6 years ago I hosted my first conference. It was BIG, far beyond the scope of anything I had ever done before. The months leading up to that conference my emotions swung anywhere from exhilaration (any time a ticket was purchased) to complete terror and despair (every other minute in between).
There were so many times I wanted to quit.
Deep inside I knew this was part of my path and I just had to find a way to put one foot in front of the other.
When I tell the story of launching my first conference the inevitable question I get is “But how did you put one foot in front of the other when the fear felt overwhelming?”
The short answer is that I visualized my success. But as we all know …there has never been a more useless piece of advice than “visualize your success.” Yes, it works but when you are in BIG fear it is pretty hard to hold onto the vision if your mind is telling you THAT WILL NEVER HAPPEN! ABORT THIS STUPID DREAM! THE COST IS TOO GREAT!
Each time I tried to visualize a sold-out audience, financial success or rave reviews the evil little voice inside me mocked my stupidity. “That will never happen!” it screamed.
So I had to find a vision I could hold no matter what. Something so tangible, something so strong, even my fear couldn’t mess with it.
This picture is that moment. My children were that moment.
When I got scared I would picture myself inviting my children on to the stage to publicly thank them for their support. I knew that no matter how many tickets I sold I would make this moment a reality because my children deserved this recognition.
I launched ticket sales to that conference with a crowdfunding campaign and my children were my very first funders.
They didn’t just take dollars from their piggy banks to help me. They gave up goodnight kisses and stories and hugs when I was on the road speaking to promote the conference. When I focused on them and their sacrifice I was able to overcome my fear because there was no way that I was going to let their sacrifices go to waste.
As the conference came to a close I invited my two children on to the stage exactly as I had envisioned it.
There are two very special people in this room that I’d like you to meet. They were the very first people to invest in this event, to believe in me and to believe in you. Matthew and Katie Lennon please come to the stage.
This moment continues to be one of the all-time best moments in my life. The reality far surpassed anything I could have imagined.
So what does this mean for you?
Right now there is a dream inside you that needs to be brought to life but something is stopping you. Maybe it feels too big. Maybe you don’t know where to start. Maybe you don’t know how to keep going.
This message found you today to urge you to move forward. Do not let fear stop you. Find a vision, some point in the future that you can anchor yourself to, and follow that vision when you get scared.
And in case that fear is telling you that if you follow your dreams someone you love will suffer, I am here to tell you that is not possible. The best possible gift you can give the people around you is to show them what it looks like to raise yourself up to your potential. To show them what it looks like to be brave.
Six Years Later
Six years later I see the blossoms of the seeds that were planted that day on stage with my kids. Each of my children have fallen in love with the stage. Each child loves to share his and her ideas. They believe they have the power to change situations. They plan to start businesses when they get older.
I regularly wonder whether I am the best mom I can be to these two little-on-the-verge-of-big kids. But one thing I do not doubt is that I serve them by bringing my big scary dreams to life.
And it’s not just my kids. There were times I didn’t spend time with my dad because I had a book I was working on or an event coming up. At his wake last month so many people came up to tell me “Your dad was so proud of you. Watching you succeed was one of his greatest joys.”
Right now don’t use the people you love as a reason to stay where you are. Use them as fuel for your success. I am living proof that when you move forward … in spite of the fear that you will fail mightily … the people you love will win in ways you could never imagine.
Find your point of vision for the future and move toward it. When you do everyone around you will win.