In July 2016, I scored an opportunity to speak at The Harvard Faculty Club’s Business Expert forum up in Cambridge, Massachusetts. This event is a mastermind of high-level business professionals and leaders from around the world sharing business insights and expertise. My contribution to the powerful mastermind session communicates the importance of enhancing your personal brand to ensure your message reflects you in the greatest light increasing your credibility and the influence of your message. The highlights of the speech will be shared in another blog post.
How did I score the opportunity to speak at Harvard?
Many things aligned for me to score this opportunity, more than I’d actually be able to list out but below I share the top five things that contributed in me having the opportunity of a life time.
#1) I defined my BOLD Vision
As you could tell from my blog, my book, Amplify Your Business, or any of my keynote speeches, I highly advocate for defining a BOLD Vision. In order to achieve a dream, you must have a dream to achieve. When I defined my BOLD Vision to share my message to the world and inspire others to rise and pursue their passion my life started to change including the actions I took and the opportunities that presented themselves.
Have you defined a BOLD Vision for yourself? Are you acting on it. If not, there is no better time to start then now.
#2) I stayed True to my Passion
I’ve always had the passion to be creative. Whether it was drawing, playing music or developing strategic marketing campaigns, being creative and helping others are my true passions. I stayed true to my passions and worked passed many times of self-doubt, challenges and set backs to continue my dream of a career that allows me to be creative, have great life experiences and contribute to the world in a meaningful way.
Are you being true to your Passion? Do you love what you do? If not, why? This is your life to live, live it the way you want.
#3) I developed my Communication Skills
Through the past several years I’ve been working on developing my communication skills by participating in Toastmasters, leading several MeetUp groups and trying different medias such as video or podcast. I definitely wasn’t a natural at speaking. I slurred my words, was monotone and was boring but I knew with practice I could get better. After a lot of practice I’ve developed the skills and confidence to speak in any setting and I’ve become a pretty good speaker. I still have some things to improve but I have grown in skill and confidence.
Are you a good communicator? If not, what actions are you taking to improve your skills? Do you believe that if you were a better communicator you may have more opportunities in your life?
#4) I stepped up to the plate to Lead with the Right Attitude
In 2015 I lead the Jacksonville Chapter of the American Marketing Association as president of the chapter with the attitude that I would help the chapter grow and would benefit by growing from the experience. While president, I was able to leverage my position and association to connect with high-caliber people and get discounts and special deals on events and opportunities.
One of the events I was able to leverage was being able to attend GKIC’s SuperConference in Jacksonville, Florida for free in exchange for promotion of the event. While promoting the event I reached out to best selling author Clint Arthur to be on my Blab series as promotion for the event and we built some rapport. Clint spoke at the conference and promoted several different things including the Business Expert Forum Mastermind event. After talking with Clint about my goals and experience, he invited me to speak at the Business Expert Forum. How awesome is that?
What opportunities are in your life to step up and challenge yourself to grow? Are you going to take advantage of them?
#5) I had Faith and Believed in Myself
This is probably the most important contributor in getting this opportunity. I had faith and trust knowing that in any commitment to do something there is an opportunity to benefit or at the very least to learn. Although I did get invited to speak at the event, it wasn’t a paid gig. I was simply able to leverage my position and experience to score an opportunity to attend and speak at the event. I pursued the opportunity because I had the confidence and belief in myself that I could give a great speech, contribute to the event and it would benefit me in some way. I didn’t always have the confidence to take action on such an opportunity, this confidence was developed through a lot of practice and effort.
One of the things to consider when discussing the opportunity was that it would take a lot time and cost some money to properly prepare for and leverage the opportunity. There’s time off work to attend, time off work to practice and prepare, travel costs, speaking coach costs, costs of giving away copies of my book and other miscellaneous efforts. Since I’m a partner in my own business, time is money but I believed that the sacrifices in both time and money would be worth it in the long run.
This fresh perspective has changed my life the most. I used to look at the cost or time or money involved in certain things and think I’d rather save the time and money, now I have come to understand that by investing time and money you have the potential to increase your investment and get a positive return. Sure, there are some opportunities that may not produce a positive return, but not investing will never produce you a positive return. You’ll just be where you always were. Invest in yourself. Put forth the effort. The more you try, the more you’ll learn, the better your chances of success. Right now, you are in the performance of your lifetime… it’s called your life, make it count. Do whatever it takes to reach your dreams.
What leaps of faith will you need to take in order to get where you’re trying to go? What is the cost of investment in time or money to make it happen? More importantly, what is the cost of not investing?