Have you ever found yourself crankin’ away at making offers and crossing off business to dos, but at the expense of genuinely connecting with the humans in your online community, as well as your peers, and even family, and friends?
Have you ever felt like the whole “relationships first” thing seems so easy for everyone else except you?
Maybe you’re reading this and thinking, “Um, nope. I’ve always been great at connecting deeply with others and being social online and in large groups.”
I know people like you exist. <3 And even though this one’s for the woman who feels like being the life of the party just ain’t easy, I think you’ll find some nuggets too.
Let’s start by outting what my worst entrepreneurial fear used to be…
I was afraid that I wasn’t actually in it to help people, like everyone else. I thought that all I cared about was makin’ money.
I felt guilty most days desperately NEEDING to get a client.
I used to be the person who went to conferences only to sit in the back of the room, get the information, and head back to my hotel room (that I charged to a credit card and stressed about) to hide.
Even going to lunch and meeting other people was full on excruciating.
Why was this the case for me?
I never felt smart enough to be in conversation with other humans. Irrational fear or not, it was what it was. I was terrified of no one taking me seriously, and in the first business mastermind I enrolled in at age 25, I’m not sure that many did.
I was worried that exchanging words would expose me as a fraud. What if it was true that I didn’t have anything to offer?
There were a lot of moments during my first few years of entrepreneurship where I convinced myself that I was just the loser in the room “playing” at business.
Some of the evidence might have been real; some of it imagined.
I’d look at people who were actually having fun in the presence of others. It didn’t even look like work for them.
Were they just faking it?
To numb my pain, I told myself, “I feel sorry for them. They probably have zero connection to self and no ability to actually spend time alone.”
But what was really going on all seems so clear now.
- I’d invested $20,000 of my parents money (and I was falling behind in my repayment plan)
- I was surviving in NYC by rationing my groceries and using credit cards
- My Mom let me know that she thought I had a “serious money problem” and she was worried (Sh**! Looking back I think she was right, and I’d have been terrified if I were her too!)
- As the months went on I had to move out of NYC and in with a friend over the summer bc I couldn’t pay my rent. (It was a nice break from my cockroach and mouse infested apartment that I shared with a roommate whose dog continuously pooped on the floor in from of my converted bedroom that had no door or a 4th wall that went to the ceiling.)
So yeah, when people asked me how I was doing and said, “Wow, how cool that you run your own business, yada yada” I felt like the most ridiculous fraud in the world, “Yup, running it right into the ground.”
Fast forward to 2015, I finally started to get some real traction.
But I hadn’t healed from the wounds that had compounded during my strugglebus years.
Come 2017, I could feel I was finally ready to change. I committed to working through my own issues and being more willing to open up to others.
My observations of other genuine humans changed to something that sounded more like this, “I wonder if it’s possible for me to enjoy social settings and genuinely open up to other people?”
Maybe it sounds silly, but the fear of rejection and things like fraud complex can really dictate how we live in the world and interact with others. Even if we know that we can be better; that we ARE better, deep down, and that we DO desire to connect, our fears can override our efforts.
When I opened up to the idea of hosting my own event, Ascend Live, it was pretty darn far outside my comfort zone in terms of opening myself up to connecting with others in a way that required my to come out from behind my computer.
Something really shifted in me in 2017 and by the time September of 2018 came around, I was ready to keep staying outside of that comfort zone and expanding my ability to let the REAL Mel out, who LOVES humans, desires deep connection, and cares more deeply than ever about the clients that I work with.
My clients are shocked when I tell them this secret of mine, but I have to remind them, and myself, that it was a journey. Over the years it only improved, and it’s easy to open up when you’re talking into a computer screen or iPhone that you can turn off whenever you want.
I’ve been telling the story to friends, family, clients, and colleagues; that at Ascend Live, it was the first time in my entire life where I was 100% open to every human in the room. I felt so much overwhelming love and connection that I had nothing left on Monday morning when the three day event was over, and I mean that in a good way. I gave it all up and I left nothing on the table, 500% heart open.
As I come together with others humans in person, more and more, I find myself continuing to feel wide open, like those courageous female entrepreneurs I used to judge, and eventually admire.
I spent a week in Mexico for Selena Soo’s Tropical Affiliate Mastermind and loved the people I was with.
I lived in Bali all February in a co-living space and I was called “the connector who brought us all together!” WHAT?! (I organized game nights and “family dinners” and I had the time of my life!)
This past month I hosted two, one day events; one with my Ascend Mastermind and one with the ladies in U2U VII (it was our FIRST one day event after seven launches of the program!)
This week I’m in Montana spending special Auntie Mel time with Lake and Lange.
I don’t know if it was being an Aunt to Lake for the first time, or getting to know and love the woman who I’m supporting at a deeper level, or just maturing emotionally as I get older, but I know now, that I’m not here to prove myself to myself.
What good is a business if at the end of the day, the relationships around you are lacking and you have no one to share and connect with?
I’ve created a few new guideline for myself, and I want to share with you in case they resonate:
1) Act online the way you would if you were in person at an event. It’s such a gift to truly listen to others, to ask questions and be genuinely interested, to be curious about humans, and to deeply connect and celebrate people.
It’s fascinating that 2018 was the year that I feel I truly embodied this at my highest level YET, and that EVERY revenue stream and campaign we launched performed at their highest levels as well.
Coincidence? I don’t think so.
2) Get yourself out from behind your computer and start introducing yourself to other humans! Put some live events on your calendar and love yourself up enough so that you can be open to caring about genuinely connecting with others.
Some of my closest friends are people I met at events or in group programs with live components, that they’ve changed my life and my business.
In the end, what is it all for, if it’s not about people?