Previously I mentioned I had been challenged to give a TED-style talk at a mastermind meeting. It was optional, but in keeping with my new approach to life, I took up the challenge. And it was a challenge for me.
When it came time to present the rough draft of what I’d written, my mentor challenged me again to go without the script. It was uncomfortable, but I did it. There is no record of that presentation, so I recorded and posted it here for you. I chose a small moment on one of my recent trips to Peru, to illustrate personal growth that can happen when one tiny decision is made, and how it can apply to marketing your business on the Web.
Text of audio (with pictures!) Like many people, I’m a mix of cautious and curious. I like to think things through before I act. I’m also introverted and have a tendency to social anxiety. If I feel anxious about an outcome or like I may make a fool of myself or things may not turn out as I envision in my mind, I’m apt to say no without trying and move on to situations and activities where I have more control or skill or comfort.
Have you ever felt that way? I know I’ve missed out on a lot of potential experiences because I’ve been too concerned about what other people may think of me. Or, I don’t participate because I’m afraid I’ll stand out and people will notice if I say something stupid or look silly. I stand to the side and observe instead of participate.
In the space of three months, my life changed when I made one simple decision about how I wanted to experience my life. I’m here to tell you that I have learned what it means to say “What have I got to lose? Give it a try”.What have you got to lose? What would happen if you just said yes?
When I stepped off the plane in Puerto Maldonado, it was about 90 degrees and 80% humidity. Walking across the tarmac to the tiny terminal felt like pushing through a wall of heat and my clothes were damp by the time my friend and I picked up our duffle bags.
Carlos, our driver was there to greet us. With relief, we climbed into the cool mini van. My friend and I had arrived at the gateway of the Amazon rainforest in Peru and were expecting to begin our 3-hour journey to a lodge in the heart of a protected wildlife reserve on the banks of Sandoval Lake. Instead, we were informed that we had a 4-hour delay while we waited for a couple who were on a flight coming in from Lima.
“Since we have some time, would you like to go to el Serpentario?” I was asked. The what? A sanctuary for rescued snakes.
Uh, I guess so, I said, without enthusiasm. It’s really interesting, Carlos told me. My first thought was that I don’t like snakes. Then I remembered the pledge I made to myself at the outset of my adventure. Ok, let’s go. Little did I know that “snake” really meant “boa constrictors” and “anacondas”. To me, those were scary snakes that poison people or squeeze them to death. In that oppressive, tropical heat, Carlos took us on a tour, showing us other rescued animals, an owl, a blind feline that looked sort of like an ocelot.
Then, we got to the building with the serpents. I saw many big and small boa constrictors. Admittedly they are beautiful creatures when you study the patterns on their skin. Then Carlos asked me, “do you want to hold one?” What???? NO! is what I said in my head. No way! Again, I remembered the pledge I had made before I left Los Angeles.
I stood still as a statue while Carlos took a 6’ boa constrictor out of its cage and put it around my neck. I wondered if it was like other animals and could smell my fear. What if it wrapped itself around my neck and strangled me to death? I tried to relax. I touched its skin. It was cool and smooth. I held its head in my left hand. I was still trying, somewhat unsuccessfully to relax. I look pretty silly in the pictures my friend took.
But I did it. I said “yes” because I had promised myself that I would say yes to everything that I didn’t think would put me in mortal danger. I said yes, because I had said “no” and stood on the sidelines for too long. I said yes, because when I thought about it rationally, Carlos was not going to suggest I do something that was dangerous. He didn’t want me to get hurt any more than I wanted to get hurt.
I said yes. Plus, I had the words of my “glamour technician” aka hair stylist who I’ve known for 10 years, running through my head…. “If you don’t go, you won’t know.” I added “if you don’t go for it, you don’t know”
Two trips to Peru changed my life.
The first trip reminded me how much I love adventure and showed me I can meet any challenge I set for myself.
The second adventure showed me how much richer life can be when I say “yes.” Being a solo entrepreneur, I couldn’t help but equate a lot of what I discovered to business and my clients. In fact, in my business life, on the Web, I’m more extroverted and adventurous than in my “real life”. I experiment and try new tools and marketing tactics all the time. But a lot of my clients don’t feel that way and when I put the spotlight on how I behaved in my private life, you know, more cautious, less willing to put myself out there, I felt so much empathy for the men and women I mentor. I think this is a common experience…
Have you ever had an idea or big goal you wanted to achieve in your business? You imagine what it will be like when you’re there, how great it will be, how beautiful and perfect and simple to achieve?
And then you start thinking about the details, what it will take to make it happen. How hard it might be, how uncomfortable. That you’re going to have put a great deal of time and attention into marketing your thing? You start feeling anxious and maybe a little fearful. What will people think of it? They’ll think I’m crazy or stupid. They’ll judge me. What if it doesn’t work, or I don’t make it. I’ll be a failure. You think, “Maybe I’ll just skip it.” It’s too hard and complicated and it probably won’t work or I won’t be able to pull it off.
And nothing happens. You move on, feeling disappointed maybe, and also relief because you didn’t fail or make a fool of yourself. Right? You ever feel that way? I have. And I’ve missed a lot of opportunities as a result. What would happen if you said “Yes, what have I got to lose?”!
My passionate belief is that you can be successful building an attractive, powerful presence on the Web when you let go of fear and doubts and embrace uncertainty. When you say “yes” to trying and experimenting, even when the outcome is uncertain… when you open up to the fun and joy of sharing what you know and do so well, with those whose lives you can transform for the better… the results may surprise and delight you.
I said yes and I discovered that boa constrictors don’t eat people and they aren’t venomous. It’s highly unlikely that a human would be killed by a boa. I surrendered to the experience and it’s now a special memory from my Peruvian adventure. When you say yes to the prospect of revealing yourself on the Web and embracing a new path to more visibility, you may discover more fabulous opportunities than you ever let yourself dream of.
What have you got to lose? Give it a try… just say yes! Have you ever said “yes” to something you would have normally said “no” to? What happened?