Almost 15 years ago, in the course of 6 months, I twice “ met” the woman I would someday marry. At the second of these professional events, there was a closing celebration; a smaller crowd and a dance floor, and so we danced. And when I took her in my arms, I experienced a sense of divine intervention so strong, it was the closest I had ever come to experiencing real raw, gut instinct. It was fate, and a stronger force that was forging my chosen path.
Yet not all life changes come with such clarity. And for me, getting married meant selling my business, moving thousands of miles across the country and starting a new commercial embroidery business in a new city, looking for new clients.
Beginning all over again, brought new challenges. For the first time I exhibited at trade shows, got involved in my regional trade association, learned how to network and put myself out there. I began to study entrepreneurialism and learned from thought leaders like Seth Godin and Guy Kawasaki. I adopted new ideas, and like Guy Kawasaki recommends - I committed to a greater quality of life, hoping I would achieve success. I began to focus on making meaning everyday, and not just money.
Networking grew my business. A commitment to the quality of life helped me grow my family and I continued to grow in the regional association , serving as President twice and eventually serving the Promotional Products Association Board of Directors as the Regional Association Council representative. I learned how to ask questions and think critically. Whenever possible, I shared my knowledge with others. These experiences fueled me to try harder, to want to make a bigger difference and to run for the 2014 PPAI Board.
This past year, I found myself in the audience of Guy Kawasaki’s much anticipated session at Social Media Marketing World. As always, his words were empowering, encouraging entrepreneurs to “ be different”, “ unique” and “ do what works for you”.
He also promised that being passionate about your profession, would make you successful. A premise I strongly believe in.
Guy has taught me great lessons about the importance of being transparent, yet warning that sometimes with transparency- “ you don’t always like what you see” . Another great Guy-ism I try to follow ..“ Stay positive, or shut up”.. Something we should all start teaching our children.
In today’s business world, we are lucky to have influencers like Seth and Guy that share share knowledge and inspire. My wife was recently chosen as a BlogHer Voice of the Year, and attended the conference in Chicago. There she heard Guy Kawasaki speak. He talked about publishing, influences, and social media. He talked about the power of women and his own social media enhancer, Peg Fitzpatrick. Suzanne was hungry for more knowledge and inspired enough to reach out to Peg-and shared that knowledge with this piece on Huffington Post. Before social media, would such connections be possible? The ability to influence and inspire an audience, an industry , a readership by just by reaching out- sharing your ideas?
Today, connections and collaborations can make things happen like never before. Social technologies boost collaboration and provide the space and possibility for individuals with ideas to connect and grow.
Divine intervention still exists, my daughters are proof of this. Inspiration is all around us and the influencers are many.. evangelists like Guy, and critical thinkers like Seth, influencers like Peg.. and leaders within our profession that will use collaboration and technology tools.. to take us into the future.