Six years ago I took one of the biggest professional risks of my life and started an entrepreneurship program with Seth Godin. With eight others, I learned real-world style marketing, publishing, and business in what felt like summer camp. It turned out to be a hugely personal decision too – I met two of my closest friends there, Seth is now a friend and mentor, and I learned the skills I use to run my business today and pursue the life I want.
It was hands down one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
But it didn’t start that way. It was a professional wild card and those six months turned out to be one of the hardest, most challenging times of my life. “What if they realize I don’t know how to speak ‘business?’ What if I failed? What if I looked like an idiot with the world watching?
For the full story of how I quit my job the same day he announced it and the full scoop of how I made the decision (to hop the Chinatown bus to NYC to hear him speak, cry in the audience, hear a voice say, “You WILL work with him one day,” and write the application for 24 hrs straight) watch my TEDx talk here and here.
Despite my fears, my soul stirred. This is made for me, I thought, even though it sounds new agey, I couldn’t NOT apply. It felt 100% logical to me but also nuts.
Sometimes there is no reasonable answer to, “Why are you doing this?” Back then, I stared blankly at people who asked me because I genuinely didn’t know why I was doing it.
But my soul needed to learn on the inside. I needed to develop muscles. Face my fears. Tell stories. Find the gold in the mud. Learn new skills. I need this, is what ran through my head.
For six months I learned powerful skills:
- How to work on a team
- How to operate in a high-level environment
- How to market, use the Internet, spread a message
- How to build confidence and face your fears (while others watched)
- How to learn how to learn (Sooo meta. That’s the first and last time I’ll use that word)
- How to blog, write a book, and understand publishing and marketing
- How to form high-level partnerships
- How to run a business
- How to be a high-level entrepreneur from soup to nuts
Every last piece of belief I instilled in myself now allows me to build with a huge amount of possibility, optimism, and confidence in myself:
- It’s the reason I started my own business and suck at working for someone else.
- I now love and leverage the Internet as my global marketplace.
- I can tell my story with confidence and power and not worry what others think.
- I can now prioritize myself and my purpose, knowing it helps me give back to others.
- It’s the reason I speak on stage and love it.
- I’m no longer afraid to take risks, speak my mind, ask for what I want.
- It showed me for REAL that I could build something real from an idea.
I only talk about people when I’ve personally experienced them and their work (I’m not a fan girl – never was, never will be) and Seth is no joke. His programs are no joke.
If you’re feeling restless inside, ready for a change, ready to learn new skills that WILL contribute to whatever you do next – personally AND professionally – answer the call. Don’t wait till it feels right, because it probably won’t until after you’re done with the program!
If you think you want to join the AltMBA program and even have an inkling to do it, trust the signal. The most important signals come in small packages. You don’t need a big grand voice that says “YES!” just the still, small voice inside that says, “I really want this.” “I think I need this.” “I think this will be good for me.” What makes sense to your soul doesn’t make sense to your head.
Trusting that still small voice is where the true greatness comes from.
It might feel illogical, just like it did for me, but trust. You will LEARN. You will learn. You’ll gain skill. Experience. Courage. You’ll try and fail and gain wisdom from the process. I needed a new environment, a learning curve that kicked my ass and taught me awesomely, and you may need the same.
So don’t let your head get in the way. Trust your gut if you feel you want to do it and know it WILL be worth the reward.
Thanks Seth. There’s no other person in my life modeling how to live at your edge, take risks, be generous, and make your mark on the world. Thanks for believing in me when I wasn’t sure and goading me (godin’ing me!) to ask smart questions of my life. It made all the difference.