Thursday, July 29, 2010

Go With Your Gut

Have you ever had that feeling in your gut that tells you that you NEED to do something? I’m sure you know what I’m talking about. It’s that unrelenting, urging in your soul to move you forward to do something. It may be something you feel very good about but it could also be something that you may be feeling a little trepidation. Regardless, you are moved to act.

Last January, I had a gut feeling that I needed to go to Miami Beach for Get Connected 2010. Financially, it was not a super time for me to leave. But I had made a promise to the organizers Beth and LuAnn that I would come to help out and I really wanted to keep my word. I wanted to hold true to myself and the promise I had made. I was in fact excited to hear and learn from the speaker lineup and knew I would walk away with some fantastic ideas that would improve the success of my business. So, I went.

The benefits I received from attending this event were beyond my wildest dreams and to this day the transformation that I experienced is indescribable. Yes, it was fun but more importantly, it changed my life.

One of the people I was able to get to know better was Frank De Raffele. He was kind and interested in my business but also me as a person and as a peer.

Fast forward to few months later… Frank announced the launch of an Entrepreneurial Excellence Business Forum in Florida. I read about it and thought to myself, wouldn’t it be great to have the kinds of conversations I had with Frank in Miami on a monthly basis! His ideas were out of the box and in my opinion brilliant! So, I asked him, what it would take to get one of those here in Minnesota?

I’m proud to say, last night was the launch of the Entrepreneurial Excellence Business Forum here in Minneapolis.

As a Once Timid Networker, this is something that I would never have dreamed possible. If I wouldn’t have gone with my gut 6 months ago, I wouldn’t be standing here today beaming from the success of last night. I wouldn’t have the opportunity I had last night, to help the 28 people that were in the room to strive for new goals that could change their life. And I certainly wouldn’t have the feeling of satisfaction and accomplishment that I feel today for reaching beyond what was comfortable for me.

Is your gut telling you something? Is your soul pushing you towards something that’s out of your comfort zone? Are you feeling like there is something more for you, a larger picture? Or, have you made a promise to yourself that you feel the desire to stay true to?

Why not take steps today. Move forward and be true to yourself. Yes, some things may seem a bit like a gamble. Some things you may not know the outcome until you do it. But the thing is, you won’t know until you try. Go with your gut!

Tara Schmakel
The Workroom at Tara's
Entrepreneurial Excellence

Friday, July 2, 2010

Could you be like Wayne?

I’ve been a member of BNI (Business Network International) for 5 ½ years. I was very timid and scared at my chapter meetings but knew I was where I needed to be to grow my business. As much as I loved my meetings, I also disliked them. It was not in my nature to talk to people I didn’t know. On my 30 minute drive, I would practice the commercial I had prepared but I would also think those thoughts that are so destructive. One of them being, who will I talk to? What if nobody talks to me?? By the time I arrived at the meeting, I was sick to my stomach with anxiety.

As a Once Timid Networker, I would arrive and put my things down at the seat I had selected then scan the room for the nearest escape, the coffee and treats, and a possible friendly face. Wayne would always catch my eye and wave across the room to me. He was and older gentleman with a very kind eyes and a warm smile. He was so friendly and I realized I could always go to his side and he would welcome me into the conversation. There were a few times I tried to go to another circle but ended up feeling more ridiculous than I did already, since although they acknowledged my presence, they didn’t include me. I grew to absolutely loath “Open Networking” and it was a nightmare if Wayne wasn’t there.

Fast forward about a year. My friend Kevin Snow (and now fellow Director) asked me to fill in for him at a group who was in the process of becoming a BNI chapter. Looking back, he must have been desperate for help and I must have been on cold medication! I have no idea why he asked me or why I said yes (lol). He handed me a sheet of paper that said something like “Mentoring checklist”. I put on my best pretend-a-ambassador face and went to teach this group about being a mentor and what it could mean to a new member.

As I prepared for this and researched the material for this presentation, it touched my heart and stirred my soul because I realized that I was not the only one who felt scared at their initial BNI meetings. I reflected on the way that Wayne had treated me. His warmth and how he always seemed happy to see me. He was approachable and made me feel as though I belonged there at that meeting. When I had a question, I knew I could ask him. When there were trainings coming up, he asked if I would like to join the group who was going. I realized, what if every member had their own version of my friend Wayne?

Shortly after that, I became and ambassador with the sole purpose of teaching chapters the value of the mentor program. We have researched and modified the program and have developed a system that is incredible and that our region is very proud of.

My point is, take the time. Whether it’s at your BNI chapter or any other social function and find that lost soul. The person who won’t make eye contact and is wringing their hands. The one standing (or sitting) at their seat. They are looking for a reason to get the heck out of there! Give them a reason to stay. Help them to feel comfortable and at ease. You may be giving them something that they have never experienced before. You might be pivotal in their success. You might be the one, who makes a difference for that person. I haven’t seen Wayne in years, but I hope he realizes how he helped me. Without him, I may have left the group and never become the Once Timid Networker.

Become a Mentor.

Tara Schmakel- The Workroom at Tara's