAM! - small town, BIG LIFE was born.
The idea came in a flash, like most good ideas do. The difference is, if I had not been submerged in the community of people I had discovered through Scott's course, that's as far as the whole thing would have gone, because I wouldn't have taken any concrete action....I would have defeated myself before I even really got started. Instead, I told my mastermind buddies my idea on our next call, and they were indispensable in helping me stay on track, and move forward, especially when life got in the way and I started to lose heart. Literally 6 months later, after enlisting the services of a local web designer who understood my vision, I had my first website and was writing my own blog! This was a BIG DEAL....See technology has never been my strong suit...In fact I once (deservedly) earned the nickname, Laura Ingalls....You know, from Little House On The Prairie.
So friends (some of whom I haven't met yet), my point in telling you all of this and in sharing the prequel to my WDS experience is twofold. First off....if you're interested in taking Scott's course, and any of what I've told you about it speaks to you, then go sign up before registration closes! Secondly, the real lesson here, is that when you're inner voice is speaking to you, listen! If you're getting a nudge from your inner voice to do something, trust that it knows the bigger plan, and that this is the next 'imperfect action' you should take on your journey. You don't need to know the exact destination right now (it took me a looong time to get that), you just need to trust your instincts and let them lead you to the life you were meant to be living.